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KQ7: Underrated?

posted by Anakin Skywalker on - last edited - Viewed by 1.4K users

Just as I feel KQ6 is overrated, I feel KQ7 is terribly underrated. In the other thread, I played Devil's Advocate when it was contrasted against KQ8, but KQ7 is truly a game I love. It's truly a modern fairy tale--something I think Roberta always wanted to create. I actually think KQ7 is the game she had wanted to create since the series began, as she'd always been influenced by Disney and fairy tales and the like, but never truly had the technology to create something Disney-like. KQ8 was a reaction to changing times and while she may have been proud of it--it was a reaction to the changing game climate.

But KQ7 is a very pure game; Roberta's influence on the game wasn't sullied by any suits or outside influences and the game to me is a masterpiece. It's truly like playing a Disney film, having a Disney game with you as the protagonist and it also manages to retain the KQ spirit. It's probably the most heart touching game in the series. If KQ4 is dark, eerie and urgent, KQ7 is light, beautiful and serene. It has some of the most beautiful artwork in the series--possibly the best and most wonderous game worlds besides KQ5.

It suffers from some of the same flaws KQ5 did--It was a transition game, a game which opened many doors, and as such, it was sort of a testing ground for new technology like KQ5 was. Later games like LSL 7 and SQ6 took the general idea that KQ7 had and improved on it, but even so, KQ7 stands as one of my favorite KQ games, and I wish we'd had another game or two in that Disney-esque style.

My top 5 KQ Games:
1) KQ5
2) KQ1SCI
3) KQ7
4) KQ4
5) KQ8

121 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • It probably is underrated in some aspects... But most fans thought it was horrible... and unredeeming... It just wasn't as successful as KQ6.

    Don't get me wrong, I play it occasionaly and find enjoyment out of it. But its not one I go out of playing often. Because I have many reasons why I don't like it. I don't really find it all that fun.

    This review hits on many of reasons why I find the game one of the weakest entries into the series;
    http://www.justadventure.com/reviews/KQ7/KQ7.shtm

    But KQ7 is a very pure game; Roberta's influence on the game wasn't sullied by any suits or outside influences and the game to me is a masterpiece.

    Yet, she may not have even wrote the story... Some interviews, and articles claim that Roberta was busy working on Phantasmagoria and left Lorelei Shannon to design the game in her place. The credits even say the game is "based on Roberta William's King's Quest", what is that supposed to mean?.

    So is it really 'pure' Roberta game?

    KQ4 and KQ5 are closer to pure Roberta games, and the puzzle types, the use of classic fairy tales, etc, shows.

    Nah, I'd call KQ5 truly underrated.

    I'd say that most critics hit the nail on the head with KQ7... they had valid criticisms.

    Hmm, come to think of it, the game has quite a few few mythological references, some references to Shakespeare (possibly), and references to urban myths (Jackalope). But how many things in KQ7 even have to do with classical fairy tales (i.e. a direct reference)? I can't think of any off the top of my head... Not like I could with the previous games in the series...

  • @BagginsKQ said: It probably is underrated in some aspects... But most fans thought it was horrible... and unredeeming... It just wasn't as successful as KQ6.

    Don't get me wrong, I play it occasionaly and find enjoyment out of it. But its not one I go out of playing often. Because I have many reasons why I don't like it. I don't really find it all that fun.

    This review hits on many of reasons why I find the game one of the weakest entries into the series;
    http://www.justadventure.com/reviews/KQ7/KQ7.shtm

    Yet, she may not have even wrote the story... Some interviews, and articles claim that Roberta was busy working on Phantasmagoria and left Lorelei Shannon to design the game in her place. The credits even say the game is "based on Roberta William's King's Quest", what is that supposed to mean?.

    So is it really 'pure' Roberta game?

    Nah, I'd call KQ5 truly underrated.

    I'd say that most critics hit the nail on the head with KQ7... they had valid criticisms.

