Conquests of Camelot: The Search for the Grail
Description official description
It is the ninth century, and Camelot, the legendary castle ruled by King Arthur, has fallen under a curse. Famine and drought plague the kingdom because of the love triangle between the king, his wife Gwenhyver, and the knight Launcelot. It appears that only the mysterious Holy Grail can restore Camelot, and three knights - Launcelot, Gawaine, and Galahad - embark on a journey to find it, and soon disappear without trace. King Arthur leaves his castle in search of the missing knights, hoping to locate the Grail as well. His quest takes him to real and mythical locations in England, and later to Jerusalem and other areas of the Holy Land.
Conquests of Camelot is an adventure game that requires the player to input text commands, mostly by combining verbs and objects (such as "look man", "take purse", etc.). A few commands (such as "ask about") have keyboard shortcuts. Unlike most other adventures, the game does not focus extensively on inventory-based puzzles. Rather, it presents a diverse array of tasks depending on concrete situations. These involve exploration, solving riddles, gathering information, participating in arcade sequences such as jousting, and others. Rudimentary money management is present as well.
Many problems have different solutions, and it is possible to reach the final part of the game even without having completed some of the essential quests (e.g. failing to save the knights). However, Arthur is being judged by the game in three different categories: skill (referring to the action sequences), wisdom (evaluating the amount of cultural information gathered), and soul (determining the moral value of Arthur's action). Failure to achieve a high score in the last category leads to a bad ending.
The game is set in a concrete historical period, but adds an alternate reality to it, assuming that pagan deities really existed, but were overshadowed by Christian worship. However, there are only a few references to real religious practices of the time or any historical characters.
Credits (DOS version)
35 People (34 developers, 1 thanks) · View all
|[ full credits ]|
Average score: 75% (based on 14 ratings)
Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 62 ratings with 7 reviews)
The feature that most distinguishes Conquests of Camelot from other Sierra games of the period is that you (via King Arthur, your in-game cypher) are required to partake in many more challenges than simply solving item-manipulation puzzles. At one point you must slay wild boar; at another, you're dueling with a saracen; at still another, you're jousting. This, coupled with a fairly logical puzzle system, makes Conquests of Camelot a gem worth seeking out if you can configure your system to support it.
The one feature that is guaranteed to irritate a fair number of gamers are the riddles. At one point, Arthur must solve a number of riddles to advance. If you cannot answer even one, you're stuck. Luckily, the riddles themselves rotate, so if you're stuck on one, leave the screen and return to get a new, possibly easier one.
The Bottom Line
King Arthur must venture out to recover the Holy Grail. Along the way, he undergoes a variety of challenges, physical, mental and spiritual, that make up the core of the gameplay. Imagine King's Quest with combat and a semi-historical flavoring and you've got the core of Conquests of Camelot.
DOS · by Lucas Schippers (57) · 2001
Everything from the music to the graphics (though limited to 16 colors, the game had real artistic talent behind the sprites and the animations) was fantastic.
The game features a lovely mix of action and adventure. The action elements aren't a main focus in the game and aren't too involved (think Space Quest), so people who love adventure games shouldn't be turned off.
The puzzles in the game can be challenging but I managed to get through the whole game without being really stuck more than once. The only time I got stuck was a part that involved yelling, which was an action you didn't have to do at any other point in the game.
The game also has multiple endings based on some of the decisions you make, just like with Conquest of the Longbow (another exquisite adventure game).
Someone mentioned the riddles in the game as a bad part. For me, they were some of the most interesting puzzles in the game. The riddles are masterfully written in a way that anyone should be able to solve them given enough time and thought. I first played the game when I was 13 and managed to solve every riddle I encountered, and I played the riddles section multiple times to see every riddle. Anyway, some people might be turned off and may want to immediately progress to the next section. For those people, the riddles might have been pretty frustrating.
I didn't like the part in the game where I got stuck. Like I mentioned earlier, it involved yelling which was something you didn't have to do throughout the whole game up until then, so I never even thought to try it. I imagine lots of people got stuck on the same part for the same reason.
Every single puzzle is still very logical. Unlike too many games, there's no brute force strategy to figuring out what to do where you run into parts where you have to just try every single action you can think of with no sense of direction. Looking around each environment gives clues as to what you do, and just about everything should be obvious. If not, you'll probably hit yourself on the head when you figure it out because the game really does a great job of filling you in.
The copy protection puzzles are probably the most annoying thing. I didn't even think to look in the manual when I first played the game with the riddle of the flowers.
