Wading through the backlog - a back-to-front video game journey


King's Quest 1: Cavorting 'round Daventry (part 1)

What better way to start a giant backlog liveblog than with one of the crowning classics of adventure gaming? A hallmark of the genre, King's Quest I: Quest for the Crown was a technical marvel at its time as a true example of a graphic adventure game, with fully colored graphics to represent its environments (this was the early eighties, give 'em a break). Also, by virtue of being a Sierra game, it's also a frequent abuser of Moon Logic Puzzles, but we'll be seeing some of those later on. I originally bought this game as part of Telltale's Adventure Package, which came with the rest of the King's Quest saga (up until part 6 at least), but we'll cover the other games way later on. I'll be playing the 1990 remake, using the SCI game engine originally developed for King's Quest IV (which we'll be seeing later) rather than the original AGI version. This version is a little more forgiving than the original, but again, elaborating will follow later on.

In this game, I'm taking the mantle of Sir Graham, a knight who intends to seize the throne of the king of Daventry, by means of reclaiming Daventry's three lost treasures: A magic shield, a similarly magical mirror, and a (guess what) magical chest with neverending mountains of gold (oh, so it's a Sampo!). With no further advice to give, we're sent on our merry way, and we can begin exporing Daventry at large!

Our adventure begins as we unceremoniously perish by falling into the moat and being eaten by sea serpents. It's a good thing restarting the game doesn't take me that far back. Falling back to the usual adventure game rules of "take anything that's not nailed down", I pick up some carrots in a garden just outside the castle, and climb a tree to find a golden egg in the bird's nest. My collectathon is, again, cut short, when just one screen down below I'm mauled to death by a goblin.

After restarting and doing that all over again, I find some sort of fairy godmother, who grants me a temporary invulnerability spell. "Ha ha!" I think, "This will keep those goblins away!" I triumphantly march down to meet the goblin, but on my way I take a false step and fall down a steep chasm, to my death. So much for being fallproof. Reloading again, I pass the trolls to find a humble woodcutter's house, where inside, the woodcutter is clutching his bedridden wife by her hand, afraid that she might die of weakness and starvation. Out of sympathy, I offer them the carrots, and they thank me in return, though the wife may still need to get better. There's also a tempting viola sitting on the woodcutter's table, but it's impolite to steal from strangers, as the game informs me. Pity.

Wandering outside again on my merry way, a troll stops me on the bridge demanding a toll. I pay him with the golden egg, and slip past, to find a little man spinning straw into gold. The cheeky little bastard offers a riddle: I have three chances to guess his name. Say, wasn't there a fairytale about this sort of thing somewhere? Oh, that's right, Rumpelstiltskin! But, no cigar, insists the tiny little man, I've wasted another chance. Well, now I'm just completely clueless, and the fact that I fell into a creek and drowned on my way back to the Castle isn't helping things.

I feel like there's something I'm just not getting here. Daventry is really mazelike in a way... maybe a map would help...


Good luck with this one, and try to save frequently. The Kings Quest series is notorious among adventure games for its absurd degree of player-targeted cruelty, so you'll be seeing the Game Over screen a lot.
Fluid 2nd Apr 11
Oh, habeeb me, I'm no stranger to the numerous ways that Sierra games in general can dick you over - after all, I've beaten all the Leisure Suit Larry games before, so I know what to expect.
goodtimesfreegrog 2nd Apr 11
I'm looking forward to this! Keep up the good work, and use back up saves just in case.
AttObl 2nd Apr 11