Video Game: The Legend of Kyrandia
An Adventure Game
trilogy made by Westwood Studios
. It consists of the following titles:
- The Legend of Kyrandia, Book One: Fables and Fiends (1992)
- The Legend of Kyrandia, Book Two: Hand of Fate (1993)
- The Legend of Kyrandia, Book Three: Malcolm's Revenge (1994)
The series takes place in a High Fantasy
setting, in the fictional land of Kyrandia.
King William and Queen Katherine have been murdered by the court jester
, Malcolm. Imprisoned, he manages to escape 18 years later and proceeds to take over Kyrandia using his great magic powers. Meanwhile, Brandon, a young man living in the forest with his grandfather Kallak, finds out that he is the son of the murdered king and queen, and that he must stop Malcolm from his evil designs and retrieve the Kyragem
, center of the balance of nature. In order to do this, he must gather magic powers himself from the Mystics of the Kingdom.
The second game is about Zanthia, a young female alchemist who is chosen by her fellow mystics to go to the center of the world to retrieve a magical anchor stone, since Kyrandia has been disappearing piece by piece. A giant glove
, The Hand, seems to be behind all this.
The third game sets Malcolm, the Big Bad
of the first game, as the central character. He has finally been freed from his statue prison
and seeks to clear his name from the crime of killing King William, if only so that he can finally get some sleep.
- And I Must Scream: In the first game, Malcolm turns lots of people into stone. Kallak had it better... or worse - he had his eyes untouched.
- Bag of Spilling: Lampshaded.
- Ball of Light Transformation: In Fables and Fiends, the purple spell from the amulet allows you to transform into a Will-O-Wisp (a group of purple, floating lights). You can float over things that have no ground, can travel in cavern rooms indefinitely (you light your own room, so cannot be hurt by the beings that lurk in the dark).
- Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti: Met by Zanthia in the second game. He falls in love with her when she dresses up as a yeti. He has a jacuzzi, a bar and barbells in his home cave.
- Broken Bridge: In the first installment, there are several broken bridges that stop you getting to the next area until you have completed a specific thing, ranging from an actual broken bridge that is repaired by an NPC to a frozen cave mouth and several bottomless pits.
- By the Lights of Their Eyes: In the Grotto cave maze of the first game, should Brandon be unfortunate enough to walk into an unlit room, he will be killed by a horde of monsters, but all the player sees is a bunch of glowing eyes converging on the same spot in the dark.
- Call Back: One of the ways Brandon can die in the first game is being swallowed whole by a giant frog. In the second game, if the frog tries to eat Zanthia, she grabs it by the tongue and scolds it.
- Cannibal Tribe: Met by Zanthia in the second game. It's a good thing they enjoy sandwiches more than "Mystic soup".
- Can Only Move the Eyes: Malcolm in the first game is fond of turning people to stone, but adds a cruel twist to this when he does it to Kallak by leaving his eyes un-stoned.
- Can't You Read the Sign?: In Book 3: Malcolm's Revenge, one section involves navigating sheer-faced cliffs and waterfalls, and the only way to go is up or down with the aid of certain items. There are signs posted on each screen that inform what items are not allowed ("No climbing shoes", "No umbrellas", etc.) However, it's reverse psychology. The forbidden items are the items that will work.
- Captain Ersatz:
- Cats Are Mean: Subverted in the third game. Anthropomorphic cats are reduced to slavery by mean anthropomorphic dogs.
- Celestial Bureaucracy: In Malcolm's Revenge, Malcolm arrives in the lobby of such a bureaucracy and is made to wait in line behind a Captain Ersatz of Elvis Presley before he is able to progress to Hell.
- Chekhov's Gun: In the second and third game. No spoilers, just mentioning that they exist is a major clue.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Brynn. She plays a major role in the first game. In the second game, she only appears in the opening cinematic and is sporadically mentioned later. In the third game, she is nowhere to be found and never mentioned.
- Clear My Name: Malcolm in Malcolm's Revenge, accused of murdering King William and Queen Katherine. In Fables and Fiends, his strategy seems to be "take over the kingdom and cause lot of ruckus" while he does it a bit more seriously in the last game.
- Color-Coded Stones: Zig-zagged in Fables and Fiends. In addition to having all the common gemstones and colors, the game includes a variety of other jewels, as one puzzle revolves around birthstones. One of the first items the player can pick up is a bright red garnet, and the first green-colored stone the player is likely to see is a peridot. The rubies and emeralds are trickier to acquire.
- Contrasting Sequel Main Character: In the first game, the protagonist is a classic heroic Prince Charming. In the second, the protagonist is a Plucky Girl alchemist. In the third, the protagonist is an Omnicidal Maniac.
