Friday, 16 June 2017

Kyrandia - Romancing the Stones

Written by Alfred n the Fettuc

Brandon’s journal - entry #1 : Damn Malcolm! This monster has turned my grandfather Kallak to stone! And now the wooden wall of his hut starts talking to me telling me about my destiny and how I’m supposed to fight this jester devil and save the world! Now if I could only find a way to read the magic note that I found on grandfather’s desk? Maybe Brynn will be able to help me…

Note : having experienced a tragic MacBook crash, this post will be shorter than usual in order to be able to release it (somewhat) on schedule. Sorry about that guys, I promise you a full-length post for next week! -Alfred

First of all and without further ado : playing Kyrandia nowadays is still a blast! The MIDI music and the low resolution graphics are still as beautiful and enchanting as it was before. Pixel art is still what’s holding up best, especially when you compare it to digitized graphics or early 3D ones! But enough of this for now, let’s try and figure these puzzles out…

Pretty hut, and with a natural elevator to boot!

The first thing that happens to you is the wall of the hut animating itself and talking to you. It tells you you have to stop Malcolm because you were chosen for it. It doesn’t give you much, though, even after Brandon pleading he wouldn’t know how to start.

Don’t use drugs, kids, or this might happen to you too.

Come on, answer me, damn wall!

I thoroughly examine Kallak’s hut, finding a note on the table (unreadable except for the name “Brynn” from the nearby temple written on it), a garnet, an apple (in the pot) and a saw (well hidden under the table, pixel hunting, here I come!). With four (!) items to find on the first screen, I’m guessing there’s gonna be a lot of inventory puzzles on this one. I exit the hut, using a moving branch as an elevator (which appears perfectly normal to Brandon while he was shocked to find the wall speaking…)

This is a game that involves mapping. A lot of the screens around the forest just look the same. On the plus side, it makes the world bigger than it really is, while on the minus side, it can sometimes feel like repetitive scenery. Thankfully the gorgeous graphic and fantastic music do a great job easing you through the world and I never felt bored (with Brandon’s walking speed put to the max).

Once out of the hut and down the natural elevator, I go west towards Brynn’s temple. On the way I pass a dead willow tree with a tear-shaped mark in the trunk. Probably Malcolm’s work as well.

The green screen behind proves that the shooting of Legend of Kyrandia probably has been done in studio and not natural location. No willow tree was hurt during production.

I reach Brynn’s temple who uses her magic to translate Kallak’s message. He asks her to direct me towards the amulet (whatever that is) and to use the lavender rose to key the spell. Still cryptic, Brynn sends me on my way to get a lavender rose.

Fetch quest number #7561

I exit the temple and start to map out the eastern area of the hut. I see three major points of interest. A lake with tears falling into it (I grab one of them) and an altar surrounded by lavender roses (which I hungrily grab as well). The third point is a cavern in the south where the bridge that allows passage to other parts of Kyrandia has collapsed. I meet with a guy there who tells me he’ll need a saw in order to repair the bridge. I’m happy to oblige.

Herman is the first example of the loonies that inhabit Kyrandia

Herman leaves the cave to get some planks. On the way exploring and mapping the forest I found two more gems to add to my collection which are an emerald and a sapphire. I know the fact that gems appearing randomly out of the blue is somewhat justified in the second part but we’re touching what is probably one of the weakest parts of the game : half-randomized item placement. I know it’s the biggest part of what will be our first major puzzle (coming soon) and can’t remember if that happens later in the game. We’ll see about that, I guess. On my way, I pass again in front of the dead willow tree. I put the tear I got from the pond in the recess… The results are great and the tree gets back to life!

Why? Hmmm… Magic I guess?

As soon as the tree is restored, a kid, Merith, enters the screen. Brandon and him seem to have a history of playing together, probably hide and seek, considering that Merith immediately tells Brandon that he has found a marble and that he has to chase and catch him if he wants it. Before chasing him, I finish my trip to Brynn’s temple and hand her over the lavender rose.

She transforms the rose into silver and tells me I have to use it on the magic altar in order to get the amulet. I exit the temple again and start chasing Merith.

Give me the damn marble or you’re gonna get it!

After a few screens, I get in Merith’s back (involuntarily but still) and be able to surprise him in a nice and friendly way :



You know you can count on me…

This little bit of slapstick allows me to get the marble Merith found. It allows me to “reboot” the altar that lights up with magic. Putting the silver rose on it makes my inventory flash and sparkle… the amulet appears! Well, for now, it’s pretty useless. I’ll need more time to reveal its powers. I come back to the temple. Brynn is nowhere to be seen… the plot thickens…

Bzzzzt

Going back to the bridge, I see that Herman has finished his job. I can cross it to the Timbermist Woods, where my next adventures await!

Join us next time as we tackle two of the infamous parts of Kyrandia as we’ll be randomly picking gems in a lot of forest screens and spend time mapping the feared fireberry caves…

Spoiler alert : It won’t take very long and he probably won’t like it...

Session time : 1 hour
Total time : 1 hour

Inventory : Garnet, emerald, sapphire, apple, note

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!

20 comments:

  1. So this is just an annotated walkthrough and not a blind run ? ok .. next

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    1. That's what I'm concerned about too and brought it up here. One thing I'd also like to know is how long it has been since Alred has last played the game.

