Together Retro Game Club: Kings Quest V

Presented by Fastbilly1

New to Together Retro? Don’t worry; everyone makes mistakes. You can get an idea about what we’re doing with our time here.

This month we will be attempting to tackle a very difficult title, 1990’s Kings Quest V.  Released on the PC and the NES, Kings Quest V is a VGA point and click adventure game with a solid story and even talkie version.  This is the kind of the game that you can lose in the first hour and not realize it.  But if you can stick with it (even if you use a guide) this is one fine game that will play out like a story book and may even get you inspired enough to look at what is quite possibly one of the best adventure series of all time.

Gameplay

You control King Graham, for the first time since Kings Quest II, who was out for a stroll when the evil wizard Mordack steals Daventry castle with his wife and kids inside.  Graham is controlled with the now standard point and click interface.  You have a clickable inventory and an annoying Owl that offers you “advice and hints” as you play.  Like all Kings Quest games you need to save often and there is no shame in using a guide after you die a few times.

Ports

Sadly Kings Quest V was only ported to the NES.  Due to the limitations of the NES (which was eight years old at the time), it ended up with some very awkward graphics and everyone’s favorite 80s PC default font for the entire game.  The programmers did squeeze the bulk of the multi floppy game onto one NES cart, which is quite a feat, but it is a far cry from the PC version.  There were also canceled ports to the SegaCD and the AtariST, but no version has ever been found or released to the public for either.

Legacy

Kings Quest V is well known for its difficulty.  It has many dead ends and obtuse solutions.  There is a maze near the end that for some reason is based on the direction the character is facing instead of just being locked in one direction, which of course makes it very difficult.  But the VGA graphics still look gorgeous and the voice acting, while dated, still stands (well for most of the characters, the Owl gives me nightmares).  Kings Quest went on to have two more sequels in the 90s: 7 and 8 (though 8 is more of an action rpg).  Then a followup episodic story in 2015.  There is also a very devoted fan community that has made numerous patches, upgrades, conversions, and fan games over the decades.  One fan game is so well received that it is sanctioned by the series creator, The Silver Lining 

Preferred Version

As stated previously, Kings Quest 5 can be purchased on the NES or PC.  NES will have to be bought on ebay, or your local gaming store.  The PC version can easily be bought on GOG, which comes in a three pack with Kings Quest 4 and 6.  Kings Quest 6 is one of the best adventure games of all time, if not one of the best PC games of all time.

Discussion

When you’ve started into this adventure and would like to share your thoughts, please do so on our forum.


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