It's time for King's Quest V, a game that was originally released with some strangely disturbing box art of a family being kidnapped as they were performing their nightly line-dancing routine.
|Do owls eat children? I'm pretty sure that owl is planning to eat the kid.|
King's Quest V is a game I have a little personal history with.
I originally bought it for the Amiga when it came out, played a little bit, and as usual with adventure games in those days, I became stuck relatively early and gave up somewhere in the first town.
I feel it's appropriate for me to play the game on this blog seeing as I own the PC version of the game because I won the King's Quest Collection here, in an extremely round-about way. The game was originally donated by Lars-Erik and won by Canageek for guessing the Conquests of Camelot score. Canageek regifted the game to whoever guessed the Circuit's Edge score. Ilmari guessed the Circuit's Edge score and regifted the game with his own quiz. I won Ilmari's quiz and took the King's Quest Collection prize which I only seemed to win because nobody else wanted the bloody game.
According to Mobygames, King's Quest V was the first adventure game to be released on CD-ROM in Multimedia PC format, the first to have digtitized voiceovers, the first to use digitized hand painted backgrounds, and the first to cost over US$1,000,000.
Following the lead of Lucasarts, this was also the first Sierra game to use a mouse & icon based interface rather than a text parser. Unfortunately for my sanity, it kept Sierra's 'deaths and dead-ends make good gameplay' policy. But, baby steps, right? If you haven't guessed, though I've enjoyed many Sierra games, I always much preferred Lucasarts adventure games.
Roberta Williams is once again credited as the lead designer of the game, with many of the other developers having credits in multiple Sierra Adventure Games (including our own Corey Cole listed under Development System... whatever that means.)
Like many games of this era, King's Quest V had various releases in different formats, on different platforms and in different countries. Trying to find release dates has given me some conflicting info, but it seems that the original game came out in late 1990 as both an EGA and VGA version (likely November 1990) with a CD-ROM 'talkie' version coming out in late 1991 or early 1992.
|The VGA version even came with an offer to swap it for a worse version|
As for what version I'll be playing, I thought I'd leave that partly up to you, the readers (while trying to steer you towards my preference along the way.)
The Trickster came up with a basic policy of playing an updated version of a game if it comes out within about a year of the original version. My personal wish would be to play the version most people would be able to play today if they bought the game – within reason. I wouldn't play the Monkey Island Special Editions, for example, but would always prefer to play the 'final' version of the game from back in the day. The version I have is the Steam version, which is the CD-ROM version with voice acting.
I'd prefer to play the 'talkie' version, but if there are significant objections I could be persuaded to play a different version. Bear in mind though, that only one version will be played. We won't be playing the EGA version, VGA version and CD-ROM version so we should choose the most appropriate version for the blog. I've made my personal preference clear, with my reasoning largely being that there's no benefit in playing the non-final version unless we're going to be playing all versions and comparing.
King's Quest V used scanned paintings for the VGA backgrounds, and from looking at screenshots of different versions, it appears the graphics were then downsampled to lower graphics modes with some manual editing done to improve the image. More information and comparisons can be found here.
|EGA version with 16 colours|
|Amiga version with 32 colours|
|VGA version with 256 colours|
Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: There's a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before making any comments that could be considered a spoiler in any way. The short of it is that no CAPs will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. As this is an introduction post, it's an opportunity for readers to bet 10 CAPs (only if they already have them) that I won't be able to solve a puzzle without putting in an official Request for Assistance: remember to use ROT13 for betting. If you get it right, you will be rewarded with 50 CAPs in return. It's also your chance to predict what the final rating will be for the game. Voters can predict whatever score they want, regardless of whether someone else has already chosen it. All correct (or nearest) votes will go into a draw.
Example bet: (We're bringing it back!)
Zl tveysevraq'f tbar zvffvat
Naq V guvax V'z gb oynzr
'Pbf V whfg nobhg pnyyrq ure n juber
V jvfu jr jrer xvffvat
Ohg V'z cynlvat uvf tnzr
Enccvat guerr gvzrf gb bcra gur qbbe
Jub nz V sbe 20 PNCf?
If you want to read more about the game, much of the information and images came from Mobygames and SierraGamers