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Video Game / King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow

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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, who he met back in the previous game, 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. Quite a lot.

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 re-released for the PC CD-ROM back in 1993). This is due to most of the design being done by Jane Jensen, 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:

  • Actor Allusion: One of the puzzles is based on "Beauty and the Beast". The game stars Robby Benson and Tony Jay, who had recently appeared in the Disney version of that story. (Mind you, the Beast in the game was actually voiced by someone else) though a Nonstandard Game Over can cause Alexander to become a beast himself.
  • Alcohol Hic: For genies,note  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 fifth island as well as the myth about The Night Mare turn out to be true.
  • Alliterative Name: Abdul Alhazred and Shamir Shamazel.
  • And I'm the Queen of Sheba: When Alexander tells a guard dog he's the prince of Daventry, the latter responds that he's the Lord of this dusty path.
  • 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 (albeit only a single tear) 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: In the fiction of the world, all genies are this way. However, conversation with Shamir reveals that he doesn't really like working for a nasty man like Alhazrad and would rather have a master like Alexander, given the choice.
  • Angry Guard Dog: Used literally- the castle is guarded by a regiment of anthropomorphic dogs.
  • Animation Bump: The hi-res character portraits and inventory items in the Windows version are double the resolution of the rest of the graphics.
  • Animorphism: Shamir spies on Alexander while disguised as a snake, a crow, and a weasel.
  • 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...
  • Anti-Interference Lock Up: Princess Cassima of the Green Isles is being locked up by her evil fiance, Abdul Alhazred, allowing him to claim the princess doesn't "want visitors", effectively keeping her isolated and at his mercy while he can take over the kingdom with little to no opposition. Until Alexander arrives, of course.
  • "Arabian Nights" Days: The Isle of the Crown is vaguely Arabic in culture, however it is covered in lush vegetation. The narrator remarks that the architecture is Moorish, which had such architecture in temporal climes.
  • Art Initiates Life: The Magic Paint spell that Alexander can cast.
  • Artistic License – Physics: At one point, Alexander is suspended above a bonfire when a lamp in his pocket, filled with water, begins boiling. If the temperature was hot enough to boil water, it would also be hot enough to boil the blood in Alexander's veins; needless to say, the Prince would have long since expired by that point. In this case, however, it's a literal instance of A Wizard Did It (the lamp and water is magically enchanted).
  • Award-Bait Song: "Girl in the Tower". The game came with an insert asking customers to call up local radio stations to request it. The radio stations weren't happy about it.
  • 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: 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 give 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.
  • Bad Boss: Alhazred constantly commands his genie Shamir by yelling at him. The Genie feels dejected whenever he carries out his orders.
  • Beast in the Maze: There's a literal Minotaur inside a maze (it's even on the box art) that the Winged Ones chuck the protagonist into if he's tenacious and foolish enough to visit their realm. In theory he's trying to save their princess, but mainly it's their attempt to get rid of him. However, if he manages to save the girl and get out alive, they owe him a favor.
  • Benevolent Genie: The guidebook includes a story about a kind genie. Genies themselves in this settling, as described by Jollo, are neither benevolent nor malevolent. They mirror the hearts of their masters. 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. However, if Alexander does get the lamp, Shamir remarks that he would prefer a kinder master.
  • BFS: The Ceremonial Sword near the end of the game. And this fake sword is so heavy that it's hardly possible to carry, let alone wield it in a Sword Fight. Alexander does manage to do something useful with it, though: namely, to use the flat of the blade to knock Alhazred out unconscious while he is distracted by Cassima.
  • Big Bad: Abdul Alhazred.
  • Big Damn Heroes: In the Golden Ending path, King Caliphim and Queen Allaria will do this, along with a "line of supporters, willing to do battle if necessary."
  • 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, who tries to seduce Alexander into being her latest husband.
  • 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.
    • Not played completely straight, however, as there are a few scenes where blood can be seen. Most notably, if the Minotaur gores Alexander, his horns will be bloody afterwards.
  • Boats into Buildings: The Green Isles ferry has been drydocked for so long that it's beyond repair (at least conventional repair). Even so, the ferryman manages to maintain his dwelling within it.
