Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / King's Quest I: Quest For The Crown

Go To

King's Quest: Quest for the Crown (originally simply "King's Quest") is the first game in the long-running King's Quest series. It was released in 1984 and had a huge impact on the world of gaming: It was one of the first animated adventure games, and it cemented Sierra as the premier maker of Adventure Games in the '80s, and it helped popularize the adventure game genre and many of the tropes associated with it (for better or for worse).

The plot is simple. You are Graham, a knight in the realm of Daventry. Your king has tasked you with finding Daventry's three lost treasures: A magic shield that protects the kingdom from war; a magic mirror that can see the future; and a magic treasure chest that magically replenishes itself. To find these treasures, Graham must explore the kingdom and solve puzzles. Oh, and avoid random deaths — that's important, too.


The game is best known for its Fantasy Kitchen Sink setting, limited graphics and interface (blocky 8-bit characters and Text Parser), often exasperating puzzles, random deaths and Unwinnable situations (though the fan remake has a "no unwinnable situations" mode). It has been remade with better graphics twice, once by Sierra themselves, and once as a Fan Remake by AGD Interactive.

This game proves examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: The story of how King Edward lost the Three Great Treasures is described in a booklet that came with the game.
  • All Trolls Are Different: There's a troll guarding a series of bridges that demands a toll if you try to cross. It's a hunchbacked, hairy humanoid with a long nose.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Your reward for winning the game.
  • A Winner Is You: In the original game, Graham simply sits on the throne after King Edward dies, his body just lying there.
  • Advertisement:
  • Back from the Dead: Due to a bug in the original AGI version, Graham can kill the goat with the dagger and then show the goat's corpse a carrot. This resurrects the goat and makes it follow you as if it had never died.
  • Bigger on the Inside: Inverted with the Gingerbread House in the Remake: the interior is small and poor compared to the outside.
  • Death by Despair: Subverted: the ominous mood when Graham returns to the castle makes it seem like the trope at first glance, but the king was already old and feeble to begin with, and didn't have much longer to live. If anything, he dies by pure joy and excitement of seeing Graham return with the magic treasures, finally able to die in peace knowing Daventry has a worthy new ruler to watch over it.
  • Excuse Plot: There is very little plot outside of the manual, which is present mostly as an excuse to mash different fairy tale characters and situations together.
  • Fairy Tale: A major source of characters and puzzles. This game includes references to The Three Billy Goats Gruff, Rumplestiltskin, and Hansel and Gretel, among others.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: In the same game as Rumplestiltskin, there are leprechauns. Yeah.
  • Giant Flyer: The condor.
  • The Good King: King Edward is known as "King Edward The Benevolent".
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • The Rumplestilkin of the game has a hint for his name: it's "backwards." And by hint, we mean that there is a random note in the witch's house which does not mention where to apply this knowledge. And in the original game, "backwards" meant that you were supposed to write the name down, transpose each letter with it's opposite (A becomes Z, B to Y, C to X, etc), and come up with the solution "Ifnkovhgroghprm." The remakes changed this, so that the direct opposite of the expected name "Rumplestiltskin" was just "Nikstlitselpmur," the inverse. It really doesn't help that "Rumpelstiltskin" is a common alternate spelling, meaning that it's still possible to get it wrong. This was also fixed in the remake, which accepts both spellings.
    • In general, many puzzle solutions are based off fairy tales, and the game assumes that the player is familiar with them. If you never read these stories, can't remember them, or just expect to find hints in-game, you'll probably need a walkthrough.
  • Heroic Mime: Averted for the opening and closing cutscenes, but that's it.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: You kill the witch by pushing her in her own cauldron.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Generally yes, with a notable subversion at one point
  • Knife Nut: One of the first items you can obtain is a knife inscribed with runes. It is possible to throw said knife at various creatures to kill them, but it's not recommended.
  • Last Lousy Point: Several, such as eating the candy house; bowing to the king, giving the bowl to the poor couple after saying the magic word, etc.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: On the IBM PCjr version, going from one screen to another was not instantaneous. You had to sit and wait for the screen to fully load the data, which was about 5 seconds (a huge deal back then). You could actually see the computer draw all the backgrounds and objects one by one, then fill them with colors. If you were very observant, sprites were drawn last, giving you clues of hidden objects.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Somewhat, in that the game has random encounters with several nasty monsters, albeit always in the same room. This feature is notably absent in pretty much all later graphic adventure games.
