Wednesday 15 August 2018

King's Quest VI – Upstairs Downstairs

Written by TBD.

Now that I've used both methods to enter the castle, let's see how I fared in each case. The castle's puzzles are also different on the two potential paths, so let's split them up and see where we end up.

Let's start with the Land of the Dead playthrough.


When we left off after Alexander entered the castle by his magic painted door, he was perusing his options.

The first door to the right appears to be the dungeon I get thrown in whenever the guards capture me, so nothing special in there.

The second door is a similar dungeon, but this one contains a ghost. The ghost is a small boy crying for his mother. I assume it's Ali and give him the handkerchief his ghost mother gave me in the Land of the Dead. Before he joins her, I ask him if there's anything he can do to help me, as Alexander doesn't work for free.

So, a door behind Superman. Got it – thanks, kid.

The left door has no handle or keyhole, and the third door on the right is another empty dungeon.

Exploring the other corridors, I find a room with the sounds of guards behind it, and another door with the jester I'd seen in the bookshop sitting down.

I thought jesters were supposed to be friendly.

This time I don't automatically lose the game when I'm captured by the guards and stuck in the dungeon, so I use my skeleton key to escape. I find one more door I can enter. It takes me to the main foyer, where I had entered as a servant woman in the alternate route.

The guards in the foyer capture me, but seeing as I escaped last time, I anticipate this time should be just as easy.

Oh dear.

One advantage of writing these posts on adventure games that you don't have when you just play them for fun, is it forces me to constantly take screenshots, and then think about the game as I write a day or so after I've played. I didn't realise this area was the basement until I found the entrance to the foyer was upstairs from my location. That meant that the man of steel that Ali mentioned is likely the suit of armor in this area. I probably wouldn't have put the two together if I didn't have a screenshot of Ali's hint. So, thank you, Adventure Gamer Blog – I probably wouldn't have thought of this idea so easily without you!

Wait, why is this guard walking on the cornice?

After reloading, I tried playing with the armor again and this time didn't get captured by the flying dog. After entering the secret door, I found myself in some kind of place that was part crawlspace, part secret room. Inside the room is a flight of stairs going up, and a hole with light coming from it. I look through the hole-in-the-wall (not the little insect that got lost between the labyrinth and the Isle of Wonders hole-in-the-wall, an actual hole... in the wall).

You're not part of the solution, Saladin. You're part of the problem. Now stop being part of the problem, and put the other dog back on.

They also speak of a magic door to the treasury room that the royal treasurer is no longer allowed to enter. At one point one of the dogs overheard Alhazred talking to the door.

At this point I was assuming that the Vizier was talking to Ali the ghost boy for some reason – I later found out I was wrong and this was a clue to something different.

I go up the stairs and find another hole in a different wall.

I climbed the Cliffs of Logic and now I'm tired after a single flight of stairs?

As I approach I hear crying from behind the wall, and find...

...Princess Cassima

I ask her the only question I've been wondering about for the entire game.

You're in luck then - I didn't come all this way to rescue another man's wife!

Six months? She's the only heir to the throne. Has nobody in the castle asked her if she's okay with this?

I look at fair Cassima for a moment, but then something happens. I hear scuffling, a woman's brief cry, then silence. Cassima has been taken!

Then I reload my game and instead of just looking at Cassima lovingly, I try to be of some use. I shove my weapon through the hole-in-the-wall, and she eagerly takes it

Further along, I find another hole. The castle's maintenance crew really need to invest in some Selley's No More Gaps.

Behind this third hole is Alhazred, and he speaks out loud when he writes letters about his evil schemes.

Did he actually write <hah-hah> in his letter?

To summarise his letter, once he has the crown, Cassima will meet with a <hee-hee> accident. Alhazred would have loved to send Cassima to the letter recipient, Shadrack. But he mentions how poorly that worked out when he had previously sent Cassima to <ho-ho> Mordack.

