As we look on our childhood experiences, there are a few things that all of us can recall with joy and nostalgia. Movies, music, books..all things capable of catching our imaginations at some point or another helped mold us into our adult selves. For anyone who was fortunate enough to be a youngster during the dawn of the home computer, it is very possible a good amount of time was spent playing the King’s Quest Series.
The original King’s Quest was launched by the American software company Sierra Entertainment in 1984. Although the original game can be regarded as very simplistic, especially by today’s standards, It was one of the original adventure games that incorporated expansive worlds with structure and storytelling. It is considered by many one of the great golden age video game classics, spawning the saga that followed a royal family from the Kingdom of Daventry through various trials and adventures.
Having lost it’s steam in 1998, the Kings Quest Saga was thought to have come and gone, but now in 2015 the developers at The Odd Gentlemen have collaborated and brought us a reboot of the games we enjoyed for so many hours as children with King’s Quest: A Knight to Remember.
- Five-Act Story Arc – An extraordinary saga passed down from one generation to another, King’s Quest unfolds like chapters in a storybook. As King Graham recounts the pivotal moments of his heroic past to help guide Gwendolyn in the present, players’ actions will bring about consequences that ripple out over time to influence both characters’ journeys.
- Live Graham’s Quest – From his aspirations of knighthood to the final battles that shaped his kingdom, players will be able to experience – and even change the outcome of – King Graham’s stories. Many challenges offer multiple solutions, encouraging players to experiment with their inventory and environment for clever ways forward.
- A New Legacy to Discover – Rekindling the magic of the series’ origins, The Odd Gentlemen’s take on King’s Quest comes with the studio’s critically acclaimed flair for fantastical worlds, quirky characters and compelling stories.
The original Kings Quest Saga began with Graham the adventurer seeking the crown of the Kingdom known as Daventry. As the series evolved, Graham would rescue the damsel in distress, make her his bride, and then go on to have children who later had adventures of their own. Much like a book series, the adventure tale continuously evolved, but the series was discontinued without much of an ending.
A Knight to Remember picks up much later down the road. King Graham, now old but still quite spry, tells the tale of his early years to his very enthusiastic granddaughter Gwendolyne. To kick things off, the player guides Graham through a dragon’s lair with the goal of capturing the magic mirror, which is one of the most prominent artifacts from the original series. The Gameplay in this segment is a bit linear, but does a good job of familiarizing the gamer with the movements and executions required to solve puzzles and progress through the game.
The story, jumping back and forth between the past and present, goes on to follow Graham’s first journey to the kingdom of Daventry, when he ambitiously pursued the trials to knighthood in competition with a variety of other knights-to-be.
The game play in A Knight to Remember is very basic in its foundation. Most of the game play consists of collecting objects, conversing with characters, and using logic to continue on. A good majority of the game is spent wandering around Daventry in search of the next clue, and when options are available the game provides prompts in the lower corner of the screen. While this seems simple, there are more than a few puzzles that will leave the player stumped at times, but these challenges are not so diabolical that the player will lose their cool with frustration.
One of most memorable traits of the Kings Quest Saga are the environments that open up throughout the adventure. In A Knight to Remember, The Odd Gentlemen took great care to bring this element back by hand painting all of the three dimensional landscapes. This may have been one of the most ambitious challenges in designing this game, but it really paid off. All of the elements are beautifully rendered, and it all comes to life with a special kind of quality reminiscent of the King’s Quest games when they were at their peek.
Another element that was done extremely well over and over by the folks at Sierra was the development of characters that make up each new fairy tale world as the games progressed. This adaptation was very committed to creating a cohesive group of characters, some very prominent and others that only make small appearances. The characters in A Knight to Remember come to life through every spectrum of the human emotion. At times they are hysterically funny, and when you least expect it, dramatic and serious. The characters created for A Knight to Remember blend together in a way that make Daventry exceptionally believable for a work of fiction.
A lot of care also went into the design of Graham’s character, the would-be knight and adventurer. Not the dashing rogue that many of us remember from the early days, but a bumbling, hyper-charismatic, younger version of himself. Young Graham is not only well conceived as a character, but the rendering of his movements throughout the game are amazingly lifelike right down to his cloak that appears to flow with his movements is if it were real. When the story breaks between past and present, the older Graham (Narrated by veteran actor Christopher Lloyd!) gives you the sense that he is indeed the older and wiser version of this character, but it’s taken him a lot of experiences to get there.
Taking on the challenge of rebooting a series like King’s Quest had to be a daunting one. This is considered one of the great classic series to early adventure gamers, so there were a lot of expectations that needed to be met. In all, The Odd Gentlemen were successful in just about every way that is most important. Above all, they captured the tone from the original series extremely well. The game has an amazing blend of clever dialogue (both in the narration by old King Graham and in character interactions), gorgeous and detailed scenery, and an enchanting musical score that follows a huge scope of dramatic moments as the game progresses.
The challenges of logic in A Knight to Remember are very well thought out and structured. In this particular case, part of the challenge is in decision making. Sometimes, the game can be taken in different directions, and an alternative set of challenges will need to be met to achieve the goals of the game. This provides the benefit of being able to go back and enjoy the game multiple times in different ways. One of the most frustrating parts of the early games were the random deaths that were very difficult to elude, forcing you to try over and over again until you were fortunate enough to get it right. This element does exist in A Knight to Remember, but usually for the purpose of comedic relief, and the game continues painlessly.
For everyone who is familiar with the banner series, there are little nods everywhere you look. Some are harder to find than others, which can make for some nostalgic fun in and of itself. At times, its something Old King Graham mentions as an afterthought, or a strategically placed artifact in the background. There is a particular location in the kingdom of Daventry that all of the old-school gamers are sure to recognize, and it’s that sort of treatment in a game such as this that brings us right back to the old days sitting in front of our first home computer.
This is the first of what will be five chapters that make up the full King’s Quest reboot. At $9.99 we consider this a worth while and enjoyable way to spend a little bit of time. A Knight to Remember has entertainment value that strikes a chord across the emotional spectrum. The visuals are unbelievably detailed, the character interactions are a delight, and the game play is great for a little brain exercise. We estimate that the full game takes about 6 hours of game time to complete, and the environment is close to the same size as the original games, which all went for more than 5 times the price here. A Knight to Remember is available for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.
- Amazingly Detailed in Design
- Thoroughly Entertaining Set of Characters
- Well Executed Reboot of a Classic
- A lot of Time Spent Just Walking Around
- Not All Chapters Yet available with No Set Release Date