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Video Game: King's Quest II: Romancing The Throne aka: Kings Quest II
King's Quest II: Romancing the Throne is the second game in the King's QuestAdventure Game series. Graham, now king of Daventry, sees a beautiful maiden in his Magic Mirror and resolves to rescue her. He travels to the land of Kolyma, where he must find three keys and defeat a wicked witch, help King Neptune, and kill Count Dracula before he can reach the island Valanice is trapped on.The game is generally considered one of the lower points in the series, with its flat storyline, frustrating puzzles, and confusing setting. A fan-made remake, "Romancing the Stones," was released by AGD Interactive, fleshing out the story and improving puzzles; you can download it for free here.
Excuse Plot: Much like in KQI, there are very few plot elements. The game plays more like a loose collection of unrelated puzzles. The Fan Remake has a more coherent plotline.
This one actually has an introduction cutscene that explains the mission! and there are some elements of character motivations and connections if you know what to "ask" unlike the first game, and the doors more or less gives clues on where to go next.
The game has almost 2-3 times the mount of narration/dialogue as the original version of the first game.
Fan Remake: "King's Quest II +: Romancing the Stones," which fleshes out the story and beefs up puzzles. Not just fleshing it out but completely changing it in places, and inverting characters moods, personalities, and motivations (villains made good, and good guys made bad).
Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Probably the most bizarre combination of story elements, in a series obsessed with the trope— the game mixes together Dracula, Pegasus, Little Red Riding Hood, King Neptune, genies, flying carpets, a modern-day antique store, a church, witches and fairies in your standard fantasy setting.
The fan remake fleshes out the story in an attempt to make these elements fit together better.
"Far Side" Island: Some perfect examples (minus the weird colors) appear in the background to the side of the island with the crystal tower.
Mercy Rewarded/Moon Logic Puzzle: Probably one of the most infuriating examples in the series — instead of killing the snake with the sword that has a snake pattern on it, you should throw the bridle on it, so it will turn into a flying horse that will give you a magic sugar cube that neutralizes poison, so you can pass through the poison thistle patch on the way to Dracula's castle. How does that make any sense?!
The official Hintbook by Al Lowe (one of the game's main developers) actually tells the player to kill the snake to get past it (as the 'primary solution'), the other non-violent solution is regulated to a 'secondary' solution in question on 'how to get past the brambles' (and Al Lowe actually mocks the player for not figuring out that there was a way to get a sugar cube to make the brambles easier, then explains how to get the sugar cube... Thanks for nothing Al!).
The Official Book of King's Quest points out; If you know mythology, you'll probably know what to do with the snake and a bridle... It further explains, that the reader might ask what kind of nonsense is this (thinking it odd); however, readers of Greek mythology would know that a winged horse, named Pegasus, sprang fully grown from the head of Medusa (a babe with snakes for hair) when she was slain. So there is a link between winged horses and snakes. The King's Quest Companion, 2nd Edition gives two explanations that "Graham 'accidentally' threw the bridle" while trying to use his sword (this a joke back at a similar situation in the KQ 1 novel where he accidently throws a bucket of water at a dragon, when attempting to use a knife). The second explanation discusses the history and inspiration behind the puzzle Pegasus was born from Medusa, and Bellerophon was given a magic bridle by Athena in order to ride Pegasus.
According to the Official Book of King's Quest, it is said that sugar cubes are a cure for scratches. Perhaps a folk remedy reference to sugar cubes used for polishing away scratches. In this case it's just as good on human skin.
The back of the box◊ of one of the original releases of the game did show a screenshot with Pegasus on the screen where the snake appears. Not the best clue, but certainly more of a hint than anything in-game offers.
No Antagonist: While there are a few enemies here and there that you defeat, there is no central end-game Final Boss to defeat even though "an evil sorceress" is mentioned in the backstory. There is a slight buildup to Dracula, based on some character interactions (characters acknowledge his existence, more than anyone acknowledges Hagatha) between the monk, Grandma, Boatman, and some ghosts, and he is essentially the games main villain to kill in similar position of Dahlia of the first game. But True Evil Cannot Die, and he's back for the celebration at the end.
Rope Bridge: THE most infamous puzzle in the game, bar none.
