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King's Quest V: Absence Makes The Heart Go Yonder

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King's Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder was the most innovative King's Quest since King's Quest I: Quest For The Crown in 1984. Released in November of 1990, its graphics were amazing and it became the best-selling computer game in history at that time. It was later released as a "talkie" CD-ROM.

The StoryEdit

The evil wizard Mordack, brother of Manannan, shrinks Daventry's castle and its inhabitants and imprisons them in a bottle. Mordack threatens to feed the royal family to Manannan, transformed into a cat during the events of KQIII, unless Prince Alexander can restore him to his human form. King Graham, out for a walk when Mordack shrank the castle, is the only one unaffected by the spell. With the help of the wizard Crispin and his familiar, Cedric the owl, Graham travels to Mordack's castle to free his family.

The GameEdit

The owl Cedric accompanies Graham through the entire game to provide commentary and advice. He has to be rescued from danger at several points, but the owl rarely says or does anything useful.

The game KQV is infamous for its large amount of dead ends and difficult puzzles. Late in the game Graham must navigate a frustrating maze where each room is rotated according to the character's perspective rather than being shown with north always at the top of the screen. There are several actions the player can take that render the game impossible to finish if they are not careful. This makes KQV difficult to complete without resorting to hints if the gamer does not save often or uses items carelessly.

The name of the wizard Manannan (named after a figure from Celtic mythology) is consistently spelled Mannanan in this game. This is likely a typo, albeit a pervasive one.

Behind the scenesEdit

The game (and the entire series to some degree) is noted for sometimes strange puzzles, which not only have unusual solutions, but there is also no hint for them in the narration (but may require outside knowledge from myths, fairy tales, or pop culture they are based on).

  • The yeti must be killed with the custard pie (a reference to a common gag popularized in 1909 in the film, Mr. Flip[1]). The Official Book of King's Quest notes to try a bit of slapstick comedy and do what Soupy Sales would do.
  • Graham scares the snake away with a tambourine. Snakes, like most creatures will start, then flee, at sudden and unexpected noises.[2] Snakes are actually more perceptive to the vibration caused by noises, rather than the noise itself as they do not have external ear canals.[3]
  • Mordack's wand recharger must be activated with the moldy cheese. No one knows the logic behind this, and even Josh Mandel wondered what Roberta's explanation was. The Companion suggests a couple of explanations, one is that it seems to look like a 'cheesy-looking' contraption, perhaps suggesting it has the appearance of the sort of technology seen in science fiction movies. Perhaps the 'logic' is if something looks 'cheesy' it must run on cheese? The second is that Graham notices the aroma of the machine's liquid heart seems to be that of stinky liquefied moldy cheese, and the memory of the smell of the cheese he had put in his pocket being similar made him put two and two together.[4] The Official Book of King's Quest doesn't really explain but says it makes sense that it would have to use the last item in the game, that hadn't been used yet.
  • Graham melts Queen Icebella's heart using his harp, she then prevents her wolves from attacking Graham (which may be a reference to the idiom "music tames the savage beast"), such as in the biblical story of David attempting to sooth Saul's hardened heart with his harp music. Icebella and the idea of her frozen heart is based off of the Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen.
  • Graham uses a crystal to reflect energy back towards statues, this is inspired by similar sphinx statues found in the Neverending Story, and the black Watchers in the Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. The solution to hold up the crystal is similar solution made by Sam Gamgee, holding up a crystal flask to dispel the energy of the Watchers.
  • Since the inn appears to be a deathtrap, it would seem illogical to go back in there at any time. Graham must, however, get tied up in the cellar after getting the hammer and saving the rat. Granted if one looks carefully, they can see the rat hole in the wall, which offers a slight visual clue.
  • Dead ends; As in many of the earlier KQ games, there are several ways to make the game unwinnable (in general forcing the player into a death situation).
  •  The snake guarding the path to the mountains and the tambourine were actually added to the game to prevent players from moving on until they had acquired all the necessary items in Serenia needed to progress into the mountains and beyond. It was added to prevent players from traveling too far, and getting stuck due to additional dead ends caused by missing items [5] The exception are it is possible to enter the mountains without the cloak, sled, food, harp, but this will lead to deaths halfway into the mountains. Lacking the lamb leg will lead to starvation, but you can go back and get the lamb leg (as long as it is before Cedric is captured), eating the lamb leg averts this death. Likewise, forgetting the sled will ultimately lead to a death if you try to pass the small bridge of ice at the bottom of the hill, where the sled is used. Forgetting the harp will lead to death in Icebella's palace. There is no way back only forward at the point Cedric is captured without the proper items only death.

