From The Adventure Gamer
Written by TBD
I check out the manual’s “The Catacombs” section for clues. The manual tells me that “The Ancient Ones built death traps into the catacombs and filled it with dead-end paths, maze-like corridors, and rooms where secret knowledge is needed to pass.” Sounds intriguing.
Reloading to before I enter the catacombs, I quickly go back to the Isle of the Crown to make sure I’ve got the tinderbox before properly exploring the underground catacombs. While there I try to give some of my other items to the pawnbroker.
|But… what if I told you it was a special life-saving brick?|
I can’t actually remember where I got that brick – I could go through my save games but screw that, let’s just say I somehow have a brick in my inventory.
BACK IN THE CATACOMBS
I go back to the Isle of the Sacred Mountain, let the Winged Ones take me to the catacombs and see if I can traverse them without making a map – it worked on Crete’s labyrinth in my last game, so I give it a go here. Any labyrinth I can explore without making a map gets my full endorsement.
I continue to explore randomly, reloading every time I fall into a pit. After not too long I find a room with tiles on the floor. The tiles have symbols on them. Let’s have a look at the manual.
|The picture on the top is at least somewhat a map of the catacombs, but not terribly useful as such and I only noticed the connection after comparing it to the paper map I made later.|
Taking the clue/copy protection answer from the manual, I step on three roses, then a scythe, then a crown, then…
|Note to game designers: when the clue starts with a rose, and there are two possible roses to start with, don’t make one of them result in my death.|
So, starting again, I click on the ‘northern’ rose first, then the next two, then the scythe, then the crown…
|What did I just tell you about giving me two equally valid options? Now you’re just being mean, game!|
Ahem, I click on the ‘northern’ rose, then the next two roses, then the scythe, then the ‘northern’ crown, then the dove, then bones, and I’m safe.
I continue exploring, and find one room which is slightly different from most – it has a shield on the wall.
|Or should I say, it HAD a shield on the wall.|
I also find a skeleton with glinting coins on its eyes – there are skeletons in the walls in many rooms, but most of them are empty – or at least I assumed they were empty after the first few and didn’t click on most of them with my eye. I expect I haven’t dead-ended myself but this IS a King’s Quest game so…
Occasionally I hear weird noises.
I also meet a female “Winged One”
Although I didn’t see her eyes glint, I suspect she’s related to the creatures who’ve been tempting me to my death throughout the game.
Reloading, I ignore the fake Winged One, and continue exploring – I end up in a room where the doors close and the ceiling descends.
I look in my inventory for something that might help.
|I told you it was a special brick!|
And, for no apparent reason, after stopping the ceiling from coming down, the doors automatically open. What luck and/or plot convenience!
I realised at some point in my catacomb wandering that I could put the hole-in-the-wall on a wall to see through to the other side. Unfortunately this doesn’t work when it would be useful – to avoid falling through pit traps.
|Having reloaded, I already know what’s NOT there – a floor!|
Then again, there is one pit trap I need to fall into
|When I first fell I was getting ready to die and reload – I was pleasantly surprised that I was still alive.|
Having chosen to take the tinderbox from the pawnbroker before exploring the catacombs, I use it now.
Being in a second level of the labyrinth, and being concerned that I missed an important item in the first level by not mapping, I map the second level. I continue to hear the sounds of an animal on occasion, but one of those occasions is different to the others…
Having already discovered that the hole-in-the-wall works in the labyrinth, I use it now.
The minotaur presses something behind the painting and enters a secret room.
Seeing the minotaur scares the hole-in-the-wall, so he runs away.
|I checked later – it doesn’t – it’s probably as dead as the sailors that came here on Alexander’s boat. I think Alexander’s gone way past optimism and is just plain delusional.|
I follow the catacombs and find the room to the east of where I’d put the hole-in-the-wall earlier.
Being slightly concerned that I missed a sword or other weapon because I hadn’t mapped the first level of the labyrinth, I nonetheless continue on – I try to arm myself with the shield, but Alexander refuses to use it because he ‘has no reason to use the shield here’ – fear of giant minotaurs isn’t a reason? Oh well, I continue through the secret door anyway.
|If Celeste is here as a meal, why is he tying her up now – she was captured some time ago, no?|
My first thought is that if I can sneak past the minotaur, perhaps I can find something in the next room, so I attempt not to get his attention while his back is turned…
|Sigh – thanks for drawing attention to me, Celeste.|
The minotaur turns around and threatens me. We circle around the room, swapping positions. I’d already thought about what might help me survive this encounter and the position we both ended up in made me even more confident of my idea.
|Well, that was rather easy.|
Having dispatched the minotaur, I go to rescue Celeste, certain that she’d be a much nicer ruler than her parents.
|I hate you and your entire ungrateful family, Celeste – I want you to know that.|
Celeste has a dagger in her belt that the minotaur hadn’t taken because he’s an idiot. After freeing her with the dagger, she lets me keep it.
