"Save early and save often" is the golden rule of adventure games. It's something that people tend to wish they had done if they lose the game and have to start over from the beginning. However, there are many, many times when you'll discover that saving has gotten you stuck even worse than if you didn't save. Okay, you can save in multiple "slots" for the game but if you fail to do that and run into any of these problems you're stuck.

Although there are a number of dead ends in this first installment of Kings Quest, most of them aren't something that can just be stumbled upon and you'd have to actively get yourself into these situations. The main problem, is going into the Leprechaun Cave without all you need to get through. You need: cheese or treasure, a four leaf clover or a fiddle, and a magic mushroom. The cheese and treasure aren't hard to come across and the fiddle and clover are also pretty easy to handle. The main thing is the mushroom. People tend to eat it before it's time or they forget to get it. Unfortunately for the player, once you've entered the cave you can't get out. If you forget a way to get past the rat, and/or the leprechauns, and/or the mushroom you're out. As a bonus dead end you could also fail to get the shield (though it's hard to imagine why) if you do, you can't go back to get it. This makes it one of the most annoying dead ends in the game especially since it's near the end of the game.

Just about every player of this game has run into this dead end. After entering Ulence flats with a skimmer, you're approached by someone who wants to buy it. You need money, so it seems like a good idea to sell it. If you do, you can continue on through the game unhindered until you reach the Sarien's ship. Suddenly you find yourself unable to move around in space and you can't enter the ship. You can't leave, you can't get out of your ship unless you want to die, but if you don't you'll just sit there. So you go back, tell the buyer "no" and then go into the bar. When you come out, your skimmer is gone. Why? You left the keys in the skimmer! GRR! You go back again, this time you say "no," remember to take the keys, then when you come out he offers the jetpack as well. FINALLY, you have the way through. Most likely having to go through this twice before you get it lands it on this list.

This one is only fully applicable to the thief and the magic user, while it's applicable to the fighter, with the fighter you'd pretty much be begging for the dead end. When your time in Shapeir ends you are sent to Rasier to continue the game and finish your adventure. This is where things get unforgiving. For the Magic User, if you don't have the force bolt and/or reversal spells you'll never be able to beat Ad Avis and lose the game at the end. For the thief, if you've used up or don't have the magic rope as the thief in which you either can't get into the castle or you won't be able to reach Khaveen at the end. There's also the possibility that you don't have at least three daggers in which you can't beat Ad Avis. For the fighter, you could drop your shield and then you can't fight Khaveen at the end but you're not really likely to do that. For all three players, if you don't go to the jeweler (even though you are told to do so) then you won't be able to gain aid from the Katta rebel who you need to continue the game.

There are actually two spells that are absolutely necessary for victory at this game. These two are the invisibility ointment and the storm brew. Most players like to create every spell that is available so they are rarely missed. However, a mistake often made by first time players is using the ointment too soon. You do this and it's one of the most horrible kinds of dead end ever. It's because you can't win but you're just right there at the end! All you have to do is finish this one last puzzle and you've won! And yet, you can't because you don't have the right spell! The dragon will roast you upon sight. This scenario can play out in many ways due to the spell being temporary. If you dally around too long, can't figure out what to do to the dragon for a time, or go back the way you came, you lose your invisibility and can't get close enough to the dragon to use the storm brew. That's the other thing too. If you forget the storm brew for whatever reason, you can't kill the dragon and you're still stuck. Seeing the end just right there in front of you is so frustrating! Worst of all, you're likely to save right after leaving for Daventry so you will probably be stuck!

Exactly why there's more than one detonator in that box is beyond me. However, when you get to Ortega you have to get a thermal detonator in order to find the next location in your quest. On the way back, you find that there's a box with the detonators left behind. If you pick one up which fits the "take anything that isn't nailed down" rule in adventure games, then you are stuck. You can't just drop the detonator and if you try to make the jump across the gap, you'll die! The only way to get rid of the detonator is to go all the way back to the field generator drop the detonator in the hole, then go all the way back again. By the time you've done this, you get back to your ship and discover that you're dead because the planet has broken a fissure under your ship. All it takes is just to say, "Get detonator" and that's it. The game's over for you.

