Monday, 17 July 2017

Kyrandia - Hocus Crocus

Written by Alfred n the Fettuc

Brandon’s journal - entry #3 : After this horrible cave, where to go next? After being knocked out by this branch, I met with Zanthia, another mystic. She seems to tell me I am a prince of some kind and when I ask her more infos, she asks me to bring her some magic water… These mystics and their errands! Could someone just give me actual real help already?

One week later…

We left Brandon having a little nap on the forest ground. He wakes up directly into some kind of witch house, with a blonde woman mixing up a potion in a huge cauldron. She introduces herself as Zanthia, another mystic (and future heroine of Kyrandia 2). She is pissed at the other mystics for basically telling you nothing apart than “go see other mystics” with a slap on the buttocks. Then she tells you you’re the prince...

Oops spoiler alert!

...and then changes the subject and asks to Brandon to go fill a flask in the fountain.

Fetch quest n°75 635

The poor, understandably shaken, Brandon is then directed out of the house towards the fountain. When you consider the attitude of the mystics to Brandon, you can understand if he’s kinda pissed. The guys barely tell him anything, ask him to do an errand for them and then tell him to go away. It’s like it’s all some kind of bad joke, Brandon is one of them and they’re all associated to make an elaborate prank just to make fun of the dim-witted prince. Hey, the more I think about it, the more I like this take on Kyrandia story!

I exit Zanthia’s shack to go find her some magic water. I find the fountain a few screens away… with Malcolm waiting for me!

For an evil mastermind, you seem to have a lot of free time on your hands…

Malcolm steals one of the crystal balls of the fountain, which makes the water disappear. I keep on exploring the rest of the forest. In one screen, I find a chalice floating in the air. Or, as the I-am-not-a-prince Brandon says, “The” Royal Chalice.

I guess he’s just remembering playing with it as a child.

The chalice is unattainable at the moment, flying away when I try to grab it. In the forest I find three other notable spots. Despite a very little closed door in a tree which I can’t seem to find anything to do with, I find a burning tree that’s too hot to touch and a beautiful waterfall with blueberries next to it. I get some water from the waterfall, which doesn’t seem magic enough for Zanthia but might help me with the flaming tree. I also pick some blueberries because if there is something the game has taught me so far is that I need a lot of gemstones and berries. I go back to the flaming tree but the water doesn’t work on it. This is when I remember the scroll, which is starting to be the most used object in the game.

Can I keep the scroll after my quest? It might come in handy for chilling beers.

The tree is extinguished by the scroll and reveals the crystal ball Malcolm had stolen. Score!

I know I do.

I go back to the fountain and put the crystal ball where it belongs. It makes the water flow back and I can secure a flask of it for Zanthia. When I come back to her, she starts talking. It seems that I’m the prince of the kingdom, born from King William and Queen Catherine, who were savagely murdered by Malcolm. I need to restore the Kyragem to defeat Malcolm and I’m the only one able to do so, because of my Royal Blood (with capital letters).

Well, you’re not bad either…

Zanthia then asks me to pick blueberries in order to mix a potion. Ha ha, as you can see, I’m thoughtful and I already have these! When I give her the blueberries, however, she tells me they’re not freshly picked and I need fresh ones. Let me guess, game. You want to go all the way back to the waterfall, which can mean two things. Either Malcolm will be waiting for me at the waterfall, or something will happen to Zanthia while I’m away. 26 screens of forest back and forth later, the game goes with option #2.

Color me surprised.

So of course, Zanthia has disappeared. Now I’m alone once again to try and figure out what the potion she was talking about might be made of. Let me guess : it involves blueberries in some way. I realise that something has changed in here as well because the carpet seems to have been moved. Under it is hidden a trapdoor that leads… to another forest entirely!

Nice basement you have there…

Since what we’ll call the “sunstone incident” in Timbermist, I made a habit to click on anything I see and I find a “rainbowstone” in the stump.

Just how many different kinds of stones is there?

Before exploring I go back to Zanthia’s house and drop all my stuff there except the flask just in case. I’m starting to wonder if the tulip will ever be of any use… I save my game and start trying to put random things in the cauldron to see if something happens. Suddenly, someone knocks at the door!


“What’s going on in here? Brewing illegal substances in your basement? You do know that mixing potions for recreational uses is forbidden?”

Sorry mister Walls, I didn’t mean to. What are you doing here anyway? I think you have the wrong door. Alex is in the next reviewing area.

“Oops, my bad. Keep on the good work.”

Phew, that was strange. Anyway, putting a blueberry in the cauldron makes it turn blue. The tulip (what do you know?) makes it yellow, the emerald also makes it yellow for some reason and putting all the rest of my inventory in there just makes a mess. Despite the color changes though, it doesn’t seem to do anything, so I’m guessing I’ll need some kind of other ingredient or catalyst. Let’s explore the other part of the forest.

Mmmh… behind you?

The rest of the forest, despite being made of a staggering amount of similar looking forest screens, only seem to hold two interesting places :
  • A place called the “crystals of Alchemy” where I can apparently put two vials and something happens. 
That is some crystal of alchemy if I’ve ever seen one.

