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.