As Alexander says this, I realised that I'd heard the word 'blackguard' before and seen the word written before, but had no idea that was how to pronounce blackguard.
Actually, all I hear is yanny.

At the end of the interior walkspace, I find a secret door to an area surrounded with black cloaks. It turned out I was in a closet.

Exiting the closet, I find myself in the Vizier's bedroom. In there, I find a piece of paper with the word, “ZEBU” printed on it.

This is a zebu. Alhazred must be planning to run a dairy farm. That fiend!

In the trunk at the end of the bed, which I open with my skeleton key, is a letter from Shadrack to Alhazred.

He's even worse at attempted owl murder.

In the letter, Shadrack congratulates Alhazred on his plan to seize the crown and isolate the islands of the Land. There's a bunch of other similarly incriminating letters, but Alexander only keeps the one.

While doing further exploring in the basement corridors, something changes as I notice the music has changed to wedding music. I look through a keyhole to the upstairs area and notice the guards have left.

I go through the door, but before I can enter the grand hall, Saladin comes out.

I demand he hear me out and show him the Vizier's incriminating letter. This takes me much more than five seconds. Just saying, Saladin – if you want people to take your threats seriously, you've got to follow up.

After asking Saladin to think about it, he realises he should have noticed the Vizier's betrayal earlier.

But then I decided, “What the hell” and served the Vizier faithfully and unquestioningly anyway.

Next on my to-do list – crash a wedding!

But first, let's see how we get to this point in our Beauty's Serving Woman Disguise playthrough.


When we left off after Alexander entered the castle in his serving girl disguise, he had just gotten captured by attempting to enter the most obvious door. So we'll try a different approach.

Instead of taking the centre door, and unable to take the other doors due to them being locked, I climb the stairs.

As I reach the top, I overhear a conversation by some guard dogs.

I assume this means the nightingale that gave me her ribbon, but it could be referring to the fake one.

There's a reward for the nightingale, which makes me think I can use either the toy nightingale or the real one at some point. Ignoring that idea for now, purely because I brought the paint brush instead of the nightingale, I make my way to an alcove when their backs are turned.

I try to find the right place behind this column, but wherever I go, they see me either before or after passing the column and the game won't let me move once they start to get near me.

After an embarrassingly long time, I realise that if I click my hand on the pillar instead of just standing next to it, I hide better.

After they pass, I can control Alexander again, and can look at the painting, which is of Cassima's dead parents. I can move the portrait and take the nail that had been holding it up, but even if I reach my hiding place in time, the guards notice the change, and while investigating, they notice me.

When the crown icon is there I can't do anything, so can't move to the other side of the pillar while they check out the painting.

After they pass, I quickly try to get to the door across the hall, but Alexander proves himself to have terrible pathfinding, by walking all the way back to the end of the hall before going back to the middle and getting himself promptly caught by the guards.

Alexander goes all the way back to the landing on the way to the door that was just across the hall from where he started. He gets caught!

Having run out of ideas here, and assuming I need the nightingale rather than the paintbrush to get past these guards, I reloaded to before I entered the castle. We covered what I did at that point in my previous post where I ended up in the Land of the Dead, but after doing all that, I reloaded again, and just picked up the nightingale before re-entering the castle as a servant.

Armed with my nightingale, and knowing that the guards would be interested in it, I trying showing it to them in every way I can think of.

Okay - perhaps using the nightingale was not the smartest plan.

I eventually learn the correct place to use the nightingale.

Okay, now that I've gotten rid of the guards, I can take the nail from behind the painting, and enter Alhazred's bedroom.

In the bedroom, knowing what to do from my previous exploration, I find the ZEBU note, unlock the trunk with my picture-hanging-nail, and take the incriminating letter.

I also find Cassima's bedroom and this time talk through a door rather than a hole.

I much prefer the downstairs version of the conversation - seeing them both makes the encounter more personal.
I put my dagger under the door, for Cassima to use if she gets the chance.

At some point I hear the guard dogs come back from the nightingale distraction. I duck into the alcove, put the nail back in the wall and replace the painting. Then I once again hide behind the pillar.

