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King's Quest III: Part 8 - Newton's Theories [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
David Newton

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King's Quest III: Part 8 [Apr. 23rd, 2016|08:59 pm]
David Newton
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Right, King's Quest III - you've been playing around with me for far too long but this time I'm going to finish you once and for all.

Right, so if you remember, we had arrived in our true home of Daventry, but it turned out to be just as deadly as the rest of the game. This location is a ruined version of one of the rooms from the first King's Quest - the door into the cave with the stairs to the clouds - which would have been a nice callback for players in the 1980s.

Having explored the possibilities of death by falling in the cave, let's go to the left instead this time.

As futile as bothering to look up the correct word for "futility" in the dictionary. Again, this is a ruined room from the first game - they have taken some artistic licence with where these rooms are in relation to each other, but having vague memories of wandering around Daventry many years ago, this definitely gives off a feeling of... sadness.

And this room to the north gives off a feeling of irritation, due to the infuriating whistling noise that plays repeatedly while you're in it. It's coming from that gnome, so let's talk to him in the hope that he'll stop.

Fair warning, the game gets a bit wordy from here on. The castle is locked and we need to rescue Princess Rosella - got it. Apparently there's a time limit on how long we can take to rescue the princess once we land in Daventry, thus sort of bringing the timer into play again... I don't know what that limit is, but if it even exists, it's too long for anyone to realistically care about.

Yes, that's a locked castle all right. I suppose our only option is to go back and do what the gnome said.

And three entire screens of tightrope-walking later, we get to the top - our diagonal controls get another workout here and it's really pretty simple to stick to the path without dying. In the VGA remake of the first King's Quest, they changed these screens into much more twisted pathways, having looked at the path up the mountain and thinking that it was a shining example of adventure gameplay.

And here we are in the land of the clouds - which is feeling "strangely hot" for a place up above the cloud cover and directly exposed to the sun. It's probably nothing.

Oh, okay. So, our objective here has already been explained to us - we need to beat that giant three-headed dragon taking up most of the screen, rescue Rosella who's standing over there to the left, and that's pretty much it. But to even get on to this screen we're going to need some pretty serious sun-tan lotion.

Incidentally, here's a reminder of how much junk we still have left over from our previous adventures. Personally I think it would have been reasonable for them to just not have restored the non-essential items when you reclaimed your loot from the treasure chest on the pirate ship - it's not as if any of the last three updates have really required anything in the way of puzzle-solving skills. Incidentally, I wonder if the magic map still works?

Hmm. I see.

I reloaded and tried the map out on a different screen in Daventry, and it actually behaves as it does in Llewdor! Locations get filled out as you visit them, and you can teleport around. It isn't useful at this stage, but it's interesting that they bothered to code the ability in.

So - we don't have 9999-factor sun cream like I mentioned before, but we've got something that will just about take its place.

When you use the ointment that we prepared earlier, Gwydion becomes stripey (having rubbed it all over his clothes as well?) Let's take a closer look at that dragon.

kjorteo would probably love it. Still, our circumstances unfortunately dictate that this lizard has to die, and as long as you still have the manual, the method to achieve this is very simple.

There really aren't any puzzles in the game at all once you get on to the pirate ship - everything relies on what you did in Llewdor. Specifically, if you gathered all the ingredients and made all the spells (and survived the totally unnecessary mountain obstacle course) you'll get past this section - otherwise, well, you're stuck with no way to continue unless you reload a much earlier save. In other words, it's classic Sierra.

The screen's colours turn to grey and lightning flashes across the sky - it's a slightly more interesting moment than that makes it sound, as the game hasn't changed the appearance of a location while you're in it ever before. And then the invisibility wears off - I'm not sure if this is timed or if it always happens immediately after the storm. The second is what any reasonable person would think, but as has been made clear over the last seven parts, we're not dealing with reasonable people here.

Hooray, dragon killed, princess saved.

It is, of course, still possible to die - the message is the same whether you're actually invisible or not. I only include this because if you fall off here, Rosella continues her walking animation with her head bobbing up and down and it looks like she's laughing at you.

Have you heard of "protesting too much"? I wouldn't have thought this suspicious at all without prompting, but the inclusion of "brotherly. I said BROTHERLY" in the description just makes it sound weirder than it would otherwise.

Rosella now follows us throughout the rest of the game. I didn't look at what happens when you try using the map to teleport - if you want to see that, do it yourself. She has difficulty navigating the stairs here and is wandering off on her own (as I would too, if I'd seen the kill rate of stairs around this place) but she's always right behind us when we enter a new screen.

