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King's Quest: Mask of Eternity

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King's Quest: Mask of Eternity, written and designed by Roberta Williams and released in 1998 by Sierra Studios, is the eighth, and currently the final, official computer game in the famous King's Quest series. It is the first and only game in the series where the main character is neither King Graham nor a member of his family, the first in the series to use a full 3D engine as opposed to the 2D cartoon or pixel style of the earlier games and the first to omit the sequel numbering system of the previous games. The game was referred to as KQ8 in the directory containing the "Sneak Peek" videos in the King's Quest Collection II and Roberta William's Anthology.

It has recently been re-released as part of the King's Quest 7+8 pack through GOG.com and patched to work on Vista and Windows 7 32 and 64bit.

Preface for gameplay

Above the Kingdom of Daventry is the Realm of the Sun, where magical beings called the Archons guard the Mask of Eternity, an artifact which upholds truth, light, and order. Their leader, Lucreto, turns to evil and shatters the Mask into pieces. When one portion of the mask falls at the feet of a humble tanner named Connor, he picks it up only to find that everyone in Daventry has been turned to stone, including King Graham, and the land sickened. Connor is then appointed by a wizard to travel through different lands and collect all the Mask pieces, eventually arriving in the Realm of the Sun where he must repair the Mask, defeat Lucreto, and bring life back to his land.[1]


Lands

To complete the task of collecting all of the shards of the Mask of Eternity, Connor must travel to a variety of topographically different lands. These include:

  • The Kingdom of Daventry is where Connor makes his home and where his kingly quest begins. Here he encounters a partially lithified wizard who offers him guidance in finding the remaining pieces of the Mask of Eternity. Connor returns here a few times after leaving to return various things.
  • The Dimension of Death, ruled by Lord Azriel, serves as a pseudo-purgatory where souls await judgement. This land exists in a plane outside of any other land in the game and therefore Connor must find portals to access it. Upon the shattering of the Mask of Eternity, the order of the universe was accordingly obliterated and the skeletal soldiers of Lord Azriel became unruly and rebellious. Thus, it becomes part of Connor's mission to quell this uprising. Ultimately he releases Lord Azriel and kills all of the Skeleton Guards. Here he also finds Gweneth and her brother both of whom came through the portal from Daventry with Gweneth following her brother who was on his own quest. Connor saves Gweneth and sends her home where she can be visited later, but her brother is found mortally wounded and dies after speaking with Connor.
  • The Swamp bears within its boundaries a portion of the Mask of Eternity. Though the Swamp lies not far from the Kingdom of Daventry, the cataclysm incited by Lucreto caused the road to the Swamp to be blocked off by physical obstacles. Hence, in order to reach the Swamp and obtain another shard of the mask, Connor must travel through the Dimension of Death first. The Swamp Witch rules the Swamp ever since the cataclysm (it used to be ruled by the Mudge the Snail King) and the Oracle of the Tree is located here. In order to go on, Connor must get an antidote for the poisonous waters and kill the Swamp Witch. The Mask piece is in her tower and purifying the cauldron there purifies the Swamp waters and releases Mudge who opens a portal to the next area for you.
  • The Underground Realm of the Gnomes is mainly made up of tunnels underneath of mountains south of the Swamp. During his journey, Connor meets gnomes endeavoring to reestablish an exit topside of their subterranean home. Here the only way out is the portal back to the Swamp, but with a loadstone the Sage Nome is able to trick the Magic Map into allowing you to teleport to a new area. In order to get it you need to kill the Black Dragon Wyrm in order to get to the device past him. Using first the clear pyramid and then the pale one gotten in Daventry, you get two messages: one from Hector--a Prophet--and one from Lucreto himself.
  • The Barren Region is located above the Underground Realm of the Gnomes and at the base of a volcano. It can be accurately characterized by its abundance of lava rivers and dry, hot terrain. Prior to the cataclysm, the inhabitants of this area traded regularly with those people who lived at the top of the volcano. It is now terrorized by the Basilisk and in order to go on you must kill it. But to kill it you need a black diamond and a shaft to form a black diamond pike. The black diamond comes from the heart of the Dragon Wyrm from the previous area, but part of the mission is to get that shaft made so you can get the pike you need. Once the Basilisk is dead you can find the key to the Fire Dwarves' Tunnels where you have learned from the Chief Archon holds another piece of the Mask. After dispatching the Fire Dwarves, freeing the Nymph Queen and retrieving the piece of the Mask, an elevator takes you to the next level.
  • The Frozen Reaches are the frigid lands at the top of the volcano encircling a lake of icy water. It is inhabited by Snow Nymphs, Frost Orcs, and Gryphs. You have to face the invisible Snow Mane, get the Flame Sword (which proves useful later) and finally rescue the Gryph King from a fortress. After learning that another piece of the Mask is in the fortress you must kill the Ice Orc's Leader and then can get the piece of the Mask. After you have finished everything in the level, you head to an area where you face a Two Headed Dragon. Once it is dead you proceed onto Paradise Lost through a tunnel.
  • Paradise Lost is a small caldera near the Frozen Reaches, and the location of a stonehenge which acts as a portal to the Realm of the Sun. There, placing the Crystal Pyramid in an indention causes one of the Archons to teleport you to the Realm of the Sun.
  • The Realm of the Sun, like the Dimension of Death, is not materially connected to any other part of the world in which Connor's quest takes place. This was holding-place of the Mask of Eternity and the site at which Connor should return all of its broken pieces. Here Connor confronts Lucreto to determine his ultimate destiny.