  • Boss-Arena Idiocy: The Minotaur's lair has a chasm filled with burning lava. Alexander only needs to find a way to dump him into it to get rid of him.
  • 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.
  • Break His Heart to Save Him: Implied. Cassima knows that Alexander is fond of her, but she knows how dangerous both Abdul and his commanded genie can be. When she writes a letter to him, she is very formal, with "no words of love, merely friendly concern", treating him more like a brother. She further commands him not to try and help her since she doesn't want him getting hurt for her sake.
  • 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, "I suppose it was intuition."
    • 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.
  • By the Lights of Their Eyes: In the second level of the catacombs, Alexander is represented only by two white dots due to no light being present. If you fail to find a proper light source, they get horizontally farther apart before falling down, implying a very gruesome death.
  • The Cavalry: Caliphim and Allaria arrive with allied forces to save Alexander from getting killed by Saladin on "Cassima's" (really Shamir's) orders in the long path.
  • Celestial Bureaucracy: Tickets are required to enter the Land of the Dead. Nothing else is permitted. Normally, this isn't a problem, as the skeleton gatekeeper will give any ghost one. However, spirits tied to concerns in the land of the living either can't or won't use them. Naturally, as Alexander visits while alive, the skeletons won't give him one, however Queen Allaria can give him her ticket.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In a sense. If Alexander dies, we see his spirit pass through the gates to the underworld. On the long path, Alexander eventually arrives at that same location still very much alive and has to figure out how to get past the ticket-giver and taker.
  • Chess Motifs:
    • Chessboard Land, and the chessboard patterned Harlequin Hills, on the Isle of Wonder, guarded by the Red Knight and the White Knight. The living chess pieces are ruled by the Red Queen and the White Queen, who are always squabbling. In The King's Quest Companion, the queens are known as Ruffina and Blanche.
    • The floor in front of the gate to the Winged Ones is in a checkered pattern.
  • Circling Birdies: We hear a twittering sound when Alhazred gets knocked out by Alexander during the final battle.
  • Climbing the Cliffs of Insanity: The Cliffs of Logic are half puzzle sequence, half Copy Protection! Naturally, if you get a certain puzzle wrong, you tumble to your death.
  • Coins for the Dead: As part of the very laborious, complex and difficult process for Alexander to safely make his way into the land of the dead and restore the princess's murdered parents involves finding a pair of coins on the eyes of a skeleton inside the labyrinth of the minotaur, and paying them to Charon in order to cross the river Styx.
  • Composite Character: Beauty is a mixture of the heroines from Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: The Lord of the Dead, as a result of hearing about and witnessing every tragedy in humanity's history, except his own, for millennia.
    The Lord of the Dead: For thousands of years, I have sat upon this throne. I have heard every sad tale that can be told by human lips. I have seen tragedies that ended empires, injustices that defy reason, love that would light the stars turned cold and hard. I have seen torments that cannot possibly be borne and yet must be. For centuries, this thing I have never done: I have never shed a tear.
  • 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. There's a reason "A master of languages will..." is so easily recognized by Google. No, seriously, see how long it takes for Google to recognize that phrase.
    • To a lesser extent, one room in the Labyrinth has a Last Crusade-style tile floor where Alexander must step on a certain sequence to cross it. There is no in-game hint, but the "Guidebook" contains a poem which lays out the sequence. However it's entirely possible to brute force this sequence through trial and error.
  • Cornered Rattlesnake: Cassima, after Alexander gives her the dagger.
  • Court 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.
  • Covers Always Lie: The game's box art shows Alexander confronting the Minotaur with Lady Celeste in the background. In the game, Lady Celeste is on the other side of the room and is tied down on an altar rather than tied to a wall. The Minotaur was also busy tormenting Lady Celeste and didn't confront Alexander right away. It also gives the impression the Minotaur is the Big Bad and/or Final Boss. Rescuing Lady Celeste from the Minotaur is necessary to advance the plot, but it happens midway in the story, and is not connected to Cassima's captivity.
  • Curse Escape Clause: The Beast's curse can be undone if there was a Maiden to share his life willingly. Note that it doesn't say anything about love, averting the obvious trope.
  • 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.