    She was working on Phantas sure, but it seems she had the idea for what the story would be and the idea that it would be a Disney-esque game. Yes, a lot was left to Lorelei but Lorelei seems to have stayed really true to Roberta's vision...Whereas, say, with KQ6, Jane Jensen took a lot of her own ideas and added them into the game after the fact.

    Also, if you watch the interviews and whatnot around the making of KQ7, Roberta really does seem into it. The hint book also seems to imply that Roberta had a great deal of influence on the Ooga Booga section.

    Unlike KQ6 or KQ8, KQ7 isn't a game where Roberta came out and said, "My influence was diminished." Even in the July '97 defense of KQ8, notice she never mentions KQ6's change of direction--but she keeps bringing up how she felt creating KQ7 and her motivations behind it, etc.

    I think Roberta and Lorelei worked on it together and then Roberta focused on Phantas and Lorelei filled in the blanks. A more collaborative process than KQ6.

    I consider it a Roberta game with help from Lorelei, whereas KQ6 is mostly a Jane Jensen game.

  • Roberta also seemed really into KQ6 in interviews around that time as well, and really into KQ8 in interviews around that time (more so by 1997 than 1996).

    I don't think Roberta ever said her influence was diminished for KQ6... or even KQ1 SCI. No one really asked her I suppose.

    Also Roberta has been defensive of KQ6 in many interviews, and talkng about her involvement. Really the only time she wasn't involved was one month while she was off in Europe.

    Still no one has explained "Based on Roberta's William's King's Quest" is supposed to mean? That makes it sound as if its almost a side story... With it also stating that the story was by Lorelei Shannon, as opposed to Roberta herself...

    However, remember Roberta's in general was always more interested in pushing the technology of her games, story seemed to come to second.

    So Roberta's influence often went much deeper in all of her games, as far as that direction.

    At least KQ6 states that Roberta was involved with the story. Though Jane was also involved with the writing and designing... Infact in some interviews it seems that the story and characters may have been Roberta's ideas, Jane just made it edgier than Roberta would have.

    Also as far as I know Roberta only had KQ6 to work on, when KQ6 was being developed? She wasn't splitting her time between two projects...

    Note that the credits claim it was written, designed, and directed by Roberta and Jane Jensen both. Which would suggest it was joint authorship (think Kenyon Morr?).

    Written, Designed, & Directed by Roberta Williams Jane Jensen

    Jane Jensen additionally was involved with the "Text & Dialogue". Which actually would imply she edited the game's story! But the story was definitely written by Roberta and Jane both (according to the credits). Jane may have 'edited' new things into that story they wrote. But both wrote the core story.

    Actually the evidence for KQ7 may suggest that its a Lorelei game with help from Roberta, whereas KQ6 was a Roberta game with help from Jane Jensen, and additional work by Jane Jensen.

    As far as credits go, she has a much diminished role in the development in KQ7 compared to KQ6. As far as writing, directing, etc, is concerned.

  • @BagginsKQ said: Roberta also seemed really into KQ6 in interviews around that time as well, and really into KQ8 in interviews around that time (more so by 1997 than 1996).

    I don't think Roberta ever said her influence was diminished for KQ6... or even KQ1 SCI. No one really asked her I suppose.

    Also Roberta has been defensive of KQ6 in many interviews, and talkng about her involvement. Really the only time she wasn't involved was one month while she was off in Europe.

    Still no one has explained "Based on Roberta's William's King's Quest" is supposed to mean? That makes it sound as if its almost a side story... With it also stating that the story was by Lorelei Shannon, as opposed to Roberta herself...

    At least KQ6 states that Roberta was involved with the story. Though Jane did the writing and scripting...

    She did say she didn't even REMEMBER the Black Cloak storyline being mentioned in KQ6, that it was simply an idea loosely banded about during early story sessions and that's all. It didn't have a name; it was just a nice idea but wasn't thought of (by Roberta) as being anything worth pursuing. She didn't even know what the BCS was until fans pointed it out to her.