Early on in the game, the half-stone wizard whom Connor encounters conjures for him a magic map that shows all explored areas and allows Connor to teleport between lands once the teleportation sites in each land (except for the Realm of the Sun) have been unlocked.

The game ends with Connor rising to the top of the Realm of the Sun with the restored Mask. A beam of blue light shines on the Mask, seeming to restore its power and it sends out a wave of energy that restores everything to life. The game ends with the Archons being released from their stone prisons and joining Connor who triumphantly lifts his sword into the air.

Reception

King's Quest: Mask of Eternity was released to generally positive, but mixed reviews,[1] effectively bringing about the end of the King's Quest series. However, it sold well compared to other adventure games at the time; for example, it outsold Grim Fandango 2 to 1.[2] There was a mixed response to the King's Quest: Mask of Eternity, although most reviews tended to be positive, with the majority of ratings 70% or higher, some reviews dipped as low as 10%.

Notes

The game's dialogue has also been written in a more conservative style rather than the modern English style of King's Quest VII: The Princeless Bride. Though conservative language does appear in other KQ games, such as the Godmother and Elf in KQ1 remake, Alexander in KQ6 occasionally speaks with more conservative terms. Graham and Rosella speak with a more conservative style in Hoyle, Book of Games, Volume I.

In this game Connor visits Dimension of Death rather than the Land of the Dead shown in King's Quest VI. However, as noted in the manual for King's Quest 6, Guidebook to the Land of the Green Isles, the Land of the Dead is a legend specific to the Green Isles. It is the place where Green Islanders believe they go when they die. They journey to Samhain (Death) to be judged and end up in the Sea of Souls in preparation for the next stage of the afterlife. It is not a legend in Daventry, and author of the guidebook was the first person from Daventry to learn or write about it when he visited the Green Isles. Whereas according to Mask of Eternity's Manual, the Dimension of Death is part of Daventry's legends. It is a kind of limbo ruled by Azriel where souls are judged before being moved to their rightful afterlife.

According to the game's producer Mark Seibert, "Roberta's point of view was that the Dimension of Death was not the under world (KQ6). It was a unique and different place." Thus both places are considered separate locations which happen to share a similar purpose.

The title Mask of Eternity may be allusion to the title of the poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Masque of Anarchy (anarchy being a major theme in Mask of Eternity). It is the second game in the series (after Quest for the Crown) that does not directly spoof a common idiom, unlike most of the games of the series, where titles and sayings such as "Romancing the Stone", "Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder", "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow", "The Perils of Pauline", and "The Princess Bride" were changed to the parody names "Romancing the Throne", "Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder!", "Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow", "The Perils of Rosella", and "The Princeless Bride". Quest for the Crown may be a reference to "Quest for the Grail".

Marc Vulcano who is now at Heavy Iron Studios worked as an animator for the video game.

References

External links

fr:King's Quest : Masque d'éternitésv:King's Quest: Mask of Eternity

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