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Classic? Yes. Good? Well...
Kings Quest hold a lot of nostalgic value to me, especially the fifth game. It was my first Adventure Game, my first game with voice acting, and dominated my third grade year more than any console game could. Granted, I could never get past that fucking desert as a kid, but I still loved it. Years later, I finally track down all the games, play through each one..., and, with few exceptions, most of them have simply aged very, very poorly.

I'm just gonna take it on a per-game basis, cause really, that's the only way to sum up my feelings.

King's Quest I-II: Both of these are simply horrible. The moon logic is significantly worse than anything that came out afterward, the parser is nearly unworkable, and the small shreds of plot are utterly insignificant.

King's Quest III: Actually rather fun. The strict time limit is frustrating at first, but the game actually makes sense to an extent, the magic system is creative, and the plot is...pretty nice. It still has the parser issues, but they could be worked around this time.

King's Quest IV: The parser works much better, while keeping up the improvements of III. Probably the best of the early entries. The ending also serves as a Crowning Moment Of Funny (unless you forgot one item, where things get a whole lot worse.

King's Quest V: Probably the saddest part of this review. As mentioned before, the game holds a lot of nostalgic appeal to me, but now...it's one of the most frustrating games I have ever, EVER played. Everything that makes Sierra games infamous (Unwinnable By Design, Guide Dang It, Copy Protection) is in full force here. The voice acting is So Bad Its Horrible, as is the script. The game's VGA graphics are just okay, even by 1992 standards.

King's Quest VI: The best in the series, bar none. Everything that was good about the first four games, while fixing the issues in V.

King's Quest VII: A bit too Disneyesque for my taste, especially the artwork. It was also a bit on the easy side, especially after VI. Still, a pretty good game overall.

King's Quest VIII: It never happened.

You can get the first seven as part on the King's Quest Collection, for all two of you that still want to try any of these.
I rather like the King's Quest series, but I do agree with you on several points here. The games probably haven't aged as well as other adventure series like Monkey Island and Quest For Glory, which remain my two favorite adventure game series. And if you're looking for a terribly unique or in-depth plot, you're looking in the wrong place. Also, the King's Quest series suffers quite a bit from the kind of Guide Dang It and Unwinnable situations that led to the death of the adventure genre, making the game experience almost too frustrating to get through in some cases. But the games have their charms if you can accept what they are.

My first encounter with the series was VII, and I happen to love the cartoon graphics (although Curse Of Monkey Island's are better), so that game will always rest in a nostalgic place in my heart. VIII never happened, and we'll leave it at that. As an adult I scrounged up every single one of the games before VII, but never beat a few of them due to getting frustrated over Unwinnable situations (IV and V, I'm looking at you). I'd recommend checking out the fanmade VGA remakes of the first three games that you can find floating around the internet. They're quite good, and fun to play.

While the King's Quest games are classics of the adventure genre and sure to please any rabid adventure fan, they've never been my favorite of Sierra's adventure games. Quest For Glory was the first adventure game I ever played, so that might have something to do with my rabid fanatic love for that series, and for adventure games in general. If you want something with a more mature story and nice VGA graphics (with the exception of the second game, which has also recently had a fan remake, but the original isn't bad looking) I'd say go with that series.
comment #1894 Amazingly Enough 20th Feb 10 (edited by: Amazingly Enough)
...the games have their charms if you can accept what they are...

You sir, in one sentence fragment, managed to say far more succinctly what my whole review was trying to.
comment #1927 TalenLee 25th Feb 10
I: Ifnkovhgroghprm, just Ifnkovhgroghprm II: Excellent VGA remake. III: Really? I didn't like spell making that much personally... I agree with you about the plot though. IV: I agree. V: "Lost forever" doesn't even begin to describe it. VI: There's a reason Gamespot considers it to be on of the best games of all time. VII: I agree. VIII: The game that caused Roberta Williams to resign in protest. That is all.
comment #2092 68.2.141.132 20th Mar 10
On the first three, get the remakes. Sierra was working with the ridiculous limits of 1980's tech, but the remakes flesh things out. the "canonical" KQ 2 was atrocious. AGD's remake is up there with KQ 6 in terms of quality. KQ 5, definitely my least favorite. The puzzles were as bad as KQ 2. The voice acting was really poor (even Space Quest 4, which also used Sierra staff, was better), though Josh Mandel does a rather good job for Graham and became his "definitive" voice actor, despite being a programmer.

This is a game series where being a mythology and folklore nut might as well be your hint book, though look out for shades of Shrek where that fairy tale may be turned on its ear (the gnome with the unpronounceable name in the first comes to mind). What I appreciated most was that it rewarded you thinking your way out of the situation whenever possible. Brute force is the easy route, and trying to add it to the series was what killed it.

Oh, and The Silver Lining Fan Sequel? It is beautiful stuff, especially when you remember it's a bunch of fans doing it on their own time and money.
comment #5226 Allronix 24th Nov 10
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