- Convection Schmonvection: The first game has a puzzle in which there is a massive lava flow going under a bridge. Seemingly played only for drama, when your character begins to cross the bridge he catches fire and burns up painfully. To get through you need to find a scroll of freezing to turn the lava into ice.
- Cool Boat: Subverted in Malcolm's Revenge. Jean-Claude Barbecue's boat looks really lame. On the cover, it looks more like a traditional "pirate ship".
- Covers Always Lie: The cover of Fables and Fiends shows Malcolm spying on Brandon who reads a scroll while being accompanied by a shiny blue-green fairy being. This latter character does NOT appear in the game.
- Cut-and-Paste Environments: The "Dark forest" areas in Fables and Fiends. Even lampshaded by Brandon.
- Darkness Equals Death: The first game featured a segment that plays the trope quite literally. Just before the darkness, you have access to a bush full of glowing fruit. You have to carry the fruit with you through a maze of caves so as to light them. But they can only be carried through three rooms. Go into a fourth room, and they literally burn out. And if you're caught in one of the caves when it's pitch black, it's game over. You need to find another such bush within the maze to keep going. Gets a little tricky at points because you can be at the point where the next move burns out your fruit, so most players save just before then just in case they take the wrong turn.
- Does Not Like Shoes: Brandon spends the majority of the first game complaining about his boots being uncomfortable. He seems to be fine with sandals though.
- Enemy Mime: One that will kill Malcolm if provoked.
- Everything's Nuttier With Squirrels: Malcolm kills a squirrel by blowing up a tree in the first game's intro. Squirrels are featured more prominently in the third game. In the first screen, there is a squirrel in the dump and if Malcolm tries to annoy it too much by speaking to it, it will kill him and drag his corpse. He can also bait it and hypnotise it to paralysis so he can carry it as a hat or wake it up in a parlour to cause havock.
- Evil Sorcerer: Malcolm, who strangely enough, has become such a powerful wizard that the others in the realm can hardly stand up to him. And he is a jester.
- He also controls the source of all magic in the land and denied the other wizards access for years upon years. They're down to the last pitiful dregs of their powers before he breaks out and comes after them.
- In the third game, Malcolm has no magic powers.
- Finger Twitching Revival: The series uses it in a stinger at the end of the second game: Malcolm is freed from his statue form, but all we get to see is him twitching his finger.
- Fish People: Malcolm meets many of them in the Kingdom of Limbo in the third game. There are also Merfolk around.
- Foreign Queasine: Fish Cream Sandwiches are very popular in Kyrandia, and they look as disgusting as they sound. According to The Voice of Reason they taste just as bad.
- Give Me Your Inventory Item: In Malcolm's Revenge, you encounter a pirate who takes you prisoner and demands that you give him valuable items from your inventory. By this point in the game you have likely picked up a fair quantity of gemstones, and if you don't know the secret to getting past this part, you can end up giving them all to him without satisfying his demand. Instead, you have to give him the gold collar you acquired in the previous section, which he will promptly put on — only to be yanked away by another antagonist, leaving you free to go.
- Good Angel, Bad Angel: In the third game, Malcolm has a bad angel called Gunther who frequently appears to comment on his actions. The introduction shows that Malcolm's good angel, Stewart, ended up stucked under a stone, which may be why Malcolm became so nasty. Near the end of the game, Stewart shows up again and Malcolm can choose whether to keep just Gunther, just Stewart or to choose both since Malcolm himself doesn't care about morality, just wanting to Clear His Name so that he can finally go home and take a nap.
- Good Luck Charm: There's a horseshoe that acts as a lucky charm (and magnet), and it's a component in one of the potions.
- Slightly subversion as there is also an unlucky horseshoe. The trick is in knowing the difference.
- Guide Dang It: The games don't give you a clue on several of the puzzles.
- Happy Harlequin Hat: Malcolm wears one. In the third game, wearing a leather jerkin and/or a squirrel as a disguise will also remove the hat and cause fewer people to recognize him, despite no change in his loud yellow-and-purple sleeves and leggings. The jester hat seems to be the only thing most laypeople remember about him!
- Have a Nice Death: Kind of subverted. Whenever Brandon, Zanthia or Malcolm dies, there is a screen that says "Rest in peace, [name of player]...".
- Head Pet: Malcolm can use a hypnotized squirrel as a hat for disguise.
- Heart Is an Awesome Power: After finding her spellbook from first year of magician's school, Zanthia derides the sparse collection of "kiddie potions" inside. They turn out to be exactly what she needs to succeed in her adventure.
- Heel-Face Turn: Malcolm near the end of Malcolm's Revenge.
- Helium Speech: Malcolm's Revenge had an sound option that made every character's voice squeaky and high-pitched.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Malcolm is turned into a statue by his own reflecting spell in the end of Fables and Fiends.
