Royal Jam: Kings Quest III: Redux

By John Walker on February 25th, 2011 at 12:20 am.

Why can't they remake Police Quest II, eh?

It’s the era of the eight-year-long Kings Quest remake projects. With the Kings Quest episodic adventure, The Silver Lining, having recently released its third chapter, the peculiarly lenient Activision are also tolerating an even more overt reproduction of their IP – a complete remake of Kings Quest III: To Heir Is Human. And it’s completely free. They’ve ditched the text parser, brought the old 16 colour EGA graphics into something resembling the future, new background art, and even voice acting. Eight years of hard work. It’s slightly awkward that somebody already did it.

This remake contains new artwork and a voice cast. And they’ve even written new content, with extra side-quests and new puzzles. It’s a gargantuan task, and it is to be the last remake from the team, AGD Interactive. They’re going on to make commercial games now, it seems, which is great news. Hopefully we’ll be seeing some original adventure games from them, made in the classic, hand-painted style.

A compare and contrast with the previous remake by Infamous Adventures isn’t quite as striking as they may hope. Both are made in AGS. (Which means neither works on my desktop machine due to some completely mad conflict that means the cursor staggers to a stop whenever it passes over anything interactive – anyone know what that’s about?) Both run at a resolution smaller than a stamp. And both have insufferably long opening cutscenes. Take a look. (Oh, and for fun I thought I’d add in the original version too.)

Original (1986):

Previous remake (2004):

New remake (2011):

This new version certainly has better quality voice recording, and the backgrounds are painted with more detail. It seems to be the superior version. But the other one came out seven years ago, a year into the development of this newer remake. It does seem odd.

The full game is 232MB (or you can get Infamous Adventures’ seven-year-old remake of the twenty-five-year-old game in 127MB).

It only leaves the question: um, wasn’t Kings Quest III a bit rubbish?

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31 Comments »

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  1. seamoss says:

    Funny enough, I was just downloading all the AGDI remakes this morning, and thinking about buying their commercial game (Al Emmo and The Lost Dutchman’s Mine) – any opinions on it?

    Oh, and there’s also The Silver Lining if you are a King’s Quest junkie…

  2. Will Tomas says:

    I love it when an article can have a punchline like that.

  3. Dominic White says:

    King’s Quest 3 was probably the cruellest, most casually sadistic adventure game ever designed, outside of Bureaucracy and Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy. I dare not even TOUCH the remake. It’s possible to die about fifty different ways before you even leave the goddamn house at the start. Where your character supposedly lives.

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      stahlwerk says:

      “Gwydion, I need herbs from the town, see to it! If you’re not back in 10 minutes I’ll assume you either have fallen to your death or were eaten by that gigantic spider. And then I’d have to magic map there myself, and rob another child from some far away land!”

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      Dr. Evanzan says:

      “It’s possible to die about fifty different ways before you even leave the goddamn house at the start.”

      But remember, 90% of fatal accidents occur in the home!

    • John P says:

      I remember dieing dozens of times trying to walk down the switchback mountain path outside the mansion. Then finally reaching the countryside and getting killed by something. That was about as far as I got.

    • Subject 706 says:

      I actually completed it back in the day, when I was about 8 years old. Really liked it at the time, especially when you got around to making spells and potions.

      Then again, my tolerance for insta-death was a bit higher also. That bastard mountain path really grated on my patience when I tried the first remake.

      Still, the old Quest games are nice games for younger children. Maybe I’ll get my son to play the VGA ones when he gets old enough to actually read. (Who am I kidding, he’ll probably scream at me and demand some manshoot game…)

    • LionsPhil says:

      Don’t forget tripping over the cat on the stairs down in the wizard’s chamber.

      Most of the deaths at least had the good grace to put cause and effect close together, though. The real killers are the “you walked over this bridge once unnecessarily right back at the start of the game and now it’ll collapse before you’re finished with it, rendering almost all of your saves unwinnable”.

      It’s a pretty lousy way to add longevity—do it over and over again until you find the one optimal solution—and patience is lower with so many other games you could be playing these days. But the direct deaths are just funny. Hours of fun to be had finding them all in Space Quest 1…

  4. Premium User Badge

    stahlwerk says:

    I greatly enjoyed the KQ2 remake they did, where the original was also a bit, but not quite as rubbish as KQ3. KQ3 suffered mostly from instadeath narrow pathways and murder-cat, ridiculous copy protection/spell system and not knowing what to do for the most part of the game (as in most sierra adventures). All of these could be fixed with mouse control and a bit of additional writing.
    On the other hand KQ3 to me just ooooozed atmosphere, with the little village by the sea, and the mysterious pirate ship.
    Will try when I have the time for it.

  5. Irishjohn says:

    How dare you, sir! Kings Quest III a bit rubbish? I remember the timed stuff at the start being a pain in the behind.

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    Andy_Panthro says:

    KQ3 is a brilliant game, despite it’s attempts to kill you at every turn.

    The Infamous Adventures remake did make things considerably easier though, which was welcome (especially the walk down the mountain).

    Will have to try the AGDI remake to compare.

    Infamous Adventures are currently in the final (bug squishing) phase of their Space Quest 2 remake, which should be all kinds of awesome.
    http://www.infamous-adventures.com/home/index.php?page=sq2

    There was also a KQ4 remake around by “Magic Mirror Games”, but I’m not sure if that’s dead…
    http://www.mmgames.org/KQ4/?page_id=18

    No luck with Police Quest 2 though!

    • John Walker says:

      But Space Quest 2 was a *terrible* game!

    • jackflash says:

      John, I hope you’re being facetious. SQ2 was effing brilliant.

    • Grey_Ghost says:

      I thought SQ6 was the stinker. I don’t even let it’s box sit next to SQ1-5 on my shelf.

      Didn’t the co-creators work together on SQ1-4, then took turns on the last 2? I LOVE SQ5, but thought the last one was awful.

    • LionsPhil says:

      SQ 1-3 are the original Two Guys from Andromeda, and they’re all great games (and 3’s intro has some of the prettiest EGA-palette graphics going). John is being a very silly boy.

      SQ4, IIRC, was both of them, but under protest from one of the pair because he didn’t like the migration away from text parsers. It’s a funny game and the budget allowed for great narrator voice talent, but the plot is pure garbage and it’s a grab-bag of random scenes.

      By SQ5 I believe it was just one of the guys, a smaller budget (no voice :( ), and you could tell the feel was off. Still, it flowed a lot better than SQ4.

      SQ6 was just a travesty. It wasn’t funny. It was high-res and high-colour but incredibly ugly where the artists completely dropped the ball on the transition. And you couldn’t find a whole bunch of funny deaths. You just clicked around and Roger went “enh, don’t want to”. It’s an adventure game so bad that I haven’t even been able to force myself to click my way through it with a walkthrough to see what happens and hear the dialogue because there’s just no fun to it.

  7. Igor Hardy says:

    I still haven’t played through all the original oldest quests (only Larrys and Quest of Glorys so far), so I think I won’t spoil my fun with remakes until I get through all the games chronologically as they were created.

    • Grey_Ghost says:

      Ugh “Quest for Glory”, always hated that name. Damn that board game for making them change the name from “Heroes Quest”.

  8. Wizardry says:

    So King’s Quest 1 has a modern remake, as does King’s Quest 2. King’s Quest 3 now has 2 modern remakes, yet King’s Quest 4 has none. It’s the only game left in the series with only a 16 colour version. As far as I remember, there was a remake planned from someone. What came of it?

    • Renzatic says:

      KQ 1-3 could’ve use the upgrade, since they used the older, lower resolution Sierra adventure engine with the somehow even more limited color palette. Space Quest 3 and KQ4, on the other hand, are perfect as they are. Admittedly it might be the nostalgia talking, but I think those two games would lose a great deal of their charm and atmosphere if they were upgraded from their stippled 16 color EGA incarnations.

