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Jayson Firestorm

Reviews

Secret Files 2: Puritas Cordis (Windows)

By Jayson Firestorm on August 29, 2009

Secret Files: Tunguska (Windows)

By Jayson Firestorm on August 29, 2009

So Blonde (Windows)

By Jayson Firestorm on August 29, 2009

Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon (Windows)

By Jayson Firestorm on April 15, 2006

Runaway: A Road Adventure (Windows)

By Jayson Firestorm on February 25, 2005

Insaniquarium! Deluxe (Windows)

By Jayson Firestorm on November 21, 2004

Army Men II (Windows)

By Jayson Firestorm on November 21, 2004

Army Men (Windows)

By Jayson Firestorm on July 10, 2004

Police Quest: In Pursuit of the Death Angel (DOS)

Interesting Police simulation, a different kind of adventure

The Good
Although I had played nearly all of Sierra’s "big" titles – the 'Space Quest's, the 'King’s Quest's, the 'Leisure Suit Larry's, etc. back in their heyday, 'Police Quest' was one title that for whatever reason, I didn’t get to play for some years. Having only got to finally play it only in more recent years, it’s interesting to see how this game holds up without the nostalgic tint that somewhat biases so many reviews, including my own. Whilst the majority of other Quests from Sierra concentrated more on fantasy elements, the sometimes over-looked 'Police Quest' deals in real-life Police procedure, with the only way to win being doing things “by the book”, step-by-step, as if you were a genuine cop. The fact that it was written by Jim Walls, a former real-life cop in California helps give the game it's more "realistic" approach, as opposed to the glamorous, not-stop-shootout image of policing given in so many other games, and movies…

This adventure sees you as law officer Sonny Bonds, starting off as an “on the beat” cop responding to routine calls. As the adventure develops, you find yourself climbing the promotion ladder as you set off in pursuit of the murderous, drug running “Death Angel”. This is most probably Sierra’s most down-to-earth and realistic adventure game ever. Most of it is quite serious, with just the odd line of humour thrown in here or there.

While LucasArts generally surpassed Sierra’s adventure games in later years, PQ shows that when Sierra tried, they could come up with something really original. A shame this creativity waned slightly in later releases, but that’s another story.

The graphics… hard to decide whether this should be under “good” or “bad”; a little of both, really. They are adequate for their time, looking typically Sierra-ish of the era – anyone who’s ever played a couple of Sierra adventure games will know what I mean; they all have a very similar design look. While looking very dated and hardly pushing the limits of EGA gaming forward, the graphics do the job, I guess.

The realism and insistence of getting every little thing right and “by the book” can be awkward to get to grips with at first, but once I’d got into the early stages of play, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself drawn into it much, much more than I had at first expected.

I found part of the game's appeal was for it's variety of situations and places to visit in the course of your day-to-day Police work, giving the game a far less linear feel that in many other adventure games.

The Bad
The game insists you follow Police procedure (as described in the game manual) to the letter, and is VERY harsh in insisting on this. Many, MANY times during play, if you forget to do one small thing, the game is over. For example, if you forget to check over your squad car EVERY TIME before going out on patrol… you loose.

I consider myself a hardened adventure gamer, eventually being able to find my way through most situations that present themselves in adventures, but I must confess that I consulted hint and walk-though guides quite a few times when playing this game! I defy anyone to get maximum points on this game without playing through at least a dozen times! Even with aid of walk-through I was some points short of a perfect score at the end.

But the game's meanness doesn’t end there. It’s really HARSH at times. For example, at some points in the game, you must shower before changing clothes - if you forget to turn the shower off after you, the game docks you a point!!

Driving around the city of Lytton with little coloured lines representing cars - it’s very awkward, and even for the era, it looks pretty tacky! What’s more, driving badly (wrong side of the road, etc.) is fine, but jump a red light (in normal drive mode, not pursuit) and you’re scolded for breaking procedure and have to restore.

It’s very easy to miss something vital or to mess things up, so a LOT of saving and restoring, with a long back-list of saves, is needed (even by Sierra’s standards!)