  • Cutscene: Has a lot, and for some reason the option to bypass them that the previous game had was taken out. Most grating would be when you enter the labyrinth, which has a long talky scene before you get locked in. Beating the labyrinth requires you to have a certain selection of items before you get thrown in, and if you don't have them your only option is to reload a previous save. Then click through the same long exchange about the prophecy and saving the princess before getting to start the labyrinth over.
  • 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, and you can quickly cycle through them with the mouse's right button. 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 spends the game locked in her room. Alhazred claims she requested the dated tradition of being sequestered in mourning. However, he really did it so she can't raise a coup with the guards. She's planning on escape, and just needs to get her hands on a weapon in order to do so.
    • Celeste. The Dangling Participle, although he's male.
  • 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; "KQ6 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."
  • 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: Skeletons dancing in the Underworld, including ones dancing the Riverdance.
  • Descending Ceiling: A trap in the Catacombs.
  • Despair Speech: Invoked by Alexander while pretending to have crossed the Despair Event Horizon in front of Shamir and the Pawn Shop Owner.
  • Developer's Foresight: 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.
  • Digitized Sprites: Like Sierra's other adventure games of the time, KQ6 uses the technique with video-captured actors, albeit painted over by the artists.
  • 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".
  • Divide and Conquer: Alhazred spreads discord amongst the inhabitants of the isles by stealing an important treasure from each of the rulers of the islands and spreading rumors that another ruler was responsible, believing that this will reduce the chance of anyone challenging his claim to the throne.
  • 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.
  • Doomed Predecessor: Alexander learns of a knight who found a way to challenge the Lord of the Dead to resurrect his dead girlfriend. Alexander finds his corpse in the Land of the Dead later on, having failed his quest. Alexander picks up the knight's gauntlet with the ritual challenge written on it which he uses to challenge the Lord of the Dead.
  • 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.
  • Dramatic Irony: The player knows much more than Alexander does, thanks to cutscenes. When sending her gifts through the nightingale, Alexander wonders if Cassima is actually receiving them. She does, thankfully. This reaches Mind Screw levels when the player sees a cutscene where Shamir's lamp is visible, which somehow allows Alexander to guess which replica to choose.
  • 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 DVD: 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 Deader with Zombies: One variety of restless spirit in the Realm of the Dead. Although they're known as ghouls.
  • 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 Eavesdropping: Alexander is Just in Time to overhear Alhazred voicing his true plans for Cassima in a letter to Shadrack.
  • Exact Words: Lord Azure uses this to justify two conflicting orders: Abdul has ordered any foreigner be put to death, but the Oracle has foreseen that the one who solves the Cliffs of Logic will defeat the Minotaur. As Abdul did not specify how to execute the foreigner, Alexander is thrown into the catacombs to face the Minotaur.
  • 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", revealing her to be Shamir in disguise.
    • Also, if you enter the second level of the catacombs, but wait too long before lighting the torch. In the pitch darkness, the Minotaur will show up and tear Alexander in half, immediately after Alexander does this trope.
    • Bill Batter, the Sense Gnome of Sight, also does one of these if he spots Alexander (complete with car horn sound effect).
  • 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. Speaking with Jollo, offering tokens to Cassima's nightingale, and recruiting 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.
    • Alexander is denied entrance to the chess kingdom on the Isle of Wonder, since it's no humans allowed.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Isle of the Crown is based on the Ottoman Empire, while the Isle of the Sacred Mountain is based on The Roman Empire.
  • 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.
  • Fate Worse than Death: The Beast's curse. Not only is he transformed into a hideous form, he's also trapped on the island, and he's unable to die, condemning him to an eternity of isolation. If Alexander fails to break the curse, he also suffers the same fate, but worse, as he also has to be Beast's slave forever.
  • 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.
  • Flynning: The final battle between Alexander and Alhazred consists of them constantly parrying each other's sword attacks. Unfortunately, Alex's sword is a heavy, ornamental one, so he can't keep this up for too long.
  • For the Evulz: Implied. Alhazred's stated motivation for stealing the treasures is to "make the other islands hate each other". The letter from Shardack confirms his motivation to be in order to make the kingdom less likely to organize in protest.
  • Foul Flower: The talking vine on the Isle of Wonder is cute but lethal and strangles Alexander if he comes too close.
