Many gamers today are too young to remember the golden age of PC adventure games. Back in the late 1980's, adventure games were limited to text descriptions and simple commands that were typed into a keyboard. Sierra Entertainment was the first developer to create adventure games with graphics, and one of their earliest offerings was called King's Quest. Games like King's Quest paved the way for other classic adventures, such as Day of the Tentacle, Grim Fandango, Sam & Max, and the Monkey Island series. Today, over 25 years later, adventure games are seeing a resurgence. As a fan of the original King's Quest games, I was very excited when I learned that Sierra was going to revive the franchise. Not only will it be a nostalgia trip for me, but a new generation of gamers will be able to enjoy these games as much as I did back in the day.
King's Quest is the saga of a man named Graham and his adventures (and misadventures) in the land of Daventry. This five-chapter revival sees an aging King Graham regaling his granddaughter, Gwendolyn, with tales of his experiences throughout his lifetime. Each chapter will represent a different period in Graham's life. Chapter 1 introduces us to Graham as a young man traveling to Daventry for the very first time in his quest to become a knight. In order to achieve his knightly goal, however, Graham must best the other chivalrous hopefuls in tests of strength, speed, and wit. I found the story to be humorous and engaging, although much of the humor stems from cheesy puns ("Have I ever told you about the time I tried to catch a frog? It was ribbiting!").
The unique cast of characters is notable as well. Each character is memorable, with his or her own personality, which is no surprise considering the stellar voice cast involved. A collection of talented actors and actresses, including Christopher Lloyd ("Great Scott!"), Wallace Shawn ("Inconceivable!"), and Zelda Williams, lend their vocal chops to game’s colorful characters.
The puzzles in the game are clever enough, but none of them are overly complicated or obtuse. In some adventure games, you might have to combine one item with another in order to solve a problem; this is not the case here. Most — if not all — of the items in A Knight to Remember are fairly straightforward in their use. That isn't to say that the game itself is too easy. I still found a challenge in some of the puzzles.
The most interesting thing about the new King's Quest is that it appears some of the choices you make now will affect what happens in later chapters. Early in the game I was presented with a choice to do one of three things, and at that moment the narrator — the elderly Graham — said, "The choice I made that day would have rippling consequences." This realization intrigues me and makes me excited for future installments of the game. The central theme of King's Quest —and for the pivotal choices that need to be made throughout — seems to be: What sort of ruler will Graham turn out to be? Will he rule with his strength, his intellect, or his heart? Ultimately, the choice is up to you.
I look forward to playing the remaining chapters in the new King's Quest. If A Knight to Remember is any indication, Graham’s adventure will be memorable indeed.
Since this is an episodic series, we'll be playing through all the episodes before publishing a final review. Stay tuned to Short Pause as Bender makes his way through the series.