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    2. This is a game that a lot of people have strong feelings about. Alfred will probably talk about how much he remembers (or doesn't remember) in his next post. Writing about a game that you've played before is in a lot of ways harder than writing about a game you are surprised by (go back and check out some of Trickster's early reviews for how he struggled with it) and the issues with his laptop may have made this harder still. (When we get to assigning reviewers for 1993, I think we should discuss your suggestion of not reviewing games that are fresh in memory but I don't think it is a huge deal. I played "Return to Zork", for example, 24 years ago and might remember a few scattered details but I hope no one asks me to skip it.)

      I'm looking forward to Alfred's next post. I have no idea how, but I completely missed this game growing up but it looks gorgeous. I am excited to see how it turns out.

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  2. So guys I see your point and I'm sorry you feel this way. I haven't played Kyrandia in years and I realized that I remembered the first part pretty accurately anyway. Don't worry though because Timbermist Woods already proved to be much more challenging and I spent quite a lot of time in the Fireberries cave (which will be the parts covered in my next post). As for the rest I have almost no memory of it.

    The "walkthrough" feeling you had about this post might be explained by the fact that I rushed it in order to not mess too much with the blog schedule. As I said in my intro, my computer crashed and rendered me incapable of playing or writing in a week. I should have taken longer to write it but I felt like I made everybody wait too long already.

    Concerning the fact that games should be played by people with no prior experience of them, I agree the idea is interesting but for some of the major games we're about to tackle it seems difficult to find someone reading this blog with no previous experience with let's say Fate of Atlantis or Day of the Tentacle (and willing to write about it).

    However I understand that the reader's pleasure is paramount and I'll do my best to avoid these critics in my next post.

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    1. I understand and it's not the end of the world, for me at least. :-) It's just a preference. Glad to see that you've forgotten most of the later parts anyway.

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    2. So, er... 1992 was about the year that I stopped gaming as much as a kid so I haven't played either Atlantis or DotT. I fell into a Sierra-only mold for a while until Sierra collapsed. That said, I'm probably not the reviewer for either of those games since I have quite enough on my plate...

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    3. Well, Fate of Atlantis is my all time favorite game. I disassemblied the game to understand how the scumm worked for some sections of it. It would be a shame if it's posted as a walkthrough.

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    4. Fate of Atlantis is a great game. Hopefully whoever gets to blog through this game does... {checks list of upcoming games] ... oh.

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  3. Regarding the interface, this is the only other game since Loom to have a no-verb one-click-does-it-all UI, isn't it? Correct me if I'm wrong. The Dynamix games and later Beneath a Steel Sky and Broken Sword by Revolution have a similar one, except with the addition of right-clicking so you can either "interact" or "look", which counts as two verbs. With no verbs the puzzle design becomes mostly about inventory management, and the game does have a very unique drag-and-drop system. But this game is notorious for some really tedious trial-and-error item gathering puzzles; the sequel has much better puzzle design.

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    1. Well, Fascination was almost one-click-does-it-all. Right-click was used to open up the inventory, but wasn't really a "verb" in its own right.

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    2. Technically, Fascination is game 84 on the list and Kyrandia 82, so it'd still be first since Loom, right?

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    3. Gobliiins is from 1991, is earlier than Kyrandia

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    4. Technically yes, Fascination has a larger number on our playing list than Kyrandia. But if you are looking for exact publication dates, the list isn't an exact science, especially with games published so close to one another like Fascination and Kyrandia.

      As for Gobliiins, there's another problem. For our main playing list, we've been following Trickster's original scheme of taking the DOS publication date as the choice of when to play a game. In this case, DOS version of Gobliiins was indicated by Mobygames to be a 1992 game, although Amiga version apparently was published in 1991, so we had to play it as a 1992 game.

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    5. Oh I see, I never knew it was released in 1992 for DOS. Fair enough

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    6. We're no longer DOS-only so might do it differently now, but there are also fewer games going forward that will have a DOS port significantly later so there hasn't been too much need to adjust the list.

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    7. Yeah, Gobliiins-series is pretty much the only example, DOS-versions coming year after Amiga-versions.

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  4. Pixel art is still what’s holding up best, especially when you compare it to digitized graphics or early 3D ones!

    That really gets in the way of enjoying the third game in the series. Westwood tried to improve on perfection! They pulled it off with Blade Runner. Kyrandia 3, not so much.

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  5. It's a nice, gentle start to the game. Few screens of any importance, pretty linear path between the temple and the bridge in the cavern.

    I quite like that the interface is so simple, it's not a particularly complex game so it doesn't need a complex interface. I would have liked it if there were more things that you could "look" at though. Spoiled by Sierra and Lucasarts games in that respect perhaps.

    I love the artwork though, the temple, the willow and the altar are all great. There's some similarly good moments later on. Shame that the forest scenes get a little repetition, but I guess they decided to cut a few corners there since on those screens you rarely if ever have to do anything. They merely make the world seem bigger (which can be slightly annoying if you have to walk across them all more than a couple of times).

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  6. I never liked the Westwood adventure games - they had too little interactivity for my taste and poor puzzle design - but I recognize their graphics as the best VGA graphics ever made IMO. The main reason for this is that their artists had an incredible talent for playing with light and dark in their images. Notice how many of these images feature the interplay of light and shade. No other artists of the era came close to this quality of graphics.

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