Friday 24 August 2018

King's Quest VI - WON! Thrice!

Written by TBD

When we last left Alexander, he was about to crash a wedding TWICE!

But before continuing the game, something has been bothering me about the events that preceded the start of the game.

The people of the Land of the Green Isles have told me that the old King and Queen had died of grief after Cassima went missing.

But when I met the royal couple's ghosts in the Land of the Dead they informed me that Alhazred had killed them with a dagger while they slept.

I thought long and hard about this contradiction, and I came to the only conclusion I could, that this is what must have happened...

Flashback... SEVEN MONTHS AGO...

Gruff: Captain Saladin. The King and Queen are dead – they have dagger-shaped wounds in their backs and there is blood all around the Royal Bedroom.

Saladin: Dagger-shaped wounds in their backs, eh. Hmmmm.

Alhazred: I believe dagger-shaped wounds in the back is the most obvious sign of death by grief, Captain.

Saladin: Well, not being an expert on human anatomy, that sounds perfectly plausible to me. The King and Queen died of grief. Case closed!
CSI: Green Isles

Well, now that we've solved the mystery of what must have happened in the past, let's get back to the present.

We'll start by seeing what happened when I crashed the wedding after entering the castle via the serving girl disguise.

UPSTAIRS WEDDING - Attempt 1 of 3

Saladin agrees to let me into the wedding despite my lack of invitation, and we watch as Cassima declares herself to her husband and KING of this realm, Abdul Alhazred!

I try talking to Cassima, or anyone, but they all just ignore me. Saladin becomes impatient.

Your logic makes no sense, Saladin.

As the sword takes my life, my final thought is, "Why didn't the Queens from Chessboard land show up after making a big deal about bringing the perfect gift for the wedding."

I reload, and this time discover that, while I can't do anything from next to Saladin with the talk, touch or use icons, I can just use the walk icon to get closer to Cassima and Alhazred instead.

After six months of leaving her locked in a tower, Saladin finally decides he works for Cassima rather than Alhazred, and asks her opinion on the matter.

Cassima's eyes are glinting. We all know what this means by now.

Saladin slowly draws his sword - so I know my time to act is limited. I try the first thing I can think of, which is to show my mirror of truth to the lovely couple.

So Alhazred wasn't marrying Cassima after all. He was actually marrying a genie! I didn't even realise the Vizier's henchman was a genie before this. Anyway, to take your mind off this botched attempt at a wedding, I'll remind you of a much happier human/genie wedding.

Wait? Is Doctor Bellows' wife the maid of honour?

Anyway, back to the game. The genie's disguise is broken, Alhazred runs out a back door like the coward he is and leaves the genie to delay the chase.

The guard dogs catch the balls of light, and drop them back at the genie's feet, waiting for him to throw them again.

Shamir the genie throws spells at the guard dogs. Saladin goes down, dazed, but as the narrator tells me I'm unable to help the dogs, I follow Alhazred out the door and up a few flights of stairs.

At the top of the tower, I find the tied up Cassima, who warns me that Alhazred has a sword.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8... Shamir... Shamazel... Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!

I try to grab the sword on the wall behind me, but the game says I'll have to deal with Shamir first and a sword won't help against a genie. Having no way of winning the fight, I die to his genie magic.


I have no way of dealing with the genie, but remembering the creepy guy's reaction to mint, I have a plan. I once again reload to before entering the castle (sigh), swap my paintbrush for a tinderbox instead of a nightingale, go to the Isle of the Sacred Mountain, climb the Cliffs of RTFM, enter the small cave near the nightshade bush, take some peppermint, go back to the Isle of the Crown, swap my tinderbox for a nightingale, enter the castle again in my serving girl outfit, distract the guards with my toy nightingale, etc.

Back to where I was before the genie killed me, I now bring out my secret weapon.

You'd better like this peppermint - I did a lot of backtracking to get this for you.

Shamir takes my offered peppermint and becomes intoxicated. He tries to fire his dazzling spell at me, but this time misses his mark.

Alhazred decides to kill me himself. This time I pick up the wall-sword, which is heavier than it looks.

I clumsily fight for a while, but manage to hold my own. As Alhazred and I fight, the two of us exchange taunts in typical hero/villain fashion.

While we circle around the room, dodging and blocking each other's thrusts, Cassima strugges with her bonds. Eventually she frees herself, presumably with help from the dagger I'd given her earlier.

Then, just as exhaustion is getting to me and Alhazred's about to finish me off...

After this, she inexplicably walks back to where she was instead of continuing to help me fight. I try to kill Alhazred, but the section of the sword that counts as the mouse pointer must have missed Alhazred.

