The Legend of Kyrandia, Book Two: The Hand of Fate

Posted by David Tanguay.
First posted on 14 March 1998. Last updated on 12 August 2009.
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The Legend of Kyrandia, Book Two: The Hand of Fate
The Hand of Fate is here!
The Legend of Kyrandia, Book Two: The Hand of Fate
Marko is just hanging around as usual!
The Legend of Kyrandia, Book Two: The Hand of Fate
The artwork of this hot sulfur springs is pretty. Can it compensate for the mediocre gameplay?
The Legend of Kyrandia, Book Two: The Hand of Fate
Playing as a female lead character is a first in this series.
The Legend of Kyrandia, Book Two: The Hand of Fate
Kyrandia is disappearing!

The Legend of Kyrandia, Book Two: The Hand of Fate is the second book in the Legend of Kyrandia series. It uses the same design as the first game of the series. This sequel, however, features a much stronger story and a few more difficult puzzles than its predecessor. One notable highlight of this game is the fact that you play a woman.

There is trouble in Kyrandia when parts of the kingdom start disappearing. The Mystics Council holds a meeting to discuss the problem. You play Zanthia, an alchemist on the council. A strange creature, namely a giant hand, claims that the solution is the anchor stone at the center of the world. Zanthia is chosen by the council to fetch the stone. When you find your lab ransacked, it is quickly apparent somebody is working against you. Your first task is to get to Volcania, an island from which you can descend to the middle of the world. This involves traveling through Kyrandia and another island to look for passage. Once you are at the center, you discover the real truth to your quest. This then leads you up to the highest mountain tops and across a rainbow bridge to the Wheels of Fate. There you must correct the Wheels for Kyrandia and finally defeat the evil mastermind behind the whole plot.

The Legend of Kyrandia, Book Two: The Hand of Fate uses the same game engine and interface as the The Legend of Kyrandia: Fables & Fiends. It is a good and intuitive system. It uses third person perspective or animated characters on a cartoon background. There is a small inventory at the bottom of the screen, along with some game controls. Although the game engine is technologically simple, it is effective at presenting Kyrandia, the people, and the puzzles. The weakest aspect of the production is the voice acting and dialog. The dialog is cloyingly cute. The voices are hammy and amateurish. The game runs in either DOS or Windows 3.1, though I have no problem running it under Windows 95. The game is released in both Floppy Disk and CD-ROM versions. The CD-ROM version boasts an additional soundtrack that is not available in the Floppy Disk version.

All the animations in this game are first pencil tested, then painted on screen. A breakthrough technology called Trulight allows cinematic illumination of each scene for a fuller, fourth dimensional picture. The design team has developed a "State of Mind System" to enable the player as well as over 50 characters to change mind, mood, and mayhem based on preceding events. Whether this system actually enhances gameplay is highly debatable.

The puzzles in The Legend of Kyrandia, Book Two: The Hand of Fate are mostly of the basic inventory based kind. Many involve gathering ingredients for potions. There is little that is clever or original. Most of the puzzles are easy, but there are several that can be difficult. There are also a few illogical puzzles where you must do something which you have no good reason to do it. The game is structured as a series of independent mini adventures, each in its own location. You do what you must in one part of the Kyrandian world and then move on to another. This structured play creates a good flow to the story.

On the positive side, this game is one of the rare adventure titles where you get to play a female character. There is a good story driving you across the Kyrandian world. The settings and characters are pleasant and fun. While the game may not dazzle you with graphics or sound, these elements are not at all poorly done. On the negative side, the voice acting in this game is generally poor, with the exception of Zanthia herself. The actors are not helped by the clunky dialog either. There are some silly puzzles, including a number of puzzles which do not fit into the game world. The few difficult puzzles are much more difficult than the rest and are probably too difficult for what should be the target audience. It also appears that there are a few ways to get yourself stuck, devoid of any winnable position.

Interestingly, this game is originally released under the name "Fables & Fiends: The Hand of Fate" with no mentioning of "The Legend of Kyrandia" in its title. For marketing reasons, the game is later renamed as "The Legend of Kyrandia, Book Two: The Hand of Fate" but without the title "Fables & Fiends". The likely reason for this change is to allow gamers to easily recognize that this title is a sequel.

The Legend of Kyrandia, Book Two: The Hand of Fate is a basic model adventure. The story is better than that of the original book in the series, and the game itself is more fun because of it. This can be a good game for beginners, but some of the harder and sillier puzzles may prove to be too frustrating.

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