King's Quest 6: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow logo Amiga Computing Gold Award

Sierra are back and clutched in their mitts is the sixth instalment of their fairy-tale adventure. Come with Prince Jonathan Maddock as he takes trip to the Land of the Green Isles to find his princess.


Over the years Sierra have built up a reputation as the software house famous for its adventure games. Leisure Suit Larry, the Space Quest and Police Quest series of games, and Willy Beamish; the names of great Sierra-produced adventures just roll off the tongue.

Sierra haven't had an adventure on the Amiga for a while now, but cue clap of thunder and bolt of lightning because they're back! King's Quest 6 is here and I, for one, have been drooling over it ever since I saw some early screenshots.

The tale of Princes, Princesses, Kings, witches and dragons is being spun out once again. The King's Quest series of games have been very much like a set of fairy-tales and I guess that's why they're so popular. In these times where games must contain violence or aliens or both to succeed, King's Quest makes a nice refreshing change.


Once upon a time there was a prince called Alexander who lived in a kingdom in Daventry. The Prince was very unhappy because he had lost Cassima, the girl of his dreams. While moping around the castle, Alexander experienced something very strange - his mirror began to speak to him.

Inside the mirror was Cassima who had, apparently, got lost in the Land of the Green Isles. Alexander did not know where this land was, but being rather clever noticed a set of stars in the mirror. By using his superb astronomical navigating skills he could now find where Cassima was.

Jumping onto his ship, the Prince and his crew set off for a journey over the seven seas and beyond. When they finally spotted land, disaster struck!

The seas began to turn violent and a major storm broke out. When Alexander next opened his eyes he found himself lying on a beach, with bits of ship strewn about everywhere and without his crew. This is where the "real" adventure starts, as you take control of the Prince and must complete his quest of finding his lost love.



There have been a lot of famous "Kings" over the years. I'm not talking about monarchy, but here are my two favourites.

BB King is a US blues guitarist, singer and songwriter and was one of the most influential electric-guitar players of the 1960's. His albums include Blues is King (1967), Lucille Talks Back (1975) and Blues 'n' Jazz (1983).

Martin Luther King Jr was a US civil-rights campaigner, black leader and Baptist minister. He was one of the organisers of a protest in 1963 where 200,000 people marched to Washington DC to demand racial equality.
An advocate of non-violence, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. King was assassinated four years later by James Earl Ray in Memphis, Tennessee.



You'd obviously have to compare King's Quest 6 to adventures like Monkey Island, Simon the Sorcerer and Beneath a Steel Sky. All these games contain some high-quality graphics and have an almost unrivaled amount of playability. King's Quest is as good as just about every other adventure ever seen.

This is the sixth King's Quest adventure and although it is undoubtedly the best, I'd also suggest you try and get your hands on a copy of some of the previous ones. They don't quite match King's Quest 6 in the graphics department, but the playability and addiction is still there in abundance.



What surprised me the most about King's Quest is its brilliant "olde" medieval tune that plays while your play. More often than not, adventure games suffer because of their abysmal tunes that play throughout your quest and have you reaching for the volume switch on your monitor.

There are a number of sound effects within the adventure and even though they're fairly sparse, the quality of them is worth shouting about. If you could only take a listen to the waves lapping onto the beach on the very first screen, you'd know just how good they are.

Sound-wise, I can't really fault King's Quest 6 because what's in there is adequate enough to please the average gamer.




Sierra were planning to do a 256-colour version of King's Quest 6, but they were so pleased with what the 32-colour version looked like that they shelved the idea. I'm in agreement with Sierra's decision because the graphics look absolutely gorgeous and the 256-colour version might have slowed the game right down.

The introduction to the game is rendered in 3D and features some excellent morphing techniques. The sprites, which range from guard-dogs and minotaurs right down to the devil himself, are well-drawn and very well animated. The icon bar at the top of the screen is very basic, but helps the game flow along and makes it easy to understand for first-time adventure gamers.

