Monday, 12 December 2011

Game 3: King's Quest II - Won!

My prediction that I’d complete King’s Quest II in around another hour turned out to be correct. While there were a few sections I had no recollection of and had to put some thought into, most of it was fairly straight forward and I imagine wouldn’t pose too much trouble to experienced players. Probably the two most challenging parts were getting the boatman to take me across the lake to Dracula’s castle (he signals that he wants an item, but the solution doesn’t require giving him one), and figuring out what the hell I was supposed to do once I found Valanice. I spent no less than fifteen minutes standing in the tower next to Valanice wondering what it was I was supposed to say to her or what item I was supposed to give her to finish the game! I eventually fell back on studying each item I had in my possession for clues, which turned out to reveal what was required, but I felt a bit stupid there for a while. I had a bad feeling that in all my cockiness and eagerness to complete the game quickly, I’d totally missed an important item somewhere along the way. you come here often? Um...(whistles)

I’m not sure that I’ve ever finished a Sierra game with full points, and this would have to be the closest I’ve ever got. Finishing on 183 out of 185, I really had no idea on completion where those two points were that I missed. My first thought was that maybe it was possible to cross the bridge two more times (you get 1 point every time you successfully cross it), but a quick restore proved that wasn’t the case (it collapsed with Graham still on it). I resolved to check a walkthrough to see if I could figure out what it was I missed, and it turns out the only thing I didn’t do was cover the nightingale cage when removing it from Hagatha’s cave. I didn’t actually need to do that as Hagatha wasn’t home when I came to fetch it, but apparently you can still take the cage while she’s present if you cover it to avoid the nightingale making any noise. Regardless, I’m pretty happy with 183, and feel no need to go back and complete the game with full points, particularly as I cheated by reading the walkthrough.

No wedding would be complete without everyone that's ever tried to kill you in the audience!

Playing through the first two games in the series back to back has really given me a chance to discern the changes and improvements that occurred between I and II. I’ve already mentioned some of the interface changes that made the game more enjoyable to play, and how the second game’s story progresses in a more linear fashion, but one of the other additions in the sequel is comedy. Admittedly, the comedy is not really found within the story itself, but through various Easter eggs and random events that surprise the player from time to time. If you visit Hagatha’s cave enough times, you’ll eventually be confronted by the bat mobile driving around, backed by the batman theme music. The developers even programmed in a few plugs for their other games that the player can stumble upon occasionally, most tellingly a full blown trailer for Space Quest that bombards a confused Graham when he peers into the hole of a rock. This blatant marketing could perhaps be seen as being in bad taste, but it’s done in such a way that it’s really quite hilarious, and doesn’t at all seem out of place in the anything goes fantastical world of King’s Quest.

Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na,, na, na, na, na, Batman!

It should be apparent by now that I enjoyed King’s Quest II quite a bit, but the truth is a lot of the problems with the first game are still present. Given the technology used to make it was almost identical, I guess that shouldn’t be all that surprising, but it can’t be ignored. I’ll save the pros and cons for my PISSED rating post tomorrow, but I’ll leave you with one particular puzzle that should give you a good idea of just how silly things are in the King’s Quest universe. On finally unlocking all three doors and walking through to a strangely coloured new world, the player finds themselves situated next to the water, with nowhere to go. The only item available is a fishing net, so it makes sense to throw the net in the water and see what happens. Lo and behold, you catch a large golden fish, which then flops around on the ground as if dying. You can try talking to it or picking it up, but the only thing to do is throw it back in the water. The fish is so happy with you for saving it, despite the fact that you ripped it from the water in the first place, that it offers you a ride across the water. That’s like robbing someone of their possessions, giving them back to them, and then having them offer you their thanks along with the aforementioned possessions as a gift!

I assume you're a giant goldfish and have already forgotten the bit where I nearly killed you!


  1. You've having a much more productive month than I am! I'm surprised at how quickly these adventure games are going for you, but then I think back to my own play of Beyond Zork and realized that once I knew the solutions to the puzzles, I could zip through it in half an hour. Most of the time is spent figuring out the solutions. How much time do you think that previous familiarity with the games is shaving off your overall playing time?

  2. A quick look at my spreadsheet tells me I'm averaging around 2.5 hours for games I'm played before and around 6 hours for games I haven't. It's early days of course, but I reckon half of the time spent on adventure games would be figuring out solutions.

    King's Quest IV will be a good test of this theory as I've not played it before, but I've got a few other games to play first.

  3. I just found your blog, and you're making excellent progress so far! Keep up the good work!

  4. The puzzle that had you putting a bridle on the snake was a stinker, as I recall.

  5. King's Quest II was the first game I remember owning. We had a 4.77 MHz machine, CGA monitor, 640k of memory and a whopping 20M HDD.

    I didn't even know about save and restore, so whenever the baddies showed up complete with ear-splitting musical cue, it'd scare the hell out of me because being caught meant a restart.

    The biggest frustration I had with the game was that I scared off the mermaid the first time I encountered her. I already knew what the door said, so I figured I was saving myself a trip by not going over the chasm. It was months before I figured out that reading the door is what actually triggered the mermaid's appearance.

    You didn't have to use the bridle on the snake; you could just kill it with the sword (for less points of course).

    I started reading CRPG Addict's blog about a month before it was mentioned in Game Informer. I'm still "behind"; I just got to the post where he mentions this blog. Adventure games were far more my style (I'd played a lot of the RPGs, but finished almost none of them) and I still have my old Sierra-era boxes, so now I'm obviously playing catch-up and reading this blog. Good stuff so far.

  6. A question springs to mind of what is the least number of points you can get, while still beating the game