From The Adventure Gamer
Written by TBD.
Following my usual M.O., I start by clicking on things with my ‘eye’ icon. I notice that if I look at things that don’t have descriptions I get a description of the area itself.
|You are on a small beach. The beach is narrow due to the presence of the white cliffs. The river canyon opens here, and sunlight shines in from above. A rainbow crosses over the falls to the west, and a narrow path continues to the southeast.|
I go north, and find a tree with a hole in it. There is nothing in the hole and talking to it gets no response. I make a mental note to remember this hole as I expect something will happen with it later.
|Looks like I won’t be needing any help from my old friends, coffee cup and d6, for this game.|
I like that I can see what I’ll find if I take one of the potential exits – there’s a town to the left and a castle to the right. I decide to try the town first.
The shopping district of the town consists of a bookstore, a pawn shop and a lamp peddler who occasionally shouts out his salesman pitch.
|Santa Claus has hit upon tough times|
|That seems like a terribly ineffective way to make a living.|
|Aw, Alexander. Making fun of the game character’s motivations is MY job!|
It turns out this guy is banking on eventually getting a lamp with a genie in it to make him an instant millionaire. And now that he’s told a potential sucker his plan, I’ll be sure to rub every lamp I find from now on just in case. Then I’ll happily sell him a lamp with an expired genie inside!
I check out the pawn shop next.
|The merchant shares Alexander’s illusion that his crew isn’t lying at the bottom of the ocean or crushed to bits on rocks.|
He lets me know that I AM in the Land of the Green Isles. And when I tell him I’m looking for Princess Cassima he tells me she’s on this very island, in the castle I saw to the east.. This quest’s going to be easier than I thought.
He also tells me about the unrest currently befalling the Land of the Green Isles. The ferry that travels between the isles isn’t working – and with limited communication, the isles have learned to distrust each other… or something like that
He also sells items – four items, to be exact.
|I can buy a tinder box, a second hand paintbrush, a flute and a mechanical nightingale.|
Let me make some rather obvious predictions – some animal will need a flute song to be calmed and I’ll need to convince some creature that a nightingale is somewhere to distract them so I can sneak past. I’ll also either meet a painter without a brush or need to paint something myself, and I’ll need light, or a fire at some point.
At the bookstore I find a bookseller (surprise!) and a creepy old man in a black robe.
|“sidelong… concealing…” – the game’s adjective choices make me think it wants me to find this man mysterious.|
The old man in the robe won’t talk to me so I sit down and read a book about jesters. After a refreshing read, I talk to the merchant.
|Is one of those customs that all merchants must have a goatee?|
He tells me that the island I’m on, the Isle of the Crown, consists of this village, the castle and the docks. It’s good to know about my surroundings.
He tells me a little about the other three islands as well; the Isle of the Sacred Mountain, the Isle of the Beast and the Isle of Wonder. And there is a legend of a fourth island – I immediately feel that I will be visiting this legendary fourth island. As for why he isn’t counting the island he lives on as one of the four islands, I have no idea. Is this the zeroth island? Anyway, the merchant gives me a tip on how to find more about each island.
|And I’ll have to solve a series of smaller puzzles in order to get an audience with each of these leaders, naturally.|
Searching through the books, I find a poetry book with one poem in particular that makes me think of Cassima.
|Gee, Alexander. YOU MET HER FOR TWO MINUTES!|
That poem ‘accidentally’ fell out of the book, so I take it.
|Okay, but don’t blame me when the eventual purchaser of this book demands a refund for buying an incomplete book.|
I look through the other shelves, but find nothing of interest.
|I expect this is a reference to King’s Quest III, but haven’t played that game in many years.|
There is one book of interest on the counter, a book of magic spells, which the man will only part with for, say it with me people, the trade of something of approximately equal rarity and value.
As I’m leaving I note a book on a small table at the entrance. The table has a sign on it that reads, “Take one, PLEASE” along with the crossed out previous prices of 10 pence, 5 pence, 1 pence and free. I have a feeling that this book is somehow cursed, but I take it anyway.
|Yep. Definitely cursed!|
Past the village is a single house with a large front yard. A woman seems to be gardening, but as I approach, someone opens the door and starts berating her.
|I see not everyone in town is pleasant and friendly.|
I try to see what is going on in there, but Alexander refuses.
|Alexander is an adventure game protagonist – his entire existence depends of intruding on private property uninvited!|
Further along, I find the docks, or more accurately, dock, or perhaps even more accurately, drydock. When I arrive, a boy jumps into the water and invites me to join him.
|I don’t trust this kid, he seems way too creepily keen for me to jump in.|
It’s easy to do something dangerous after saving the game, so I save, then jump in.
|What kind of person says, “Tee hee” after luring someone to their death? If you’re going to laugh, at least give me a “Mwahaha”.|
I note that the death sequence has my ghost walk past some skeletons. I’m making another prediction that I’ll be entering this realm without a game over screen at some point.
|I have no idea – but I’ve played enough King’s Quest to know that Alexander should pick up anything he can because it will serve an impossible to predict life-saving purpose later.|
To my surprise, the ferryman is still in the boat. He invites me in, purely because the bookseller told me about him. He looks a bit gruff and unpleasant, but is a surprisingly nice guy. Before getting into deep conversation, I look around his ferry.
|I wonder if anyone in town would be in the market for a used lamp?|
I can’t take the lamp, so I talk to the ferryman. He tells me more about the islands.
|Then… can you explain why you go to work here all day – why aren’t you off somewhere looking for other work, or spending your meager life savings getting drunk somewhere?|
He tells me that Princess Cassima and her mother, Queen Allaria, used to use the ferry often. They would travel to the islands and take care of the needy. Last time they travelled, Cassima returned upset and the Queen and Princess were talking about someone spreading lies. In general, the ferryman is very impressed that the royal family served the islands, rather than the other way around.
He also mentions that even if he were allowed to travel, his ferry’s no longer seaworthy. But there’s another way to travel between islands.
|And I assume the pawn shop owner didn’t mention this because he doesn’t actually want me to know he has anything truly valuable? What a salesman!|
When I look at the rabbit’s foot on his table, I say something stupid.
|This guy’s just spent the last 10 minutes talking about how he has no job and likely never will again, and that talking to you has been a welcome break to his daily boredom. What do you think, Alexander?|
He offers me his rabbit’s foot because it’s brought him no luck, and before leaving I try to take everything else I can see.
|One day you need to ask your dad how many things he’s taken from other people, Alexander. He didn’t become king by leaving things where he found them.|
Leaving the ferry, I go back past the town to the castle, hoping to see my beloved Cassima.
|The guards are also dog-men – I would have thought that was something worth mentioning, narrator.|
I tell the guards I’m a prince, but they won’t let me in without proof. I show them everything I have but nothing impresses them.
I follow the path to the side of the castle and find some vines on the wall. Unfortunately I can’t climb them.
|New quest: find plant growing potion.|
And at this point I was stuck. I didn’t know what to do so I tried exploring everywhere I’d been, clicking on items I may have missed and repeating conversations with people I’d already spoken to.
Back at the pawn shop, I found a bowl full of mints – I can take one and either eat it or keep it. I eat one and keep another. Later, I ate another three to see if I’d get thick spit or something, but he seems to have an infinite amount of mints (or possibly 5.)
I ask the shopkeeper about the magic map the ferryman mentioned.
|Oh, and the creepy old man who was previously in the bookstore is now in here.|
The map seems like it would be very useful – automatically taking me wherever I want to go just by thinking about it, but I’ll need to find something equally useful in trade. I notice that occasionally one of Mr. Creepy’s eyes glints. I can’t seem to do anything with it though, unless I need to be pixel-perfect with my clicking.
|Are you winking at me, sir?|
I go back to the bookstore and meet some kind of clown.
|An unfriendly clown|
I offer each person all of my items, but nobody wants anything. I find a cauldron outside the pawn shoppe that will likely later contain something of use.
|Rummaging through someone’s rubbish – now you’re acting like an adventure game character, Alexander.|
Looking multiple times at the shelves shows that the merchant sells items that would serve a purpose in previous King’s Quest games, including tongue climbing gear, a golden bridle finder, and a bridge repair kit.
|Aw, now you’re making me miss Cedric.|
|I’m sure this will become useful for putting someone to sleep later.|
Despite finding out a few more things, I still had no way to proceed. Refusing to end my first post with a request for assistance, I kept exploring. And in doing so, I found exactly what I needed, back in the place where I started the game.
|Ah, pixel hunts. Everyone’s favourite adventure game puzzle.|
Convinced that this item was not there earlier, or at least the two-pixel wide item was not glinting earlier, I reloaded to my first save and even checked the screenshot from my introduction post. Oh, the ring was there, and it was glinting every few seconds – I just totally missed it.
So tune in next time when I’ll show the guard dogs my royal ring, and hopefully enter the castle and see Princess Cassima – though I really get the feeling I won’t actually see the Princess ’till I’m much further on in the game.
- Something will be in the tree hole later
- Some animal will need a flute song to be calmed
- I’ll need to distract someone with a fake nightingale
- 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)
- The pawn shop returns policy will be used to avoid the game having dead-ends
- I’ll be visiting the legendary fourth island (which is actually the fifth island)
- I’ll have to solve puzzles in order to meet the leaders of each of four islands
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
- The pawn shop guy will throw out rubbish that I’ll take and use
- The boring book will be used to put someone to sleep
- I won’t meet Princess Cassima on my first visit to the castle