The Silver Lining is
a fan-created unofficial continuation of the King's Quest series.
The game is episodic, and this review covers the first episode,
released for free on July 10, 2010.
There was quite a
bit of hullabaloo over this game. During development of the game,
the staff at Phoenix Online Studios was told to stop what they were
doing. Twice. After the team was hard at work for more than four
years, they announced a release date in September 2005. Immediately
following, they were given a cease and desist e-mail from Vivendi
Fans of the series
and supporters of Phoenix Online Studios protested and sent over one
thousand letters and e-mails to Vivendi Universal. By late November
that year, Vivendi Universal allowed development of the Silver
Lining to continue and granted with a Fan License to Phoenix Online
Studios. Vivendi Universal also declared that the title could no
longer reference King's Quest. What is decreed must be. The game's
title was adjusted and development continued.
The merge of Vivendi
and Activision in 2008 brought about further disruptions to Phoenix
Online Studios' progress. After negotiation, Activision removed the
Fan License that was previously issued by Vivendi, and shut down the
project once more.
Finally, on June 26, 2010 Phoenix Online Studios announced that they
would be releasing the game, with Activision's permission. The game
had to be condensed to five episodes. It was originally written to
encompass nine chapters. The first episode, covered here, is
entitled What is Decreed Must Be, and was released on July 10, 2010.
If you are a fan of King's Quest, this fan-created continuation will
not let you down. Aimed at King's Quest connoisseurs, if you will,
this game includes nice references to the story line that it
follows. It also is fun in the nostalgic jokes that it jabs at you,
the player, and even at Graham, the hero. Unfortunately, the obvious
negative of this is that someone unfamiliar with King's Quest will
feel like the guy at the party who does not understand any of the
The storyline of the
Silver Lining begins with a wedding. Princess Rosella is about to
kiss her groom, Edgar when the wedding is crashed by a "stranger,"
leaving King Alexander and Princess Rosella unconscious. King Graham
sets out to find a way to awaken his children, and sets out on his
adventure. He will encounter many characters from previous games,
donning his usual blue and red adventuring uniform.
Though the storyline is repetitive and cliché, the game is actually
not bad. The soundtrack is beautiful. The music seemed to match the
scene and the feeling each time it started to play. On top of that,
the voice-over actors were well cast and their performances seemed
spot-on. The sound effects, foot stomping, water splashing, doors
opening, all these also sounded very realistic. Overall, the audio
in this game would impress me even if it were a full-length big
The characters though blocky, are very well drawn and charming. A
similar statement can be made about the settings you will travel,
too. The items and buildings seem well placed and rendered. The
cinematic scenes play often and are always nicely animated. Graphics
are definitely not a letdown.
Trying to navigate
King Graham to the right locations sometimes got annoying. Seeing
him jump into the water and drown when clicking on the boat does not
become more fun the third time around. The controls are your
standard point-and-click controls though. Point there, click, and
Graham obliges (mostly) as he walks to the location you clicked on.
You can use an eye cursor to investigate every item in the game. The
chat icon will start a conversation with a character you click on.
Much like the original King's Quest games, the narrator will poke
fun at you for trying to speak to inanimate objects. There is also a
hand icon for grabbing items. Careful, though, you will be cleverly
scolded for trying to take what is not yours.
Take it for what it
is. It is a fan-created game, based on a series that has not had a
new title in years. This is definitely not a shoddy title. I urge
you to look into the King's Quest storyline before you play. I
played Episode 1 before I had ever played a King's Quest game and it
was lost on me. Only after going back and playing the original
King's Quest games could I understand the nostalgic feeling from
those old-school sound effects and the narrator picking on Graham's
clothes. It is very short, with absolutely no replay value, and it
hardly compares in difficulty to its predecessors. Regardless of all
that, this game is worth a download. The Silver Lining is a very
pleasant surprise to what you would expect from a free, fan-created
game. I wonder what Phoenix Online Studios has planned next...
United States Writer