My mother always warned me about the dangers of swinging a sword two pixels to the left.

Reloading, I tried again, being more careful about where I aimed my sword. I was disappointed when Alexander bonked Alhazred with the flat of the blade instead of chopping his evil head off or something equally fatal, but I got the girl, so I can't complain too much.

Then perhaps you shouldn't have buggered off after hitting him ONCE with your dagger. Life and Death situations are not the time to follow proper tag-team rules.

Now that's what I'm talking about, Alexander, you randy little...

Oh, of course. That's exactly what I thought you were talking about. Ahem... moving on...

Gruff: Alhazred is unconscious and has a dagger-shaped wound in his shoulder.

Saladin: He must have fallen unconscious due to grief. Thank goodness we got to him in time. Get him to the Royal Hospital at once.

The evil Vizier awakens and the guards take Alhazred away/allow Alhazred to walk slowly away.

They didn't even tie him up? Seriously, guards. Tie him up – with double-knots and everything!

Now we have a wedding without a secret shapeshifting genie (as far as I know.) Captain Saladin happily performs the wedding on our behalf.

Alexander, who I personally threatened, tried to have imprisoned and tried to impale upon my sword on many occasions during the past few days. No offense taken, I hope, milord!
 I place my royal insignia ring on Cassima's finger.

I hate this guy – who even invited him?

As I'm wondering why my friends, such as the pawnbroker and ferryman didn't bother to show up to my wedding, Saladin asks me for another favour.

Why else do you think I married her, Saladin. Of course I want to be King! And no, you can't sleep on the end of our bed!

Alexander: And as my first executive order as King, I'm going to fire Saladin.
Saladin: But your majesty. I must object.
Alexander: Saladin, one of your primary duties as Captain of the Guard is to protect the Royal Family. Under your watch, the Heir to the Throne was captured and enslaved by a wizard, the King and Queen were murdered and you proceeded to blindly follow the orders of the man who killed them despite knowing that his orders weren't generally the right thing to do. You even continued to follow that man despite the actual Heir to the Crown returning and being imprisoned in a tower. And just last week you allowed her to get captured AGAIN and let a genie take her place at her wedding.
Saladin: Good point. I'm unambiguously bad at my job. I'll pack my desk and leave immediately. Woof.

Alexander then whinges about his family not being here

His advice, based on his experiences in the first two games, would be to solve many puzzles in order to become a king and get a wife. Seems you've done two games worth of work in a single game - he should be asking your advice at this point.

And now that I think about it, Crispin, the wizard from King's Quest V, seemed to easily teleport Cassima back to this land without effort. Maybe he could also have done the same for your family. Hell, maybe you should have asked him to take you here at the beginning rather than take a treacherous boat voyage with some surely-now-dead-sailors.

Yeah. Stop complaining, there's a new King in town, baby! And he wears a yellow scarf!

But... I've got the letter that heavily implies Alhazred was responsible for their problems, and there's probably more proof of that here in the castle...

Haven't you been reading my predictions, Cassima? It doesn't take a genius to work out that Alhazred stole their sacred items and framed each other.

Hooray, indeed.

165 out of 231 points. 71% - that doesn't look like a good score, and seeing as everyone spent half my wedding complaining about things I didn't do, let's try again.


Going back to when I explored the downstairs of the castle, I once again crash the wedding. This time, as Saladin prepares to kill me with his sword and I prepare to bring out my mirror, I recall that the mirror shattered after showing the Lord of the Dead his reflection. This could be a problem.

Before I can think of an alternate solution, a shout echoes through the hall...

Aw, does that mean I don't get to be king now that I rescued you. Don't worry, King. You'll die of 'grief' soon enough.

This time, the genie's spell is broken, not by being shown his reflection, but because... Allaria recognises he's not her daughter... a mother's intuition is more powerful than genie magic... I guess?

Anyway, Alhazred runs away as before, and the King demands Saladin follow him.

Oh, so when Alhazred gives you an order you follow it despite not agreeing with it, but when the true king gives you an order you make your own decisions about when to follow it? Screw you, Saladin!

The rest of the game proceeds the same, but this time we have parents of the bride at the wedding.

Yes, I accept. And I hope you don't intend to continue living in my castle now that I'm king. I hear it's lovely in chessboard land at this time of year...

Cassima is glad her parents have been brought back from the dead, but her and Saladin are still upset that the islands are still feuding.

206 points and 89%. I did much better this time. But I know I can still improve. Let's try one more time...