|The crow/raven/blackbird has a glinting eye. Hmmmm…|
Azure and Aeriel are very… grateful?
|Yeah – I saved your only daughter and made the catacombs safe for your people for the first time in decades – your generosity is a shining example to your subjects.|
The guards fly me to meet the oracle – she tells me a lot of potentially useful information. In summary…
- I must redeem Cassima
- I must struggle against a dark force.
|My life has been forfeit by accidentally clicking on the ocean, being shot with an arrow, eating a berry, falling down a pit… as long as I have the ability to save my game, I have no fear!|
- I must fight someone in a black cloak
- I’ll play a dangerous game of hide and seek in corridors filled with enemies
- There is more than one way into this place.
|Now this part is rather interesting – my guess is she’s referring to the spirits of Manannan and Mordack.|
- I’ll need to get advice from the Druids, whose nature, like their island, is hidden in the mists.
After she finishes prophecising, she gives me a bottle of sacred pool water and I leave.
ISLE OF THE BEAST
Now that I have a shield from the catacombs, I try to use it to get into the garden on the Isle of the Beast.
|I agree, narrator. That is a good thing.|
I take a rose from the garden, but can’t progress further as the hedges move to block my path. Celeste’s dagger isn’t strong enough to cut through the magical hedges, so I’ve made as much progress here as I can for now.
ISLE OF THE CROWN
Having previously turned down my bad smelling flower, the nightingale takes the offering of my new white rose.
|Note the green snake that’s just appeared in the tree – his eye glints. Neither this snake, nor the crow from the Isle of the Sacred Mountain lured me to my death – hmmmm.|
While on the island, I swap my tinderbox for the paintbrush, as that’s the only one of the merchant’s items I haven’t yet used, then go to try a different island. When I open my map, I notice something new in the bottom right corner.
ISLE OF THE MISTS
When I arrive at the beach, I hear chanting to the north, so I go that way.
|Um… what makes you think I was trying to be unseen? I walked right into their circle and I’m dressed in bright green!|
They are pleased to have me their in the middle of their rain festival, and generously allow me to be part of the festivities.
|NOT THE BEES!|
They move my wicker cage (which I shall call Nicholas) over the fire. Without being able to interact with anything, I get progressively hot until…
|Actually I think I would have preferred the bees.|
With the death screen telling me I should have been better prepared, I go back to the Isle of Wonder
ISLE OF WONDER
I came here planning to take an iceberg lettuce in order to put out the Druids’ fire, but I notice a new item that has appeared on the table.
Before doing the obvious, I save my game, then proceed.
|You have died!|
Oh well, at least I saved my g… … …
|You have respawned!|
I first try going to the Druids with my iceberg lettuce but it doesn’t help. The fire doesn’t go out and I can’t actually do anything because the whole scene is non-interactive.
Then I try to fake my own death in front of a witness, hoping that this might send me to the land of the dead so I can get the final ingredient of my magic spell – some Styx Water.
ISLE OF THE CROWN
|Good. Now take me to the afterlife.|
|Damn it Alexander – stay down next time – I’m trying something here.|
I reload and try the same trick elsewhere – Alex doesn’t want to frighten the bookseller and refuses to try for the ferryman. The castle’s guard dogs just ignore his death and resurrection completely.
Back at the Pawn Shoppe, the shopkeeper is happily willing to swap the pearl I took from the oyster for my insignia ring.
I once again offer more things to the nightingale. He takes my newly reaquired ring to the castle like he did my white rose. When I leave the screen and come back, the bird drops something at my “feet.”
It’s a red ribbon. When I use the ribbon in my inventory, I find a strand of black hair that smells like perfume – could it be Cassima’s hair? Because if it is, and she’s going bald, I’m frankly no longer interested in her.
I try my Near-Death Potion in front of anyone else I can think of, human, plant or chess piece, but have no luck.
ISLE OF THE MISTS
Going west instead of north at the Isle of the Mists takes me to the Druids’ empty village, where I find an item that sticks out from the background.
The doors are locked, but I can take the scythe, as well as a lump of coal from the firepit.
I take my scythe back to the hedge I was blocked by earlier.
ISLE OF THE BEAST
I make it through the hedge, and meet Beast!
|A French Beast, at that!|
If I’d been a fan of the Beauty and the Beast cartoon with Prince Alexander’s actor playing the Beast, I might have found this scene surreal, but I’ve never seen the movie.
Apparently the Druids have stolen Beast’s coat of arms (once again, I suspect this was actually the Vizier making the Islands’ leaders hate each other,) but that isn’t my most pressing issue. Beast tells me that by entering his garden, I’ve become victim of the same curse as he did, and will soon become a beast myself.
There’s only one way to break the curse on us both.
|Sounds easy enough.|
He gives me his token so I can give it to a maid willing to live with him. She must accept it and his hideousness willingly.