  • MacGuffin Guardian: A Dragon keeps the Mirror in his lair, while the Giant carries the Chest with him. Zig Zagged with the shield which is in possession of the Leprechauns but not guarded by a specific monster.
  • Magic Mirror: The magic Mirror, one of the Three Treasures of Daventry. It foretells that you shall win the game, and then serves to magically kick off the plot of roughly half the sequels.
  • Nintendo Hard: The beanstalk (in the original EGA version, that is). And some of the puzzles as well.
    • Grabbing the damn eagle in the remake. You have to jump as precisely the right time, as it's swooping down. Though you have to time yourself a few seconds before it swoops down, and you have to be standing in the exact right spot.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: The later AGI versions use "Greensleeves" as the game's theme.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: One of the antagonists is the giant from Jack and the Beanstalk. However, he's not any bigger than the troll or the ogre you've met.
  • Optional Stealth: When you reach the land beyond the clouds you can either kill the giant with the slingshot or wear the invisibility ring obtained by the elf and wait for him to fall asleep and steal his treasure. The stealthy solution requires more time and is not immediately obvious but gives more points.
  • Oxygen Meter / Super Drowning Skills: If you walk into the water, Graham will flounder helplessly until he drowns. Unless you type "swim" or press the "=" button at which point he will start swimming. He will drown if you stay in the water too long, however.
  • Random Encounter: In certain areas you may stumble into a dangerous being (The Ogre, The Wolf, the Sorcerer or Dahlia the Witch) and you'll have to evade them before they get you. There's also the Dwarf, who steals an item from your inventory. All these encounters can also be avoided thanks to the Invisibility Ring or the blessing from you Fairy Godmother.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: There's a giant snake dangling from a tree branch near the swampy pond, but it won't kill you if you stay at bay.
  • Rodent of Unusual Size: A giant rat can be encountered in a tunnel leading to the Leprechaun's kingdom.
  • Savage Wolves: A single bad wolf may appear in a certain area. Unlike the Ogre and the Sorcerer, it's fast.
  • Sequel Hook: In the remake's epilogue, it's mentioned that King Graham looks into the magic mirror and sees his descendants having many more adventures...
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Not killing some of the monsters (and resorting to trickery instead) gets you more points, but isn't required to win the game.
    • The official hintbook written by Al Lowe actually tells the player to kill the dragon as the primary solution. It only treats the 'better' solution as a secondary non-violent solution that the player will have to discover for themselves. Al in the book has a tendency to tell the player to take the least point option in most cases as the primary solution, rather than going for the highest score (giving away treasures, rather than going for optimum item choice). The better options are regulated to the 'did you try...?' section at the end of the book.
    • You score points though if you kill the witch and troll.
  • Trespassing Hero: Averted with Rumplestiltskin in the remake. After he helps you on your quest, he goes back inside his home. If you try to have Graham enter the home, the game will call you out and say that it's impolite to enter someone's house uninvited.
  • Troll Bridge: Graham must get onto an island accessible by three bridges, all of which are guarded by a troll. Options are giving it treasure, or re-enacting "The Three Billy Goats Gruff" by coaxing a friendly goat to the scene.
  • Updated Re-release:
    • The 1987 AGI PC version runs in MS-DOS instead of as a booter game. It also has the text display in pop-up windows, pull-down menus, as well as other graphical tweaks.
    • The 1989 port version for the Sega Master System with a LucasArts-style menu command interface, but it had some changes deliberately put in to slap people relying on information from earlier versions. This is so bad that rocks can somehow roll uphill in that game's universe.
    • The 1990 version with upgraded graphics and soundtrack.
    • The fan remake and its update.
  • Unwinnable by Design:
    • You need all three treasures to win the game. There's a dwarf that goes around stealing your things. He appears semi-randomly (always on the same two screens, but at random times) and is difficult to evade. If you have any of the Three Treasures on you when he shows up, he steals them. And you can never get them back. Have fun playing the rest of the game!
    • Earlier versions of the game allow you to drop things from your inventory, including those three treasures. Whatever you drop is Permanently Missable. Ironically, you can drop the treasures between the moment that the game checks for them to get to the endgame, and the actual endgame.
  • Useless Useful Skill: There is a command for ducking, which you need precisely never in the game. It's only used to avoid the witch, which can be done easier by simply leaving the screen.
  • Video Game Remake: It has both an official one and a fan one, which is available for free online.
  • Zillion-Dollar Bill: The bottomless gold chest filled with gold coins, never seen nor referred to again (the King's Quest Companion issued with each game suggests this is the reason why none of the Royal family from Daventry seems to carry much money around with them, and generally choose to live without greed).

Alternative Title(s): Kings Quest I


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: