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Video Game: King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow
King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow is the sixth installment of the popular King's Quest series.

Released in 1992, the game follows Alexander, son of Graham and prince of Daventry. Desperately in love with Princess Cassima of the Land of the Green Isles, Alexander journeys to her kingdom, but is shipwrecked en route. He wakes up in the Land of the Green Isles, a strange and magical archipelago with islands based off the Arabian Nights, Alice in Wonderland, Ancient Greece, and other settings. Alexander quickly learns the place is not as friendly as he thought, and evil forces conspire against him as he tries to contact Cassima. His quest to find her takes him all over the land— meeting strange characters, facing terrible perils, and making puns. Lots of puns. And dying, that happens a lot, too.

KQ VI is largely considered the best of the King's Quest series, due to its intriguing story, intelligent puzzles, lavish setting, and high production values (which include a CG introductory "movie" and professional voice actors— novel concepts for a game rereleased for the PC CD-ROM back in 1993). This may be be because most of the design was done by Jane Jensen of Gabriel Knight fame, rather than series starter Roberta Williams.

A companion guide, called "The Guidebook to the Land of the Green Isles," was packaged alongside the game; it acted as a security feature by providing clues to otherwise impossible puzzles and fleshed out story background, adding to the story's sense of depth. Now if only the guidebook didn't get lost so easily...

This game provides examples of:

  • Alcohol Hic: For genies (or to be more precise, for Shamir; the Backstory reveals that different genies have different weaknesses), peppermint acts like alcohol does for humans. Give Shamir Shamazel a peppermint and he suffers from hiccups, slurred speech, and disorientation.
  • All Myths Are True: The legend of a fourth island as well as the myth about The Nightmare turn out to be true.
  • Alliterative Name: Abdul Alhazred and Shamir Shamazel.
  • And I Must Scream: The origin of the Lord of the Dead. A mortal human, he was chained to the throne in the Land of the Dead and forced to bear witness to all the horrors and tragedies of the deceased. It worked out okay for him, though: after the first few hundred years, he grew to be unfazed by it. Then Alexander uses the Mirror of Truth to remind him of what he has forgotten, and he cries for what he's lost.
  • And Now You Must Marry Me: Alhazred is trying to force Princess Cassima to marry him.
  • Angel Face, Demon Face: The genie.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: Some rather specific examples are on The Isle of Wonder; as well as having a literal bookworm, the worm himself is friends to personifications of grammar. Then there's the garden, and the swamp...
  • Art Initiates Life: The Magic Paint spell that Alexander can cast.
  • Award Bait Song: "Girl in the Tower" (although Sierra actually got in trouble with some radio stations for trying to push them to play the song).
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Whichever path is taken, Alex and Cassima are crowned king and queen of the Land of the Green Isles at their wedding. Fully completing the long path makes this happen with both sides' parents' loving approval; King Caliphim is even the one to suggest it.
  • Back from the Dead: Justified in that Alexander goes on a long quest (fully a third of the game) to the Land of the Dead and defeats Samhain, Lord of the Dead in a challenge specifically so that the latter will resurrect Caliphim and Allaria from their ghostly selves and gives them a few more years of their mortality. It's implied that anyone can do this, but only one other person was crazy enough to try, and he died before reaching the River Styx.
  • Badass Princess: Cassima, after she gets a small weapon.
  • Benevolent Genie: The guidebook includes a story about a kind genie, who was only as kind as his master. This is a hint on how to solve the game — if you manage to get Shamir's lamp during the last fight. Otherwise, Shamir is trying to kill you on his master's orders.
  • BFS: The Ceremonial Sword near the end of the game. And this fake sword is just so heavy to carry or even wield in a Sword Fight, except when Alexander does do something useful: to use the flat of the blade to knock Alhazred out unconscious while he is distracted by Cassima.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: Invoked by Alexander in the Realm of the Dead. Playing an upbeat tune on a xylophone causes the grim skeletal guards to dance happily. When the music stops, the undead act as if nothing happened.
  • Big "NO!": Cassima, after Shamir kills Alexander if he doesn't do something to deal with the Genie.
  • Black Cloak: The Black Cloak Society.
  • Black Widow: A literal black widow spider.
  • Bloodless Carnage: In some scenes where there should have been a bit of blood whenever you get shot at or killed by spikes or arrows, or even impaled by Captain Saladin. Justified in one scene when one room is dark and you get split in half, yet you can't even see the blood because of darkness.
  • Bound and Gagged: Make that "Bound, but Not Gagged" — Lady Celeste, tied to the altar in the Catacombs, and later Cassima at the top of the tower near the end of the game (she will free herself, assuming that Alex gave her the dagger, of course).