    • Wizardry says:

      Well, the resolution of the SCI version of King’s Quest 4 was indeed higher than that of the AGI version and all previous King’s Quest games (other than the SCI version of King’s Quest 1 which came out 2 years after). However, all King’s Quest games before King’s Quest 5 were only 16 colour. Basically, it’s only really the resolution that makes King’s Quest 4 and the SCI King’s Quest 1 remake look better than the AGI games as it gave the artists more control over the flow of colours between objects, such as outline thickness, and also allowed for effective weaving of colours to form visually different shades (I swear there is a proper term for this). Such things just weren’t feasible with the low resolution of AGI.

      However, King’s Quest 1 got a VGA remake by AGD Interactive even though the 1990 version had graphics of the same quality to that of King’s Quest 4. I think that a VGA King’s Quest 4 remake would be rather nice, allowing the entire series to be played in VGA or better. Also, what you may be forgetting is that the new King’s Quest 1, 2 and 3 remakes all “boost” the games up to being mouse driven without a parser. King’s Quest 4, even though it’s an SCI game, still had the text parser. This means that King’s Quest 4 is the only game in the series that doesn’t have a version (unofficial or otherwise) with a King’s Quest 5 and 6 style interface.

      I do agree with you, though, in that the graphics in King’s Quest 4 are actually rather nice. I have no problems playing games with similar graphics, nor games with text parsers.

    • GuideBot says:

      “It gave the artists more control over the flow of colours between objects, such as outline thickness, and also allowed for effective weaving of colours to form visually different shades (I swear there is a proper term for this)”.

      I think the term you’re looking for is dithering, which was heavily used in the days of CGA, EGA and VGA, and an ugly artifact during the 16bit days.

    • Wizardry says:

      Yep. Dithering. That’s the word! Cheers.

  9. Acorino says:

    >>It only leaves the question: um, wasn’t Kings Quest III a bit rubbish?

    Yes, but so was KQ2, and they transformed it into a game that rivals KQ6 in quality.

  10. MadMatty says:

    i thought it had a great atmosphere, and an interesting setting/twist on the ol castles and dragons. And i liked the masochistic deaths, the winding road down from the castle was cool, you could always load/save if there were any problems.
    The many deaths brought a sense of danger to the whole ordeal, though many werent giving you much of a chance the first time you encountered them.
    I actually managed to complete the 3, after using a walkthrough to get me thru a hurdle… the rest of the game was quite logical in a way, much like the first monkey island.
    Completed with a low score though, i missed a lot of sidequests.
    If adventures are your thang, i´d recommend this remake.

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    Yachmenev says:

    Classic. :) Need to test it.

  12. Subject 706 says:

    Now, please feel free to educate me harshly about this, but why are the remakes of such low resolution? Is it the tools they are using. How nice wouldn’t it be with remakes in glorious high-res 1680×1050?

    • Wizardry says:

      The remakes are supposed to look like King’s Quest 5 and 6.

  13. Brian Rubin says:

    Yay, now I can fudge up the spell and die when I get it wrong, then when I get it right, keep dying when I try to:

    “Give cookie to Mahnananan” Dammit
    “Give cookie to Manhanan” Dammit
    “Give cookie to Mahanananan” DAMMIT

    And so on…

  14. Brian Rubin says:

    “It only leaves the question: um, wasn’t Kings Quest III a bit rubbish?”

    No, it wasn’t, it was just really difficult, as it indeed tried to kill you all the time. Totally awesome game though.

  15. rocketman71 says:

    “wasn’t Kings Quest III a bit rubbish?”
    “But Space Quest 2 was a *terrible* game!”

    What the fuck is wrong with you, John?. KQ3 was fantastic, the best in the series after KQ6.

    And SQ2 might not have been up to par with SQ3 or the amazing SQ5, but it was still fucking great.

    And here I thought you had taste.

  16. housemeet says:

    Benitez is a very good coach but Links Of Londonshould not be allowed to buy players as he is dreadful in the transfer market.