Written by  :  Andrew Fisher (643)
Written on  :  Dec 29, 2018
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  3.83 Stars3.83 Stars3.83 Stars3.83 Stars3.83 Stars

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I'd take a Christy Marx game over a Roberta Williams game

The Good

It's more mature than Roberta Williams' King's Quest games, including the slightly adult comedy, which I think is often quite clever (to get the comedy you sometimes have to be clever or lucky enough to think of the correct line to type). I like the semi-historical, semi-mythological/religious content and that it's set in the "west"(England) and "east"(Israel), there doesn't appear to be much bias, though part of the ending arguably shows a Christian bias. I'd say that the problem solving and battles are challenging, but not excessively so(except for the Saracen) and to balance the difficulty, the game is quite short.

The game has a serious feel, but is balanced by Merlin's comedy and the history, mythology and religion being sometimes taken lightly. Christy Marx has arguably put a kind of feminism in the game, as King Arthur you often have to prove yourself to females, including the goddess Aphrodite, to progress in your quest for the holy grail. Whether it's really feminist or not, it makes the game stand out, especially in its time. I also like that there is a blurring of good and evil, friend and foe e.g in Guinevere, Lancelot, The Lady of the Lake, Aphrodite and her servants etc.

The Bad

The Saracen knight, who serves as the game's final boss, and the battle system you have to learn to beat him. I like the knight himself, he's presented as an honorable foe, but I can't say I enjoyed the challenge of learning the attack and defense, swordfighting system, defeating him was just too long and draining.

I think in the main, the game isn't preachy, though you're told that you must be "perfect" to acquire the grail ("perfect" is revealed to mean a strong fighter, clever and charitable/sacrificial) I think the game's story is presented as mythological, not too serious and there's some suggestion that the gods themselves aren't perfect. But there is one part that I think crosses the line, the part concerning the thief of Jerusalem and the way you or the grail itself deals with him. The thief appears comedic, he's dressed in only a loin cloth and turban, but his fate isn't very comedic even though the way the grail deals with him should be expected, the grail is supposed to expect perfection. But I think this part leaves a particularly bad taste right at the end, you appear to be serving a rather cruel and unforgiving god.

The Bottom Line

So it's fantasy like King's Quest, but more mature and adult and quite a bit better in my opinion. It has faults, but probably an above average Sierra adventure.