Alas, the genre of adventure games is pretty much dead today (unless you count Myst, which is winding up for End of Ages, or Peasant's Quest, which is a parody of King's Quest anyways). But sit down, young peasant, and I will tell you a tale of a day when 'shooting' and 'attacking' things on your computer was a job for silly little arcade games like PacMan
, and RealMen?
played King's Quest, the very first adventure game of them all... A unique blend of random mythology, puzzles, and fantasy, this series was one of the original games that opened up the home computer entertainment market.
I: Quest for the Crown
- Sir Graham must find the three lost treasures of his noble kind, before the land falls into ruin. The first one (no! really?), and probably contains the most disconnected, though not so complex, puzzles. Still in the ages where commands were typed into the console. Fun.
II: Romancing the Throne
- King Graham (ok, that's probably a spoiler for the first game) searches for the bride shown to him by his magic mirror. Same console-command-typing business, and no improvement in graphics, but still fun.
III: To Heir is Human
- Now things get tricky. Alexander must escape from his wizard captor and find his destiny. More difficult than the first two; introduces timed quests, secret recipes, etc.
IV: The Perils of Rosella
- Rosella, Graham's daughter, must venture afar to recover some rare potion to cure her ailing father. Graphics actually improve, and sounds jumps ahead by leaps and bounds. Still entering commands into console, but noticable difference. Times quests, but more fun and less taxing that III. (Unless you count the original Saemus (Shamus), who was gender-neutral at the time, I think this is the first game in history where a woman is the protagonist, but I'm not sure. Also introduces muscial scores for computer games. I think that was a first, too).
V: Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder
- Graham's family is stolen by a wizard offended in III, and he must track them down and rescue them. Some will say this was the best one of all time, and I would have to agree. The akward and time-consuming enter-commands-into-console age was over, and graphical icon-based interfaces were introduced. By far the longest and most complex of the series up to this point, but without a doubt the most fun, most involved, and most dramatic of all the first five games. Graphics for the time were absolutely incredible, albeit still 2d prerecorded animations (I played it first on 5 1/4 disks). If you choose to play only one, this should probably be it.
VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow
- Graham's son, Alexander (doh! another spoiler... oh, well) is cast upon the beaches of some far-away isle, where he seeks to romance the ruling princess from the tyrannic rule of the wicked vizier (I don't think I've ever met a good vizier) with the help of mystical and not-so-mystical natives. By far the most complex of the series - technology was really taking off at the time, and allowed for such unforseen luxuries as multiple endings, actual voice casting, etc. Still 2d animation, but even more life-like than V (and for the time, that's saying something).
VII: The Princeless Bride
- Valanice and Rosella are seperated, cast in to fantasy kingdoms with a number of puzzles to sort out between them. Interesting chapter concept introduces, and interface greatly simplified to a point-and-click method, but the game became much more noticably focused on a younger audience at this point. Because of this, VII is probably the funniest, but easiest, of all the KQ series. Graphics are now 2d cell animations on top of painted backdrops - very cartoonish.
VIII: Mask of Eternity
- Things finally go 3d... and whatdoyouknow, they suck. Don't play it. If you do, don't say I didn't warn you. Think of a fantasty adventure based on the Half-Life engine. No, I'm not joking.
There's a KQ IX being devloped by fans now that Sierra's officially dropped the series that gave birth to the studio, but it's been in development for something like 8 years now, and is probably a pipe dream. I'm more interested in replaying the originals, to be honest. More in-depth information on the original series, if you'ld like it, can be found at http://www.vintage-sierra.com/kingsquest.html.