Sierra have been making adventures for a long time –
they produced such classics as 'Ulysses and the Golden Fleece' and
the 'Wizard and the Princess' back in the early days of adventures.
Since then they, like Infocom and others, have devoted a lot of
effort to improving their games, taking advantage of more powerful
machines, and making the games better and better. They have,
however, enhanced their games in a different way to most companies.
While the rest of the world devotes itself to producing bigger and
better parsers, Sierra have been happy to stick with their
primitive, but quite adequate, parser. What Sierra have done instead
is concentrate on producing true GRAPHICS adventures or, as they
like to call them, 3-D Animated Adventure Games.
Sierra take full advantage of the ST's capabilities to produce
excellent pictures of the locations AND you have to move your
character around the screen to interact with them. If you want to
GET DUSTER from the top of the safe you have to walk across to the
safe, if you want to walk down the path from the castle you have to
manoeuvre your character, Gwydion, along the narrow trail,
arcade-style, going in front of and behind various boulders some of
which obscure your view of the route! They have also implemented
numerous animated sequences in response to your commands. So, if you
type LOOK UNDER BED in your bedroom then Gwydion gets down on hands
and knees and looks under the bed! If you walk past a mirror your
reflection can be seen doing likewise. If the wizard catches you
shirking your duties he may punish you by making you do exercises:
Gwydion does the exercises on screen for you!
The graphics are used to provide many of the problems in the game as
well. One screen, for example, is a cliff face honeycombed with
caves – you have to steer Gwydion carefully up and down the faces
and through the caves.
Lot's of people compare companies like Magnetic Scrolls and Infocom,
and talk about Graphics Adventures and Text Adventures. They are
wrong. Those are all Text Adventures, either with or without
pictures. This is a TRUE Graphics Adventure.
The first part of the game consists of exploring the Wizard's house
and the land around it, finding various spell ingredients, avoiding
all the deadly inhabitants,and mixing all the spells without the
Wizard finding out what you are doing. Both the ingredients and the
formulae for the spells are documented in the instruction manual in
exquisite detail – "add two drops of toad spittle"! Once you have
all the spells you must destroy the Wizard and find a ship to take
you back to Daventry, the location of King's Quest (I).
Unfortunately the land has fallen into disrepair under the rule of a
terrible dragon which has captured the Princess – you'll never guess
what your next job is!
The game is not always completely logical and I found some of the
scaling slightly misleading – some of the furniture should be shown
as rather shorter, and the eagle should be drawn a lot bigger. The
box says "The most fun you'll ever have playing Adventure Games".
They're right! The King's Quest series may not be as deep or as
complex as some of the other offerings on the market, but they are
definitely fun. And without doubt King's Quest III is the best yet.