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Game info

King's Quest V

Reviewed byndial
King's Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder is a point-and-click adventure game of the King's Quest series, originally developed and released by Sierra for the MS-DOS, and also ported for the Commodore Amiga, Apple Macintosh (Classic) and Nintendo NES (!). The game is neat and tidy and looks more polished, but is hellishly slow compared to its predecessors with a rather repetitive game structure. It's a shame the storytelling didn't also evolve, because if it had, the game would be a winner all around.
King Graham wanders along, picking some flowers in the forest. But suddenly realizes that his castle was...missing! At this time he meets an owl who explains how an evil wizard has destroyed the castle, and so sprinkles King Graham with fairy dust., allowing him to fly to the land of Serenia, in order to defeat the evil wizard.
The entire game is played via a cursor and few pop-up icons system. Movement is simply a matter of pointing to a position on-screen, and the hero will work his own way around the scenery (much like Monkey Island).
The game is actually small. This is obviously partly down to the use of detailed hand-painted graphics in every location. There are plenty of locations to visit, and the graphics are well drawn. But after a while you really do start to lose interest. This isn't helped by the stupid plot (princes, damsels and distress), which may not sound like much of a bad thing, but when compared to the freshness and interest of the Indiana Jones adventure series, does tend to make things drag a bit. In general, gameplay is still of the classic fetch quest and inventory collection/combination variety King's Quest is known for. But it's more the tedious (and seemingly endless) amount of things you have to do to accomplish a task! Some puzzles are easy, some are more difficult, solving some of them depends on your ability to observe things. I also recommend to play it on at least 020 (A1200) or 030 CPU machine since the animations are dead slow on stock A500 at many places, thus gameplay is too slow (except if you could afford an accelerator card back in the days). Hard disk is also more than highly recommended, as swapping floppy-disks is a nightmare here.

The graphics (that Sierra converted from VGA to the Amiga hardware), the sound and the whole presentation trip are up to the standards of what Amiga owners expected back in 1991, and a big upgrade to its predecessors. Graphics detail is gorgeous using (the default) 32 colors on screen, with ambient animations, such as running water, gratuitous passersby in the town, smoke coming out of chimneys etc. Although the highly reduced number of colors used in the Amiga version (compared to the 200+ colors used in the PC version), the game here looks fine. But using so many highly detailed hand-painted graphics loaded by continuously swapping its 8 Amiga floppies, was a nightmare back then, and to afford a hard-disk in the early 90's with an A500 for fast loading, was too expensive.
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Comparable platforms

30 colors
Commodore Amiga OCS/ECS

224 colors
Hardware information

Amiga 500/500+

Amiga 500/500+CPU: Motorola MC68000 7.16 MHz
MEMORY: 512KB of Chip RAM (OCS chipset - A500), 512 KB of Slow RAM or Trapdoor RAM can be added via the trapdoor expansion, up to 8 MB of Fast RAM or a Hard drive can be added via the side expansion slot. The ECS chipset (A500+) offered 1MB on board to 2MB (extended) of Chip RAM.
GRAPHICS: The OCS chipset (Amiga 500) features planar graphics (codename Denise custom chip), with up to 5 bit-planes (4 in hires), allowing 2, 4, 8, 16 and 32 color screens, from a 12bit RGB palette of 4096 colors. Resolutions varied from 320x256 (PAL, non-interlaced, up to 4096 colors) to 640x512 (interlace, up to 4 colors). Two special graphics modes where also included: Extra Half Bright with 64 colors and HAM with all 4096 colors on-screen. The ECS chipset models (Amiga 500+) offered same features but also extra high resolution screens up to 1280x512 pixels (4 colors at once).
SOUND: (Paula) 4 hardware-mixed channels of 8-bit sound at up to 28 kHz. The hardware channels had independent volumes (65 levels) and sampling rates, and mixed down to two fully left and fully right stereo outputs
The Amiga 500/500+ (default) color palette
12bit RGB 4096-colors palette
(32 to 4096 colors on screen)
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