VersionsEdit

  • King's Quest V
  • King's Quest V Multimedia (aka King's Quest V CD)

Version DifferencesEdit

The Floppy Disk version had a slightly different menu system and an extra walk icon. The drop down menu also included a 'stop' for exiting the game, and a image of a floppy for saving and loading games. The game also had a copy protection measure involving using the magic wand to cast spells at various points throughout the games. The character portraits were slightly different between the two games, with the CD-ROM version removing subtitles.

Notably the copy protection is randomized, and it is possible save in a screen just before you enter a screen with a copy protection, and then keep loading until you can enter the tent, witch's house, move the boat, etc. Restoring only if you mess up the spell.

The floppy version came in a 16 color EGA (designed in 320x200 res) and 256 color VGA (also 320x200) PC versions. There are differences between each version including some modified art, some of the sprites are done in a different color (a white cat inside the bakehouse in the EGA version for example).

The Amiga version was 32 color and based on the updated CD-ROM version interface (lacking the extra walk icon). The Amiga version also contains digital sound effects much like the cd-rom version such as water from the river, or the sound of doors opening, snake rattle, dog barking etc (but they are not necessarily the same exact sound effects used in the CD-Rom version).

NES portEdit

King's Quest V was ported over to the Nintendo Entertainment System, utilizing an original engine with interface base loosely on the floppy version of KQ5. It has a few minor puzzle, locations, introduction and story differences; King's Quest V (NES).

References to Wizard and the Princess and references in other gamesEdit

King's Quest V makes many references to material from The Wizard and the Princess, and is later referenced in other games. This game has been referenced and satirized in other Sierra games.

  • From Wizard & the Princess, the game takes place in Serenia.
  • The game includes the Endless Desert of Serenia, it includes a version of the village of Serenia, all from Wizard and the Princess.
  • Like in Wizard and the Princess, Graham travels through Serenia and across the sea to reach another land where an evil wizard resides.
  • The rattlesnake is a reference to the rattlesnakes found throughout Serenia in Wizard and the Princess.
  • The ship hole puzzle was a reference to similar puzzle found in The Wizard and the Princess, where a rowboat has a hole that must be patched in order to safely cross the ocean.
  • Both wizards in both games are both defeated through magical shape-shifting battle.
  • King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow — one of the items in the Pawn Shoppe is a "hull hole detector", which is a joke at the expense of the boat hole puzzles in both Wizard and the Princess and King's Quest V.
    • The shop also has "owl courage potion", referencing Cedric's cowardice.
  • Cedric's "if you're going in there, Graham, I'm staying out here" quote is referenced in the Space Quest series as well as Freddy Pharkas.
  • Graham can be seen being carried by a Roc in Space Quest X era in Space Quest IV.
  • In Ms. Astro Chicken in the Space Quest series, one of the targets is Cedric.
  • Cedric can be seen being eaten by vultures in Freddy Pharkas.
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  • The demo for Freddy Pharkas makes reference to the broken wagon in Serenia.
  • In Quest for Glory 4, if the player attempts to answer "Cedric" to one of the Leshy's riddles, the bush shudders uncontrollably.
  • In Space Quest 6, when you look at the tiny shuttle door while inside Stellar Santiago, the narrator will comment that "now you'll have to solve one of those puzzles where you have to find a one pixel coin or something". This refers to the gold and silver coins in KQV, as well as possibly the ring in KQ6 (these objects are clearly indicated by very noticeable glints).

ReceptionEdit

"...Unfortunately it took some time to realize all the possibilities the new format offered; some players felt icon-based games were less challenging. I kept thinking about this as I wrote King's Quest VI."-Roberta Williams

Voted "Best Multimedia Fantasy/Adventure Game" by readers of MPC World.[6]

It originally sold 500,000 copies, making it the bestselling computer game for the next five years.[citation needed]

ReferencesEdit

Video Walkthrough by Kawaii GamesEdit

King's Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder Gameplay Walkthrough 260 Points

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