  • A beautiful lagoon with some kind of stage with pegasus statues that reek of magic. I also find some red orchids there. 
If it’s not magic, it’s a hell of a pier.

So I’m now back in Zanthia’s lab with my orchids and not much else. I stumble completely on what I was looking for while trying another time to put a lot of random stuff in the cauldron. Putting both yellow items (tulip and emerald, which isn’t yellow at all but whatever) turns the potion into a brighter shade of yellow and I can pick the potion up with the flask! Being the daredevil I imagine Brandon is, I try the potion on myself!

Taking huge risks with your health is always made easier by the presence of a save button in your life.

And the yellow potion doesn’t seem to do nothing except tasting like furniture polish. I think I can made at least two other potions : a red one with the orchid and a blue one with the blueberries. Unfortunately I don’t have any gemstone corresponding to these colors (or vaguely corresponding as the emerald proved) and I guess I’ll have to go all the way back to Timbermist to find some.

On my way in this direction, I stumble upon a major facepalm moment. I pick some more water from the magic fountain and drink it (in my mind I was clearing the aftertaste of furniture polish)... What do you know, a third gem lights up on my amulet!!! The blue gem seems to allow me to grab something in the air with a glowing hand, which seems like an awfully precise and convenient solution to my “flying chalice” problem. Who is doing those powers anyway? You’d be guessing the first three powers you put in a magic amulet would be something like “healing, fireball and flight”, not “healing, turn into a purple disco ball and grab magically flying chalices in the air.” Maybe I’m overthinking this.

I’m just glad I remembered to take my “magic glowing magnet hand power’ with me today…

The magic works and the chalice falls on the ground but some kind of leprechaun enters the screen and runs off with the booty! Come back you little…! Exiting the screen right brings me in front of the little door and except yelling at it I can’t really do anything with it. I’m guessing I won’t escape the trip back to Timbermist any longer. Let’s fly through the caves with my will’o’wisp power!

Weeee

Back in Timbermist (which took very less time than I expected), I manage to grab two rubies and a garnet to try for the red potion but can’t seem to find a sapphire anywhere for the blue one. Or I burnt it while trying to solve the gemstone puzzle before and put myself veeeery early into a dead-end scenario, or I can find something else. I grab a purple amethyst, a black onyx and a green peridot (because why not) and go back to Zanthia’s house.

Woooop

The ruby and orchid mixed fine to produce a beautiful red potion, which tastes hot and spicy and does absolutely nothing. I put the blueberry into the pot, quickly followed by the amethyst, the peridot, the onyx, the scroll, the iron key, the flute and a reload. Guess I don’t have what is needed for the blue potion. Desperately trying to put more blueberries into the pot didn’t work either. After a few more tries I had to accept the obvious. I had to go back to Timbermist.

Boooooring

After a long walk in both the starting areas, Timbermist and the forest near Kallak’s house, I finally manage to put my greedy mitts on a sapphire and an aquamarine. This should work. Still I have to wonder if whenever you waste a gem of some kind in a potion or a random well, it spawns somewhere else or if there is a finite quantity of gems, rendering the game unwinnable if you just drop gems everywhere you can. I think it’s the former solution, but I’m unsure if the same applies to key items like the flute, scroll or key that you can ALSO put in the cauldron. Maybe you can always retrieve them somewhere else. Anyway, let’s go aaaall the way back to Zanthia’s house.

Yay! Now where is that damned teleport spell?

After putting the sapphire and blueberries in the cauldron, I now have a syrupy blue potion that makes Brandon hiccup when I drink it. Yeepee. Now what do with all those stupid colored potions? Thankfully the game gives me another flask every time I go back to Zanthia’s house so I can mix a few of them and go find an use somewhere for these useless potions. Probably at the “Crystals of Alchemy” (I think these words sound better when you write them in bold). And sure enough the “Crystals of Alchemy” do some stuff. When you put two flasks into the crystals, it mixes another one from their primary colors. I would have guessed all you needed to do was pour one flask into the other, but what do I know about alchemy.

The more impressive is that the Crystals also create a different shaped flask and a cork.

I now have three new potions to try that will hopefully do something else than taste bad or induce hiccups. It’s save and reload time!
  • The orange potion tastes “like alfalfa”, which makes me worry I’m missing something here because all the potions in this universe seem useless. 
  • The green one poisons me and kills me instantly without being able to heal. You had to have one of those right? 
  • The purple one allows me to shrink! Finally, something useful here! I reload and it’s time to go pay a visit to the stupid leprechaun thief. 

Come on imp, pick someone your own size

I enter the leprechaun house which is astonishingly detailed for a screen with no interaction whatsoever. The leprechaun asks me something for the chalice. I try offering him a few of my items (including the poison with a sardonic laugh, but he doesn’t want it) and he accepts the apple! Yeah, I found an use for the apple and the tulip that were rotting in my inventory for so long!