Beast leaves, and by sheer coincidence, I left the game running while I made a cup of coffee. I came back three minutes later and…
|Why can Beast speak both English and French, when all I can say is Whee whee whee whee? That’s unfair!|
Reloading, I follow a hunch and go straight to the Isle of the Crown, to the house of the girl I’ve thought of as Cinderella.
|I know my hunch is correct, because she’s never been near the fence before.|
She’s always been tending roses, so I show her my white one (I picked up a new one after giving my first one to the nightingale.)
|Well, since you asked…|
I tell her about the island, and about Beast. She pities him.
I suggest she come to live on the Isle of the Beast. She wants to come, but is slightly nervous.
|Having lived his early life with Manannan, Alexander understands Cinderella’s reluctance to leave. I found this part quite touching.|
She gets ready to leave with me – she has no possessions, because her stepmother is, like all fairytale stepmothers, a bitch. As we’re about to leave, the door opens, and I find out Cinderella’s real name.
|Why did I not guess this is her real name?|
ISLE OF THE BEAST
I take Beauty to the Isle of the Beast, and Beast is amazed at Beauty’s lack of hate.
Magical stuff happens to Beast as he transforms…
|… into a Supreme Court Judge, for some reason.|
Beast, having learned humility, refuses to let Beauty be his serving girl, and takes her as his queen.
|Beauty doesn’t seem phased that she is now Beast’s wife and had no say in the matter.|
Having made them both happy, Beauty offers me her dirty servant’s outfit.
|Note the mongoose with the glinting eye!|
And Beast offers me a gift of his own.
|And with no mirror, Beast sentences himself to cutting himself shaving every day.|
Now that I have my servant outfit, I go back to the Isle of the Crown to see if I can sneak into the castle.
ISLE OF THE CROWN
|She’d be glad you were here to rescue her, I’d think.|
Being as convincing in my serving woman disguise as Bugs Bunny is whenever he wears a dress, the guards let me into the castle. Alexander immediately removes the disguise because he’s more concerned about Cassima seeing him in drag than actually saving Cassima at all.
|I question your priorities, Alexander.|
I enter the door to the north.
|In other words, don’t take off your disguise, moron!|
And on that note, I’ll take a break and properly explore the castle later. But before getting into the numbers, I’d like to mention how I like the way this game shows things that will become useful or interesting later. The Cinderella/Beauty character had multiple times been gruffly told to get back to work when I passed her house, so upon getting Beast’s quest, she’s the only person I thought of. The people luring me to my death and the animals seemingly watching me with interest as I proceed in my quest also add to the sense that something larger is going on. Nice work, game!
Session time: 2 hours 40 minutes
Total time: 8 hours 30 minutes
- Something will be in the tree hole later
Some animal will need a flute song to be calmed– just needed someone to dance – BUSTED I’ll need to distract someone with a fake nightingale– not a distraction – BUSTED
- I’ll meet a painter without a brush or need to paint something myself
I’ll need light, or a fire at some point. (actually, this prediction is valid for just about every single adventure game ever made)– CONFIRMED The pawn shop returns policy will be used to avoid the game having dead-ends– CONFIRMED I’ll be visiting the legendary fourth island (which is actually the fifth island)– CONFIRMED I’ll have to solve puzzles in order to meet the leaders of each of four islands– CONFIRMED The bookseller’s free book is cursed – probably already proven wrong– BUSTED The swimming kid had an ulterior motive– CONFIRMED
- The death sequence area will be playable later
- I’ll need a plant growing potion or sticky substance to climb the vines
The creepy guy has a glass eye which I’ll need to get– BUSTED The pawn shop guy will throw out rubbish that I’ll take and use– CONFIRMED The boring book will be used to put someone to sleep– CONFIRMED I won’t meet Princess Cassima on my first visit to the castle– CONFIRMED The shopping creepy guy is also the Vizier’s henchman– CONFIRMED I’ll be performing dentistry on a clam– CONFIRMED The hole-in-the-wall bug will allow me into the castle– I just got to look inside – BUSTED
- I’ll be crashing a wedding with or without Owen Wilson
I’ll use a serving girl outfit to enter the castle (this is my third castle entering prediction)– CONFIRMED The Cinderella girl’s outfit will get me (or her) into the castle– CONFIRMED
- The Winged Ones’ golden fleece was stolen by the Vizier and I’ll find proof of this later
I’ll be able to depose Azure and Aeriel as leaders of Sacred Mountain Land, possibly for their daughter– BUSTED
- The Vizier’s also stolen Beast’s coat of arms
- I’ll have to work with dead wizards Mordack and Manannan to succeed in my quest
- The “Drink Me” potion will help me enter the Land of the Dead
- The animals with the glinting eyes that are just watching me are either the lure-me-to-death creature who’s decided to let me succeed instead, or someone else.