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 Quest Adventure 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.

This game provides examples of:

  • Benevolent Genie
  • The Big Bad Wolf: Appears in this adventure.
  • Black Cloak: Hagatha and Dracula.
  • The Cameo: The Batmobile.
  • Covers Always Lie: Graham is portrayed with brown skin, is wearing a red / green outfit with long sleeves and carrying a golden sword. In game, he still looks exactly the same as he did in the first installment. Also, the sword isn't golden in the game.
  • Easter Egg: Many, but the most famous is a plug for Space Quest. The parser also accepts some raunchy input for those who are inclined.
  • 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.
    • Once again, All There in the Manual.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Hagatha will not notice you no matter how close close you are to her while inside her cave. When you pick up the bird cage without precautions however...
  • 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.
  • The Ferry Man: You have to trick him in the original to get to Dracula's castle. In the Fan Remake, you befriend him.
  • Genie in a Bottle: You get one from the Antiques Store; rubbing it gets you a flying carpet, a sword, and a bridle.
    • Averted in the remake, where all you get is a note from the genie saying that his last master already released him and warning Graham not to trust the antiques dealer.
  • Girl in the Tower: Valanice is locked away in an quartz tower.
  • Magic Carpet: Which takes you up a mountain.
  • 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.
    • Actually, the bucket of water was intentional, Graham wanted to extinguish the dragons flames to reduce the likelihood of getting crispified while using the dagger, but seeing the dragon blush stayed his hand.
  • Mission-Pack Sequel
  • 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.
  • Plot Coupon: The three keys. Also MacGuffin.
  • Public Domain Character: Dracula, King Neptune, Red Riding Hood...
  • 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 wishes, three bridge crossings...
    • Or, in the case of the remake, Three Gems, three tests, three Vampires.
  • Standard Hero Reward
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: See "Mercy Rewarded" above.
  • 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.
  • What the Hell, Player?: Kill a monk in the church and you instantly die with this message:
    Anyone who would kill a man of the cloth doesn't deserve to play this game. Therefore, we will end it.

