Author Topic: Opinions on King's Quest V?  (Read 35111 times)

Sir Perceval of Daventry

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Opinions on King's Quest V?
« on: August 17, 2011, 06:56:05 PM »
Was wondering if we could do a series of retrospective reviews (by members here in threads like this) on the previous KQ games. I figured I'd start with V as that's my personal favorite. Would love if everyone shared their feelings on KQ5, good, bad and neutral.

Offline dark-daventry

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Re: Opinions on King's Quest V?
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2011, 08:00:52 PM »
I personally wasn't a big fan, but I attribute that to me being young when I first played it. I got nightmares about Mordack and his blue creature things. I honestly haven't replayed it in *years*. Something I intend to do eventually.
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Offline Fierce Deity

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Re: Opinions on King's Quest V?
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2011, 08:15:28 PM »
I liked KQV as far as the story. The story being, Graham meets Cassima and then saves his family from Mordack. All of the puzzles were awkward and didn't really have much context. Gems + honey = Profit? Cheese used to power up wands? They were weird puzzles, and there was no indication as to how to finish any of them. It was apparently logic that allowed the players to move forward, but for me, it was the process of elimination. Now, it's not like all the puzzles were quirky. Needle in a haystack? The temple in the desert (Cave of Wonders)? Those were easy. I just feel like the puzzles were not designed to be solved. It was mere nonsensical clutter that was supposed to be sifted through. Now, KQVI had quirky puzzles, but there was at least context information given about each item that allowed you to actually puzzle-solve in places like the Isle of Wonder. KQV is probably my least favorite for all these reasons. I do have to state one more reason though: Cedric. The end.  ;D
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Offline MusicallyInspired

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Re: Opinions on King's Quest V?
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2011, 12:10:58 AM »
As far as I'm concerned, KQ5 had the best atmosphere and most compelling story. KQ6 had a more moving story, but the story of the father and head of his family journeying across God knows where to save them by turning his back on his kingdom to do so is incredibly noble, loyal, and inspiring. Not to mention heroic. That's more interesting to me than a love story, even a very good one. Alexander done good, but he's no Graham.

I love the locations, characters, random events, and the pacing of the gameplay and the story. The perfect fantasy adventure. In every sense. I never minded the dead-ends or spontaneous deaths because I never really ran into them. And if I did I got over it quickly enough.

Best soundtrack in the series, too. My opinion. KQ6 and KQ1 are a close second and third (in what order, I couldn't tell you).
« Last Edit: August 18, 2011, 12:12:49 AM by MusicallyInspired »

Sir Perceval of Daventry

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Re: Opinions on King's Quest V?
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2011, 12:27:30 AM »
As far as I'm concerned, KQ5 had the best atmosphere and most compelling story. KQ6 had a more moving story, but the story of the father and head of his family journeying across God knows where to save them by turning his back on his kingdom to do so is incredibly noble, loyal, and inspiring. Not to mention heroic. That's more interesting to me than a love story, even a very good one. Alexander done good, but he's no Graham.

I love the locations, characters, random events, and the pacing of the gameplay and the story. The perfect fantasy adventure. In every sense. I never minded the dead-ends or spontaneous deaths because I never really ran into them. And if I did I got over it quickly enough.

Best soundtrack in the series, too. My opinion. KQ6 and KQ1 are a close second and third (in what order, I couldn't tell you).

Agreed completely. I first got into the KQ series back in '95--I was just 5 myself--with KQ5--And all of the amazing, breathtaking landscapes, the spooky parts, everything--made me wish I could go to the world of KQ and have adventures there. It's what got me hooked on KQ, and lead me toward Sierra in general, and even after 16 years I can still go back and play KQV and enjoy it.

I also love the Companion's novelization of the story. Makes for an exciting read.

Offline Blackthorne

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Re: Opinions on King's Quest V?
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2011, 11:35:31 AM »
KQ5 = teh awesome.  KQ6 = teh suck.

That's the short and skinny of it.

Okay, I'm kidding KQ6 doesn't equal teh suck, but I do love KQ5 ... more than I like KQ6.  KQ5 has a great soundtrack, great art and I dig the story.  Yeah, the puzzles are a little inane at times, but hey ... it was 1990.... the weird 80's still had a grip on puzzle design!


