King's Quest II: Romancing the Stones
Once upon a time there was a magical kingdom called Daventry where Sir Graham quested for and finally won the crown. King Graham then went on an adventure to rescue his future bride, Valanice. After the wedding they lived happily ever after with their children Prince Alexander and Princess Rosella.
Well their happiness was punctuated by a few evil plots and a few daring adventures. These adventures (8 of them including the 2 above) comprise the King's Quest Series from Sierra. Although the series was discontinued some years ago, along with other venerable series such as Space Quest and Quest for Glory, it remains one of the shining lights in computer game history.
This game, King's Quest II: Romancing the Stones, is a fan based remake of the original: King's Quest II: Romancing the Throne, which was written by Roberta Williams. It's more than that, though, because as well as capturing the feel of the original and bringing back some familiar faces and places, in this latest reincarnation the story has been rewoven into a longer and more tangled yarn with a bigger and better serving of problems and puzzles. In addition, the crude graphics of the original version have been revamped bringing this King's Quest 2 into the age of VGA with some colourful and imaginative locations set to make King's Quest fans feel right at home.
It's a fairytale. There's a damsel in distress to be rescued, although I got the impression she was feistier here than she is in her next appearance, at least she doesn't scream! If you haven't played a King's Quest before then be prepared to meet wicked witches, sneaky dwarves, righteous vampires, fearsome sharks, mermaids, unicorns, little girls dressed in red, and plump orange pumpkins. If you have played these games before then sit back and indulge in a little nostalgia. Soak up that simpler and more heartfelt atmosphere that used to permeate adventure games, because that's what you get here. Tierra have done a very fine job of bringing back the old King's Quest days. They've even brought back the annoying bits because there are some timed puzzles where you will die a lot. I remember so well how I used to moan about these puzzles in the old games, they haven't improved with age.
But that's just a minor annoyance, for the rest of the time I had fun with this one. The impressive introduction sets the tone, and the game lives up to this early promise, timed sequences and all. The puzzles are entertaining, they will keep you thinking, even the one's that you've already solved if you've played the first version. If they don't hold you up, then there are enough new puzzles for the game to be well worth it. And there are a lot of them too. Although it isn't a technically 'sophisticated' commercial game, it's a lot longer than a lot of commercial games I've played over the past few years.
King's Quest II: Romancing the Stones is a mouse driven point and click adventure. It doesn't have voices; you must read the text of the narration and dialogue. Read and take note because there are clues if you can find them. The text or the writing is also well done and very much in keeping with the early King's Quest games. Because this game was written with hindsight you can have a bit of fun spotting references and allusions to later King's Quest episodes as well as other Sierra games. I have to confess here that in one part I took great pleasure in packing off Connor back to his village so he could play with his knives and swords at home ... all by himself!
So I enjoyed this game immensely. You can feel it was made with a whole lot of TLC. It surely does capture the 'innocence' and ingenuity of early adventure games. It's a game that everyone can join in and play. Play it with a friend, then it's even more fun.
As an 'unofficial version' and a fan made game, King's Quest II: Romancing the Stones is free! It is a 43MB download and there is also a 60MB music pack. I didn't download the music because our Internet connection isn't up to it, and I must say that the sound was still good enough for me. But this is something that you should decide. I'm told the music is top rate too!
A big thanks to Tierra (now known as AGD Interactive) for their hard work in bringing us this game. If you visit their website you will also find a download for the new-look King's Quest I: Quest for the Crown.
You can download this game from AGD Interactive.
Copyright © Rosemary Young 2002.
All rights reserved.
Video card which supports SVGA display, 1 MB Video RAM required, 2 Mb recommended, Pentium processor (233 Mhz or above required; 500 Mhz or above recommended) 32 Mb RAM, Windows 95, 98, ME, 2000 or XP, DirectX 5 or above (DirectX 8.1 recommended) Approximately 95 Mb free disk space, 100% General MIDI compliant MIDI sound card or module (Supports all DirectX-compatible sound and video cards) If digital music soundtrack is installed:
- Any sound card with digital output capabilities and:
- An additional 166Mb free disk space (accounts for both game and music pack)