All this can make the game a little hard to get into, and it’s certainly not to everyone’s taste.

The graphics, whilst they do they job and are actually quite good in places, are a little unimaginative in others, and are just so very Sierra-ish! Sonny looks practically identical to Gwydion, the lead in ‘King’s Quest III’, not to mention a passing resemblance to early renderings of 'Leisure Suit Larry', and several other Sierra game characters

The early text interface doesn’t ease matters any, either. Whereas later games’ interfaces would, for example, open doors for you automatically, here you have to manually type “open door” every time, making play seem a little long-winded sometimes. (Oh, and one trivial thing that niggled me: The text cursor at the bottom of the screen. Normally the text input line begins with a >, but for this adventure is was <, back to front. A teeny thing, but it bugged me none-the-less!)

Personally, I found the game's ending was a little flat, and almost an anti-climax after some of the scenes earlier in the game. The last few actions are done on "autopilot", which I found rather disappointing; I would have liked to have been more involved.

Oh, and the Poker game. For some reason, Sierra went through a long phase where they for some reason felt obliged to stick in some sort of gambling game as part of there adventures, and here is no exception. Having to play the damned game once is enough, but to have to play it twice… grrr! All-in-all, things really did feel like they began to run out of creativity towards the end of the game, a few more ideas would have been welcome.

While I believe that some of Sierra’s later VGA remakes were pointless, this game is one that does benefit in many ways, with some of the more obscure, over-picky bits toned down for that release, though the lack of text interface does take away from a lot of the feeling of involvement.

The Bottom Line
A game that won't be to all adventure players' tastes, but if you’re looking for something a little different and more realistic, this one’s not a bad bet. If you’re willing to forgive the very dated graphics and have a walk-through handy to help you through the numerous over-harsh and obscure areas, there is some enjoyment to be had. You’ll either like it or loathe it, but if you like it, you’ll probably like it A LOT. (However I do feel that it's one of the very few Sierra games where the later VGA remake is generally a better play, even if it does loose the user input interface.)

By Jayson Firestorm on July 6, 2004

Grim Fandango (Windows)

By Jayson Firestorm on February 11, 2003

Sid & Al's Incredible Toons (DOS)

By Jayson Firestorm on January 23, 2003

King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow (DOS)

By Jayson Firestorm on September 16, 2002

Police Quest 2: The Vengeance (DOS)

By Jayson Firestorm on September 9, 2002

MTV's Beavis and Butt-Head: Little Thingies (Windows)

By Jayson Firestorm on August 26, 2002

Leisure Suit Larry 6: Shape Up or Slip Out! (DOS)

By Jayson Firestorm on August 25, 2002

Leisure Suit Larry 5: Passionate Patti Does a Little Undercover Work (DOS)

By Jayson Firestorm on August 25, 2002

Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards (DOS)

By Jayson Firestorm on August 24, 2002

Relentless: Twinsen's Adventure (DOS)

By Jayson Firestorm on August 24, 2002

The Colonel's Bequest (DOS)

By Jayson Firestorm on August 22, 2002

King's Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella (DOS)

Possibly my personal favourite of the King’s Quest series

The Good
Remember when you where a child, tucked up all cosy in your bed, and your mother / father would read you a bed-time fairy-tale story? Well, this game brings the atmosphere of all those cosy fairy tales to life.
Seven dwarfs, an ogre’s house, a hen that lays golden eggs, witches… it’s all there.

From the rather plain original, the series had really evolved, and in this instalment things really start to come alive and find their stride.
Each of the King’s Quest games were traditionally bigger than it’s predecessor, but KQ4 is much, MUCH bigger than any of the previous games, by far the largest and most complex game in the series up to this point.

The thing that really stands out with this adventure is purely the great atmosphere it has to it, really sucking the player in, and having a lot of good ideas and various areas to explore.
It’s also much more intelligent than the first couple of games, with the magical land of Tamir feeling much more like a “living” world.

