The Let's Play Archive

King's Quest VI

by DoubleNegative

Part 1: Two Pirates and Al Borland

I - Two Pirates and Al Borland

Sierra Fanfare

I am absolutely back on my bullshit here.

King's Quest Fanfare

And because my very specific and inelegant method of capturing gifs will work here, I can make those as well!

I should also warn you all now, I found a full soundtrack rip on youtube. It's... extremely accurate. And there's dozens of links. So expect to see a lot of those throughout the LP! Click if you're interested. I'll point out especially good tracks!

King's Quest VI - Intro

Alexander's Melancholy

And because the game comes with its own custom cursor, I will be unable to trim them out of the screenshots. So get used to seeing me resting the "something is happening" crown on top of people's heads.

Also we're going to be viewing the opening. Yes I know I did this 2 and a half years ago. I'm redoing this because I can do it better now. Also because the narrator in my last attempt was Morgan Freeman, and that aged like milk in the fucking desert.

The wheel of protagonists this time lands on Alexander! The last time we saw him, he was awkwardly mooning over a cute girl in a scullery maid outfit. He's still doing that.

Alexander! Here you are! You're still not thinking about Cassima, are you?
Hmmm? I suppose I am.

Case in point. Also these are the DOS portraits because nobody would shut up about it last time I grew up with these portraits and they do look better with the art of the game than the absurdly detailed Windows portraits.

Son, it's been MONTHS. You've GOT to pull yourself together. After all, you only met her that once...
I know. I'm sorry, mother. I'll try.
Have you discovered anything about the Land of the Green Isles?
No! No one's even heard of it! It's like she's just vanished!

I wish I could help. Please try to think about something else, dear.
I'll try, Mother.

This is actually a difference between the two versions of the game. In the DOS version it says the above. In the Windows port, it says...

Cassima Speaks

Hours pass...

Also meet our narrator for the game. It's Ambassador Udina, from Mass Effect! This is a joke that only I and a few others will get. But I assure you that it's very clever.

Bill Ratner plays the narrator in King's Quest VI. He also voices Udina. That's the entire joke.

The magic mirror suddenly kicks to life.

Alexander... I feel so alone. I don't know what to do... Alexander, I wish you were here...

Alexander's Excitement


This view isn't great. The pair of them look like clay models staring awkwardly at each other.

Alexander, what on earth? You're white as a ghost!
Mother, I saw Cassima! She was in the mirror!
In the mirror? The magic mirror?
Yes! And it showed me how to find her!
The stars! I saw the stars outside her window! I can navigate by the stars!
Alexander, that's such a wide area she could be in. And...
It will be alright, Mother. I promise.
Before you go, why don't you go visit Derek over in Llewdor? I was doing some thinking while you were down here, and I remember hearing a rumor that he's been to the Land of the Green Isles. He might be able to give you something better to go on than 'the stars.'
That's a wonderful idea, mother! I'll go visit him while the ship is being prepared.

Seagull Theme

These seagulls don't flap their wings. They're just gliding. Also the camera lingers on them for some unknowable reason. So for like a solid 20 seconds it's just ugly-ass early 90s CGI winged rats.


This voyage still took less time than that trip I had on the pirate ship.

Land ho! LAND HO! LAND HO!

Graham really gave Alexander the best men he had at his disposal, two pirates and Al Borland.

Sailing into Eventide

Rough Seas

The ship smashes against some rocks and then sinks.

Opening Credits

There's a lot of credits here, and I'm not gonna show all of them. But Jane Jensen is reportedly responsible for most of the good writing. King's Quest VI is a bit of a master class in adventure game design. It's the series at its least bullshit and most friendly. The story is suitably climactic and this is arguably Sierra at the height of their powers.

I have a transcript available to copy from, but I also wanted to show off the narration boxes. Thanks to ScummVM, I can have my cake and eat it too with regards to narration. Bill Ratner does an amazing job narrating and I can include little screencaps of the text when it's suitably punchy or funny.

Then he does remember. The shipwreck...the sea. Just as he had seen his men safely into the life boats, a gigantic wave picked him up and tossed him overboard, into the churning sea. That was the last he'd seen of his crew. Debris from the shipwreck is scattered along the shore, but of the life boats and his men, there is thankfully no trace. He can only hope and pray that the life boats survived the currents, and that his men made their way safely back to Daventry.

Beach (Ambience)

Just looking at this is incredibly nostalgic for me. I grew up playing this game - it was the first adventure game I ever played. Though there's stories of me sitting on my dad's lap as just a baby while he played Leisure Suit Larry.

First things first, gotta adjust the options.

Gonna be honest, I have no idea what the Detail button does. Most of these backgrounds are just static images with a very tiny amount of animation. Even at the time they were fairly low-impact. All the rest of the buttons are fairly self explanatory. Well, except for DUAL down at the bottom. That just means that the text will appear on the screen when audio is played.

