KING'S QUEST III REMAKE / Infamous Adventures / PC

Unlike King's Quest 1, this one was remade by a group called Infamous Adventures. Like King's Quest 1, it's a fairly straight-ahead reworking of the original material that mostly focuses on adding a mouse-driven interface, better graphics and new/improved music rather than re-writing the game or adding new content.

King's Quest 3 had what I thought was the most interesting setting of the whole series, but it was also a bit annoying. You play as Gwydion, a boy who was captured as a baby by a cruel old wizard and forced to become his live-in servant. A mysterious dream spurs you to find a way to make a break from your capitivity, but at the outset you haven't a clue as to how. The old bastard forces you to do chores, and will punish you in grotesque ways if you fail to do them. You essentially have to just wait around and do chores for him until he decides to leave on a trip or take a nap, and then you have a window of about twenty to thirty minutes where you can freely explore (if he catches you outside of the house, or carrying any items beyond kitchen goods, he frags you on the spot). Obviously you have to find a way to either incapacitate this guy or bump him off so you can escape (he seems to know your whereabouts at all times when he's not away or sleeping), but the game gives you absolutely no clue at the outset how that is going to be done. So you not only have to (carefully!) poke around and explore, using the underside of your bed as a hiding place for any items that might make the wizard mad, but also figure out his rhythms so as to know when it is safe to leave the house and explore further. It's a little more real and more intriguing than the usual Quest game, and I thought it was quite novel for the time, but it also can be irritating as it involves a lot of trial-and-error to learn what to do and when to do it if you are not using a walkthrough. But don't use a walkthrough, please - the genuine sense of menace and tension as you wonder if the wizard will pop in on you while you sneak about, plus the jarring pipe organ chords that accompany his sudden appearances, are by far the best part of the whole game.

The graphics are quite good, and the new mouse interface de-complicates several portions of the game that were rather irritating. The new music by Peter Rocker also cleverly incorporates the few motifs that were present in the original version of the game with wholly new material that suits the environs well - an impressive soundtrack, especially for a first-time freeware effort.

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