Aaaaah, Legend of Kyrandia. One of my all-time favorites! I don’t know why but the first game has always evoked images of my childhood, be it the wonderful music, the lush colours, the zany characters, the thoughtful puzzles… Needless to say I’ll be wearing huge rose-tinted glasses on this one, or I’ll find some detail point that annoys me and isn’t as good as I remember (fireberries, anyone?) and I’ll flay this piece of crap. Only the next few weeks will tell, but I’m certainly curious about playing through this one again all these years after.
|That’s what I call a cover that screams adventure and danger. There is even Tinkerbell in it!|
With Dune II, Westwood hit all the right notes and almost single-handedly created the template for modern Real-Time Strategy games, which would be taken later by Blizzard for Warcraft (and we come full circle with my comparison). With Command & Conquer, their major hit which basically printed money for them during the next few years, Westwood evolved mainly into a sequel factory, spawning game after game with the same template.
But before that, Westwood tried its hand at several genres, hitting huge successes in the RPG and adventure subgenres. Eye of the Beholder, Lands of Lore, Blade Runner… and the aforementioned Legend of Kyrandia series.
|The Land of Kyrandia, so peaceful and green…|
The first game tells the tale of Brandon, innocent orphan still unaware of his royal lineage, while his grandfather Kallak has been turned to stone by the psychopath court buffoon, Malcolm. Malcolm is the archetypal bastard (in this game at least) without any humanity or sympathy, while being dressed as a joker. Clearly inspired by the Batman’s Joker (and might have been or not inspiration for Kefka in Final Fantasy VI two years later, but that’s only my opinion). He is the perfect embodiment of monstrosity and is surprisingly violent for an adventure game in this day and age. Comparatively, Brandon, your own character appears a bit as a whiner (might be his voice actor though).
|Malcolm, showing random cruelty towards animals|
|A classy cutscene with focus-pulling shows the encounter between Malcolm and Kallak|
We’ll see together if the game actually holds up to my cherished childhood memories or if its flaws overcome the rose-tinted glasses. It’s time to explore the fabulous land of Kyrandia, to save Kallak and the realm!
|Malcolm, what have you done? Vengeance will be mine!|