Monday, 21 May 2012

Game 18: King's Quest IV - Won!

Rosella Journal Entry 3: “I’ve done it! Not only did I find the magic fruit I needed to save my father, I’ve also managed to retrieve Genesta’s talisman from Lolotte, simultaneously destroying that evil witch. After much searching, I found my way past the waterfall, which led me to a maze of caves and then swampland. It’s here that I found the magic fruit, but with no way to get home to my ailing father, I had to continue my quest to find the talisman. Thankfully I found an item behind the waterfall that allowed me to get past the bulldog in the ogre’s house. A bone! It wasn’t long afterwards that I had the golden egg laying hen in my possession, but Lolotte then demanded I find Pandora’s Box without giving me any hints as to its whereabouts. I spent the next night digging up coffins in the cemetery, finding items to return to the unsettled spirits in the spooky house. Once I’d returned all their items, I was rewarded with the key to the crypt, which is where I found Pandora’s Box. I reluctantly took this third item to Lolotte and she “rewarded” me by demanding I marry her son Edgar. Fortunately, Edgar doesn’t contain the evil heart of his mother and helped me escape. I shot the last of cupid’s arrow into her heart, took the talisman, saved Genesta, and then my father!”


The Ogre's House: At the end of my last post I kept being eaten by the bulldog inside.

At the end of my last post I had 76 points out of 230 so it might seem surprising that I’ve now finished the game. There are two reasons why that came to pass. Firstly, I played the game for five hours over the weekend, taking my total time spent on the game to ten and a half hours, by far the longest I’ve spent on a Sierra adventure game so far. In fact, the only game I’ve required more time to complete was Mortville Manor and it’s safe to say that the hours I spent on King’s Quest IV were far more enjoyable than the ones I spent on that French mystery. The second reason I was able to complete the game is because the majority of the remaining puzzles were fairly straight forward. Not all of them mind you, but none came close to the sheer difficulty of the whale puzzle. Also, with only a few remaining locations left in the game that hadn’t played much of a role, the screens of focus became more and more obvious. There’s much to get through, so let’s begin…
 

It doesn't help that the game doesn't let you look at your inventory at times when you really need it

At the beginning of this session, I was trying to find a way to get past the bulldog in the ogre’s house to get my hands on the hen that lays golden eggs for Lolotte. Unfortunately, we’ll never know how long it might have taken me to figure out the solution to this puzzle, as a reader left me a comment (not in ROT13) saying “There’s one thing in your inventory you haven’t found a use for yet. Once you do, and use it in the right place (think edges), you’ll find a way to get past the bulldog.” I don’t want to point fingers at Cinnabar here as he’s by no means the only commenter that has put spoilers in the comments without using code, but I’m currently having to pretty much avoid reading comments on my posts until I finish games so as not to read unwanted spoilers. This would obviously limit my ability to interact with you guys, so I’m working on a very specific spoiler system for future. Stay tuned!


I know you're all eager to help, but sometimes your comments reveal more than you might realize

As it turned out, even knowing what Cinnabar said, I still struggled to figure out what I was supposed to do next. When looking at my inventory, the two items that had been in there the longest without any use were the flute and the golden crown I got from the frog in the pond. I’d played the flute at every single screen I could get to, so I doubted that was involved in the solution. I thought about what the crown might be for and when combined with Cinnabar’s suggestion to “think edges”, all of a sudden the waterfall seemed to be the place where something might happen. I went to the waterfall, typed “put on crown” and watched as Rosella turned into a frog, swam underneath the waterfall and came up in a cave on the other side. For some reason I just never expected that the crown would turn me into a frog, despite the fact I retrieved it from a prince who had undergone the same transformation. Is that what happens in the fairy tale?


Suddenly the game world didn't look quite as small as it did before.

Once behind the waterfall, I picked up a plank of wood then made my way through an impenetrably dark cave system. To get through the caves, you have to have the lantern from the dwarfs, but lighting it doesn’t actually reveal anything around you. I basically had to feel my way through the darkness while avoiding a nasty troll that kills you on contact. It’s one of those annoying Sierra adventure standards where whether or not a creature or character is on a screen is totally random. If the troll was there, there was no way to avoid him and I had to restore. If he wasn’t there, then nothing else stood in my path. Nothing except a nastily placed crevice that is! Once I knew exactly where the crevice was, I had to type “lay down board” to create a small bridge across it in the darkness. This might sound difficult, but it took me only a few minutes to get through the caves and out the other side to the swamp.