    Also, why would she mention KQ1SCI? It's not like it was a major project, like a sequel. It was a remake and I don't think any original game creator commented on any Sierra remake, except Scott Murphy who seems to loathe SQ1VGA. She has said that Josh Mandel is the only person besides her who knows what KQ is the best, and he did design/write KQ1SCI. So, that's an indirect comment on KQ1SCI I suppose.

    Also...It says "Based on characters created by Roberta Williams." I don't think it's a "side story" as you put it...That's just purism, trying to turn yet another sequel into "Not King's Quest."

    And Lorelei and Roberta in the hint book talk about how fun it was designing the game TOGETHER. The laughs they had, etc. Unless that was all lies, it would seem Roberta was hands on in the process.

    Personally, given what a game made by Lorelei on her own (Phantas 2) feels like, the writing style etc, plus her books, I'm inclined to say that KQ7 definately had Roberta's hand in it. Whereas with KQ6 you can plainly see even in the writing that this is a different author.

  • She did say she didn't even REMEMBER the Black Cloak storyline being mentioned in KQ6, that it was simply an idea loosely banded about during early story sessions and that's all. It didn't have a name; it was just a nice idea but wasn't thought of (by Roberta) as being anything worth pursuing. She didn't even know what the BCS was until fans pointed it out to her.

    Two parts to this. Fans call it the BCS, rather than the society of Black Cloaks (the term Black Cloak Society is not official). This might cause some confusion. She does remember a group of characters working together during their story ideas though.

    Secondly Roberta has claimed she was involved in writing the story with Jane Jensen in countless interviews. Including one in one of the Official Books of King's Quest. Again she also admits that Jane Jensen edited the story putting her edge into the story. So some details did crop into the game through the editing process.

    There is a reason why the credits state that the game was 'written' by both Roberta and Jane Jensen. Like two authors writing teh same book, see Kenyon Morr...

    Also seriously, I think Roberta had a general idea for the story as early as KQ5 (pay attention to the backstory given in that game for Green Isles, the Vizier, and Cassima, and Alexander). Back then Jane wasn't even involved.

    In Roberta's own words, they 'collaborated' on writing the storyline together.

    http://kingsquest.wikia.com/wiki/The_Official_Book_of_King%27s_Quest_VI_Foreword

    Also, why would she mention KQ1SCI? It's not like it was a major project, like a sequel. It was a remake and I don't think any original game creator commented on any Sierra remake, except Scott Murphy who seems to loathe SQ1VGA. She has said that Josh Mandel is the only person besides her who knows what KQ is the best, and he did design/write KQ1SCI. So, that's an indirect comment on KQ1SCI I suppose.

    Of course its an indirect reference to KQ1SCI and possibly his involvement as Graham.

    There are actually a few interviews where Roberta talks about her work on KQ1 as well. Though she was mainly focused on KQ5 at the time. One comment by Roberta about the game is included in the Roberta William's Anthology manual btw.

    Also...It says "Based on characters created by Roberta Williams." I don't think it's a "side story" as you put it...That's just purism, trying to turn yet another sequel into "Not King's Quest."

    No, I mean in general when someone says, "based on" it either means its a side story, or it means its an adaptation. So its a rather confusing terminology being applied to KQ7. Again I ask why did the do this?

    BTW, 'based on" never means "not something".

    As stated the game is specific that the story is by Lorelei Shannon, Roberta's name is left out of the "story by/written by" section of the credits. This is a fact.

    And Lorelei and Roberta in the hint book talk about how fun it was designing the game TOGETHER. The laughs they had, etc. Unless that was all lies, it would seem Roberta was hands on in the process

    Yes, there are plenty of interviews where Roberta talks the same way about Jane Jensen, and Mark Seibert in their respective games! I believe there is one or two where she talks about working with Josh as well, although Josh admits she was less involved in the remake.

  • Actually it's "The Order of the Black Cloak" singular, isn't it? I think people confused it with KQ5's "Society of Wizards".

  • It's 'Society of the Black Cloak', per Mordack's letter. Not to be confused with the Society of Wizards.