The guard dogs have a talk, and we hear Cassima scream as she's taken away by the Vizier's page.

Alexander screams this out loud. How do the dogs not hear this?

The dogs notice that the Vizier's henchman is taking Cassima in the opposite direction to the wedding. They go to investigate, and hang out in the back hallway. I leave them and go back towards the front door. Then the music changes.

I rush downstairs, am once again confronted by Saladin and we prepare to crash the wedding!

Session time: 2 hours 5 minutes
Total time: 13 hours 10 minutes

Inventory upstairs:

Something I need is missing. A Sierra game just doesn't feel complete unless I've dead-ended myself!
Inventory downstairs:

P.S. As some of you have already noticed, despite finishing the game using both of these methods, I neglected to do something earlier that opens up a third, best ending. I've since played the game again and gotten the best ending. I'll detail the extra quests in the upcoming WON post.

Predictions made: (No changes this time)
  1. Something will be in the tree hole later - BUSTED
  2. Some animal will need a flute song to be calmed  - just needed someone to dance - BUSTED
  3. I'll need to distract someone with a fake nightingale – not a distraction - BUSTED 
  4. I'll meet a painter without a brush or need to paint something myself - CONFIRMED
  5. I'll need light, or a fire at some point. (actually, this prediction is valid for just about every single adventure game ever made) - CONFIRMED
  6. The pawn shop returns policy will be used to avoid the game having dead-ends - CONFIRMED
  7. I'll be visiting the legendary fourth island (which is actually the fifth island) - CONFIRMED
  8. I'll have to solve puzzles in order to meet the leaders of each of four islands - CONFIRMED 
  9. The bookseller's free book is cursed - probably already proven wrong - BUSTED 
  10. The swimming kid had an ulterior motive - CONFIRMED 
  11. The death sequence area will be playable later - CONFIRMED
  12. I'll need a plant growing potion or sticky substance to climb the vines - BUSTED
  13. The creepy guy has a glass eye which I'll need to get - BUSTED 
  14. The pawn shop guy will throw out rubbish that I'll take and use - CONFIRMED 
  15. The boring book will be used to put someone to sleep - CONFIRMED 
  16. I won't meet Princess Cassima on my first visit to the castle - CONFIRMED 
  17. The shopping creepy guy is also the Vizier's henchman - CONFIRMED
  18. I'll be performing dentistry on a clam - CONFIRMED
  19. The hole-in-the-wall bug will allow me into the castle - I just got to look inside - BUSTED
  20. I'll be crashing a wedding with or without Owen Wilson
  21. I'll use a serving girl outfit to enter the castle (this is my third castle entering prediction) - CONFIRMED
  22. The Cinderella girl's outfit will get me (or her) into the castle - CONFIRMED
  23. The Winged Ones' golden fleece was stolen by the Vizier and I'll find proof of this later
  24. I'll be able to depose Azure and Aeriel as leaders of Sacred Mountain Land, possibly for their daughter - BUSTED
  25. The Vizier's also stolen Beast's coat of arms.
  26. I'll have to work with dead wizards Mordack and Manannan to succeed in my quest - BUSTED
  27. The "Drink Me" potion will help me enter the Land of the Dead - BUSTED
  28. The animals with the glinting eyes that are just watching me are either the lure-me-to-death creature who's decided to let me succeed instead, or someone else.
  29. In another of my bold predictions, the vizier's also stolen the Druid's sacred oak.
  30. The Night Mare will suddenly appear near the nightshade bush after I've been told I need him - CONFIRMED


  1. "then someone happens"

    I think our lovebirds would have needed a couple more minutes together for this to take place...

    1. Haha. Because you made me laugh I'm regretting having to fix it.

      But, now it's fixed. :)

  2. I'm assuming that, among the things that you haven't done in the playthrough so far for the best ending, includes tbvat gb gur gernfher ebbz naq univat gur shyy naq cebcre vagrenpgvba jvgu Pnffvzn jvgu gur avtugvatnyr nf n pneevre cvtrba.

