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Written by  :  Katakis | カタキス (40814)
Written on  :  Sep 22, 2003
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars

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Welcome to the wonderful world of King's Quest.

The Good

* Multiple versions cater for early computer users

Back in the early Nineties after playing King's Quest VI, I brought the original King's Quest from 1984. This was the version that used AGIv1 and had CGA graphics. It just wouldn't run on my old 486. Somehow years later I discovered that Sierra released multiple versions of the same game, and I was able to install the fifth release which added support for EGA and Hercules, and could be installed on a hard drive rather than having to be booted up from floppy. I was able to complete the game, and slowly had a go at the sequel.

* Alternate solutions for puzzles

Another thing that I liked are the different ways you can solve puzzles. Roberta Williams, the game's creator of King's Quest, intended to make the game non-violent as possible, and this trend continued for its successors. The alternate solutions usually involve violent actions in which you lose points.

* The game reminds you of fairy tales

The solutions to some puzzles require you to think back to those fairy tales that you used to enjoy as a child, and you are expected not to stick by them. For example, instead of luring the goat to the troll so that it can ram the troll like what happens in the Billy Goat story, you can give the troll something to pay for the toll if you are willing to sacrifice some points. As a person who has already forgotten what I read as a child, solving puzzles based on these fairy tales are welcome; and you do the same thing in KQ2.

* Nice music

Although the PC Speaker is used to generate sound in the game, I enjoyed listening to Greensleeves, KQ's main theme song. Users of Tandy computers get a better rendition of the theme song. If you haven't got a Tandy and would like to hear what the theme song was like on a Tandy, you could download a copy of DOSBox and use it to emulate the machine.

I have played the Apple IIgs version and it doesn't include Greensleaves. It also uses different pieces of music and great sound effects.

The Bad

* Roberta's interpretation of Jack and the Beanstalk is wrong

Anyone who has read this story will know that Jack trades a cow for magic beans so that he would plant them in the garden to make the beanstalk grow. Instead of adding a cow to the game, Roberta makes players guess the name of a gnome. Because of this, Sierra's hint line was overloaded by people who request hints on how to get the name right.

The Bottom Line

In 1980, a small company known as Sierra On-Line started life making adventure games for the Apple II. Their first game was Mystery House, and it was a step above normal text adventures that were available at the time as the game had a combination of graphics and text. Even though the graphics were black and white, things eventually changed when IBM asked Sierra to produce an adventure game to showcase the technological capabilities of their PC. The result was King's Quest. For the first time in history, KQ introduced color graphics, and featured a central character that they could move around the screen and use that character to interact with other characters in the game, as well as the environment.

King's Quest is a game for the whole family to enjoy. It was the first game to introduce text and full-color graphics at the same time. Of course with any old Sierra adventure game, you have to enter commands at the keyboard. You have to do certain things that will most likely cause your death if you're not careful such as crossing the wooden bridge or climbing the beanstalk. That's what the save function is used for.

The game depends on you having a knowledge of popular fairy tales since you use them to complete the game. There are alternate solutions, but using these solutions means that you are sacrificing a few points. The game's theme tune is excellent, even if it is played through the PC Speaker, and the keyboard interface means that you can get away with entering anything and it won't cost you.

So in conclusion, if you are new to the KQ series and would like to play the first game, then try to hunt down one of the KQ collections in your local retro store.