    • Downplayed with a flower Alexander finds that is pretty, but has a strong thiol-like scent. It does help him trick the Sense Gnomes, though.
  • 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. It's clear, though, that they're both infatuated with each other, and that Alexander's willingness to go to extreme lengths for her (and vice versa) is a generally solid basis for their relationship. The Golden Ending also implies that quite a bit of time has passed since the ending of the game, given the fact that the islands have stopped feuding and Alexander's family is present.
  • 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. Although he does mention there's a booming business for antique lamps as well.
  • Girl in the Tower: Cassima; the Award-Bait Song is the Trope Namer.
  • Glamour Failure: Shamir the genie can shapeshift, but he retains his telltale golden eyes. The game itself never draws attention to this, leaving the player to figure it out for themselves.
  • 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?
  • God of the Dead: If the player decides to go for the perfect ending, Alexander winds up visiting the Island of the Dead, where the souls of the deceased in the Land of the Green Isles go before heading off to the afterlife. Surviving all the death traps of the island brings him face to face with Samhain, god of death, whom he must challenge and beat to rescue the suffering souls of Princess Cassima's parents.
  • 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 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.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: During the final battle, Alex and Alhazred will occasionally drop their swords and punch each other.
  • Gorgeous Garment Generation: Beauty magically gains royal attire after being introduced to Beast.
  • 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.
  • Grudging "Thank You": Lord Azure's thanks to Alexander come across as somewhat underwhelming, given that Alexander just saved his daughter's life, destroyed a monster that was eating his people and saved a sacred location from being defiled.
"I see you have proven yourself "the hero" of the prophecy. Well, I am expected to thank you for saving my daughter's life... so I thank you."
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy:
    • Instead of trying to overlook the hallway from one position, the guard dogs upstairs the castle patrol in pairs across the corridor, giving Alexander a chance to sneak behind their backs into the Blind Alley.
    • They guard dogs fail to properly search Alexander and remove his inventory before throwing him into the cell. This way, he can escape via Skeleton Key. They'll take it the second time, though.
    • 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 after the labyrinth, and the one book you can actually pick up in the bookstorenote .
    • 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.
    • Perhaps the most difficult puzzle early in the game is figuring out how to pass the Sense Gnomes on the Isle of Wonder. While it's possible to figure out the Smell, Hearing, Taste and Feel gnomes, the Sight gnome could drive you slightly insane due to the clue for the solution only being mentioned in passing. When you ask about the Magic Map, the pawn shop owner mentions that he got it from a wizard's estate, and that he still has some stuff to clear out of the back. You then later see him dumping stuff into the pot in front of his store - the remaining stuff from the wizard's estate. Therefore, the small bottle of ink you get from the pot must be magical in some way, but it takes a leap of logic to figure out that it's invisible ink that you can pour on yourself to turn invisible.
  • Happily Married: Cassima's parents and, later, Alexander and Cassima herself.
  • Happy Circus Music: The Leitmotif of Jollo, the Court Jester, is a happy, calming waltz tune on music box and flutes/calliope.
  • Have a Nice Death: Every death screen, crossed with Puns.
  • Heartbeat Soundtrack: The Last Note Nightmare of "Alexander's Suicide" simulates a heartbeat slowing down to a halt, incurred by Alexander using the "Drink Me" potion to fake his death. As the potion wears off, the soundtrack simulates his heartbeat starting back up.
  • Heir-In-Law: The villain has killed the king and queen and is trying to force their daughter to marry him. He doesn't care about the real princess, being willing to achieve his ends with a shapeshifting genie if required, and he remarks that he'll kill her shortly afterwards. In the end, the hero marries the princess instead.
  • Hellish Horse: The Night Mare.
  • Hero Antagonist: Captain Saladin and his guard dogs, due to Alhazred being their technical liege with Cassima's "mourning". 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; he understandably thinks an assassin bumbled into his room on the day of the royal wedding.
  • 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 launch his spell carelessly. It hits Shamir instead.
  • 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).