    There are so many little nuances to the endings... but this is fun to watch and read so far!

    1. Absolutely correct. I did both those things.

      I was surprised about how much I missed.

    2. While not the first or on;y time they did it, it is noteworthy how many alternate paths and non-essential puzzles were in this quest, and I know I didn't notice it was much at the time either. They did add a bit of replay value to this one.

      Arguably, LSL5 was their first game to have a lot of non-essential puzzles, but they made that game way, too easy, and this was a correction in the right direction. Before that point, most games had 2-3 points worth of extras, but that's about it -- random things either as a joke, or to give someone a reason for a replay to get a perfect score, or so they hoped. (LSL2, relieving yourself behind a dumpster and spying through knotholes, for example...)

    3. I think Longbow still did alternate paths much better than this game, in that there were little to no dead ends (about the only one I recall off-hand is failing to save Marion near the beginning, and if so then you soon die at the next story event as a punishment anyway, so you don't have to replay much).

  3. The King's Quest Omnipedia has a quote from Roberta Williams on the Black Cloak reference (it was something Jane Jensen made up):

    "The "Black Cloak Society" was never an actual term that I instigated or thought up. I'm not actually sure where that came from. The closest thought that I have on that subject is that: when I was working with Jane Jensen on King's Quest 6, and we thought up the evil vizier, we talked loosely about the possibility of putting Manannan, Mordack, and the vizier together as group -- possibly -- in a future King's Quest. There was loose reference to the possibility in King's Quest 6, although nothing was set in stone at that time. I think that it's possible that Jane Jensen might have mentioned the possibility (perhaps) in subsequent interviews on the subject, although, I'm not sure about that. Later on, I heard about the Black Cloak Society and kind of wondered where that phrase came from, but, I never refuted it as I thought it was kind of cool and, probably, would have gone on with the idea in future King's Quests had I had the chance. And, one final thing: Hagatha was never part in any discussion of a Black Cloak Society.

    1. It's interesting how offhandedly the reference was put in the game, as most fans (and virtually every fangame) has not only included the Black Cloak Society, but tied almost every King's Quest villain into it, including Hagatha, Lolotte, probably the KQVII villain, and even minor ones like the witch in the first game. If this blog ever gets to the AGD Interactive remakes of the first three games, or The Silver Lining fangame, they go pretty hard with the Black Cloak Society and what it means for Daventry and the royal family as a whole. I suppose it's more fun (and better fertile ground for fanworks) to think there's a big conspiracy of evil against Graham and his family than to think a bunch of random villains just happen to have it in for them at different points in their lives.

  4. I've never seen the guard dog walking above the suit of armor...was that a weird glitch?

    1. Looks like it to me. I've never seen it either.

    2. Yeah. I think I know how it happened.

      On the previous screen I got a warning that I heard guards making noise at the door at the top of the stairs so I tried to leave.

      My guess is that the guard appeared at exactly the same time as I changed screens.

      The weird thing was he didn't notice me until I opened the secret door.

  5. much about this game that I had forgotten.

    What a great write-up, TBD! I’m looking forward to the denouement!

  6. > The ghost is a small boy crying for his mother. I assume it's Ali and give him the handkerchief his ghost mother gave me in the Land of the Dead.

    Difference between Alexander and Rosella:

    Alexander: Here, cry into this hankie.
    Rosella: Here, have this toy you cherished when you were living.

    This is one of the few times I'll say that KQ4 did it better...

    1. Mmm, I dunno; he does say it smells like her, doesn't he? (Maybe it's the music or maybe I'm a softie, but this bit of the game always touched me.)

    2. Yeah, he uses the smell of the hankie to find his way to his mother in the land of the dead, so it's not just your standard ghostly hankerchief.

      I kind of glossed over this whole puzzle, probably because it's uninteresting as a puzzle, but I can see how it could be quite moving


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