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dead-ends in king's quest

posted by shaygol on - last edited - Viewed by 1.2K users

The thing I remember most about sierra games are the dead ends.

This usually happens when you got to a certain place in the game and you can't move on no matter what you do. Then, when you look at a walkthrough you see you forgot to pick up a certain item and you need to restore or restart to get to that point in the game.

This is something both lucasarts and telltale (till now) avoided.

But if they're remaking king's quest what will happen?

I prefer it if they will continue to avoid those dead ends. I didn't like them - they seemed so unfair, it was the main reason i preferred lucasarts games to sierra.

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  • I don't know if this is complete but this is the list I put up on the kQ omnipedia concerning KQ6 (it has many of the ones you brought up);

    There are several ways to make the game unwinnable or unplayable. If Alexander visits the Winged Ones twice without having all of the required items he will be tossed into the catacombs with no way to proceed or escape (the winged ones will issue a warning if you are missing items the first time). This leads to dead ends. Items needed involve the hole in the wall, a brick, the tinderbox, the red scarf. It's possible to lose the hole in the wall in the catacombs if used incorrectly too many times. Another dead end involves entering the castle without the nightingale during the short path, you will have no way to distract the guard. Waiting too long after distracting the guard, you will lose chance of infiltrating the vizer's bedroom or talking to Cassima if you save after they return. If you forget mint and/or correct bottle you will not be able to defeat Shamir. If you forget the skeleton key in the land of the dead during the long path, you cannot get the needed letter from the chest, to get past Saladin. Forgetting to give the dagger to Cassima will lead to a dead end in the final battle. If you break the rotten egg on yourself you will not be able to charm Night Mare, if you do this after visiting the Druids you cannot proceed along the long path any further, and you no longer have the dress for the short path. If you forget the river Styx water you cannot get into the castle. If you forget the gauntlet you cannot get past Samhain. If you forget the copper coins you cannot get past Charon.

  • The short path is something you can do at any time, all you need is the mechanical nightingale and the peppermint from the cave at Isle of the Sacred Mountain, and you can get those any time. You just can't go to the druids and get captured, which will destroy Beauty's dress.

  • While you can do 'short path', before being captured by the Druids, it is possible to get into dead-ends once in the castle, if the player forgets/fails to bring pepperment, or the nightengale. You can enter the castle without those items (and there is really no warning that you need those items). If you lack those items, you will be stuck, and will ultimately die. Either captured by the guards, or killed by Shamir.

  • In my opinion, there are two kinds of dead ends:

    1) Forgetting an item. Ideally this can be avoided by letting the player go back for it, but obviously, in some situations it just doesn't make sense. I'm okay with this kind of dead end, since it's usually fairly obvious that you're entering an area that you might not be able to return, so you can leave a save behind. A good example is King's Quest 3. You know that once you get on the boat, you won't be returning to that area.

    2) Doing something wrong. This is, in my opinion, a much worse dead end, and should be avoided whenever possible, mostly because these are usually extremely difficult if not impossible to notice ahead of time. Failing to save the rat from the cat in King's Quest V is one thing. Obviously you were supposed to save her. Feeding the pie to the eagle is another. There's no indication that you did anything wrong, and even when you reach the yeti, it's such an obscure solution that you're unlikely to think "If only I still had that pie!"

    In short: i think dead ends should be avoided, but not at the cost of story or logic, but there should always be some sort of indicator that you might want to leave a save behind.

  • "Feeding the pie to the eagle is another. There's no indication that you did anything wrong,"

    Sure there is, the eagle is starving, the game points it out to you if you look at it, or attempt to talk to it. You really only have one item that you can feed it, as far as I know.

    I do agree that the pie is fairly obtuse puzzle. Most people probably aren't thinking in slapstick.

  • You can feed him the pie instead of the meat. The game will give you no indication that you've just made a fatal decision. And, like I said, it's unlikely anybody trying to get past the yeti will realize their mistake was giving the eagle the wrong food.

    This is, admittedly, an extreme example, and probably the worst dead end I've ever encountered, but it summarized the potential problem with dead ends.

  • But your own argument says that if you forgot an item, then it is ok to have the dead end. If you forgot the leg of lamb and only had the pie, then you forgot an item. Which do you think an eagle would want more, pie or lamb? The obvious choice is the lamb. You only have a problem if you forget an item or make a stupid decision. I have no problem with that one at all.

  • @Beacon80 said: You can feed him the pie instead of the meat. The game will give you no indication that you've just made a fatal decision.



    Do you really need the game to tell you that feeding meat to a starving eagle is better than feeding it custard pie? ;) Anyway, there is an indication: you don't get any points if you feed him the pie; you get 3 if you feed him the meat.

    As there's usually a basis in the context of the puzzle for determining what you did wrong, I don't see how the "doing something wrong" kind of dead-end is any worse, let alone much worse, than the "forgetting an item" kind. In fact, I'm not sure there's any difference between the two -- haven't you done something wrong either way?

  • I'll admit, feeding the eagle the meat is the much more obvious choice. I think if you missed the meat, however, it actually demonstrates my point that much more. Let's assume we have two versions of the game, the original, and one that doesn't let you give the eagle the pie.

    In the modified version, you reach the eagle and can't save him. Anyone paying attention to how the game works is going to realize that this is important and reload an earlier save, looking for something to feed the eagle. They'll eventually spot the meat and say "Hey! That's exactly what I need!"

    In the unmodified version, however, they reach the yeti before they get stuck and have to reload. Now they're wandering around the original area looking for the solution to the wrong problem. Instead of looking for something to feed the eagle, you're looking for a means to defeat the yeti.

    And that's the difference between the two types of dead ends. With the second type, the mistake you made and the puzzle that's actually killing you are disconnected.

  • @Beacon80 said: Now they're wandering around the original area looking for the solution to the wrong problem. Instead of looking for something to feed the eagle, you're looking for a means to defeat the yeti.



    But... it's an adventure game. You should be looking for anything and everything you might have missed, and any possible way you might be able to do something differently.

    What you describe can easily happen in a game without deaths and dead-ends. You know you need to get through a door, but you don't know how. Do you look for a means to open the door directly, or is there a seemingly unrelated interim puzzle that needs to be solved before you have access to the means for opening the door?

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