- Honest John's Dealership: One of the salesmen on Volcania in Hand of Fate is like this. If you keep gathering seashells, coins, and starfish for him (not required and takes a long time), you eventually become so pissed off you punch him out.
- 100% Completion: The third game parodied the scorekeeping mechanic of other contemporary adventure games. The stated maximum score is 911, but the developers have admitted that they pulled the number out of thin air, and it is absolutely impossible to actually reach that score. Points are often awarded for completely irrevelant and nonsensical actions, such as tripping over a log.
- I Can't Use These Things Together: In Malcolm's Revenge this is taken to hilarious levels with the Malcolm and Gunther's running commentary on the players decisions. Especially Malcolm's twenty-four different responses to eating a Fish Cream Sandwich.
- Kick the Dog: Malcolm kills a squirrel in the first game's intro just for fun. Not to mention he destroys dozens of trees just for the heck of it.
- Killer Rabbit: The Kyrandian Killer Squirrels. In the third installment, Malcolm's Revenge, there's one on the very first screen—allowing you to produce one of the fastest Game Overs in video game history, simply by teasing the squirrel twice—at which point it'll leap at your face, kill you, and drag off your corpse to feed its young.
- La Résistance: On the Isle of Cats in the third game, there is a cat resistance leader called Fluffy fighting against the dog invaders.
- Laugh Track: Malcolm's Revenge has what is presumably a parody of this: laughter will often occur after Malcolm's comments, regardless of whether they are intended to be funny. Thankfully, it can be disabled in the options menu.
- Lightning Can Do Anything: Malcolm gets freed from his statue spell by a thunderbolt in the opening of Malcolm's Revenge.
- Limited Wardrobe: Zanthia, the protagonist of the second game, changes outfits frequently by means of a handy wardrobe gem on her belt. Some are just palette swaps of her normal outfit, but she also has a flower-print wrap dress, a casual hiking outfit, snow gear, and even a bathrobe/towel/fuzzy slippers combo. (It isn't a case of Unlimited Wardrobe, though, since near the end of the game she mentions that the gem is almost empty.)
- Long Song, Short Scene: The first game features a rather long and catchy tune which plays in exactly one room in the entire game: the emerald room of Serpent's Grotto, which is completely optional. Most players never hear more than 10 seconds of it, if even that much.
- Magic Ampersand: Fables & Fiends
- The Magic Goes Away: When Malcolm is defeated in the first game's ending.
- The Maze:
- The first game has a particularly obnoxious maze midway through the game that forces you to repeatedly backtrack in order to have enough fire berries with you to light up otherwise dark rooms. The berries decay with each move you make, and if you don't have one when you enter a room, you instantly die. The only way to get more is through sparsely scattered bushes in the maze, but there is no way to know where they are beforehand, resulting in a lot of backtracking as you go back and forth fetching more light sources hoping to make it to the next bush before they all go out.
- Kyrandia 3's jungle maze also attained Scrappy Level status. The navigation is completely unintuitive, and once in a while you get infested with fleas and scratch yourself to death.
- Mineral MacGuffin: The Kyragem in the first game.
- Mirrors Reflect Everything: At the end of Fables and Fiends, Brandon has to defeat Malcolm by having him shoot his petrifying spell on a mirror... leading himself to be Hoist by His Own Petard.
- Our Dragons Are Different: Brandywine is a purple female dragon who is the companion of Darm. She is a friendly character, whether it be to Brandon or Malcolm. She likes to eat squirrels and dislikes being forced to eat only knights who are "hard to peel".
- Our Ghosts Are Different: Queen Katherine appears as a ghost on her tombstone if Brandon drops a flower on it. Malcolm can do the same, but needs to drop two flowers. A Bedsheet Ghost (a bodyguard?) appears to Malcolm if he approaches the tombstone without those requirements. Pirate Jean-Claude Barbecue's boat also shows many ghosts in it if Malcolm messes around with the furniture inside.
- Our Mermaids Are Different: In the Kingdom of Limbo are mainly Fish People, but also a few Merfolk who stay around the Queen.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Malcolm can dress up with just a leather coat or a squirrel hat, and some characters like the Fish Cream Bar bartender, Darm and Vince will not recognize him. Zanthia is harder to fool, as both the coat and squirrel hat are required for her to mistake Malcolm as a Farmer called Brown.
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Hand of Fate has a pub full of these. Apparently they've reformed and now just sit around drinking root beer and hosting Pirate Poetry Nights.
- Polygon Ceiling: The Legend of Kyrandia 1 and 2 were widely praised, while the 3rd got a mixed reception. Transition from painted to rendered backgrounds and objects was not the main peeve, but it definitely affected the game atmosphere. The primitivism of models also did not help.
