|King's Quest - IBM PCjr. Copyright Screen|
|King's Quest - IBM PCjr. Title Screen|
|King's Quest - IBM PCjr. & Tandy 1000 In-Game Screen|
The booter versions of King's Quest I-II and The Black Cauldron did not use drop down menus or status bars. To check your score, you go into the inventory screen. The Escape key pauses the game. They have a certain minimalist charm about them that their later DOS conversions lack. They are also friendlier to older hardware since they only require 128KB of RAM. The DOS conversions require 256KB of RAM. King's Quest came on one PC booter disk but two DOS disks. This wouldn't be much of an issue for owners of most PCs in 1987 when the conversions were marketed, but users of 128KB Tandy 1000s and PCjrs would be in need of an upgrade. Sierra's disk routines are probably faster than Microsoft's.
|King's Quest - IBM PC Copyright Screen|
|King's Quest - IBM PC Title Screen Composite Color Mode|
|King's Quest - IBM PC In-Game Screen Composite Color Mode|
|King's Quest - IBM PC Title Screen RGB Color Mode|
|King's Quest - IBM PC In-Game Screen RGB Color Mode|
|King's Quest - Tandy 1000 Copyright Screen|
|King's Quest - Tandy 1000 Title Screen|
|King's Quest - DOS Title Screen|
The joystick was a very useful method of control for the AGI engine. With the keyboard, one press of the key would make your character move until he hit an obstacle. A second key press would be required to get him to change direction or stop. With the joystick, the character will only move when the stick is manipulated in the direction past the dead zone. When the stick is stationary, the character will not move. This is extremely useful when crossing screen boundaries, as your character will not proceed blindly into a chasm, river, lake or into the hands of a monster.
Diagonal keyboard movement was added to the PC version via the number pad. (The PCjr. has no number pad on either of its keyboards.) This is especially convenient with the stairs leading up to the land of the clouds. The original PC keyboard did not have dedicated arrow keys, so the character moved in eight different directions by the numberpad. The Tandy 1000 version requires you to use the inverted-T arrow keys to move in the four cardinal directions (Up, Down, Left, Right). Keys 1, 3 and 9 on the numeric keypad of the Tandy 1000 keyboard work to move your character diagonally, but key 7 does not (at least on my Tandy 1000SX). Also, numeric keypad keys 2, 4, 6 and 8 do not move your characters in a cardinal direction.
In order to save with the booter versions, you will need a separate disk. You must type the command "copy disk" (without quotes), which will make a play disk. The game will allow you to save up to 26 games on the play disk, and each save is identified only with a letter. The DOS conversions allow you to type in a description for your save, but for the booters you should keep a sheet handy.
|King's Quest - Booter Interface|
|King's Quest - DOS Interface|
|King's Quest - DOS Menus|
The PCjr. did not have separate function keys, so the number keys were pressed into service (without pressing Fn). The PC and Tandy versions also use the number keys above the letter keys for the functions. King's Quest II used the function keys instead of the number keys (Ctrl + number for the PCjr.) The numbers are a bit different from the eventually conventions which the DOS conversions and other DOS AGI games used :
Key Function (DOS Conversion Key)
1/F1 - Sound on/off (F2)
3/F3 - Save Game (F5)
5/F5 - Restore Game (F7)
7/F7 - Restart Game (F9)
9/F9 - Repeat Last Command (F3)
King's Quest only required one 360KB disk but the DOS conversion requires disk swapping with two 360KB disks. You use Disk 1 for Daventry, inside King Edward's Castle and climbing up the Golden Egg Tree. You use Disk 2 for the inside of the Woodcutter's Hut, Witch's House, after you enter the well and until you exit the cave, in the Land of the Clouds including the beanstalk and stair climbing screens, and the Land of the Leprechauns underground screens.
Its sequel, King's Quest II always came with two disks. King's Quest consisted of a total of 77 rooms, but King's Quest II boasted 93 unique rooms. King's Quest II supports the PCjr., PC with CGA and Tandy 1000 with one single version. King's Quest II had three booter versions, 1.0W, 1.1H and Tandy v1.00.00, the latter two presumably including bugfixes.
|King's Quest II - IBM PCjr. & Tandy 1000 Title Screen|
|King's Quest II - Credits|
|King's Quest II - IBM PC Title Screen Composite Color Mode|
|King's Quest II - IBM PCjr. & Tandy 1000 In-Game Screen|
|King's Quest II - IBM PC In-Game Screen Composite Color Mode|
|King's Quest II - IBM PC In-Game Screen RGB Color Mode|
One welcome innovation in King's Quest II is the addition of walking speeds. By typing "slow", "fast" or "normal" at the command prompt, your character's speed will increase or decrease. "Slow" is very useful for stairs. Fast helps you traverse across the land with very acceptable speed. Slow and normal walking/animation speeds are not system speed dependent, but fast is. Thus if you play this game on a Tandy 1000TL/3, which uses a 10MHz 286 CPU, you may find it a bit too fast more often than on a 7.16MHz 8088 Tandy 1000SX. The DOS conversion adds a "Fastest" speed, which is not constant with the system speed, unlike slow, normal and fast for that version.
Compared with the DOS conversion, the music in the King's Quest II booter is very loud and much slower in tempo. On a Tandy you may want to boot to DOS first, disable the internal Tandy 1000 speaker, reboot using Ctrl-Alt-Del and use the external speaker where you can control the volume if you do not have a headphone jack (Tandy 1000/1000SX).
When played on a PC or generic clone, you can switch between the composite and RGB modes in-game with Ctrl-R. However, the game will not respond to that until you begin a game, so the introduction will always show in black and white for RGB monitor users. With a generic PC using an EGA or VGA card, the RGB mode should work properly.
The need to wait for the disk to load each screen brings a different kind of playing style to these games. Unlike playing the game on a DOS computer or DOSBox that offers instantaneous loading times, the disk accesses force the player to try everything they can think of in each room. It also allows the player to take in the scenery of each room, low resolution it may be. Sometimes waiting, sometimes paying attention to detail may be the key to solving a puzzle.