Kings Quest II : Romancing The Throne

Title           Kings Quest II : Romancing The Throne
Genre           Adventure
Company         Sierra
HD Installable  Yes (copy to hd)
Compatibillity  All(?)
Submission      Joachim Froholt Profiled Reviewer

Kings Quest II continues where the first game left off. As King Graham,
you're having trouble finding yourself a suitable wife. After a lot of '
searching, you decide to look into the magic mirror (the one which tells
the future, see the KQ 1 review), and see a beautiful woman. Typically,
she is held prisoner in the land of Kolyma, so if she's to become your
queen, then you'll have to free her first.

The game begins on the shores of Kolyma, and players of Kings Quest I will
immediately be familiar with what they see. The first impressions indicate
that the only thing that's changed since the first game is the land where
the adventure takes place. And once you delve deeper into the game, you
notice that, yes, the first impressions were pretty much correct. Kings
Quest II could easily have been a data disk for the first game, containing
extra puzzles and little else.

Here follows a brief description of the game dynamics, for those not
allready familiar with Kings Quest I. In short, Kings Quest II is a
text/graphics adventure. Using either the joystick or the cursor keys, you
control King Graham as he wander around the landscape looking for things
to pick up or manipulate. This is done by entering various commands using
the keyboard - GET KEY, TALK TO GRANDMA and stuff like that. The graphics
are in a very low resolution (160x200), and in 16 colours or less. Sure,
the Amiga was capable of much better stuff at the time, but Sierra didn't
take advantage of the Amiga's resources, and the Amiga version is near
identical to the PC version. The sound is miserable - emulation of the PC
beeper sounds almost as bad as the real thing.

There are some smaller differences between this and KQ 1. First of all,
there is a general "LOOK" command, which will describe the location you're
currently in, and mention special objects there - this is helpful, because
it was very easy to miss important objects in the original game (it still
is a little too easy to miss hidden objects, though). The artistic quality
of the graphics is also noticeably better in this sequel.

As the original Kings Quest, KQ 2 can be summed up as a treasure hunt.
There's no plot to speak of, and character interaction is extremely
limited. Important locations are scattered around the landscape in a very
unconvincing manner - it is evident that the game world was created with
puzzles in mind, not realism. It is still amazingly easy to die by
stepping into the wrong place or getting caught by one of the nasty
monsters roaming the countryside, and the nasty dwarf who steals your
treasures is still present.

The puzzles are simple, as in the original, and consist mostly of
manipulating objects in the inventory or giving objects to other
characters, who then will give you something back. It's not always clear
what the different characters want, though. One problem I found was that
there are often multiple solutions to puzzles, and a certain solution
might be substantially worse than another. Since the game doesn't give any
hints as to whether you've found the best solution or not, it is probably
best played with a walkthrough at hand, so that you won't end up having to
replay large portions of the game. There are some very obscure puzzles in
here as well, and these are potentional show-stoppers if you don't have a
walkthrough handy.

To conclude this review, I'll have to say that Kings Quest II is a below
average adventure game. It feels more like an extra puzzle pack for Kings
Quest I than a new game, and the extra puzzles are mediocre at best. If
you loved the original, then this sequel will probably be worth obtaining,
but if you found the original too simple, or haven't played it at all,
then you're probably just better off without Kings Quest II.

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