If there's one game that stands out in my mind as the most iconic of all PC RPG games, it's King's Quest. Published by Sierra, the King's Quest series takes the player through a long and challenging story of the kingdom of Daventry and the family of King Graham. The first installations were characterized with physical difficulties due to the DOS interface of the game. Climbing stairs was the biggest pain ever known to the gaming industry that far. Through the years, though, the game evolved into a healthy point-and-click adventure with a full cast of characters and a bold storyline.
Fans, after resolving some legal issues with Sierra's holdings company Vivendi Universal, have created what is reasonably the largest non-commercial gaming project there has ever been: the Silver Lining. Functioning as the ninth installment of the King's Quest series (or 8 if you're a normal human and do not count King's Quest VIII as an actual part of the series), the Silver Lining comes packaged by episodes that are released one-by -one. Currently, chapters one through three are available for play.
The Silver Lining begins with What Is Agreed Must Be, where King Graham and the entire Royal Family head over to the Isle of the Crown from King's Quest VI to witness a wedding. Of course, bad stuff happens, and King Graham has to embark on a long and dangerous quest to remove said bad stuff.
The mechanisms of the game are reminiscent to those of King's Quest V and onward. You hover over the context menu on the top, select the action you want Graham to do, and click on where you would like that action to be performed. For being only the first episode, there is plenty to explore. Do not expect hours of gameplay, though, from this one episode. I finished the whole thing in about an hour.
My favorite part of this RPG game download is the little asides Graham says. Seasoned King's Quest players like themselves are in for a treat when he makes cute jokes about events in the previous installments. Sure, when you laugh, it's the same kind of laugh that hoity-toity country clubbers spew out when someone makes a joke about Roquefort, but we deserve to give off this kind of elitism. Kiddos brag about eliminating hordes of zombies in PC RPG games. Big deal. Try climbing a spiral staircase as Rosella before you proclaim that you're a real champion.
True to the Series
It's sad that Sierra released such a poor game for KQ8. You played some mysterious guy and all you did was fight. It was a better sequel to Street Fighter than King's Quest, and the company really bought to be accused of itself. I applaud The Silver Lining for staying true to the charming nature of King's Quest, and think they have delivered a product that far surpasses Sierra's most recent effort to bring closure to this great series of PC RPG games.
You can download all of the PC RPG games in the Silver Lining from the TSL server as they are released. These episodes are pretty large in size, so be prepared to wait a while before you can start living the Daventry life again. While it has components that really make King's Quest veterans appreciate the game, I'm sure gumshoe adventurers can also find plenty of fun in The Silver Lining.