King’s Quest I: Quest for the Crown is a classic and well regarded adventure game from the early 80s. It went on to spawn several sequels, remakes and reboots and it’s still well-remembered after nearly 40 years.
The Original King’s Quest
The original game features keyboard controls and text input to tell our hero what to do. Although this version is available on GOG, most people don’t recommend playing it unless it’s a game from your childhood.
There’s some dated game design choices in the original game – instead of a more usual point and click interface, you have to type in commands to perform actions. There’s also a lot of “dead ends” where the player may miss an item and make the game impossible to complete.
Of course, this is a game from 1984, so players were more likely to sit down time after time to try and work out how to eventually beat this game. Now, I would consider King’s Quest to be a much more casual game that you would want to beat in a day or two.
The graphics of the original really can’t be considered good. There were severe limitations for making PC games when this game was developed, so it’s understandable, but it really does have a scribbly “MS Paint” feel to it. I happen to like this look, but I think I’m in a minority there.
The AGD Interactive Remake
I’ll be playing the remake of this game made by AGD Interactive. This transforms the game into a full point and click game, adds voice acting and it looks amazing. It also lets you turn off dead ends, so you aren’t going to lose the game because you accidentally forgot to pick up some random item.
This version of the game was released in 2001 and received updates up until 2010. It’s also totally free!
The game is in a tiny 320×200 resolution to give it an old school feel, but in the launcher you can set it to upscale to 4x with anti-aliasing and it makes the game looks incredible.
Sir Graham’s Quest
In King’s Quest you will play as Sir Graham. This has to be the most underwhelming name for a knight I’ve ever heard, but he is a bit hapless, so it’s fitting.
The King is dying, and asks Sir Graham to go on a quest to recover the three treasures of Daventry – a chest that produces never ending gold, a mirror and a shield. If he can recover these items, the crown will be passed on to Sir Graham and he will become the new King!
King’s Quest keeps count of your score throughout the game. You can find extra items, defeat some foes and generally do some good deeds to gain points. You can also lose points if you make mistakes, such as giving away your bag of diamonds to a starving couple (they can’t eat diamonds, it turns out).
This scoring system gives you something extra to do if you’ve already worked out how to beat the game. Getting the highest score possible can be considered 100% completing the game.
Daventry itself is surprisingly big, with 64 different rooms to walk around. There’s also a few extra areas outside of Daventry you’ll find on your quest. This gives you a rich world to explore, with a lot of the rooms only existing to pass through and look at the scenery. This is a double-edged sword, however, since a few screens have some unassuming background items which turns out to be important. There’s no easy way to differentiate say, a standard rock from an extremely important rock required to progress the game.
Puzzles and Fairy Tales
I hope you have some good knowledge of Fairy Tales and folklore, because that knowledge will help you out. There’s an evil witch who lives in a gingerbread, a friendly goat to help you deal with some foes and a dwarf who asks you to guess his name. You probably aren’t going to be able to guess his name – and even if you do, this puzzle is made much easier for the remake than the absolutely ridiculous puzzle in the original release.
Being an adventure game, King’s Quest features some tricky and sometimes obtuse puzzles. I managed to get the chest of never-ending gold on my own, but I was absolutely stumped for the second and third treasures. You can only get the third treasure after getting the first two, so it was only really the second treasure I was stuck on.
The route to the second treasure I actually thought was a stupid joke at first, which is why I never investigated it further. There’s some situations where Graham will be swept away by strong currents, which led me to believe he couldn’t swim. It turns out he can swim, and let’s just say knowing that would have saved me many minutes of walking around like an idiot not knowing what to do.
I mentioned previously, Graham is a bit hapless. I died a lot in this game. The first death, I innocently clicked for Graham to walk across the screen – instead, Graham decided to jump off a cliff into a lake and drowned. This isn’t the only place Graham will unexpectedly jump off a cliff, and it happened a few more times. I also got turned into a gingerbread man more times than I like to remember. Make sure you save your game, and keep more than one save, otherwise you’re going to have to start again from the beginning.
There’s a few random foes that will jump out on Graham too – Ogres, Dwarves, Sorcerers and apparently a wolf. These appear randomly and you can usually outrun them. I never even saw the wolf once, which is great since it’s said to be the most dangerous enemy in the game! It’s not possible to defeat the majority of these random foes you encounter, so you simply have to avoid them by walking off-screen. Once you return they’ll likely be gone again.
King’s Quest is full of depth and secrets, I actually missed quite a lot of things in the game that I’m now reading about. It was a fulfilling adventure puzzle game, and the 2001 remake holds up extremely well today. The game is actually very short if you know what you’re doing, probably taking about 20 minutes, but it’s a good incentive to go back and try and get the maximum score!