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Old 11-24-2005, 11:18 PM   #1
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Really nice review, Emily! Made me want to replay the game (which I haven't in ages). I especially liked how you managed to convey that the timed parts, the numerous deaths or the spellmaking were definitely frustrating, and yet did manage to increase the tension and, somehow, enhance the game. The supporters of the so-called "pure adventures" would do well to play this game, and not as an imperfect relic from the past (a mere sketch of better things to come) but as a good game in itself, timed sequences and all.

And the conclusion on the interweaving of story and puzzles was spot on, at least for graphic adventures (I'm sure someone will be terribly outraged because you forgot to mention that this or that Infocom IF did the same thing years earlier ).

Oh, and what were you referring to when you wrote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by fov
One particular (and crucial) item is even worse than a pixel hunt—you literally can't see it. Even though I sort of remembered where it was from playing KQIII years ago, the game doesn't offer any clues and I ultimately had to consult a walkthrough.
?
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Old 11-24-2005, 11:43 PM   #2
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Glad you enjoyed it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurufinwe
And the conclusion on the interweaving of story and puzzles was spot on, at least for graphic adventures (I'm sure someone will be terribly outraged because you forgot to mention that this or that Infocom IF did the same thing years earlier ).
I thought about that as I was writing it. The stories being told in IF at the same time were certainly more complex. I know there were a lot of IF fans who thought graphic adventures were a huge step backwards. I think it took a while for developers to get the hang of how to tell a story through pictures and action, rather than through words. King's Quest III isn't the perfect specimen, by any means, but it was the first step in the right direction.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurufinwe
Oh, and what were you referring to when you wrote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by fov
One particular (and crucial) item is even worse than a pixel hunt—you literally can't see it...
Spoiler:
The key to the cupboard in Manannan's study, which is hidden on top of the wardrobe in his bedroom. I looked all over that thing - under, inside, behind, etc. Nothing in the graphic, or the text, gave me any clue that I should look on top of it. And I already knew it was hidden in the wardrobe somewhere! I don't know how someone new to the game would find it.
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Old 11-25-2005, 12:47 AM   #3
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I have to say, I admire your restraint in talking about the frustration of the cliff-climbing. If I were writing the review, it would have gone something like "The most frustrating part of the game was the, the frustration, uh, in, well see it was frustrating because... be...because... AUUUAUGHHGUHG STUPID STUPID CLIMBING SEQUENCES GARRAAAAAHHHH I HATE AUUUUUUGGHAIEHGGGYHHHHHH. PERIOD."

The path to and from Manannan's bastion wasn't so hard, but I was tormented by those mountain sequences at the end. Why would you ruin a perfectly good adventure game with a sequence that requires bafflingly stupid dexterity? It was far too easy to fall off -- you didn't even have to touch an edge, just go near it, and poor Alex goes tumbling to his death.

Otherwise, I agree with the review. I wasn't particularly fond of the timed sequences or the entire ingredient-gathering part in the first half of the game, but it was still a fun adventure, and as I said (and you said), AGI never looked better.

I would also like to point out, though -- you briefly mentioned this in your review, but I feel it warrants a closer look -- the fact that some copies of the manual actually have misprints in the spell incantations. Man, this burned me up. For example, in the 15th Anniversary Collection, which I have, the manual completely fails to point out which spell is on which page. I made a fool of myself asking a friend how to get to the spells in the spellbook because I wasn't aware there were page numbers. "Look in book," "Read book," "Turn page," nothing worked. I thought I was going insane. I remember hearing about other misprints in different editions, too. While no fault of the game itself, it would have helped for the whole spell bit to not be as strict as it was.

I wouldn't put KQ3 high on my list of favorites in the series, but then again, King's Quest isn't really my bag to begin with, and few of the games really appeal to me. I'm more of a Space Quest guy. I'd write reviews for those suckers any day of the week.
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Old 11-25-2005, 01:06 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fov
Spoiler:
The key to the cupboard in Manannan's study, which is hidden on top of the wardrobe in his bedroom. I looked all over that thing - under, inside, behind, etc. Nothing in the graphic, or the text, gave me any clue that I should look on top of it. And I already knew it was hidden in the wardrobe somewhere! I don't know how someone new to the game would find it.
Oh, yes, you're right. I'd completely forgotten about that. Actually, I had the same problem as you the second time I played the game: I knew it was somewhere nearby, but couldn't find it. There really should have been a clue in the text.
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Old 11-25-2005, 03:17 AM   #5
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King's Quest III is the only game in the series that I utterly gave up on - I just couldn't cope with the frustrating large number of different timed ideas, tasks and death sequences that early on in the game. Which is a shame, because you're obviously suggesting that it's a good'un.

Maybe I'll have another go at it this Christmas. If there's one King's Quest game that I really did want to see remade, though, it was this one, and not one of the first two .

