The Legend of Kyrandia: Book One
The Legend of Kyrandia: Book One is a graphic adventure puzzle game developed by Westwood Studios and published by Virgin Games in August 1992 for Amiga and MS-DOS, and later ported to FM Towns, Macintosh, PC-98, and Windows. A CD-ROM version was released which has full speech for all of the game's dialogue. This is the first game in the The Legend of Kyrandia series. Westwood created a new category of games with this title called "Fables & Fiends," but they only used it for the Kyrandia series, despite it fitting with the Lands of Lore series as well.
In the game, an evil jester named Malcolm has escaped from his prison and, armed with the powerful magic Kyragem, is seeking revenge from those who imprisoned him. You play Brandon, the grandson of the wizard Kallek who has been turned into stone by Malcolm, who must not only find a way to return his grandfather to flesh, but must also stop Malcolm before he destroys your homeland.
My high school girlfriend owned the CD-ROM version of this game and I played it with her in the late 1990s. We got to the Serpent Grotto maze before ending our session. Later, she told me that she had beat the game without me, which made me a bit disappointed (although, after playing the game again much later, I assume she meant she solved the cave, because the game itself is quite difficult). Years later, I got a copy of the game myself and even brought with me when I met Frank Klepacki in 2019 to have him sign it. I didn't restart playing the game until 2020. I got about half way in before I started needing to consult a walk through for some of the more unfair puzzles, and beat the game on 2020-06-14.
I own the CD-ROM Windows port and have it signed by Frank Klepacki. I am currently playing it.
Best Version: Windows CD-ROM
— This section contains spoilers! —
- The graphics are utterly amazing for this era. The background art is highly detailed, the character animation is fluid, and the pixel art of the sprites are fantastic. Ordinarily, vibrantly colored palettes make games feel artificial, but, in the magical land of Kyrandia, it helps maintain an air of mysticism.
- Although the voice acting isn't fantastic, the fact that there is speech for the entire game's dialog was still impressive in 1992.
- Many of the forest backgrounds are reused throughout the game to pad the size of the map. This wasn't too uncommon of a practice at the time, but it still looks bad.
- There is very little to do in most of the rooms and there is very little to click on to get better descriptions. While this speeds up the game play because you can only interact with things that are relevant, it also makes the game a lot less interesting.
- Some of the puzzles don't let you try obvious items. For example, at one point in the game you need to douse a fire and you may have a flask of water, but you can't use it! There is also a locked door, but you can't use the iron key you're holding. Even if they didn't want to animate the items not working, they could have at least given a message explaining why it wouldn't work.
- None of the music really impressed me.
- One of the rocks is hidden unnecessarily well in the serpent grotto.
- The well fills with water... that's not how wells work!
- I prefer games of this type to have alternate solutions to various puzzles in order to increase replay value and reward more clever thinking. The only optional puzzle I can think of is the one which results in you getting the silver statuette, but you never do anything with it.
- The yellow spell isn't very consistent. In one part of the game, it cures poison, in another it puts someone to sleep.
- While I appreciate that you can't accidentally destroy a necessary item because it randomly respawns somewhere else in the game map, I would prefer they just didn't let you do it in the first place and save you a lot of backtracking to get it back.
- The limited inventory really slows down the game. Since there is no way to tell when an item is no longer necessary, and dozens more items than you can fit in your inventory, you're often forced to drop items and come back for them later, even if that means having to navigate a huge maze to get back to them. This is a good examples of where realism works against enjoyment.
- There are a lot of puzzles that have no hints to them, or hints that are very obscure. For example, the only clue given about needing to dump two same-colored items into the cauldron to make a potion is Brandon saying the potion looks "half-finished." Where and how you use the orange potion seems to only be hinted at Brandon saying it tastes like alfalfa, but all of the potions say something odd like that. The bell puzzle has no hints at all, you just have to brute force all 24 combinations. The book puzzle is especially unfair and without any hints. I used an anagram program just to see how many possibilities there would be and it came up with 260 different words, not counting multi-word answers (PORNGAME is possible, but, sadly, does nothing). The royal item puzzle has no hints, but, mercifully, there are only 6 possible combinations.
- There is a pretty serious way to put the game into an unwinnable state after you reach the final island. You will have acquired a couple dozen different items at this point in the game, but four specific ones are needed. There are no hints which four are needed, and you can't return from the island if you guessed incorrectly.
Most regions used this box art, although there were variations on the graphic layout. Malcolm is looking down on Brandon and a fairy that must have been cut from the final game, and we're looking down on Malcolm. Although, the painting is professional and I love the perspective, I think Malcolm looks a bit stupid.
|Chinese||超级马力欧兄弟||Chāojí Mǎlìōu Xiōngdì||The Legend of Kailandia|
|English||The Legend of Kyrandia: Book One|
|Hebrew||דברי ימי קירנדיה||The Chronidia Chronicles|
|Korean||키란디아의 전설||Kilandiaui Jeonseol||Kirlandia's Legend|