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Video Game / The Legend of Kyrandia

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Watch out, Malcolm! I'm coming to get you and I've got a flute now!

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 within the castle, he manages to escape 18 years later and proceeds to take over Kyrandia using his 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 magic himself from the Mystics of the land.


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:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: In Book III, Malcolm seems to view Rowena as this, and definitely shows discomfort at some of her pet-names for him and hopes for their future. The ending reveals it didn’t stop them from having a baby together!
  • Addressing the Player: In the third installment Malcolm's Revenge, the player character is Malcolm, who was the Big Bad of the first game. Malcolm has been annoyed throughout the game by his good and evil shoulder angels, Gunther and Stewart, and he finally yells at the player about it. You must then decide whether he will keep Gunther, Stewart, or both.
    Malcolm: You! Out there! I think it's about time you started taking some responsibility. You decide which of these idiots I should keep and who should go. I'll accept your decision, whatever it is.
  • Alchemy Is Magic: The basis of Zanthia's skillset and her means of creating potions. Sandwiches, snowmen, and teddy bears are just a few of the things in her repertoire, along with turning lead into gold.
  • All Animals Are Dogs: A stegosaurus of all things, in the second game.
  • All Girls Like Ponies: Implied to be the case with Zanthia when she was younger. When examining her book of kiddie spells in the second game, her name tag on the back cover is adorned with a childishly-drawn unicorn.
  • Amulet of Concentrated Awesome: Brandon gets one in the first game, and after a plot event where he receives some kind of magical infusion, one by one its four jewels become colored in and each give him access to a magic spell.
  • Anachronism Stew: The first game was a classical medieval fantasy basically played straight. The sequels are full of anachronisms, especially Malcolm's Revenge. While the latter is set 20 Minutes into the Future, Malcolm still mentions several too-modern things from his past (such as the Fishcream Machine), which Retcons the Kyrandia universe into being more anachronistic than it looks.
  • 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.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Although it seems like gems are consumed in the process of the birthstone or alchemy puzzles in the first game, they're actually teleported to a random screen not too far away, and the player can wander around and pick them up again if they need the gem on account of not having quite figured out how the puzzle works.
    • Books I and II, like most Sierra games, require reloading a saved game should the player die. Book III retains this options, but also includes a “second chance” button which allows you to pick up right where you left off, thus granting more freedom of exploration without constantly having to save.
    • Should Malcolm become imprisoned in the mouse jail, he has to use the three ingredients the other inmates have to make a biobomb in order to escape. Should the ingredients be consumed or used in another way, it may appear to be a dead end, but there is a hidden failsafe. The flask can be refilled from water dripping off the chains, while additional eels and sesame seeds can be found by clicking the lower left-hand corner of the screen.
  • Anti-Magic: The blue gem on Brandon's amulet lets Brandon erase certain magical obstacles.
  • Artifact Title: Fables & Fiends was the original name of the series, while The Legend of Kyrandia was initially the title of just the first game. The original release of The Hand of Fate included no mention of Kyrandia in its title, and was specifically advertised as Fables & Fiends II: The Hand of Fate (it wasn't until the CD-ROM update that it became known as The Legend of Kyrandia Book Two). Ultimately, The Legend of Kyrandia proved the more recognizable and popular title, so the series was renamed accordingly. The American release of Malcolm's Revenge didn't even include the Fables & Fiends banner, though overseas releases did. For the trilogy boxset, Fables & Fiends was retconned into the first game's subtitle.
  • Bag of Spilling: Lampshaded, and with one aversion. The Alchemist's Magnet in the second game is lost temporarily in transit between Darkmoor Swamp and Morningmist Valley, but once you find it again it stays in the inventory for the rest of the quest.
    Zanthia: This is the worst knapsack I've ever had!
  • Ball of Light Transformation: The purple gem on Brandon's 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.
  • Bowdlerize: Version 1.0 of the first game had Brandon say "Oh Shit! I'm burnin'!" when engulfed on the lava bridge. It also gave him a racy remark if you clicked on Zanthia's chest after she was turned to stone ("I've ALWAYS wanted to do that!"). Subsequent patches and re-releases (including the MPC version) omitted these elements, making the game more "family-friendly."
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • In The Hand of Fate, Zanthia's dress gets torn while plummeting into a lava cavern. After she lands and recovers her bearings, it's only after she looks out towards the player and becomes alarmed that she uses her wardrobe spell to fix the problem.
