The Legend of Kyrandia: Fables & Fiends

Posted by David Tanguay.
First posted on 23 December 1997. Last updated on 12 August 2009.
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The Legend of Kyrandia: Fables & Fiends
Zanthia's laboratory is full of useful items for Brandon's quest.
The Legend of Kyrandia: Fables & Fiends
Please help Brandon...
The Legend of Kyrandia: Fables & Fiends
Inside a tiny dwelling Brandon finds...
The Legend of Kyrandia: Fables & Fiends
Brandon needs to catch a teardrop from the Pool of Sorrow.
The Legend of Kyrandia: Fables & Fiends
Brandon will discover both his destiny and his past.

The Legend of Kyrandia: Fables & Fiends is the debut title in the fantasy adventure trilogy called the Legend of Kyrandia. It is made by Westwood Studios—a company better known on their successes on developing strategy games rather than adventure titles. Still, Book One of the Legend of Kyrandia marks a fair and enjoyable experience bearing a gentle fairytale atmosphere.

Many years ago, the court jester Malcolm has killed the king and queen of Kyrandia. He has stolen the Kyragem, a powerful source of magic. With its power in his possession, Malcolm declares himself ruler of the land. Only after the Masters of the Four Magics seals Malcolm inside the Castle Kyrandia are Brandon and his grandfather safe from his wrath. Unfortunately, the Royal Mystics are unable to imprison Malcolm for eternity. Eighteen years later, he has now escaped and is wreaking his revenge on the kingdom.

You are Brandon, the orphaned grandson of Kallak, a mystic. Malcolm turns Kallak into a stone statue, but not before Kallak writes a note to you, guiding you to someone who can help. You must now set out on a series of quests in search of Malcolm, the happy court jester turned evil villain. Additionally, the nature spirit of the land charges you with the mission of restoring the stolen Kyragem. You must journey across the land, collect the artifacts necessary to get to the old castle, and reacquire the Kyragem. Working your way through sundry obstacles, you finally make your way to a final showdown with Malcolm. Along the way, you learn a bit more about yourself and your parents.

The Legend of Kyrandia is a third person adventure game series. In this game, all the graphics are lustrously illustrated in VGA resolution. Over 100 rendered scenes are overlaid with animations. The game features an easy to use interface with a single action mouse. The world is presented in discrete, screen sized views that map together logically. The game is released in both Floppy Disk and CD-ROM versions. The CD-ROM version contains an additional soundtrack and voice support with any Sound Blaster compatible soundcard.

In this game, the puzzles all either inventory or spell based. All magic used in the land of Kyrandia is based on the power of the precious Kyragem. There is a small inventory and an amulet to hold spells that you acquire. The game has 25 key quests or puzzles divided into 4 chapters of play. Each chapter features progressively challenging quests.

While there is little that is outstanding about this game, in most aspects it is at least competent. The graphics are pleasant and clearly show you all you need to see. I found the music enjoyable and well matched to the settings. The story and events are spiced with humor, keeping the tone lighthearted. On the other hand, the voice acting is done in an exaggerated fairytale tone, although the effect may be intentional. I find it a bit distracting, but some gamers may find it appropriate. There are a few obscure or unreasonable puzzles, and none that are especially clever. One of the unreasonable puzzles is the magic potions puzzle. In creating the magic portions, the player must mix several potions together. One of the created potions is poisonous. Yet, unless the player dies by drinking the poisonous potion, there is no way to predict which potion is dangerous. The only way to solve the puzzle is using the knowledge that can only be gained by dying first. This is an example of the "resurrection" fallacy. This fallacy refers to the fact that the only way to gain a vital piece of information to complete gameplay (in this case, the discovery of the correct potion) is by dying or hitting a dead-end which then requires the player to restore to an older game. There is also a large, tedious labyrinth or maze that you must explore. There are a few places where you can die unexpectedly as well as a small timed challenge at the very end, so you should save regularly.

It is worthwhile to note that after the release of the 2 sequels in this series—The Legend of Kyrandia, Book Two: The Hand of Fate and The Legend of Kyrandia, Book 3: Malcolm's Revenge—the subtitle "Book One" is halfheartedly added to the title of this game (The Legend of Kyrandia, Book One: Fables & Fiends) in order to acknowledge that this game is the index title of the series. Overall, The Legend of Kyrandia: Fables & Fiends is a base model adventure—nothing fancy or outstanding, but still an enjoyable experience. Its gentle atmosphere makes it a good adventure game title for the children.

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