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Offline KatieHal

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Re: Opinions on King's Quest V?
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2011, 11:47:16 AM »
KQ5 had a lot going for it, yes, but as I've said somewhere before, I feel like because it was the first point-and-click, the first with voiceovers, and the first with such a huge and noticeable upgrade in quality (graphics and soundwise) over previous games, the flaws in its design and story get overlooked. It was an immense achievement, and a good game--very good even. But it has some serious design problems, and a lot of the voice acting is very lacking, really.

KQ6 still remains my favorite and IMO the peak of the series.

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Offline Fierce Deity

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Re: Opinions on King's Quest V?
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2011, 01:03:45 PM »
KQ5 had a lot going for it, yes, but as I've said somewhere before, I feel like because it was the first point-and-click, the first with voiceovers, and the first with such a huge and noticeable upgrade in quality (graphics and soundwise) over previous games, the flaws in its design and story get overlooked. It was an immense achievement, and a good game--very good even. But it has some serious design problems, and a lot of the voice acting is very lacking, really.

KQ6 still remains my favorite and IMO the peak of the series.

Agreed.
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Re: Opinions on King's Quest V?
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2011, 02:30:05 PM »
How are there flaws in the story, if I may ask?

Offline Lambonius

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Re: Opinions on King's Quest V?
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2011, 02:30:49 PM »
KQ5 = teh awesome.  KQ6 = teh suck.

QFT.  lol

Offline KatieHal

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Re: Opinions on King's Quest V?
« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2011, 02:49:29 PM »
I won't speak to the puzzle issues, since you didn't say design.

Story-wise, while the set-up is good, the execution...kind of lacks. Graham's family and home have up and vanished completely. These are big stakes and, it would seem, a seriously powerful bad guy! He lucks out in that Cedric is there and can bring him to Crispin for help, and can give him a name to the man who did this.

So Graham sets out in this strange land trying to find his family and...kind of takes him time about it. There's no sense of urgency once you're actually playing the game. The first section feels more like Graham's Adventures in Serenia than a man fearing for his family's lives. It doesn't get much mention even, except for when you reach the plot points of things like Madame Mushka's crystal ball sending you further along your way. Graham has a pretty jovial attitude most of the time considering what's at stake here.

This mostly goes away once you leave Serenia, but it feels like that's mostly because the latter sections of the game are far more brief before you move on to the next step. Serenia by comparison is the largest section of the game.

It just feels like the story could've been constructed a little better to convey that, and avoid jarring the tone of fun adventures with urgent quest. If you want to be specific, that would be more the writing than the story per se, but that's starting to split hairs.

That's on it's own. By comparison to KQ6, you're always aware of time running short, of Alex's quest to save Cassima and by extension the Green Isles. As well, the place he's in actually matters to his quest--Serenia and even the Icy Mountains have little to do with Graham's ultimate goal. In fact, all of the other games relate the land directly to the quest more than KQ5 does, now that I think about it. In KQ5, where Graham is and what he's doing have little to do with his ultimate goal.

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Sir Perceval of Daventry

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Re: Opinions on King's Quest V?
« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2011, 06:04:55 PM »
I won't speak to the puzzle issues, since you didn't say design.

Story-wise, while the set-up is good, the execution...kind of lacks. Graham's family and home have up and vanished completely. These are big stakes and, it would seem, a seriously powerful bad guy! He lucks out in that Cedric is there and can bring him to Crispin for help, and can give him a name to the man who did this.

So Graham sets out in this strange land trying to find his family and...kind of takes him time about it. There's no sense of urgency once you're actually playing the game. The first section feels more like Graham's Adventures in Serenia than a man fearing for his family's lives. It doesn't get much mention even, except for when you reach the plot points of things like Madame Mushka's crystal ball sending you further along your way. Graham has a pretty jovial attitude most of the time considering what's at stake here.

This mostly goes away once you leave Serenia, but it feels like that's mostly because the latter sections of the game are far more brief before you move on to the next step. Serenia by comparison is the largest section of the game.

It just feels like the story could've been constructed a little better to convey that, and avoid jarring the tone of fun adventures with urgent quest. If you want to be specific, that would be more the writing than the story per se, but that's starting to split hairs.

That's on it's own. By comparison to KQ6, you're always aware of time running short, of Alex's quest to save Cassima and by extension the Green Isles. As well, the place he's in actually matters to his quest--Serenia and even the Icy Mountains have little to do with Graham's ultimate goal. In fact, all of the other games relate the land directly to the quest more than KQ5 does, now that I think about it. In KQ5, where Graham is and what he's doing have little to do with his ultimate goal.

