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Review

The Silver Lining - Episode 1: What is Decreed Must Be
Developer: Phoenix Online Studios
Publisher: Phoenix Online Studios
Genre: Free Episodic Fantasy
Indie Developer
Release Date: July 10, 2010
Platform:

PC


Review by Jeffry Houser
July 12, 2010

 


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The Return of King Graham – The Silver Lining

The Silver Lining Episode 1 screenshot - click to enlargeIt may be nostalgia that tings my excitement as I launched the first chapter of The Silver Lining, a fan-made sequel to the King’s Quest series. The Silver Lining has been a controversial game over the years; with permission being granted and yanked a few times by the intellectual property owner. Vivendi, the current owner, has once again granted approval for The Silver Lining to be finished and released. That’s good news for King’s Quest fans.

If you’ve never heard of King’s Quest, then I have to wonder how you ended up at this site, reading this article. But just in case, I’ll give you the short version. Graham was a knight who became King of Daventry after going on a treasure hunt for a magic mirror that tells the future, a chest that is always full of gold, and a shield that protects the bearer from danger. After becoming king, Graham goes on another adventure to find a wife, Valanice. They have twins--Alexander and Rosella--and each one has an adventure or two of his/her own, picking up a love interest along the way--Camissa and Edgar respectively.

The Silver Lining Episode 1 screenshot - click to enlargeThe Silver Lining picks up sometime after the final King’s Quest game. Edgar and Rosella are about to be wed when disaster strikes. An unknown assailant puts a magic spell on Graham’s two kids, thus starting the new adventure. It is up to Graham to put on his iconic hat and travel the Green Isles to find a cure.


The Nostalgia Factor

It’s been a long time since I played a King’s Quest game. Everything seemed so familiar, but strangely different. That is due in part to everything being rendered in 3D. The creators took great pains to plan their shots and camera movements in cut scenes, which you’ll see a lot of in this chapter. At times the game is cinematic. The beginning starts out with a voiceless opening scene, which pans across the entrance to the Green Isles castle from King’s Quest 6. It’s a great start to hit the nostalgia bug.

The Silver Lining Episode 1 screenshot - click to enlargeThe characters at the wedding are familiar enough that I remember them, but different enough that I don’t know which character is which. Maybe if the memory wasn’t so distant I could pluck it from my brain. Fans of the past games, especially KQ6, will have a treat exploring the Green Isles in 3D.


The Bad

Unfortunately, the first chapter is more exposition than game. There is only one thing I’d call a puzzle; otherwise it’s just walking from one cut scene to the next, like an interactive story. It’s nice to explore and it’s nice to talk to people, but I was left wondering where the rest was.

The Silver Lining Episode 1 screenshot - click to enlargeThe start cut scene, while beautifully done, left some plot points to be desired. Why are Rosella and Edgar getting married at the Green Isles instead of in Daventry (Rosella’s Home) or Tamir (Edgar’s home)? Since the opening scene had no voice, I had to guess whose wedding I was watching. After the villain weaves his magical spell, Rosella and Alexander are placed side by side in the same bed, holding hands. It was a creepy decision. I was able to put those issues aside in order to focus on exploring the Green Isles as Graham, which is very cool.


Mysteries Left Unsolved

At one point while exploring, the camera pans on an image of Pegasus, the flying horse. Is this left in for Nostalgia purposes? Is it a throwback to King’s Quest 2, where Graham meets a winged horse, or a reference to King’s Quest 6, where Alexander rides one? Or will it come into play later in this story? We just don’t know yet.

The Silver Lining Episode 1 screenshot - click to enlargeIt’s hard to give a full review of the first part of a five-part game. Who is this strange wizard man that cursed Graham’s children, and why did he do it? Will Graham be able to break the curse and save the day? I have some guesses, but I think we’ll have to wait for part two. Please don’t keep us waiting.

Final Grade: B
(find out more about our grading system)

 

System Requirements:

  • Windows XP, Vista or 7
  • 1GHz Intel or AMD Processor
  • 512 MB RAM (1GB recommended for Vista and 7)
  • 100% DirectX compatible video card with 256 MB video RAM
  • DirectX 9.0c+