King's Quest II: Romancing the Throne

1985 Sierra On-Line
Designed by Roberta Williams
Reviewed 1996 February 15

Rating -4 Linearity narrow, segmented
Reasonability sporadic Connectivity moderate
Difficulty pedestrian Relevance moderate
Interface 3rd paned parser Real-time minor

King Graham needs a Queen. Fortunately, his magic mirror reveals a princess in distress, locked in a tower in a strange land.

King's Quest II has all the faults of King's Quest I. You must carefully navigate Graham around obstacles, and run from monsters. It's annoying yet too easy to be challenging. There are also a few locations where you exit and return until the desired random event occurs. There is also a lack of causality: certain characters or items don't appear until after you have done some unrelated action. You must re-explore the land several times, looking for changes. There also appears to be a long dead end, i.e., if you do something wrong early, you can play most of the game before you discover that you can't win.

As before, King's Quest plays with various fairy tales and legends. There's little plot, and the setting is disjoint, but the playful allusions are fun. The objects and challenges are relevant to the allusions.

The game is broken into segments, although this is not immediately obvious as you play it. Some challenges have multiple solutions, and some are not required to win. This means you can win with less than full points. In general, however, each object has a single purpose.

King's Quest II is nothing more than a sequel: an uninspired clone of the original, another spin around the block for the game engine.

Beware! Here are some spoiler-ridden notes on the game. They're only recommended for people who have played the game and want to see some of my rationale for my evaluations.

Solution by me.

Related reviews:

  • The King's Quest Series
    David Tanguay's Game Reviews
    Here's a description of all the gobbledygook in these reviews. It's also a bit of an essay on the nature of adventure games.