Part 2: Looting the Realm
Let's try that again. I won't be showing every time I save or reload my game, because there are some parts of the game where you'd see the save dialog eight or nine times in a two minute stretch. All the same, I may show off my save names every once in a while.
Last time, we were crushed to death because we stood in front of a rock and pulled it downhill. So instead, let's stand behind it. Also worth pointing out with this particular version of the VGA engine, the important part of the mouse cursor has a red dot on it. So just line up the red fingernail with the rock and...
: With a small shove, Graham manages to push the rock a few feet... revealing a shallow hole underneath.
And if we look inside...
: There is an intricately carved dagger in the hole.
A dagger, huh? Let's get that shit.
: Graham reaches into the hole and grasps the dagger, being careful not to cut himself.
Although it's admittedly been a few years since I last played a game in the VGA engine, I'm pretty sure the Sierra one didn't automatically select the item to use for you. So that's a neat difference between this VGA remake and later VGA titles.
And now that we have an item, let's take a quick look at our inventory. The buttons at the bottom let you further examine and prod the stuff you find.
: This is a fine silver dagger, with a very sharp edge! Graham can't read the runes on the blade, but it appears to be an elvish dagger of great antiquity.
: Be careful, Graham! That blade is very sharp.
I'll be periodically checking my inventory and going over the various look/touch interactions.
And because I know someone's going to ask...
: Be careful, Sir Graham! You might cut yourself.
No taking the quick way out of this quest. If Graham wants to die, he'll have to find another way to do it.
The game overworld fits on an 8x6 grid. There's a few maps out there, but I'm going to be referencing the map AGDI has on their site when I'm referring to locations.
The left exit from the castle, that we took last time, is located at A-2. The rock where we started this update is H-2, and we're currently at H-1, the Oak Tree. The map wraps both horizontally and vertically, so it can be easy to get lost.
Anyway, the huge tree is the sole feature of this screen, so let's look closer...
: This is the biggest oak tree Graham has ever seen. Its trunk seems to be about ten feet around, and the thick, sturdy branches look like they could hold many times his weight.
: If I didn't know any better, I'd say you were trying to get me to climb the tree.
: Well, I was going to climb it anyway!
: Finding plenty of footholds in the coarse bark of the tree, Graham easily clambers up the trunk to the branches above.
The branches of the oak tree are one of many sub-areas in the game. It's also our first introduction to the game's "platforming" challenges. There's something in the nest, but first we have to carefully walk across the branch to get there.
Seems simple enough right?
The arrows outline the only path you can take to reach the egg at the end. Anything else results in you falling off the branch and having to try again. Once we get close to the nest, we can look at it to see...
: There is a perfect, shimmering golden egg lying in the nest. Graham carefully lifts it out.
Score! I also went ahead and combined the narration for looking and taking, because there's no way in hell we're leaving a solid 24 karat golden egg behind.
: Graham is holding a lovely golden egg.
: This is one egg that definitely won't be so easy to crack!
Now that we have our prize, let's take a shortcut.
By which I mean, let's jump out of the tree.
Each time you fall out of the tree, there's a several second long unskippable animation of Graham falling, landing, and standing back up. It's kind of obnoxious if you're trying to walk across the tree limb.
Moving on, we're now on screen A-1.
: This is a well-tended carrot patch. The carrots look tempting to a hungry traveler.
: How did that old rhyme go? 'See a carrot, pick it up, then all day you'll have good luck?' Well, I can use all the luck I can get.
: I don't think that's how it goes, but...
: Graham plucks a plump, orange carrot from the ground.
Your standard adventure game rules apply here. If it's not nailed down, take it. If it's nailed down, find a way to remove the nails.
On screen A-6, there's an event that randomly triggers. If the screen is empty, then leave and return until it happens.
: Wandering along the banks of the beautiful lake, you see a cute little elf.
Wait until the elf is nearby, and try talking to him.
: Excuse me, little elf? Hi, my name is Graham and...
: The elf is impressed by Graham's friendliness and responds by handing him an elegant little ring.
: I've had me eye on ye, Sir Graham. Methinks you might enjoy this little trinket. For just a wee bit o' time, it has the power to make ye invisible.
