Kingdom O’ Magic: Overall Structure

Kingdom O’ Magic provides a choice of two player characters and three quests.

The two player characters are Thidney, a “lizard bloke”, and Shah-Ron, a “girlie”. Thidney specializes in melee while Shah-Ron specializes in magic, and there’s at least one variation in the puzzle content based on which character you choose, but the differences are not great. So the choice is mainly a cosmetic one, varying the sprites and the voice acting. For once, I actually prefer the male character — if you’re going to be weird and blobby-looking, you might as well go for broke and be a weird blobby-looking lizard, right? Also, I think his comic delivery is better. But in the unlikely event that you play this game, I recommend giving them both a try to see how some of the sillier animations change.

The choice of quest, though, varies the game content significantly. I actually finished one of the three quests back in the day, but won’t consider the game truly finished until I’ve completed all three. The one I finished then, and re-finished in my last session, is “The Good Old-Fashioned Traditional Quest”, in which your goal is to steal the Smaug-analogue’s treasure. This is supposed to be the easiest quest. You can’t defeat the dragon in combat; the only way to get rid of it is to take out a mob hit on it, resulting in a cutscene out of The Godfather, with the dragon brought down in a hail of gunfire while buying oranges from a fruit cart. Then there’s “The Bizarre & Slightly Twisted Quest”, the alleged hardest one, in which you’re supposed to recover the Lost Lava Lamp of the Ancients and possibly defeat the Dark Lord, and “The Magnificent 7-11 Quest”, in which you recruit between seven and eleven warriors to defend a town from attack. All three use the same map, but switch things up within it. A door might be permanently locked in one scenario and not another. Items you’re used to from your last quest might not be available. Rooms that were guarded by monsters might be monster-free, or vice versa.

The thing is, though, a lot of the content doesn’t vary between quests. They’re three variations on the same adventure, not three completely different adventures. And this applies even to puzzles, including some puzzles to obtain items that are only useful in one of the quests. So in any particular quest, you’ll inevitably spend some of your time solving puzzles that won’t actually help you at all.

As a result, I’m a little suspicious of the given difficulty rankings. The hardest quest will be whichever one you attempt first, because that’s the one where you have the least information. That’s where you’ll solve puzzles for all three scenarios without any idea of whether they’ll help you at all. It’s also where you’ll run into obstacles you genuinely can’t overcome with the resources available and have no idea that you can’t overcome them.

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