King Graham of Daventry Journal Entry #1: "I thought my days of adventuring were over, but apparently not. On coming home from a walk, I found a hole in the ground where my castle used to be. My family and trusted friends were in that castle. Fortunately, my new friend, Cedric, saw the whole thing as was able to direct me to his master, a wizard named Crispin. Crispin gave me something to help me talk to the forest creatures, which ended up being terribly useful. I'm still no closer to finding my family, but I've made some allies who will no doubt help me along the way. Now, time to continue my quest..."
The game starts with an overly long and drawn-out introduction, something that would be annoying in a current game, but back in the early 90s, I used to gobble that stuff up. The fact that the graphics and use of voice were great for their time means I can forgive them for their indulgent lengthy closeups done purely to show off their mastery of the technology.
This 11 minute introduction could easily have been cut in half without harming the narrative – but it's all about wowing the gamer with great graphics and sound! And people say gaming has changed!
After finally getting control of Graham I began to explore my surroundings. Cedric suggested I go south to the town, so I went west to prove I was no owl's puppet!
I soon met a man who lost his fiancee and a bluebird drinking from a tree, and could do nothing with them. Then I saw a snake, specifically, a poisonous snake! The snake doesn't do anything no matter what I try to do with her, apart from tell me the road is hers, so I clearly need some kind of snake repellent before going east.
|My disembodied legs chat with this depressed prince|
I also noticed that, unlike earlier Sierra games, I could simply click on where I wanted to be and Graham would find a suitable path himself. Saving me from having to manually dodge every rock, bush and clump of grass - thanks, Sierra.
Cedric refused to enter the town because he was scared by a dog once, so I went on alone. In town I met a man fixing a cart (who left after I visited a shop), a tailor, a German toymaker with a child who wants to keep one of the toys for sale, a shoemaker who doesn't have any shoes for sale and four or so townspeople who have a generic line to say if you try to talk to them as they walk around. They're useless, but good for the atmosphere, making the town seem more alive.
|The fat guy constantly tries on and complains about the outfits he's getting. I'm sure he'd much prefer some random item of second-hand clothing I find lying on the ground somewhere instead|
|King Graham, Pixel Hunter|
I next visited the bakery, and found that they were selling custard pies for a silver piece. Having just decided through some particularly baffling logic that I was clearly the rightful owner of the silver piece I found, I bought a pie from the baker who made a point to tell me how delicious it was.
Was that a hint? I checked out my points (I had six) ate the pie (which according to the narrator, was definitely delicious) then checked my points again (still six). Ha! Nice try game, but I'm not falling for this trick. If your pie doesn't give me the ability to fly or absorb dragon breath or something I don't care how delicious it is – I'll just keep it until I can trade it in for an old pair of trousers at some point instead. Restore a saved game time!
|Coincidentally, William Baker and his brother both took up a career in baking.|
My first death - how many will I find? (Death #1)
Outside the inn was a haystack, which I searched to no avail. I was expecting Graham to get pricked by a needle while searching, or to find something else there, but nothing happened.
Further to the west was another screen that seemed determined to kill me. A bear was trying to get honey from a beehive. There was a stick on the ground, which was clearly a valuable item because when I clicked the eye icon on it I was told what it was! Okay, death number two. Maybe I'll come back later.
This bear kills me with a move reminiscent of Wrestlemania (Death #2)
To the north was an anthill and a gypsy camp, neither of which I could do anything with right now. I did, however notice that the anthill music bears a remarkable similarity to Gabriel Knight's Detective Mosely theme.
It could be just me but when I heard this ant music I thought immediately of Detective Mosely - so I superimposed his theme over the second half of this video
A desert lay further to the west, and from my memory of playing the game before, I know I have to map the desert because I can only last a set number of screens (five?) before dying of dehydration and there are a few random oases scattered about. I went to the first row of desert screens, and found the ire of a small but dangerous scorpion. Death number three. Need scorpion-proof shoes I suppose.
My mum always said wearing thin boots would be the death of me (Death #3)
To the north I found a weeping willow with a harp and a story that seemed strangely familiar, but when I re-read the Quest for Glory II post I realised that it was only a passing similarity. The willow tree used to be a human and had her heart stolen by an evil witch and was now crying, creating a lake of tears – the only thing that gives her comfort is her harp. I want that harp, but know I won't get it until I find and return her stolen heart, so I settle for drinking her tears instead (too salty for my tastes, apparently)
|Oh, the tears of unfathomable sadness! Mmm - Yummy! Yummy, you guys!|
Beware the deadly balls of the Manwitch (Death #4)
There was also a small house with two gnomes - the young one was playing with a marionette - I feel like I'll need to either give the marionette to the toymaker's granddaughter or give her doll to the gnome's grandson or both or somehow convince at least one of them to part with their beloved toy.
At this point I was sort of stuck. I walked around trying my magic wand on everything (Crispin gave me a wand at the beginning and told me it would need to be treated well before it would work, or something equally ridiculous) and trying to give a custard pie to everyone, as well as offering a fish to everyone and everything. I had earlier found a rotting fish in a barrel in town but got annoyed when the baker's cat refused to have anything to do with it. Then the obvious hit me – bears like salmon – I threw the fish near the bear and he took it and wandered off.
Queen Beatrice of the bees thanked me and offered me a free taste of her delectible honeycomb (that one's for you, Kenny.) I tried to take another piece, but the narrator told me that would be unwise – not as unwise as getting close to three thugs in a bar mind, but still unwise enough that Graham refused to do it.
|We royal types need to stick together|
King Antony of the ants thanked me and told me that his subjects would help me out at some unspecified later time. I decided that ants might be very useful for eating through rope so I deliberately got myself captured by the inn thugs again, in the hope that my new ant friends would come to my aid. They didn't, the unreliable little bastards, so I reloaded and decided to call it a day for my first session.
|This map is proof I should never be hired as a cartographer|
Session time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Session deaths: 4
Total deaths: 4
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 points will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. Please...try not to spoil any part of the game for me...unless I really obviously need the help...or I specifically request assistance. In this instance, I've not made any requests for assistance. Thanks!
Save The Owls Fundraising
Joe Pranevich mentioned in the intro post that he'd generously donate up to $25 to an owl sanctuary to make up for his feelings of hate towards poor Cedric.
From playing King's Quest V I already know owls are afraid of towns, dogs, forests, witches, deserts, bandits, inns and bakers. The owls need our help!
So, anyone who joins Joe in his quest for safer non-witch-infested sanctuaries for owls, will get themselves some bonus CAPs as well as the warm fuzzy feeling of helping a creature who is, well, warm and fuzzy. I'll be the first to join Joe in his quest with my own $5 donation.