I’m not a fan of any of Sierra’s Quest-series, but this is a game that I actually like!
Graphically this is very similar to King’s Quest V, but with slightly better imagination (Chessboard Land and the Realm of the Dead are awesome), and with an opening movie that was ahead of its time at the moment of this game’s release. The intro may look dated now, but it must’ve dropped jaws in 1992.
Gameplay-wise this is a massive improvement over earlier Sierra titles (most likely due to the rise of LucasArts’ influence, and Jane Jensen’s participation): most puzzle solutions make more sense (no more pie-throwing at a Yeti), there are fewer deaths (most notably: taking a wrong step doesn’t mean an insta-kill as often), and there are a lot less dead ends than there used to be. The best example of this is entering the catacombs: if you don’t have all the necessary items yet, then Alexander will say he’s not ready to enter the catacombs yet, which enables the player to get the needed items first. Trying to enter the catacombs a second time (while not yet having all the items) WILL lead to a dead end, but hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day…
The biggest improvement over earlier installments lies in the writing and the story, though. Jane Jensen’s impact is immediately noticeable by having an overall more mature storyline. Sure, there’s still a lot of lovey-dovey stuff (it’s the basis for the game after all), and most deaths are still accompagnied by bad puns, but some storylines are much darker than we’re used to in a King’s Quest game, and those prove to be the best parts of the game. Basically, the more mature the story gets, the better the game is. Needless to say, the absolute best part of this game is featured in the “long path” that can be taken to finish the game - and it’s no coincidence that it’s by far the darkest part of the game.
There are of course still some minor faults with the game. Like I said earlier, dead ends still aren’t eradicated, and there is one sequence in particular that’s excruciatingly frustrating: scaling the Cliffs of
Logic. It’s overly long, you’re prone to misclicking and falling to your death, and it takes you entirely out of the story. Fortunately you only have to tolerate this sequence once, and luckily the game’s manual (that is needed to complete the sequence) is pretty well-written. Other than that, KQVI is by far the best game Sierra had made up until that point in time, and it ushered in a less frustrating era of Sierra gaming…
And it’s also one of the very first games to feature a fully voiced song during the end credits, a love ballad titled ‘Girl in the Tower’ (which is an adaptation of Princess Cassima’s theme in the game). And it’s not even a bad love ballad at that…
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Time Played: 10-20 hours