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King's Quest III: Part 6 - Newton's Theories [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
David Newton

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King's Quest III: Part 6 [Apr. 14th, 2016|07:57 pm]
David Newton
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Our sixth update, leading into what you might broadly call the second part of the game, opens with a hornpipe being bleeped to us over the three-channel Tandy sound chip (from which I will spare you) and a cutscene without you involved (which I don't think has happened before in a King's Quest game, although I could be wrong). Well, it's the ship scrolling from left to right, but it's something.

Yes, we're spending the voyage down here in the cargo hold of a ship where they forgot to build the entire starboard side. Our inventory is looking pretty grim as well:

The pirates apparently intended to trap us here, but have thoughtfully provided a ladder.

Let's be on our way.

Oh, okay.

Sierra. I promise you - that's what it does. In a game where jumping hasn't even been an option before (it gives you the "How can you do that?" response if you try), Gwydion suddenly gains the ability here and it's the weediest jump ever.

Walking a screen right, however, gives us a potential solution.

That's twice in a few seconds that the game has broken rules that we thought it had established - the box doesn't go into your inventory, instead Gwydion carries it around with him until you tell him to put it down (presumably this had to be done to make it clear that you were going to have to do so).

This new little feature quickly proves to be the most irritating puzzle ever, as it's completely unclear where to put the crate once you've got it - I couldn't tell whether the ladder was meant to be more above one crate or the other. Once you've put the box down, you can type JUMP, which will make Gwydion do his rubbish jump straight up and stay on the little crate. If you type JUMP again, he will perform another straight-up jump, then probably twitch off the crate and end up back on the floor.

After much more of a faff than I care to reproduce here, I found this was the correct place for the crate.

And when you JUMP twice from here, Gwydion will suddenly gain the ability to jump diagonally and use it to its full potential to make it the three inches that we need to traverse.

From there, it's just a matter of jumping to the ladder (no animation this time, Gwydion just teleports on to it) and we're on our way.

Now then - on the middle deck, we can see into the captain's r- what? We've missed something? Sigh. Back down again.

So it turns out, as usual, there's a random chance of a pair of mice inhabiting this room where the crate was (and still is, in this screenshot, as I fell off the ladder when attempting to climb back down and died). As we still have the dough made of feathers, fur, snakeskin and wings in our ears, far from being able to hear very little like you would expect, we can hang around and hear their conversation.

Well, that didn't seem very important...

Are you kidding me?! I don't think so, because it's kept this up the entire game. This time, you not only have to keep going back and forth until the random thing you can't possibly know about until it happens happens, but you then have to consider it important enough to wander off and trigger again to get the information you need. And do you know the best part? We're still not finished!

After another back-and-forth to get the mice to appear again, they finally disclose the information that we need. But before I rant any further, I should let you know an important detail - this is a secret. You need to find this information to get the treasure chest later, but the treasure chest itself is only worth points and it isn't used for anything. It is... interesting to see the level of obtuseness with which Sierra hid their secrets, given their standard for things that they plausibly expected the player to discover.

All right. As I was saying, we have the captain's room - we can now see that he randomly appears and disappears from his desk because of course he does. As well as that, we've got access to one of those large twiddly things that ships have, which must presumably have some sort of purpose but I'm doomed if I'm meant to remember the noun to represent it.

See, even the game doesn't know. We'll sabotage that later if we have to. For now, let's sneak into the currently unoccupied room...

Here's our stuff!

Oh, but here's the captain, too. He doesn't like us snoopin' in his quarters.

See, the narration told us. It's weird that he puts it like that, as if he's okay with the prisoner having the run of the rest of the ship. Come to think of it, there wouldn't exactly be harm in that - it's not as if there's anywhere to go.

And there goes our stuff. So how do we get our inventory back without alerting the captain?

Yes, you guessed it - you just reload (or continue, as you have one free chance at getting caught) and do it again, hoping the captain doesn't randomly come out of the room to the left this time.

Oh... piss off, Sierra.

Anyway, we've got our inventory back - there's one obvious way off this ship, so let's pull out the map...

...and teleport ourselves to safety!

