King's Bounty is a turn-based fantasy computer and video game designed by Jon Van Caneghem of New World Computing in 1990. The game follows the player's character, a hero of King Maximus, appointed with the job of retrieving the Sceptre of Order from the forces of chaos, led by Arech Dragonbreath. King's Bounty is notably considered the forerunner of the Heroes of Might and Magic series of games.
A Mega Drive/Genesis port was developed and released in North America on February 21, 1991, with a multitude of graphical changes. The gameplay was also modified to incorporate real time overworld exploration.
In 2008, a spiritual sequel titled King's Bounty: The Legend was released.
The player leads the hero and his army across the four continents, acquiring up to 25 pieces of a map revealing the hidden location to the Sceptre of Order before King Maximus dies. Various details of this task are left to player's discretion, allowing for flexible gameplay. For instance, not all the scattered map sections are required; if the player is able to correctly determine the location of the sceptre's burial spot before acquiring all 25 map pieces, the game is won. If the sceptre is not recovered before King Maximus dies (the time varies depending on difficulty setting), the game ends in defeat.
The hero is given a weekly commission from the king to track down 17 villains across the 4 continents. With each defeat of the progressively stronger villain's army, the character claims (along with the reward money for the 'King's Bounty' on that villain) another piece of the map revealing the sceptre's burial location. Along the way, numerous treasure chests are encountered scattered across the map. Some of these chests represent various events that increase the hero's inherent abilities, such as magical strength or weekly income; others may contain one of eight artifacts, which themselves provide a piece of the map, in addition to conferring their own unique powers.
The location of the sceptre, the artifacts and which castles the villains inhabit are all randomized each game, adding to its replayability.
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