King's Quest: Mask of Eternity
Adventure Games As We Used To Know them have all but disappeared without trace. The traditional point-and-click puzzler has been knocked sideways with the arrival of 3D classics like Tomb Raider and, er, the forthcoming Tomb Raider 2 (cough). Sierra are very quick to acknowledge this. In fact, top Sierra bod Ken Williams has publicly admitted that people don't want point-and-click adventures anymore, they want Tomb Raider, they want Quake, they want games in which you blow things up and where the most taxing puzzling element you'll come across is activating a switch by shooting at it with an enormous gun. Hence Sierra's complete change in approach to the latest episode in their long-running King's Quest series.
The 'cutesy' element inherent in the series so far which has charmed some, and reduced others to lengthy puke-orama sessions, has more or less disappeared completely. The new lead character (Connor) is a far more believable hero and his approach to puzzle-solving is to 'get physical' with his environment by twonking things with the various weapons at his disposal in order to trigger events elsewhere. It's not entirely dissimilar to the Zelda games on Super Nintendo, except obviously in glorious 3D. In fact, I've seen the gorgeous-looking 3Dfx version running and it looks even better than Zelda on the Nintendo 64.
If you're finding all this a little confusing, a more familiar point of reference will probably be Sierra's own Quest For Glory series. QFG is basically an adventure game with RPG elements. As you progress through the game your strength increases in proportion to the number of enemies you've nobbled, your intelligence increases as you cast spells, your dexterity increases as you continuously jump out of the way when confronted with a particularly troublesome enemy, and so on. This mishmash of adventure and RPG elements works up to a point, though it has to be said that the engrossing adventure game struggles to make up for the so-so throwaway RPG elements.
KQ8 for its part is an action-based adventure game with minor RPG elements. I've got to say at this point that I had this game presented to me when I visited Sierra in Seattle. Roberta Williams was there. If you don't know who Roberta Williams is you've either never played a Sierra adventure game in your life, or you've just been born.
Roberta wrote most of the King's Quest games. She's the one responsible for the masterful storytelling evident in every game in the series, and indeed she's working on the adventure side of KQ8.
Unfortunately, I put my foot in it by immediately blurting out "Quest For Glory' as soon as I saw KQ8. "Do you think so?" Roberta said, looking very alarmed. Well actually I do think so, and in my opinion any title with the gameplay of QFG, a storyline straight from the pen of Roberta Williams, and incredible 3D graphics tarted up with 3Dfx has got to be on just about every PC gamer's wish-list. You can be sure I'll be keeping a very close eye on this one. Expect an update on the project in the next issue of Zone.
Download King's Quest: Mask of Eternity
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
You wanted it, you got it--King's Quest in 3D! King's Quest: Mask of Eternity, the eighth installment of the popular fantasy/ad-venture series from Sierra, boasts an incredible new 3D engine, as these early screens show. Mask of Eternity puts gamers in the inexperienced shoes of Connor, who wakes up to find that every resident of the Kingdom of Daventry has been turned to stone--except himself. To reverse the magic, he must explore the seven regions of the kingdom and collect the three pieces of the fabled Mask.
The latest in the King's Quest series from Sierra, Mask of Eternity, leaves behind the 2D engine to bring you the kingdom of Daventry in full 3D. The Mask of Eternity itself has been shattered into five pieces and scattered throughout the kingdom. Your possession of one fragment has already kept you from being turned into stone, and now it's up to you to save the kingdom--again. Traveling through seven worlds, you'll engage in conversation and combat with numerous characters in your quest to find the remaining four pieces of the mask.
Mask's 3D engine makes for detailed and smooth gameplay, allowing you the free movement of Tomb Raider while adding an exciting-yet-simple new combat system. Crackling torches, swinging window shutters, and true shadows combined with smoothly transitioning environmental sounds should bring gamers a King's Quest experience like never before.