Now, after finishing the game, I found out there was a better ending than either of the ones I've found. And this ending all hinges on one thing – befriending the unfriendly jester. How do we befriend the unfriendly jester – why, give him my insignia ring, of course!

The problem with that is that I rarely had the ring with me. When I first got the ring I showed it to the castle's guards to get an audience with Alhazred. Then I quickly gave it to the pawnbroker in exchange for the magic map. Later I got it back from the pawnbroker but gave it immediately to the nightingale, who kept it for the rest of the game.

But to get the perfect ending I needed to keep the ring and give it to the jester when he appears in the bookshop. After I do that...

I'm calling shenanigans on the game here. Why can I not just tell the jester my name, which is what prompts him to trust me?

So all I had to do was tell you my name – I told everyone else in town who I was without having to show them my ring.
Now, there was a clue of sorts that I should try harder to talk to the jester. The first time we talk to him he tells us he's worried about the princess. Then if we try to talk to him further he just tells us to leave him alone because he doesn't talk to strangers. He repeats that line any other time we try to talk to him. The chances of your average player remembering his first line about him being worried about the princess are slim - I forgot about it even though I had a screenshot saved of the line, and didn't think of it again until I finished the game and read some coded comments that mentioned befriending the jester.

Anyway, enough whingeing, let's continue with Jollo the Jester and see what we missed the first time around.

Now that's a clue we should send a message to Sing Sing. I gave some stuff to the nightingale in my first playthrough, but that was just to see what happens rather than having any kind of plan. So offering things to the nightingale before/without giving the ring to Jollo is obviously the incorrect way to do things. Doing things in the expected order gives me some nice little cutscenes every time I give something to Sing Sing the nightingale.

Cassima wishes that she could just wish away her feelings.

So it seems the correct order to give things to the nightingale is.
  • I give her my insignia ring, so Cassima knows I'm in town.
  • Cassima gives me the ribbon with a strand of her hair in it (important for magic spells)
  • I give Sing Sing the love poem
  • Cassima returns a note:
Ooh. Alexander gets friend-zoned by text message!
  • I send the white rose
  • Cassima sends nothing because she wants Alexander to give up trying to find her for his own safety - yeah, like that's going to work.
So, I completely missed that little love pen-pal section first time around, but I'm glad I did it before finishing with the game.

Now, back to Jollo the Jester. We can talk to him a few times. At some point he gives us another clue to how to use an item I never used in my first two endings.

So, that gives us an indication of where we should use the death-feigning potion – in front of the creepy guy, who we now know is a genie.

Then Jollo mentions the genie's lamp and points out that if we had that lamp all our problems would be solved.

You know, Jollo's made a point of mentioning how excellent a spy you are, genie – I claim you're obvious and stupid. I noticed your creepiness the first time I saw you and I'm so unobservant I missed this entire jester subplot!

It's important to notice the lamp the genie enters so we can get the correct one from the lampseller after using our first lamp on the Isle of Mists.

Now, I repeated all the things I did before, went to the Land of the Dead, painted a door on the castle wall, etc.

This time, now that I've befriended Jollo, when I enter his room in the castle he doesn't call the guards on me – instead he takes my replica genie bottle. Though Jollo wonders how I knew which bottle was a replica of the genie's

A bit of a clumsy way to explain that the player saw it in a cutscene Alexander had no knowledge of

Then, at the door without a handle in the downstairs of the castle that I never got around to opening in my DOWNSTAIRS playthrough, I say the magic word.

How did I know these magic words – through a walkthrough, of course.

Now, the proper way to know the magic passphrase is that a guard dog heard Alhazred saying “Ali” in the corridor and we found the word “Zebu” in Alhazred's jewellery box.

I'm afraid I have to once again call shenanigans on the game. Why on earth would you make the only part of the passphrase that's overheard also the name of a ghost who resides past another door in the EXACT SAME CORRIDOR? Not to mention that Ali is also the name of the local bookseller and for all I know every fifth resident of the Land of the Green Isles. And how am I supposed to guess that Zebu was the second part of the same passphrase? It was written by itself  in a box in Alhazred's study but there was no indication it was the second part of a word that had been separated for no reason.

Anyway, enough whingeing about stupid puzzles – let's see what's behind door number four.

This room is where the Isle of the Crown residents have their Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

The room contains, to nobody's surprise, all the items stolen from the other islands that made them suspicious of each other.

How cunning is it when I made this exact prediction four gameplay posts ago?

Now that we've seen the evidence, we continue back to the wedding as we've seen before. We interrupt the wedding, Cassima's parents join in and Alhazred runs upstairs while his genie dispatches the guards. When we get upstairs Alhazred calls his genie, but this time Jollo runs up to join us. He gives me Shamir's lamp and runs away.

