IntroductionMalcolm in the Middle: Let's play The Legend of Kyrandia 3: Malcolm's Revenge
Remember a company called Westwood Studios? Back in the late 80s and early 90s, they were mostly known for making licensed Dungeons & Dragons games, including Dragonstrike, Warriors of the Eternal Sun, and the first two Eye of the Beholder games. They also adapted Frank Herbert's Dune books into a game often credited with defining the real-time strategy genre for years to come: Dune II. Later on they would go on to refine that formula into the extremely popular Command & Conquer series of strategy games, until they were bought out by Electronic Arts in 1998 and began the customary slow death march towards obscurity and eventual shutdown in 2003.
In the middle of all this, they made a trilogy of point-and-click adventure games, starting with Fables & Fiends: The Legend of Kyrandia in 1992. We've had a good look at the first two games in the series (Thread links: Cliches & Clowns: Let's Play The Legend of Kyrandia and Potent Potables: Let's Play The Legend of Kyrandia 2: Hand of Fate). The time has now come to play the third and final game in the series, which came out in 1994.
The first two games were pretty standard for adventure games at the time, remarkable mostly because of their simplified interface and high production values. Both games featured high-quality pixel graphics in amazing 320x200 resolution, full voice acting, and music composed by the talented Frank Klepacki (perhaps most well known for his subsequent work on Command & Conquer). In the first game, we followed the young heir to the throne, Brandon, on a quest to defeat the evil jester Malcolm, who murdered Brandon's parents eighteen years ago. In the second, we played as Zanthia, a mystic sent on a quest to save Kyrandia from disappearing into the void for reasons that don't become clear until the endgame.
The second game ended with a cutscene showing Malcolm the jester breaking free of his stony prison, thus kicking off the plot of the third game. And boy, is this game different. Emboldened by their success and high on whatever crazy was going around in the mid-nineties that convinced everyone low-resolution pre-rendered 3D graphics was the way forward, Westwood Studios took this game in a totally different direction art-wise. Gone are the lovingly pixeled backgrounds, replaced by raytraced 3D renderings. The result is... questionable. The soundtrack is brand new and more modern, both in style and technology. Personally, I kind of like the music in this game. At the same time, they somehow managed a big step backwards in terms of puzzle quality, although thankfully it's not really possible to get stuck in this game the way you could in the first. The game also has a non-linear section at the start, though the rest of the game is on rails, much like the previous two. The story is probably the weirdest part of the entire game, and commits a few... well, you'll see.
Like before, exercise good judgment when it comes to spoilers. The games are over 20 years old by now, but try not to give away where the game is going. Just like the first two LPs, this one will have a combination of screenshots, transcribed dialogue, and video clips of significant events, especially when new characters are introduced. Instead of recording the audio and putting it on Tindeck like last time (which was quite a drag), I will link to a copy of the soundtrack someone already put on Youtube. The music in this game is pretty good, so I encourage you to listen to it when possible. My commentary will be in italics, and any other text can be assumed to be straight from the game, usually in the form of dialogue.
All right, let's go meet the third game head on. Kyrandia awaits.
Table of Contents
- Chapter 0: Introduction
- Chapter 1: Wherein Malcolm is Set Loose Once More
- Chapter 2: Wherein Local Wildlife are Exploited for Fun and Profit
- Chapter 3: Wherein Malcolm Gets Hopelessly Lost
- Interlude: Portals and Potions
- Chapter 4: Wherein a Revolution is Staged
- Interlude: Jailbird
- Chapter 5: Wherein Malcolm Sails to Kyrandia, and Falls off the Ends of the Earth
- Interlude: No Business Like Show Business
- Chapter 6: Wherein Things Go South
- Interlude: Flight of the Pegasus, and Various Loose Ends
- Chapter 7: Wherein Malcolm Goes To Hell
- Chapter 8: Wherein an Old Friend Returns
- Chapter 9: Wherein a Slight Feeling of Déjà Vu Sets In
- Interlude: A Matter of Conscience
- Chapter 10: Wherein a Ghost Testifies, and Provides a Conclusion