Either this cave is supernaturally dark or this lantern is really, really shit!

The swamp was reasonably straightforward. I say reasonably because I did get stuck for about ten minutes at the very beginning. If I walked into the swamp I would sink within just a couple of steps. If I put the crown back on, I did turn into a frog and dove into the swamp, but a swamp monster ate me within a couple of seconds. I’d noticed when first entering the screen that there were mounds of grass across the swamp which could possibly be used as stepping stones, but had given up on the idea after trying to use the plank of wood to reach them. When I focussed my attention back on them, the first thing I tried turned out to be correct. “Jump”! I jumped from tuft to tuft all the way across the swamp until I was confronted by a gap I couldn’t jump across. On the other side of the gap were a vicious cobra and a tree containing the fruit I needed to save my father!


Those damn French swamp monsters are always after me legs!

My immediate thought was to use the board again and this time it was correct, but I needed to do something about the cobra. The solution was obvious, so I typed “play flute”. Finally the use of the flute was revealed and I quickly plucked the fruit from the tree while the cobra was hypnotised and made my way back through both the swamp and the cave system. It was only on my way out of the caves that I noticed the bones sitting at the entrance. Remembering that Cinnabar had told me what I needed to pass the bulldog would be on the other side of the waterfall, it suddenly occurred to me that I might need to pick one of them up. I was able to pick up a bone, and once again I have no idea whether I would have seen it had I not had his words in my mind.


I'm not sure whether it was Rosella's playing or the way she sways from side to side that hypnotized the snake

I headed straight back to the ogre’s house with my bone and threw it as soon as the dog approached me. It worked, and he happily chewed on the bone while I explored the house. Upstairs was the ogre’s bedroom where I found an axe, but couldn’t see anything else to do there. Downstairs was a kitchen and a pantry, but entering the kitchen caused the ogre’s wife to attack and kill me. The pantry was empty, but I noticed I could look through the keyhole in the door. While I was playing around in the house, I received a message telling me the ogre was arriving home, and quickly hid myself in the pantry. While I watched him sitting at the table through the keyhole, his wife brought him the hen, and he fell asleep. I was then able to walk out, pick up the hen, and leave.


Here it comes. Oh yes! It's a gold egg!!! I'll just take this egg and...and...zzzzzzz

I immediately took the hen to Lolotte, fully expecting her to give me yet another fetch task. She didn’t disappoint, and sent me on my way to find the mysterious Pandora’s Box. I had a fair idea of where to start my quest. Now I had the axe from the ogre’s house, I figured I might be able to get past the creepy trees in the groves to the east. By typing “use axe” on any of the three screens containing the trees results in them cowering in fear, so I no longer had to worry about them picking me up and killing me. I was then able to reach a screen I hadn’t accessed before…the witches cave. Inside were three witches, all sharing one glass eye to see. The witches were pretty easy to avoid as only one of them can chase you at a time, but I couldn’t see anything around the room that was of use to me. Eventually I focused my energy on the witches themselves and in particular, the glass eye. I simply walked up to the witch that was holding the eye and typed “get eye”!


 After numerous defeats at the hands of Skeletor, He-Man was finally forced to downsize Castle Grayskull

The witches were obviously not very pleased that I’d pinched their only form of sight and begged me to return it to them. I saved my game so I could see what happened if I did return it, but the answer was not to my liking (they killed me). I wandered around the room a bit longer, but in the end had to assume that the eye had a use elsewhere in the game, so I left. Standing outside the cave, I pondered what I might be able to do with a glass eye. I looked at my map, but could find no screen where an eye might do anything. Before I went walkabout to see whether getting the eye had set something else into motion elsewhere (which wouldn’t be strange for King’s Quest IV), I decided to go back into the cave one more time to see if I could find something else I’d missed. To my surprise, as soon as I re-entered the cave, the witches begged me for the eye and offered to give me a gift if I returned it (you have to leave with the eye and then come back). I agreed, and the witches gave me a scarab that would ward off the undead. Interestingly I could have walked out with the eye, but I noticed I got points for returning it to them.