The only quibble I have is that some of the objects are just too small for the eye to see and you quite often find yourself walking past them. The backgrounds in King's Quest 6 are almost too good! They set the atmosphere perfectly and you could almost believe you are walking in a fairy-tale.

Sierra's adventure, graphics-wise, is on a par with Monkey Island 2 and The Fate of Atlantis. You can't get a higher recommendation than that!




Adventure fans will be delighted that Sierra have finally decided to release the sixth adventure in the King's Quest series onto the Amiga.
After such a long time away from Commodore's machine Sierra might have been weary of going back to it, but they needn't have worried because, hopefully, King's Quest 6 should get the recognition it deserves from the general public.

The game comes on 10 disks, so you'd think that a hard drive is pretty much an essential piece of kit. Well it is, but for those non-hard drive owners the disk swapping is kept to an absolute minimum and for this little factor I applaud Sierra.

As far as adventure games go, they don't get much better than this. With its brilliant graphics, a fairy-tale of a plot, superb playability and a level of addiction that will keep you coming back for more and more, King's Quest 6 is an adventure that should have a place in everyone's games collection.

Buy it or you'll regret it, maybe not today...

King's Quest 6: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow logo

This is real formula stuff with few concessions to developments in the adventure genre. But is it any good?

Volkswagen Beetles. Doctor Who. Commodore 64s. Lumpy, old-fashioned way past their sell-by dates. And some people still love 'em. Vehemently. They'll defend them against all allegations of outmodedness, in the face of mountains of evidence that proves otherwise.

Sierra adventure games are pretty much in the same category. They're sitting ducks when it comes to criticism. While there have been huge leaps in the development of adventures in the last couple of years, Sierra's efforts have remained steadfastly... well... the same. It's like the LucasArts games redefined the genre, but Sierra didn't bother looking in their dictionaries!

It's easy to moan about lack of user-friendliness, having to save before you do practically anything, puzzles that require a photographic memory (you could note everything down, but, hey, who can be bothered with that these days?) and clichéd plots.

However, there are people out there who will say, 'So what? It's the quality of the adventure that counts. I remember the days when we had to type everything in.' And they'll nod wisely, as if they know something you don't about the effect of a good adventure on the human psyche.

So how does King's Quest VI fare purely in its own terms? It's competent enough and goes through all the relevant motions. Prince Alexander has to travel to the Green Isles to rescue Princess Cassima from the clutches of an evil Vizier who wants to marry her so he can rule the place.

Much magical island-hopping. puzzle-solving and talking to weird characters who never seem to give you a straight answer ensues.

There are a few occasions when it strays from the formula, including a fiendishly tricky catacombs section and a genuinely atmospheric jaunt into the underworld. And there are a couple of inspired pieces of problemsolving, especially the bit with the stick-in-the-mud. But these are too few and far between. There's too much wandering back and forward through the same screens talking to the same characters.

And they are a generally uninspiring lot, most of 'em direct from Rent-A-Cliché ©. There are some great cameos, though - keep an eye out for the gnomes and the hanging participle.

On the whole the game delivers the (most unblemished) goods on the brain-strain side and keeps you mentally on your toes. But some of the puzzles are ridiculously obscure. I resorted to the old 'click on everything in my inventory in the hope that something works' routine just a bit too often. And there are also a very annoying number of dead ends.

You get to a point where you realise what you should have done, but there seems no way to go back and rectify the situation. Unfair.

If King's Quest VI was an episode of Doctor Who, it wouldn't be one of the classics with Jon Pertwee versus the Daleks. It's more like Colin Baker versus somebody in a silly green suit. The fans can find something to love about it, but to the rest of us... well, we've got Star Trek: The Next Generation now.


The graphics in King's Quest VI are all very pretty, sure (though I would argue with Sierra's statement in their press release that they aren't bothering with a 256 colour version for the A1200 because of this 32-colour version is 'excellent'- adequate, yes, excellent, no).

