Monday 31 July 2017

Legend of Kyrandia - WON!

Written by Alfred n the Fettuc

Brandon’s journal - entry #5 : Finally. Malcolm’s abode. The fiend is near. I’m gonna avenge my new-found dead parents. This is it. The final showdown. Now if I can just find my way in this huuuuge castle…

Last week we followed the adventures of Brandon straight to Malcolm’s island (or what I can guess is Malcolm’s island, considering the dead plants and scary looking mountains scream “bad guy’s lair”)

Turning into a flying horse also left me with a craving for alfalfa.

I leave to explore the island and the first screen is a cemetery with only one tombstone. Putting a tulip on it makes the ghost of my dead mother appear. (how come I still have a tulip in my inventory? I just randomly picked one up when I was wandering around Timbermist trying to find colored gems for my potions. I consider myself lucky but I can smell a huge dead-end here. What if I left the mainland without any flowers on me?).

I love the light show you’ve put in your grave, mother.

My mother tells me that in order to defeat Malcolm, I’ll need to free the Kyragem. I’d need the Royal Chalice to do that (check) and she gives me another power for my amulet: Invisibility! Woo! I proceed to the next screen (not without checking the two useless autumn-themed screens north and south of the grave that Alex was talking about) and I arrive in front of Malcolm’s castle.

You indeed have to wonder why they went through the effort
 to create this screen while not putting anything to do in it…

So that’s where Brandon grew up? Nice place indeed… can’t wait to reclaim it.

The castle is guarded by two scary-looking gargoyles (I’m having painful Bargon Attack flashbacks there) and a locked gate. If I try to get near the gate, I’m toast. Using the Invisibility power, however, allows me to get near the gate and unlock it with the iron key. A side note on that: How did Malcolm lose his keys at the very end of the Fireberry caves? If he wanted to get rid of the key, why didn’t he throw it in the lava in the very next screen where he left it? And if it’s just that he lost it, it seems like an awful lot of bad luck to lose it so far into the cave. But I digress, let’s just blame adventure game logic there.


I don’t know if I should consider myself actually lucky not to have missed three very important items I needed to progress there: a flower, the chalice and the key, or if I must be worried to have missed a fourth major item before coming to the last island. Whatever the answer is, it seems pretty obvious that the game can have dead-end scenarios (except maybe if Brandon warns the player should he try to proceed without the necessary items. I’ll have to try this when I get the chance).

Definitely easier to fool than the gargoyles in Bargon Attack...

Anyway, I open the gate to Malcolm’s castle and enter the premises. As soon as I step in, the fiend comes around to tease me one more time. You have to wander something in his James Bond-villain routine. It’s ok to tease the supposedly heroïc figure that’s been chosen by fate to destroy you, but there is a point where you should be starting to worry about him, no? I mean, when the hero is stepping in your castle, I’d assume it’s high time to stop teasing and get rid of him, but maybe that’s just me. Malcolm has seemingly enormous magical powers and should be able to destroy Brandon by snapping fingers but he seems to still enjoy the cat and mouse game even if it’s becoming clearer and clearer that Brandon is about to win. But whatever. So Malcolm teases you, of course, and tells you that our old friend Herman is around, eager to return your saw. I have to admit that’s pretty clever and a nice way to recall something that happened way earlier in the game.

Oh Herman, yay, I love that guy! Why do you sound ominous though?

As for now, Herman is nowhere to be seen so I’m left free to explore the (huge) castle. The structure is simple. Both the first and second floor surround a huge dining hall (the great hall) with corridors leaving in several directions, and an interesting looking locked door. On the first floor, the notable areas are a library with a huge fireplace to the northwest and a kitchen to the northeast.

So great it’s written twice in this picture.

Thorough pixel hunting in the kitchen grants me the Royal Scepter that was apparently used as a poker. Despite the fact that it looks like a place where I could do several other things, I can’t find any other hotspot. I can’t even fill my Royal Chalice at the tap. Shame we’re not in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

I could really go for a fine German beer right now…

In the library room, I find several books that I can move in and out of place. The fact that Brandon insists on the first letter of each title makes me think I can create words out of them and probably make something happen. Touching the fireplace makes it turn around and brings me to some kind of secret passage. However, I can see some kind of interesting object in the fireplace when it turns around. I go back to the library (I’ll explore the secret passage later) and proceed to see what kind of words I can form with the books.

