King's Quest: Quest for the Crown
for PC (DOS)

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Company: Sierra
Year: 1984
Genre: Adventure
Theme: Cartoon & Comic / Myths and Mythology
Language: English
Licence: Commercial
Views: 47466
Review by NetDanzr (2006-06-02)

The once proud kingdom of Daventry is in ruins. The queen is dead, leaving the old king without a heir. The kingdom is missing its three most important items: a magic mirror, which predicts the future, a magic shield, which defends the kingdom from its enemies, and a treasure chest that is always full. Sir Graham, the bravest knight in the kingdom was charged by the king to find these items, in exchange for the for the crown. Over the course of the game, Sir Graham will fight an evil witch, a dwarf, wizard, ogre, and many more fairy-tale beings, in order to recover the three magic items and save the kingdom. If you haven't already guessed it, Sir Graham is your character.

King's Quest became one of the best known and most influental computer games of all times. It started one of the largest franchises in the history of PC gaming, being responsible not only for its own eight-part series, but also for Quest for Glory, Space Quest, Police Quest and Leisure Suit Larry. In 1984, the game was hailed as an absolute technological breakthrough. It is sad that the content of the game didn't live up to its promise...

From the technological side, there is nothing to complain about. By that time, Sierra was on the forefront in technological advancement in PC games. Its first game, Mystery House, became the first graphical adventure, at a time when everybody else was playing Zork. King's Quest went even further, featuring a 16-color CGA palette and an unheard-of 3D engine. Unlike previous games, where you got stationary screen or, at best, a character moving on a flat bacground, suddenly you could move up and down, in addition to the sideways movement. Not only that: you could move behind or on the top of various objects, which sometimes was required for the successful solution of a puzzle. Nobody cared that the resolution was so bad that sometimes you had a problem to distinguish your character from a tree: the 3D engine was simply too awesome.

However, the game still behaved like an interactive fiction game. It featured a text parser, where you had to type in commands. In fact, the combination of graphics and the text parser made matters worse: you never knew how certain items were called. That is, if you could actually recognize them. In addition to this small problem, the game had a little frustrating map. The gaming world consisted of a number of interconnected screens. However, the world wrapped around: if you walked far enough in one direction, you'd come where you left from. This made mapping the world harder than solving most puzzles.

The main problem with the game, however, lay in its substance. Compared with even the earliest Zork, King's Quest had not really a story at all. You were dumped into a world, without knowing what to do. Most puzzles could be solved my knowing a couple of fairy tales, but they were so eclectic, that finding a common denominator and trying to form a story from them was impossible. This has greatly detracted from my enjoyment of the game, especially considering my previous involvement with text-based adventures. In addition to the lack of a story, the puzzles also left lots to be desired. While mostly logical, there were many instances when you could give away a vital item, and not be able to finish a game. These kill-bugs were so prominent in the game, that I don't know anybody who'd finish King's Quest on the first try. Finally, a few random characters, such as a witch and a dwarf, were appearing on some screens, trying to chase you down. Getting caught meant either instant death or the loss of a potentially vital item.

Despite these shortcommings, King's Quest was a very enjoyable game. Adventure purists will tell you that it degraded the once great text-based adventure games to cheap entertainment, but the truth is that King's Quest and its spinn-offs have brought more mainstream audience to computer games than Zork ever did. The game was one of the ground stones for modern gaming, and as such deserves recognition.

Archived Review(s) ↓

Review by envisaged0ne (2012-06-04)

As with many adventure game players, I loved this game. I was first introduced to adventure games by playing Penguin Software's Crimson Crown. It had very basic line drawn graphics and no animation. But I quickly became addicted and couldn't wait to play other adventure games of this type. I then came across King's Quest and played it on my old IBM computer with a RGB color monitor. I was 11 years old and absolutely loved it. I rushed out to get all the other Sierra adventure games I could find. Through the years, I still love this game. When further King's Quest games came out that supported the Roland MT-32, I saved up the $530.00 to buy it. Only working part time and making $3.75/hour, that took a long time! But it was worth hearing the amazing musical orchestra coming out of the PC's speakers. I still own the MT-32t today and use it to play the music for those old classics.

The “3-D” effects (meaning you could walk around, behind, etc. an object) was very impressive for the time. Most people were used to seeing a flat 2-D picture. And no animation to follow it. This was a rare game that not only gave us another perspective, animated characters and sound effects, but was one of the first games to use 16 colors. IBM couldn't wait to show the game off on their PCjr. And while the computer wasn't popular and quickly died in the market place, many people were drawn to the animated adventure game.

I find myself constantly going back and re-playing King's Quest from beginning to end, making sure to get all the points. To me, this game is as great now as when I 1st played it. Many say these games haven't held up well through out the years. The simple graphics. Simplistic stories and awful sound effects. But I see what made these games so great. How these games are still sought after through all these years. Why so many fans have been working on remakes and further sequels of these great games. I would highly recommend to any adventure game player, to get past the simple graphics of the time, and enjoy the game for what it is. Fun, addictive and still re-playable after all these years.

Comments (2) [Post comment]

Wow the first king`s quest, maaaan 1984 was a great year !