King’s Quest III part 5: Don’t look at your sister that way

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(This is part of my journey going checking out King’s Quest III. You can follow the entire series on the Retro Gaming page.)

We begin today’s adventures by… promptly getting recaptured by a pirate and then gutted on the beach. Wait… weren’t all the pirates put to sleep with my spell? That I just used? How crappy is this spell, anyway? Seems like a cheat for the game to throw another pirate at me now.

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Thanks to the mice chatting on the boat, I know to dig for some buried treasure out here on the beach. I guess I can add this chest of wealth to my wizard home and pirate boat that I allegedly own but will probably never use in any meaningful way.

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Daventry so far is pretty lackluster, unless you really like wandering down mountain paths. Me, not so much. It’s like this game’s creators forgot to add any really interesting people or humor, leaving some sort of soulless adventure game shell behind.

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OH, NO! It’s horrible writing!

Mr. Snowman tries to give chase, but since I’m an eagle I can (a) outpace him and (b) confuse the heck out of him. I get a small chuckle when the snowman gives up and goes back to his cave, perhaps dejected that he’s the only character who hasn’t gotten to kill me yet.

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Yeah, this whole climbing screen can take a long walk off a short cliff.

So this is a good example of why King’s Quest III is failing as an adventure game. It either focuses too much on navigating weird pseudo-3D screens or on gathering up a billion ingredients for spells. Puzzle-solving and story, key staples of the genre, are shoved so far back in the priority queue that they might as well not exist.

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After many, many screens of walking down paths, through mountains, and up stairs (three such screens of that) without any incident or objects or puzzles or narratives, I arrive at the top of a steamy hill. Man, let this be over soon!

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Invisibility ointment comes in handy on the next screen in which I encounter this fabled three-headed dragon. I stop, amazed that this beast was able to nimbly tie up my sister to a post there. Also, how long has she been tied up? Days? Does the dragon feed her? Give her bathroom breaks?

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One storm spell and lightning strike later, and the dragon is dead. I do want to point out that if you got this far in the game and didn’t make the invisibility or storm spell, you would be stuck in a non-win state — a favorite of Sierra’s earlier games.

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More incredible writing from the people who brought you FanFicCon 2015 and 50 Shades of Grey.

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I think this is as good a time as any to point out that Al Lowe — yes, he of the Leisure Suit Larry series — was the lead on this game. Boy it does not show, does it?

The reward for rescuing Rosella is… an escort quest. Yup, this game remains steadfast in its attempt to annoy me to the bitter end. And actually, Rosella gets in the way so much that I can’t get around her to go down the cave steps. This close to the end, that sent me over the edge and I upturned my laptop.

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Thank goodness for YouTube, since I was able to watch the (dull) ending to this game. Rosella and Alexander (that’s me) reuinite with the king and queen, hugs and kisses are given, the magic mirror unclouds, and the king tosses his ratty old hat to his kids. THE END.

I am so glad to dust my hands off of this game. At least it was short… but oh so poorly designed. Let’s hope King’s Quest IV rises above this mediocrity!

 

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