This is without a doubt one of the best fanmade adventure games ever made. King's Quest II: Romancing the Stones (name changed to reflect the movie from which the original game was derived) brings Sierra's classic to the new century by not only recreating the original game in VGA, but also adds plenty of new plots and puzzles that will delight longtime fans. |
Not content with simply upgrading the original King's Quest II to VGA graphics and a point-and-click interface the way they have done with King's Quest I VGA, Tierra has gone an extra mile and then some with King's Quest II. Roughly half the game is new: there are new areas, new puzzles, and new plot elements added mainly to flesh out existing characters and make the game world much richer. For example, there is now the Kolyma town center, which houses a library, in which you can read a book that describes the town's history. All the new characters and plot elements are integrated seamlessly with the original game. As a nice "icing on the cake," the game now represents a passage of time from day to night, with appropriate graphic change.
The way Tierra enhances the plot deserves special mention, because the end result not only makes KQ2 a "deeper" game in terms of storyline, but also ties seemlessly to KQ3, the next game in the series. For example, the wicked witch in the cave is now a major character, with her own backstory that includes an interesting relationship with Manannan, the evil wizard who would later appear in KQ3. In this way, characters in KQ2 are no longer merely there as puzzle mechanisms, but are much "deeper" people with fascinating background and agenda. Tierra obviously paid a lot of attention to ensure that no puzzle or plot thread in the game would seem out of place. For example, a minister named Gervain who speaks at length to King Graham in the introduction scene is mentioned in the original King's Quest II manual. Talk about a labor of love :)
In addition to fleshing out the plot, Tierra also enhances the puzzles in the original game in a similar way, to tie them closer to the plot and make them appear much less far-fetched and less shallow than in the original game. For example, obviously valuable items such as Neptune's trident no longer lie in the open, but must be discovered or earned. Instead of picking up a stake from the ground, you will pick up a piece of fallen fence that "looks like a stake."
With plenty of fascinating plot elements, the right degree of faithfulness to the original game, and commercial-quality graphics, It is hard not to recommend King's Quest II: Romancing the Stones. This is an outstanding fanmade game that will set the standard for all fanmade sequels/remakes that follow. A must-have.
Note: The download here contains only the game file. You can visit the official site to download music pack (additional 63MB) which adds some nice orchestral music tracks to the game, although I found the music in the basic game pack to be more than adequate.
Reviewed by: Underdogs