The Let's Play Archive

King's Quest I

by DoubleNegative

Part 1: Introduction and Orientation

Welcome, everyone, to King's Quest I: Quest for the Crown. This is the SCI version from 1990. The game originally was released in 1984, but it had that Atari look about it.

Let's get things started by jumping right into the action. There's an introduction that explains the plot, but I'll cover that later. For now, all you need to know is we're Graham, and we're on a quest. A quest from our king. A King's Quest, you might say.

So here's the game's screen. We're the fellow with the blue hat in the middle of the screen, and we're outside the king's castle.

...and to get anything done we have to literally type in commands into a built-in text parser. No, no, no, no, no.

Fuck that. Fuck this.

We're gonna restart the game and we're gonna do this all over again, the right way.

Much better.

The menu screen is still much the same, but the underlying game has changed quite a bit. So let's actually hit that Introduction button and get going.

You probably noticed that things look distinctly less crappy. Welcome to the Sierra VGA engine, as seen in such hit titles as King's Quest V, and King's Quest VI. (You know, the two good ones in the series.)

The little crown in the bottom right corner is my mouse cursor. If a cutscene is happening, I try to relocate it down there to get it out of the way.

: This is Sir Graham, the bravest and most honorable knight in the troubled realm of Daventry.
: The feathered hat's kind of dumb, I know.
: King Edward the Benevolent, aged ruler of Daventry, has summoned him to the castle for reasons unknown.

: Greetings, Sir Graham. The King is expecting you. Allow me to escort you to His Majesty's throne room.
: Thank you, Sir Knight.

: Raise the portcullis!

: Graham walks up to the King and removes his hat as a sign of respect.
: I am at your service, my King.
: I am an old man, Sir Graham. Perhaps too old to carry the weight of this crown. My bones ache, my hands tremble. I'm afraid my time on earth grows short.
: Your Majesty, you still have many happy years ahead of you.
: Please don't say that. My kingdom is in shambles and I don't have enough money to pay the guards this week. If I'm lucky I'll die today and it will no longer be my problem.

: But enough about me. Great misfortunes have befallen Daventry since the loss, years ago, of the three magical treasures. I have chosen you, the finest knight in all of Daventry, to search for these lost treasures. Only then can this kingdom be restored to its former glory. And only then may I rest with the knowledge that my people are safe.

: The first treasure is a magic mirror that foretells the future.
: Funny how it never mentioned all of this when I used to look into its surface...

: The second is a magical shield that protects the bearer from all mortal harm.
: Even if you have it, you can still get sick, or trip and fall, or choke on a turkey leg. I also believe you need to actually be holding it for it to do anything.

: The third and last is an enchanted chest that is forever filled with gold.
: That sounds like it would cause an economic crisis the likes of which the realm has never before seen. Is that the reason why we've had such a lasting problem with inflation for decades?
: An eco-what now? And what's this about balloons?
: Graham wisely decides to keep his mouth shut and let the king continue talking.
: What? No I'm not. I have many more--
: I said Graham wisely keeps his mouth shut and lets the king finish.

: I know that what I ask is difficult... nay, perhaps impossible. The dangers are many. But you are brave and pure of heart. That is why I chose you to volunteer. If you succeed, you will inherit my crown, and rule the Realm of Daventry as her rightful king. Go, Sir Graham and know that the fate of Daventry lies in your hands.
: Take heart, my King. I shall not fail you.

: Graham rises, puts his cap back on, and struts out of the palace like he owns the place.

So let's get started. When you hit "Begin Game" in this version, you're asked an extremely important question. Sierra games were, at the best of times, considered notoriously hard. There are plenty of ways to fuck up progression by doing, or in many cases not doing, something.

This text box is, essentially, asking if we want the game to take mercy on us, or if we want the original experience. Because I played through this somewhere on the order of 5 times to prepare for this LP, I'm playing with dead ends enabled. When you select no, the game says...

: You have selected to play with dead-ends enabled. The game will play exactly the same way as the EGA version of King's Quest I: Quest for the Crown.

And so finally, we're back here on this screen. Quite the difference, isn't it? In fact, let's take a quick look at the SCI version side by side with this one.

The only detail they didn't catch was Graham's reflection in the water. But that's nitpicking. Anyway, unlike the SCI version, we have some options for controlling Graham here. You can use the cursor and the little walking icon to move him around the screen, or you can also use the arrow keys.



This is actually one of the deaths with a unique little animation after you die. Oh yes, by the way, you can die in this game. Quite easily, in fact.

Anyway, the moat is filled with serpents, and walking into it causes them to eat Graham.

Here's the little animation that plays in the SCI version. This is the only such gif that I have, and it took me a very long time to make because I had to do it manually. So enjoy it while it lasts!

When you die, your nominal punishment is that you have to reload your last saved game. In the case you haven't saved, you have to restart the entire game from the beginning. In reality, though, your punishment is having to suffer through the awful, horrible puns the narrator comes up with.

So, I'm going to religiously save the game. While I may know all most of this game's trickery and dick moves, it's still a 1980s Sierra game. Shit can go wrong at a moment's notice, and it's usually not my fault.

So, before we really get started, let me take some time to explain the VGA interface. Starting from the left...

: Moves Graham around the screen. He can maneuver around solid objects, but will blithely step off to his death if given half the chance.
: Lets you look at anything you can click on. Useful for finding several optional items that don't exist until you first look at their hiding spot.
: Use, or generally interact with, something you can click on. This is how you pick up all those wonderful items you need to solve the puzzles the designers came up with.
: Talk to someone nearby. This is used in exactly two, maybe three, puzzles in the entire game.
: This blank spot in the middle, minus the part of the cursor I accidentally captured, is where you can quick select the last item you were using. Like the talk command, it's more useful in later VGA titles.
: This bag is how you look at, and interact with, your entire inventory.
: Save your game, load your game, change volume, change walking speed, and quit: this is the options menu.
: Explains all of this again.

This is the options menu. You generally want to keep walking speed somewhere between 75% and 100%, as Graham moves at a snail's pace otherwise. There's also one puzzle that's made infinitely easier by changing walking speed.

Finally, below the sliders, and in the top right corner, we can see our points display. You can tell this is a short game, because it only has 158 points at maximum. Some later Sierra adventure titles have 999 or more!

Anyway, let's get moving. You can leave the previous screen by either the left or right sides, but I always go left first. There's several easy puzzles over this way, and no nasty surprises.

Also, this bridge. This bridge didn't exist in the initial EGA version of the game. In that version, it was a single plank that you had to successfully navigate Graham across. Let's just say that enough people fed the moat snakes in the EGA version to make Sierra add in guard rails for the SCI port. AGDI, the company that produced this VGA port, based it on the SCI version. Thus, the bridge has guard rails.

Don't worry if all of that went over your head. Just remember this: King's Quest I got less and less bullshit with each different port it received.

This screen has a nice easy puzzle to start us off with. There's two rocks, one of which is shaded differently enough to make it pop out. So let's investigate...

: The rock on the right is less distinctive than the one next to it.
: You see a large gray rock on the left.

: Graham stands in front of the rock and rolls it out of place.

Never forget that King's Quest I is a spiteful game and something as simple as being on the wrong side of an interactable object will kill you. Anyway, that's enough for this first update.

NEXT TIME: Treasure hunting and exploring the realm.

List of Points

Nothing yet!

Register of Deaths

Drowned in a moat
Crushed by a rock