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 Post subject: Praise and a Comparison (some spoilers)
PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 12:44 am 
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I love your game Kings Quest III Redux: To Heir Is Human. Here is what I like best about the game:

New Elements: Adding the poet and the library to Llewdor made for a better story and a more complete locale. I also like the fact that you can interact with the barmaid in a useful manner. In the original, you could buy drinks from her, but then you might not have enough money to pay for your passage on the ship. Making a stop on the way to Daventry also made the story more plausible. The extra puzzles in Llewdor and Treasure Island were good, too.

I also liked the fact that there was an alternate way to deal with Medusa. I think it could have been done better with a spell; still, the way you did it was nice.

Having the magic map teleport you most of the way up the mountain was just perfect: better than leaving you at the bottom, and more realistic than transporting you all the way to the top.

Expanded Desert: In one of my very first post to this board (or was it another board?) I stated that, if you ever do an expanded version of KQ3, you should make the desert larger and make Alexander have to take periodic drinks to get through it. Someone responded, in effect, nah, we don't need that. Well, you didn't make it as large as I had hoped, but you did add the temple to the desert area, so I am pleased with that. The pitcher that Alexander obtains from the poet could have been used to allow Alexander to make an extended trek through the desert. I wish you hade done that and put the temple further into the desert; still, I like the way you did it.

Stairway to Cloudland: It was really funny the way you did this. When I first entered through the doorway in the side of the mountain, I naturally turned in the direction of the suspended walkway. I couldn't figure out how I was going to bridge all those gaps in the walkway! I laughed when I discovered that the stone staircase was there as well. This was a great way to do it, as it would be anti-climactic to have to navigate that walkway so late in the game. It also resolves a discrepancy between the AGI versions of KQ1 and KQ3 on the one hand and KQ1SCI, KQ1VGA, and IA's KQ3VGA on the other. In the original games, when you enter through the doorway in the mountain, the stone stairway is on the right. In the VGA versions, the suspended walkway is also on the right, but with a reverse camera angle. This is consistent with the suspended walkway's being a separate structure from the stone staircase rather than a graphical enhancement of it. The simplest explanation for this is that the stone staircase was constructed first; then, when the suspended walkway was added to provide wheelchair access, the stone stairway was covered up, as it was no longer needed. Years later, earthquakes that were ravaging the land caused the stone staircase to be exposed once more. The way that the walkway was presented using a reverse camera angle almost makes it seem as if it had been planned that way from the start. In any case, I assume that the orb repaired the walkway and covered up the stone staircase again.

In the stinger that follows the closing credits, the Father picks up pieces of the orb from the ground. This suggests a role for the Father is a possible KQ4+, although you have flatly denied that one is in progress or planned.

I would like to compare your game Kings Quest III Redux: To Heir Is Human with Radiant's game Kings Quest III Plus: An Heir Raising Tale. The development of Radiant's game was never completed. Most of the screens use the low-resolution graphics from KQ3AGI. There is no voice pack, although it does have some good background music. Only the part in Llewdor and the encounter with the Abominable Snowman are playable. When you are finished in Llewdor, you can teleport to the ship and walk around, but there are no NPC's to interact with there. You can then teleport to the shore and walk up the path to the encounter with the Abominable Snowman. From there you can teleport to rooms 107 and 117 to defeat the 3-headed dragon, and then to room 135 to watch the ending of the game. Although development of the game was never completed, the part in Llewdor that is playable is very well done, and Radiant has provided us with "Musings" wherein he explains what he had planned for the remainder of the game. Besides providing lots of extra puzzles for our gaming enjoyment, Radiant's game requires the player to decipher a set of symbols in order to create the spells, and to specify the quantity of each ingredient used in the spells. This was by far my favorite part of the game. It was a great improvement over typing in copy-protection information in the original KQ3 yet provides a greater challenge than either AGDI's or IA's version of the game. In what follows, I shall refer to AGDI's game as Redux and Radiant's game as AHRT.

Here is my comparison of the two games:

The Name: You've got to admit, you simply can't beat the name "An Heir Raising Tale." It's a lot better than simply taking the original name "To Heir is Human" and tacking on the word "Redux." AGDI came up with an altered name for KQ2+, but maybe they realized that they just couldn't top AHRT, so they didn't even try.

Added Puzzles: AHRT has a lot more extra puzzles than Redux and so is definitely better in this regard.

Puzzles with Different Solutions: Both games have different solutions to some of the puzzles from the original KQ3, so they are even in this regard.

Added Characters in Llewdor: Both games add an extra NPC in Llewdor. Redux adds the poet, while AHRT adds the fisherman. The poet is a much more interesting character with an interesting personality. The fisherman has no real personality and is there merely for the sake of a couple of puzzles. AHRT also adds an Ogre, but you simply have to avoid him, as well as a cameo appearance by Mordack. So Redux is better in this respect.

