The Let's Play Archive

King's Quest VI

by DoubleNegative

Part 5: A Fifteen Year-old Roleplayer

V - A Fifteen Year-old Roleplayer

Hello everyone and welcome back. Today's gonna be a fun update because it features the first exam puzzle. What is an "exam puzzle" I hear you asking?

King's Quest VI is unofficially organized into acts. Every time you reach the end of one of the game's major sections, you'll get what I like to call an exam puzzle. This puzzle (or series of puzzles, really) requires you to have a multitude of items from not only that act, but from the rest of the game.

The first exam puzzle is coming up in this very update! We actually already have many of the items we need for it, and we'll be entirely done with our preparations once we leave this screen. This first exam puzzle is very kind in that if you find yourself unprepared, you can leave the "testing" site at any time and comb over everywhere you've been to find the piece of the solution that you're missing. Future exam puzzles aren't quite as forgiving.

Anyway, let's loot this screen.

Alexander notices an unusually large, coal-black feather lying on the beach. He takes it.
There's an ugly flower growing near the base of the cliff. Alexander picks the flower and is startled by its hideously strong, skunk-like odor. For a moment, he can smell nothing else.

Colors of flame burst from the center of the incredibly stinky flower and drip onto its petals. The flower's appearance is as flamboyant as its smell!
Alexander contemplates touching the flower, but doesn't want to get the flower's stench on his hands.

Alexander is carrying an unusually large, black feather.
The feather feels very stiff and coarse.

And finally...

inscription on the cliff
There appears to be something etched into the face of the cliff. Alexander decides to get closer.

I could techincally solve this puzzle now, but there's zero need to and it would only complicate matters. This is The Cliffs of Logic the game's copy protection. The answers to this and the rest of the puzzles above it are only found by scouring the game's manual on GameFAQs.

While we can visit the Isle of the Beast, there's nothing we can do there.

A little fawn is feeding on a grassy hillock near the sea.

The pond in the middle of the screen is boiling pretty hard.

Let's walk into it! Also ignore the mild spoiler in the save file. I had some difficulties with recording in the past because the ScummVM devs apparently believe in accuracy over playability, and so they briefly disabled OpenGL. I personally believe in "good enough" emulation, as long as it works and doesn't crash.

Also I really hate recording pixel games like this with OBS. There's no such thing as pixel-perfect recordings with OBS because there will always be some bit-crushing going on. Just look at the screenshots in my Final Fantasy XIV LP if you want to see that in action. Also you should read it anyway because it's a low traffic thread and it needs more love.

across the boiling pond

Alexander decides to brave the boiling pond....

And soon realizes a deep sympathy for soup vegetables as he learns the true meaning of "being in a stew."


The water boils as if over some magical flame.


OUCH! That water is HOT!
Quit it!

Yeah, that's enough messing with the pond. Let's head to the last island.

The Isle of Wonder is one of those places that stands out in people's minds about this game. Let me demonstrate why...

Oyster beds line the seashore. Most of the oysters are sound asleep.
The ferryman did say the island's inhabitants are pretty literal-minded. I guess this is what he meant.

Get it? Oyster beds! Look, if you hate puns, then 1... this is not the game for you and 2... this is especially not the update for you. The Isle of Wonder is well named. Though if you want the full name, let me just append something to the end...

The Isle of Wonderland.

The Through the Looking Glass and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland influences are extremely apparent, especially as we explore the island.

pink thing in the water
A string of letters floats in the water. The letters spell out, "Where are you going....?" Alexander's heard of alphabet soup, but this is ridiculous!

That'll take a moment to float in to shore, so we'll just hang out while we wait. One of the nearby oysters looks to be awake, so let's talk to them.

One of the oysters is sitting up in bed and doesn't look very happy. He seems to be the only one who can't sleep.

In the oyster's mouth Alexander can see a glint of white.

Why aren't you asleep like the other oysters?
I'm SO weary, but I can't sleep. I have a terrible ache in my mouth.
What's wrong with your mouth?
No offense, but it hurts too much to talk.

I feel for the poor oyster. Mouth pain is better than almost any other for keeping you awake. There are other, worse, pains... but not many!

If you're having trouble sleeping, perhaps you'd like me to read to you.
Hey! That would be great!

Oyster Lullaby

Two dulcimas raised to the degree of forty halfdulcimas, divided into equal parts by the third of a cackle of grouse geese, put over the result of ten finemackels (albeit small finemackels), stretched over the total of fifty-three and an eighth bottles of wildebeast lard...
Where did you find this book?
It was for free in a bookshop in town.
I can see why...

...yields a gilded minnow of precise measurements; two thousand sixty-nine centidrils by three million twenty-three and six-sevenths punds (NOT punts, as might be expected). This is not to say, however, in any sense, whatsoever, that deviations in mean temperature of five or six dregs or so...
*even bigger yawn*
...indicate a fabrication or derivation sufficiently broad enough to exacerbate the conclusions uncovered, in due course, with regards to the dimensions, consistency, mass, or thickness inherent in the menial suckling grouse.
The poor little oyster falls into an uneasy sleep, though it's clear he is still not resting easy. Alexander decides to leave him to his nap.

The game isn't unwinnable now, but we did something very very wrong here. You see, when the oyster yawns (and he does it three times to give you a chance) you're supposed to notice something.

A huge pearl.

Alexander makes a grab for the pearl.
Hey! You fixed my mouth! It feels great! I... I....
Aww! The little oyster drifts into peaceful slumber with the rest of his oyster friends.

Now that we've used properly, it will just sit in our inventory for the rest of the game. Alex should probably have discarded it, but whatever. It has at least one pretty funny way to use it much later in the game.