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: The guidebook explains that The Winged Ones' attempts to eject the Minotaur are foiled due to the traps in the catacombs and the beast's stealth and cunning, suggesting they would stand a chance against him if he could be drawn into the open. It later reveals that The Winged Ones dare not defy the monstrous creature, as it turns out that simply not giving in to his demands will cause him to leave...and head straight for their city!
    Winged Guard: Bravery and suicide are two different things, human. You'll have a chance to renounce your decision soon enough, when you lay trembling under the Minotaur's hooves!
  • 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:
  • Impossible Task: When Alexander challenges him for the lives of Cassima's parents, the Lord of the Dead offers him this challenge, to the stunned disbelief of the spirits in the chamber: to make him cry.
    Spirit: Make Death cry?!
    Spirit: Sooner could he turn sea to stone!
    Spirit: Or fire to ice.
  • Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: The one surrounding the house of Beauty's stepmother. Justified in that the game says "Alexander doesn't want to intrude onto private property."
  • Invisibility: Alexander can use this via invisible ink to pass the final test with one of the Sense Gnomes.
  • It May Help You on Your Quest: Quite a few items, but in particular, the empty bottle thrown out by the pawn shoppe owner, as "you never know when an empty bottle will be useful."
  • 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.
  • Jealous Romantic Witness: Alexander interrupts the wedding of Abdul and Cassima to try and free his beloved Cassima from his evil clutches. When he gets there, though, Cassima not only insists she loves Adbul, but also coldly demands that Saladin carry out Alhazred's order to execute Alexander. Of course, it's actually Shamir disguised as Cassima, but Alexander is still shaken by it and sadly admits he might've been wrong the whole time.
  • 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.
    • Also the dead knight at the Land of the Dead is wearing a blue feather of his lady, which didn't bring him much luck though.
  • 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.
  • Laughably Evil: Shamir Shamazel, the Shapeshifting Genie who squeals like a girl and gets drunk on mints. Justified, he only follows his master's orders, no matter what their intentions are.
  • Last Note Nightmare: The sad "Alexander's Suicide" seems to fade out, followed by a sudden loud, dissonant note on the strings that descends in pitch accompanied by a Heartbeat Soundtrack to simulate Alexander's heart stopping temporarily due to a fake death potion. In-game, you actually hear the "nightmare" part on its own first when trying out the potion for the first time.
  • 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.
  • Literal Bookworm: Alexander meets a green, bespectacled bookworm on the Isle of Wonder, where pretty much everything is based on a pun. He lives in a junkyard of books and acts a bit rude at first, but when Alexander returns his "Dangling Participle", he gives him a special, rare book.
  • Live Item: The Dangling Participle, Rotten Tomato, and Hole in the Wall.
  • Living Structure Monster: The gate leading to the Lord of the Dead’s throne room is alive and has an appetite for human flesh. Fortunately, Alexander is able to negotiate with it and it allows him to pass after answering a riddle.
  • 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.
  • 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 Daventry's royal mirror in the opening animation, which is the third time it's kickstarted a game's plot like that.
  • 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. Here's a video of all of them in all their gory... er... glory.
    Lord of the Dead: If you are so anxious for death, you might have found it easily enough in the land of the living...
  • 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 Alhazred 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. You've probably seen it several times over when dying. Then you play a swinging xylophone tune to make them dance.
  • Moon Logic Puzzle: Jollo informs Alexander that you can get the Alhazred'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 Cutscene 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.
    • The in-game reason for this, is that Alexander has finally figured out that the creepy guy with gold eyes is spying on him for Alhazred (after seeing similar characters with gold eyes everywhere, advising him to do stupid, fatal things), and thus fakes his death so that he can give misinformation to Alhazred that Alexander is out of the way and the wedding can go forward without a problem. While this has no in-game effect on the ending, the stated effect is that the guards will be more relaxed when Alexander finally infiltrates the castle (and indeed, they are relaxing in the break room when you break in).
  • Morphic Resonance: The shapeshifting genie can always be identified by his Supernatural Gold Eyes.
  • Multiple-Choice Future: The Oracle of the Winged Ones invokes this as a subtle hint that there are two major ways to finish the game:
    Fate is not like the cut of a blade, young one, but rather like the myriad of paths formed when a hammer cracks ice...
  • 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 (Stair Traction Pads! Stop slipping off those narrow staircases!).