- Red Herring: In the first game you can find a "Piscata Rosea" item near the end.
- Revenge of the Sequel: The Legend of Kyrandia III: Malcolm's Revenge
- Scary Scarecrows: Not a scary one. Zanthia makes a scarecrow come to life in Hand of Fate, causing his owner to pursue him through the fields and he is later found in a bar brawl.
- Scoring Points: Malcolm's Revenge gives points both for solving puzzles and for finding interesting ways to mess around with people and objects, but the points are quite useless and mostly serve as extra humor.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Malcolm's Revenge has the player play as a Sealed Evil in a Can, who is rather dismayed to discover that being unsealed does not include getting his awesome magical powers of doom back, leaving him running around with no powers in a fantasy kingdom where everyone hates his guts.
- Shrine to Self: In Fables and Fiends Malcolm turns the Kyragem Vault into one of these, with portraits of himself and floor-to-ceiling mirrors. The mirrors prove to be an unfortunate design choice...
- Silliness Switch: Helium Mode.
- Springtime for Hitler:: In Book 3, the protagonist Malcolm is summoned by the Fish Queen for a game of Tic-Tac-Toe. Despite her enthusiasm for the game, she is exceptionally bad at it, and will always demand a rematch if Malcolm wins. Thus, you have to go out of your way to lose.
- The Stinger: Hand of Fate: Oh, hey, it's the petrified Malcolm from the first game. Oh, hey, lightning storm.
- Taken for Granite: Malcolm turns a lot of characters into stone in Fables and Fiends. Strangely enough, he can also decide which part of the body to not be transformed, as he does with Kallak's eyes.
- Ten-Second Flashlight: The memorable Serpent's Grotto puzzle from the first game involves clever use of multiple disposable Ten Second Flashlights. Serpent's Grotto consists mostly of a series of caverns with glowing Fireberry bushes growing at strategic locations throughout. Warmth (from Brandon's hand) causes the berries to decay and lose their glow (a Fireberry continues to give off light for exactly three screens when held); when they're on the cold floor, the decay stops and the glow remains constant. So Brandon must explore the Grotto by dropping Fireberries on the floor to light up otherwise pitch-black rooms. Get caught in a room with no bush and no berries, and the results are predictably unpleasant.
- Then Let Me Be Evil: Malcolm has a lot of this, considering he was blamed and imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit.
- Towers of Hanoi: This is the last puzzle in Hand of Fate.
- Treasure Is Bigger in Fiction: The Kyragem, a powerful magical artifact. It is roughly as wide as a regular kitchen table and set into the ground. May not count since not only is it a powerful magical artifact, it's the powerful magical artifact that's the source of all the magic in the kingdom.
- Trial-and-Error Gameplay: Several of the puzzles, including the mazes from the first and the third games.
- Unlimited Wardrobe: Zanthia has a spell for this. Not truly unlimited, since she does mention near the end of the game that the wardrobe gem she uses is running out of clothes. Still a pretty extensive set of outfits, though.
- The Unreveal: Though Malcolm is ultimately cleared of the charge of regicide, it was never revealed who, if anyone, arranged William and Katherine's demise.
- Unwinnable by Design: In Fables and Fiends, if you eat both of your apples before putting them to use, or if you go to the castle island without the iron key, royal chalice and a flower
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: In The Legend of Kyrandia III, Malcolm can hypnotize a squirrel to wear it as a hat, put a squirrel through a machine to turn it into a leather ball, or make a squirrel paste sandwich out of it. Even though the squirrels aren't exactly friendly in that game (click on them too many times and they kill you).
- Villainous Harlequin: Malcolm. In the third game he's less evil and more of a Jerkass.
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: One of the potential deaths in the second game, if you eat and drink too much. Complete with passing out in the puddle of puke.
- Welcome to Corneria: Though largely played straight, Malcolm's Revenge does have one funny aversion. Try to make Malcolm eat a Fish Cream Sandwich and he’ll give you more than twenty-five different phrases culminating with something like "Stop touching me with that damn thing!"
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Okay, just how the heck did the Enchanted Knife happen to be with William and Malcolm? Malcolm thinks about it when exploring an old temple on Cat Island and suspects Kallak may be the one behind all this, but it is never given a conclusion.
- White Gloves: The Hand in Hand of Fate is an animated sentient giant white glove. It too was revealed to have belonged to a wizard near the midpoint of the game.
- World of Pun: At least in the second game, especially with some of the spell ingredients.
- Your Mime Makes It Real: In the beginning of the third game, you can encounter a mime. Being the jerk that you are, you have an option to mock him. If you overdo it, he mimes shooting you with a bow... and you die.