The Legend of Kyrandia

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The Legend of Kyrandia
Cover of The Legend of Kyrandia Book One
Developer(s) Westwood Studios
Publisher(s) Westwood Studios
Composer(s) Frank Klepacki
Engine Kyra[1]
Platform(s) Amiga, FM Towns, Macintosh, MS-DOS, NEC PC-9801
Release date(s) 1992, 1993, 1994
Genre(s) Adventure game
Mode(s) Single-player

The Legend of Kyrandia is a fantasy point-and-click adventure game trilogy with comedy elements, created by Westwood Studios, and released for MS-DOS, Amiga, FM Towns and Apple Macintosh. It was based in a fantasy setting called Fables & Fiends, which has not been used beyond the trilogy, and is partly based on a multiplayer game with the same name optionally available on Galacticomm's MajorBBS.

The games of the trilogy are named as follows:

  1. The Legend of Kyrandia Book One (released on floppy disk and CD-ROM, came on nine disks for the Amiga version - this was the only game in the series converted for the Amiga)
  2. The Legend of Kyrandia Book Two: The Hand of Fate (released on floppy disk and CD-ROM)
  3. The Legend of Kyrandia Book Three: Malcolm's Revenge (released on CD-ROM only)

Each installment of the series uses the perspective of a different character. In the first game, the player controls a young hero named Brandon. In the second, the player controls a royal female mystic named Zanthia. In the third and final game, the player controls Malcolm, the evil court jester who was previously the main antagonist.


The Legend of Kyrandia became known for its extremely simple interface, a feature present in all three games in the series. Though vaguely reminiscent of point-and-click adventure games of the period, the primary detail that distinguished Westwood's trilogy was the use of a single "use" action, as opposed to multi-action interfaces.

All three games are characterized by a quite innovative inventory system. It is notable for the variety of allowed physical actions you could subject the items to, especially the great freedom of dropping and picking up objects, which was used for some of the puzzles. In general, the puzzles in the series are based on experimenting with inventory items, combining them or depositing them in the correct places.


Book One[edit]

In the fantasy kingdom of Kyrandia, King William and his wife, Queen Katherine, have been murdered by the evil court jester Malcolm, a madman who possesses vast magical powers. Brandon, the prince, has been hidden in the forest by his grandfather (Queen Katherine's father) Kallak, who is also chief of the Mystics.

Malcolm has fun destroying trees of the country, and faces Kallak, turning him into stone. Brandon, oblivious of his past, soon discovers the truth about his origins. He finds out that Malcolm has stolen the Kyragem, a mystic stone that contains the kingdom's energy. Brandon has to recover the Kyragem and defeat Malcolm.

After many adventures, also including the king's chalice along the way (not to mention learning four different magical spells), Brandon heads to the king's castle, which Malcolm now occupies. Here he finds most of his former friends and allies turned to stone by Malcolm as well as a magical sceptre and king's crown. Putting these together he unlocks the way to Malcolm's personal chamber, where the Kyragem lies. He confronts Malcolm and heads into the Kyragem chamber. After becoming invisible (one of his magic powers) he walks up to a giant mirror, where Malcolm casts a magic orb, which bounces off the mirror, turning Malcolm to stone. Brandon becomes King, his friends are freed, and the Kyragem is returned to its proper place.

Book Two: The Hand of Fate[edit]


Years later, Zanthia, a young female alchemist and wizard encountered in the first game, discovers that the kingdom of Kyrandia is in great danger, disappearing piece by piece. The Mystics hold a meeting, and The Hand (a giant glove serving as Marko's assistant) formulates a plan, which requires a magic anchor stone from the center of the world. He chooses Zanthia to be the one who shall recover the stone. As it turns out, however, the quest for the anchor stone is a snipe hunt, used by The Hand to distract Zanthia and the other Mystics while it enacts its evil deeds. The Hand, supposedly a fragment of a long-deceased gigantic evil sorcerer, is the game's true villain, and Zanthia must defeat him by the end. This game was characterized by far more whimsical humor than its predecessor.

Also in this game Marko, who actually loves Zanthia, must be rescued several times by the player (if s/he so chooses; they can otherwise leave Marko to escape on his own). This game also features many more non-optional side quests. Rather, it is not as straightforward as the predecessor, which was intent on finding and defeating Malcolm. In this game the player must go to several different locations and perform various tasks to eventually be able to reach the main destination. For example one major plot point is to reach a volcanic island named "Volcania," which involves an extensive side quest with many different objectives, to reach the center of the Earth (where more tasks await Zanthia, such as playing fetch with a Stegosaurus or riding a T-Rex, retrieving items to be used to make potions — a major part of the game — before she can advance). For different destinations, Zanthia always magically changes her attire.

