King's Quest 7 - The Princeless Bride
King's Quest 7 Hint Book - 11 MB - Download the King's Quest 7 Hint Book (PDF).
KQ7 Patch - 91 KB - This patch fixes the lock-up when Rosella walks through forest, the lock-up when taking the wooden nickel from mockingbird, the stuttering mockingbird, the looping at the hummingbird/spiderweb scene, the wooden nickel not highlighting in Faux Shop, the lock-up when interacting with the headless horseman or bogeyman, and the lock-up in Malicia's house.
The story begins with Princess Rosella and Queen Valanice taking a stroll by the countryside in Daventry. The Queen is concerned about her daughter's lack of interest in marriage, but the young Princess enjoys the freedom of being single. As they walk near a pond Princess Rosella gazes at a reflection of a castle in the water and feels curious... as she approaches, a strange creature pops out of the water and then back in. She decides to follow it and dives into the magical pond. Valanice dives immediately after her to try and save the Princess, but an unknown arm snatches Rosella and each one gets transported to a different part of the Magical Realm of Eldritch. Your task is to reunite mother and daughter and in the process save Eldritch from an unseen evil.
King's Quest VII differs from its predecessors in a number of ways, it has beautiful graphics, outstanding voice acting and although technologically and production-wise this game is far superior to the previous ones, I didn't like some of the "improvements". First of all, the graphic style was altogether changed. instead of the more realistic graphics seen in the last two installments, this one features Disney-like cell-animations, and although this allows for a lot more detail in the characters movements (you can even see changes in the facial expressions), I find that it doesn't suit well for a King's Quest style game. The mood of the game is lighter and it feels too Disney-ish for my taste. Also, at first, watching fully animated characters can be enjoyable, but soon it becomes annoying, as there is no speed control and it can take an eternity to perform simple actions or to walk from one edge of the screen to the other. It can be a pain in the ass to explore all the screens again and again when you get stuck.
They also simplified the game interface by eliminating the use of different icons for each action (talking, walking, looking, using, etc.). Instead, you control one single cursor that is used for moving around and to interact with objects and other characters. This cursor highlights when you move it over any object/character you can interact with, so you are not able to examine any useless or background objects or spots. While some players may find this a time saving feature I think it greatly reduces the depth and detail of the game play, as half of the fun in adventure games is exploring the world and being able to examine anything even if it is useless (I miss the easter eggs and funny descriptions or commentaries that sometimes popped out when you clicked on some useless stuff in previous games). There's also an inventory window where you can access the items you carry and examine them in a 3D view (sometimes this is crucial as you can interact with some items in this view, and sometimes it is also annoying because if you miss some small detail in an object you can get stuck for days).
Finally, they also changed the way your progress is saved. The game is laid out as a book with six chapters. You can start at the beginning of any chapter even without having to play the previous ones, and if you do so you will start with all the items you are supposed to have at the beginning of that chapter. Moreover, you no longer are able to keep multiple saved games like in every Sierra game before this one. Instead you "bookmark" your progress, meaning you have one single saving slot. In case you die the game lets you replay your last action eliminating the need of constantly saving your game.
One positive point about this game is that it is the first one in the series where you can control two characters (Valanice and Rosella), and also is the first appearance of Queen Valanice as a playable character in the history of King's Quest. During the game you alternate between Valanice and Rosella, so I was constantly urging myself to finish one chapter with Valanice to find out what happens next with Rosella (or vice versa).
It seems that most of these changes were implemented to attract younger audiences and novice players, but somehow (at least for me) they modified the feel of the series to the point of no return. It didn't feel like I was playing through a King's Quest game, it was more like playing through a Disney movie. Most of the puzzles are quite logical but there are a few that can be excessively tough and even the oversimplified game interface doesn't always help. All in all, while not the best in the series, King's Quest VII is a very decent and good looking adventure game that is worth a try. Maybe you will like it better than me.
By: Poker Crow