After making Dragon's Lair a success, Rick Dyer turned his
attention to making an adventure game that required strategy rather
than reflexes. In Thayer's Quest, you play the role of Thayer
Alconred, last of the bloodline of the Elder Kings. Your objective
is to prevent the evil Sorsabal from finding five relics from the
five kingdoms which can be combined to form the Hand of Quoid --
which he intends to use to take over the world. As with just about
every other LD game, Thayer's Quest is not completely interactive,
but rather forces you to make decisions. What makes Thayer's Quest
unique lies in its input device and its voice synthesis ability.
You make your decisions by punching in commands on a keyboard
instead of with a joystick. In addition, the computer uses
synthesized speech, where players are actually called by their name
during the game.
Along the way, the player collects and casts spells on enemies, and
listens for hints from people you meet along the way. Many of the
characters turn their back to the screen when they talk or have
coverings over their mouths because the left and right channels have
different dialogue! When you defeat the game it tells you there's
more waiting in "disc two" which never made it to the arcades.
There are actually three screens for continuing to Thayer's Quest --
"The High Ruler", "Disc Two", or "The Last Battle". The coin-op
laserdisc is single-sided and only contains three out of the five
kingdoms. Although a more extensive, double-sided version of the game
exists for the home laserdisc RDI Halcyon system, it too was unfinished.
Thayer was later released for the 3DO system as Kingdom: The Far Reaches,
although the character names were changed and the sound and speech are
somewhat different. A game called Shadoan came out as an official
sequel to Kingdoms, but it was created from scratch. We're still
waiting for a "complete" version of Thayer's Quest.