Video Game / The Legend of Kyrandia

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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 magical 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 magical 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 travel to the center of the world and 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.


Tropes include:

  • 100% Completion: The third game parodies 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 irrelevant and nonsensical actions, such as tripping over a log.
  • Anachronism Stew: Malcolm's Revenge. Unreservedly so. Features to a lesser extent in The Hand of Fate.
  • 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.
    Zanthia: This is the worst knapsack I've ever had!
  • Ball of Light Transformation: In Fables and Fiends, the purple gem on the amulet allows Brandon to transform into a Will-o'-Wisp (a group of purple, floating lights). He can float over things that have no ground and can travel through cavern rooms indefinitely (the wisp form lights the room, so he 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 task, ranging from an actual broken bridge (which is repaired by an NPC) to a frozen cave mouth and a bottomless pit.
  • Butt Monkey: Brynn. Zanthia makes several nasty comments about her in the second game.
  • By the Lights of Their Eyes: In the Shadowland Labyrinth 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. Lampshaded in the third game, where it is revealed that the glowing eyes are emblazoned on spiked signs carried by adorable gremlin-like creatures.
  • 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, ties it into a knot and scolds it.
    • Zanthia mentions her wardrobe spell to Brandon in the first game. This spell plays a major role in the second game.
  • 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 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.
  • Cats Are Mean: Subverted in the third game. Anthropomorphic cats are reduced to slavery by mean anthropomorphic dogs. Once they are freed, they simply become lazy.
  • 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.
  • Changing Clothes Is a Free Action: Thanks to her magical wardrobe spell, Zanthia can change clothes instantaneously in The Hand of Fate (and she frequently does).
  • 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 lots of ruckus," while he's a bit more serious in the last game.
  • Clothing Damage: Zanthia suffers it a couple of times in The Hand of Fate. It's rarely enough to make her indecent, but it motivates her to use her magical wardrobe spell anyway.
  • 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 will 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.
    • Played straight in The Hand of Fate. Not only is Zanthia just fine walking around Volcania, she can even stand directly on the lava (though only for a second).
  • 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 small winged fairy. This latter character does NOT appear in the game (although a sprite for a similar looking fairy is buried within the resource files).
  • Credits Gag: In The Hand of Fate, the Narrator is credited as "His Royal Highness BRANDON, King of Kyrandia, Defender of the Kyragem, Vanquisher of Malcolm, Patron of the Arts, Wearer of the Sandal, and Majority Stock Owner and CEO of Timbermist Casual Footwear, Inc."
    • Additionally, The Hand is listed in every section of the voice credits with a different person's name each time, despite having no lines. Most of the people listed appear to be relatives of the creative team.
  • Cut-and-Paste Environments: The "Dark forest" areas in Fables and Fiends. Even lampshaded by Brandon.
  • Curse: The true cause of William and Katherine's death is, apparently, a curse on the enchanted knife. The Reveal is that William was holding the knife and actually stabbed himself with it, while Malcolm tried to stop him.
  • 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 in case they take the wrong turn.
  • Denser and Wackier: The sequels. Books II and III shifted considerably in tone from Book I, featuring more outlandish locations and characters plus many anachronisms and meta references. While The Hand of Fate only experienced this to a degree, Malcolm's Revenge takes the cake.
  • 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. Lampshaded in the third game, as one of Brandon's original shoes turns up at the dump.
  • Due to the Dead: In Fables and Fiends, Brandon visits his parents' graves. To trigger a necessary conversation with his mother's ghost, he must place a flower on the grave.
  • Enemy Mime: One that will kill Malcolm if provoked.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Malcolm, strangely enough, has become such a powerful magic user 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. Should you feed someone a Squirrel Cream Sandwich, you're likely to hear comments on how it must be a new recipe. Brandywine the dragon especially loves them.
  • 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's bad conscience is called Gunther, who frequently appears to comment on his actions. The introduction shows that Malcolm's good conscience, Stewart, ended up stuck 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 clues for 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: In The Hand of Fate, 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.
  • Informing the Fourth Wall: In Malcolm's Revenge this is taken to hilarious levels with the Malcolm and Gunther's running commentary on the player's decisions. Especially Malcolm's twenty-four different responses to eating a Fish Cream Sandwich.
  • Karma Houdini: In the third game Malcolm can choose to embrace his good side, and if he does, everyone likes him - especially after it's proven he didn't try to kill the king after all. Even if that's true, he still turned all the royal mystics to stone and tried to kill the rightful heir.
  • 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. He has a French accent...
