King's Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder is the fifth installment in the King's QuestAdventure Game series.While Graham is out for a walk, his castle and family are kidnapped by the evil sorcerer Mordack. Cedric, a talking owl and witness to the event, tells Graham about it and takes him to the land of Serenia; Graham must explore the kingdom and reach Mordack's castle before the wizard harms his family.The game is notable for several reasons: It was the first game of the series to use a point-and-click interface, ditching the old Text Parser. It also used a brand-new iteration of the SCI engine, allowing for more complex graphics and cut-scenes, and it was Sierra's first "talkie" game. These factors helped make it the first Sierra game to sell over 500,000 copies, and it was the best-selling PC game of all time from 1990 until 1995, when it was usurped by Myst.On the downside, the voice acting is sub-par, often managing to be the vocal equivalent of Dull Surprise having been done entirely by Sierra staff members (although it introduced the designer Josh Mandel as King Graham, who has become the definitive voice of the character in many fans' opinion), and many of the puzzles are maddeningly difficult or nonsensical, leading to many potentially unwinnable situations. And of course, there's the much reviled Cedric the Owl, whose very mention still causes fans to froth at the mouth. Let's just say it hasn't aged well.Paw Dugan of Transmission Awesome did a hilarious Let's Play of the game, which is available at TGWTG or on YouTube. Retsupurae also gave the game their usual treatment, which can be watched here.
Androcles Lion: Essentially every animal early in the game (the ants, the bees, the rat, the eagle...)
Avenging the Villain: Mordack didn't take too kindly to Alexander turning Mordack's brother into a cat two games ago.
Badass Grandpa: Though Graham isn't actually a grandfather, his age is quite evident in the game. Nonetheless, he goes mountain-climbing, desert-scavenging, and into dangerous castles. Provides a Continuity Nod with the previous game, when the fruit that Rosella gave him didn't just save his life, but made him feel much younger than he actually is.
Behind the Black: In order to hide from the desert bandits, you have to hide Graham behind the rocks next to an oasis; while he's hidden from the player's view, he should be perfectly visible to the bandits.
One puzzle requires you to lure an elf to you with gems to catch him. When you do, he claims that he never takes without giving in return and gives you a pair of boots. Of course, if you don't catch him, he just runs off with the gems and you never see him again. Lying bastard.
Alexander trying to tell Mordack that he "just happened to stumble across some magic spells" and "accidentally" turned Manannan into a cat. Uh-huh, sure, Alex.
If you wander from the correct path in the desert, a scorpion shows up and stings you, killing you.
Go off-course while on the boat and a sea serpent will show up and eat you.
Boring Return Journey: You have to cross the mountains and sail the sea to reach Mordack's island. After you defeat Mordack, Crispin just teleports you and your family home.
Bound and Gagged: When Graham is caught by the Innkeeper and his goons, he is left tied up in the cellar. Becomes Unwinnable if you didn't save the mouse who comes to chew through your ropes.
Bowdlerise: Nintendo of America worked hard to modify the game for an NES adaptation by toning down the violence and nudity and removing religious themes. For example, compare the narrator's words when Graham drinks water from the oasis in both the PC and NES versions:
PC!King's Quest V: Ah, life-giving water. Nectar of the Gods. Graham can now feel strength and renewal flowing through him.
NES!King's Quest V: Ah! The cool water felt wonderful on Graham's parched lips and his body now feels rejuvenated.
Even more infamous is Cedric: "Oh, Graham, that dog looks mean! That swamp looks dangerous! That desert looks hot! That sea looks endless! Those harpies look evil! That castle looks scary! That boat is sinking! THAT SNAKE IS POISONOUS!" Cedric even yells "Watch out! There's a sea monster!"...after Graham gets eaten by a sea monster.
The narrator, when pointing at certain objects.
Cartoon Creature: Mordack turns himself in a scorpion-like, winged "Flying Being" for the final battle. Who apparently hates tigers.