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Lady Celeste, daughter of Lord Azure and Lady Ariel of the Winged Ones.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • This game has a unique example: The only way to know which lamp to get from the lamp trader is to watch a cutscene that Alexander doesn't witness. Later, when Alexander is asked by Jollo how he knew which lamp to take, he simply states, "Just intuition, I guess."
    • It also has a more "traditional" example elsewhere in the game: On the first screen of the Cliffs of Logic, if you misclick on the steps Alexander will simply land on the ground on his backside instead of dying from the fall. Do it enough times and he'll look right at the player and gripe that you should "Quit making me fall!"
  • Bull Seeing Red: The Minotaur is defeated with the Red Queen's scarf.
  • But This Is Ridiculous!: "Alexander's heard of alphabet soup..."
  • By the Lights of Their Eyes: Hilariously used.
  • The Cavalry: Caliphim and Allaria arrive with allied forces to save Alexander from getting killed by Saladin on Cassima!Shamir's orders in the long path.
  • Celestial Bureaucracy: "Ticket please... NEXT!" In the voiced version: "Tickets only! NEXT!" The Doormaster does say "Ticket please... NEXT!" in the voiced version, but this is only because Alex arrives at the underworld entrance alive, rather than every time he gets killed.
  • Circling Birdies: We hear a twittering sound when Alhazred get knocked out by Alexander during the final battle.
  • Composite Character: Beauty is one of the heroines of Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella.
  • Continuity Nod: Alexander remembers the magic training that he received in the third game, and can cast spells if he has the right ingredients. Except that he didn't receive any magic training whatsoever; he just found a spell book and followed step-by-step instructions - which is the same he's doing here.
  • Copy Protection: The Cliffs of Logic simply cannot be scaled without the "Guidebook to the Land of the Green Isles" manual or the King's Quest Companion Booklet. The re-release provides a copy of the former, but it doesn't have the genie story or the Land of the Dead section, probably because while they gave minor hints, they were more entertaining than useful. Also, the re-release combines the manuals for all 7 games into a single PDF file. The games are on one disc, and the manuals on the other, arguably as a subtle form of copy-protection, as first-timers are less likely to realize how ABSOLUTELY VITAL the manual is throughout the series.
  • Curse Escape Clause: The Beast's curse can be undone if there was Maiden to share his life willingly.
  • Cypher Language: The Ancient Ones' alphabet, a set of pictographic-looking symbols which is really just a cipher of English, although each symbol is also given four conceptual meanings. Hand Waved as it being possibly a code the Ancient Ones used, or the ancestor of the current alphabet. Also a part of the Copy Protection.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory: In most other SCI engine based adventure games by Sierra the icons on the interface are presented in this order: Walk, Look, Action, Talk, specific actions unique to some games, quick inventory item, inventory, menu, and help. King's Quest VI swapped the look and action icons, and it takes some time to get used to it.
  • Damsel in Distress:
    • Princess Cassima is captured at one point, although if she can just get a small weapon she becomes a Damsel out of Distress. Also,
    • Celeste, possibly the Dangling Participle, and Cassima's parents.
  • Darker and Edgier: This game took the series in a direction that surprised certain reviewers and editors. Among them were David Trivette author of the The Official Book of King's Quest (Third Edition), who noted it did not feel like previous King's Quest games, and this was attributed to Jane Jensen. Trivette had to say; "KQ 6 can be seen as a sharp departure from the previous quests, in large part because it was the first quest in which creator/designer Roberta Williams had a collaborator. There is a darkness to the scenes not found in earlier quests. Overall the sixth has an ominous tone." (The Official Book of King's Quest, 3rd Edition, pg 10)
  • Darkness Equals Death: If you don't use the tinder box to light up the darkened Minotaur's lair, things can get pretty ugly.
  • The Dead Can Dance: Alexander sees some bones set up to look like a xylophone. He starts playing Dem Bones. Things...take off from there.
  • Dem Bones: Riverdancing skeletons in the Underworld.
  • Descending Ceiling: In the Labyrinth.
  • Despair Speech: Invoked by Alexander while pretending to have crossed the Despair Event Horizon in front of Shamir and the Pawn Shop Owner.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: The creators actually went to quite a bit of trouble to predict the many different possible ways to solve (or not solve) various puzzles and what order you can solve them in, and put in different conversations, cutscenes, and descriptions to cover them.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: The Lord of the Dead gets this reaction when Alex throws down the (literal) gauntlet.
  • Disguised in Drag: Alexander if you chose the short path.
  • Disney Death: Alexander, to Shamir and the Pawn Shop Owner. Of course, Alex is only faking it, so that only the Pawn Shop Owner can be surprised that Alex suddenly returns to life after the "Drink Me" potion's effects wear off.