: Well, thank you! That's awfully generous of you.
: May it give ye as much entertainment as ye has given me this day!
: With that, the elf vanishes.
: Graham's hand tingles slightly as he looks at this jeweled ring.
Using the hand icon on the ring makes Graham put it on. We want to save this until we really need it, so we won't be doing that.
: There appears to be some sort of bowl sitting next to the tree. Graham picks it up.
: Maybe someone lost this bowl. I should try to return it to them...
A-5 is one of many screens in the game that only serves to give you an item. Unlike most of the items in the game, this one is actually useful for something.
Jumping a few screens, this is H-4, also known as the Gloomy Clearing. H-3 and H-4 are two of the five "dangerous" screens in the game. The other three screens to watch out for are G-5, F-6, and G-1. Basically just avoid "Gloomy Clearing," "Dark Forest," or the "Wolf" screens unless you absolutely can't help it.
So what makes H-4 particularly dangerous?
: There is a small dwarf right nearby. Be careful, this sly little chap is trouble.
A few seconds after entering a "dangerous" screen, the game has a chance to spawn an enemy. Graham is not Nike von Slartibartfast, so he can't defend himself very well. So if an enemy shows up, the only recourse is to get offscreen ASAP.
The Dwarf is the only enemy that won't kill you outright. Instead, he does something much more sinister.
: The sneaky little dwarf caught Graham by surprise. Did he steal anything?
The narration is a hint to check your pockets immediately.
We're incredibly lucky here. The Dwarf didn't steal anything! If he catches you, then he can steal anything out of your pockets, and I mean anything.
Once the item is gone, then there's no way to get it back. So if he happens to steal one of the items you need to beat the game? Well, sucks to be you in which case. Guess you should have known that the RNG would decide to fuck you over completely at random.
One screen to the south is the Walnut Tree. (H-5)
: There is a large walnut tree surrounded by several pine trees.
: It looks like a walnut of some sort.
: Gee, who would have thought you'd find walnuts underneath a walnut tree?
I'm gonna be honest, walnuts don't fall like that unless it's in the autumn months. They have these big green casings that are stuffed full of fibrous material, and once that cracks open, you can finally get at the walnuts within. The green casings stain the hell out of your hands if you touch them. The fiber inside also leaves black stains on everything but grass.
What I'm getting at here is that this game is set in the springtime, so there's no way there'd be fresh walnuts on the ground at this time of year, at this time of day, in this part of the country, localized entirely within this one screen.
: Graham chooses a big, meaty-looking walnut from the bunch scattered around.
: Mmm, out of season walnuts...
: Graham is holding an ordinary walnut.
: When Graham opens the walnut, he discovers that the nut inside is pure gold!
So here's another change from the SCI and EGA versions. In those, it was up to random chance if you got gold out of a walnut. In this VGA port, every time I've checked a walnut, it has had gold inside.
Since we're here, let's check some other items...
: Inscribed on the inside of this empty ceramic bowl is the word 'Fill'.
: To Graham's astonishment, something begins to bubble up from the bottom of the bowl. Within moments, the bowl is filled with a hot savory stew.
Using the hand on the bowl implies Graham is saying "fill" to the bowl, which fills it up. It's a nice change from the old versions where you had to actually type "say fill" to fill the bowl.
: Graham eats every bite of the delicious stew.
You can eat the stew from the bowl as well. Though doing so removes the points you gained from filling the bowl.
I think that's enough for now. Like I said last time, King's Quest I is a very short game. My recording for the entire game is 01:00:24 long. That's 1 hour, 0 minutes, and 24 seconds. This is just a little over 11 minutes in, so we're about 1/6 of the way done give or take. Seems like a good point to call things for now, right?
NEXT TIME: We make some progress!
List of Points
+2 - Rolled the Rock
+5 - Took the Dagger
+2 - Climbed the Tree
+6 - Took the Golden Egg
+2 - Took a Carrot "for luck"
+3 - Got a ring from an elf
+3 - Picked up a bowl
+3 - Picked up a walnut
+3 - Found gold in walnut
+1 - Read bowl inscription
+2 - Filled bowl with stew
-2 - Ate the stew
Register of Deaths
None this time!