3: King’s Quest VII: The Princeless Bride

Year: 1994
Designer: Roberta Williams & Lorelei Shannon

Inigo Montoya: Do you hear that Fezzik? That is the sound of ultimate suffering.

Fezzik: From what?

Inigo Montoya: People playing “The Princeless Bride.”

Vizzini: Inconceivable!

While I adapted to the four-icon point’n’click style of adventure gaming, I longed for a change that was more intuitive while remaining challenging (much like the LucasArts catalogue). Well, once again Roberta Williams ushered in a new style of gaming with the single icon. The fucking thing lights up whenever you run the mouse over something important, removing virtually all the challenge and turning the game into an interactive movie. Since KQ7, some developers have been able to utilize a single icon and still make engrossing, challenging games. Not surprisingly, Roberta Williams failed spectacularly. Not surprisingly, the story is insipid.

Valanice is quite perturbed with her only daughter because Rosella has decided that marrying handsome hunks on the drop of a hat like her mother was so last plot line. Valanice taunts her daughter with stories of blind matronly love, while Rosella covers her ears and yells “Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!” But her mother does not comply, which drives Rosella to dive into an obviously dangerous whirlpool, most likely to commit suicide. Valanice, determined to bring back her daughter to the sophisticated world, dives in after her. Unfortunately for her, she gets dumped off in a desert, far away from the place Rosella winds up bemoaning, over and over and over, her new troll status.

Amazingly, the plot actually develops in this game.  Chapter by chapter, the player learns more objectives while maneuvering plot twists. It’s a shame that the material therein is a conglomeration of all the crap that’s ever been put into a computer game. The graphics consist of a poorly defined cartoon world with characters that are generally unpleasant to look at. Not only that, every sentient being is caricaturized to the point of skin-crawling pain, making the game devoid of the minimum amount of pathos necessary to give a shit. Puzzles range from incredibly easy to incredibly nauseous. There are even walking dead scenarios, which is ridiculous in a game that is otherwise insultingly easy. As for the sound, well, nothing memorable.

There are exactly three points during this game where I enjoyed myself:

1) The introduction, where Rosella tells her mother to bugger off.
2) The ending, and not just because the game was over.
3) The raven who spouts countless degrading and sexist insults at both Rosella and Valanice. I used some of them myself.

I was grateful the series was over after this game. Yes, there was a 3D action game that came a few years later utilizing the King’s Quest name, but the series death was already established.

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