There is at least half a dozen items here that seem more useful than a chalice but ok.

The imp tells me that the chalice is hidden somewhere outside his house. I exit again and here is the chalice which is so well hidden it would have been funny to have a line said by Brandon in the likes of “oh silly me I didn’t see it five seconds ago”

Pictured : hidden

I now have a chalice I can’t use to take some magic water and accidentally put into the cauldron while trying to grab potion with it… I’m guessing it’s gonna be of some use at some point but not now. I was now without a lead, and after goofing around in the screens around me, I found that drinking the orange potion on the pegasus beach transformed me into a pegasus! Wow! That is so obvious and easy to find!

Yeah, I totally knew THIS would happen

Ok let’s rewind a bit there. I had three different kinds of potions in my hand that were useless except for some stupid taste comment from Brandon, it would have been safe to think that the orange potion was no different. The only thing that made me try the potion here was that the Pegasus stand was orange (to be fair, it might be enough of a clue, even if a very subtle one). But would have it killed you, game developers to just add a very little clue when you try the potion, like “I feel like wings could sprout from me?” But no, you went for “it tastes like alfalfa”. Correct me if I’m wrong but alfalfa is not even horse-related no? It would have been a better clue if it tasted like oat flakes.

Then again, I found the solution to the puzzle so maybe I’m overreacting. Maybe just the fact that I went through complicated stuff to get my hands on the orange potion in the first place would have been enough to drive me to test it on several other places… but it concludes a whole part of the game where I felt once again like stumbling in the dark (I’m not only referring to the cave but to the stupid gemstone puzzle as well) and where I kinda accidentaly found the answers than made any logical path to it…

Malcolm, how nice of you to build this pegasus-pad.

Anyway, let’s stop rambling and wrap this up already. Once again we had a lot of little puzzles that made sense and a big one that didn’t, a few pixel hunts and a few hundred similar forest screens to go through. But the fact that I’m still very much enjoying the game and want to see what’s next is the proof that it’s still good despite all its flaws. The dark island where I landed makes me think that the next post might be the last. Malcolm seems not that far away!

Session time : 1 hour 30’
Total time : 6 hours

Inventory : Green potion, empty flask, Royal Chalice, tulip, iron key, magic shattering flute, magic ice scroll, magic rainbow stone, magic dumb blueberry.
Powers : Healing, Will’o’wisp, Grab some stuff into the air with my hand glowing.

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: There’s a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before making any comments that could be considered a spoiler in any way. The short of it is that no points will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. Please...try not to spoil any part of the game for me...unless I really obviously need the help...or I specifically request assistance. In this instance, I've not made any requests for assistance. Thanks!

10 comments:

  1. Reading alfalfa's Wikipedia article indicates that it is, in fact, a widely used fodder for horses and other livestock. The clue seems at least more reasonable than the random gem puzzle nonsense.

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    1. Ok sorry about that, the french wikipedia article didn't mention horses. So in this case, kudos for the hint. I agree about the fact that it's still better than the gem puzzle.

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    2. Alfalfa only makes me think of rabbits, because of Of Mice and Men.

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    3. Turning Brandon into a giant flying rabbit would have been great! But more in style of the silliness of the Kyrandia sequels...

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  2. You're a lot more forgiving than I am, Alfred. Or perhaps I should just be more patient.

    Also, nice Jimterruption :)

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  3. Jim Walls, the patron saint of adventurer gamers (and cops).

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  4. The potion bit gets me every time I play this game.

    Not just how to mix the potions (because you have no recipe), but also that you need to combine them in the other place.

    The forest itself is quite large, and repetitive, so you need to map it like a maze as well.

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  5. Some oddities from this part, that weird rainbow stone can be used in the rainbow to get a useless horse statue (another hint on the horse transformation ?) I never found out why they leave that "puzzle", maybe for something that got scraped ?

    Another fun death which you missed completely, is trying to go to the island as a will o wisp (try it out!).

    And at last, there's a screen on the next part (not a spoiler), which always was intriguing for me north of the tomb, which is is exactly like the forests from the beginning of the game, but with an incredible autumn palette switch (there's also the same screen if you try south instead of north I think). That little screen in there, kept me wondered for ages, since no walkthrough mention it, there's nothing on it, and it's not obvious that it exists. It's my favorite screen in the game, make sure to make a capture for the next article to keep its pure essence for preservation of video game oddities

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    1. I think that the brown palette is simply supposed to represent that the trees are dead.

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  6. Yay, another tedious gem-gathering puzzle! At least it is logical this time instead of relying on pure trial and error.

    Did anyone else get the impression that Zanthia's characterisation subtly differed between games 1 and 2? In the first game, she's more like this mature, dignified sorceress (or maybe she seems like that in comparison to Brandon), and in the sequel gains more "bumbling protagonist" aspects. To me at least she seemed the most competent mystic you meet in this game, explaining you the plot and all. But in Hand of Fate she is, I don't know, more casual and cutesy? I haven't played Malcolm's Revenge yet so I cannot comment on that.

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