First published on CubedGamers: August 2, 2015
The Odd Gentlemen gave themselves an unenviable task when they accepted Activision’s offer to develop a new King’s Quest game for their resurrected Sierra Entertainment brand. To resurrect a three decade old fantasy franchise that predominately played out its instalments in a genre of gaming – point and click adventure – which no longer draws mass appeal. To please long term fans of the series who have been waiting for 17 years since the last – King’s Quest: Mask of Eternity – a 3D game of such poor quality that some do not count it as part of the series – and who were initially sceptical when it was announced that the new game would also be in 3D. To draw in younger fans who are unfamiliar with the lore, and who are new to adventure gaming.
In spite of these challenges, The Odd Gentlemen have triumphed. Whilst King’s Quest includes many nods to the continuity of the series, it transcends its predecessors. Full of engaging scenery, characters and puzzles, all wrapped up in an art style that is beautifully stylised, the game avoids the tweeness of previous instalments, whilst remaining true to their sensibilities. The first of five episodes, A Knight to Remember, sees an aged King Graham – the central protagonist of the earlier games – reminiscing to his granddaughter Gwendolyn about his earliest exploits as a young adventurer seeking to become a knight in the court of King Edward of Daventry. Delivering an above average play time, it leaves this reviewer impatiently waiting for details of further instalments.
I first encountered the King’s Quest series after winning a magazine competition prize of a bundle of games for the then nascent CD-ROM format. Most of the games were throwaway titles, but among the twenty or so were two made by Sierra Online – Space Quest IV: Roger Wilco and the Time Rippers and Kings Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder. The former was completed relatively quickly; however, the latter became a burden I carried for nearly a year. As an eight year old with no internet, and no money to call premium phone hint lines, my only recourse when I got stuck was to attempt to combine all of my inventory items until eventually, a solution presented itself. From that point on, I was hooked on Sierra, Lucasarts, and any other company making adventure games.