Cats Are Mean: It's best for your own survival to have this attitude when you see the cat chasing the mouse. Not, "Good! The cat is fulfilling the primary reason cats were domesticated in the first place: to get rid of the food stealing and spoiling, disease spreading vermin," nor, "Well isn't that just the normal cycle of nature, the predator chasing its prey," but, "Oh, that cat is so mean for chasing that poor, innocent mouse! I want to throw a shoe (or stick) at that mean cat!" If you don't throw a shoe/stick at the cat, the game becomes Unwinnable
Chekhov's Gun: Crispin's wand, which is not useful until the big fight at the end
Contest Winner Cameo: Amanda, the lady in the pie shop voiced by Roberta Williams, and her son Austin (voiced by Kevin Orcutt), are named after two contestants chosen as the winners in the "Be a Character in King's Quest V" contest in Inter Action Magazine. Entrants had to submit photos of themselves in outfits that would fit into the King's Quest world — those costumes are exactly what the characters are wearing.
Cool Old Guy: Graham himself (his age is indicated by his hair turning grey).
Copy Protection: The early diskettes and the NES adaptation are examples of this, when the player has to refer to the manual in order to have Graham cast a spell. Averted in the CD-ROM adaptation.
Deus ex Machina: A remarkably clear example. Once you've defeated Mordack, Crispin magically appears, undoes the shrinking spell on your family, resurrects Cedric (at least in the PC CD-ROM version; all other versions, including the NES adaptation, have Crispin restore him from stone back to flesh and blood), and teleports you, your family and Princess Cassima to your respective homes. Lampshaded in the Abridged version:
Drop-In Nemesis: Doing the endgame, Mordack can, at any time you enter a room, randomly appear out of the blue and kill you for trespassing in his castle. Hopefully you have learned to frequently save your game at this point. There ARE triggers for this. Good luck figuring out what you did wrong, though.
Ear Trumpet: Graham encounters an old hermit that uses a conch seashell as one. Without it the only thing he can hear is the incredibly loud bell he has hanging outside his door.
Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The two monsters in Mordack's castle, which you must defeat with the Tambourine (the one monster in the dungeons, who is called Dink) and the sack of peas for the latter.
Have a Nice Death: Among them, "Dying for a drink, Graham?" Unfortunately, it looks like the writers got lazy for this game, as quite a few deaths near the end just give you a generic "Thanks for playing King's Quest V" message.
The Load: Cedric does absolutely nothing of any worth throughout the game (other than warning you about the POOOOOOOOOOISONOUS snake and other hazards you can clearly see on your own, sometimes when it's too late to do anything about them,) and at a few points even has to be rescued. Lampshaded by the game itself, as Graham grows increasingly less and less patient with Cedric as the game progresses. "Come on, Cedric!". At only one point in the game does Cedric actually make himself useful by inadvertently Taking the Bullet for Graham at the end of the game and wasting the last of Mordack's wand's power.
The desert: If you walk more than five screens without drinking water, you die. There are three oases, and three screens you have to visit, and the only way to find them is by wandering. The desert is possible to navigate, but only if you make up your own map. If you try to go past the border of the map (which you'll have no idea where it is until it happens,) a scorpion will instantly kill you.
Navigating the sea around the harpies' island in a small sailing boat serves as a maritime equivalent, and is set up very similarly to the desert section.
The dungeon is Mordack's castle, which is a labyrinth where the screen's orientation changes depending on which direction you come from. Argh argh argh argh argh!
Meaningful Name: Crossed with Punny Name— Queen Beatrice of the Bees, King Antony of the Ants, and probably the worst of the lot— Queen Icebella. Ouch.
Only Idiots May Pass: You'd think that getting caught in Mordack's castle and taken to prison would be something you'd want to avoid... You'd be gravely mistaken! Earlier, Graham had to get locked up by an uncouth innkeeper, too.
Furthermore - the old shoe. The necklace. The piece of crystal. Pixel hunts are all over the place. This was Sierra's first point-and-click adventure and their first VGA, higher-definition game as well. They figured they could use the same tactics they'd used in the past, not realizing that if you didn't know exactly what you were looking for, you rarely had a way of seeing it.