But occasionally the graphics seriously hinder the game. Just take a look at the picture of the inside of a ferry for example. There is one item you need to pick up in this room, but can you work out where it is? Or what it is exactly? (Hint - if it looks anything like a graphical glitch, then click on it. In fact, dull as it may seem, it's best to click on every square inch of every single screen).

The spike maze in the catacombs section is even worse. It's small, but deadly. And completely unfathomable at first glance. Can you work out which are the dangerous tiles? It's not as obvious as it looks. OK, you should save before you embark on anything like this, but I like to be given the chance to get it right without having to resort to trial and error. Or a flock of sheep to herd through the area first - strangely enough I couldn't find that in my inventory.

King's Quest 6: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow logo

Es war einmal vor zwei Jahren, da ward von einer Softwareschmiede namens Sierra der sechste Teil einer Königsmär für den PC geschmiedet - und seither warteten die Amiganer auf ihre Version...

Gar sehr wurde ihr Langmut strapaziert, und nach ständigem Hin und Her, ob überhaupt noch mit der Konvertierung zu rechnen sei, geschah das Unfassbare: Das fertige Kunstwerk wurde vorgestellt, auf zehn Disketten und geeignet für alle Amigas. Doch die Freude der endlich Beglückten wird bereits bei der zweistündigen (!) Festplatteninstallation auf eine hart Geduldsprobe gestellt.

Aber dann nimmt zunächst das dramatische Intro und bald darauf das Abenteuer seinen Lauf: König Grahams Soh Alexander wird durch eine Vision in ein fernes Inselreich gelockt, wo er die von ihm angebetete Cassima vor der Hochzeit mit dem verschlagenen Wesir bewahren muß, wenn er die hübsche Königstochter selbst vor den Traualtar schleifen will.

Dazu darf er viel auf den fünf vorhandenen Inselchen umherreisen, denn überall gibt es interessante Dinge zu entdecken, die man später anderorts dringend benötigt.

Außerdem hat jedes Eiland spezielle (Unter-) Aufgaben für den Prinzen in petto, wovon manche richtig lebensgefährlich sind - u.a. erwartet man von dem tapferen Königssproß eine Geiselbefreiung im berüchtigten Labyrinth des Minotaurus.

Doch die phantasievoll ausgestalteten Gegenden überraschen den Besucher auch mit allerlei ulkigen Bewohnern; man muß sich z.B. mit streitsüchtigen Schachfiguren herumschlagen und bekommt es mit "echten" Bücherwürmern zu tun.

Nur von den nach der Umsetzung Übriggebliebenen 32 Farben darf man sich halt keine grafischen Wunder erhoffen. Zudem beweist der Kontrollblick hinüber zum aktuellen Genrekonkurrenten "Universe", daß etwas mehr Animationen, Details und Leuchtkraft sicher möglich gewesen wären - und über eine Sprachausgabe zur Ergänzung der stimmungsvollen Musikbegleitung hätte sich bestimmt auch jeder königstreue Amigo königlich gefreut.

Daß die sierratypische Steuerung via Maus und Iconleiste an einigen Stellen des Games echte Präzisionsarbeit vom Spieler fordert, kennt man inzwischen: trotzdem könnten die Sammelstücke am Screen und danach im Inventory ruhig etwas deutlicher zu erkennen sein.

Der erhoffte Überhammer ist King's Quest VI somit nicht geworden, doch in letzter Zeit hat man als Amiga-Abenteurer ja Übung in Sachen Bescheidenheit. Schon wegen des momentan recht dünnen Angebots an solcher Software zählt das Spiel also trotz aller Detailmängel immer noch zur unteren Oberklasse.

Die Rätsel, der logische Aufbau und die Atmosphäre gehen schließlich voll in Ordnung; zudem ist das Spieltempo unerwartet flott geraten. Das gilt natürlich vor allem für den HD-Betrieb, aber auch von Disk kommen die Bytes in halbwegs erträglicher Geschwindigkeit angesaust. Die Moral von der Geschicht': Anspielen schadet nicht! (ms)

King's Quest 6: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow logo

First there was King's Quest...

