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Gaming Days of Old: Reviewing King's Quest I and II
game: King's Quest
posted by: Aaron Stanton
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date posted: 01:37 AM Sun Jan 29th, 2006
last revision: 01:50 PM Thu Feb 2nd, 2006

Click to read.Revisiting Old School:

When the independently developed King\'s Quest IX was saved from extinction by the vocal outcry of the fan community and a rare demonstration of corporate soul by Vivendi Universal, I started thinking about the old days.

King\'s Quest. Space Quest. Betrayal at Krondor. The Dagger of Amon Ra.

These are the classic adventure games that, along with Dune II, introduced me to the world of computer gaming on the 33-megahertz 486 IBM my family had in the living room.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that I could download at least some of the King\'s Quest series in XP-compatible VGA versions.

With the modern emphasis on graphics that we see now days, I couldn\'t help but wonder if these old classics would still be able to hold my attention. Could a game with a three-digit color palate really hold my interest?

My old PC games were sequestered in a worn cardboard box in the back of my attic, dust covered and tattered from age. Opening some of my old games inside was like rediscovering a childhood time capsule. I found an old hand-drawn map in the Quest for Glory box, drawn on graphing paper with a legend marking each significant location. The hut with the chicken feet. The meadow. The thieves guild. Betrayal at Krondor had a list of the best locations to sell diamonds and gems.

Without much hope of success, I decided to try to install some of the old games on my modern PC. The first problem showed up quickly; most of the games came on a number of square discs that I remember from my history lessons were once known as floppies.

Attempting to get the 3.5-inch plastic cup-holders to spin in my DVD-ROM proved absolutely worthless, and I quickly gave up.

Luckily, another option presented itself. AGD Interactive.

I\'ll Give One VGA For Your EGA:

Found at agdinteractive.com, AGD is a fan-run company that ports old EGA classics into a VGA environment. At the moment, they\'ve successfully ported King\'s Quest I and II, and are working on one of my all-time favorite titles, Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire.

The completed ports can be downloaded from their site for free, and installed on your XP gaming environment without any problems at all.

And you\'ll want to do it, too. You\'ll be doing yourself a favor.

Within seconds of loading King\'s Quest I, it\'s obvious that somehow they just don\'t make games like it anymore. Whether it\'s the obviously cheesy humor or the mix of childhood fairy tales, it\'s difficult to put a finger exactly on what makes King\'s Quest so charming. Still, there\'s no doubt that the game series that first made Sierra Online Entertainment a famous name deserved every penny of its praise.

King\'s Quest I is surprisingly short for a game that most probably remember as taking hours to work through. From start to finish, a player that knows how to solve every puzzle can buzz through the game in less than an hour. Yet, if you\'ve never experienced King\'s Quest and have no idea in advance what the solution to each puzzle might be, don\'t expect to be done quickly. The King\'s Quest series follows a logic pattern that\'s fairly unique to the kingdom of Daventry. The puzzles are creative, but ultimately somewhat random.

The King\'s Quest series really begins to come into its own in the second installment, King\'s Quest II. Again, AGD has done an outstanding job of translating the older title into the VGA environment. Here, much of the randomness is replaced by a story, interconnecting elements, and far more dialog between characters. Where King\'s Quest I was filled with unique images, they rarely seemed to be aware of each other.

In King\'s Quest II, however, that changed. One character will give you a hint about another problem, or will reference something that\'s going on across town. The environments are much larger, and the puns much cheesier. However, because of the in-game humor, modern references to the Smashing Pumpkins and the modern mail system seem right at home.

If you\'ve never played the King\'s Quest games, you owe it to yourself to experience them for the first time by downloading the AGD Interactive remakes of King\'s Quest I and II. If you are familiar with the series, than you should download it just for old times sake.

If you want to see how it started, go with King\'s Quest I, but if you want the better game, download King\'s Quest II.

Regardless, the next time you\'re bored, take a moment to experience the old-school side of gaming.

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