As for the lack of urgency...You have to remember Graham is in all new territory, for one. There's a lot to see, a lot to do. Cedric tells him early on that Mordack's castle is beyond the mountain path and his main goal is to get ready to go to mountains...But he gets sidetracked into sub-plots as well as helping others. It's well established that Graham is a very good man, and will put helping others above his main priority; in most cases, sometimes helping others does indeed help him in his main priority.

As for his attitude...This apparently wasn't so much something that was overlooked as something that was intentional on the part of the writer. Josh Mandel claimed, as the voice of Graham, that he felt Graham's emotional range should be higher given the plot and discussed this with Roberta. Roberta in essence said that Graham is the hero; he is always "buff". A stoic man. The narration, however, does reveal he is sad. I remember one narration specifically making mention of how seeing the pretty bird bathing itself momentarily allows Graham to forget his sadness, or something like that.

Offline Damar

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Re: Opinions on King's Quest V?
« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2011, 07:00:54 PM »
Crazy emo, melodramatic narrator!  Can't even look at a bird without getting some overwrought, unnecessary message about how Graham is sad!

For its flaws, King's Quest 5 really is a great game and one of the best of the series.  I'm also in the camp that likes 6 better, but 5 is fantastic too.  In fact some of the different areas of 5 are among my favorite locations in King's Quest.  The desert, for example I loved.  I also enjoyed the look of the Harpy's island and wish you could explore more of it.  And Mordak's castle was very well rendered and designed.  The music too is the best in King's Quest.  As much as I enjoy the music from 6 and 4, there's just no comparison to the Willow's Song, Mordak's Theme and it's variations, and the original Cassima theme which later inspired Girl in the Tower.

And really, the flaws aren't terrible.  The illogical puzzles didn't bother me much (except getting the emeralds out of the pouch and thinking to throw them to hidden elves.)  And most of the flaws are more a result of the technology being new.  Yes, the red X looks bad now, but the interface was new and it was no more jarring than the game responding to your command with, "You can't do that" or "I don't understand what a -blank- is."

I will agree with Katie that the mood could have been a touch more urgent in Serenia.  Or rather, some of the dialogue could have been tweaked to be more realistic.  I remember thinking that Graham and the people of Serenia were just way, way too polite.  It seemed like every transaction you had was obligated to end with a, "Thank you, my good man, this will certainly prove useful in my quest."  "And good day to you, sir.  Stop in again any time."  "I will, thank you."  "Thank you!"  "No, thank you!" Or something of the like.  Maybe it was just me, but it kind of bugged me a little.  At the very least the dialogue could have added Graham occasionally asking people if they'd heard of Mordak.  But these are just minor criticisms.  They're nothing that hurt the game in the long run.

The only thing that really bothers me about KQ5 are the voices.  The game is much better without them.  There's really not a single standout in the bunch.  At best, the voices are passable, like Mordak and Icebella and Cedric (roll your eyes all you want, but you know that's exactly how an owl wearing a waistcoat and monocle should sound!).  At worst they're a lisping narrator, shopkeepers reading their lines, and a guy making a really annoying growly wolf noise.  I know that none of these guys are actually actors, that they were all designers, and yes the technology was new, but it just didn't sound good.

That's really the only major complaint I have with the game though.  Everything else about KQ5 is pretty fantastic.

Offline Fierce Deity

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Re: Opinions on King's Quest V?
« Reply #13 on: August 18, 2011, 07:05:09 PM »
As for the lack of urgency...You have to remember Graham is in all new territory, for one. There's a lot to see, a lot to do. Cedric tells him early on that Mordack's castle is beyond the mountain path and his main goal is to get ready to go to mountains...But he gets sidetracked into sub-plots as well as helping others. It's well established that Graham is a very good man, and will put helping others above his main priority; in most cases, sometimes helping others does indeed help him in his main priority.

