King's Quest III: To Heir is Human was the third installment of the King's Quest saga. It took an ambitious approach by setting a different person as the player character than the well-known King Graham from the previous episodes.


Become Gwydion, young slave to the evil wizard Manannan of Llewdor. Discover the wizard's secret spells, and use his magic to free yourself from his thrall. Embark upon a dangerous voyage to another land. Scale snowy peaks and brave a terrible monster to free a kingdom from its ravages![1]


In King's Quest III, the game has moved away from Daventry and King Graham to the land of Llewdor, where a boy named Gwydion is being kept by the wicked magician Manannan. Gwydion was kidnapped from Daventry by the magician when he was young, and this adventure tells the story of his journey back to that land.

The player takes the role of Gwydion in King's Quest III. The major events of the story include breaking free of Manannan by turning him into a cat and escaping Llewdor, returning to Daventry and freeing Princess Rosella (Gwydion's twin sister and daughter of King Graham and Queen Valanice), and finally discovering that Gwydion is actually the royal couple's lost boy, Alexander.

Because King's Quest III initially shows no connection to the previous installments of the series, some fans criticized the third installment of King's Quest for not tying into the previous games. Only after playing to near the end of the game did players find a connection to King's Quest I and II.

Behind the scenesEdit

The KQ3 Hintbook was written by Roberta Williams the creator of the King's Quest series.

There are very few item based puzzles in KQ3 that require the player to discover the solution on their own (with the exception of having to use key to unlock the safe, and using a mirror to defeat Medusa, giving food to Manannan, or using coins to buy stuff, shovel to dig, etc); and many of those are rather obvious.  There are a few puzzles involving interacting with the environment such as moving the book, and activating the switch to access the secret lab, or  lowering the latter of the secret hideout, or simply opening doors.

Most of the game is a scavenger hunt to find items to use to make spells (most of the games items are described in the manual); most of the games puzzles are solved by using the spells.

Since most of the games items are described in the spell book, and most of the games puzzles solutions are described by the purpose of the spells.There is very little that the player must discover on their own (other than scavenging to find the various ingredients). Some of the additional item based puzzles, such as using a spoon to collect mud, or a thimbol to collect dew, a knife to cut cactus, etc, are described in detail in the spell lists; removing any need for the player to discover those solutions on their own.


The release of this product in 1986 was quickly met with loud protests from gamers claiming that King's Quest III wasn't really a King's Quest at all. Because it focused on a young slave named Gwydion and his attempts to escape his evil master, players didn't grasp the connection between Gwydion and King Graham of Daventry until they finished the game some months later.[2]

Notice the "automatic mapping feature" of the game. This feature was widely promoted on King's Quest III's introduction; however, it was not included in future King's Quests games as player feedback indicated it reduced challenge.[3]

"KQ3 was very dark, and it utilized lots of magic and magic spells with the basic idea of finding ingredients for "black magic" spells and then casting those spells. (Certain religious groups were upset with me over that one!)"-Roberta Williams, 1997

Easter eggsEdit

  • If you attempt to "eat chickens", it says, "Sorry, Colonel; they're not even dead yet!", this is a reference to Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken.
  • If you "look" or "feel" Rosella the game says, "Princess Rosella is gorgeous! Why you'd be interested her in if she weren't your own sister! Her hair is long silky, and golden. Here eyes are as blue as the bluest sky. Here skin is creamy white. And her BODY... Well!! Embarrassed, you clear your throat and avert your eyes."
  • If you try to "touch Rosella", Rosella says, "WATCH IT, FELLA!!"
  • If you type "hug" or "kiss" Rosella, the game says, "You plant a brotherly kiss upon Princess Rosella's soft cheek".
  • If you attempt to use any curse words, the game states, "Obviously, you were raised by a naughty wizard."
  • If you look behind the tapestry next to Manannan's room, it will give information about King's Quest developers, and it will also say "There is information about the upcoming King's Quest IV, but tis doesn't interest you because you presently have your hands full with King's Quest III".[4]

Technology and DevelopmentEdit

This was allegedly the first adventure game featuring auto-mapping, with a "magic map" found in the game that can be used to teleport to most locations that the player has visited before. This feature was unpopular among some fans who claim it made the game too easy, hence magic maps in future Sierra games were more limited in their teleporting ability.

The Apple IIGS version had improved music and sound effects.

Copy ProtectionEdit

King's Quest III was the first game in which Sierra used a manual-based copy protection scheme. Nearly all AGI games (including King's Quest III) have a disk-based copy protection, requiring the original game disk to be present in order to play the game. This wasn't entirely effective and unofficial versions were widespread. (This key-disk check was removed from the later released "King's Quest Collection" versions.)

However, to complete King's Quest III, the player needs to create a number of magic spells, through alchemical formula that are only available in the game's manual. Many considered the process slightly overdone, 140 of the 210 possible points in the game are obtained through simply doing what the manual says, leaving less room for real puzzles. Starting with KQIV, later Sierra games would open with a dialog requesting that the player enter word X from page Y of the manual.

This was not a true copy protection and was actually considered a game feature, and thus the complete spell list was printed in many of the official guides at the time including the Official Book of King's Quest, and the King's Quest Companion. However, the Official Book of King's Quest leaves out parts of the Flying like an Eagle Spell and Storm Spell (the chants to end the spells early) in order to somewhat prevent players' from simply 'stealing the game'.

Fan AdaptationsEdit

Two fan adaptations/retellings have been made (offering new scenes, and occasionally new puzzles)

In 2006, Infamous Adventures released a fan-made adaptation and retelling of King's Quest III. The fan-game uses a point and click interface, and also adds VGA graphics and digital sound.

In 2006, AGD Interactive released a fan-made "redux" (adaptation/retelling) of King's Quest III. It also uses a point and click interface, and also adds VGA graphics and digital sound.

References Edit

  1. KQ3 siler box back
  2. King's Quest Collection II Manual, 4
  3. King's Quest Collection II Manual, 5
  4. Message 13 "You lift the bottom of the tapestry and peer behind it. The wall is filled with cracks. You can see why Manannan would hang a tapestry here. (There are also dozens of charcoal- scribbled drawings, diagrams, maps, and notes to programmers, with the legend \"King's Quest IV,\" but you're uninterested in this, since you presently have your hands full with \"King's Quest III.\") You lower the tapestry and smooth out the wrinkles."
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