    • After obtaining a magic drum later in the game, Zanthia calls it a "Frank Klepacki Special" in reference to the then-Westwood employee.
    • Late in Malcolm's Revenge, you get to decide whether to keep Gunther, Stewart, or both. Yes, you.
      Malcolm: You! Out there! I think it's about time you started taking some responsibility. You decide which of these idiots I should keep and who should go. I'll accept your decision, whatever it is.
  • Bridge Logic: In the second game, if Zanthia tries walking across the Quicksand Bog, she'll get sucked in and die. However, there's a tree nearby that's just the right height ...
  • 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.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Malcolm's almost omnipotent in the first game, held back only by his twisted sense of humor. When he gets unpetrified in the third game, none of his magic powers survived his resurrection.
  • Bull Seeing Red: Zanthia uses a torn scrap of her red dress to make a triceratops charge at a door she needs to get through.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Brynn. Zanthia makes several nasty comments about her in the second game.
    • Malcolm has many butt-monkeys in the third game, specifically Brandon and Herman.
  • 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. At one point, you end up in the house of a "friendly" (not hostile, at any rate) Wizard and his dragon companion. They advise against you leaving their abode via the front door: "I wouldn't go out there if I was you, the Shadow Wraiths are hungry tonight."
  • Call-Back:
    • One of the ways Brandon can die in the first game is being swallowed whole by a giant frog outside Zanthia's lab. In the second game, if the same frog tries to eat Zanthia, she grabs it by the tongue, ties it into a knot and scolds it.
    • Zanthia casually mentions her wardrobe spell to Brandon in the first game. This spell gets used frequently in the second game.
    • In Book I, Brandon expresses relief that he doesn’t have to wash the windows today, given saving his grandfather is far more important. In Book II, Zanthia notices some dirty windows and exclaims, “where’s Brandon when you need him?”
    • The dump in the third game contains King Brandon's old shoe and Kallak’s old saw, both from the first game.
  • Cannibal Tribe: Met by Zanthia in the second game if she tries to explore Mustard Island. 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 Characters: In Book I, the four mystics’ castle bedrooms each have distinct color schemes: Kallak’s is purple, Brynn’s is green, Darm’s is red, and Zanthia’s is blue.
  • 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 quest revolves around birthstones. One of the first items the player can pick up is a deep red garnet, and the first green-colored stone the player will see is a peridot. The rubies and emeralds are trickier to acquire.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: In the third game, Malcolm now has a strange resemblance to similarly-named actor Malcolm McDowell.
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: In the first game, the protagonist is a foolish and unassertive but heroic Prince Charming. In the second, the protagonist is a Plucky Girl alchemist. In the third, the protagonist is an Omnicidal Maniac.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Averted in the first game, which has a task 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 states that "this heat is pretty intense, but I know I can take it." Continuing anyway causes him to catch fire and burn 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). Flying shoes can be created to avoid this entirely.
  • 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 an enchanted knife. The Reveal is that William was holding the knife and actually stabbed himself with it, while Malcolm tried to stop him. William seems to be the only one who knows this, however, since the first game makes it very clear that Katherine blames Malcolm for their deaths.
  • 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, fire-berries. You have to carry the berries 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 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 berries, so most players save just before in case they take the wrong turn.
  • Dartboard of Hate: In the third game, there's a dartboard in Malcolm's room. Clicking on it will make Malcolm demand, "Where's Kallak's picture?", implying that he used to throw darts at a picture of Kallak.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Zanthia indulges in this throughout her quest.
    (on coming across a rope swing dangling over a watery and rocky pit) "How cute! A swing for the kids."
  • Denser and Wackier: The sequels. Books II and III shift considerably in tone from Book I, featuring more outlandish locations and characters plus many anachronisms and meta references. While The Hand of Fate only experiences 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, where one of Brandon's original shoes turns up at the dump.
  • Dragons Versus Knights: We don't see any knights in Kyrandia but, based on some dialogue from the first game, this rivalry is expected of dragons, even if Brandywine defies it.
    Darm: Do I smell cats on your breath?
    Brandywine: Is it my fault I don't eat knights? All sweat and muscle — and so hard to peel!
  • Due to the Dead: In Fables and Fiends, Brandon visits his parents' graves. To trigger a necessary meeting with his mother's ghost, he must place a flower on the grave.