I summon Shamir into his lamp rather than having him help me defeat Alhazred, then fight him with my sword, as before. Cassima joins in and we dispatch Alhazred and prepare for our wedding.

But the wedding has a lot more guests this time. I had been wondering why the other island's inhabitants weren't there, but this time they came.

As did my own family.

This time everyone is perfectly happy. Even my sailor friends, apparently.

I still think the crew is all dead, and Graham just doesn't want to spoil Alexander's happy mood.
I'm surprised I didn't invite Alhazred to my wedding. I invited everyone else who's tried to kill me in the past few days.

Perfect – though I needed some helpful readers and a walkthrough to get there

Already done that mission, game. But thanks for the advice.

Session time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total time: 14 hours 20 minutes
Extra time to replay the game for the best ending: 2 hours 45 minutes (not included in total)
Inventory: a wedding ring, a heart full of love, and an invitation to Saladin's retirement party
Predictions made: 
  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 - No Owen Wilson, but CONFIRMED
  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 - CONFIRMED
  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. - CONFIRMED
  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. - they're all Shamir the Genie - CONFIRMED
  29. In another of my bold predictions, the vizier's also stolen the Druid's sacred oak. - CONFIRMED
  30. The Night Mare will suddenly appear near the nightshade bush after I've been told I need him - CONFIRMED
Prediction accuracy: 67% 
Prediction verdict: On a scale from Ancient Mayan calendar maker to Nostradamus I am... Edgar Cayce!

I really enjoyed this game - a lot of the complaining I did, particularly in this post, was not due to lack of enjoyment but because I enjoy nitpicking things games do that don't make sense in reality. I liked that they went to effort to make three varieties of ending (with possibly more small variations as well.) Well done, King's Quest VI - a massive improvement over King's Quest V for me!

We'll see how I rate the game with the PISSED system next week - I'm expecting it to be fairly high, though not quite near the heights of the last game I played for the blog.


I was reminded by MisterKerr and Michael that I forgot to mention the musical classic "Girl in the Tower" that was supposed to play over the end credits but didn't play in my version.

It's a decent song that has been stuck in my head for the past week already. Frankly, if I'd been told that song came from a Disney movie rather than a 1992 computer game soundtrack I'd have believed it.

Here's a link to a Youtube video that contains the song along with some appropriate screenshots from this game and King's Quest V.  Do you dare to get the song stuck in your head for a week too?


  1. Congratulations on winning!
    Congratulations on winning!
    Congratulations on winning!

  2. Ending variations:

    The "Villain steals the sacred items of each faction and makes them blame each other" plot is awfully similar to QfGIII.

    1. That reminds me that at some point I want to play Quest for Glory 2 and 3 (hopefully I can catch up before we do Quest for Glory IV here.)

      But I've just started Alone in the Dark and I'm keen to play both Unavowed and Hero-U which I've recently bought. And I'll be doing Amazon soon for the blog. Looks like my adventure gaming time is covered for the next little while. :)

  3. First time I finished an adventure game, if I am not mistaken... It took me at least 2 years, I guess, in a time there was no walkthrough. Just me and my friends. At the end, I got this 100%. I got stuck in the game for a long time, because I could not realize the fact there was 2 endings in the game. The "genie exchanging lamp situation" I was lucky enough to figure it out by myself.

    1. Well done Gui! I don't know how long it would have taken me if I didn't have the luxury of screenshots and a walkthrough to finally get 100%.

      In pre-walkthrough days I simply never finished an adventure game, though I started quite a few.

    2. These games weren't pre-walkthrough, as long as you had a modem. I spent many dollars in long-distance phone calls to many BBSs. Also, many hints from my subscription to QuestBusters (who had a very talented writer review KQ6 here).

    3. I like newsletters like that. I'm going to have to read some of those articles, especially the KQ6 one.

      From my point of view, everything before about 1996 is pre-walkthrough because I didn't have internet access at home until then. :)

    4. Didn't you have access to any gaming magazines? I remember hoarding old issues, in case I ever played games, of which they had published walkthroughs.

    5. I always suspected that most terrible Moon Logic puzzles in adventure games existed solely to fund 1-900 Hint Lines and/or hintbook sales. It's probably no coincidence that the genre started dying around the time that online walkthroughs became popular.

    6. @MisterKerr, To be fair, there's a lot of other factors to the genre dying. I personally think the biggest one was the "dumbing down" of the user base. At the start of the adventure lifespan, most computer users were hands-on problem solvers, having to deal with operating systems and badly-designed peripherals and the like. We're almost to the gaming age of iMacs, just a couple more years. (cue Jeff Goldblum selling a computer for the rest of us...)