But after Zanthia retrieves an anchor stone, Marko opens a portal and tells her to meet with him at the "Wheels of Fate." After many other extensive quests, Zanthia reaches a floating island and uses an old rainbow machine to reach her destination. There, after retrieving several important items including a gear (through a difficult Tower of Hanoi puzzle), she is able to go to the "control room" of sorts. There it turns out that the machine controlling Kyrandia has had a gear removed (thus causing everything to disappear). After she fixes it, the Hand appears again with a tied-up Marko. After a "battle" (mostly which includes Zanthia dodging the Hand's attacks until Marko is able to free himself), Marko throws the hand over the edge and it is ripped up by the massive gears and other machines outside of the control room. Marko then tells Zanthia that they should leave and that he has magic parachutes, calling her "sweetheart," which she repeats questioningly (shocked to hear the word).

In a final scene after the credits, the still-stone Malcolm is seen in a junkyard not far from the castle. He is struck by lightning and the camera focuses on his hand, as his fingers slowly move and off-screen screams are heard. The story is then continued in Book 3: Malcolm's Revenge.


Book Three: Malcolm's Revenge[edit]

After Malcolm's defeat against Brandon in the first game, Malcolm had been turned into a statue, but after having been struck by lightning, he was liberated from the spell. Malcolm then decides to take his revenge upon Brandon and Kallak, helped by his evil conscience, Gunther. Even though he lost his powerful magic, Malcolm decides to use his malicious wit and cunning to go through with his revenge. He eventually proves his innocence of the murder of Brandon's parents.


  • Brandon Voiced by Joseph D. Kucan:[2] The protagonist of the first game in the series. A humble young woodsman in the forest of Kyrandia, Brandon is in fact the Prince of Kyrandia and heir to the throne. When he was just a baby, his parents, King William and Queen Katherine, were murdered. Soon afterward, his grandfather Kallak, chief of the Mystics, fled beyond the Timbermist woods and raised him in the forest. When Malcolm attacks Kyrandia and turns Kallak into stone, Brandon sets out to defeat the evil jester. In the tradition of adventure game heroes like Roger Wilco and Guybrush Threepwood, Brandon is depicted as well-meaning, but not particularly bright. By the third game in the series, Brandon has inherited the throne and becomes King of Kyrandia, but his grandfather Kallak (Queen Katherine's father) holds the real power due to Brandon's somewhat dim-witted nature.
  • Zanthia Voiced by Bonnie Lynn Toups [3] (voiced by Ginalyn Torrecilla in Book One):[2] The protagonist of the second game in the series. Zanthia is a member of the Counsel of Mystics and a powerful magic-user, although she is highly dependent on the use of reagents in order to cast spells. Perhaps the sanest of Kyrandia's inhabitants, Zanthia's personality is witty, confident, and level-headed.
  • Malcolm Voiced by Eric Randall [4] (voiced by Gary W. Hyatt in Book One [2]): The main antagonist of the series, and the protagonist of the third and final game. Malcolm is a mean-spirited, sarcastic, and slightly deranged jester who commands incredibly powerful magic. He is also the cousin of the late King of Kyrandia, and widely believed to be the murderer of the royal family (although this is revealed to be untrue at the very end of the last game). At the end of the first game, Malcolm is defeated by Brandon, who reflects his own magic back at him and turns him into stone. In the third game, Malcolm is freed by a bolt of lightning, but loses his magical powers, forcing him to rely on his wits to survive, get his revenge and ultimately clear his name.

Game design[edit]

Westwood Studios developed the file format .VQA for video encoding for Legend of Kyrandia: Book Three: Malcolm's Revenge. Legend of Kyrandia 1 is fully compatible with ScummVM 0.9.0. Hand of Fate became supported by ScummVM in April 2008, Malcolm's Revenge in May 2008.


The original The Legend of Kyrandia received 5 out of 5 stars in Dragon;[5] Hand of Fate got 4 out of 5 stars.[6]


  1. ^ "Kyra". ScummVM. 1 December 2012. Retrieved 23 June 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c Moby Games: The Legend of Kyrandia: credits
  3. ^ Moby Games: The Legend of Kyrandia: Hand of Fate: credits
  4. ^ Moby Games: The Legend of Kyrandia: Malcolm's Revenge: credits
  5. ^ Lesser, Hartley, Patricia, and Kirk (March 1993). "The Role of Computers". Dragon (191): 57–62. 
  6. ^ Petersen, Sandy (May 1994). "Eye of the Monitor". Dragon (205): 59–62. 

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