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Title: King's Quest V
Rom Player: PC
Reviewer: Flynn

Synopsis: Released in 1990, King's Quest V is regarded as one of the most groundbreaking PC games of all time. In a time were most adventure games had the crappy parser interface, King's Quest V exploded into the gaming world with an easy to use point and click interface that would be used until the end of the adventure gaming era. Those who had to use the parser system, which required the player to type out the protagonist's every action, know what a complete pain in the ass it was. You had to type your command exactly how the game wanted you to, and this could lead to frustration. Take this example from the game Space Quest 2:
Flynn: "Get Cup"
Flynn: "Get Glass"
Flynn: "Get Goblet"
Flynn: "What the fuck do you mean you don't understand goblet?"
Flynn: *Smashes Computer With Sledgehammer*
Stuff like this always seemed to happen, so, needless to say, we gamers were extremely pleased with the new interface.

The interface wasn't the only revolutionary aspect of King’s Quest V, however. This game, unlike any other game before it that I am aware of, actually talked to you. That's right, Sierra hired voice actors and every character in the game spoke. In fact, with the narration, there was really no need to read any text through the whole game. Remember, this was 1990, a time when bleeps and bloops were still present in many games as sound effects. To hear human voices come out of a person's computer was the coolest thing most people had ever seen. The artwork was also top notch, being light-years ahead of any other game released at that time.

With the great interface, voice acting, and the beautiful artwork, many gamers believed they were looking at the greatest PC game of their time. Then they got 20 minutes into Absence Makes the Heart go Yonder and realized this: It is the most frustrating piece of shit ever to be burned onto a CD. The story, at first glance, looks interesting enough, even if it is stupid. In the game, you are the heroic King Graham of Davantry. In one of King Graham's previous adventures, he apparently pissed of the evil Wizard Mordack, who, in this game, attacks Graham's home castle and shrinks it to pocket size. Mordack then takes the castle off to his Fortress of Doom™, and it is up to King Graham to get it back. Following Graham on this adventure is the talking owl Crispin, who you will learn to loathe with a vengeance over the course of the game. Crispin will provide excellent advice during the game. For example, if you are approaching a cave that has human bones littering its exterior and screams emanating from within, Crispin will pipe in "OOO that cave looks dangerous Graham." These keen observations continue through the whole game, making you wish you had a "Strangle Owl" option in the interface. With Crispin's help you eventually make it to Mordack's tower and recover your castle, saving your family. Everyone lives happily ever after, at least until the next King's Quest abomination.

Standing between you and Mordack's tower are the most idiotic puzzles ever devised in an adventure game. Solutions to problems are retarded, often making no logical sense whatsoever. For example, at one point of the game, you are assaulted by a ten foot tall man-eating snow monster. How do you deal with this beast, you ask? By throwing a pie at him. Makes perfect sense to me. Later in the game, you meet a monster and must dispatch him using a bag of peas. Are these puzzles intuitive or what? A bag of peas is certainly the first thing I’d pick to slay a monster. These “brainteasers” cause you to click every item in your inventory on a problem, whether it is a monster or simply a locked door, until something works. This greatly takes away from the fun of the game. Also a problem is the fact that the game allows you to proceed when you do not have all the inventory items you will need at a later stage. This means you can run into situations were you need an object from the beginning of the game that you failed to pick up. The logical thing to do is go back to these areas and retrieve said item, but this sadistic POS game won’t let you. This means you will have to completely start the game over so you can get the item and finish the game. Because of this, King’s Quest V is virtually unplayable without a good walkthrough. The walkthrough will also be needed for its maps, as there are several mazes scattered throughout the game. The mazes, especially the last one in Mordack's tower, have few landmarks in them, making them almost impossible to navigate without the above mentioned map or a hell of a lot of luck.

Besides moving through horribly difficult mazes, the designers of the game also apparently thought gamers love dying and reloading save games, because there are approximately 98 billion ways to die in the game. The vast majority of them make absolutely no sense. For example, strolling into the village inn, a building a stone's throw away from a friendly bakery and a toy store, will cause you to be murdered by gangsters. Rubbing a magic lamp will cause you to be murdered by a genie. Talking to a sleeping bandit will cause you to be murdered by murderers. The game designers also put a number of well concealed bottomless pits everywhere in the game, so when you think you are out of danger and haven't saved for a while; you will fall to your death. Yippee Ki Yay.

All in all, despite the excellent graphics, King's Quest V is a torturous experience. Many hold this game up as one of the greatest of all time, but I cannot disagree more. Avoid this piece of garbage like a kick to the crotch.

Best Cheats: Go online and get a walkthrough. Unless you're Roberta Williams, you will not be able to complete the game without it.

Game Play: 1
Graphics: 10
Music/Sound: 8
Originality: 3
Overall Rating: 1


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