This is the eleventh entry of the [2019 with DOS games] column, a mini-compendium of the mandatory MS-DOS games ever released. For a big part of my life I’ve been a PC games player and I had tons of old games to play with back in the 90s. This is my homage to them.
The rules are simple. MS-DOS has been created in 1981 and was still available in computer until the early Noughties. However the release of Windows 95 acted as a break and everything before immediately becaome. So I can fairly tell that the DOS era goes from 1981 until 1985. [2019 with DOS games] will feature every two weeks a selection of three games, one for every five-year period (1981-1985, 1986-1990 and 1991-1995) in alphabetilac order that I consider either important, ground-breaking or simply fun and easy to play. I’ll try to consider only DOS-exclusive games or in case games spread on different platforms that have the PC version as a flagship. No claim of completeness, I’m not a human encyclopedia (unfortunately…). Let’s go with letter K.
King’s Quest (1984)
- Developer: Sierra On-Line
- Publisher: Sierra On-Line
- Genre: Graphic Adventure
We’re talking about a masterpiece. The original King’s Quest is the link between text adventures and graphic adventures. The story is easy, the easiest you can think about: an old king is about to die and an unnamed hero is there to claim his throne. But first he has to find three magic items that will make the kingdom prosperous again.
What made King’s Quest stand out from other similar games was the fact that…there weren’t similar games! The adventures back then were text-only and despite having received great reviews, KQ wasn’t listed in the nominees for best adventure games for 1984 because it features graphics. What is now something we take for granted, back then was a huge innovation and, together with the classic Sierra irony and their mastery in making great adventures, KQ became a classic and is always present in the lists of the top adventure games of all time. A visually improved version was released in 1990, when the name of the game officially became King’s Quest, instead of the original Quest for the Crown.
Knight Orc (1987)
- Developer: Level 9
- Publisher: Firebird
- Genre: Text Adventure
Three years after the release of King’s Quest, text-based adventures were still doing great and Knight Orc was one of them. Well, not for everybody actually, since the press was divided between who loved the game and who hated it. For sure Knight Orc in not an ordinary adventure and that’s the reason why it faced so diverse comments when it was released.
While orcs, knights, joust, and other medieval-ish stuff were the norm for many adventures, Knight Orc, even thought begins as a “standard” adventure, suddenly has a twist in the plot and the orc becomes an NPC ina futuristic RPG setting where he has to convince some bots to escape the virtual reality they’re living in. Not somethign you find everyday in a text adventure…
Knights of Xentar (1994)
- Developer: ELF Corporation
- Publisher: Megatech Software
- Genre: RPG, Eroge
Knights of Xentar is a game that could easily be featured in one of the [Forbidden Games] posts. Being a sequel of Dragon Knight, you should know what’s going on in it. The Final Fantasy-esque gameplay is interspersed with erotic contents, such as big breasted girls, libertine situation and even a wolf trying to rape Little Red Riding Hood. Yep.
While in Japan the reviews were mediocre, in the West it divided the critics who awarded the game the most diverse scores, ranging from 50% to 90%. Of course, being the game a rather classic RPG, the things that made it different were the adult scenes and the sarcasm here and there in the dialogues. Of course is not destined to the purists of the genre but it deserves a try.
As always here are some honorable mentions:
- Knights of the Desert (1983)
- Knightmare (1987)
- Kobayashi Naru (1987)
- Kings of the Beach (1988)
- Knights of Legend (1989)
- The Kristal (1989)
- KULT: The Temple of Flying Saucers (1989)
- King’s Bounty (1990)
- The Keys to Maramon (1990)
- Knights of the Sky (1990)
- KGB (1992)
Previous entries in this column:
- [2019 with DOS games] The Ancient Art of War / Altered Destiny / Alone in the Dark
- [2019 with DOS games] The Bard’s Tale / Barbarian / Betrayal at Krondor
- [2019 with DOS games] Castle Wolfenstein / Cadaver / The Chaos Engine
- [2019 with DOS games] Dragonworld / Dangerous Dave / Doom
- [2019 with DOS games] Enchanter / Elvira: Mistress of the Dark / Eye of the Beholder
- [2019 with DOS games] F-15 Strike Eagle / Future Wars: Adventure in Time / Flashback
- [2019 with DOS games] GATO / Gobliiins / Guilty
- [2019 with DOS games] The Hobbit / Hero’s Quest: So You Wanto to Be a Hero / Heretic
- [2019 with DOS games] In Search of the Most Amazing Thing / Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure / Innocent Until Caught
- [2019 with DOS games] Jumpman / Journey / James Pond 2 – Codename: RoboCod