Author Topic: King's Quest V: Overly Silly?  (Read 2846 times)

Sir Perceval of Daventry

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King's Quest V: Overly Silly?
« on: November 15, 2013, 11:51:52 PM »
I love KQV, it is my favorite KQ game--let that be the opening disclaimer.
However, it seems to me (and perhaps others) that KQV represented, in some ways and in some parts of the game, a great tonal departure from all the other games in the series, both before and after. KQ always had tongue slightly in cheek, but KQV took that cheekiness and ran wild with it. It is a game that is inescapably cheesy, from the utter lack of logic in many of the puzzles (Cheese Powered Magic Machine, Yeti Pie in the Face), the cheesy, hamfisted character names (King Anthony the Great, King of the Ants; Queen Icebella of the Icy Mountains; Queen Beetrice of the Bees, etc), the calm and seemingly not at all upset nature of Graham, despite the nature of his quest, literally finding a "needle in a haystack", Cedric's entire character (along with his voice acting) which reduces the game to almost being a buddy cop sort of game, the quasi-Southern/Mid Western sounding Narrator, the Southern influence on Serenia, the Town Theme, the Camp Gay Tailor....

Like I said, previous KQ games, and ones after, all had their cheesy moments, their silly moments, but compare the tone of KQV to the games immediately before and after it:

KQIV is a rather dark game, an urgent and somewhat deeper quest which has an odd, barren, melancholy feel to it, with both the life of King Graham and the fate of the World and of Tamir hanging in the balance; You go from barely surviving a creepy, dark, bone littered cave of a hungry Troll, to braving a forest of twisted, suffocating trees, swinging an ax to scare said trees, to hiding out and barely escaping the home of a hungry, man eating Ogre, and finally to digging up the graves of dead children, tending to restless  haunted spirits and dodging zombies and getting the source of all the world's evil itself, Pandora's Box, in the end defeating the evil villain, who lacks the capacity to love, with one of Cupid's own arrows, love acting as a literal poison to her body.

KQVI, which is the emotionally deepest entry in the series, with a variety of lands but all generally played straight (albeit with some inside jokes aimed at longtime KQ fans), complex dialogue and a multilayered plot of longing love and political intrigue. The girl in the tower is no helpless maiden, either. And as Alexander you have through the utter loneliness and creepiness of the Winged Ones' catacombs, to the very Realm of the Dead itself, again dodging rotting, creepy zombies, helping out sordid and sad spirits and finally going to a face to face confrontation with Death Himself, which is then followed by a tense cat and mouse-esque , having to secret through the corridors of an unfriendly castle without being discovered. That's not to say there aren't light hearted moments; plenty abound to balance out the darkness, such as the Isle of Wonder, Jollo, the dancing Skeletons and other elements--But none of the light hearted elements are nearly as over the top as those in KQV.

It's not to say KQV is a BAD game or even a poor or medicore or average game....I just feel it's very over the top and very different from ANY King's Quest game. It is the video game/KQ equivalent of campy, self satirizing '70s movies. The closest game, tonally, I would say is KQVII. The charm of KQV, and what saves it, and perhaps what separates it from KQVII, is that it KNOWS it's over the top, it knows it's cheesy, it makes no attempt to hide from the cheesines, it doesn't take itself at all seriously. KQVII fails because while it has all the same cheese, bad voice acting and straight up silliness of KQV, it also has a lot of elements which seem to aim at a game which wants to be taken seriously. You meet the Fates themselves, a meeting on par Death in KQVI, but it's not treated with anywhere near the same gravity. Samhain is a character and entity onto himself, with a deep story and a past. The Fates are just there; they just help you; they just feel like yet more characters.

And again, where KQV again and again reminds you not to take things seriously, KQVII wants to be taken seriously as an epic storyline--and that is the difference.

For a comparison with a movie series, I would say that if KQVI is the Goldfinger of the KQ Series, KQV is Diamonds Are Forever--and very similar to that film tonally in it's levels of tongue-held-firmly-in-cheek, knowing camp and pie to the Yeti in the face silliness.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2013, 11:56:32 PM by Sir Perceval of Daventry »

Offline Numbers

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Re: King's Quest V: Overly Silly?
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2013, 04:41:55 PM »
King's Quest 5 is the funniest game in the series, for me anyway. I can't imagine the pain a first-time player would have, with no idea what to do as the game goes along, or if they even have all the tools necessary. But putting that aside, I have great memories of playing it when I was younger, and most of the corniness went over my head back then. I suppose KQ5 can be comparable to Arnold Schwarzeneggar's "Commando" or a movie like "Independence Day" where everything is so stupid and over-the-top that it's actually sort of hard to dislike...whereas KQ7 falls more into line with a movie like "Batman and Robin" where the cheesiness is more painful than it is enjoyable.

The stereotypes are obviously too offensive for a current game to use, and I'm actually surprised that they got away with it even back then, but I can't be mad at them because they're another source of humor. In fact, the voice acting in general, when combined with the script, is just a riot. Whether it's the toymaker badly butchering his German line "Ich weiss nicht..." to Graham's panicked "Gootchie gootchie goo!" when trapped by the Roc baby, I'm always instantly cheered up whenever I hear it.

Everything is just so stilted, it's hilarious. Graham is confronted by Manannan, still trapped in cat form--and Graham KNOWS it's Manannan, and he KNOWS what Manannan did to his son--and when Manannan asks him how he made it to Mordack's castle, what does Graham say? "I have journeyed far, over land and sea!" Begging your pardon, Graham, but that's not what I would be saying if I were in your position. In fact, I probably wouldn't do much talking at all. I probably would have lunged directly at Manannan and strangled him on the spot.

Also, while KQ5 is different from the other games in the series, I would argue that no two games are alike, except for the first two. Each game from that point forward is unique in its own way. Whether they go for a more cheesy, kid-friendly approach or for a more intense and adult experience, each game is somewhat different from the rest. It's a nice change from most game franchises, where the entries are way too similar to each other. In fact, I would say that effectively half of the series is more kiddy and cartoony (1, 2, 5 and 7) while the other half is more difficult or adult-oriented (3, 4, 6 and MoE).

I will admit that KQ5's quality is not the best in the series. It's cartoony, shallow and overflowing with bizarre puzzle solutions. But of the official games in the series, this is the one that I come back to the most. I don't care if it overly silly. This is my guilty pleasure in the KQ lineup. Besides, it makes for some awesome content, such as Retsupurae's riff on a longplay of it, Paw Dugan's hilarious LP, the KQ5 Abridged videos, which you can find on YouTube, and a couple more videos that I'll share below.

This first video, entitled "The Most Exciting Videogame Footage Ever"...
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAwIUQ0SMs8" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAwIUQ0SMs8</a>

And this one, entitled "Quest of Kings V - True True Ending".
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Soa_yptl1mw" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Soa_yptl1mw</a>
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Offline GrahamRocks!

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Re: King's Quest V: Overly Silly?
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2013, 04:04:26 PM »
Ignoring the comments about 7 (don't think I need to repeat my thoughts on 7 again), I agree with you Numbers!

Yes, KQ5 is cheesy and cliched and silly. But that's why we love it!