The chances are that most fans of the last King's Quest game, number five, will either be dead by now or too weakened by old age to operate their Amiga properly. It was reviewed in AP7 - that is an incredible three years ago, almost - making King's Quest 6 one of the most, er, awaited sequels ever. As for King's Quest 4, well, heaven knows. It probably came out before the Amiga was even invented, and involved wooden cylinders with bits of card and mirrors stuck to them.

That being the case, it is perhaps surprising that the mechanics of King's Quest 6 - the user interface and so forth - are almost indistinguishable from King's Quest 5's. There is still that little bar of icons at the top of the screen, and you still cycle through the most frequently-used ones by pressing the right mouse button.

Three years of progress has changed nothing. That is not necessarily a bad thing, as the system is fast and efficient, but it has been overtaken by more recent point-and-click adventures in terms of slickness, and it does not let you do much interacting with other characters.

Rather more of a pity is that the storyline feels just as dreary and clichéd as King's Quest 5's. It is filled with the same old princesses and grand viziers, the same old shopkeepers and sailors and lamp-sellers, none of them with any discernible personality, and all of them spewing out screenfuls of dialogue that simply is not worth reading.

But after the initial disappointment has faded, it is business as usual. King's Quest 6 (subtitled 'Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow') is just as big and enjoyable a game as the last one. Bigger, in fact.

You are Prince Alexander (and not a king at all), and you have been shipwrecked on an island. And - oh no - Cassima, the princess you used to go out with, seems to have become engaged to an evil vizier who won't let you anywhere near her, and who will become ruler of the Green Isles if the wedding goes ahead.

But where is he keeping her? Why does she not fancy you anymore? How can you persuade the townspeople of your royal identity? Will Patch get out of the way of that car in time? And who is the mysterious Mr Small? Just some of the questions you must find answers to (And some you must not).

Insomniac oysters and a rotten tomato

And actually, maybe that stuff about the storyline is not absolutely fair. Much of your time will be spent chatting to shopkeepers and wizened old sailors, true, but King's Quest 6 does occasionally manage to pull itself together. One of the islands you will travel to is enchanted, for example, and features a series of bizarre Alice in Wonderland-style puzzles involving insomniac oysters and a rotten tomato who is incredibly rude to you.

And then, much later on, there is a great bit where you travel through the underworld to fill up a flask from the river Styx. There are not a huge number of locations, but most of them have several puzzles to solve, and quite often change when you return to them later.

The graphics are nice too. Sierra were originally planning to release an enhanced 256-colour version for the 1200 as well as this 32-colour version, but decided that it looked so good already there was not much point. And we are prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt. The scenery is lovely, and there is stacks of animation.

If you drew up a list of the Top 10 point-and-click adventure crimes, though, and held it up alongside King's Quest 6, you could tick off at least eight of them. Yes! It has you hunting around each screen with the cursor trying to find miniscule objects to use.

Yes! Not only that, but the cursor does not change when you move over them, so you have to keep reading messages like "You cannot pick up the cliff face" until you strike lucky. Yes! Many of the puzzles are so obscure that you have often no option but to simply try everything in your inventory until something happens.

Yes! There are pointless sudden deaths - including one notable one near the beginning when you are invited to join somebody for a swim in the sea, then promptly drown when you do so and are told that he must have been an exceptional swimmer. Riled by this, you will find yourself automatically saving every few seconds just in case something similar happens, with the game's atmosphere suffering accordingly. Saving should be something you do before you have lunch or go to bed, not a routine precaution to be taken before every move.

But even so, loads of people bought and enjoyed King's Quest 5, and they are unlikely to be disappointed with the sequel. If the basic game engine remains stuck in the past, the storyline is stronger and the puzzles more absorbing. Some of the characters are almost memorable, and some of the jokes almost sufficient to raise a smile. It deserves to be scorned for remaining stuck in the past while games like Beneath a Steel Sky aspire to newer, greater ideals.