    7. I think the magazines I bought rarely had adventure game walkthroughs. I used to get C64, and then Amiga magazines and from memory they'd largely have articles on new games - I do remember there being a few hint/walkthrough articles though, but not a lot. By the time I switched to PC I rarely bought magazines.

      I don't think I bought any mags regularly enough to have a consistent walkthrough library and by the time I would need help in a game, that game would usually be old and any magazine walkthrough would have been in an issue three years earlier.

    8. I think these games really needed to play along with friends. If it weren´t for that, I would not have finished it with 100%. I liked the Questbusters journal. Indeed KQ6 is an end of an era (or maybe the first Gabriel Knight is...). I think that bad games in many franchises at the same time(along with the necessity of doing all in 3D graphics with tank controls) killed the genre back at the end of the 90´s.

  4. Not to sound racist (speciesist?), but Saladin *is* a *dog* who probably only got his job because his voice sounds like Tony Jay and everyone assumed he was a badass. He's probably not the smartest cookie in the jar. One wonders what would've happened had Alexander figured this out.

    SALADIN: Prince Alexander, you have five seconds to explain yourself before I run you through.

    ALEXANDER: Don't worry, I've got my explanation right here. (takes out tennis ball)

    SALADIN: What--

    ALEXANDER: Look at the ball, Sally! Lookatit! Lookattheball! Lookattheball!

    (Saladin stops speaking as his head follows the ball that Alexander is waving around)

    ALEXANDER: Lookattheball! (throws ball) GOGETIT! GOGETTHEBALL!

    (Saladin takes off running across the foyer, claws skittering against the waxed floor. Alexander pockets the tennis ball he didn't actually throw and sneaks into the throne room.)

    1. And now I realize that you made the same joke in a caption. D'oh!

    2. Hehe. Great minds think alike, as my old boss used to tell me whenever I agreed with him.

  5. Also, now that you're done, if anyone's interested, I want to share a Let's Play I did with a friend a few years back (our channel's gimmick is that I play the game while he doodles some fan art, then after I finish we post the drawings he made):

    I remember way back when I first played this in '92 or so that I ended up with the *nearly* golden ending. The only things missing were the "Ali Zebu" room (since I didn't connect "Ali" with the password and "Zebu" didn't work) and getting the peppermint (since the little cave isn't easy to find if you don't know where to look, especially since it kind of blends in with the deadly nightshade bush), which meant I didn't beat the short path until much later.

    And no comments about the incredibly 90's pop song "Girl in the Tower"?!?!?

    1. I mentioned the song in the intro post comments, but it went unnoticed at the time. Then again, which version was he playing again when he finished it? I think it only played on the CD version, straight from the disc, I don't think the floppy version had it (because the .WAV file would have taken up a full disk or two...)

    2. Nice videos, MisterKerr - I'm only half way through the first one so far, but I like it and am going to continue watching them.

      Yeah - I neglected to mention that the end credits appeared in total silence. It seemed weird so I did look up a youtube longplay and found that the song was supposed to play. I then checked and noticed that ScummVM complained about "CD not found" or something. I don't think the song was included in the Steam version I have because I looked through the folder and didn't find anything that looks like a separate sound file.

      I'll add a note to the end of the post with a link to a version of the song...

    3. Yeah, CD audio tracks are one thing to watch out for in CD games. Usage of such tracks varies between games but Girl in the Tower is stored as one, AFAIK.

      A pair of .bin and .cue files should contain the audio data too (as opposed to .iso CD image files and such); for DOSBox, mount the .cue file (or the physical CD itself), adding proper parameters ("-t cdrom"), and everything should work.

    4. The floppy version had a MIDI version of "Girl in the Tower" which I kinda prefer (though it misses the cheese factor of the pop vocals). I also remember the end credits playing over screenshots of various locales in the game, which doesn't happen in the CD version for some reason.

    5. In my random search for more information, I've found that the GOG version also omits the song.

      Come on, digital distribution! Get that song in your packages, stat!

    6. I wish GOG would make the raw media files of their old games available as optional downloads. I don't know whether they've fixed it since but they removed the setup files of many Sierra games. And here's a feature request to vote on:

    7. That's so sad! Makes me glad I picked up the Vivendi compilations from ~2006, as I think they were the most recent versions to be released on physical media.

  6. Was it playing back as native CD audio at that point? Maybe that was incompatible with also repeatedly seeking on the disc for graphics resources? (at lower drive speeds, anyway)