  • 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 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 her handy wardrobe spell. Some are just palette swaps of her first 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 spell 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.
  • Magical Clown: Malcolm, strangely enough, has become such a powerful magic user that the others in the realm can hardly stand up to him. And he is a jester.
  • Magic Ampersand: Fables & Fiends.
  • The Magic Goes Away: When Malcolm is defeated in the first game's ending.
  • The Maze:
    • The Shadowland Labyrinth in the first game. Fireberries must be collected to light Brandon's way through the caverns. The route taken must be very specific, as another fireberry bush must be found within four screens of the last, or else...
    • The third game's jungle level, The Isle of Cats.
  • 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.
  • Monster Clown: Malcolm the jester. Suffers a reluctant flipflop in the third and final game which does ...absolutely nothing at all. He retains the same personality. He still says incredibly evil and nasty things. He just stopped killing people. (which nobody believes, so it's up to you as Malcolm to clear your name in the third.) Most unconvincing HFT ever, most unrepentant villain ever too. Even with his personality set to "nice" and with him talking to the sorceress Zanthia, on whom he has a bit of a crush, everything he says still makes him sound like a spiteful misanthropic Jerk Ass just one dagger away from a multiple homicide. He's not so much an Anti-Hero as he is the same Magnificent Bastard he was before, just without the murderous streak. He claims.
  • 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 cats, 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.
    • Zanthia encounters a ghost in The Hand of Fate — one that she can store in a bottle and then use to animate a scarecrow.
    • Pirate Jean-Claude Barbecue's boat also shows many ghosts in it if Malcolm messes around with the furniture inside.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: The inhabitants of the Kingdom of Limbo are mainly Fish People, but a few Merfolk who stay around the Queen also appear.
  • Panty Shot: Zanthia has a brief one in The Hand of Fate when she jumps into the hot air vent.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Malcolm can dress up with just a leather coat or a squirrel hat, and some characters like Dwayne, 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 Farmer Brown.
  • Pirate Parrot: Located in the "Drunk Dragon" tavern in The Hand of Fate.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: The 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.
    • Also the Rainbow Stone, which certainly seems all mystical and important, but doesn't do anything.
  • Retcon: The third game causes a lot of what was said in the first game to be proven untrue. Malcolm was not actually responsible for the deaths of William and Katherine, even though Katherine's ghost clearly states that he was. Also, Zanthia - despite having spoken badly of him previously - remarks that "I always knew you were okay." Whether some of this is an actual case of Retcon or simply From a Certain Point of View is never clarified.
  • Revenge of the Sequel: The Legend of Kyrandia Book III: Malcolm's Revenge
  • Savage Setpiece: The first screen of the third game has 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.
  • 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.
  • Smooch of Victory: Zanthia and Marko have one when they defeat the Hand.
  • 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: The 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 Shadowland Labyrinth maze from the first game involves clever use of multiple disposable Ten Second Flashlights. The Labyrinth 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 The 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 spell is almost empty. Still a pretty extensive set of outfits, though. In the third game, Zanthia mentions she no longer has the spell.
  • 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.
    • Averted in the second game. One puzzle in the third level requires you to repeat a color memorization sequence in order to unlock a door, which is different in each game played. If you no longer remember the sequence, you can break the lock with a pair of scissors.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: In Malcolm's Revenge, 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 The 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.
  • Working on the Chain Gang: In Malcolm's Revenge, Malcolm can be sent to prison to perform menial labor: first making doilies, then chipping stone, and then chain-ganged into trimming hedges or rowing a boat. The player can either perform the labor and earn Malcolm's parole, or perform an inventive prison break, such as by flinging the pile of boulders to their target rather than ferrying a few chips at a time. "All done!"
  • World of Pun: At least in the second game, especially with some of the spell ingredients.
  • Wrongful Accusation Insurance: In Malcolm's Revenge, Malcolm repeatedly insists that he's innocent - of his initial crime, that is: killing the king. He is. He and everyone else politely ignore his other activities, both his villainy in the first game (turning the Mystics into stone, rampant destruction, taking over Kyrandia, etc.) or his Heroic Comedic Sociopath antics in this one.
  • X-Ray Sparks: Happens to Zanthia in The Hand of Fate if she touches the electricity generated by the mill.
  • Your Mime Makes It Real: In the beginning of the third game, Malcolm encounters a mime. Being the jerk that he is, there is an option to mock said mime. If Malcolm overdoes it, he mimes shooting him with a bow... and he dies.

Alternative Title(s): Legend Of Kyrandia, The Legend Of Kyrandia, Kyrandia

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/VideoGame/TheLegendOfKyrandia?from=Main.TheLegendOfKyrandia