#341 – King of Kings – The Early Years

King-of-Kings

                                                    

                                                                                                             The original cover…

 

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… and the alternate cover. My guess is sales were slow, so Wisdom Tree tried to make the game look more action-packed. Hah!

 

PLAYERS: 1

PUBLISHER: Wisdom Tree

DEVELOPER: Wisdom Tree

GENRE: Action

RELEASE DATE: 1991

 

What blasphemy is this that was born from the bowels of Wisdom Tree! Taking Bible stories out of context in Bible Adventures was bad enough, but did Wisdom Tree have to make a pseudo-sequel – with three games and Bible verses aplenty – based around the first few years of Jesus’ life? Can you imagine some radical Muslim developer making a game around some of the holiest parts of the Quran? To do so would demean the text, and yet, Wisdom Tree, a supposedly Christian company with a fondness for publishing illegal games, found it ok to do this with the Bible. And yes, even if I put my personal convictions aside, the three “games” contained within are still horribly made. Behold!

 

The Wise Men: In this particular romp, you play as the three wise men on camels who must trek through the desert collecting gold, frankincense, and myrrh to present to Jesus in a manger. I should mention that the desert and most of the enemies appear to be “borrowed” from Super Mario Bros 2. Not only does Wisdom Tree make illegal games, they also blatantly copy other companies’ ideas. Still, this is the best of the three games, in that, there’s actually things to do. Being able to attack enemies and hop from platform to platform while avoiding other enemies is actually about as exciting as any of the three games get. Beware, ‘The Wise Men’ goes from 0 to ridiculously hard by the second stage. It doesn’t help that your only attack is camel spittle (seriously). Bonus points do go to Wisdom Tree for actually trying to make a game here.

 

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                                                                               Mind those crazy desert porcupines!

 

Flight to Egypt: And the downhill slide begins with this second game. Here you play as Jesus, Mary, and Joseph on a donkey riding to Egypt. In the Bible, they’re escaping from King Herod’s edict, which stated that every young male child in Bethlehem was to be slaughtered. Heavy stuff. In this game, they’re escaping from bats, snakes, falling dirt, and especially boulders. The boulders will bounce, roll, and pummel their way towards the trio, and it’s up to the donkey to get you out of it. Oy. Each level is pretty much the same – a straight dirt path with a dirt background – save for color palette swaps on every background. Like in the Bible, Jesus, Mary and Joseph eventually make it to Egypt, so at least they’re sticking to the source material.

 

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                                                                          Less of a flight and more of slow, steady trek.

 

Jesus & The Temple: In this particular Bible story, Jospeh and Mary realize they left Jesus at the temple and go back to get him. In the game, Joseph must venture through waterfalls and caves and all manner of evil insects and animals, while Mary is in town, avoiding dishware being thrown from windows and bouncing on rooftops. I guess Wisdom Tree felt they had to spruce this particular portion up, but you’re better off just reading the book. Joseph and Mary have no way to protect themselves so you’re at the mercy of avoiding every enemy that comes your way. Jumping is a real crapshoot. Most of the time you jump into the path of other enemies, or just don’t jump at all. I’m assuming they find Jesus at the temple. If you’ve read any of these stories before, the entire game is incredibly anticlimactic.

 

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                                                                                         Joseph on his way to the… temple?

 

This game is not an affront to society nor do I feel like its presence is damaging to the lives of retro gamers everywhere, but it begs the question, why? Why does it exist? Who benefits from this game? Christian gamers should be offended that King of Kings belittles Christ’s early years and is boring to the point of unplayability. Other non-Christian gamers should be offended that Wisdom Tree tries to pass this off as “edutainment.” If you want to learn about Jesus, read the Bible. If you want to play a game, play just about anything else.

 

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