King's Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella

Developer/Publisher:  Sierra
Year Released:  1988

Review by Rosemary Young (January, 1995)
kq4.jpg With the release of King's Quest VII just a short while ago in which Princess Rosella has made her second appearance in this series, it seemed the perfect time to take a look back at King's Quest IV - the last King's Quest title in which we encountered the adventure-prone princess.

I first played KQ IV many, many moons ago and it was a pleasure to return to it. Seeing Rosella again felt just like meeting an old friend after a long separation. The game was great fun simply because there is so much to do and so many places to visit and, to top it all off, there is a good serving of puzzles and problems to overcome. How to escape the whale's mouth, how to negotiate the swamp, or what to do with that tiny golden crown.

Typing interface
For those of you who have not played this game before, The perils of Rosella is the fourth in line in Sierra's ever popular King's Quest Series. It is the last Sierra game that was produced with a typing interface before icons came into their own. So, if you don't mind typing in your commands then it is certainly worth a look.

The story begins when all is not well in Daventry - poor King Graham suddenly takes ill and is promptly ensconced in his sick bed with the royal family gathered anxiously around. The only thing that can save him is a magical fruit which comes from far, far away, and with the help of the good fairy, Genesta, you take Rosella on her travels to find this fruit. During your adventures you will meet lots of different characters, some of them helpful, some of them not, and even before arriving in the fair land of Tamir you will learn that its peace is threatened by the wicked witch Lolotte, and if there is to be any chance of you returning home with the life-saving fruit you must find a way to dispense with her.

It sounds a bit fairy-taleish, and it is! All of the King's Quest adventures call upon fairy tales and other legends and myths for their inspiration. But this doesn't detract from the game in the least, in fact it only widens its appeal and makes it fun to play for both adults and children alike. It has something for everyone - puzzles for us adults, and a suitably scary grave-yard and haunted house that the kids will adore.

KQ IV is a few years old now but it hasn't lost its charm. The graphics are a little primitive but this is unimportant in the scheme of things when both the story line and the puzzle difficulty are a match for many of the games that are released even today.

I befriended Rosella in KQ IV and enjoyed every minute of the experience, so if you have met her in the most recent King's Quest, or if you intend to play this later game, you may want to search out the earlier one and see what Rosella has previously been up to. At the moment it is available as a budget release but if you have a bit more ready cash better to buy the King's Quest Collection which was released by Sierra on CD ROM late last year. This collection includes King's Quest I through to King's Quest VI (and more) and is excellent value for money. rating:  

Copyright © Rosemary Young 1995. All rights reserved.

System requirements:
Floppy version -- 286 or better. Hard disk and mouse recommended.
Also available on the Kings Quest Collection CD ROM.