The letters are P, G, A, M, E, N, R and O. Ramen and Gnome aren’t working so I go for the more obvious (but less funny) OPEN. The fireplace revolves once again and let me access the object that turns out to be… the Royal Crown!

And Brandon proves himself as quick-witted as ever…

With my new shiny collection of Royal Items in tow, I proceed to explore the secret passage. This is another short labyrinth of similar-looking dark passageways that make me wonder where the fireberries are when you need them. Turning into a Will-o-Wisp helps tremendously as it not only lightens up the place but makes me move faster. One of the passageway is blocked by some kind of green magic wall. I try all my items on it to no avail and (after a long wait for Brandon to revert into its normal form and for my amulet to reload), I try the “magic catching hand” spell.

Ok, so it’s some kind of “Dispel Magic” spell. It makes sense but I
prefer the term “ultra cyborg mutant glowing magic catching hand”

Behind the force field I find nothing but empty rooms until I look more closely and find a golden key hidden under a rock. I go back out of the secret passage and run to the great hall in order to try it on the locked door. It works, but seems to be needing something else before opening. Maybe a switch of some kind? I’m left with nothing to do but explore the second floor.

Immediately after climbing the stairs, I finally encounter my old friend Herman. He has a nicely-tinted green screen, crazy eyes and a grin not unlike Malcolm’s, but thankfully he seems to be only there for guarding one of the rooms. Trying to approach him head on grants the expected result.

Ouch #2

I leave Herman there and go on to explore the rest of the floor. The floor is only holding a few bedrooms, which apparently are the mystics’. I find Darm turned to stone in her room, as well as Brynn. A third empty bedroom seems to be Zanthia’s but she’s nowhere to be seen. I find some kind of fish in Brynn’s bedroom and a green glowing ankh in Zanthia’s. I try to heal the mystics but to no avail.

Was worth a shot. Can we use it on the fish as well?

All of this was a bit anticlimactic. There is nothing particularly interesting in these rooms and I’m back to square one. The fact that I used the healing power on the mystics, however, made me realise I didn’t even try that on Herman. I go back to him and it works! The healing power just puts him to sleep for some reason, but I can explore the room behind him!

So I guess this is a healing/sleep spell? These magic powers sure are complex…

The last room is apparently Kallak’s, judging by a portrait of him on the wall. Interestingly enough, turned-to-stone-Zanthia is there. Could it be a subtle clue about a saucy story between Zanthia and Kallak? Grandfather, you dog! Brandon even adds to this theory by saying that “this room must be grandfather’s… or maybe Zanthia’s?” Maybe I’m overthinking it but I’m sure there is something going on between those two…

Does that make you my step grandmother?

In the room I find some kind of hourglass and a series of bells with a mallet next to it. I try to play the bells in a few different orders but it doesn’t seem to do anything. I’m obviously lacking a clue there. I go back to the rest of the castle and go round in circles for a pretty long time before accepting the fact that I didn’t seem to have missed anything! I was stuck…

I’d think having a dragon as a bodyguard would be more efficient.

After trying a lot of things on a lot of other things (resulting notably in me eating the raw fish), I had to come to the conclusion that I had to brute-force the bells puzzle. The game asked me for four notes so I tried everything methodically. It didn’t take too long to do this because the answer didn’t require any double-notes, but it’s still bothering. DO-FA-MI-RE doesn’t seem to even make sense retrospectively… DFMR? Don’t Flatten My Roses? Darm’s Feet Move Rarely? I get another gold key for solving this “puzzle” but it doesn’t feel right. Please dear readers with previous knowledge of the game, tell me there is a clue somewhere that I missed? If not, this puzzle joins the series of poorly-thought puzzles of the game. Having this kind of roadblock requiring you to brute-force your way out of it is just bad puzzle-design! This is the kind of things that could remove an entire point in the PISSED rating…

Door For Malcolm’s Realm? Dodos Fight Manatees Randomly?

Anyway, whatever the means, I finally have another gold key and probably a way to the last section of the castle. I go downstairs and proceed to the great hall. Behind the locked door, I find three cushions that seem like a perfect fit for the Royal Treasures. It takes me a few tries to find the (once again seemingly random) order and I put the Scepter, the Crown and the Chalice on the cushions. The door to the Kyragem Vault opens!