But at the same time it is ten disks full of reasonably solid entertainment. And anyway, you will already know if you want to buy it, and if so, you probably already will have. My only hope is that before they get stuck far into King's Quest 7 (reported to carry the even worse subtitle of 'The Prince-Less Bride', indicating some sort of role-reversal scenario), Sierra check their watches and suddenly realise it is 1994.

King's Quest 6: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow logo CU Amiga Screen Star

Step into the unknown once more with Revolution's latest edition to the phenomenal King's Quest series. Steve Keen dons his codpiece and scratches his noggin in preparation for another adventure - when will it ever end?

What have the Tories, the Queen's Christmas speech, and the King's Quest series got in common? You feel like they could all go on for ever. However, where the latter of this trio is concerned this is not such a bad thing. The King's Quest PC games have always been at the forefront in adventure gaming technology and quality.

These adventures are known for their size and detail. And while converting a VGA game the size of number six to the Amiga is no easy task, the shoe-horning skills of the programmers at Revolution have been well utilised and almost everything seen in the PC version has been put into this version.

Plots are everything to adventures so here's a smattering of King's Quest VIs. Lucky prince Alexander, on his way to visit his beautiful beau, princess Cassima, gets shipwrecked. I say lucky because out of all the islands he could have been washed up on he manages to come to rest of the shores of the very isle he was trying to get to in the first place.

Upon visiting the princess, Alex has an inkling that all's not well as the once-friendly island has turned hostile and the evil Vizier has taken command of the settlement with plans to marry the young princess. All you have to do is find out what's going on, rescue Cassima, find her parents (and bring them back to life), defeat the Vizier and restore happiness to the isle - not bad work if you can get it.

Graphic adventures seem to either get bogged down with frustratingly complicated mouse commands or have you running backwards and forwards around dozens of screens and whirring through hours of disk accessing time, just to complete a single task. King's Quest, however, manages to steer clear of these problems because it features a very user-friendly mouse interface.

There are four commands: walk, talk, touch and look. By clicking on the right mouse button you can quickly scroll through them until the pointer changes to the correct icon and activate the command with a push on the left. A fifth icon is reserved for a single object that you've picked up so that it can be kept to hand used quickly. No more rummaging through scores of menus to get at your possessions.

Walking around the four islands is just as painless. Simply click where you want Alexander to end up and he'll do the rest, walking around objects or taking the quickest available route. And boy does this guy shift. No pointless ambling or Sunday stroll for this prince, he's a veritable Linford Christie as he strides forcefully from one task to the next.

Frustrating amounts of mouse commands have also been reduced by the system, allowing you to perform a series of manoeuvres with a single mouse action. If you want to examine something on the other side of the screen, just select 'examine', click on the distant object and that's it, Alex will walk over, pick it up, look at it, tell you what it is and then automatically switch to the appropriate icon for you to act accordingly.

Four islands have to be negotiated, as well as a secret one later on in the game. Every isle has a different theme, with different challenges, ranging from the mechanical to the truly mental!

Isle Of The Beasts is home of the enchanted monster, which looks like something straight out of Disney's Beauty and the Beast. The main challenge in this section is to find the 'beast' a companion, but on the way there are mazes to negotiate, boiling ponds to cross and mystical statues to dodge.

The game has two paths for you to follow. A quick and easy route, where your only headache is to collect the bare essentials to get into the castle and rescue the damsel, or the more complex, full game. The complex version centres around a magical book with three special spells in it. Every spell requires several ingredients and in order you get hold of these you must pay great attention to detail.

For example, in one section you'll find a poem. You can either dump it or send it to Cassima. She will in turn send you back a ribbon from her hair. Nothing special in itself, but if you examine the ribbon closely you might just find that it contains the final ingredient needed to complete a spell.

King's Quest VI is a brilliant conversion on the Amiga. The background graphics are sharp and with animated forest creatures, such as rabbits and birds etc., adding to the ambiance, the game throws up delight after delight. The characters and animations for the main sprites are also spot on. King's Quest VIs control method makes it one of the easiest adventures to play.

The sound effects and background music could have been better - they lacked some life, but that shouldn't put you off this princely game.