King's Quest III - To Heir is Human

Reviewed by John Sweeney


Issue 31

Jan/Feb 88

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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.

Highly recommended!