  • Distant Duet: The full version of "Girl in the Tower".
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Alhazred's "marriage" to Shamir at the wedding... if one can see through his Cassima disguise. This is even planned beforehand by Alhazred in the long path mode when he tells Shamir to look "beautiful and pretty" at the wedding in the scene that occurs after Alexander has faked his own death.
  • Drama Queen: Or shall we say "Drama Prince"? Alexander sure acts like one while he is feigning suicide in front of Shamir Shamazel and the Pawn Shop Owner. Alex's sad eyebrows and frowning mouth in the Windows-enhanced version makes the drama acting more depressing, as if he were about to cry.
  • Dramatic Curtain Toss: Downplayed. Alexander finds the stolen tokens from the Island underneath a white sheet in the castle's treasury.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: If you take the short path, even winning feels like losing.
    Cassima: Oh, Alexander, I'm so happy that you've finally rescued me.
    Alexander: Yes, my love.
    Cassima: It's just too bad that you never avenged my murdered parents, or found the stolen treasures of the Green Isles, or uncovered the secrets of the Isle of Mist...
    Alexander: Ah, yes, well, um...
    Cassima: ...or ended the feud among the island rulers, or captured Alhazred's genie, or mastered the lost magic of the realm, or defeated the ruler of the Underworld...
  • Empty Room Until The Trap: The pitfalls in the maze.
  • Enhanced on CD-ROM: The CD version featured a longer opening sequence and was fully voiced with an all-star cast, one of the first video games to do so.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Cassima. Celeste might count as one, but she goes by 'Lady Celeste'.
  • Everything's Deader with Zombies: All over the place in the Realm of the Dead.
  • Evil Chancellor: Alhazred.
  • Evil Sorcerer: The Society of the Black Cloak is assumed to be mainly composed of these, although Alhazred gives zero indication in the entire game of being a sorcerer — he's the man behind the bottle...
  • Evil Plan: Alhazred was running a great one.
  • Exact Eaves Dropping: Alexander is Just in Time to overhear Alhazred voicing his true plans for Cassima in a letter to Shadrack.
  • Eye Take:
    • Alexander's reaction to the hunter's lamp bubbling and boiling for the perfection of the Make Rain Spell... while locked in a cage over the druids' bonfire!
    • A bit less obvious, but this also happens to Captain Saladin when you show the mirror of truth to Cassima!Shamir.
  • Fairy Tale: Although more inspired by other works, it wouldn't be a King's Quest game without a few fairy tale references — most obviously, to "Beauty and the Beast".
  • Fake Longevity: It's mild, but it's there: Alexander can have only one of the four pawn shoppe items with him at a time, necessitating some walking back and forth. Generally, though, if you know what you'll need in the future, you can swap items pretty quickly while doing other things.
    • In addition, when you do go back to swap items, there's generally something else going on nearby that you also need to take care of. Jollo's visits, the nightingale, and Beauty, to name a few.
  • Fantastic Fragility: Alexander discusses this when the Beast tells him about his curse.
  • Fantastic Racism: The residents of The Isle of The Sacred Mountain tend to get snooty towards non-winged beings.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Probably more than anywhere else in the series (well, maybe KQII). But honestly, a game that combines references to Greek Mythology, Arabian Nights, Alice in Wonderland, "Beauty and the Beast", Druids, and the standard medieval fantasy of Daventry can't be anything but this trope.
  • Faux Death: In the Isle of Wonder, there is a small bottle that says "Drink Me." If you drink it at the right time, at the right place, something interesting might happen...
  • The Ferry Man: Charon shows up in The Realm of the Dead.
  • Fission Mailed: In the Minotaur's lair, there are many rooms with deadly trap doors, and one with a not-so-deadly trap door. If you, like many, restored every time you started to fall, it took a long time to realize you had to fall into one of them. There was also the bottle that shows up on the Isle of Wonder. Take a swig, and it appears as though Alex drops dead. Seeing as your typical KQ game had Everything Trying to Kill You, this seems to be another trap... until Alex wakes up. Also, some of the places where you observe cutscenes of your demise (or failure) are visitable while you're alive later in the game, such as the underworld.
  • For the Evulz: Implied. Alhazred's stated motivation for stealing the treasures is to "make the other islands hate each other". There might be other reasons, but the game never really goes into it.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: Cassima and Alexander get married at the end of the game, whilst only knowing each other from a short encounter at Mordack's castle.
  • Genie in a Bottle: Shamir. An important puzzle involves getting his bottle, although in this case it isn't about finding his bottle, per se... Interestingly, the only way to get Shamir's bottle involves doing something so that you, the player, can find out what it looks like. When Alex passes the correct bottle to Jollo and is asked how he knew which one to get, he replies that he just had a feeling about it.