:EDIT: I feel I ought to compliment the review properly. I think this is the first time I've been given any idea of what happens after the escape from the wizard! So thank you, fov .
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Old 11-25-2005, 05:18 AM   #6
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This is one series that I wouldn't mind replaying.
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Old 11-25-2005, 05:22 AM   #7
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Yeah, I would love to see see a remake of this one.

Thanks for this review, Emily. I really enjoyed it and I have an itching to go back and play it now. Those were good days when you didn't have ready access to walkthroughs, you'd nut it out with friends until you did it.

Damn cliffs/caves at the end, though. I didn't mind the ones at the start going up and down the mountain but I have still never finished the game because no matter how many walkthroughs I read I still can't figure out the bit at the end. I'm going to go play it from the start now, though.

I don't recall ever having had trouble with the

Spoiler:
key on top of the cupboard. From what I can recall a, "look top cupboard" did the trick?


It's been a while, though. I could be hideously wrong, I'll find out soon enough though.
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Last edited by fov; 11-25-2005 at 10:52 AM.
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Old 11-25-2005, 05:33 AM   #8
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A little piece of trivia: unlike what's said in the "Bottom-line" section of the review, there are actually 4 AGI games in the KQ series - KQ4, much like KQ1, has both an AGI release as well as an SCI release.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toefur
Yeah, I would love to see see a remake of this one.
I think some people are already working on that.
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Old 11-25-2005, 08:41 AM   #9
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I haven't played King's Quest 3 all the way through myself. I think I may be picking it up soon to try again.

Great review as always FOV! Now you need to review "Conquests of Camelot"!!!
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Old 11-25-2005, 10:51 AM   #10
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Thanks for all the comments, guys.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aurebesh
A little piece of trivia: unlike what's said in the "Bottom-line" section of the review, there are actually 4 AGI games in the KQ series - KQ4, much like KQ1, has both an AGI release as well as an SCI release.
That's a little nitpicky, don't you think? KQ4's AGI release was only made as a backup in case people had technical difficulties with the SCI version, it was only sent out by tech support in these situations (not available in stores), and because there were not a lot of technical difficulties with the SCI version, it never became widely available. The fact that it's fairly easy to download now doesn't change that it was never intended as a true release in the first place.

EDIT: Sorry, yes, it's a nice piece of trivia (and one I planned to address in my KQ4 review... thanks for stealing my thunder. ) But since it was not intended as a true release, I don't think it makes the bottom-line statement incorrect.

Quote:
Originally Posted by reno6
The path to and from Manannan's bastion wasn't so hard, but I was tormented by those mountain sequences at the end. Why would you ruin a perfectly good adventure game with a sequence that requires bafflingly stupid dexterity?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toefur
Damn cliffs/caves at the end, though. I didn't mind the ones at the start going up and down the mountain but I have still never finished the game because no matter how many walkthroughs I read I still can't figure out the bit at the end.
I really didn't have much trouble with these. I fell once, maybe twice, but that was it. Have you tried setting the speed to slow?

Quote:
Originally Posted by reno6
I would also like to point out, though -- you briefly mentioned this in your review, but I feel it warrants a closer look -- the fact that some copies of the manual actually have misprints in the spell incantations. Man, this burned me up. For example, in the 15th Anniversary Collection, which I have, the manual completely fails to point out which spell is on which page.
Hmm... this is the same version I have, and on page 25 of the manual there is a box that says King's Quest III Answer Key, and lists the page numbers for each of the spells. (My manual also has a note on the front cover instructing the reader to refer to page 25 for revised copy protection info for KQIII.) Is it possible there were two versions of the 15th Anniversary Collection, and mine is a later version? In any case, I would have mentioned it in the review if I'd known about the issue, but I didn't. Pretty sloppy of them, though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toefur
I don't recall ever having had trouble with the

Spoiler:
key on top of the cupboard. From what I can recall a, "look top cupboard" did the trick?


It's been a while, though. I could be hideously wrong, I'll find out soon enough though.
But how did you know to look there in the first place? It's not like there's anything in the picture that gives a clue to look there. That was my complaint. (Added spoiler tags to your post, btw... don't want to give anyone who hasn't played the game yet an unfair advantage! )

Last edited by fov; 11-25-2005 at 12:16 PM.
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Old 11-25-2005, 12:48 PM   #11
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fov, are you absolutely sure that KQ4 AGI was never sold in stores? Where did you got that information?
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Old 11-25-2005, 01:13 PM   #12
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Various places on the web. Here's one:

Quote:
The SCI version of this game can be purchased in either the King's Quest series CD-ROM collection or the Roberta Williams Anthology. The AGI version of this title was never actually released to retail outlets. It was only available through Sierra itself by buying the regular SCI version and then mailing off for this AGI version. And Sierra only did this for a limited time. Consequently, this version is very rare.
Funny thing - I had a problem running KQ4 (Apple IIGS version) and we sent to Sierra for a replacement disk. They sent back a DOS version. We contacted them again and they sent us the correct Apple IIGS replacement disk, and my dad stashed the DOS disks in a drawer (we had an old Compaq but it only took 5.25" floppies, and these were 3.5", so we had no way to use them). They probably sat around in that drawer for 10 years until my dad tossed them out. And they most likely contained the elusive AGI version of KQ4.