Red Herring: The sword the genie gives you has a snake on it, implying you should use it to kill the snake. You shouldn't. Al Lowe tells you otherwise in the Hintbook (then mocks you later, if you don't have the sugarcube for the brambles). The book otherwise treats the sword kill solution as the primary solution, and the merciful solution as a secondary solution to 'try later' (much as Al did in the King's Quest I hintbook).
Rule of Three: Three keys, three doors, three bridge crossings...
Or, in the case of the remake, Three Gems, three tests, three Vampires.
Unwinnable by Design: King's Quest II has a number of unwinnable situations by design. Al Lowe (one of the game's main developers) in the official hintbook even goes as far to lead players into unwinnable situations (by only giving half a solution inside one of the hint questions), and then in a later hint question, going as far to mock the player for following him there (teaches a person right for 'cheating') or getting into the unwinnable predicament on their own (then telling the player they better have had a save from an earlier point in the game, before finally explaining what to do differently). The rope bridge breaks after exactly seven crossings. If you aren't carrying the third key at that point, restart the game, because you will never win if you try to cross an eighth time. There is no warning about this. Again, averted by the Fan Remake.
Bigger Bad: Hagatha is surely bad, but The Father is behind her.
Brick Joke: In Count Caldaur's Castle there are chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. One of the messages when you (IIRC) "Talk" to them is, "That's it! You have to get some of these for your own castle!" and, sure enough, in King's Quest III if you look at the Daventry Throne Room at the ending cutscenes, there are chandeliers just like Caldaur's hanging from the ceiling!
Call Forward: The game contains a few to later King's Quest games, as well as one to an event later in the game itself: During the second Air Gem test, attempting to attack the Father will result in his saying "Did you think I'd come unprepared this time?", refering to the fact that Graham punchs the Father out during the game's ending.
Cat Girl: Hagatha becomes a rather non-fanservicey one, fleas included.
Comically Missing the Point: The King of the Sharkees knows that King Neptune's trident is powered by "good will". As he has the greatest will in his kingdom, it should be easy for him to work it...
Cool Sword: Graham starts the game with one. It proves quite useful.
Cross-Melting Aura: In the original game, the cross works just fine on Dracula. But if you try it on Caldaur in the remake, he'll kiss it and sarcastically say "God bless Kolyma". (This may have a little something to do with the fact that the monk you got it from is evil now...)
Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: The King of the Sharkees is vexed that the trident's power that can only be wielded by those of "good will" doesn't work for him as he furiously roars to his cowering troops that his will is the greatest of all, signified by his unbeatable prowess in battle, and iron nerves that are unmoved by any pleading or begging when massacring his victims.
Immortality Begins at Twenty: When Lavidia and Anastasia become vampires they magically become rather shapely 20-30 somethings, rather than retain their natural ages. Anastasia is actually between 18-30 if one calculates the date when she was born according to the game. No explanation why she looks younger as a human. Despite that the game still calls possum a "Child" and "little girl"
MacGuffin: The Three stones of Nature. (Birth, Growth and Death.)
Mindlink Mates: The Fan Remake adds this twist to Standard Hero Reward. Turns out that, in her enchanted sleep, Valanice had been mind-linked with Graham since he saw her in the mirror, allowing her to know what kind of man he is. The only indication Graham ever gets of this is a vision of her singing to him when he almost falls to his death from Caldaur's castle.
Our Vampires Are Different: One of the side effects of being turned into a vampire seems to maturing or rejuvenating to a physical age around 25. Actually if you do the math on the dates she already is 25 by the time of the game. The question may be asked why she looked so young as a human. Perhaps Our Humans Are Different.
King Graham: You seem to have quite a selection of... well... quite a selection!
The Unreveal: You will never find out who or what was hiding in the haystack (besides a needle).
Too Stupid To Live: Hagatha sends a letter to Angelina (The antique dealer, who is also a witch, and Hagatha even vouched for her joining her organization of spellcasters) bragging that she has a nightingale, which is the final ingredient for a youth potion. Angelina decides to use Graham to steal the bird from her, to keep the potion all to herself, Hagatha deduces immediately that she was obviously behind the theft and kills her.