    "Dear Shadrack. Salutations from the Society of the Black Cloak, etc. etc. My long preparations are about to come to fruition. In a matter of minutes, I will wed the lovely Cassima. The princess has proven infuriatingly stubborn, as you know. She's becoming quite a dangerous little thorn in my side. Once I establish my power and my crown, I can stage another 'accident'. In a way, it's a shame I have to kill her--she is lovely and would be amusing to keep around, but I can't risk her talking treason to one of the guards. So far, I've managed to keep her locked away, but I can't continue that forever. Well, on to it now. I'd send her to you, but as you know, I had no luck in doing so with Mordack. I close in triumph--KING Abdul Alhazred.

    The letter is addressed to Abdul Alhazred from the Wizard Shadrack. It reads: Greetings to a brother of the Black Cloak. I was sorry to hear of great Mordack's death, though he was a bit of a ninny at chess. It seems the plans for that little kingdom of yours are coming along. I must congratulate you on your handling of the king and queen. Isolating the islands so that no protest could develop was another brilliant stroke. It looks like there's not much left to stand in your way. Do as I recommended with the girl, and you shall have your crown."

    Here is comment by Jane from an interview in the Royal Scribe;

    The best part of the development process of King's Quest VI for me was the time that Roberta and I spent designing at her house in Bass Lake during the summer of 1992. They were long days, intense brainstorming days, and I was usually exhausted by the time I got home and unable to turn my brain off to sleep. Yet, we had a lot of fun making up all the silly puns for the Isle of Wonder (neither of us are humorists by nature, yet we seemed to do okay at it together), out-doing each other adding twists and turns to the puzzles and then feeling quite devious about how "challenging" we were making things for the player, adding layer upon layer of story and puzzles and locales until we could scarcely remember all the points ourselves and had to run for paper to jot down notes. People really seem to enjoy the game, yet I don't think any player could have had their brain turned to mush nor enjoyed themselves any more intensely then we experienced that summer creating the design.


    Here is a comment from Roberta from Interaction magazine issue;
    "I originally wanted to be the Creative Consultant on King's Quest VI", "I wound up being much more deeply involved than I planned." As hard as it is for people to imagine a King's Quest game that wasn't designed by Roberta, it almost happened with King's Quest VI. It was believed that it would probably come to pass in the "not-too-distant future"..."I found I couldn't tear myself away from King's Quest," she said. "And I felt I owed it to the people who'd been following the series. So I shared the design duties with Jane Jensen... and directing duties with Bill Skirvin

    Notice she said she wanted to stay out of KQ development and limit her involvement, and it almost happened. But as he states in the end, it didn't happen. She remained involved.

    It's interesting to note in the same issue, at the time, she looked towards a day, when there would be King's Quest games without her name on the title. She thought that would be a good thing back then!

    Roberta felt the time was right to let King's Quest stand on its own. She thought the series was ready to go on the shelves without her name above the title. "It's such an established series with such a strong look and feel," she said. "I find it hard to believe that other strong people can't carry through with it."

    Kinda ironic that almost happened with KQ8!

  • From Interaction 1992 issue Roberta's thoughts concerning designers and writing in a game development of KQ6:

    Designer develops the overal game concept. Staff writers pen dialogue and narration...I hate to call them games, I think of them more as interactive stories. Every story has to be well-written and engaging, but it's up to the designer to add the interactivity-the roundness of exploration, and the challenge of the puzzles...Getting away from designing around typed commands is allowing us to create deeper stories, more intricate puzzles, and characters that can become more fully developed as the game progresses. It's really freed us up to to build the kind of interactive fiction that's emotionally involving and challenging at the same time.

    It goes on to explain that Roberta spent a year after KQ5 looking at different directions, and a more complex story filled with better characters. That the game 'bears the signature of Roberta's unique style of story telling".

    It mentions that Roberta acted as Creative Consultent for Dagger of Amon Ra, but Bruce Balfour primarily worked on it, while she focused her time primarily on King's Quest VI, to make it an epic.

