Roberta Williams does it again

King's Quest: Mask of Eternity
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PC
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PC
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ESRB
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As far as I am concerned, this is the best King’s Quest yet, as well as one of the best adventure games ever created. The puzzles in King’s Quest: Mask of Eternity are tough, yet solvable. The interface is easy to use, the plot is well thought-out and the graphics are very good. In fact, this game gets my highest rating yet.

The part that I most enjoyed is that even though the gameplay takes place on different worlds, I never found it necessary to go back through and get something I missed on the first run. Given, I was following the golden rule with this type of game of "when in doubt, pick it up" or alternately, "steal everything that is not nailed down." But if you don’t do that, then you deserve to backtrack.

I remember playing the original King’s Quest: Quest for the Crown so many years ago. I think it was early 1986. I remember enjoying it and being very frustrated at the same time. I always found the early Sierra games to be almost unsolvable. You either needed to buy the hint book, have a lot of luck, or use a lot of saved games.

But as I said the puzzles I this game are tough but solvable. Just remember to save the game before you start any puzzles and you should do fine.

The interface is simple to use by clicking, grabbing and manipulating with your mouse. Or if you have a weapon out, clicking on a creature to whack at it. To draw a weapon you can either click on the weapon, you have a running choice of two, or hit a key on the keyboard. The two weapon choices are a melee weapon and a long-range weapon. You upgrade your weapons frequently during the game, but always have the choice of two general ones in combat.

Healing is handled much like the weapons. You can either click a healing item or hit a key to use a corresponding item, which is very nice during combat. Information on your inventory is contained in a display at the bottom of the screen that you can move to your preferred location. Health and level gain stats are also displayed in movable bars. The rest of the inventory items are stored in a pull down box at the top of the screen.

I have a fairly nice graphics card on my personal PC at home, and the graphics looked good on Mask. I had to tweak the options a bit to get the best quality out of my system. But there were quite a few options that I could not turn on, so I took the game with me to GiN’s testing lab and tried it out there. With GiN’s equipment, the quality was great. I still ended up playing the game at home, and enjoyed the game nonetheless. So the game is not dependent on having the latest and greatest graphics card. Then again if you do, you are in for a double treat, as they are quite stellar.

And here is an example why the folks at Sierra have a reputation for making their games playable and fun. There was one point in the game where I did not have enough money to purchase something that I absolutely had to have to advance. I swore up and down that I had searched everywhere. And thinking back to playing a buggy Fallout 2 from Interplay, I was very upset and ready to tell the world about Sierra’s faults. But then I calmed down a bit and took one last look around the level.

I found this tiny little bridge that I had missed before. And there on the other side where two guys with money that I killed and robbed. Don’t worry, they were bad guys. Once I found them I realized that not only had Sierra made a good game, but they had taken the time to think about some of the problems that players might run into and fixed them.

Sierra’s attention to detail and the playability of this fine title is why this game gets 4 1/2 GiN Gems out of 5, my highest rating yet for any game. It’s obvious to me that designer Roberta Williams has not lost her touch. In fact, I think she has gotten a lot better with each successive game.

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