Thanks for your help, gnome. Walking north here is the last action we have to take in the game - everything plays out automatically from here on, so I'll let you enjoy the ending sequence we've earned (or more accurately, I earned).

Yes! It's the end!

Oh, go away.

"Enjoyed" might be a bit of a strong term, but I definitely tolerated it. Thanks.

Evidently "three-dimensional" had a bit of a broad definition in those days.

And that's King's Quest III! It's a game that starts off with a unique idea but then sort of forgets about it and stops being interesting halfway through. Absolutely everything once you get on to the pirate ship is just playing along with the game - you don't even need the shovel, you have to wait until you're near land, get your inventory, walk a tremendously long way across some mountains and use three spells along the way (if you made them during the actual "game" part of the game). It feels like the concept of dealing with Manannan O'Hanra-Hanrahan was thought up as the entire game first, and that they later realized that they had to bolt on an entire second section to get you to Daventry - a long stretch in which nothing really happens. I'd have liked to see much more made of that - indeed, when going into this playthrough I thought the entire game was based around it.

Still. That's the end! Thank you for watching along. Perhaps I'll do King's Quest IV next (but I doubt it).

[User Picture]From: kjorteo
2016-04-24 06:03 am (UTC)
"kjorteo would probably love it." Maybe if it were mobile! I can tell just from these screenshots that they put so much effort to into drawing the thing that it's basically a matte painting.

As it stands, I will chalk the poor thing up to being another example of the series' rather confusing mixed messages on violence toward the antagonists. The Daventry royal family isn't quite as well-known for having a no-killing rule as, say, Batman, but it's at least something they try not to do. Even in the very first game, puzzles had alternate solutions and you'd be awarded more points for finding the least fatal one. Yet even knowing that, it wasn't until around King's Quest VII that they finally stopped pulling straight-up murder or attempted murder on the endbosses. And this game confuses me most of all in that regard, because Alexander does non-lethally dispatch Manannan (and even refuses to kick him when he's down!) but then has no problem slaying the dragon.

Anyway, if I had to sum up my impression of this game from your exploration of it, I'd have to describe it as a missed opportunity. They very well could have expanded the Llewdor segment into being the entire game (but then it wouldn't be King's Quest without tying Gwydion back to the royal family, I suppose) and they could have made an entire separate game exploring Gwydion's journey to Daventry and adjusting to life as Alexander. I'm sorry, but even in a magical fairy tale setting like this, you don't just live out the first seventeen years of your life as a slave, then one day find out you're really a prince, reunite with a sister and parents you've actually never met before, put behind the countless mental scars from your evil abusive wizard dad, and just forget the entire first act of the game your life like it was all a bad dream! But they just had to cram it all in, and so everything after defeating Manannan (from about the random cave oracle on) became a giant codex entry-like info dump.

Anyway, congratulations on getting this entire game out in an uninterrupted span before I could finish even one more Dagger entry. :)
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From: (Anonymous)
2016-05-08 10:27 am (UTC)
Stop hack the program!!!
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[User Picture]From: spiveyloo
2017-01-23 03:03 pm (UTC)

Loved this!!!

I so enjoyed this! I was so sad to see kjorteo's Laura Bow posts come to an end but was glad to see links to other LPs. :)
I thought of these posts when someone sent me this. So glad to see other people who were clearly traumatized at a tender age from watching their PCs tumble from ridiculous heights despite our best efforts to keep them on the path. And more than once, I accidentally saved the game as they started falling and had to go back like 30 minutes of gameplay, usually the thirty minutes I disliked the most (read: that cave troll in KQ4).
Anyway, again, really enjoyed this and hope to see more. And now I give you: Stair Quest. http://kotaku.com/80s-gaming-nightmare-returns-to-haunt-us-all-1791491088
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[User Picture]From: davidn
2017-01-24 08:43 pm (UTC)

Re: Loved this!!!

Thank you so much! Kjorteo's adventure through Laura Bow was always a highlight for me as well and it's great to know you enjoyed this one on his recommendation :)

I actually never really played Sierra games until much later in life, discovering them around the early 2000s when I was at university and had unfettered access to a broadband connection and a ton of foreign "abandonware" sites. Having played Lucasarts adventures, the Sierra approach to allowing the user to die or dead-end themselves came as a large shock - I can't believe they allowed you to save the game while falling!

Stair Quest is great - I knew about it due to appearing on one of the authors' podcasts a while ago... it's strange that it's clearly an exaggeration while still being just exactly what King's Quest 3 was like.
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