Part 2: Wherein Malcolm is Set Loose Once MoreChapter 1: Wherein Malcolm is Set Loose Once More
Ahh... free at last...
Malcolm crawls out of the trash heap where he's spent the last few god-knows-how-long, and wastes no time planning revenge. If you watched the introduction video above, you might have noticed that Malcolm has a new voice actor this time around. In the first game, he was voiced by Gary W. Hyatt, and had a rather squeaky voice. This time, he's voiced by Eric Randall and has a much deeper and more gravelly voice than before. Presumably, someone decided that listening to the first game's version of Malcolm for an entire game would get too annoying, because Gary W. Hyatt was certainly available if they'd wanted him - he voices a different character in the third game who we'll come across sooner or later.
Oh, that's another thing. This game bizarrely enough has a laugh track. Whenever Malcolm says anything that could remotely be construed as humorous (which covers most of what comes out his mouth), there is a chance that a bit of laugh track will play. You can turn it off in the options, though.
Oh god who are you where did you come from.
Remember me? I'm Gunther, your bad conscience!
So, as you'll recall from the introduction, Malcolm once had a shoulder angel and a shoulder devil representing his good and bad conscience, respectively. However, Malcolm's good conscience, Stewart, was killed sometime in Malcolm's youth, leaving him to be guided solely by... well, this guy. He's going to pop up now and then to give us advice or comment on what we're doing, and his appearance changes slightly each time.
Now that you're free, I say we go kick some butt!
Sounds like a great idea, but first, we need to have a look around. The game functions more or less like the previous two games. All the backgrounds are now pre-rendered, but characters and items are still hand-pixeled sprites. You'll also notice our inventory is gone.
Just kidding, it's right here. The inventory is now hidden by default, which also means there's more space for bigger backgrounds and bigger characters. Mousing over the bar at the bottom opens up our inventory. We've gone back to the ten slots from the first game, but we really don't need more than that. We have our Options menu on the left there, and on the right are the two new unique gimmicks for this game, replacing the amulet from the first game or the potion-making gear from the second.
If Malcolm still had his jester's staff, this is where it would be. Sadly, we lost it at some point and need to recover it. More on that once we find it. Underneath are some numbers.
Yep. This game has points, another old adventure game staple - even though the first two didn't. The points really are just a joke, though - you get points for doing all kinds of random things, and they don't affect anything. In fact, the cited 911 point maximum is a blatant lie - it's not possible to get that many points. Thus, I won't be paying much attention to points, other than point out when the game rewards for something especially silly.
The thing on the right there is Malcolm's mood gauge, and it controls how we interact with other people. Right now, it's set to Normal. If we flip it to the left...
(... I might be able to get what I want.)
I'd better not see you be a suck-up wimp too often!
Setting the mood gauge to "Nice" causes Malcolm to treat people more nicely. Some puzzles require you to be friendly towards people.
That's the way to do it... lie to these idiots!
And setting it to "Lying" causes Malcolm to become a lying bastard. Some puzzles require you to lie to people. In general, the differences between Nice, Lying and Normal are fairly minor outside of puzzle-solving, but it never hurts to try. Sometimes you just get new lines. For most of the game, we'll have it on Normal.
... sarcastic, nasty-tempered, wonderful self.
With the user interface out of the way, let's see what the trash heap has to offer us. Trash, mostly. Also a squirrel!
You know what? That sounds like a great guinea pig for trying out some of that magic of ours. We haven't used it since Brandon imprisoned us in stone.
Hey, what's this? Alright, no more fun and games!
I don't understand. What happened to my magic?
That's right, no more magic.
Whelp, our magic's gone. That's a real bummer, and is going to make revenge more difficult for us. Let's take it out on the squirrel.
Just a warning.
Why? It's a squirrel. What could possibly go wrong?
Ha. I'm not afraid of any squirrel. Boo!
I told ya so.