One of the notable things about this game was it’s having a female lead, Princess Rosella. Not only a first for the King’s Quest series, but one of the firsts for PC gaming in general. (There are a couple of sections where this is used dubiously, though. For example, at one stage, to you have to wash and tidy the seven dwarfs house!!)

One of the best elements of the game - and once again, a first for the series - is that it has a day/night-time cycle, with night-time arriving after you’ve completed certain puzzles and mini-quests.
The night has a great effect as it makes everything look creepy, and it revolves mostly around a run-down haunted house, where you have to help some restless ghosts by retrieving various things from their grave, avoiding zombies in the cemetery along the way. It’s much spookier than anything previously seen in any of the previous KQ games, and quite probably stands out as my personal favourite sequence of play within any of the King’s Quest games.

It is the last game in the KQ series to have EGA graphics, and undoubtedly contains some of the best EGA graphics ever seen in a game, in my opinion. Far sharper and better looking than anything seen in any of the previous KQs (or for any other Sierra game of the time, for that matter), the game looks stunning considering it’s EGA limitations.

It’s also the first game in the series to support sound cards. Originally when I played it, I only had the standard PC speaker – and even on that it sounded good, but when I re-played the adventure recently, I heard the sound card-driven effects for the first time, and, considering their age, they sound great.

Also, the last KQ entry to have text interface – I’m one of those who feel the series really lost some of it’s involvement when it was replaced by point-and-click.

This was actually the first King’s Quest game I played (though I dutifully filled in playing the previous instalments afterwards), as it stands as one of my favourite Sierra adventures.

**The Bad**
There's little I didn’t like about this one; a few nit-picky points at most.

It uses Sierra’s (then) new updated text interface. On the whole it’s good, and the way it pauses the action as you type is handy, not meaning you don't have to frantically finish typing before something fatal happens as in previous adventures. But the way it automatically pops up a window in the centre of the screen is a little distracting – bottom of the screen (as in some other adventures to use the engine) would have been better.
But more annoying is that, is how it stops dead any sound as soon as you enter a single letter, spoiling any background tunes that are playing at the time.

As with the previous KQ games, things are somewhat random driven at times – for example, at one stage, you need to deliberately get swallowed by a whale, but it’s appearance is very random, and as you look for it you’re just as likely to get eaten by a shark

It’s also easy to miss something important, leaving the game unfinishable as a result. For example, at one stage, you find yourself washed up on a small island. A bridal that you need to harness a unicorn elsewhere is actually on the island, but it is actually obscurely located in the ‘V’ of a ship-wreck, and the game gives you no hint that it’s there. You wouldn’t know if you missed it, and worse, it's impossible to return back to this island once you’ve left it.

And of course, as with just about all Sierra adventures of the era, there are several screens that that will see you plummeting to your death if you step one pixel out of place - and there’s plenty of them in this game. Twisty paths, dark caves (with a deep chasm that appears with warning from nowhere)…
And as with most Sierra games of the era, saving your game regularly is vital. Sierra obviously seemed to think such screens were “fun” to play; I guess no-one had the heart to tell them that they weren’t!

Oh, one more thing – the ending just seemed to stop dead. On the closing scene, after King Graham’s life has been saved, the animated picture and music just loop around and around, not having the usual closing credits as with most Sierra games.

**The Bottom Line**
One of the very best of the ‘King’s Quest’ games, and quite possibly my personal favourite of the series (King’s Quest V being it’s closest rival, though I’ve never managed to get hold of KQ6 to date).
Much bigger, there’s much more to explore than do than the previous entries, with the night-time section of game-play particularly standing out.
In my opinion, if you only ever play one King’s Quest game, this should be the one. It has a real nostalgic feel to it, being a reminder of both Sierra adventures and King’s Quest games in their heyday, at their very best.