We spy with our little glass eye, something beginning with...

This particular solution isn’t all that painful as you’re likely to wander back to the cave at some point out of desperation if nothing else, but I wonder how many players got the eye and then wandered around aimlessly for an hour trying to find something to do. It’s a perfect example of how King’s Quest IV has a tendency to make things that are fairly simple much more challenging than they might have been (fishing off the pier is another example that relies on timing and perseverance rather than logic).  Moving on, as soon as I left the cave with the scarab, I received a message telling me it was now night time. There was really only one place left on the map where nothing had happened, and that particular place seemed an ideal place to visit after dark. The cemetery!


 ...m

On my arrival to the cemetery, I was shocked to find zombies lumbering about! Thankfully, the witches promise held true and the scarab protected me from them, causing them to bury themselves back in the graves from whence they came. Other than the walking dead, there was nothing else of note in the cemetery, so I re-entered the spooky house next to it. As soon as I did, I was informed that there was a baby crying upstairs. I followed the sound and found a very creepy sight indeed. The crib in the nursery was rocking and I could hear crying from within it, but there was no baby to be seen. A ghost baby! I tried soothing the baby, picking up the baby, singing a lullaby to the baby, but nothing worked. It was then that I had a “eureka” moment! If the baby is a ghost, then it must be dead. If it’s dead, then it’s likely to be buried in the cemetery. If the baby won’t stop crying, maybe I need to find its grave and use the shovel to retrieve an item?


No good story is complete without zombies!

My thought was bang on the money, but it did take me quite a while to find the right grave. You’d think solving the puzzle held enough challenge for the player, but they placed the baby’s grave in the far distance, partially covered by the tree. Add to this that if you use the shovel too many times it breaks, causing a dead end. Long story short, I retrieved a rattle from the grave and took it to the baby. It took it and stopped crying. I was then alerted to the sound of chains downstairs. Basically I spent the next thirty minutes moving between the house and cemetery, digging up graves to collect items needed by the numerous dead in the house. On each occasion I had to wander around the two cemetery screens, reading tombstones to try to find the one that matched the requesting ghost. It was reasonably enjoyable, but became repetitive after I’d satisfied three spectral inhabitants out of five.


Yeah, the stone right at the very back that you can hardly see!

Eventually I found out what the trapdoor I saw in one of the bedrooms was all about. I followed the ghost of a little boy up a ladder into the attic, where he sat on a chest. He disappeared after I retrieved a toy horse for him from his grave, so I was free to open the chest. Inside was some sheet music, which I took up to the organ I'd played on earlier and put to use. When I finished the piece, a little drawer appeared from out of the organ and in it was a key! I knew straight away what door that key was going to unlock, and quickly made my way out of the house and straight to the crypt in the eastern cemetery. I unlocked the door and entered, finding myself on a ledge overlooking an Egyptian looking crypt.


So many things that baffled me earlier in the game had relevance later on

I could see Pandora’s Box on the ground, but I assumed I was going to have some difficulty getting down to the ground to pick it up, and would probably face some sort of trap on the way. To my surprise, there was a rope ladder sitting on the ledge, just waiting for me to use it. I climbed down the rope and a mummy came out of a tomb and attacked me. As with the undead in the cemetery, he was scared off by the scarab, so I was able to walk across the room, pick up the box, and then walk out. I can only assume any difficulty people face here would be because they don’t have the scarab, but I can’t see how anyone could get the crypt key without it as the zombies would kill them before they could dig anything up. Oh well, I can hardly complain about an easy puzzle can I!


This is surely a trap of some sort right? Well...no actually. It's piss easy!

 Alright, so I had Pandora’s Box. Surely Lolotte couldn’t send me on another item retrieval quest! Well, she didn’t, but she did decide that now that I’d proved my innocence, she wished me to marry her son Edgar. I was locked away in his room (he was sent to sleep elsewhere) and would have been married to him the very next morning had he not helped me to escape. He left a rose with a key attached under the door so I could get out of the room. As long as I kept my distance from the winged demon guards that all happened to be sleeping on the job, I was free to wander the castle. It didn’t take me long to find my possessions and to make my way up the ridiculously awkward staircases to Lolotte’s bedroom. I tried taking the talisman from around her neck, but she woke up and incinerated me. One look at my inventory and the last of cupid’s arrows stood out as a possible solution. I fired it at her and apparently the love it contained was too much for her!