  • Near-Villain Victory: Walking into the wedding hall to see "Cassima" enthusiastically declaring her intent to marry the Grand Vizier.
  • Neutral Female: Subverted by Cassima: When she speaks to Alexander, she tells him she wishes to get her hands on a weapon because she's the only one who could get close to Abdul; therefore Alexander slips her a dagger. In the climax, she's tied up. She can use the knife to free herself and then stabs Abdul with it.
  • 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 means he would have never had a reason to go to the Green Isles, which in turn means Alhazred would have been unopposed.
    • Arguably this is mainly because Mordack wanted to marry Cassima for himself. Alhazred merely honored Mordack's request.
    • Also, the good ending has Alexander mention that he'll be able to visit his family often, with Shamir's powers of teleportation. If this is true, then Alhazred could've easily gotten rid of Alexander, by having Shamir teleport him back to Daventry. After all, even if Alexander had decided to go home, how else was he supposed to do so - what with his ship wrecked on the shore and all?
  • 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-Ironic Clown: Jollo is a downplayed example on the "clown" part. While he does work as a Court Jester for Princess Cassima, he doesn't wear facepaint or a Happy Harlequin Hat. The rest of his outfit is rather flamboyant and jester-y, though. And although he has a goofy, Ed Wynn-esque voice, his behavior isn't too clownish either. He is in fact fairly intelligent, but nonetheless very kind and decent to Alexander. His Happy Circus Music theme helps, too.
  • 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 Vizier's sham marriage to Cassima, or if the Beast's curse turns him into a beast. Then, you just get a picture of Alexander's fate on a black screen.
  • The Nose Knows: Tom Trow sports an enormous nose that he can use to smell out intruders.
  • Nothing but Skulls: Death's throne.
  • Oh, Crap!: The genie utter this when his magic bolt bounced off and is about to hit him.
    Shamir: Uh, <hic> Oh.
  • 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) The novelization of the game noticeably changes the source of this clue, so that rather than just showing you the answer with no further context, the entire riddle is shown as well.
    • "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 you figuring out mainly that the clues it gives you are just extremely literal. Not too hard to figure out.
  • Open Sesame: Although the password isn't "Sesame".
  • Orcus on His Throne: The Lord of the Dead. His throne has become part of him, so he can't move any more. He's further bound by shackles and chains.
  • Our Gnomes Are Weirder: There are five rhyming Sense Gnomes on 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).
  • Painting the Fourth Wall: In order to successfully complete the "long path," you have to pick the right lamp from the lamp trader on the street. Finding out what the right lamp would be via a cutscene in-game; Alexander would have no way of knowing himself but thru the player.
  • Permanently Missable Content: 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.
    • In the above case, at least, Stick-in-the-Mud and Bump-on-a-Log taunt Alexander mercilessly for his failed throw and make it very clear that the player has made a mistake.
  • 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. The short path has the player sneaking into the castle wearing Beauty's dress, which is destroyed during the long route.
    • The Labyrinth and Underworld are double examples of this trope. First, after entering them you are unable to leave until you complete the sequence and it's entirely possible to lack required items to do so. Second, after completing the sequence you cannot return and pick up any items you missed making the game unwinnable.
  • Portable Hole: The Hole in the Wall, a strange creature that makes the section of wall underneath it's torso invisible.
  • Power Limiter: Some of the Sense Gnomes each have one to limit their Super-Senses - perhaps to avoid Sensory Overload. Tom Trow wears a clothespin over his large nose, Grovenor keeps cotton stuffed in his huge ears, and Trilly Dilly wears gloves over his oversized hands. Averted with Grump Frump (taste) and Bill Batter (sight), who simply keep their mouth and eyes closed, respectively.
  • 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."
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Several of the antagonists are only a threat to Alexander because they're under orders from Alhazred to stop him interfering in his plans. The guard dogs at the castle don't particularly like Alhazred but are sworn to serve him due to his claim to the throne, and Shamir is obliged to behave in an evil way because the owner of his bottle is evil. He's thrilled to disown Alhazred and accept Alexander as his new master if Alexander successfully gets Jollo to steal his bottle.
