Publisher: Sierra Entertainment
Rating: E 10+ for Everyone Ten and Up
Upon the announcement of a new King’s Quest game, fans have gone wild to see more of the classic series after about ten years of non-canonical content. Being a long-time fan of the fantastic series starting in the 1980’s, I was excited to purchase King’s Quest Chapter 1: “A Knight to Remember,” especially after all the waiting on the last episode of the Silver Lining from Phoenix Online Publishing. This game is a treat for old and new fans alike!
Aged Graham tells his young granddaughter Gwendolyn the story of how he became a Knight of Daventry. Young Graham faces many trials as he seeks knighthood. He faces the stronger, faster, more-skilled, and far more clever opponents as he battles wedzel wolves, outwits trolls, wrestles on a floating island, and even fights a mighty dragon.
Violence/Scary Images: There is nothing noteworthy. The wolves in the creepy forest and some skeletons in the dragon’s lair could be a bit scary to younger players, but little else is remotely questionable. The violence is light: shooting arrows and fighting with a dagger. No blood. A man is covered in bee stings if you make a certain choice in the game.
Language/Crude Humor: No language to speak of. There may have been some mild crude humor but nothing of note.
Sexual Content: Not even a kiss.
Drug/Alcohol Use: The only instances close to drugs includes the usage of potions;one in particular puts the user in a state of hypnosis.
Spiritual Content: The magic could be questionable for some people, but there is no chanting—just minor mixing of spell ingredients.
Other Negative Themes: You can steal in certain parts of the game or trick people into doing things, but you have the moral choice not to. Your negative actions do have consequences though.
Positive Content: KQ exhibits many themes of kindness, compassion, sacrifice, and bravery. You have the choice to what virtue you’re the most strong in.
The gameplay is fairly simple. You use the control keys to move in the respective direction, and at some points you have to jab them rapidly to paddle away or jump over obstacles and the like. The spacebar is used to look or interact with items when an icon appears on the screen that you can do so. At some points in the game you can fight with a bow where you use the arrow keys to point and the spacebar to shoot. You access your inventory via the tab key and by standing in front of certain items; you can interact with people using the same items that are in your inventory.
This is pretty different from the original series’ gameplay where you can look and interact with nearly anything you want. You may not have gotten something in return, but you’ll get a snarky commentary if anything. Some of that in is in this game, but not to the extent as the classic KQ games.
In KQ Chapter 1, the camera views can be a bit confusing as you can’t change them at all. Unlike the old games, they aren’t stationary cameras for a whole screen but they move as you do which can be cool, but also hard to see at times. I couldn’t find a certain location for a long time because the camera didn’t allow me to see the entrance at one point.
The flavor of the classics is kept in this one with some new elements. You still have puzzles like in the old games, but in this game you have arcade elements similar to but not to the extent of King’s Quest: Mask of Eternity.
Like the original, KQ Chapter 1 is high fantasy with magical creatures, items you have to find, and quests to go through to complete other quests, However unlike the old games references to fairytales and mythology are absent. I personally miss this. One of my favorite parts of the old games was doing things like defeating the Minotaur in his labyrinth to save the princess or being Goldilocks in the Three Bears’ House or sneaking into the Arabian Knight’s camp. Perhaps they’ll add this back in the next chapters. I hope so.
Another slightly disappointing element of the game is that the maturity of it has been lowered to a degree. Unlike the old games, this one is geared more to younger players. The older games are more mature often with adult elements such as scantily dressed maidens or bloody deaths. I hope this change in tone won’t put off players of the old games who are adults by this time.
On the positive side, the graphics are absolutely beautiful. The scenery is lush and the characters are rendered in great detail. Many hints to the old games are given such as a painting of Alexander fighting the Minotaur from King’s Quest VI: Heir Today Gone Tomorrow, and Graham referencing the magic fruit from King’s Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella. The original designs of the characters are kept such as Graham’s signature grey hair, feathered cap, and red cape.
The voice actors chosen are top notch. Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future trilogy) plays old King Graham, Michael Keaton (Disney’s Hercules) plays Young Graham, Wallace Shawn (The Princess Bride) plays Manny the short, but clever knight, and Zelda Williams (The Legend of Korra) plays Amaya Blackstone the rough and tough blacksmith woman to name the top few. Each does a fantastic job in their respective roles. Manny has a scene that’s a humongous reference to the Princess Bride that had me laughing. This keeps in the tradition of King’s Quest games having great voice actors when the technology allowed.
The soundtrack is beautiful with many themes taken from the originals such as the diddy that plays when the logo comes up and even the ant theme from King’s Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder!. This game has a full orchestra sounds and is positively lovely.
King’s Quest Chapter 1: “A Knight to Remember” is a good start for this new series—especially with what happens in the end (play the game to find out). I’m very intrigued to see what direction The Odd Gentleman is going to take this new installment to the saga. Usually the first episode to a series of games like this has rough start and the next gets better. I’ll definitely buy the next episode when it releases later this year!
The Bottom Line
King's Quest: A Knight to Remember is a great start to the new saga of King's Quest games. It is full of nostalgia and has beautiful graphics, though I hope the games mature a bit as they go.