King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow

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MS-DOS cover.

King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow is a graphic adventure puzzle video game developed and published by Sierra On-Line and released for MS-DOS in 1992-10-13 and later ported to several other platforms. It is the sixth core game in the King's Quest series. The game's engine uses version 1.1 of the Sierra Creative Interpreter.

The game continues the story from the ending of King's Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder! where Alexander became infatuated with Princess Cassima. He sets sail for the Land of the Green Isles in order to meet her, but a horrific storm leaves him shipwreck on one of the isles. As he explores, he discovers that Princess Cassima is being held captive and will soon be forced to marry against her will if he can't stop an evil usurper. Like with previous King's Quest games, the story borrows heavily from fairy tales and mythology including One Thousand and One Nights, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Beauty and the Beast, Theseus and the Minotaur,

Personal

My cousin Brian got this game shortly after it was released. Every weekend, I would stay the night at his house, and we would play the game. I was there to help with the earliest parts of the game, but, one week, I had come back, and he and my uncle had beat the game. Because of this, I missed out on most of the game's puzzles. In my late teens, I tried to beat the game myself, but I didn't get very far into it before getting bored. Wanting to add it to my list of finished games I started playing it again in and finally beat it on 2022-03-09 with a score of 227 out of 230. I needed a couple hints to get me on the right path, and I did look up some tips on how not to get stuck in an unwinnable state, but, other than that, I beat the game on my own.

Status

I own the CD-ROM version of King's Quest VI in the King's Quest Collection on Steam and have beaten it.

Review

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6 5 8 6 5

Best Version: DOS (CD-ROM version)

— This section contains spoilers! —

Good

  • The scenery is gorgeously painted, and many of the interiors have wonderful frames. The animated backgrounds add a nice touch of flair.
  • The game map feels more organic as opposed to the obvious grid layout of earlier graphical adventures.
  • Although none of the game's music stands out individually, it is expertly scored by Christopher Braymen.
  • Hiring actual voice actors for the main characters was a wise move. Robby Benson (Alexander) and Bill Ratner (Narrator) do good work.
  • The game has several good puzzles and a fair amount of variety. Most of them are inventory item puzzles, but there are also some word puzzles and riddles. I really liked the gnomes with the heightened five senses, also, the pawn shop where you must trade off items as needed is good for inventory management.
  • Entering the Realm of the Dead, a place where you'll see several times from dying, is a great side quest. The background art there is also fantastic.
  • The 3D-rendered FMV intro was very impressive for 1992, and using digitize photographs of actual actors for several scenes looks fantastic.
  • The items in the pawn shop that are jokes about puzzles from previous King's Quest games are pretty funny.
  • In addition to over a dozen variations to the ending, the game has two main routes to victory. This adds some nice replay value as you strive for the perfect ending.
  • Commissioning and promoting a pop song tie-in to the game was a great idea. Too bad the song sucks.
  • I like how some of the NPCs change dialogue through the course of the game.
  • At first I didn't like the idea of items just randomly appearing in the garden, but then I remember the scene was influence by Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, where items magically appear, and it fit.

Bad

  • Like with KQ5, the limited palette used on the sprites not only makes them stand out, but, it sometimes look awful, especially anything black.
  • Despite hiring a large array of professional voice actors, a lot of the ancillary characters have pretty awful voice-over. Although the voice acting is still better than most games of the era.
  • None of the cursors have visible hot spots which sometimes makes it difficult to click on what you want. This is really annoying when accuracy matters, like climbing the Cliffs of Logic.
  • After the first time you're tricked by Shamir, all the subsequent ones are a waste of time. If Sierra spent that time making better graphics and animations for other parts of the game, it would have been a better payoff.
  • How many damsels in distress can you fit into a single game? Sheesh!
  • Some of the puzzles require you to leave no stone unturned like finding the love poem. Click the hand on a book shelf, nothing. Next book shelf, nothing. Again, nothing. Fourth shelf? Nothing. So, you'd probably give up, but, no, there is something special in the 5th book shelf!
  • I found the UI of the spell book to be annoying. Even though I moved the mouse around the whole scene, I somehow missed the fact that you could turn the page, so I didn't know about the other spells! It was only through reading spoiler-free hints that I found out how. Had the artist made the other pages more obvious, or the UI designer made the page-turn hot spot larger, I wouldn't have missed it.
  • Due to the openness of the game, it's possible to have Sahmir see you alive and well after you pretend to kill yourself, but say nothing to Abdul.

Ugly

  • The game has about a dozen unwinnable states. Although most of them are pretty obvious and only happen if you miss a conspicuous object or person, several of them are pretty bad.

Media

Box Art

All regions and ports used this box art, just with different background colors around the art. It shows Prince Alexander confronting the Minotaur. I don't really like the box.

Documentation

Maps

Videos

Review - PushingUpRoses.
"Girl in the Tower" single.
Longplay - Amiga.
Longplay - MS-DOS - Floppy version.
Longplay - MS-DOS - CD-ROM version.

Links

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