  • Early Installment Character-Design Difference:
    • Zanthia's appearance in the first game is somewhat different to how she would look in the sequels. In particular, her face shape is slightly different and her hair a darker yellow. As well, she's never seen in the blue toga again after Book One, and the white blouse/blue skirt combo introduced in Book Two is easily her most recognizable outfit (indeed, it's the only one she's seen wearing in Book Three).
    • Malcolm is far more evil and cartoonish looking in the first game, with an especially elongated face, wide smile and very frizzy hair. The third game tones down his facial proportions and grants him smoother, tamer hair (in the main game, that is...the 3D-rendered Malcolm in the introduction sequence recalls his Book One appearance).
  • Easter Egg:
    • The Alchemist's Magnet in The Hand of Fate normally just turns lead objects to gold and vice-versa. However, trying to use the item on most characters Zanthia encounters will have them divulge secrets about either themselves or how to pass certain puzzles. Using it on Faun before you leave the swamp, for example, has him say that he plans to throw a party at Zanthia's lab after she leaves.
    • Two examples in The Hand of Fate both occur in the Mystic’s Cabin. Should you click the “Tinker’s Bell” on Zanthia, she’ll give a shout-out to several Westwood employees and characters. Harder to discover is the “secret potion” that’s not listed in the spellbook. Should Zanthia find the right ingredients and drink it, the keyboard becomes a “magical sound toy,” where pressing different keys will play the various sound effects heard throughout the game.
    • When Malcolm visits Darm in Malcolm’s Revenge, he is unable to leave the hut and explore the Timbermist Woods. However, during his return visit at night, Malcolm can venture out the front door by clicking on the right side of the screen, despite there being no arrow indicating this is possible, and learn firsthand what Shadow Wraiths (the monsters that attacked Brandon in Book I’s labyrinth) truly are.
  • Enemy Mime: One that will kill Malcolm if he annoys him with too many questions. Malcolm doesn't take him seriously... and regrets it as the mime shoots an imaginary arrow at him.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Malcolm the jester, who controls the source of all the magic in the land and has had years of imprisonment to learn to wield it. Unfortunately for the player, they all went away while he was turned to stone.
  • Fake Longevity: The third game had a number of repetitive tasks nobody liked. Repeatedly fishing, growing sesame and feeding that to cows to get milk in the first section isn't so bad. It gets mind-numbing on the Isle of Cats as you need to keep wandering around the jungle to collect bones which you then give to a dog so he'll go hide them and at the same time dig up gems you need to progress. Then in Limbo you are every few minutes forcibly summoned to the Queen to entertain her by playing tic-tac-toe against her. At least that one can be slightly ameliorated by bribing one of her guards to do it instead, but again you need to do that every time which requires you to wander around collecting the items to bribe him with...
  • 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, but likes regular squirrels too.
  • Foreshadowing: In the first level of Book II, Zanthia can steam open the four letters the postman asks her to collect. The one addressed to Malcolm comes from “The Wheels of Fate,” which turns out to be her ultimate destination and the source of Kyrandia’s problems.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: One of Brandon's incidental dialogues is complaining about being hungry, even if you have him pig out on apples and berries.
  • 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 rock, 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 in The Hand of Fate that acts as a lucky charm (and magnet), and it's a component in one of the potions. Also subverted 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 tasks. Sometimes you receive just enough information to get started, but must figure out what to do with that information on your own.
  • 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: Averted. Whenever Brandon, Zanthia or Malcolm dies, there is a screen that says plainly "Rest in peace, [name of player]...".
  • Head Pet: Malcolm can use a hypnotized squirrel as a hat for disguise.
  • Healing Hands: The yellow gem on Brandon's amulet gives Brandon the ability to heal minor wounds, on himself or on others.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power:
    • In The Hand of Fate, after finding her spellbook from her 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.
    • In the third game Malcolm has to convince pirates to take him back to Kyrandia by showing that he still has magic at his command. The only magic he can get his hands on is a crystal mouse that can turn people into mice. Specifically, anthropomorphic mice of the same size the person used to be. While Malcolm himself finds this remarkably useless, the pirates themselves manage to use the same magic to take over Kyrandia.
  • 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 The 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.
  • Hufflepuff House: Three of the mystic disciplines (Spirituality, Scrolls and Gemlore) don’t receive any attention or development after the first game. Only Alchemy is featured in a prominent capacity throughout the series.
  • 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.
    • 851 seems to be the maximum number of points obtainable in a single playthrough, but even then, it's impossible to obtain every point in one game. For example, the six ways Malcolm can leave Kyrandia each have their own point values (and a few don't award any), and only one option can be chosen per game.