You cringe, as you watch the final scene unravel and find that LOVE truly does conquer all

 I picked up the talisman and accepted Edgar’s thanks for killing his evil mother. I then collected the hen and Pandora’s Box from the storage room and let the unicorn go free before leaving Lolotte’s castle once and for all. The only thing left to do was to swim back to Genesta’s Palace, where the fairy gladly accepted her talisman back and thanked me for saving Tamir. Strangely, Edgar then proposed to me, but only after Genesta transformed him into a charming prince to match his brave persona (apparently ugly people can’t be nice). I declined and instead had Genesta send me back to my father to give him the magic fruit. The game ends with King Graham deciding the fruit had given him back enough energy to go adventuring again. I guess that explains why Graham becomes the protagonist once again in King’s Quest V. That’s it! King’s Quest IV is finished, and I earned 226 points out of a possible 230. Gotta be happy with that!


From what I can tell, the four points I missed were for not returning Pandora's box to the crypt.

Session Time: 5 hours 00 minutes
Total Time: 10 hours 30 minutes

34 comments:

  1. I'm just amazed that you avoided the dead ends on your first try. Congratulations!

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    1. You'll have to tell me what they are now. It's hard to tell because everything is time triggered. Can you get in the whale without the feather? The only ones I know of for sure involve using up the shovel or arrows unnecessarily but I've played too many adventure games not to restore after every failed use.

      Oh...and thanks! :)

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    2. I don't remember KQ4 being harsh with dead-ends. Most of them require only a short backtracking. Is it even possible to use the shovel before starting the mansion episode? Of course the arrows could cause that, but that is really obvious..

      Just wait for the next game ;) (no rules about spoilers published yet..)

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    3. I think that one possible dead end involves the jewels. You might have given them to the fisherman without offering them to the dwarves and you would not have then gotten the lantern. In addition, I am not sure if you could retrieve the axe from the ogre's house, if you ignored it the first time.

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    4. Getting in the whale without the feather is possible (just saw it in Youtube). Most likely it is also possible to get to the deserted island without a fish.

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    5. Yes, I can see how you'd get to the island without the fish, and given how much trouble I actually had catching it, I'm sure a few players have been caught out.

      The axe and jewels totally make sense too. I guess I was luckier than I realised! Unlike Gold Rush, it appears I played the game in the order the creators wanted me too this time.

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    6. There's another long dead end in this game that got me the first time I played it. If you wander around long enough for night to fall on its own, and you haven't been through the whale yet, you're hooped. The whale no longer appears after dark - in fact, you can no longer even enter the ocean without drowning. So it's basically game over, only you're not given any notice that the game is no longer winnable. As you've discovered, KQIV certainly doesn't do any hand-holding as far as letting you know if you're still on the right track or if you've blundered into a "dead man walking" scenario.

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  2. wow, a good effort there. I wonder what would have happened if you accepted the marraige proposal.

    Here's an interesting question. You're soon coming up to games that have speech (or have versions with speech packs). This obviously comes to personal preference as it has no bearing on us readers, but will you be putting up with terrible voice acting for the whole experience (I ask because last year i played King's Quest 6 again, and had to turn the voices off... and i remember the voices of KQ5 being pretty terrible as well)?

    If nothing else it's something to talk about (once you get to the bad FMV adventure games you're gonna have to deal with it along with the bad acting though) ^^

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    1. I always liked the bad speech. But, then again, I also enjoy terrible movies.

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    2. For now I'll say yes, I'll be putting up with the voices all the way through. But if they're anything like the voices in Mortville Manor, my mind could change pretty quickly.

      I don't believe I've ever played a truly FMV adventure game. At least, not that comes to mind. A whole new world awaits me!

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    3. As a Tex Murphy fan, i await the day you finally get to 'Under a Killing Moon' :)

      Heh, and i didn't even think about Mortville Manor. Well if you can put up with French Steven Hawking, most of what these games have to offer voice wise shouldn't be that bad!