The Fan Remake provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Expansion
  • Affably Evil: Caldaur, though later he does a full Heel-Face Turn.
  • Alucard: Almost. It's Count Caldaur.
  • Anti-Magic: That's what the enchanted emerald does, which is vital to free the pegasus, reveal the bridle, release the lion and awaken Valanice.
  • Asian Store-Owner: There's a merchant in town who seems to be this, but his tendency to slip into a cockney accent gives him away...
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: The Sharkees are a mean-looking race of beings with shark heads and tails along with muscular arms and torsos. One look at their king reminded Graham to stay well hidden.
  • Award Bait Song: "When I Saw You".
  • Baleful Polymorph:
    • Towards the end of the game, the lion at the tower door turns out to be Hagatha's ex-boyfriend. You also pull this on Hagatha herself by stuffing fur into the youth potion.
    • If you're caught by the unnamed sorcerer in the forest he'll turn you into a beast.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: You know that sweet old lady who runs the antique store? In the remake, she's a secret magic user, willing to sacrifice a sweet little bird so she can be young again. Fortunately, Hagatha kills her.
  • Big Bad: This time, Hagatha is your primary antagonist.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: The Brotherhood of the Pack can be see as this.
  • Brick Joke: In Count Caldaur's Castle there are chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. One of the messages when you 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 Back: There's a few to the first game. For one, attempting to push Hagatha into her cauldron will only get you killed, with the death message saying "Did you really think that tactic was going to work a second time?".
  • 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?", referring to the fact that Graham punches the Father out during the game's ending.
  • The Cameo: The hero in his Quest for Glory II costume.
  • 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, in more ways than one.
  • 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...)
  • Curse: The ending of the remake. Also a Shout-Out to later games.
  • Curse Cut Short:
    Graham: "Why, you-"
    Hagatha: "Witch?"
    Valanice: "I am sure it would have rhymed."
  • Demonic Possession: A talk with Caldaur will reveal that this is the reason why the monks are now Werewolves, due to a meeting with the Spirits of the Wild in the depths of Vierwood Forest.
  • Discontinuity Nod: Towards Mask of Eternity's Contested Sequel status. You get equal points whether you knight Connor, or tell him to go back to his village.
  • Disney Villain Death: Hagatha. However, you never hear her hitting the bottom. Though that's subverted as not only does she show up at the wedding, just like in the original, but a letter to Manannan from Lolotte in the third game's remake states that she is "still missing"
  • Everything's Deader with Zombies: Trust us, it's very unwise to dig up the wrong tomb...
  • 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.
  • Evil Chancellor: "I take it you found your journey through Kolyma void of peril or incident-" Interrupted as Graham clocks him.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: The King of the Sharkees, also the Abbot as he turns into a werewolf.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Being devoured by a shark-man, poisoned by swamp-water, boiled alive by a witch, mauled by wolves, dragged underground by an angry zombie.... the remake is plenty of these....
  • Fantastic Racism: A mild example; at one point you wonder if all dwarves are as greedy as the one you encounter.
  • A Fate Worse Than Death: After you recover the Tiara for Caldaur, he mentions that he used his powers to trap the survivors of the Brotherhood of the Pack in his swamp, where they'll wander aimlessly through the trees forever. He may release them one day, should he feel merciful.
  • The Final Temptation: The second Air Gem test.
  • Foreshadowing: Manannan's letter to Hagatha, which Graham tosses away after reading. Also the "Item" the Father is looking for and mentioned several times, which appears in the AGD remake of the sequel.
  • Fountain of Youth: The youth potion while it would make Hagatha a reasonable young age. Graham on the other hand if he drinks it, transforms into a baby. Trying to use it on certain other people also yields certain unique sentences, but no penalties.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: Caldaur, Lavidia, and Anastasia.
  • Fur Against Fang: The Monks are actually werewolves, who want to wipe out the Count's family and take control of Kolyma. Incidentally, they also sent the dire bat which killed Caldaur and turned him into an undead.
  • Godiva Hair: Male example, if you use the emerald on the large lion outside of Valanice's room he'll turn into a gaunt naked old man, with his long beard covering his privates.
  • Greater Scope Villain: Hagatha is surely bad, but The Father is behind her.
  • Immortality Begins at 20: 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"
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Hagatha.
  • Jerkass: Many, including the librarian, Hagatha, the Dwarf and the unnamed sorcerer.
  • Kiss of Life: The mermaid gives one to Graham, allowing him to breath underwater.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Any attempts by the player will be averted and lampshaded by the Lemony Narrator.
  • Knife Nut: That pesky dwarf.
  • Knights and Knaves: The two lions at the base of the Quartz Tower. If you speak to them, they'll tell you what their partner would tell you if you asked him if he knows the way in and then reveal the combo to the door. The one on the left lies.
  • Land, Sea, Sky: The three gems: the first symbolizes Birth and is found in the ocean. The second stands for Growth and is kept by a sentient cloud spirit in the sky. The last one symbolizes Death and despite being referred to as "Dark Gem" can stand as the gem of Earth, since it's found in the middle of a marsh, in the bowels of a stone castle.
  • Last Note Hilarity: For the sillier deaths, you'll get the usual "funeral march" music, except the last note is replaced with a lighthearted comedic ditty.
  • Lemony Narrator
  • MacGuffin: The Three stones of Nature. (Birth, Growth and Death.)
  • Made of Explodium: There are a series of stone in one screen which will detonate if exposed to the dispelling emerald.
  • 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.
  • Neck Lift: Caldaur does this to Graham, making his much-foreshadowed first appearance even more of an Oh Crap! moment.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: The monks wanted to dispose of Caldaur and his family for years. So what do they do? Send a vampire bat after him, which in turn made him a vampire, making him immortal.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Both the merchant in the town (Asian Store-Owner to Cockney and the talking pumpkin mother (between Brooklyn and Cockney again) do this, although the pumpkin might be accidental...
  • Oh Crap!: The Sorcerer's reaction if you happen to have in possession the magical emerald which protects you from magic. Mostly because you're pointing a sword at his throat.
  • 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.
  • Please Spare Him, My Liege!: The correct answer to the first Air Gem test.
  • Press X to Die: Drink the youth potion, touch the silver needle after it has been dipped in poisonous water...
  • Pun: King Neptune is guilty of a bad one when he's informing Graham about the Air Gem. The narrator blames the wine for that.
    Neptune: "We can say that Air is not my element..."
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Graham gives one of these to the nameless evil enchanter.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Frequently.
  • Scary Librarian: She's rude, she isn't very helpful, the library is impossible to navigate without her. And you have to bluff in order to pass.
  • Secret Test of Character: The Cloud Spirit Tests.
  • She Is All Grown Up: Possum when she becomes Anastasia. Do the math on timeline dates and one finds out she was born between 18-30 years before the game.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sinister Minister: The werewolf monk who plans to keep the island under ignorance and fear.
  • Someday This Will Come in Handy: The Annual Book of General Knowledge was clearly written by somebody who epitomised this trope.
  • Swamps Are Evil: So much that even touching the water will kill you. Luckily, the poison works just fine against werewolves.
  • Take That:
    • The books in the library contains a few of these along with normal Shout Outs:
      • How Not to Turn a Book Into a Film (see 'Dune')
      • Chronicling The Longest Journey (or How to Sustain A Compelling Story When Your Lead Character Sounds Like An Airhead)
      • Chronicles of The Brady Bunch (which comes with a warning label reading "Warning: Prolonged exposure to this book may cause irreparable damage to your perception of reality")
      • The Big Book of British Smiles (which also doubles as a Simpsons reference)
    • When Graham is tasked with finding a tiara for Count Caldaur, he internally hopes that this doesn't mean he'll spend all night dodging zombies while digging up graves.
    • And of course, the Easter Egg in the Air Gem test sees Graham channeling the fandom and attempting to kill Cedric.
  • Threatening Sharks : The Sharkees in the remake. Subverted with the regular sharks you can stumble into, who ignore you.
  • Trivially Obvious: King Graham's reaction to the Merchant's wares:
    King Graham: You seem to have quite a selection of... well... quite a selection!
  • The Un-Reveal: 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 in order to keep the potion all to herself. Hagatha deduces immediately that she was obviously behind the theft and kills her.
  • Vampire Vords: Caldaur is your classic Bela Lugosi vampire.
  • Witch with a Capital B: Invoked, Lampshaded, and Averted within three seconds. See Curse Cut Short.
  • You Need to Get Laid: This appears to be at least a secondary concern of Graham's in the opening sequence.

Alternative Title(s):

Kings Quest II, Kings Quest II Romancing The Stones, Kings Quest II Romancing The Throne