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Game info

King's Quest V

Reviewed byndial
King's Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder is a point-and-click adventure game of the King's Quest series, originally developed and released by Sierra for the MS-DOS, and also ported for the Commodore Amiga, Apple Macintosh (Classic) and Nintendo NES (!). The game is neat and tidy and looks more polished, but is hellishly slow compared to its predecessors with a rather repetitive game structure. It's a shame the storytelling didn't also evolve, because if it had, the game would be a winner all around.
King Graham wanders along, picking some flowers in the forest. But suddenly realizes that his castle was...missing! At this time he meets an owl who explains how an evil wizard has destroyed the castle, and so sprinkles King Graham with fairy dust., allowing him to fly to the land of Serenia, in order to defeat the evil wizard.
The entire game is played via a cursor and few pop-up icons system. Movement is simply a matter of pointing to a position on-screen, and the hero will work his own way around the scenery (much like Monkey Island).
The game is actually small. This is obviously partly down to the use of detailed hand-painted graphics in every location. There are plenty of locations to visit, and the graphics are well drawn. But after a while you really do start to lose interest. This isn't helped by the stupid plot (princes, damsels and distress), which may not sound like much of a bad thing, but when compared to the freshness and interest of the Indiana Jones adventure series, does tend to make things drag a bit. In general, gameplay is still of the classic fetch quest and inventory collection/combination variety King's Quest is known for. But it's more the tedious (and seemingly endless) amount of things you have to do to accomplish a task! Some puzzles are easy, some are more difficult, solving some of them depends on your ability to observe things.

King Quest V was the first game from Sierra introducing full 256 colors VGA graphics, with hand painted backgrounds, and also the first one with icon based controls instead of the text parser. Graphics detail is gorgeous, with ambient animations, such as running water, gratuitous passersby in the town, smoke coming out of chimneys etc. Characters are nicely animated, and the action is pretty fast. The sound is adequate though, and although it supports Soundblaster sound hardware, the music playing in certain scenes could have been better composed. On the other hand, the PC version was the first Sierra game to be released in CD-ROM, with full voiceover which was pretty impressive for a game back in 1992.
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Gameplay sample
Comparable platforms

30 colors
Commodore Amiga OCS/ECS

224 colors
Hardware information

PC (ms-dos based)

PC (ms-dos based)CPU: Various processors from Intel,AMD, Cyrix, varying from 4.77Mhz (Intel 8088) to 200Mhz (Pentium MMX) and up to 1995 (available on this site)
MEMORY: 640Kb to 32MB RAM (typical up to 1996)
GRAPHICS: VGA standard palette has 256 colors and supports: 640x480 (16 colors or monochrome), 640x350 in 16 colors (EGA compatability mode), 320x200 (16 or 256 colors). Later models (SVGA) featured 18bit color palette (262,144-color) or 24bit (16Milion colors), various graphics chips supporting hardware acceleration mainly for 3D-based graphics routines.
SOUND: 8 to 16 bit sound cards: Ad-Lib featuring Yamaha YMF262 supporting FM synthesis and (OPL3) and 12-bit digital PCM stereo, Sound Blaster and compatibles supporting Dynamic Wavetable Synthesis, 16-bit CD-quality digital audio sampling, internal memory up to 4MB audio channels varying from 8 to 64! etc. Other notable sound hardware is the release of Gravis Ultrasound with outstanding features!
The PC (ms-dos based) (default) color palette
CGA: 16-color palette (4 on-screen)
EGA: 64-color palette (16 on-screen)
VGA: 256-color palette (256 on-screen)
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