King’s Quest: King Syp is crowned

(This is part of my journey playing through King’s Quest.  You can follow the entire series on the Nostalgia Lanes page.)

k1After robbing the sleeping giant, I descend through the verrrrry long mountain staircase (but hey, it still beats that aggravating beanstalk any day of the week).  With two of the three royal treasures in tow, I’m on track to get that last one and snag the throne before the king dies from old pixel disease.

I go back to the dragon cave and spot that “friendly” bird swooping around the place.  Probably a friend of the elf, looking to pluck my eyeballs so that it can nourish its young.  Oh well, might as well jump right into its talons and see what fate has in store.

k2That is an excellent question that I ask myself every day of my life.  It’s a metaphor, really.

k3flyyying so high so high and so free my bird my bird and meeeeeee

k4The Lord of the Rings eagle drops me off at a previously inaccessible part of the map, where I scout around and find this lovely mushroom.  Kids, if video games has taught me anything, it’s that you should eat any and every mushroom you find in the wild without a second thought.  What’s the worst that could happen?

k5I proceed to fall into a surprisingly well-lit hole and get myself chewed up by a rodent of unusual size (ROUS).  Really game?  I can’t curb-stomp a rodent?  Man, I do not deserve to be king.

k6Ten!  What did I win?

Anyway, I offer the rat the cheese from the witches house, which he takes and then (I kid you not) “magically merges” with the wall.  I’ve heard of lazy game design, but I’ve never seen such a brazen excuse for “we just didn’t want to animate the rat eating the cheese” before.

k7Heck yes, bow to my strangely powerful clover!  I rule the leprechauns!  Now go… go do my bidding!  Kill all the elves.




k8Or I could play my fiddle, which makes my computer play 1983-era Turkey in the Straw whiel the fiddle floats int he air and the leprechauns sumersault off of the screen.  At this point in the game, I think the devs just turned the design over to the resident intern who was high on the resident foliage.

k9That’s the kind of king you want leading your people: One that just runs away out of cowardice and forgets his ruling sceptre and SHIELD OF INVINCIBILITY.  Dude, you really don’t have anything to be afraid of with me.  I’ve killed one witch, one goat, and my dignity.

Oh well, now I have all of the things.  To get out of the cave, I eat the mushroom to make me super-tiny (which is a small jumble of pixels with these graphics).  Back to the castle!  To my destiny!

k10I bow to the king and he gets his lazy old bones up and abdicates the throne to me.  Then, in a genuinely shocking little ending, he up and dies on the spot.  Like, falls down and becomes a corpse and everything.  Then, after he’s dead, he talks to me because that’s what ghost kings do.

Thus begins the reign of King Syp the First.

Final Thoughts

k11Wow, that was one of the best retro game experiences I’ve had yet!   For such an old game, King’s Quest is still pretty solid and was one of the easier games to jump into and use.

The narrative was a bit thin, but it was there — and the kingdom fashioned of different fairy tale legends and creatures was pretty fun to explore.  One of the most forward-thinking aspects of the game is its approach to puzzles.  Almost all of them are straight-forward in terms of logic, with the necessary clues given not by the internet but by one’s knowledge of basic fairy tales.  I’m also impressed that many puzzles had more than one solution.  For example, instead of coaxing that goat to butt the troll off the bridge, I could’ve paid him off with a golden walnut.  That’s pretty amazing for 1983, nevermind some adventure game designs today.

I cannot praise another part of the game enough, and that’s its ability to save and reload games in multiple spots lightning-fast.  So many of these retro games vex me with annoying save conditions, but not this game.  It made dying fun.

I was less pleased with the slow walking speed, the idiotic beanstalk navigation, and general lack of an ongoing story.  I mean, “get three items and you get to be king” is about as basic as it gets for  adventure games, but considering the age of this title and the fact that it spawned a whole series of games that got deeper, I’m willing to overlook it.

I had such a good time, in fact, that I’m going to press my luck and continue on with the series.  Tomorrow, King’s Quest II!

2 thoughts on “King’s Quest: King Syp is crowned

  1. Joe December 17, 2013 / 9:50 am

    Great series. Back in the day I think I made it about halfway through before getting stuck, so great job perservering. I think you would have fun playing through most of the old Sierra games- Police Quest, Space Quest, even the first couple of Leisure Suit Larrys (though you might not be able to blog about that one). Similar sort of puzzles in each one.
    Btw, I think you might have touched on this in one of the prior posts, but I think remember the F10 key making your character run really fast in all of the Sierra games. You just had to be very judicious with it and be ready to turn it off before you ran off a cliff. Might be worth trying in KQII.

  2. Syp December 17, 2013 / 10:08 am

    Thanks Joe! Yeah, I have the entire Space Quest series and they’re planned for future adventures.

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