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Written by  :  Katakis | カタキス (40814)
Written on  :  Sep 23, 2003
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  3.6 Stars3.6 Stars3.6 Stars3.6 Stars3.6 Stars

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Defeat an evil wizard that kidnapped your family - with help from an idiot

The Good

Sierra's next King's Quest adventure after KQ4 is not a bad game, but it is not good either in certain areas, but I'll talk about that in a minute. KQ5 centers around King Graham who notices his castle missing from its usual place. An owl named Cedric tells him that it was the evil wizard Mordack who did it, and he offers Graham hep from his good friend and employer Crispin, who happened to also have a bad run-in with Mordack in the past.

In the early stages of the game, Graham learns why Mordack vanished his castle into thin air: as revenge for Alexander turning his brother Manannan into a cat, and Alexander must turn him back into a wizard or his entire family will be fed to the cat. Fearing that Alexander is running out of time, Graham (with the help of Cedric) travels through woods, mountains, beaches, and finally to Mordack's Island.

KQ5 is technologically superior than the previous KQs. You see, this is Sierra's first game to use the newer SCI1 engine in which the game delivers 256-color VGA graphics as well as a point-and-click interface. The graphics in this game are beautiful, especially at the start of the game as you walk around Serenia. However, the highlight of this game for me is looking at the breathtaking view of the mountains. They remind me of my holiday in Switzerland.

As for the point-and-click interface, I already miss typing random commands in to generate a funny response, but Sierra was trying to get with the times. Moving the mouse cursor to the top of the screen will bring up a series of icon in which you use to interact with the environment. In the disk version of the game, there were too many of these icons since the game used the engine's initial version (0.000.051) [You had two Walk icons, a Disk icon, and a Stop sign.] The icon interface was simplified in the CD version, to match that of the later versions of the engine.

Some of the music and sound effects are good, especially if played through the Roland MT-32, so I heard the music the way Sierra intended. My favorite piece has to be while navigating the labyrinth underneath Mordack's castle. When I was first introduced to IBM-PCs, I had no idea that the MT-32 actually existed. The quality of the music makes me regret that I owned a Sound Blaster in the first place.

I have played both the disk and CD-ROM versions, but it is the CD-ROM version that has its advantage. Not only does it contain full speech and no copy protection, you also have the stereo soundtrack that accompanies the game's introduction, and ambient sound effects can be heard throughout the game, not just in the intro. For instance, I could hear the sound of real water flowing through a stream in Serenia, and the sound of the waterfall near the beach, along with the little bits like doors opening and closing, and animals making real noises. There are even a couple of songs, one of which I remember quite well.

The Bad

There are a few problems with KQ5. For example, some of the puzzles are illogical, with the most obvious one being the situation where you are faced with a yeti in the mountains, and you have to throw a custard pie at it to defeat him. Also, throughout the game you have to deal with Cedric himself. He is sent to help you achieve your goal, but instead he acts like an idiot and refuses to go to certain places with Graham.

The game suffers from a poor script. Case in point: you have to give food to a poor eagle who is starving to death. After Graham offers some, the eagle says "You are a kind man to share your meager food with a poor bird, especially up here in these snowy mountains. To top it off, Sierra should have employed someone else to voice that eagle, not one who sounds like a Japanese cartoon character. Roberta Williams isn't a good writer.

The Bottom Line

KQ5 is a massive upgrade from the previous KQ's, due to its 256-color VGA graphics and point-and-click interface. It is a game that links itself back to KQ3. With help from Cedric, you must find and defeat Mordack, and restore Castle Daventry back to its original state. To accomplish this, he must do business with the townspeople and animals, as they might give him something if he does a good dead.

If you want to play KQ5, I suggest that you play KQ3 first, as this will tell you why Mordack messes with King Graham's family. I also recommend getting your hands on the CD version of KQ5, since there is a lot more to experience in this version, like the ambient sound effects and full speech. It is even useful if you do not want to be faced with copy protection.