Flashback Games: The Legend of Kyrandia

My uncle was a technologically-savvy dude who introduced me to many different games growing up.  In fact, many of these games are still some of my favorites and most memorable ones such as Myst and Grim Fandango.  It was thrilling to see what games he was currently working on and I was always insanely excited about playing on his computer.

One particular game my uncle introduced me to was The Legend of Kyrandia.  Shortly after playing it at his house, I became obsessed.  He must have seen the hungry look in my eyes because we immediately took the game home.  My sister and I played it religiously which was a relatively easy task as he sent us home with the strategy guide.  (Side note: Strategy Guide is just a fancy word for “cheating.”)  This didn’t deter me from playing the game multiple times and consistently being terrified of Malcolm the Jester.  I knew he wasn’t REALLY going to hit me with his throwing knives as I had the plans in my back pocket, but I was always acutely aware of the possibility that I might click too slow or make the wrong choice.  The game captivated me and turned out to have a very rich storyline and environment.  It was definitely one of the better point-and-click games of the time.  So, without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to The Legend of Kyrandia.

Check out grandfather Kallak. Such drama. What are you supposed to do with a stone statue of your grandpa looking terrified?

Summary: In the game you are cast as Brandon, grandson to Kallak and a whiny Luke Skywalker-type hero to the kingdom of Kyrandia.  Great.  Malcolm, an evil Jester has killed the king and queen and stolen the Kyragem which houses all of the kingdom’s energy.  So, your job (as a face in the wall of your tree house tells you) is to stop Malcolm and regain control of the Kyragem.  You have to risk life and limb to find this crazy dude who keeps sarcastically insulting you and blowing s*%@ up all while you’re getting knocked out by rogue tree branches and annoying neighbors who steal your marbles.  Along with chasing down Malcolm, you have to learn four different magic spells pivotal to defeating the evil jester by solving elaborate puzzles.  Does Brandon save the kingdom from Malcolm, or does he turn to stone forever?  The world may never know.

Review Notes:  The re-playability is high and puzzles are crafted to be challenging but not impossible.  I was able to play through this game without the strategy guide minus an area ominously named the Serpent’s Grotto.  This is an enormous labyrinth in the middle of the game which takes a huge amount of time to complete.  Without the strategy guide, the labyrinth becomes a pain in the butt.  It requires painstaking record keeping so you don’t run out of fireberries and get eaten by shadow wraiths.  Terrifying.  Even with the strategy guide, it still takes a huge chunk of time.  However, making it out of the labyrinth is one of the most rewarding feelings you’ll get in the game as you’ve seen nothing but dank caverns and the equivalent of hell on earth for hours.

I think Darm is the sassiest. Clearly.

Brandon is a pretty useless human being so sometimes it’s fun to sabotage him by making snakes bite him or having him wander into a dark cavern where millions of eyes appear and devour him.  Unfortunately, they leave that visual out of the game.  I kind of feel for Malcolm on this one – you’re a powerful jester whose conquered the entire kingdom and your only nemesis is a bumbling teenager.  Ouch.

Overall, I recommend you play this especially if you’re a fan of the old point-and-click puzzle games.  I still come back to this one often and replay it – it doesn’t get old and the sarcasm is thick and ample through the whole story.  The supporting cast kind of treats you like crap.  Oh, and I learned a ton about precious stones and gems by playing this game.  So, if you like shiny things like that – this is for you.  Plus, you get to fly on a majestic Pegasus across the ocean so you know – that’s cool too.

This game and a great review is available at Abandonia:
The Legend of Kyrandia

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