The Bottom Line
I would say this is one of the greatest adventure games ever made, not just for aesthetic reasons (though it certainly is among the best in this department as well), but for the straight-forward adventure gameplay with some entertaining action moments.
To me, Quest for Glory, Conquest of Camelot, and Conquest of the Longbow offer the best Sierra has to offer when it comes to the adventure department because they offer some of the most straight-forward (but not necessarily easy) puzzles, often with multiple approaches.
DOS · by John Lucas (12) · 2005
I always loved Arthurian themes and this game was a great discovery, everything is very accurate and remains very faithful to the Arthurian myth. The use of Olde-English in the dialogues is also a great point. The fact of having to achieve certain actions and good deeds to obtain the Holy Grail was also very interesting to me. The graphics were real good for being only 16, i liked a lot the maps of Europe and Britannia and some of the backgrounds.
Maybe there were too much dead-ends like in a lot of Sierra adventures, the copy protection puzzles were a bit annoying (i hope we see an amateur-remake in VGA someday and this could be removed and changed to some similar puzzles)
The Bottom Line
If you are an adventure game enthusiast and enjoy reading King Arthur adventures this is definitely your game.
DOS · by Depth Lord (934) · 2004
|Conflicting info about Conquests of Camelot||Bullyt (528)||Feb 13th, 2009|
|areas with un-implemented puzzles?||Pseudo_Intellectual (65289)||May 22nd, 2007|
A portion of the game takes place in Glastonbury Tor. British legends indeed connect the Tor with Avalon, King Arthur and the Grail. Joseph of Arimathea allegedly traveled to Britain and left the Grail in Glastonbury where an Abbey was later built
In the game, there is a little tree, and if the player examines it, narration will tell them that this thorn tree was planted by Joseph of Arimathea. That tree known as 'Glastonbury Holy Thorn' actually existed in the Abbey, and died in 1991 according to Wikipedia
Also, the cover lid of the well seen in the very same screen, is curiously similar to the lid of the Chalice Well, an actual natural spring that exists in the area
In some portions, Merlin (the narrator) will refer to the Liber ex Doctrina, the copy protection manual of the game. If the player types 'Ask Merlin about Liber ex Doctrina', the cover of the manual will appear in a dialog window and Merlin suspiciously will warn the player that he must always have it in hand. The manual's name Liber ex Doctrina means 'Free/Book from doctrine' in Latin. Note that in Latin, liber means both free and book.
- The ship's name reads KRISTI in Greek letters, a reference to Christie Marx.
- Also, a sign in Jerusalem reads LEDGER in Greek, for her husband and the game's illustrator
- If you have a Roland MT-32 connected to your machine and selected as your MIDI device: Start the game, and watch the display on the Roland very carefully. You will see several messages, including: 'Conquest of Camelot' '(It's Only A Model)' And when you quit the game it reads: 'HAM&JAM&SPAMALOT' This is a reference to the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail
There are a couple of red-herring places the player can find, without any significance to the game: * One is the snake corner in the desert, found only if the player strays from his path. The player can kill one snake with the sword, but won't be able to go further. Also, if the player loses his way in the desert, he will see hallucinations about Lancelot and Guenevere * The player can also follow the tunnel of the pool of Siloam, however the screens will gradually darken and the player will die if he goes further. That tunnel is also the place where the player is 'transported' should he try to escape the riddles of Fatima. * Another such useless place is a dirty alley in Jerusalem, with a carcass of a dog and a pool of urine. The wall features Latin writing saying 'PRO BONUM TEMPUS APPELA CRISTI' translated as 'For a good time, call Christy', an obvious pun (and quite self-sarcastic) about the game creator herself
If the player examines the pedestal where the hag was standing on, in the stone circle, a dialog window will open with an icon of a runic inscription and its 'translation'. According to the narrator, the runes say about the five stone poets, encountered later in the game.
However if anyone tries to translate the runes with English letters (such guides can be found anywhere online), the 'actual' inscription doesn't say anything like that. The inscription actually contains the word 'Stormbringer' followed by the phrases 'death is all' and 'beware cursed is the wielder Thor'.
Other runes and words are too difficult to make out
Information also contributed by Itay Shahar
Related Sites +
Christy Marx's page for Conquests of Camelot: The Search for the Grail
The game's designer, Christy Marx has her own page for the game.
Conquests of Camelot - FAQs & Guides
Various fact files and walkthroughs on GameFaqs.com
Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history!
Contributors to this Entry
Game added by andyhat.
Game added May 4th, 2000. Last modified September 13th, 2023.