The flawless pearl is the largest Alexander's ever seen.
Alexander turns the pearl slowly in his hand and sees its opaque white hue melt into iridescent colors.

No wonder that poor little guy couldn't sleep with a pearl this large. I think I have a pretty good idea what we should use this on... but that can wait for a little later. It's not exactly a pressing need at the moment!

Reposting this to point out that the letters have drifted closer.

Alexander wades into the sea to get the strange object in the water. The ocean currents tug at Alexander's legs. Hmmm. That object is just a bit out of reach.

Your per-update reminder that KQ6 is an incredibly forgiving game. The undertow around the islands has not gone away. KQ1-5 would have just killed Alexander for trying this much. But 6 warns us that we're about to fuck up.

So let's intentionally fuck up. Alex is close enough that he could reach out to grab them, but clicking on them again has him decide to start swimming after something within arm's reach.

Alexander wades deeper into the sea to get the strange object in the water. 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!

And from there it's just the generic drowning death. Even the death message is the same, so there's no need to show it off again. If you're curious, just go look at the first update again.

After a moment, the letters come in to the shore and Alex can finally take them.

letters (for real this time)
Alexander picks up the object floating in the water. It appears to be a string of letters. They say "Where are you going....?" Alexander decides to keep the odd sentence, even though it is incomplete.

In the strictest linguistic sense, "where are you going" is an incomplete sentence. In any other context, it is a perfectly cromulent sentence asking a fully complete thought. Also the missing word "to" just sounds weird. Try asking it out loud. "Where are you going to?" It sounds like you're a fifteen year old roleplayer trying to sound smarter than you really are.

Alexander already has a pretty good grasp on his words.
The sentence seems to only have one thing to say, "Where are you going....?"

You know the writers had fun with some of these descriptions.

Anyway, let's get this exam over with. All we need to do is try to leave by either of the paths available. So...

Alexander hears someone coming.

Gnome Guards ***Another good one***

Five fierce guards of the isle we be! 'Watch for a foreign man,' said he! With ears and nose, tongue, hands, and eyes. Its nature cannot be disguised. If man it be, then man it dies!

Five gnomes. Five different senses that they specifically call out. Hm. Hmmm. Hmmmmmmm... Nope. Can't piece it together. Oh well I'm sure we can muddle through.

Old Tom Trow, smell your smell. Do that which you do so well.

Posing A Question

Alert my brothers, as we feared. A man, a man has landed here!
A man, a man, so say our nose! Into the waiting sea he goes!

Gnomish Carry
Gnomish Throw

The gnomes toss Alexander too far out into the sea for him to get his footing! The currents drag him under!


So now that the game's drilled it into our heads, there's no guessing just how this is meant to go. We have five items related to the five senses, and so we need to use those to get past this part.

Tom Trow I am, that's all I'll be. My nose knows all on land and sea. A flower of stench has washed ashore. A flower, 'tis all, and nothing more!

This particular section is great if you have misaphonia, by the way. Tom Trow can't get through five sentences without sucking snot every other word.

Listen! Hark you, Grovernor! Do your duty as you swore. With your ears, please tell us more.

No gif for this one because it's just a shocked expression.

My ears can't miss that strong heartbeat! A man it is, a man we greet!
A man! A man! So say our ears! We shall send him to his bier!

And the actual answer for Grovernor is...

Grovernor is kind of dumb. He can easily hear the nightingale being wound.

A nose is not a way to spy! My ears cannot be told a lie. A nightingale is all there be. No man is near, and so say me!

If you have the flute from the pawn shop, he also has this to say:

A flute, it's true, is a harmless thing. But the man who blows it... there's the sting.

I think this is a case of the developers realizing they didn't have a good sound option for the early game and had to throw something together at the last minute.

Taste, Grump-Frump, that we might know, whether friend or whether foe.


What he tastes I don't know. He just licks the air in front of Alexander. Sure... why... not...?

My tongue betrays this one so sly! A man it is! I tell no lie!
A man! A man! So say our tongue! To the Realm of the Dead we send this one!

The answer to Grump-Frump is pretty easy.

Grump-Frump knows a tasty treat. It matters not what others bleat! No danger is this one so sweet

Trilly Dilly, use your hands. Is it beast, or is it man?

My hands knows what the rest do not! A man is standing on this spot!
A man, a man, so say our hands! We act at the vizier's command!

Again, this one is pretty easy once you think about what we have.

Be all you mad? What aileth thee? A bunny can't trill merrily! A hare does not at all taste sweet! A rabbit here is all we greet.


Old Bill Batter, never fatter, vision can resolve this matter. Look you now, and end this chatter!

Okay that's pretty good.

Of all the senses, eyes are best! A man, I say, and hang the rest!
A man! A man! So say our eyes! A man he be! A man, he dies!

Again, the answer is pretty easy if you think about it.

Alexander pours the contents of the empty-looking ink bottle over himself.

By all that's beauteous, fair, and sightly, four morons do I sleep with nightly! There's NOTHING THERE AT ALL I say! Enough of this, let's now away!

Alexander did it! He's fooled the guards!

And just like that, we've passed the first exam puzzle. That wasn't too bad, was it?

List of Points

+1 - Stinky Flower
+1 - Black Feather
+3 - Oyster dentist
+1 - (In)complete sentence
+10 - Beating the Sense Gnomes (+2 each)

Total Points: 47/231

Register of Deaths

Stewed Alexander x2
Alex needs to bathe
Alex is a mouth breather
Alex tastes funny
Alex has rough skin
Alex exists