Suspicious minds suggest Elvis is not dead but is resting. Search for the King takes roughly the same premise, though, instead of the 'sequinned whale' its central character is the anonymous 'King', set in a knock
Such a plot - an Elvis Hunt! - is guaranteed its fair share of weirdness. A good adventure though, needs more than plot to make the grade; it needs to encourage the exploration the plot inspires, which in turn requires a friendly front end. Search happily lures you in with plot, but is stubbornly reluctant to tell its tale, at least not quickly.
Blue suede clues
The game system used to search for the King blends graphics and text. The pics supply clues, pose logistical problems and provide the humour and text is used to issue commands to Les Manley, the hero. Such instructions are entered via a text window. This is how you tell Les Manley to look, open, drop, examine and (most importantly) take anything he finds.
As with all good adventures, Search sends you into overdrive, grabbing everything that isn't nailed down and prying loose a few things that are.
This mix of graphics and text input provide the 'levers' that are pulled during play. Les has to be guided to a location and then positioned so the action is plausible. If you want Les to search a drawer, he has to be stood next to it and be facing it in the right direction. If Les wants to talk to someone, he needs to be able to see them.
Viva Les Vegas
The problems facing Les are not easily solved. Even when you have been told that an object is of no interest, it pays to examine it further. Search's linear design requires specific items to solve specific problems, so you never know you've missed something until you need it.
Backtracking's inevitable, because steps are retraced to find that missing bit of kit. What's more, the game has a fatal contempt for mistakes because, unlike the Lucasfilm breed of graphic adventures, Search will kill Les at the drop of a hat.
The similarities between Lucasfilm's Monkey Island, and Search for the King go little deeper than their use of 'cosmetic' graphics to disguise the adventure. In Search the free-
There is still a correct response but you're given no obvious clues as to what it is. The upside of this is that the game is less of a multiple-
The frustrating element of Search is the speed at which it runs. Sure, there are some neat - Amiga specific - screens, but every new 'room' is loaded from disk. This takes around 20 seconds per location and disrupts the continuity. 20 seconds may not be scandalous for adventures, but a generic title does guarantee a game special privilege. No one would play a shoot-em-up that loaded each screen individually, even if the wait was five seconds. Such comparisons are harsh and slightly unrealistic, but the continual waiting soon erodes patience.
Search for the King is a good adventure. The story is good looking, complex, and occasionally silly enough to make you want to finish. Viewed as a graphic/