    • The old peddler is trading bottles in hope of discovering one with a genie inside.
  • Girl in the Tower: Cassima; the Award Bait Song is the Trope Namer.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Every time someone tells you to do something dangerous, they have sparkling gold eyes! Just like that genie! Isn't that weird?
  • Golden Ending: Taking the long path, which requires: stopping the feuding nations, going to the underworld to find Cassima's parents and facing Death himself to bring them back to the life, finding the missing relics of the feuding nations and freeing Shamir from Alhazred's grasp so his magic can't be used for evil. Do all of this and you'll gain a much happier fairy tale ending.
  • Gorgeous Garment Generation: Beauty.
  • Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: If you fall off the Cliffs of Logic, Alexander will suffer a moment of this. Happens also in the Labyrinth, when stepping on the not-so-deadly pitfall.
  • The Grim Reaper: The Lord of the Dead is a sinister, imposing figure who Was Once a Man before he was bound eternally to his underworld throne by heavy chains. Any living soul he touches is Deader than Dead. Pretty grim.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Instead of trying to overlook the hallway from one position, the dog guards upstairs the castle parole in pairs across the corridor, giving Alexander a chance to sneak behind their backs into the Blind Alley.
    • They also fail to properly search Alexander and remove his inventory before throwing him into the cell. This way he can escape via Skeleton Key.
    • The guard at the entrance to the Land of Death drops an important key during the The Dead Can Dance sequence.
  • Guide Dang It: Well, obviously. It's a Sierra game. Several items in the game are small, easy to miss, and appear in a room you've already visited after an unrelated event some place else.
    • The first instance of this appears on the very first screen. Unless you can figure out that the piece of wood that looks exactly like any other piece of the shipwreck can be moved, you're more or less stuck.
    • Fortunately, the game is somewhat forgiving in this regard: items will only show up in rooms that you have to pass through to complete some kind of delivery or item exchange in order to progress. And all important items either glow or otherwise draw attention to themselves by standing out. Except the tiny potion that appears in the cabbage garden at a random moment, and the one book you can actually pick up in the bookstore.
    • Additionally, the game allows you to re-enter either floor of the labyrinth at any time except when you're in the Land of the Dead.
  • Happily Married: Cassima's parents and Alexander and Cassima herself.
  • Have a Nice Death: Every death screen, crossed with Puns.
  • Hellish Horse: The Nightmare.
  • Hero Antagonist: Captain Saladin and his guard dogs, due to Alhazred tricking them. Jollo also qualifies if the player misses initially meeting him in the bookshop and then meets up with him in the castle towards the end.
  • The Hedge of Thorns: The magical hedge surrounding the Beast's abode.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: If you give the peppermint to Shamir in the final battle, he will get too drunk on mints to concentrate on killing Alexander and accidentally use his own magic on himself, ending his own life.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: You have to wonder how Alex fits all that stuff into his "pockets" - especially considering the nature of the stuff (a teacup filled with swamp sludge; a skull containing burning embers; that lizard-chameleon thing).
  • Hypocrite: Beauty's wicked Stepmother namedrops her, yet calls her ugly.
  • I Can't Believe It's Not Heroin: Shamir is hopelessly addicted to mint; just a small amount puts him in a drunken stupor.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Captain Saladin will not hesitate to run Alexander through with his sword if Alex can't prove he's not a threat to Cassima:
  • Invisibility: Alexander can use this via invisible ink to pass the final test with one of the Sense Gnomes.
  • It Is Pronounced Tro Pay:
    • Many walkthroughs and guide manuals on the game pronounce Alhazred's title as "Vizier" (vi-ZEER), but in the voiced version of the game itself, his title is only pronounced as "Wazir" (wuh-ZEER).
    • Also, the Winged Ones' title is pronounced as "wing-ed" in the voiced version.
  • It May Help You on Your Quest: Amongst other: an empty bottle that turns out not to be empty, a shred of paper and a rabbit foot.
  • Jaw Drop: The Pawn Shop Owner's reaction to Alexander's collapse under the side effects of the "Drink Me" potion in the presence of the Man in Black-disguised Shamir.
  • The Jester: Jollo the Clown, a jester in the court of the Castle of the Crown. He can be very helpful on your quest if you treat him right.
  • Just in Time: Jollo arrives at the last moment to hand Shamir's lamp to Alexander just when Shamir is about to kill him. This only happens if you have befriended Jollo and handed him a replica of the blue lamp in the long path.
  • Kids Are Cruel: In this case, Shamir, disguised as a swimming boy, if Alexander follows his advice and tries to swim.
