Many Decades of King’s Quest
One evening back in 1989, after my father got home from work, we went to a local PC computer user’s group. Our family recently built a PC, and they were showing off a new game called King’s Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella in its full 256 color glory. The first King’s quest was released 6 years prior, but at the age of 10, this was my first memorable graphical roleplaying adventure. Unfortunately, our computer at home couldn’t handle that many colors (we had a green screen), so at that time I still needed to keep dreaming.
It wasn’t much later that King’s Quest V was released and I just had to have it. I begged my parents to purchase me a copy, and I would tag along with my father to his work so I could load King’s Quest V on one of the more powerful systems at the office and play all day. King’s Quest V was truly my very first graphical point-click roleplaying game.
Sierra Online, the makers of King’s Quest, went on to dominate the PC gaming market for a while, releasing a ton of memorable “quest” games, such as Space Quest, Hero’s Quest, et cetera; All great games that I vividly remember playing throughout my childhood, but like many things, you always remember your first. Sierra eventually went out of business and sold rights to Activision. There have been occasional rumors about additional King’s Quest games being released, but for the past couple of decades, we’ve had nothing. A few fans released various remakes, including a VGA remake that I recommended four years ago. It truly seemed like the once king of gaming was dead.
These days, one of my favorite gaming companies is Tell Tale Games. They have basically modernized the old Sierra Online storytelling adventure-type games. In an era where it seems like everything being released is a 3rd person shooter, Tell Tale has released a number of my personal favorites like The Walking Dead, Jurassic Park, Tales from the Borderlands, Monkey Island, and Game of Thrones, along with others. A few years ago when it was rumored that Tell Tale would be releasing King’s Quest in their modern episodic format, I was ecstatic. But alas, nothing ever came of it.
Last week, I was randomly reading gaming news, and stumbled upon the newly released King’s Quest (2015)! The game is being released in the “Tell Tale format” after all, with 5 chapters, one coming out every few months, but not by Tell Tale. It appears this version was developed by The Odd Gentlemen, published by Sierra Entertainment and distributed by Activision Blizzard. I had never heard of The Odd Gentlemen, but the other two names sounded appealing. Without waiting any longer, I immediately subscribed on Steam and began downloading Chapter 1.
The story starts with a young Graham heading off to face a dragon and retrieve a magic mirror for the King, i.e. the story of the original King’s Quest. However, this isn’t the exact story again. It is a reboot, much like many of the comic book superheroes today on the big screen. After this short prologue, we begin the main story with an old elderly Graham reflecting back on adventures past and sharing his tales with his grand daughter Gwendolyn. This sets the stage for our first chapter as old Graham tells the stories of his past, before he was king, even before he was a knight, and we as players get to relive the adventures that I fell in love with over 25 years ago, along with a bunch of new ones too.
Without giving story spoilers, I can say The Odd Gentlemen has done the game justice and it lives up the silliness of King’s Quest. Graham may have been King of Daventry for much of his life, but he has always been the king of wacky puzzles and puns. A lot of the jokes will make you groan with a smile, as the game stays light-hearted. Graham is given many choices throughout the game to build his character, but there are no real wrong choices, and all choices will lead to Graham doing good and helping others. The choices merely determine how. When you fail in a quest or “die”, the scene merely cuts to old Graham telling Gwendolyn that is what would have happened had he made a mistake, and you are free to keep trying until you succeed. This style of game isn’t meant to be a hard challenge, and more an interactive story, just like the original Sierra Online Quest games.
|Graphics: 5||Final Score: