King’s Quest III – To Heir is Human

MS-DOS - Rating: 8/10

Onward on my journey through the King’s Quest saga I go. Part III was the first in the series to really try to present a narrative. There are many more non-player characters to contend with, most notably Manannan the wizard, who has enslaved you to a life of household chores. These characters don’t just run on to the screen and steal your possessions (although there still is that in this game). There’s a genuine attempt to give them personality.

With all the new found attention to story telling, the designers seemed to not be paying much attention to game play. There are stretches of the game where you have to wait forever for a timed trigger event to occur. In the meantime you are stuck doing virtual dusting for fifteen minutes. Very boring.

Also, like most of these Sierra 3-D adventures, this game is really cruel when it comes to killing you off without a hint of advanced warning. These frustrating game play elements had me seeking out hints very early in the game. I found a website that was invaluable in getting me through the game. Universal Hint System guides you very gently through a invisiclues style hint system that does its best to avoid revealing to many spoilers.

Oh, and one more thing. The game requires you to have the manual to get anything important done. There is a section of the game when your mixing recipes for spells, following the manual, and, if you have one small typo during the tedious, drawn-out process, you die. As some consolation, they do take the time to show you a goofy animation of the spells going horribly wrong.

This was the last of the classic, mouse-free King’s Quest games. I think I am going to take a break from the series before attempting to tackle King’s Quest IV (which I got 75% through on my Apple ][gs back in the day).