The real important bit here is dragging the speed slider as high as it will go. It controls Alexander's walking speed and nobody wants to deal with a terminally slow adventure game protagonist.

Also volume is that low because my headphones are extremely sensitive and like to play things very loudly.

Also for some unfathomable reason, I can't mash F5 to quicksave. It worked the last time I played! It even still works in other games running in ScummVM. So I don't know why KQ6 is being difficult in such a fashion.

Now, we have one more thing that we need to do.


Danger of Drowning

You can probably guess what this means.

The ocean is not as calm as it appears. Underwater currents tug at Alexander's legs.

deeper in the ocean

The underwater tow is amazingly strong here. It pulls ferociously at Alexander's legs. Before Alexander can retreat, the currents grab his legs! The shifting sand vanishes from beneath his feet! Against his best efforts, he is dragged out to sea!

Drowning Music

The currents around the island pull Alexander under!

As Alexander struggles to the surface for the third and last time, he finds himself wishing he'd paid more attention to the warning signs of an undertow!

Welcome to the Underworld

Every good King's Quest title has to start off on the right foot. And that means finding a way to die because of your own inteptitude immediately. I'm also probably not gonna be linking that particular track every time we die. But that's what it sounds like.

The puns. The puns! They're glorious and I hate them.

Now. Do you see that little orange pixel on the beach? It's occasionally glinting, so it's pretty easy to pick out.

orange pixel

Alexander's royal insignia ring lies abandoned on the sand. It must have slipped from his finger during the shipwreck. Fortunately, it was not lost in the sea.

ring on the beach


Bonus! I managed to catch it right as it's glinting!

Alexander picks up his royal insignia ring from the beach.

Normally glinting pixels spell trouble. But unlike this game's predecessor, there's like a handful of screens where you're on a strict time limit. This beach is not one of them. So you have all the time in the world to notice the ring on the sand! This next one is a little less nice.

the plank on the beach

Moving the plank makes a box appear from beneath it! There's little indication that the plank is obviously usable, but it's the first screen of the game. If you're not randomly clicking around when the stakes are at their lowest, then what are you even doing playing adventure games?

Alexander pushes the plank to one side. A box has been partially buried under sand.


There's a glinting object inside of the box. It's also plainly obvious when it's not glinting, so you can see it pretty easily once you realize it's there.

Alexander takes the coin and leaves the ruined box where it is.

Also while we're here...


The plank seems board and does not reply.

Every item in the game has unique dialogue for looking, using, and talking to it. I'll try to do my best and show them all off, but there's a lot of items... some of which you can't even get on the only ending path I'm showing off.

Alexander is carrying a copper coin of Daventry. King Graham graces the front of the coin.
Alexander rubs his fingers over the indentation of King Graham's face on the copper coin, and thinks fondly of home.
Ah, if only Alexander's father could speak now and give his advice!

100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, 100 squats, and a 10km run EVERY SINGLE DAY! That's the secret to getting as buff as I am.

Alexander's ring is made of the purest gold and has the insignia of the royal family of Daventry on its face.
Alexander is already wearing his ring.
Reminiscing of home is fine, but the ring is not a very good listener.

Anyway, we've fucked around on the beach long enough. Let's get moving.

up the path

Forest Birds (Ambience)

We're just passing through.


Castle of the Crown (This is a really good track!)


Two guards take their stance in front of the castle doors. They look quite fierce and have the stiff, blank expression of soldiers on formal duty.

Maybe we can shoulder check them and waltz on in to the castle!


The guards of the castle gate look like efficient fighters, and there are doubtless more of them inside. Alexander decides NOT to try to force his way in.

I've never been much for physical fighting anyway.

Fine, fine. We'll talk to the guards instead. Like we're all adults or something.


Alexander politely addresses the odd-looking guards at the castle doors, hoping to learn more about his predicament.

Good day to you, guards. I was cast upon this island in a storm, and I'm a little confused about my location. Could you tell me what place this is, and who lives in this castle?
Eh? What is that you say? A castaway? A likely story! We haven't had any foreigners in this part since Alhazred arrived.
Don't be so rude, Gruff! He is not asking for any secrets. You're standing on the Isle of the Crown, lad, and this is the Castle of the Crown. The royal family resides here. Or, rather, what is left of the royal family.
The Isle of the Crown? But tell me, am I anywhere near the Land of the Green Isles?
This IS the Land of the Green Isles! The Isle of the Crown is the main island, foolish boy!

What a nice guard. Alex is obviously confused about where he is, so you should definitely berate him for not knowing anything about the land.

Then Princess Cassima must live in this very castle!
Aye! The princess is indeed our treasured jewel to guard--and we consider it an honor!

And then the conversation ends. Welp.