By Jayson Firestorm on August 22, 2002

MTV's Beavis and Butt-Head: Do U. (Windows)

Fun, but overall disappointing. "Do U", huh huh huh

The Good
This game is a sort-of-semi-sequel to Viacom’s 1995 release ‘Virtual Stupidity’. I say “sort of”, because it’s developed by a different company with a slightly different engine and such, but the overall game-play and design is pretty much identical.
While Virtual Stupidity is technically a different entity game-wise, the overall design is so similar that it’s impossible not to draw comparisons between the two. “Do U”s premise has potential – the disgusting duo go on a school field trip to the local College, planning to “score with College sluts”; and must get eight sign-off marks to show they’ve completed tasks in various parts of the College in order to go to a College party (where, they hope, “the College sluts” will be).

The game on the whole is well drawn and animated, and generally captures the character’s looks much better than in Virtual Springfield, where they didn’t quite look right in places. Here they are drawn slightly bigger, which helps, and overall they resemble their TV images better.
The backgrounds are well drawn, and moving between most of the locations, the player is treated to some nice looking (if rather pointless) first person 3-D animated sequences (entering / exiting the room, etc).

As with the TV cartoon, creator Mike Judge voices both of the disgusting duo, their teacher Mr Van Driessen, and several of the other characters (which is just as well, as the game would be pointless if someone else voiced them). Also, there’s the inclusion of Stewart, the kid who idolises B&B no matter how much they bully him, who was the only main regular character from the TV show not to appear in VS.
There are some genuinely funny moments, and it’s always amusing to hear the meddling moron’s inane comments if nothing else (“Dammit, I really thought we were gonna score this time, I really did”).

[Slight spoiler] The paintball shoot-out towards the very end of the game is great fun (and again, well animated), but more would have been nice, and after a game that rather lacks in things to do (see under Bad), it is kind of too little too late.

The conclusion of the game is amusing, wrapping things up well, and would feel right at home in one of the TV episodes.

**The Bad**
Well, after a promising start to the game, things at times begin to get a little dull.
One of the main let-downs is that there are too few many characters. There are some excellent characters in the TV cartoon, and it’s a waste that more of them aren’t used in this game. Brainy student Daria (“Diarrhoea, cha-cha-cha”) is most the most noticeable absentee in the game’s setting; and any of the show’s numerous other re-occurring characters would have been welcome and livened things up a bit more.

After getting off to quite a good beginning, the story isn’t all that well paced, especially as the game progresses, being very much “find X object to get use with Y to get sign-off mark for that room”, and nothing much new really happening.
The last few stages of the adventure really begin to feel rather dragged out and uneven.

The majority of point-and-click adventure games are of a somewhat linear nature, but “Do U” really suffers from this, often just being a case of randomly trying to use objects in the right place until you find the right one.
The aforementioned paintball shootout, and a sequence hanging on to the back of a garbage truck, tipping out all the rubbish earlier in the game are the only real breaks from the game’s routine nature.

One of Virtual Stupidity’s merits was that it had variety, with several mini-games and various things to do. But even without comparing “Do U” to VS, things still feel sparse, and – especially given Beavis and Butt-head’s inane, daft destructive nature - there’s not nearly enough things for them to get up to and interact with.

Some adventure games are so absorbing that you just cant stop playing them; this one, on the other hand, I found better played in shorter bursts, as things can start to get a little boring if you play for too long at once.

Although the dialogue for the two dim-wits is great, I did notice that a number of the lines were reused in a number of places within the game, and a number of them have noticeably been “cut and spliced” to patch things here and there (especially noticeable after VS, where just about ever line of dialogue was specifically recorded, without need of editing).

Whilst the graphics are good (maybe even better than VS in many places), characters do look a little “sketchy” at times, especially as they move to the back of the screen, and the thick black lines they’re drawn in don’t help this.

Game engine-wise, the save system isn’t too hot. You get ten save slots, and it automatically saves with the room name, not letting you type your own title. This means that if you save game from two points within the same location, both save slots are given the same save name, which is particularly annoying when you later return to load where you left off playing from, as it doesn’t even default to the most recently saved game.
But worse still, it doesn’t really save you’re exact spot – when you resume playing a saved game, the duo re-enter the room, no matter where you saved them, so you often have to go through repeated dialogue and actions as a result.