    Alexander: [struggling for breath] Help me!!
    Boy!Shamir: I think not! [Evil Laugh]
  • The Lady's Favour: Cassima's ribbon and note.
  • Lampshaded Double Entendre: Black Widow says that she's a Femme Fatale, "if you know what I mean." And in her charming, sexy voice too. As you know, she is also very dangerous to those who try to touch her web.
  • Large Ham:
    • Shamir Shamazel in the voiced version. Of course, some of his hamminess in a few scenes (and disguises) has been taken to ridiculous new levels.
    • Alexander himself when he fakes his death in the pawn shop.
  • Last Note Nightmare / Heartbeat Soundtrack: The last few seconds of "Alexander's Suicide", incurred by Alex's heartbeat slowing down to a stop via "Drink Me" potion.
  • Laughably Evil: Shamir Shamazel, the Shapeshifting Genie who squeals like a girl and gets drunk on mints.
  • Leitmotif: Quite a few are sprinkled throughout the game; matter of fact, they quite often serve as clues for the puzzles (see Musical Spoiler below).
  • The Lifestream: The Sea of Souls.
  • Live Item: The Dangling Participle, Rotten Tomato, and Hole in the Wall.
  • Lohengrin and Mendelssohn: A minor-key variation of Lohengrin plays for Abdul's wedding to the fake Cassima ("Oh no, it's wedding music!"). When Alexander weds the real Cassima, Lohengrin and Mendelssohn are played as usual.
  • Lost Forever: It wouldn't be a Sierra game without it being possible to lose a few key items. If you have Alexander throw the rotten tomato at the stick in the mud himself, he'll never get the swamp ooze he needs for the magic ink spell.
  • Lucky Rabbit's Foot: An out-of-work ferryman has a rabbit's foot, which he notes isn't doing him any good. With the right prompting, he will give it to Alexander, who can use it to save his skin later. At no point does it noticeably improve anyone's luck.
  • Magic Map: The magic map, so named because it allows you to teleport, also reveals the location of the mysterious Isle of Mist after a certain point in the game, a hidden island which is rumored to change locations. The map isn't altered by anybody to show the island; it appears on its own.
  • Magic Mirror: The Mirror of Truth.
    • Also Alexander's mirror in the opening animation.
  • The Many Deaths of You: There are quite many deaths: some of them hilarious, some of them disturbing, and some of them Non-Standard Game Overs. See all ten videos in all their gory... er... glory.
  • The Maze: The Minotaur's labyrinth, with the added annoyance of death traps and death pits. "Alexander gets a funny feeling about this room..."
  • The Mirror Shows Your True Self: Depending on which path you take, it can be used in one of two different ways. The basic good ending has Alexander using it to Spot the Imposter by forcing a genie to resume his true form. The best ending has him use it against Death himself, forcing him to witness the horror of his own existence, causing him to shed a Single Tear and lose his wager against Alexander.
  • Meaningful Name: Most of the names are this, at least the ones that aren't referencing whatever mythology is relevant. Special mention goes to Shamir Shamazel, a corruption of the Yiddish "schlemiel" and "schlimazel", roughly meaning "unlucky screw-up". Considering how bad he is at his job and how unlucky he is to have Alhazered for a master, it fits.
    • Celeste's name means "heavenly", since she's the princess of the Winged Ones.
  • Mood Whiplash: The gate of the Land of the Dead is an eerie place, with creepy, atmospheric music and strange undead guards. Then you play a swinging xylophone tune to make them dance.
  • Moon Logic Puzzle: Jollo informs Alexander that you can get the Alhazered's right hand genie out of the way by switching the genie's lamp with an identical one. Conveniently, there's a peddler selling lamps out on the street but you don't know which lamp to pick. What's the solution? Go to the pawn shop where the genie is there in disguise and make Alexander drink a Faux Death potion so that a Cut Scene appears where the genie goes to report this to his master and the player can get a look at the lamp and choose it when Alexander wakes up.
  • Morphic Resonance: The shapeshifting genie can always be identified by his Supernatural Gold Eyes.
  • Multiple Endings: There are two endings, the "short" path and "long" path. The short path is, well, shorter, won't give you 100% Completion, and taunts you when you "win." The long path is more rewarding. Aside from the two branching paths, there can be some minor variations along the way, such as not recovering the insignia ring from the pawn shop, or not recovering the island treasures in the long path.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Sort of: In the Windows-enhanced version, if you look closely at the portrait of the speaking Arch-Druid, the jaguar he is wearing blinks its eyes at the same time that the Arch-Druid blinks his. It's creepy!