(Another point of interest -- to me, anyway -- is that the Apple IIGS version was a lot closer to the DOS AGI version than the DOS SCI version. No SCI engine was ever created for the Apple IIGS, so they made KQ4 with its own sort of in-between engine.)
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Old 11-25-2005, 01:33 PM   #13
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Emily, great review to read, if I may say so, but you can hardly convince me to this series, I'm afraid. Too many things that I'm sure will irritate me, especially after my hard time with KQ1&2. It would be good if a Tierra-quality remake appeared, with more user-friendly design, because I understand the story is worth playing (of course, it's not like the twist isn't obvious from today's perspective, but it was very nice of you not to reveal it, or hint at it, in the review ).
Quote:
Games like Gabriel Knight 3 and The Last Express are often cited for their innovative use of real-time gameplay, but KQIII did it first.
I'm not sure what is your definition of "real time gameplay" here. GK3's timer only moves forward after the player completes certain actions.
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Old 11-25-2005, 01:59 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fov
Various places on the web. Here's one:
Well, Vintage Sierra, The Underdogs and Moby Games claim otherwise. But, since I don't trust these sites completely, I'll try to find out for sure.
That boxshot on Vintage Sierra seems convincing though... I don't think Sierra will produce boxes for a replacement game that was supposed to be sent via mail...
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Old 11-25-2005, 02:10 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AFGNCAAP
I'm not sure what is your definition of "real time gameplay" here. GK3's timer only moves forward after the player completes certain actions.
True, but there are things within each timeblock that happen in real-time. The guests walk around the hotel, make phone calls, etc., independent of what Gabe or Grace are doing. There are some sections where you miss an opportunity to eavesdrop or converse with someone because they've already left the area by the time you get there, based on real-time gameplay, not on triggers.

Aurebesh, whether it was only sent out as a replacement for the SCI version or was available on the shelves for a very short time, it doesn't really change my opinion. The AGI and SCI versions of KQ4 were developed at the same time, with the intention being only to make the AGI version available to those who could not play the SCI version. When it became clear that the SCI version was working for most people, the AGI version was discontinued. Knowing that Sierra's top priority was the SCI version, I personally don't put much stock in the AGI version as an "official" release. Yeah, it's a neat relic, but for all intents and purposes, when people think of the AGI games in the KQ series, they think of the first three games. KQ4 is a different beast entirely. Not that any of this really has anything to do with the KQ3 review.
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Old 11-25-2005, 02:13 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toefur
Yeah, I would love to see see a remake of this one.
There is a group actually doing a remake of it. No idea when it will come out, but they anticipated late this year, so maybe they are close to finishing it. Click the link to visit their site.
King's Quest III remake

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Old 11-25-2005, 08:08 PM   #17
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Interesting... I just came across a scan of the original manual at ReplacementDocs, and it does not contain the "mold" typo that the Collector's Edition manual does. I wonder how the wording got changed... just a mistake someone at Sierra made? It seems odd that it would be correct in the original and wrong in a rerelease.
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Old 11-25-2005, 09:18 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fov
Hmm... this is the same version I have, and on page 25 of the manual there is a box that says King's Quest III Answer Key, and lists the page numbers for each of the spells. (My manual also has a note on the front cover instructing the reader to refer to page 25 for revised copy protection info for KQIII.) Is it possible there were two versions of the 15th Anniversary Collection, and mine is a later version? In any case, I would have mentioned it in the review if I'd known about the issue, but I didn't. Pretty sloppy of them, though.
For me, page 25 of the manual begins the King's Quest 4 section. Hmm... odd. There's nothing in my manual referring to revised copy protection information, either. Oh well. Unfortunately, I had no choice but to write the page numbers in with ink for future reference. Eh, at least the manual was already far from mint condition. Not like I even plan on selling my collection. I'm too proud of it.
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Old 11-26-2005, 03:20 AM   #19
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Great review, i wanted to play the game at once (and for the first time ). But i think i will wait for a re-creation.
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Old 11-27-2005, 10:47 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fov
I really didn't have much trouble with these. I fell once, maybe twice, but that was it. Have you tried setting the speed to slow?
I think I simply just didn't know what I was meant to do. I tried for hours. Many ways. On many occasions. I didn't know if I was meant to somehow come out of one of the other caves by using some weird combination of directions, until I finally came out the right cave.

Or if I was meant to type something to get Alexander to climb the cliff.

Or if there was meant to be a certain spot where I just hopped onto the cliff and climbed down.

With none of these combinations could I get anywhere. Maybe I just ain't so bright.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fov
But how did you know to look there in the first place? It's not like there's anything in the picture that gives a clue to look there. That was my complaint. (Added spoiler tags to your post, btw... don't want to give anyone who hasn't played the game yet an unfair advantage! )
I'm going to play this again before I say anything more.
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