Oh, one minor thing that didn’t feel right to me – when you are moving around locations, you are presented with an arrow marked with “exit” – even if you’re ENTERING a place. A small thing but it really felt wrong; a simple arrow that glowed on exits would have been more adequate.

**The Bottom Line**
This game has some funny moments, but – obviously – just how much the game will appeal to you much depends on how much you like the TV series in the first place.
“Do U” has some good points, but it’s not developed enough, and the lack of characters and variety of things to do strains things in places. There are some laughs to be had, but this one will only appeal to more hard-core Beavis and Butt-head fans.
I’m a big fan and enjoyed playing it, but if you haven’t played Virtual Stupidity, I definitely would choose that game over this one first – better produced, more satisfying, more variety, and more fun.

By Jayson Firestorm on August 18, 2002

MTV's Beavis and Butt-Head in Virtual Stupidity (Windows)

How a licensed adventure should be done. Huh huh, "done", huh huh huh

The Good
I’m a big fan of the TV show, but for some reason, when this game was released, I couldn’t get hold of a copy for several years (I don’t know why – maybe it didn’t ship as much here in the U.K.), so when I was delighted when I finally managed to get hold of a copy, and wasn’t disappointed with the game.

The game basically involves mischievous morons Beavis and Butt-head trying to "be cool enough to be in Todd’s gang”. There’s a sort of sub-plot involving Todd and a car stolen from a rival gang which isn’t really all that clear, but it doesn’t matter too much, as the game is more a series of silly situations than plot driven.

As with the television show, creator Mike Judge provides the voices of the disgusting duo, and this is what gives the game a lot of it’s appeal. Just about all of the main re-occurring characters from the TV series (hippie teacher Mr. Van Driessen, tough gym teacher Mr. Buzzcut, short-sighted neighbour Mr. Anderson, brainy student Daria, and many others) appear, and again their original TV voices are used.
Of course, it would be pointless to have anyone else do the voices, but even so, it’s the often laugh-out-loud voice-work that really makes this game.

The variety of characters is one of the things that really brings the game alive, with all of the characters used well, and keeping faithful to the TV show. (The only main regular character from the show that doesn’t appear is Stewart, and it's not particularly noticeable).

The game is a very faithful recreation of the TV series, capturing exactly the same feel. Even the opening is a direct recreation of the TV show’s opening titles, with the “don’t try this at home” warning, the gruesome twosome appearing laughing over the distinctive guitar theme, and the episode title.
And in the pathetic pair’s home, you can even get to sit down and watch one of four music videos (all of which first appeared on the TV show).

The (numerous) cut-scenes are wonderful, with animation that could easily be straight out of the TV show.
The in-game animation overall is good, with most of the characters quite closely resembling their television incarnations, and some well-drawn backgrounds that again are faithful to the style of the TV show.

Although there are puzzles in a few places that need some working out, there are others that aren’t really all that taxing, especially for anyone who’s got a couple of adventure games under their belt. But that doesn’t really matter, as the fun of the game is hearing the terrible twosome’s inane banter as you try various things. I found myself clicking on every available hot-point just too see what the duo said; and it’s one of those adventures where, even when you know the solution to a particular puzzle, it’s fun to deliberately try things wrong just to see what response you get – and the potty-mouthed pair never fail to provide adequately amusing responses.

The game is very easy to get in to, and whether you’re a “hard core” fan or just a more general fan of the TV show, you’ll soon find yourself immersed in it.
As with so many point-and-click adventures, overall game-play is rather linear, but again it doesn’t really matter, as there’s loads of things to interact with, and distractions such as several mini-games to cover the overall linear nature very well.

The pacing and development of the story is done well, and it’s good how new locations appear on the map the further you progress.

I found the adventure’s ending to be rather abrupt (see Bad), but the closing animation and the closing credits are hilarious, and wraps things up very well.

All-in-all, this game is just fun to play, full stop. Just as the TV series is a welcome anecdote to heavier-going shows, this game is the same to heavier-going adventure games.