  • Musical Spoiler: Beauty (in the mansion on the Isle of the Crown) and the Beast (in his garden, on the Isle of the Beast) have the same Leitmotif. As do the Bookworm's area and the Dangling Participle (when you meet him on the Isle of the Beast).
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: Everyone who serves Alhazred feels this way, with only fear, loyalty to the Crown or ownership of their lamp binding them to him.
  • Mythology Gag: Looking at the back wall of the pawn shop cycles through a list of many items that would have been very helpful to players of previous King's Quest games.
  • Near Villain Victory: Walking into the wedding hall to see "Cassima" enthusiastically declaring her intent to marry the Grand Wazir.
  • Neutral Female: Subverted by Cassima, who could save herself, if only she had a weapon...
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Alhazred had made a deal with Mordack to get Cassima out of the way so he could take the throne. When Cassima returned he had to alter his plans by murdering her after marrying. But here's the thing, if Alhazred had used any other scenario to dispose of her that didn't involve Mordack, Alexander would have never met Cassima, which in turn he would have never had a reason to go to the Green Isles, which in turn Alhazred would have been unopposed.
  • No Endor Holocaust: There was no possible way that Alexander's crew could've survived the shipwreck, yet he hopes in his internal monologue that they did, as they "got to the lifeboats". The end of the game in the long route confirms that they did in fact survive which might've been due to help from the Genie Alexander controls.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The Dangling Participle does speak strangely. Listening closely to his speech, however, no actual dangling participles are evident.
  • Non-Lethal Bottomless Pits: There's one in the Labyrinth, surrounded by, and indistinguishable from, lethal ones. You must go through it to get through the maze.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: The standard game over is when Alexander dies: he shows up in the Land of the Dead as a ghost and passes into the afterlife. If he doesn't die, then the game over is different, such as if he ends up in the dungeons unable to prevent the the Vizier's sham marriage to Cassima, or if the Beast's curse turns him into a beast. Uniquely, if he dies in the Land of the Dead after passing the doors that lead to the River Styx, he suffers a fate worse than death as he simply ceases to exist.
  • Nothing but Skulls: Death's throne.
  • Oh, No... Not Again!: Alexander says "Not again!" when he gets caught by the druids on his second trip to the Isle of the Mists. This "Not again!" quote marks the second time that he's been captured (the first time was by the Winged Ones).
  • Ominous Pipe Organ:
    • This Ominous Pipe Organ music plays a grotesque version of Lohengrin's Bridal Chorus near the end of the game when the Grand Wazir Alhazred is getting married to Cassima!Shamir... but in pretense! Give it a listen here!
    • Also, the same ominous pipe organ music plays during the first half of "Stopping the Wedding".
  • One Steve Limit: Averted by Ali the Book Seller and Ali the Little Boy Ghost, who have no apparent connection to each other.
  • Only Smart People May Pass:
    • Alex and the door to the Underworld (there is a hint to it earlier in the game, but it is rather vague).
    • "What was the riddle? More importantly: What was the answer?" ... Hey, a scrap of paper with the word "love" written on it! Wonder what that was all about?
    • However, it should be noted that the door's riddle relies entirely on which letter is found in word A but not word B. Not too hard to figure out.
  • Open Sesame: Although the password isn't "Sesame".
  • Our Gnomes Are Weirder: There are five rhyming Sense Gnomes in one of the islands that can kill any human who sets foot on the island. And their naming features are based on the five senses (with their names in parentheses): the Gnome with the Jumbo Nose (Smell; Tom Trow), the Gnome with the Monumental Ears (Sound; Grovernor), the Gnome with the Gigantic Mouth (Taste; Grump-Frump), the Gnome with the Massive Hands (Touch; Trilly Dilly), and the Gnome with the Enormous Eyes (Sight; Bill Batter).
  • Pixel Hunt: There is exactly one, right at the beginning of the game when you open the chest. There's a copper coin in there that flashes, but rarely. Everything else in the game that would otherwise be small or hard to see flashes.
  • Point of No Return: You have a choice on whether you want to go the long route or the short route after you help the Beast, but after you've made your choice, you're stuck with it. Also, the Labyrinth and Underworld are such places where you are stuck if you haven't brought certain items while at the same time you are to pick up new items there which you cannot return to do later in the narrative..
  • The Power of Love: Love literally gets Alexander through to the Lord of the Dead.
  • Prophecies Are Always Right: "The prophecy predicts that whosoever climbs the Cliffs of Logic will defeat the minotaur."
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Captain Saladin. He is incredibly distrustful of Alexander, who, to be fair, shows up out of the blue and acts like...well, a prince, but as soon as Alexander shows him evidence of Alhazred's treachery, he doesn't immediately believe him, but rather goes to confront the Vizier and still takes care of Alexander if you're not quick to point out the falsehood. He's reasonable in that he's willing and able to listen to reason, but he still doesn't trust a stranger.
