KING'S QUEST II REDUX / AGD Interactive / PC

The original King's Quest 2 wasn't a bad game, but it's kind of hard to take nowadays. It never got any kind of official remake from Sierra, so the only version available is the old 16-color AGI version with the primitive text parser interface. The game also lacked for a plot, and had some rather illogical puzzles that were confusing and annoying (throwing a certain random object over a certain snake, for example, and the infamous bridge that only has exactly "three crossings" left in it.) Aside from the usual improved mouse interface, graphics and music, this remake by Tierra really goes a step beyond and takes ownership of the game, with new puzzles, re-arranged puzzle solutions and a slew of new content.

The basic setting and layout of the game is the same, as is its objectives. Graham has still set out to Kolyma to find the mysterious woman he saw in his magic mirror, but this time there's an animated introduction to give some depth and backstory to the proceedings. Kolyma is mostly as it was in the original game, but you'll be pleasantly surprised by some new areas such as an actual town and an expansion of the underwater realm of Poseidon. The puzzles and solutions have also been re-arranged enough so that the game feels like a new experience, and those who remember all the puzzle solutions from the original version will still hit a number of spots that will challenge them. The game also now features a full, original soundtrack composed by the Lewandowskis of Quest Studios (the biggest Sierra music fan site for many years running now), which is of extremely good quality.

The amount of work done is astounding for a free, fan-made project. This is really what remakes should be about - building on and improving the original experience, sythensizing it with modern gameplay elements and technology while retaining the good elements of the original. Romancing the Stones sets a new threshold for fan-made remakes and is highly recommened.

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