What exactly were the subplots? It might be my poor memory, but I never felt like there was an underlying story that deviated from Graham's main quest. There were puzzles, but the puzzles were linked to obstacles for the most part, not helping people. The only help quest I remember is the Weeping Willow, but she gives Graham the harp, so it's a trade, not really a subplot. But once Graham got the tambourine for the snake, his path to Mordack was open. So there was a whole lot of work to just get past one obstacle. A lot of running around in circles, chasing your own tail. I never felt like the game progressed at all until after all these obstacles, and then once you get past the snake, it's a straightway to Mordack. What I liked about KQ6 is that you were traveling over the same five islands progressing the same storyline. Also, the extended storyline was nice as well. The entire experience was an adventure. KQ5 felt too much like window-shopping in Serenia, and then remembering to save the royal family.
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Re: Opinions on King's Quest V?
« Reply #14 on: August 18, 2011, 08:34:44 PM »
Crazy emo, melodramatic narrator!  Can't even look at a bird without getting some overwrought, unnecessary message about how Graham is sad!

For its flaws, King's Quest 5 really is a great game and one of the best of the series.  I'm also in the camp that likes 6 better, but 5 is fantastic too.  In fact some of the different areas of 5 are among my favorite locations in King's Quest.  The desert, for example I loved.  I also enjoyed the look of the Harpy's island and wish you could explore more of it.  And Mordak's castle was very well rendered and designed.  The music too is the best in King's Quest.  As much as I enjoy the music from 6 and 4, there's just no comparison to the Willow's Song, Mordak's Theme and it's variations, and the original Cassima theme which later inspired Girl in the Tower.

And really, the flaws aren't terrible.  The illogical puzzles didn't bother me much (except getting the emeralds out of the pouch and thinking to throw them to hidden elves.)  And most of the flaws are more a result of the technology being new.  Yes, the red X looks bad now, but the interface was new and it was no more jarring than the game responding to your command with, "You can't do that" or "I don't understand what a -blank- is."

I will agree with Katie that the mood could have been a touch more urgent in Serenia.  Or rather, some of the dialogue could have been tweaked to be more realistic.  I remember thinking that Graham and the people of Serenia were just way, way too polite.  It seemed like every transaction you had was obligated to end with a, "Thank you, my good man, this will certainly prove useful in my quest."  "And good day to you, sir.  Stop in again any time."  "I will, thank you."  "Thank you!"  "No, thank you!" Or something of the like.  Maybe it was just me, but it kind of bugged me a little.  At the very least the dialogue could have added Graham occasionally asking people if they'd heard of Mordak.  But these are just minor criticisms.  They're nothing that hurt the game in the long run.

The only thing that really bothers me about KQ5 are the voices.  The game is much better without them.  There's really not a single standout in the bunch.  At best, the voices are passable, like Mordak and Icebella and Cedric (roll your eyes all you want, but you know that's exactly how an owl wearing a waistcoat and monocle should sound!).  At worst they're a lisping narrator, shopkeepers reading their lines, and a guy making a really annoying growly wolf noise.  I know that none of these guys are actually actors, that they were all designers, and yes the technology was new, but it just didn't sound good.

That's really the only major complaint I have with the game though.  Everything else about KQ5 is pretty fantastic.

Josh Mandel actually is a voice actor. I spoke to him about two months ago, apparently he studied off studying voice acting--Years before he ever even considered a career in computer games. It shows as he's probably the best voice in the game. I hope TTG brings him back, if they make Graham the protagonist or even have Graham in a cameo--For me, Josh Mandel = KQ's Sean Connery.

Offline Bludshot

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Re: Opinions on King's Quest V?
« Reply #15 on: August 18, 2011, 09:47:27 PM »
King's Quest V for me is like those "so bad it's good" movies.  Horrid puzzles, goofy voice acting, and a pretty underwhelming plot.  But there is just so much unintentional hilarity I sometimes go back to play it again.
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Offline Damar

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Re: Opinions on King's Quest V?
« Reply #16 on: August 19, 2011, 06:50:26 AM »
Josh Mandel actually is a voice actor. I spoke to him about two months ago, apparently he studied off studying voice acting--Years before he ever even considered a career in computer games. It shows as he's probably the best voice in the game. I hope TTG brings him back, if they make Graham the protagonist or even have Graham in a cameo--For me, Josh Mandel = KQ's Sean Connery.

This might be sacrilege to say, but I was not a fan of Josh Mandel's Graham.  I didn't like how he delivered his lines as they sounded kind of forced.  Also I felt that his voice in general just didn't sound polished enough to be in voice acting.  But more than that, he just did not sound like Graham to me.  I'm sure everyone has had an experience with a book that's been made into a movie and you watch and say, "That's not so and so."  I had that with Graham.  It's nothing against Josh Mandel but he just sounds like an everyman, which Graham is not.  Yes, he's not royal blood, but he is a hero.  Mandel has the gentleness but not the strength that I expect of Graham.  (Plus the issues with the line delivery and professional polish, which again are totally my opinion.)  And of course all fan games prior to TSL go after Mandel to voice Graham, and I understand why to some degree.  But I do strongly prefer the TSL Graham's voice.  It has the strength that Mandel's voice lacked.