  • Put on a Prison Bus: Abdul Alhazred is last seen being taken to the dungeon by Cassima's guards after Cassima incapacitates him by stabbing him with a dagger.
  • 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 Herring: If you've read Aladdin, you'd expect the old lamp seller who trades old lamps for new to be one of the bad guys in disguise. He is in fact just a harmless old lamp seller.
  • Red Right Hand: See Supernatural Gold Eyes below.
  • Replay Value: Not only does the the game have two major branching paths, there are also other Multiple Endings with subtle variations depending upon what you do in the game.
  • Reverse Grip: Cassima employs this against Al-hazred, saving Alexander's life.
  • Rhyming Wizardry: To progress in the game, Alexander needs to cast spells, which requires a rhyming incantation and specific ingredients. The spells are:
    "Clouds of thunder, shafts of light. Come and sup with me tonight. Waters three have I for tea. Brew a tempest now for me!"
    "Magic paint, black as ink. Bring to life, what I think. Make it real, what I draw. According to this spoken law."
    • The "Charm a Creature of the Night" spell, which allows you to befriend and ride on the Night Mare:
    "Creature of the night, to me succumb! Fire and brimstone leave thee numb. Purity bind thee like a chain. To do what 'ere I now ordain!"
  • 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.
  • Saharan Shipwreck: The Green Isles ferry is out of commission, permanently drydocked by the wharf due to a large hole in the hull. The ferryman, now living in the ferry, states even if he repaired the hole, the hull is so severely dry rotted it would fall apart in rough water.
  • 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".
  • Scare Chord: When you are in front of the Lord of the Dead and wait too long, before a quite chilling Non-Standard Game Over.
  • Schmuck Bait: All those people with ominous glowing eyes note  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.
  • Sense-Impaired Monster: The Isle of Wonder is guarded by five creatures called the Sense Gnomes, who each possess exactly one of the five senses, and are under orders from the Big Bad to kill any human that sets foot on the Isle. They confront Alexander as a group, and he must use a different item to confuse each of them note .
  • Sensory Overload: How Alexander deals with Tom Trow, the first guard of the Isle of Wonder who has an acute sense of smell. Alexander simply puts a pungent flower under the gnome's nose, rendering him unable to smell anything else.
  • Shaped Like Itself: If you use the hand icon on the tinder box, you are told, "It feels exactly like a tinder box."
  • Shapeshifting Trickster: Shamir Shamazel, Alhazred's genie. In addition to magic, the mischievous Shamir is a Master of Disguise who can transform into any animal or person he chooses, with only his Supernatural Gold Eyes as the only trait that betrays his true identity. During the game, he usually uses this ability to either spy on Alexander or try tricking the prince into killing himself. In the game's finale, Shamir disguised himself as Cassima in a Real Fake Wedding to allow Alhazred to legally become the sovereign ruler of the Green Isles by marriage.
  • Shipwreck Start: The game begins with Prince Alexander sailing to the Land of the Green Isles after falling in love with the heir to the Isles' throne, Princess Cassima, following the events of the previous game. His ship wrecks on the Isle of the Crown.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Single Tear: Alexander makes the Lord of the Dead shed one manly tear by using the Mirror of Truth to show him his own horrific 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. Subverted later on if Alexander offers it to Cassima while hiding in the wall. She will remark that since her door is locked from the outside, a key, even one that could open any lock, wouldn't do her any good.
  • Smooch of Victory: Cut short by the guard dogs.
  • 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, as he'd had everything lined up perfectly until this unknown element entered the mix at the worst possible time.
  • Spell Book: Holding three spells.
  • Spot the Impostor: Done by Alexander to "Cassima" with the Mirror of Truth in the short path. Done by Queen Allaria to "Cassima" in the long path, since the Mirror of Truth has been destroyed.
  • Standard Hero Reward: Played completely straight in both major paths of the game with both the kingdom and the princess. Somewhat justified, as Alexander and Cassima both like each other.
  • Stepford Smiler: Jollo. Justified both in that he is a professional entertainer, and that he cannot afford to draw the suspicion of the Vizier.
  • Stinky Flower: This game has an item called the Flower of Stench. This blossom is described as smelling like rotten eggs. You must use it to trick a gnome with a superhuman sense of smell, the flower covers up your scent.