Excuse me, dogs. I've been traveling for months to see Princess Cassima. I would like an audience, please.
I'm sorry, but the princess is not receiving visitors. Particularly not strangers
I really must see the princess. Could I please speak with someone in charge?
Who are you that I should bother Captain Saladin?

This is an entirely different dog, but I only made two portraits and I don't actually care enough to make five more for the different dog voices. The sound clips change dogs on an irregular basis. I'm also pretty sure at least one is just Josh Mandel doing his King Graham voice.

My name is Alexander. I'm a prince of Daventry and a friend of the princess.
A prince is it? I see. And I am Lord of this dusty path! Step aside! You'll not be getting into the castle without some proof of your claims!

That's finally the hint to the small "puzzle" here. Alexander doesn't have any of his official documents, which are all rotting away on the bottom of the reefs surrounding the Isle of the Crown.

Perhaps this ring will convince you of my identity. It is the royal insignia ring of Daventry.
Hmph. I'm sure. Just let me look at that ring. Well, er...<Growf> I'm sorry, your highness. It's just that princes are so uncommon in these parts. Let me get Captain Saladin.
No hard feelings. I know you're just doing your job.

The guard returns a moment later with a majestic-looking creature. Captain Saladin speaks with a voice that is gentle but reflects a will of iron.

Captain Saladin is one of like five characters voiced by Tony Jay. His voice is many things, but it is not gentle.

Prince Alexander of Daventry, I presume. I'm afraid I'm unfamiliar with your country, but I'm sure Vizier Alhazred will want to meet you--if indeed, you are a friend of the princess. Please, follow me.

So far so good...

Lord Abdul Alhazred

Lord Alhazred, a visitor to see you. Prince Alexander of Daventry.
What is it that you seek, Prince Alexander?

Just listen to that background music. That's sinister as fuck!

Also Alhazred's turban-clad friend has a sparkling golden eye. How weird.

Pardon the intrusion, my lord, but I came to see Princess Cassima. Some months ago my father, King Graham, saved my family and I from imprisonment under an evil wizard named Mordack.
The same wizard that kidnapped the princess?
Exactly. When my father rescued us, he also liberated Cassima and sent her home.
Then your father has my gratitude, and that of the entire kingdom, but I'm afraid I still fail to see the purpose of your visit.
<ahem> Well, I came to make sure that Cassima arrived safely and to pay my respects. Before we parted, she gave me an invitation to visit.

Alex really didn't think this one through. He got all hopped up on charging out to SEE Cassima that he never once thought about why he wanted to do it.

I have no doubt she did exactly that at the time, Prince Alexander. However, things have greatly changed for Cassima since her ordeal in Mordack's castle. Cassima's parents both became ill and died while she was gone. Cassima is sequestered in mourning for them, as befits a princess. She is not receiving visitors of ANY kind.

So back in KQ5 when she said...

I can't wait to see my parents again!

She never got a chance to. That's so sad.

Even if she were, I do not think YOUR visit would be... appropriate. You see, it is time for Cassima to take her responsibilities seriously. With her parents gone, she no longer has the luxury to be a carefree maiden. As was her parents' wish, Cassima and I are to be wed. We shall rule the kingdom together. I assure you, our marriage is all Cassima wants now. As a prince and a gentleman, it would be best that you leave before there is any further... embarrassment.
I see. I suppose that I was mistaken. I thought for certain that Cassima.... Well, I apologize.
A young man sees what he wishes to see. I'm sorry you've wasted your time traveling to the Land of the Green Isles. May your journey home be swift.
Perhaps I will take the opportunity to look around your fair land while I'm here. Nobody back home has ever heard of this land. I would like to bring stories and perhaps souveniers back to them.
I would advise against that. The kingdom is rather, shall we say, 'inhospitable' these days. But it is YOUR neck. You may risk it if you please.
I'm used to risking my neck.
Very well, if that is your choice, Prince Alexander.
Captain Saladin will escort you from the castle. Good day.

The whole time Saladin had his hand on his sword hilt, ready to pull it out at a moments' notice. Alhazred isn't even royalty, he's just the Vizier. Saladin takes his role as captain of the guard very seriously!

You have had your hearing with Vizier Alhazred. I trust you'll respect his wishes and not return. I have been instructed NOT to let you into the castle again. Good day, m'lord.

Captain Saladin whispers something to the guard dogs at the castle gate, and they nod with understanding. Alexander has a feeling they won't be letting HIM into the castle again.

In the future I'm going to turn on the game's save system instead of using ScummVM's. I can't quicksave like I used to, so there's no need to use the UI. Anyway, that's enough of that for now.

NEXT TIME: We poke around and see what sort of trouble we can get into.

List of Points

+1 Ring on a beach
+1 Move background object the plank
+1 Get coin in the box
+3 Got engaged to a guard
+2 - This guy totally isn't evil

Total: 8/231

Register of Deaths

Alexander can't swim