  • Red Right Hand: See Supernatural Gold Eyes below.
  • Replay Value: The game has branching paths and Multiple Endings with subtle variations depending upon what you do in the game.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: The Sense Gnomes.
  • Riddle Me This: The Gate in the Land of the Dead will eat Alexander unless he can solve his riddle. The solution isn't impossible to figure out from the question, but it appears in-game on a page torn out from a book.
  • Room Disservice: In the shortcut version, Alexander is able to sneak into the castle by disguising as a female servant.
  • Satellite Love Interest: Cassima. Note how she and Alexander first meet in the final scene of King's Quest V: Absence Makes The Heart Go Yonder!, just before the helpful wizard teleports everyone home. Then again, this fits the Fairy Tale genre.
  • Save the Princess: The goal of the game.
  • Say My Name: In the voiced version, every sentence of narration starts with "Alexander".
  • Schmuck Bait: All those people with ominous glowing eyes keep giving you all these really easy ways to solve puzzles — like swimming to the next island (forget the deadly ocean currents!); learning to fly by eating nightshade (not that poisonous, really!); and passing through a gate with a stone archer about to shoot you (he's harmless!).
  • Sequel Hook: The single reference to the "Black Cloak Society" could be taken as this, but they weren't actually used in the sequels. Fanon, however, especially the Fan Remake of King's Quest II: Romancing The Throne and the Fan Sequel The Silver Lining have proceeded to pick it up and run.
  • Shaped Like Itself: If you use the hand icon on the tinder box, you are told, "It feels exactly like a tinder box."
  • Shout-Out: The villain is named, of all things, Abdul Alhazred. The bookstore owner is named Ali, and according to the Companion, the pawn shop owner is named Hakim.
    • One of the guard dogs is named Gruff. Seeing how guards are basically ancient police. Perhaps a shout-out to Mc Gruff The Crime Dog?
    • The swimming boy is Adam from Eco Quest, except his trunks look darker.
  • Single Tear: Alexander makes the Lord of the Dead shed one manly tear by using the Mirror of Truth to show him his own pathetic life. At least we now know he still has tear ducts.
  • Skeleton Key: It not only opens any lock (which is useful in case Alex gets imprisoned), it's also shaped like a skeleton, and Alex has to steal it from a real skeleton.
  • Smooch of Victory
  • Sounding It Out: Alhazred does this while composing a letter to Shadrack, which lets Alexander overhear his true plans for Cassima.
  • Spanner in the Works: Used literally in the dungeon. Metaphorically, Alexander is one for Alhazred's Evil Plan.
  • Spell Book: Holding three spells.
  • Spot the Impostor: In the short run.
  • Standard Hero Reward: The kingdom and the princess.
  • Story Branch Favoritism: The game has a branching storyline. Although there are many variables that dictate who shows up at the finale wedding, the choice of taking the "short path" or the "long path" is the most important. As the "long path" is happier, just about everyone (and the official novelization for that matter) chooses that as the "real" one. See the entry at Golden Ending.
  • Strange Syntax Speaker: The Dangling Participle, who even talks in Yoda-speak.
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option: The only way to proceed to the second level of the Catacombs is by deliberately blundering into the one pitfall that doesn't kill you. Of course, you're boned if you aren't carrying a certain item at that point.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Justified, as the Land of the Green Isles is surrounded by extremely dangerous currents that will pull Alexander out to sea if he steps out far enough to be caught by the undertow (or gets tossed in by the gnomes at the Isle of Wonder.) Plus, the game warns you about the sea's pull.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: For some reason, lots of people in the Land of the Green Isles have sparkling gold eyes! And these are the people who always try to get you to do dangerous things! How totally coincidental!
  • Sword Fight / Good Old Fisticuffs: Alex and Alhazred alternate between these while the former carries a fake, heavy sword during the ultimate battle.
  • Talking Animal: The Land of the Green Isles is filled with talking creatures from both flora and fauna, e.g. the Black Widow, the Bookworm and the Rotten Tomato.
  • Tap on the Head: Alexander knocks out Alhazred with the flat end of the blade.
  • Tears from a Stone: The Lord of the Dead's challenge: "Make me cry." The peanut gallery remarks that it would be easier to turn sea to stone, or fire to ice. Alexander succeeds.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: At the end of the game, as Alexander has his final confrontation with the vizier and the genie, an epic version of the Castle of the Crown's motif plays.
