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Video Game / King's Quest II: Romancing the Throne

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King's Quest II: Romancing the Throne is the second game in the King's Quest Adventure Game series. Graham, now king of Daventry, has recently come to a realization; without a proper queen by his side to produce potential heirs, his legacy as king will be quite short. The Magic Mirror he retrieved from the first game reflects an image a beautiful maiden from the land of Kolyma named Valanice, who is trapped in a quartz tower by the evil witch Hagatha. Graham dons his adventurer's cap once more and resolves to rescue her. Along the way he must find three keys to access the land of Kolyma, help King Neptune, and kill Count Dracula before he can reach the island Valanice is trapped on.

Despite introducing Valanice and featuring some rather beautiful-looking backgrounds, the game is generally considered to be one of the weaker games in the series, with its flat storyline, frustrating puzzles, and confusing setting. A fan-made remake, King's Quest II: Romancing the Stones, released by AGD Interactive, adds to the story and replaces the frustrating puzzles by other frustrating puzzles.

This game provides examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: A booklet that came with the game explained Graham's motives to find a bride: The late King Edward appeared to him in the Magic Mirror and told to not make the same mistake as he did. He must find a queen and bear an heir. Although ironically neither of Graham's children succeeds him.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: A text box shows up when you enter the screen with the amulet that teleports you home, which a player might honestly fail to notice with the graphical limitations and psychedelic color scheme used in that area.
  • Benevolent Genie: The lamp you get from the shopkeeper contains a helpful genie who gives you three useful items: A flying carpet, a sword, and an enchanted bridle.
  • The Big Bad Wolf: Appears in this adventure.
  • Black Cloak: Hagatha and Dracula. The Fan Remake expands this to making Hagatha a member of a Nebulous Evil Organization hinted at in later games, actually named the Black Cloak Society.
  • 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.
  • Damsel in Distress: Valanice. Well, not a lot of distress, but she is locked in a tower.
  • Darker and Edgier: The first three games were relatively bright, cheery, and full of in-jokes and humor. But this didn't stop later games from being accused of becoming darker, edgier, or more 'evil'. The "Two Guys from Andromeda" (who worked on KQ1 and KQ2) viewed King's Quest and most other Sierra games at the time as dark and serious, being more somber and medieval, and they wanted to design a series they considered 'silly', which became Space Quest. They began development around the time of the development of KQ3 (with both games being released around the same time). note 
    • Though KQ2 can be seen as largely a continuation of KQ1 in style of puzzles and design, it's often noted that the world it takes place in is a darker and lonelier land, ruled by vampires, ghouls, ghosts, and a witch. The 'former?' The princess of the land was kidnapped by the Witch, and locked away in a tower in another land. Even the name Kolyma is a reference to a bleak region of Siberia. Perhaps, though, it is best described as a land of contrasts in that it's a sunny place during the day, and turns into a very dark place at night (this is represented by the third key sequence to confront Dracula in his castle, though there is not really any day and night mechanic in the game). Graham even begins the story with a prophecy by the ghost of the former king, stating that if he doesn't find a queen soon, he will end up cursed like the former king (shades of Hamlet, without the murder) to die without an heir and the kingdom to fall into ruin. The Companion noted this addition of darker and more isolated feelings and ideas, and expanded upon the role of the monks as the only protectors in the land, trying to keep evil at bay.
  • 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 (this was the work of Creator/Scott Murphy).
  • Excuse Plot: Unlike KQI, 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. However, the game still plays like a loose collection of unrelated puzzles, making this a case of All There in the Manual.
    • The game has almost 2-3 times the amount of narration/dialogue as the original version of the first game.
  • Failed a Spot Check: While inside her cave, Hagatha will not notice you no matter how close you are to her. When you pick up the bird cage without precautions however...
  • Fan Remake: "King's Quest II +: Romancing the Stones," adds to the story and alters the puzzles. It changes it in places, 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.
  • "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.
  • Genie in a Bottle: You get one from the Antiques Store; rubbing its bottle gets you a flying carpet, a sword, and a bridle.
  • Girl in the Tower: Valanice is locked away in an quartz tower.
  • Magic Carpet: Which takes you up a mountain.
  • Mercy Rewarded: 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.
  • Mission-Pack Sequel: The game plays very much like the first one, just being spun around a different assortment of random fairytales this time. Like the first game, winning involves collecting a set of three magic thingies. Priceless treasures for bonus points can still be found in ludicrous places like tree stumps, and can sometimes be given away if the player can't figure out a more clever solution to a puzzle. The randomly-spawning threats even include a killer wolf, witch, wizard, and a dwarf who'll steal your treasure, all just like in the first game.
  • Moon Logic Puzzle: Throwing the bridle onto the snake to turn it into Pegasus to get a magic sugar cube. Even the official explanations mostly come across less as "how did I miss that?" and more "how the hell was I supposed to know that?"
    • 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, even if expecting a player to think "Greek mythology + snake = throw bridle" is still pretty insane. The King's Quest Companion, 2nd Edition gives two explanations that "Graham 'accidentally' threw the bridle" while trying to use his sword. 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: Just like in the first game, while there are a few enemies here and there that you defeat, there is no central end-game Final Boss to defeat, even though Hagatha is mentioned as locking Valanice in the tower 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, the ferryman, and some ghosts, and he is essentially the games main villain to (optionally) kill. But true evil can not die, and he's back for the celebration at the end.
  • Plot Coupon: The three keys.
  • Product Placement: The original game has a hidden trailer for Space Quest I: The Sarien Encounter. When AGDI remastered the game, they changed this to instead show a teaser for their upcoming VGA remaster of Quest for Glory II.
  • Public Domain Character: Dracula, King Neptune, Red Riding Hood...
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: The game uses "Greensleeves" as the intro music.
  • 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 sugar cube 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...
  • Seahorse Steed: Graham does this. They even have saddles. Do the mermaids ride them sidesaddle or something?
  • 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 hint book 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.
  • Updated Re-release: The game received one in 1987 for the PC that ran in MS-DOS instead of as a booter game and featured text windows as well as pull-down menus.
  • 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.
    • Try to kill Valanice and the narrator will call you out.

Alternative Title(s): Kings Quest II