  • If You Die, I Call Your Stuff: If Zanthia dies from overeating/drinking in the pirate bar, the patrons will call dibs on her inventory.
  • 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.
  • Invisibility: The red gem on Brandon's amulet lets Brandon turn transparent.
  • 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. Justified in the third game, where it's revealed that Kyrandian squirrels are killers.
  • 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 Malcolm's face, kill him and drag his corpse offscreen.
  • 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. It can be disabled in the options menu.
  • Left Hanging: Okay, just who was the anonymous donor of the Enchanted Knife that killed William and Kathrine? 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.
  • The Legend of X
  • 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 cavern of emeralds hidden within the labyrinth, 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 mystics of Kyrandia 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.
  • Messy Hair: According to Zanthia, Brynn’s old hairdo resembled frizzy moss growing on swamp trees.
  • Mineral MacGuffin: The Kyragem in the first game.
  • Mirrors Reflect Everything: At the end of Fables & 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.
  • Moon Logic Puzzle: A few one, but The Hand of Fate has one even the game points out. In one area Zanthia finds a lead statue, and turning it to gold causes a toybox to appear with a pair of important items (one removes an obstacle, one provides some backstory), prompting Zanthia to ask what the heck they have to do with each other. Outside of a rather esoteric potion recipe involving taking good care of statues serving as a hint, there doesn't seem to be any answer than because you have an item that turns lead into gold (and vice versa), you're just supposed to use it anytime an appropriate object appears, because gamelogic.
  • No Pronunciation Guide: The floppy disk version of the first game, which features no spoken dialogue, gives no indication of how “Kyrandia” is pronounced. The floppy disk edition of the second game does feature spoken narration during the introduction, and the narrator alternates between “Ky-ran-dee-ah” and “Ker-an-dee-ah”. The voiced CD versions initially went with “Ky-ran-dee-ah” exclusively, but come Malcolm’s Revenge, everyone pronounces it “Ker-an-dee-ah” instead.
  • Oh, No... Not Again!: If Brandon makes a green potion and drinks it, he'll utter these words as he becomes poisoned again (the first time was when he was bitten by a venomous snake to get a ruby). The amulet will not save him this time.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Brandywine is a purple female dragon who is Darm's companion. 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 grave if Brandon places a flower on it. Malcolm can do the same, but needs to place two flowers. A Bedsheet Ghost appears to Malcolm if he approaches the grave 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.
  • Palette Swap:
    • In the first game, Queen Katherine’s ghost is obviously Brynn’s sprite, just slightly redrawn. Their faces and animated movements are practically identical.
    • In the second game, Zanthia's first four outfits are identical in style (blouse with long skirt), but each one has different color combinations. It isn't until she reaches the centre of the world that she begins wearing other styles.
  • 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. Some characters, notably Herman and Brandywine, will never be fooled. In the case of Vince, no disguise is actually needed. Malcolm can simply lie about not being Malcolm and Vince will believe him!
  • Pirate Parrot: Located in the "Drunk Dragon" tavern in The Hand of Fate. During Zanthia's first visit, it will keep her from leaving until she recites some poetry.
  • 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.
  • Plot Hole: The third game offering an unusual degree of non-linearity for adventure games and multiple different solutions to puzzles is a noble effort, but the narrative doesn't manage to hold all its threads together with this. The game will bring up characters and events with the assumption that you encountered them earlier, when it is in fact possible to completely miss them. Particularly glaring are the three coins that Malcolm had "earned in jail", when veteran players might prefer to either avoid the boring jail tasks or do a jailbreak without any work.
  • Point of No Return:
    • In the first game, Kyrandia's main island gradually opens up to Brandon, and he can revisit any previous location after reaching a new one. However, once he flies to the smaller island containing the castle, he cannot return.
    • This is far more prevalent in the sequels, which feature self-contained levels in a variety of locations that cannot be revisited upon completion.
  • 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.
  • Progressively Prettier: In the first game, Malcolm is Lean and Mean, twisted and has an uncanny devilish face. In the third game's gameplay, he looks more human and even has a more good-looking face.
  • Red Herring:
    • In the first game you can find a "Piscata Rosea" item near the end. There is also the Rainbow Stone, which certainly seems all mystical and important, but doesn't do anything.
    • In The Hand of Fate, the Hand set up the anchor stone quest as a means of buying time for Kyrandia to be erased.