**The Bad**
This was one of the first – quite probably THE first - adventure games specifically written to run under Windows 95, and it seems the programmers weren’t quite sure / decided on quite how to use the platform yet. The game plays in a window, and this is especially awkward during the mini-games, particularly “Hock-A-Loogie”, where it’s easy to keep accidentally clicking off of the window, and really needs to be played in full screen.
Thankfully, the window size can be adjusted to full-screen – though quite why they didn’t just default it to this in the first place is anyone’s guess!
But the cut-scenes can seemingly only be played in a window, changing back awkwardly if you’re playing in full-screen; and it might have just been my system, but the change verged on crashing my machine several times.
There’s a window bar menu, which isn’t the most helpful of menus, and is non-accessible in full-screen mode.

As mentioned, the animation overall is very good, but a couple of characters don’t look quite right in places; notably Beavis (not the easiest of characters to draw at the best of times), and Daria, who looks more like an artist’s impression than the original character. That’s only a nit-pick though, and doesn’t spoil things overall.

The mini-games are fun to play, and a welcome diversion from the main game, but sometimes it’s hard to tell whether you need to complete a mini-game in order to progress the main game or not. For example, you need to beat the “Hock-A-Loogie” game (where you basically lob spit onto the Principal from the school roof) in order to advance the game, but the “Court Chaos” tennis mini-game has no particular outcome – but there’s no way of knowing that. It’s often hard to tell which are there for a specific purpose and which are there just for fun.

Though the closing animation is great, the adventure itself finishes rather suddenly and abruptly; as if you’re in the middle of completing one of the puzzles and then slam, you’re crashing into the game’s ending. Things could have maybe been better built up towards the ending.

The game could have done with maybe being a bit longer; but then again, when CAN'T you wish that about an adventure game that you've really enjoyed playing?
A couple more locations, such as Mr. Anderson’s house, or Stewart’s house – both of which were settings for several of the memorable TV episodes – would have made welcome additional places to visit, but it doesn’t really matter too much.

Actually, despite these points under ‘Bad’, there wasn’t too much I really disliked about this game at all.

**The Bottom Line**
After so many wasted and misused TV licences, this is how a computer game adaptation SHOULD be done.
Obviously just how much you will like it depends on how much you like the TV show in the first place – If you like Beavis and Butt-head on TV, then you wont be disappointed in this game.
Definitely more satisfying than 1998’s disappointing sort-of-sequel ‘Beavis and Butt-head Do U’.

By Jayson Firestorm on August 18, 2002

King's Quest III: To Heir is Human (DOS)

An imaginative installment, in which the series really starts to blossom

The Good
After the first two Kings Quest games, which mostly involved a lot of repetitive walking around the countryside, and were quite similar to each other, the series really began to flourish with this installment, sub-titled “To Heir Is Human”.

This adventure probably has by far the most original premise of any of the King’s Quest games. In most of them, you’re just given a scenario with sees your character walking around a rather “by the numbers” magical land; but in this one, you’re really thrown in at the deep end, playing as cruel wizard Manannan’s slave Gwydion, who must find a way to escape his tyrant master’s clutches without being found out and punished in the process.
This was the first King’s Quest in which you didn’t play as Graham (the “star” of the first two games), and at the time of release some fans were a little confused and unhappy about how this really tied in to the ‘King’s Quest’ series. But as the adventure unfolds, all is explained.

This is the first game in the series to have an in-game clock, and as you plot to escape from your cruel master for good, you must keep a close eye on the time if you are to be successful in your goal. For example, at various stages, Manannan goes out on a journey or goes to sleep, and as you set off on your quest you must make sure you are back and have covered your tracks by the time he returns, or you are found out and your plan ruined.
Playing against the clock is an excellent concept, and used well. You have to plan and time your movements carefully, and have to hide all the objects you’ve collected away from him else you will be found out. In a way, it’s almost like “The Great Escape” with a magical twist.

With Manannan making things so awkward, there is real sense of satisfaction when you finally manage to defeat him by giving him a taste of his own medicine later in the game.

