King's Quest III: To Heir Is Human

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King's Quest III: To Heir Is Human

King's Quest III - To Heir Is Human - AST - USA.jpg

Atari ST - USA - 1st edition.

Developer Sierra On-Line
Publisher Sierra On-Line
Published 1986-10-??
Platforms Amiga, Apple II, Apple IIgs, Atari ST, DOS, Macintosh Classic, PCjr, TRS-80 Color Computer
Genres Adventure, Graphic adventure, Passive puzzle, Puzzle
Themes Adventure, Cartoon, Fantasy, Pirates
Series King's Quest
Distribution Commercial

King's Quest III: To Heir Is Human is a graphic adventure puzzle video game developed and published by Sierra On-Line for MS-DOS in October 1986 and later ported to several other platforms. It is the third title in the King's Quest series and uses the Adventure Game Interpreter engine.

This story introduces a new character Gwydion in the land of Llewdor who is the slave of the evil wizard Manannan. Manannan stole Gwydion as a child and raised him to do chores, but intends on killing him on his 18th birthday to ensure he won't get into his magic.


Own?Yes. MS-DOS port on Steam.

When my uncle bought the King's Quest: Collector's Edition, my cousin and I were eager to play the first three games which we hadn't played before. I found the third to be the most enjoyable and played it the most, but quickly got stuck when I couldn't find out how to cast any of the spells necessary to further the game.



  • The art is a step up from the previous two games.
  • The music is also more impressive in this game than the previous two King's Quest titles.
  • The magic spells ingredient list is quite helpful as it lists the bulk of the items you need to collect early in the game.


  • By the time the last ports were released in 1988, the low-res graphics were really showing their age. The cross hatching on the windows and chicken coop look especially bad. Not a great look considering VGA had just been released.
  • Several items are inconsistent in their naming. In the wizard's laboratory, you can "get mandrake," but, you can't "hide mandrake," you must "hide mandrake root."
  • The game has a weak parser. In a scene with a stump, "look stump" responds back "what is a stump?" If you "feel in hole," you get nothing, but "reach in hole," it works.
  • The game tricks you into killing yourself on the web. If you try to "Cut web," you're told you need to be closer until you get caught.
  • A lot of the invalid responses are misleadingly unhelpful. For example:
    • Writing "Look X" when X doesn't exist, often responds "It's just as it seems."
    • Attempting to hide something that the game doesn't understand results in "You might need it," even if you don't have it, even if it doesn't exist in the game.
  • It's hard to read the spell instructions in the manual.
  • While I like the way you can get lost in the desert, it doesn't make sense in the ocean; you would be able to see the shore for miles.
  • In some frames of Gwydion's walking animation, his foot is dark gray instead of black, which annoys me.


  • Having to walk up and down the winding path to Manannan's house is not even remotely enjoyable.
  • There are several unwinnable states, many of which are not obvious and can have you playing well into the game before you realize them, if you do at all.


Play Online

Amiga, Macintosh Classic, MS-DOS




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