  • 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
  • Royal Blood: Brandon is the only one who can restore Kyragem because of his royal blood.
  • Rule of Three:
    • Brandon must gather three royal artifacts to open the door to the Kyragem.
    • Zanthia has to pay three gold coins to book a passage on a boat.
  • Running Gag: Zanthia keeps finding a specific stick in multiple locations, even just before the endgame. After it first ends up in her inventory, she wonders if it's following her around.
    "That stick AGAIN?!"
  • 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 away.
  • 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. He is later seen relaxing at the pirate bar, at least until a fight breaks out.
  • Scenery Censor: Zanthia’s arrival in Morningmist Valley has her falling into a large haystack right up to her chest. Which is fortunate, since her dress is torn off by a nearby pitchfork.
  • 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.
  • Serious Business: Poetry at the Drunk Dragon tavern. Zanthia's ode to seasickness resulted in divided opinions among the patrons, and a fight breaks out after she leaves. Even during the end credits, the perpetrators are still worked up over it.
  • Shared Universe: Hints at a shared setting with Lands of Lore.
  • Shell Game: With an octopus as the host, and the source of the money Zanthia needs to buy a boat voucher.
  • Shout-Out:
  • 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.
  • Squishy Wizard: Zanthia admits to being one of these after being confronted with a pit and a rope swing, saying she's more the intellectual type.
  • The Stinger: The Hand of Fate: Oh, hey, it's the petrified Malcolm from the first game. Oh, hey, lightning storm.
  • Sudden Sequel Heel Syndrome: In the third game, it is implied (by Malcolm) that Kallak planned King William and Queen Katherine's murders, though given Malcolm's great hatred of Kallak, it's possible that he himself is pointing fingers at the wrong party.
  • 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.
  • Take That!: When Brandon is walking on a narrow cliff he says: "Whoops... Almost walked off the edge there." An obvious jab at Sierra, who's games punish players that can't navigate without falling to their doom.
  • 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 labyrinth 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 quite 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, and according to the backstory in the manual it was a gift to humanity from the elemental beings the tree face from the prologue serves.
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: Occurs several times, including the mazes from the first and the third games.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable: In Fables & Fiends, you can burn Kallak's note in the temple incense burner before giving it to Brynn. This will only happen if the note is selected by your cursor and then clicked directly on the flames. Burning it after showing her to free up inventory space is fine, however. (Note that this is only possible in version 1.3 and later. Clicking the note on the flames in 1.0 has no effect.)
  • 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 & 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. Earlier still, burning Kallak's note in the temple's incense burner before showing it to Brynn will instantly prevent you from progressing any further (at least in this instance that particular moment occurs right at the game's start, so there isn't far to backtrack).
    • Averted in The Hand of Fate and Malcolm's Revenge, which cannot be made unwinnable. One puzzle in The Hand of Fate's town of Highmoon requires you to repeat an earlier 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.
  • Waking Up Elsewhere: Brandon loses consciousness when a branch falls on his head. Later, he wakes up at Zanthia's home wondering where he is.
  • Weird Trade Union: In Book II, squirrels living in the Enchanted Forest are unionized…and very unhelpful.
  • 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!"
  • Where Are They Now: Some of the people Zanthia meets during The Hand of Fate reappear during the end credits. The pirates who got worked up over her ode to seasickness, for example, are still bickering over it.
  • 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.
  • Worm in an Apple: In Malcolm's Revenge, during Malcolm's foray into Limbo, he can swipe an apple from a teacher's desk and eat it to reveal a worm inside. Trying to eat the worm will make Malcolm joke that he's "not that hungry yet", but given that Limbo is inhabited by Fish People, it's not hard to find something that might enjoy eating a worm or two.
  • 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.
  • Yet Another Stupid Death: In the second game's pirate bar, there is taffy and root beer available. They are meant to be used as potion ingredients, though it is possible to consume them instead—and indeed, there is no reason to do so. Doing this a few times has no drawbacks, but continuing this afterwards will induce a case of green gills. Repeating the cycle enough times afterwards will result in death.
  • You Shouldn't Know This Already:
    • In Book I, Brandon cannot retrieve the sunstone from the bubbling springs until Darm mentions he hid the summer birthstone nearby (although clicking on the springs before hearing this will offer a clue, as Brandon comments that the big rock on the bottom looks pretty).
    • In Book III, Malcolm is unable to click two eels together to teleport out of Kyrandia until Brandywine informs him this is possible.
  • 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): Kyrandia