The game is bigger than the first two. Maybe not noticeably bigger by today’s huge, multi-CD adventures, but back in 1986, when things often came on a single floppy disk, it was bigger.

There are more characters to interact with that in the first two KQs. By later adventure games standards, they are still fairly basic, with “talk to man” (or whatever) typically triggering the only couple of boxes of conversation you’ll get from them for the entire game, but after the majority of characters in the first two games – most of which would just appear at random and rob you or kill you, it helps flesh out the game and give it much more depth.

It’s the first game of the series to feature spell casting, and this too adds a new element of fun to the adventure, which transforming into such things as a fly and an eagle, and conjuring up thunderstorms at various points of play adding something new to the formula.

And the final stage of the game… well, I won’t spoil to much for anyone who hasn’t got that far, but needless to say, I found it great being back in the same area as played in the original King’s Quest (albeit scaled down).

**The Bad**
Well, as with many old adventure games in the days when they came on floppy disk, thus making them very easy to copy, the programmers came up with copy protection to try and stop this. In this game, it’s actually interwoven into the play, as magic spells that you need to collect items for, and the casting of which being one of the key points in completing the game. I don’t really have a problem with copy protection, but unfortunately, the programmers really went completely overboard with this one.
Every spell you cast has to be copied word-by-word from the instruction manual; and many of the spells are very awkward to perform, and easy to mess up. The game is very harsh – one wrong word, and the spell back-fires, killing you. Whilst it is amusing to see the various effects a wrong spell gives you, it becomes very tiresome having to constantly restore because you typed one wrong word or something.
The over-zealous copy protection and the way over harsh spell casting is the only thing which marred game-play for me. Personally, I think it would have been much more reasonable just to have the first spell or so as copy protection from the manual, and have the rest learned during the course of the game.

As I said, the playing “against the clock” is great, but the only downside of it in this game is that as a result, there can often be a lot of waiting around. Some events only happen at around a certain time, so if you’ve completed a puzzle or suchlike quite quickly, you can often find yourself just waiting around for quite a while for something to happen. Several times I actually left the game running and went and did something else until it finally triggered certain events.
The game could have done with being a little more intelligent in this aspect, and recognizing to trigger such events off at the suitable time, thus eliminating so much standing (or walking) around waiting.

On the standard old Sierra games, pressing escape traditionally brought up the menu at the top of the screen, with the various options etc. for the game. KQ3 doesn’t have this; you either have to remember the relevant Fkey for various functions, or type in your command; and “save”, for example, will not bring up the save box, you have to type the whole “save game” sentence. I found this to be a little annoying and missed the more traditional escape-triggered menu system.

The only other thing I found annoying in this game was the awkward, maze-like screens that Sierra used to think were actually enjoyable to play in their early adventures - the sort of ones where walking your character one pixel too far will see you plunging to your death.
Example: the twisty, dangerous cliff path leading down from Manannan’s house, which you have to use several times during the game. In some places the path is a mere couple of pixels wide, and is nigh-on-impossible to pass without much saving and restoring.
Not only that, but on one section of the path, there’s a huge rock obstruction the view, so you can’t even see where the character is walking and have to guess. A classic example of literally having to save your game every two steps.

The beginning of the game really drops you in the deep end and can take some getting to grips with, what with having to work against the clock and be VERY careful not to let Manannan find out what you’re up to; but once you get the hang of things, it’s well worth it.

**The Bottom Line**
I wouldn’t say, as some other reviewers have, that this is the best of all King’s Quest games (personally, I'd probably rank KQ4 in that position, though that's not an opinion shared by some), but after the rather mediocre first two games, this is where the series really came into it’s own.
Better ideas; better, more satisfying puzzles; better overall. Not quite THE best, in my opinion, but on hindsight, it’s one of them.

By Jayson Firestorm on August 12, 2002

Leisure Suit Larry's Greatest Hits and Misses! (DOS)

By Jayson Firestorm on July 29, 2002

The Incredible Machine (DOS)

By Jayson Firestorm on July 28, 2002

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