Point of No Return: Once you're beyond the sledding ridge you'd better pray you have everything you need, because you can't go back. Also, when you're sent to the dungeon, you better get that cheese first time around, because otherwise you are screwed.
These are also all over the place. Another example would be that you can't go more than one screen into the forest without finding yourself trapped, so you'd better have the requisite items at the time. Of course, each of these situations has the opportunity of making an item Lost Forever.
Sssssnake Talk: If you click the "Talk" icon on the (pOIsonous) snake, it tells you to "Sssssstay back!" Also, Mordack's snake form in the final battle.
Solve the Soup Cans: The entire first half of the game. What is Graham's incentive for exploring the desert or the dark forest considering that he needs to travel through the mountains?
Speaks Fluent Animal: At the start of the game, Crispin has Graham eat a piece of white snake (no, not Whitesnake) that allows him to speak with animals.
Spell My Name with an S: Manannan, the bad guy from King's Quest III, appears, but his name is consistently misspelled in this game, except in the NES adaptation.
Super Drowning Skills: Unlike in the earlier games in the series, Graham can no longer swim. Though the game tries to justify this with either strong currents Graham apparently can't swim against and low stamina.
Taken for Granite: Cedric, via Mordack's weakened wand magic, near the end of the PC version and any other adaptation except the PC CD-ROM adaptation (where he just gets killed). Of course, if you didn't save Cedric from the harpies, you'll end up in this example too. In either game console version either way, he is the only reason for...
Taking the Bullet: The only, only useful thing Cedric does in the entire game and its adaptations is serve as your meat shield in the climatic battle, and even then it's only by accident.
Crispin gives Graham some white snake to eat so he can communicate with animals.
Manannan isn't very chatty in the cutscenes with Mordack. If you run across him in Mordack's castle, however, he'll sound the alarm with a human voice, In King's Quest III once he turned into a cat he didn't talk then either, it was implied he was too pissed off to talk at the time so if not for that one line of dialogue, you'd easily assume he couldn't talk at all.
Thou Shalt Not Kill: One of the more ridiculous examples in the series. To get to Mordack's castle, Graham must go through the mountains. The mountain path is blocked by a (pOIsonous!) snake. It's not until you've played half the game that you find a way to get the snake out of the way so you can go find your family. Graham, sweetie, WHY DON'T YOU JUST KILL THE SNAKE?! Even more glaring considering Graham kills Mordack later in the game. And kills a yeti. And a witch, too (although not technically, as she is doomed to a Fate Worse than Death).
Timed Mission: Several actions give you only a few seconds to complete, such as throwing the shoe at the cat.
Trial-and-Error Gameplay: Normally rubbing a lamp and getting a genie is a good thing; not so much this time. Not like you have any way of knowing beforehand without a guide. There's also the hole in the boat that is completely undetectable until you're already sinking. To say nothing of the Moon Logic Puzzles mentioned above.
Ungrateful Bitch: The cursed willow-tree princess doesn't even bother to speak to Graham after he returns her to human form, let alone thank him for it or offer him a reward. The only reason Graham gets her magical harp is because she callously throws it aside before wandering off with her just-arrived boyfriend.
Paw: "You're welcome, you ungrateful biiiiiiiiiiiiitch!"
Unwinnable: Many situations: If you eat the pie, you die. If you enter the dark forest without the bottle, the amulet, and the honeycomb, you die. If you don't save the rat, you die. If you don't save Cedric, you die. If you don't get the cheese, you die. If you don't grab the necklace in the Roc's nest in the three seconds you have between being eaten and getting rescued — you die. But in all these cases, you only die looooong after you made the initial action. Hope you didn't overwrite your saves!
Graham says this pretty much word-for-word to Cedric after being rescued from a roc's nest by an eagle... although, given that they'd both been imprisoned by an ice queen and her wolf lords, why Graham thought that would be so incredible is anyone's guess.