To count the dead end situations in this game would require several top 10 lists before you would get them all. However, there is one that tends to be more difficult to players than most others and endlessly frustrating. This happens when you have to switch the power of the wands at the end of the game to defeat Mordack. While there are several ways to fail at this, the cheese is the hard one. Who ever heard of cheese being a catalyst for a magical device? Even then who ever heard of having to get captured to win a game? However, to get the cheese you must get captured, you have to notice the highly inconspicuous mouse hole and use a hook that you most likely failed to obtain. Unlike most of the other things that you need to pick up, the cheese doesn't shine so you may not notice it. What makes it worse than about all of the other dead ends, it comes up at the end of the game. Yes, if you fail to save Cedric you'll die here too but isn't it OBVIOUS you should save him?

Meant for younger players, Eco Quest doesn't have any deaths and wasn't supposed to have any dead ends in it. Unfortunately, there was one that was overlooked. There's a test in the game in which you're supposed to turn a number of pillars. There are instructions that are given to you but if you don't catch them then you can fail the test. After turning the different pillars they will lock into place whether you were correct in the sequence or not. If you lock just ONE of these pillar pieces in the wrong sequence you can't fix the problem. This also means you can't continue the game. You're stuck in the underwater city for good. The fact that this is meant for younger players makes it all the more harsh since they're not likely to understand where they went wrong.

This only comes up at the end of the game, but while in the catacombs you can get bitten by venomous rats. Of course, you do have an antidote with you and if you get bit it's only natural that you will seek to use the antidote. The trouble is, if you do, you'll not be able to save Sir Galahad. The game will continue on as normal even if you don't save him. Then you make it to the Holy Grail. The music plays, it seems you've succeeded and then… you're killed! The grail will destroy you for your failure to save each one of the knights. Of course, this will happen no matter which one or ones you fail to save, but the other two you'd pretty much have to deliberately leave them behind. There is no way to accidentally fail to save them so simply using the antidote on yourself like it seems logical to do makes it to the list.

This is one that has probably baffled a great many players. The Domovoi will only show up in the Inn at night around midnight. The problem is: there's no indication that you need to find him. Most players will just instruct the hero to sleep all night and feel there's no trouble. The game will play normally afterwards. You'll even come across the first major problem of the game. If you do though, that means you're stuck in a dead end! The Domovoi will only appear before this happens. If you miss him you're not going to be able to win the game. The trouble is: you can keep playing the game afterwards. There are plenty of things that you can still do, but once you enter the castle and try to save the girl you find you can't help her. Why? It's because the Domovoi is the only one to tell you what you need to do and give you the one item you need. Unfortunately, if you never met the Domovoi then you'll have no clue whatsoever what you were supposed to do. That's the worst part of it. You can't win the game but don't know why.

If there was anything that seems like the game developers were TRYING to force you into a dead end it's this one. This game is one that the rules aren't clearly explained so you don't find out that a straight doesn't count, if you save during the game as most players tend to do, you can't go back to any point during the game or the guy will quit the game, and if you lose the game which is likely since it's gambling, then you don't get the bottle of rum and you don't get a device. Both are needed to finish the game and there's no guarantee that you can get them. In fact, you're more likely NOT to get them seeing that there's no sure way to win them. The worst part of this is that the game continues on until you're in the last leg of the game. This dead end is even worse in that you get one chance and only one chance to win. It doesn't matter how the game ends, you lose, you give up, you are caught cheating, even if you win, your opponent won't play again so the whole game rides on you winning at this gamble. That makes this the number one on this list.

Sierra games were my favorites when I was growing up. I was sad to see them go and sad that Vindedi didn't start up some new games in this style. However, as this list demonstrates, the games sure did have their share of unfair frustratingly mean moments.

List by Xoneris (08/27/2013)

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