Fantasy questing for the romantically minded
Roberta Williams' much-loved King's Quest series has garnered an army of fans who enjoy its non-violent gameplay, twisting and romantic storylines and mix of puzzling and questing. This fourth instalment maintains the franchise's generally high standards and offers an entertaining slice of graphic adventuring, similar to Sierra's own Space Quest or the likes of Discworld and The Secret of Monkey Island, but it does contain plenty of references to previous games in the series, so you might want to check them out first. This one sees one of video-gaming's first female lead characters, Princess Rosella, embarking on an epic quest find a magical fruit which is the only way to save her father and which requires her to travel to distant lands. However, she soon finds herself crossing paths with an evil fairy who only makes her task more difficult. The plot is somewhat nonsensical but its light-hearted nature means any shortcomings are excusable, while the gameplay itself also goes some way towards making up for its overly flowery nature. The game makes use of a fairly standard interface, where you move around with the arrow keys and type in commands to interact with objects and characters and solve puzzles. Speaking of which, these are generally very clever and imaginative, as well as being quite challenging, and which provide much of the game's appeal. Visually, the game is something of a mixed bag. While originally considered highly cinematic, it has dated somewhat, with garish colours that suit the game's romantic nature, but which can prove a bit too much on the eyes at times. The script is a bit soppy but again is appropriate for the audience, and the plot is quite entertaining, with its multiple endings providing some replay value. For fans of the series, this is a must play but for newcomers, there are better options out there.