What about the Royal Ankh? The Royal Hourglass? The Royal Fishbone?

Once the door is opened, Malcolm appears to taunt you one last time. Brandon warns him repeatedly that Malcolm shouldn’t push him and the confrontation ends with possibly the most satisfying moment of the game:

BAM! Right in the kisser!

After Brandon has finally punched Malcolm in the face, the final battle begins in the Kyragem Vault. All your items are destroyed at this moment so your options are limited. Malcolm enters the room pretty fast and throws a magic ball at you that turns you into stone. I tried a lot of things that didn’t seem to work : turn into a Will’o Wisp, use the Glowing Hand to try to catch the ball, turn invisible… nothing seems to work.

Play catch with me?

The conspicuous mirror behind me made me think that turning invisible was the way to go, so I insisted in this direction. Turns out you have to turn invisible before Malcolm enters the room and go in front of the mirror without actually clicking on it. I’m pretty sure a lot of people stumbled on the correct solution pretty easily but it took me a lot of tries to make it work. The result is that Malcolm misses his shot and the ball bounces back to him, turning him into stone! The little red bird from the beginning of the game comes in and adds insult to injury by pushing the Malcolm statue on the floor.

Brandon comes back to Kallak and they congratulate each other. King Brandon makes his first royal proclamation by making sandals the official footwear of Kyrandia.

For real

Kyrandia is freed from the evil genius Malcolm! King Brandon is now free to rule a benevolent reign, which, as we’ll see in Kyrandia 3, is not as great as it might seem right now. This is what happens when a dim-witted son takes the throne after his father (insert Geoffrey Baratheon, Kim Jong-Il or George W. Bush joke here).

Here are two questions for you Kyrandia veterans out there :
  • Alex Romanov made the remark that the rainbowstone was used in the waterfall to create an useless pegasus statue. Do anyone has an idea of the uses of the fish (or fishbone), ankh and hourglass? They seem like useful enough items in the course of an adventure game about magic, but I couldn’t seem to find any use for them…
  • What about this stupid bell puzzle? Did anyone find a hint about this?
Meet us next week and we’ll see if the perfect graphics and sounds overwhelm the bad and random puzzles in our beloved PISSED rating! Long Live King Brandon!

Session time: 2 hours
Total time: 8 hours

Final Inventory: Tragically empty
Final Powers: Healing, Will’o’wisp, Bionic Mutant Dispel Powerhand, Invisibility


  1. I've never played this myself, but all of the other walkthroughs/playthroughs I can find online indicate that there are no hints to the bell puzzle. They all complain that you just have to keep trying different orders until you hit the one that succeeds.

    1. Gemstone puzzle requires brute force, potions puzzle is slightly better but requires a lot of trial and error, and then this one.

      Lots of useless items too, although some of them can be used as alternatives (any flower can be placed on your mother's grave for example).

    2. Even in the MUD that this game was inspired by, the gemstone is randomized!

  2. I think the ankh is from Eye Of The Beholder (also by Westwood), see here:,580957/

  3. Hmmm. A bad guy's castle with two stone creatures with light-up eyes that stop you if they see you walk past.

    Seems... somehow... familiar...

    It seems all evil wizards shop at the same security store.

    1. I guess they all imitate Sauron:

    2. Other similarities: Brandon is technically a king on a quest, the bad guy has a grudge against the family, using magic to solve puzzles, multiple mazes, a talking tree, and an elderly wizard with a hearing problem (and a talking animal sidekick) help him on his journey.

    3. At least they're pretty straightforward about this...

  4. Ok here again to fill in the information.

    The bell puzzle is always the same notes, but they have to be brute forced, there are no clues whatsoever.

    Same goes with the order of the royal items, it's always the same, but no clues.

    You were correct, missing a flower (there's one next to the pegasus platform where you drink the orange potion), the castle key, or the royal chalice, equals dead end ! The only ones from the whole game (not sure if throwing items in the well, makes them respawn or not).

    That thing about making sandals the official footwear is a throwback line. You can click on Brandon 3 times to get a different comment, and when you change areas, these lines change and you get new ones. There's one persistent comment on how he hates his shoes, more and more, that's why he makes that comment at the end of the game.