  • 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. Justified given that he always dangles his participles.
  • 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.
  • Succession Crisis: The reason Caliphim was receptive to the idea to have Cassima marry Alhazred in the first place, as there weren't any princes in the kingdom until Alexander showed up.
  • 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!
  • Super-Senses: The five guards of the Isle of Wonder all have a single super strong sense, with the rest atrophied into uselessness. There's one for each of sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch.
  • Superstitious Sailors: The former ferryman Hassan (he even has a pirate-style gold earring) has a rabbit's foot, but is quick to offer it to Alexander since it hasn't brought him much good luck lately. Maybe getting rid of it will bring him good luck.
  • Sword Fight: The final battle between Alexander and Alhazred. Occasionally,they drop their swords and use Good Old Fisticuffs.
  • 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 reaches the final confrontation with the Vizier and his 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.
  • Touch of Death: The Lord of Death only need to put his hand on Alex's shoulder to kill him. According to Death's words, at least it was painless.
  • 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?
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable: If you trade in the map for the ring or pearl right before speaking to Beauty when solving Beast's quest, you will end up stuck on the Isle of the Beast. This is because this late in the game, the game will just assume you have the map and automatically transport you to the Isle of the Beast without ever checking if you actually do - leaving you without a means of getting off the isle again.
  • Unwinnable by Design: 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 gathering the Swamp Ooze, which is necessary for the long path but can be Permanently Missable, and you won't know the game can't be won until long after the fact, as the long path consumes the item that gives you access to the short path.
  • Updated Re-release: The CD-ROM version released a year after the original features a longer intro and full voice acting.
  • Uriah Gambit: Lord Azure throwing Alexander into the catacombs with the minotaur is a variation. Since Alexander is both the subject of a prophecy that says he will defeat the minotaur, and the human Alhazred wants dead, Alexander killing the minotaur or being killed by it are both acceptable outcomes for him.
  • 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.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • Subverted consistently throughout the course of the game:
      • "Alexander doesn't want to disturb that skeleton. He seems to have all of his bones intact, and it'd be a shame to break up the set." (if you try to take an attached skull in the catacombs)
      • "The little creature would hardly appreciate taking a bath in that pond!" (if you use Dangling Participle on the boiling pond)
      • "What are you, nuts? Don't put me in that soup bowl of a pond, you crazy human!" (if you use Rotten Tomato on the boiling pond)
      • "Alexander may have used the scythe to cut down the rose hedges, but he's not about to hack through the guard dogs in the same manner!" (if you use the scythe to hack through the guard dogs, in the same manner as the rose hedges)
    • Played straight in some cases:
      • If he has it in his possession, Alexander can offer peppermint leaves to the genie when he is disguised as a gardener on the Isle of the Beast (breaking his facade,) or as an old cloaked man in the Village of the Crown (making him visibly tipsy.)
      • Although he is forced to do it in the short path, Alexander has the option of killing the genie with the mint leaves in the long path as well. However, this decision leads to a less desirable ending.
      • You can make Alexander fall from the lowest part of the Logic Cliffs, causing him to land on his butt and getting angry at you for doing so.
  • Virgin Sacrifice: Lady Celeste (and probably many before her), offered to the Minotaur.
  • Visual Pun: The oyster bed on The Isle of Wonder consists of oysters resting on tiny beds.
  • 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, where almost everything is a pun.
  • 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 Prince 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. The horror of his state is so intense Alexander's Mirror of Truth shatters from displaying it.
  • 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's stepmother is always yelling at her to get more and more chores done.
  • 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. Especially the Isle of Wonder.
  • Xylophones for Walking Bones: Alexander can gain entry to the land of the dead by using a convenient stack of bones as a xylophone to play "Dem Bones" and make the skeleton guards dance.
  • 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 Can't Kill What's Already Dead: Can be invoked.
    Narrator: Charon is already dead. That dagger won't be much use here in the Underworld.
  • You Fight Like a Cow: During their Sword Fight, Alhazred makes fun of Alexander's struggle with the heavy sword.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Kings Quest VI


King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow

Alexander sees Cassima and the way to her in the magic mirror and tells his mother about it.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / MagicMirror

Media sources: