I grew up playing adventure games and I have a lot of fond memories of playing King’s Quest on my old IBM PC when I was roughly 10 years old. It made me a fan of the other games that bore the Quest name. I loved the Space Quest, Police Quest as well as Leisure Suit Larry adventure games Sierra On-Line produced. But sadly, the adventuring well dried up and the number of adventure games dwindled.
So, when it was announced that Activision commissioned a developer called The Odd Gentlemen to make a brand spanking new King’s Quest game, I was cautiously optimistic. I was excited that, after so many years, we were actually going to get a new King’s Quest game! However, its story wasn’t written the Roberta Williams, the woman that wrote all of the previous entries in the series. So, yes, I anticipated the game with trepidation.
Like most of the reviews here, this one will be SPOILER FREE! So, read on without worry of me revealing anything!
If you’re a veteran of older Sierra games (like me) and played all of the previous King’s Quest, you’re probably wondering what other stories can they tell? Well, we never found out how Graham actually became a knight of Daventry, have we? Yes, the latest King’s Quest is actually a prequel. But at the same time, it isn’t. The entire tale is actually being told by the elder Graham, who’s already the King of Daventry, to his somewhat tomboyish granddaughter, Gwendolyn.
Your actions actually influence the flow of the story and may change the “lessons” Gwendolyn learns. While this game definitely takes inspiration from the older Sierra games, A Knight To Remember is more reminiscent of the recent Telltale Games adventures like The Walking Dead. At some points, you may be asked to make a decision that will have long lasting effects in future episodes of the series. How much you like this direction will depend on how “hardcore” a Sierra fan you are. Personally, I liked this direction as it makes the game much more replayable.
There’s a lot of slapstick as well as off-beat humor in this game, which seemed really strange to me. I’ve always thought of King’s Quest to be the “straight man” of the Sierra games, so to speak. The series wasn’t as funny as Space Quest or Leisure Suit Larry. Even Police Quest had a lot of comical moments, much more than the King’s Quest game. So seeing that A Knight To Remember actually has a lot of jokes and puns (so many puns) was kind of distracting. I guess it does work for the tone The Odd Gentlemen were going for but seeing the a young Graham act like a naive idiot looked weird. Most of the jokes were… okay. None of them made me laugh out loud but the game did get me to chuckle once or twice.
The game is downright beautiful. The characters do look beautiful and they’re all well animated. From the younger Graham’s cloak fluttering behind him as he traverses Daventry to the somewhat herky-jerky movement of one of the knights (can’t reveal his name since it’s a major puzzle!), you can see that The Odd Gentlemen put a lot of work into animating each character. The backgrounds are really well-done and extremely detailed. It’s nice that they actually went “old-school” and went with painted backdrops, which makes it seem you’re playing a Disney cartoon!
But, even with a game this gorgeous, you will get tired to them. There is a lot of backtracking involved and you will have to go from one place to another which can be tiresome. It wouldn’t be much of a problem if the areas were laid out in a grid pattern but you will have to memorize Daventry’s layout since there is no in-game map (as far as I know). Thankfully, the map is pretty compact so you won’t get lost… too much. It can be annoying to take a wrong turn when you just got a new item and want to try out a theory or possible solution to a puzzle.
Speaking of puzzles you may be tempted to pull out a walkthrough or guide to get the solution but I highly recommend you don’t. The puzzles in A Knight To Remember strike a good balance in difficulty. They all have a certain logic to it and will actually seem pretty obvious once you figure out the answer.
The voice acting and casting is good overall but Christopher Llyod’s performance as King Graham definitely stands out. Getting Christopher Llyod to play the grizzled King Graham was a brilliant decision. He delivers his lines with relish and uses a pitch perfect tone that makes King Graham sound like, well, a king! While none of the performances are bad, they just can’t compare to Doc Brown… I mean, Christopher Llyod’s!
Overall, I do think King’s Quest: A Knight To Remember is a very good. The only real negative I can say is that the overall tone doesn’t fit the King’s Quest I remember from before. At times, it didn’t really feel like I was playing a King’s Quest game because of all of the jokes and action sequences which the original games didn’t have. However, if you take the game on its own merits, the first episode of King’s Quest is an excellent game. I’m really glad The Odd Gentlemen created a game that could be enjoyed by not only old fans, but by all gamers.
Have you played King’s Quest: A Knight To Remember? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments section below!