Regardless, even if Mandel did have voice acting training, he was picked more because he was a designer at that point.  That's where all the KQ5 voices came from.  And it really does take away from the game, I feel.  I understand the thought of voicing your own game to do something new, but it just didn't work.  I'm left feeling that if they wanted to put voices to the game, they should have just hired actors or left well enough alone since the game was already on the shelves in disk form.

Offline Big C from Cauney island

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Re: Opinions on King's Quest V?
« Reply #17 on: August 19, 2011, 06:59:45 AM »
It was my favorite for a long time.  It just had that Adventure feel, it flowed well and the pace was good.
KQ6 had a good story and it was a lot of fun, the difference really is in the feel of the games.  For example,
KQ5 has desert, snowy mountains, wilderness, ocean, etc..  It seemed more expansive, if that makes sense.
Its really a hard call between the two. I just remember KQ5 being one of the first VGA games and being blown away.

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Re: Opinions on King's Quest V?
« Reply #18 on: August 19, 2011, 09:43:32 AM »
Quote
Josh Mandel = KQ's Sean Connery.
About the only thing they have in common is a beard...
Well, ya, King's Quest is on Earth. Daventry is very old city from a long time ago. It's in ruins now and people aren't quite sure exactly where it used to be. There are some archaeologists searching through the ruins, they think they know its Daventry. But its somewhere on Earth."-Roberta Williams http://kingsquest.wikia.com/wiki/File:Daventryisearth.ogg

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Re: Opinions on King's Quest V?
« Reply #19 on: August 19, 2011, 04:10:48 PM »
Quote
Josh Mandel = KQ's Sean Connery.
About the only thing they have in common is a beard...

What I mean by that is, for me Josh is THE King Graham. Other actors have played him (for example, KQ8's actor, TSL's actor) but he is by far, IMO, the best. A lot of James Bond fans feel Sean Connery IS James Bond, the definitive actor in the role despite there being others. That's the analogy.

(Posted on: August 19, 2011, 06:05:20 PM)


This might be sacrilege to say, but I was not a fan of Josh Mandel's Graham.  I didn't like how he delivered his lines as they sounded kind of forced.  Also I felt that his voice in general just didn't sound polished enough to be in voice acting.  But more than that, he just did not sound like Graham to me.  I'm sure everyone has had an experience with a book that's been made into a movie and you watch and say, "That's not so and so."  I had that with Graham.  It's nothing against Josh Mandel but he just sounds like an everyman, which Graham is not.  Yes, he's not royal blood, but he is a hero.  Mandel has the gentleness but not the strength that I expect of Graham.  (Plus the issues with the line delivery and professional polish, which again are totally my opinion.)  And of course all fan games prior to TSL go after Mandel to voice Graham, and I understand why to some degree.  But I do strongly prefer the TSL Graham's voice.  It has the strength that Mandel's voice lacked.

Regardless, even if Mandel did have voice acting training, he was picked more because he was a designer at that point.  That's where all the KQ5 voices came from.  And it really does take away from the game, I feel.  I understand the thought of voicing your own game to do something new, but it just didn't work.  I'm left feeling that if they wanted to put voices to the game, they should have just hired actors or left well enough alone since the game was already on the shelves in disk form.

I think Graham sounding like an everyman is kind of the point. He's like a Harrison Ford sort of hero. Think about it--Ford played brave, iconic heroes, and yet his nature, his mannerisms, his voice, etc all speak to an everyman quality--Spielberg and Lucas have said that's part of what makes Ford own the part. Graham as played by Josh does sound forceful enough and wise enough to be King...In fact, I'd say that the actor playing him in TSL has a more gentle, nuanced vocal style. Graham is more direct, strong...The only time I remember him being played gentle is at the end of KQ6.

I mean look at Alexander's voice...He has the same sort of everyman quality too, despite being Prince Alexander. Every member of the Royal Family sounds--even in later, more polished games--like a modern 1990s non-Ethnic American (except for Graham in KQ8, where he just sounds like a generic British king). Look at Rosella's voice in KQ7. She's almost a Valley Girl in terms of her voice.