King's Quest fan remakes

King's Quest has passionate fans. As a testament to how passionate, there are 4 remakes made of first 3 games, all freely downloadable, containing new animation, full voice acting, remade graphics and even new story lines. 3 of the remakes were made by a group called AGI Interactive. The 4th remake is an another remake of King's Quest III, made by Infamous Adventures. Here's my take on those remakes.




King's Quest I 

Out of the remakes, King's Quest I is the simplest one, as it is a reworking based on Sierra's own King's Quest I SCI remake. Most of the background art is upgraded to VGA based on the original EGA art. The best part is, that they even got the official permission from Sierra/Activision to publish the remake for free.

The remake contains two versions of the game: one that is just as the original and a modernised version, from where the many dead ends have been removed in order to make the game more approachable to modern gamers.

As such KQI remake is a commendable effort in modernising an old game with a fan force, but as such, the game in this form isn't as impactful as it is on its original AGI form, as the remake is, just like the Sierra's SCI remake, a game based on old design with no genuine effort of creating something new and previously unseen.

Don't get me wrong, the VGA remake is a fun game for what it is, but in the end, AGD Interactive could have been more liberal with the remake, by turning the game into something else than just a treasure hunt it is.

You can download the VGA remake from the official site.




King's Quest II: Romancing the Stones

The remake for KQII by AGD Interactive changes the original game so much, that they even opted to change the subtitle for it as well, as the original was just called Romancing the Throne. You still play as King Graham, who goes to Kolyma to find himself a bride and you still need to open a magic portal, but instead of keys, you use magic stones on a talking magical portal.

In the original game, the land of Kolyma was a relatively empty place, with a couple of buildings here and there and characters like Dracula, Neptune and Pegasos sewn around the place. While Roberta Williams did try to have a larger narrative, the game was still sparse of an actual story and things didn't really mesh up together in a coherent fashion. The game was more tightly structured and more linear than the original King's Quest, but it also was, at heart, just an another treasure hunt with only a minimal plot attached to it.

That is not the case with the remake. Not only have the locations been expanded, there's an actual town in Kolyma now, the story has been greatly beefed up. Characters have been more tightly knitted together, the puzzles have been expanded and greatly altered and there's just all around more thing to do. Even the elusive Black Cloak Society that was mentioned in King's Quest VI makes an appearance here. The bare basics are the same, as you do get the gems from the same locations you got the keys in the original game, but other than that the remake is so different, that AGD could have gotten away with slapping an another name to it and selling it as something that was just inspired by the original title.


While KQII does change a lot, it still has saved some of the things from the original. You still do need to peek inside some old dead trees and logs in order to find some loot and some puzzles are almost as cruel as what Sierra used to make, but in the end, it wouldn't really feel like a proper old school King's Quest game if it wouldn't have things like that combined with many, many ways to die.

Out of the fan remakes, KQII is really worth looking at, as it does a great job in reimagining the old title. Sure enough, it does at times feel like fan fiction, but it is, all in all, an astonishing display of what a group of dedicated fans are capable of. Granted, some of the character portraits are a bit wonky and the voice acting is inconsistent in skill and quality, but it still is a remake done with love and dedication.

You can download the VGA remake from the official site.



King's Quest III Redux: To Heir is Human (AGD Interactive)

While the remake of KQIII by AGD Interactive isn't a 1:1 remake either, as it expands a lot upon the original. The basics of the game are the same and there's a lot in it that you can solve based on your knowledge of the original, but there also are some additional puzzles and extended segments. The spell casting is also relatively similar to the original with the exception of that the spells are now visible in the game and feel more like puzzles rather than something you just copy from the manual.

Llewdor itself has a few extended bits about it, some revolving around the story itself, some of the locations. We learn more about the world this time around as well as Manannan as his motivations as well as his previous slaves. The harbour town has gotten a new location in it and the medusa hiding in the desert is now a bit more than just a silent monster.

The pirate ship segment has gotten a complete overhaul, making it more plot driven place as well as tying the originally optional treasure chest into the grander story of the game. Mind you, this segment as a story as well as what comes after it is my least favourite alterations in any of the AGD Interactive remakes and feel a bit like bad fan fiction.

The navigation to Daventry through the mountains has been turned into an annoying minigame of hide and seek with the Yeti, but the rescue of Princess Rosella is pretty much the same it has always been.


There's also an extended edition of the Father, a mysterious leader of the Black Cloak Society, to the story that wasn't mentioned before King's Quest VI on the original games. nowadays there are some fans that are completely in love with the concept of evil magicians toying with Daventry and King Graham, but personally, I find it a bit tiring to try and tie everything to one source, especially when it feels a bit gimmicky like it does in here and in King's Quest II remake.

That said, King's Quest III remake is the best remake AGD Interactive has done of the series. It's technically solid, the artwork is the most consistent and the voice acting is of higher quality than in their previous endeavours.

In the end, the biggest flaw of the game is the utterly idiotic magic pinball ending, which just doesn't fit in the game. This new bit of ending is a direct result of the now mandatory treasure chest puzzle, thanks to an ancient, magical Deus ex-machine ball, that returns Daventry to its former glory.

King's Quest III remake by AGD Interactive is a solid game though. And in many ways, it does feel a bit better game than the original does, despite it still has the same annoyance of an in-game clock.

You can download the VGA remake from the official site.



King's Quest III: To Heir is Human (Infamous Adventures)

This one is closer to 1:1 remake than the AGD Interactive's Redux version is. Infamous Adventures does add some more plot elements, but as far puzzles and overall game content go, this is a game that you can play through based on what you remember of the original and a lot of additions are merely cosmetic, not structural. It is, in fact, such a faithful recreation, that there are even some pixel perfect walk paths you need to traverse on while you travel through the lands of Llewdor and Daventry.

The biggest changes Infamous Adventures has made on the magic map and the spell making process. Unlike in the AGD remake, the magic map teleports you right to the Mannannas house, so after you've opened up paths, you can quickly travel from the house and back. The spell making works now by merely clicking a right icon in the spellbook after you've collected all the needed items. In a way, this version manages to feel even less of a puzzle than the original did, because at least on that you had to type in the spells yourself, here it's fully automated process.


There's very little else to say about this one. If the AGD version wouldn't exist, this would be the version I'd recommend playing, but alas, now it just feels technically a bit clunky on a comparison. Not that this is a bad version, mind you, but the AGD version just feels like there was more work put in it. Besides, all the AGD remakes have been properly updated so, that they work correctly even on newer machines and OS's, whereas the Infamous version works correctly only if you play it windowed, which isn't a good thing considering it only reaches a resolution of 640x480.

You can download the VGA remake from the official site.

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These projects have been a labour of love and dedication to the people that have worked on them, and as such, they are remarkable work. Not many games, especially as old as King's Quest, can boast with a community, that is willing to put out their own time and effort in providing something like this to modern audiences.

There have been a couple of attempts at remaking King's Quest IV as well, but neither of the projects I know of has managed to get to a finished state. So at the moment, I'm writing this, KQIV is the only title in the series, that hasn't gotten an official or an unofficial remake. But maybe in the future, someone will manage to do one.






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