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  3. Yep, it's impossible to get to the mummy room without a scarab - unless you use the debug code for teleporting into the room. Then the game wonders how did you get there without the scarab before letting the mummy take care of Rosella.

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  4. Well done!

    Did you try opening pandora's box?

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    1. No. But I might just have to restore a game to try it. Or you can tell me...

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    2. I can't remember exactly what happens, but it's a game over. The first time I played I saved and tried it, just to see what would happen.

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    3. Opening Pandora's box:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ck2JMEhFtYU (not a great version)

      And apparently you can get through the game without the scarab!

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ck2JMEhFtYU

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    4. Ok so I messed up that first link!

      Pandora's box (in AGD version): http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=v0TdH8d_rOo#t=152s

      (SCI version): http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=XH0A7QT_whM#t=404s

      They're actually slightly different.

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  5. I've decided to give three readers 10 points for their assistance on King's Quest IV. Cinnabar, Andy_Panthro and Ilmari.

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  6. What did the witches spy? (10 Points for first correct answer)

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    1. I think I know it (a bit cheesy this one), but since I just got 10 points, I'll leave these for others.

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    2. That's very selfless of you Ilmari! I hope you're not 10 points short of being able to add a game to the list one day.

      Come on everyone else! Ilmari has even given you an extra hint!

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    3. Moon is correct Fenrus. 10 points to you! Ok, so it wasn't one of my most inspired efforts.

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  7. You're developing quite the superpower here, Trick. Practice makes perfect and I'm curious to see at what point in adventure games history you'll find no challenge at all in the more recent games (consider they're pretty much all easier than older ones).

    If you manage to solve Leisure Suit Larry 2 on your first playthrough, avoiding the (really) numerous dead-ends, I think you're not human.

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    1. I strongly agree, it is getting more and more impressive.
      As far as I can remember, Conquest of Camelot is also pretty ruthless (but also more enjoyable than LSL2, IMHO).

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    2. Thanks for the kind words, but I should point out that it's been a long time since I got through a game without asking for assistance at least once. If you ignore the games I'd already played previously, then it's been months!

      LSL2 seems to be one many consider deadly. Let's wait and see how I go in that one before we get too excited. There will come a time soon where you'll all know that I'm totally screwed and just don't know it yet. :)

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    3. I've always liked LSL2 despite its difficulty and I even consider it to be my favourite Larry - perhaps I just enjoy the absurd humour in the game. I think many of the dead ends in LSL2 are caused by it being too easy to miss some important inventory item that will be needed much later. If you want to avoid playing same sections over and over again, you could make a detailed list of items you've picked up, and the readers could then point out, if you missed a crucial item - or then we could just all snicker at your futile efforts ;)

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  8. Fixing the comments section seems pretty easy: Anything about a section of the game you haven't done yet, anything at all, must be in ROT13.

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  9. FYI - after escaping Lolotte, you can return Pandora's box to the crypt (remembering to lock the door with the key) for the remaining 4 points.

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    1. I thought that kicking the key under the door afterward was a nice touch.

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  10. Whew, just about caught up now. I've been steadily reading through the back posts and making the occasional comment. I remember the first time I got to the cave in KQIV. I managed to save while moving (dumb idea) one frame short of falling into one of the crevices. Couldn't restore and stop fast enough. I had to resort to an earlier save, but it wasn't a recent one. This was back when the game came out. I also took Sierra up on their offer and mailed in my SCI disks in exchange for the AGI disks. I was on a 4.77MHz system, so SCI really crippled things.

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  11. Sorry, what are SCI and AGI? Googling them doesn't turn up anything useful.

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    1. AGI is the original game engine used in Sierra's games. You see it in KQ1, KQ2, KQ3, SQ1, SQ2, PQ1, etc. SCI is a newer game engine that was used starting with King's Quest IV. AGI is "Adventure Game Interpreter" and SCI is "Sierra Creative Interpreter."

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    2. The older Sierra games with double-wide pixels are AGI (e.g. KQ1-3, SQ1-2).

      The EGA games with single-side pixels are generally SCI0 (e.g. KQ1 remake, KQ4, QfG1-2, SQ3), and the VGA ones are generally SCI1 (e.g. KQ5, SQ4-5, QfG1 VGA remake, QfG3-4).

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