Well, I think it's safe to say that didn't work. Even if you select a square that clearly has land in it, when you teleport at this stage of the game you'll fall into the sea and won't get yourself anywhere nearer land by paddling around in any direction, eventually dying when your energy runs out. Let's avoid that by pulling out the magic (and presumably rather soggy) map again, and...

Oh - I'm honestly rather surprised that that worked. All right, so we can now explore the boat - pirates will randomly be on each screen of the deck, and if the sudden surprise chords accompany you on moving into a new room, you have to double back quickly to avoid being caught. The second screen here is above the captain's quarters that we saw before.

What's up here?

Nothing good. (This wasn't a reaction to "get off ladder", which doesn't work - it happens when you climb too near the top of the screen.)

So, we restore again - can I add, by the way, that I cannot work out how to get off the ladders effectively at all? Pressing Up or Down anywhere on the ladder will move you up and down as you expect, moving left and right will shift you in those directions (and as the ladder is slightly diagonal, you have to adjust infuriatingly every couple of feet). Eventually moving away from the ladder will make you fall off it and play Gwydion's dazed animation even if you fell a quarter of an inch. Which I suppose is still an improvement on playing his "dead" animation.

The cook consistently appears in the structure to the left (can you tell that I have no idea what bits of boats are called, by the way?), so let's stay out of there.

And below the other half of the deck (the screen that I teleported back to when I used the map), there's an upturned boat, a comically large number of bunks compared to the three or so people that seem to actually crew this ship, and a non-obvious splat that the game explains is a shovel if you look at the boat. So let's take that - but now what? We've travelled around the entire boat, picked up our stuff, got one new inventory item, but otherwise haven't discovered anything else that we might be able to do.

Yes. This is what the walkthrough advises us to do now - go down and wait in the hold for a while. There really is nothing else to do on the ship despite the large number of surprisingly detailed screens allocated to it (there's one more I didn't show you, the aft of the ship which you can get to by walking left from the captain's quarters or by being caught twice:)

So, we put that window to the background for a while, do something else, and eventually...

...land is sighted! The wooden pirate ship has made it all the way to Daventry in ten minutes flat with its main sails folded, relying on its outboard motor and jet propulsion system.

The timer is back in play again here, as you have six minutes to get off the ship before it sails again (the black market for plundered gold apparently being very efficient in those days). If you don't make it, then there's no way to complete the game!

The walkthrough says that this is where you're meant to use the sleeping powder to make things easier, but I don't really know why because escaping the ship is an absolute doddle:

You just walk up to the deck again, tumble off the side, and move right:

And... escaped. (You have to stay away from that shark, but it isn't all that hard to avoid as you move horizontally at the same speed as it does.) You can even teleport out of the hold, into the sea, and this time you can move right a bit and get to the same screen.

However, in the interest of showing you the "proper" way, let's go back and use the sleeping powder.

You get an "OK" in response to this, but otherwise no evidence that you've done anything.

For some reason I had a lot of difficulty with the incantation here - I tried a couple of different approaches to punctuation and including the "say" verb, but eventually I just reloaded, poured the powder and said it again and it worked.

From here, the escape is identical, except with the addition of sleeping pirates:

From the recipe, I had the impression that this spell would cause people to drop instantly and sleep - not feel a bit tired and decide to take a nap, giving them enough time to go back to bed before actually doing anything. Nevertheless, we eventually get back to the island, and we don't even get any more points for using the powder, so that was pointless.

This is the place that the mice were talking about - and the palm tree is fairly obvious. Count out five paces to the right, and then it's time to use that shovel...

And there it is! For going through all that palaver, we get... seven points. Fantastic. Thanks, Roberta Williams.

All right. So that's the pirate ship chapter done, but seeing as our entire role in this update has been to open a chest, pick up a shovel and then wait ten minutes, I'm feeling confident in continuing. Let's venture on to the north.

Actually, you know what - see you next time.

[User Picture]From: premchaia
2016-04-15 06:02 am (UTC)

… now that's a punchline. Oof!

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[User Picture]From: kjorteo
2016-04-16 05:32 pm (UTC)
Something tells me this may be where you're starting to lose patience with this game.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: davidn
2016-04-17 05:45 pm (UTC)
Oh, this is nothing - wait until you see what's in the next update!
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