Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Playing Along: King's Quest I (SCI remake, 1990)

Today's trip down memory lane takes us back to King's Quest, and Sir Graham's first adventure to save the kingdom of Daventry.

New graphics and sound, but enough improvement?

Remakes these days are common and often derided, but this was probably the first proper remake I'd ever played. King's Quest had been an early hit for Sierra On-Line, and spawned several sequels, and as well as this remake there are a few fan-made remakes and continuing adventures. It's not often regarded as the best series that Sierra made, but it is not without it's fans.

Getting your quest from the King: Find the three lost treasures

The adventures of Sir/King Graham and his family always tend to take their storylines and settings from popular myths and fairy tales, and the first in the series mixed a large variety of these tales together.
The dragon guards the Magic Mirror

As a long-time Sierra fan, I've played the original and it's two remakes several times, so I almost know the game like the back of my hand. Each location has been imprinted on my memory, from the low-resolution orignal to the high quality VGA fan remake. No matter the version, I find them all enjoyable to play.
Always have a goat ready, in case of trolls

One of the hardest puzzles in the game: Can you guess the Gnome's name?

My only real criticism is how short they are. Adventure games are not known for their length, but even by those low standards it is still remarkable how quickly you can finish the game. Of course, the real bulk of the gameplay is solving the puzzles, but with my rather clear memories of how to proceed that no longer presents a challenge.

Up in the clouds (after climbing a beanstalk). I hear there may be a giant...
For this playthrough, I managed to complete the game in a mere 50 minutes from start to finish (including watching the introduction, and epilogue). My previous best for a Sierra game had been Space Quest III, which I completed in 65 minutes. I'm sure with a little effort, practice and knowledge of the game you could reduce those times much further.

Beware witches in gingerbread houses
Getting revenge

Even with my knowledge of the game I could only manage 154 out of 158 points, missing at least one item (I'd have to check a points list to see what exactly I didn't accomplish). I played through the game in the "pacifist" manner, as a couple of the puzzles can be solved by more violent means than I used (these result in lower scores however).

Up in the skies, after grabbing hold of a large bird, as you do.

Trickster (over at The Adventure Gamer) takes on this game next, and I look forward to seeing what he has to say about it. It certainly lacks originality, very little is changed apart from the graphics and sound (and while those were a vast improvement on the original, VGA games like King's Quest V were only just around the corner).

Underground caves, filled with mystery, or...?

Leprechauns? Good thing my fiddle playing is so good, they're dancing themselves away!

If you were looking to try the first game in a venerable old series, the collection is available from and Steam. For those unused to old graphics and sound (as well as text parser interfaces), I would heartily recommend the great remakes by AGD Interactive (formerly Tierra).

The King is dead, Long live the King!

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