    It goes on that Jane and Roberta hammered out the design and story, then Jane took over the actual writing and of dialogue and narration. It also says that Roberta worked with Bill Skirvin to establish teh look for the game (setting). But Skirvin was very important (of the three top people involved int he game). He was in charge of live-action video capture, costuming the actors, directing the action, and overseeing the art. Roberta essentially worked as the producer and director, directing both Jane Jensen and Bill Skirvin.

    In that article they do discuss how they enjoyed working on the game together!

    Interesting bit of trivial this article also talks about Scary Tales, back in 1992, which would evolve into Phantasmagoria!

    Here is the Making of KQVI video, for anyone interested (I like how they describe Adventure games as being like movies where the player can make choices);
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwBeQvSUBg4

  • In my opinion - KQ7 was not underrated at all.

    They went much too far with the whole 'family game' thing that was also present in previous games - but to a much smaller extent.
    They also went too far with the whole Disney look of the game... I can't think of anything good to say about that at all - the animations were very inconsistent and often terribly choppy, everything looks overly childish, and the cartoon style also takes away a lot of the detail you found in older Kings Quest games (many more nearly single-colored surfaces, etc).

    And don't get me started on the storyline... while Kings Quest has had some rather silly and/or uninteresting storylines in the past... this game really takes the cake!
    The intro should be sufficient warning... I still remember the first time I saw that... I was half-wondering if this was some lame joke.
    In any case, this is definitely the intro that has made me dread playing the actual game itself more so than any other I've seen.
    Not only is the story set-up completely uninteresting and downright boring... it's also presented in an overly childish (even girlish maybe?) and silly way, with very awful animation to top it off (reminds me of those terrible clips from those Zelda CD-I games).

    There's so much wrong with this game that it feels overwhelming trying to explain why I dislike it so much... so I'll just post a little list of the main things I greatly dislike about the game at the end here -

    * really bad and unconsistent animation
    * ugly graphical style, overly childish and simplistic
    * bad interface, way too simplified (only cool thing about it is having to examine and turn some of the items slightly)
    * horribly ugly 'video' sequences... really bad quality even for the time of release, with artifacts and crap all over the place... but even worse - the actual animation itself is ugly as hell, I imagine it could actually scare me if I was in the target audience (which I have to assume is in the single digits)
    * for the most part a total lack of challenging puzzles
    * the storyline is boring, dumb, not at all immersive and totally uninteresting

    Come to think of it, it seems to me they became much too focused on the whole Disney approach to the graphics in this game, and let it influence the rest of the game too much.

    I dislike this game at least equally much as Kings Quest 8... two of my least favourite games of all time, no doubt about it.

    And in both cases, I would still really dislike the games even if they weren't labelled as Kings Quest games... but maybe then I would have been lucky enough never to have even tried them out.

  • The animation... Does Rosella have four fingers or five? Because her fingers change every other scene...

    The intro should be sufficient warning... I still remember the first time I saw that... I was half-wondering if this was some lame joke.

    I was afraid there was going to be several songs during the game :p like how most disney games are musicals...

    As for voice acting, I was watching a making of video for KQ7, and Roberta talks about how KQ7 has no name actors, and says that's a good thing! Considering that the game has the most annoying voices in the series, after KQ5 (personally I find many of the KQ5 voices less annoying), I don't think this was a good thing.

    really bad quality even for the time of release

    I don't want to 'defend' the game and I agree the the graphics are inconsistent. But actually, technologically the game was praised for the quality of the graphics, even if most reviewers didn't like the style of graphics. It actually pushed the technology of what PC's were capable of at that time. Mainly this had to do with SVGA graphics, and higher frames of animation. Most computers at the time couldn't handle it, causing the game to run extremely sluggish, because it was too demanding. Which actually also made it get lower scores in some reviews.

    I would say yes, Lucasarts had some better animated game styles, but they still were VGA, and limited frames. So technically inferior. A couple of years later though Lucasarts released Monkey Island 3 which as a cool animation style, and much more consistent quality.

    for the most part a total lack of challenging puzzles


    It also has alot of myst-like puzzles, and I'm not a fan of myst personally... That's a weakness in Torin's Passage too.

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