    The items in the royal palace (the fish, ankh, etc), are red herrings. No use to them and no idea why they were included in the first place.

    Fun trivia: as far as I know, the only item in the whole game that needs to be used twice, is the ice scroll. All other items have only one use, or none at all.

    1. Also, thanks for including my favorite screen on the game =D

    2. Ok, I have the answer to one of the mysteries. The fish (or fish bones) you find in the castle, are according to Brandon a "Piscata Rosea". Which literally means Red Herring.

  5. The flower-on-grave dead end isn't one I'd call huge. The explorable area in the island is only 5 screens large, with almost nothing to do, so you won't waste much time progressing without necessary items. There are at least 3 types of flowers that work and can bring with you: rose, tulip, orchid. You only need to reload just before transforming into a pegasus. The backtracking required for the iron key is at most slightly more (exploring the cave), as you're also limited to those same 5 screens before opening the gate. The chalice one on the other hand could be huge, as you don't need it until the opening of the kyravault, but the mother explicitly tells you need it. So I find the dead ends described here reasonable.

    I think small-scale dead ends like this are sometimes fine. Gabriel Knight 1 has a situation near the end where ragrevat gur ebbz jurer Tenpr vf orvat uryq va gur ibbqbb ubhasbhe jvgubhg gur cebcre cercnengvbaf (npdhvevat qvfthvfrf sbe obgu lbh naq Zbfryl, naq yrnivat gur fanxr ebq naq genpxvat qrivpr va gur ryringbe) results in a dead end shortly thereafter.

    1. Having being caught on dead-ends multiple times, even ones that are minor in retrospect annoy me.

      You're right in that you only have to reload to a short section ago, but that's only if you know exactly what you need to do, in which case the dead-end becomes trivial almost no matter where the reload point has to be.

      The biggest problem with dead-ends is that you DON'T know where you screwed up, or even IF you're dead-ended. Maybe I missed something in the very first section that I need to go back to... maybe there's some pixel hunting to do in the fireberry cave... maybe I used up an item I need again for some reason... maybe I have everything I need and am too stupid to try the obviously correct thing... etc.

      Just knowing that dead-ends might exist puts those thoughts in your mind, which is why the Monkey Island policy of no-dead-ends is something I got behind fully and get frustrated with any game that insists on including them after Lucasarts showed that they aren't necessary.

      I do make exceptions though for dead-ends that make it obvious that you've done something wrong. In this case, a message on the cemetery screen saying something like "I wish I had a flower to pay my respects" would make this bearable.

    2. There's a cruelty scale originating from the interactive fiction community, describing the harshness of dead ends in adventure games. Kyrandia 1 classifies IMO as "tough" (unless you don't think saving before drinking potions is worthwhile, in which case it's "nasty"). "Tough" is the kind of tolerable rating I was talking about, and anything crueler than that should be unacceptable design.

    3. Any zombie situation, is bad design. Theres no way to justify it, and the evidence is that no modern adventure games have them.

    4. I like that scale. If I was in charge of an Adventure Game Development company I'd demand nothing above 'Polite'. I specifically remember a dead-end I encountered in Martian Memorandum that required me to repeat two posts worth of adventuring!

      So due probably to my dislike of the feature, I'd be more inclined to call this dead-end 'Cruel' as there is no indication that you need to have a flower before drinking the potion.

      Ooh. And I just thought of one way to avoid this particular dead-end entirely - have the orange potion only sipped before turning us into a pegasus. Then we could travel back and forth at will by sipping the potion on either pegasus platform indefinitely. Problem solved - Westwood, how about a patch?

    5. Yeah that, or just giving Brandon clearer objectives and him saying "I'm still missing something" when you try to use the potion

    6. >him saying "I'm still missing something" when you try to use the potion

      Come on, that'd be lazy. There was a discussion in the AGS forums a long time ago on ways to efficiently fix dead ends, and the "PC refuses to continue without necessary items" was strongly argued against as lazy and immersion-breaking. It's better to allow backtracking or provide the items after the point of no return. You could also make it so that you have the items because they were required in an earlier puzzle or simply given to you in an unavoidable scene, but that doesn't work in Kyrandia because you can drop items.