Added Locations in Llewdor: Redux adds the Library and the Temple, both of which make for a more complete and satisfying place. AHRT adds the Ogre's cave, which is not a very interesting place to visit. So Redux is better in this respect.

Linearity: AHRT is more linear than Redux, in that more tasks have to be done at a certain time. Redux provides more freedom in the order in which tasks may be performed. So Redux is better in this respect.

Day-Night Cycle: AHRT has a day-night cycle, whereas Redux does not. In AHRT, when Alexander goes to sleep, the sky outside his window is dark; in Redux it is still daytime. I prefer the day-night cycle in AHRT to the endless sunshine in Redux. However, the day-night cycle in AHRT is made possible by the linearity of the game and the fact that Mannanan sends Alexander on errands in town, and so Alexander doesn't have to sneak out when Mananan is not looking. Also, I think that in Redux (and in the original KQ3) all the action was supposed to take place in a single day.

Spell Making: I much prefer the way spells are made in AHRT. The instructions for making the spells are given in coded symbols, and the player must not only decode the symbols in order to make the spells, but he must specify the quantity of each ingredient used. Although this may at first seem difficult, decoding the symbols was not too hard, nor was figuring out how much of each ingredient to use. This was absolutely my favorite part of the game.

Added Spells: Redux added one new spell: Enhancing Musical Talent. This was my favorite spell to use. AHRT adds several new spells, and also includes the spells needed for KQ6. Since the game is unfinished, it is unclear how some of the spells will be used. The one new spell I was able to use, Remove Enchantments, was interesting but not as much fun as Enhancing Musical Talent. So I prefer Redux in this regard.

Cutscenes: I think that Redux has more cutscenes, but as AHRT is unfinished, more may have been planned.

Replenishing Food: In both games you can get more food for Mannanan when the food runs out. In AHRT, Mannanan automatically replenishes the food supply [in the early betas, while you can more fruit from a tree in the forest in the final version that was released]; in Redux, you have to go and get more porridge. EDIT: The part in brackets was added.

Added Characters on the Journey: Redux adds Seran, while AHRT adds the Cabin Boy who was going to be Mananan's next slave. Both games are even in this regard.

Added Places on the Journey: Redux adds Treasure Island. AHRT does not add any new places on the journey, so Redux is better in this regard.

Added Puzzles in Daventry: In his Musings, Radiant tells us that Alexander would have to obtain the key to the door to the mountain and have to interact with several characters in Daventry in order to do that. In Redux, there are no real extra puzzles in Daventry. There are a couple of added obstacles near the end, but there hardly require any thought at all. So AHRT is definitely better in this regard.

Alternate Ending: In his Musings, Radiant tells us that he planned an alternate ending in which Alexander, after deposing of Mannanan, would remain in Llewdor as its ruler and not return to Daventry until many years later. Since I don't care for that ending, I prefer Redux in this regard.

Similarities: There are a few strange similarities between the two games:

Obtaining the Fly's Wings: In the original game, the fly's wings were simply sitting on the floor in the observatory. In both remakes, when you enter the observatory the fly is buzzing around, and one or more additional steps are required to get the wings. However, in AHRT the additional steps are much more involved than in Redux.

Spellmaking: Both games require the player to find two separate documents and to use special symbols before making some or all of the spells. However, in AHRT you must decode the symbols to get the spellmaking instructions, whereas in Redux you simply use the symbols as is to pull the levers. In AHRT the two documents are relatively easy to find; in Redux they require more work to locate.

The Orb: In both games, there is a new inventory item, the Orb, which was not present in the original. In both games, you must take the Orb when it is offered to you; otherwise the game will not progress. In AHRT, you must explicitly use the Orb in order for it to work; in Redux it works automatically. The situation in which you obtain the Orb and the situation in which it is used are different in each game.

So in each of these cases, a game element that first appeared in AHRT was later used in Redux, but in a somewhat simplified form. This leads me to suspect that the makers of Redux have played AHRT and borrowed some elements from it and modified them.

In summary, both games are excellent, and while AHRT has more new elements and puzzles, Redux in some cases has better ones. I have a slight preference for AHRT, although I must qualify that by restating that the game was never completed.

Disclaimer: I was a beta-tester for AHRT and contributed some graphics for the second half of the game (which you never see), so I'm not exactly impartial.

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Last edited by fluxmaster on Thu Jul 21, 2011 1:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Praise and a Comparison (some spoilers)
PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2011 8:18 am 
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Trusty Riding Saurus
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Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2007 10:02 pm
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Hi! That was a great review and a wonderful read. I recall having read somewhere that Radiant was part of the development team during a brief time and he is acknowledged on the game credits as a scripter. Maybe this would explain some of the simmilarities between the added content on those games. I haven't played Radiant's version, but I remember having seen some screenshots of the Behr family time ago, back when I read every single post ever posted on this forum, heh. :lol

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