King’s Quest V part 3: The secret life of cats


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

“Ahh! Life-giving water! Nectar of the gods!” That’s KQV’s “arrow in the knee” quote right there. Must’ve heard it at least a dozen times while constantly quaffing water in the desert.

Graham emerges from the sandy wasteland one brass bottle (with ornery genie) and one gold coin richer. Alas, Cedric is waiting to resume the quest. He was growing quite concerned, you see. Nosy little owl.


When Graham goes to search for a golden needle in this haystack (seriously), an army of ants shows up to help him out. Oh, they don’t just show up — they bring an entire chorus line with them. The game actually breaks out into song here, with the marching, whistling ants singing about how they’re helping King Graham, all while little black pixels swarm the stack. I’d like to be sarcastic here, but I’m too amused by the extra effort.

And folks, that’s how you get ants.


Because Graham apparently loves vermin and pests of all kind, soon enough he saves a rat from a cat by chucking a shoe (looted from a dead adventurer). I’m not a cat lover, so this scene was cathartic. The rat who pledged a life debt to me was just a bonus.

Also, King’s Quest V really loves this “save an animal in peril” trope. First the bees from the bears, then the ants from the dog, and now the rat from the cat. It’s bordering on self-parody at this point.


Graham discovers a gypsy wagon, at which point Cedric warns him to keep an eye on them: “I don’t trust them!” Cedric, you racist bird you.


Yet another oracle pops up in the King’s Quest series. This time, it’s a fortune teller who looks into her crystal ball and sees… exposition! The evil wizard Mordack appears to be playing with his action figures collection, but in truth he’s terrorizing the tiny Alexander. Apparently Mordack is the brother of KQ3’s Mananananannon, who is still a cat and none too pleased about it. Mordack says if Alexander doesn’t spill the beans about the spell, he’s going to feed Alexander’s whole family to the cat.

After that entertaining show, Graham gets a magic amulet from the gypsy. For those keeping score at home, the “mistrustful” gypsies have been more helpful than the owl in this game.


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