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.
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.
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?