  • Through a Face Full of Fur: Though not depicted visually, this happens when you give Captain Saladin Shadrack's note:
    Narrator: Alexander watches the guard dog's noble face darken with rage.
  • Throwing Down the Gauntlet: Used literally: you can defy The Lord of the Dead by showing him a dead knight's gauntlet that is specifically made to challenge Death. The knight you get it from didn't get quite as far into the Underworld as Alexander does. We never learn what stopped him.
  • To Hell and Back: The trip to the Underworld.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: For the genie: mints. Doubles as I Can't Believe It's Not Heroin.
  • Unfinished Business: The reason Cassima's parents can't move on in the Land of the Dead — you have to bring them back so they can finish it.
    • Also the mother waiting for her ghost child.
  • Ungrateful Bitch: Lady Celeste. After all the time it took Alexander to save her from the Minotaur, too. Dude, where's his respect?
  • Unwinnable: It wouldn't be a Sierra game without them, although this one did cut down on them a bit. Mainly things become Unwinnable when you pass a Point of No Return and forget to get something. A notable one is with Swamp Ooze, which is necessary for the long path, but is possible to get Lost Forever, and you won't know the game can't be won until long after the fact, that path consumes the item that gives you access to the short path.
  • Verbal Tic: The Doormaster skeleton saying "NEXT!" whenever he asks you for a ticket and you give it to him. This is especially weirder in the Game Over screen every time you die.
  • Virgin Sacrifice: Lady Celeste (and probably many before her), offered to the Minotaur.
  • Voiceover Letter: Alexander reads Cassima's letter, that he received from Sing-Sing, in her voice. Lampshaded by the narrator: "For the first time in his long search, he has heard her voice again if only in writing."
  • Wackyland: The Isle of Wonder.
  • Was Once a Man: The Lord of the Dead was a mortal human once, bound to his throne in the underworld where centuries of hearing the tales of the dead slowly transformed him into what he is now. That's the only clue you get on how to defeat him.
  • What a Senseless Waste of Human Life: The Pawn Shop Owner says this, unaware that Alex has faked his own death in front of Shamir.
  • What Have I Become?: The Lord of the Dead is reminded by Alexander of how he came from a human life to an eternally damned existence which makes him shed a Single Tear.
  • Whole Costume Reference: Alexander's outfit is lifted more-or-less straight from Kevin Costner's wardrobe in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, just with a different color scheme.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: The Genie is sent all the time to trick you, but never to actually attack or kill you, except in the penultimate scene. Justified in that, even with an evil master, the Genie really abhors violence, and it requires considerable pressure from Abdul to push him that far.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Beauty has one.
  • Wife Husbandry: An inverted example. Part of the reason Caliphim misplaced his trust in Alhazred was because he might end up as a suitable son-in-law.
  • With Due Respect: Captain Saladin to Alhazred: "With all due respect, my lord, you are not king yet."
  • With This Ring: There are three different ways in which the wedding at the end can play out. Depending on your actions, there could be no ring (left in the Pawn Shop), Alexander gives it to Cassima (he didn't send it via Sing-Sing) or she produces it herself.
  • Winged Humanoid: The Winged Ones on the Isle of the Sacred Mountain.
  • World of Pun: Starting from the title, to all of the death messages.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit / Crocodile Tears: Alexander acts all Emo in the Pawn Shop and pretends that all hope is lost without Cassima while pretending to cry, and fakes suicide by drinking the "Drink Me" potion. This gambit is an effort to trick Shamir and the guard dogs into lowering their guard for entry into the castle. It doesn't actually change anything in or around the castle, though - it serves an entirely different purpose - and you still need a different method of getting in.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: The encounters with the Gate and Samhain, Lord of the Dead. Also the book of love poems and the gauntlet.
  • You Fight Like a Cow: During their Sword Fight, Alhazred makes fun of Alexander's struggle with the heavy sword.

Fear EffectCreator/Kronos Digital EntertainmentMeat Puppet
King's Quest V: Absence Makes The Heart Go Yonder!Fantasy Video GamesKing's Quest VII: The Princeless Bride
    Creator/Jane JensenGabriel Knight
King's Quest V: Absence Makes The Heart Go Yonder!Adventure GameKing's Quest VII: The Princeless Bride
King's Quest V: Absence Makes The Heart Go Yonder!Video Games of the 1990sKing's Quest VII: The Princeless Bride
King's Quest V: Absence Makes The Heart Go Yonder!VideoGame/King's QuestKing's Quest VII: The Princeless Bride
King's Quest V: Absence Makes The Heart Go Yonder!Website/GOG.comKing's Quest VII: The Princeless Bride

alternative title(s): Kings Quest VI; Kings Quest VI Heir Today Gone Tomorrow; Kings Quest VI
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