Our first death! And we haven't even left the first screen yet! This game has two new features to make sudden death less painful. One, Gunther will generally warn you before letting you do something that's going to get you killed. Two, the game auto-saves before you do, and lets you reload if you fuck up anyway. In addition, like in Hand of Fate, most items will respawn if you manage to lose them, usually in this very trash heap, so you pretty much can't permanently lose progress in this game.
Speaking of the trash heap, I wonder what treasures lie hidden within?
It's a rusty nail. I know Kyrandia's economy is strange and unfathomable, but I doubt there's much of a market for those.
This item is called "Brandon's Shoe" in our inventory.
The second game taught us bottles are always good to have on hand.
Basically, rummaging around the trash heap gives you a bunch of random items, and if you ever lose an item, you can usually find it back here sooner or later. Most of the random items we can pick up here are actually useful, too. The orange peel and a broken saw I picked up offscreen are useless as far as I know, but the shoe, bottle and nails will all be of use to us. Enough trash heap; let's see what's to the west.
Ah, the old castle. Our castle. Well, I guess it's Brandon's now.
I'd better go home. Doesn't look like they've kept any of MY things in the castle.
I know, right? We had these acid-spitting gargoyles and everything. Do take note though: Malcolm has another place to crash in mind.
They look like weird ducks. When I lived here, no one made fun of my ornaments.
That boat down there looks uncannily similar to the toy boat Malcolm was playing with in the Fountain of Magic in the first game. It also showed up randomly in Zanthia's cauldron in the second game. Anyway, we can't get through the gate, and the castle looks all boring now anyway, so let's move on.
What the hell is that thing? I sure don't remember that from any of the other games. It looks like it came straight out of a Persona game.
Transporters, huh. I wonder how Malcolm even knows what they are. I don't trust them. We're walking.
Looks like we've got a competitor horning in on the clowning business. Ugh, mimes. Don't trust them either.
Your shoe is untied.
Boy, this guy is good. He's completely unfazed by everything we throw at him.
Pffft, what do you know.
These actor types can be crazy.
Oh, I see. You're going to shoot me with an arrow.
I tried to tell him. These mimes are bizarre people.
Mimes are scary. Let's not bother the weirdo any further for now. Before we move on, let's take a quick look at whatever that building is behind him.
Kyrandians do have questionable taste.
The architecture around these parts does seem to have taken a turn for the crazier ever since Brandon became king.
Thanks, King Brandon.
Let's move on. The gate to the bath is locked, and we don't have any money, so we can only go east from here.
Kyrandia in general is a lot bigger than we've seen previously. Zanthia wasn't anywhere near the castle in the first place, and Brandon never saw this part of the island.
Good to know. We'll keep that in mind for later. There's not much else of interest here, but further progress is impeded by a giant frog. How do we solve this dastardly puzzle?
Clicking the frog turns out to be enough.
That's pretty funny. We should do it to someone else.
Grumble, grumble, stupid firewood. Let's put that back where it belongs. The mushroom-shaped building behind us is strange and mysterious, but we can also go west from here (or south, back to the arena). For now, let's continue west...
... to the town square. Wow, this place is weird.
Hmm. Downtown Kyrandia looks the same as always.
I'll take your word for it, Malcolm. This location kind of highlights how much the art direction changed between games two and three; previously, Kyrandia was much more generic high fantasy. I'm not quite sure how I'd describe this, and it's only going to get weirder. The other side of the transporter we saw earlier is here, too. We can use it to teleport between downtown and the bluff overlooking the castle.
Malcolm seems to know what the buildings are. From the left, they are the Town Hall, the Magician's Lodge, the... Fish Cream Parlor, whatever that's supposed to mean, and the Toy Factory. Most of them are locked.
There might be some way of circumventing the lock, but for now let's try the one building we can enter unimpeded: the Fish Cream Parlor.
(Music: Fish Cream Parlor)
Whoa nelly. That's a lot of people. Actually, most of them are cameos from Hand of Fate; see how many you can recognize. Fortunately, they all seem to be too busy to recognize the fugitive Malcolm.
The place is packed with these idiots! There's got to be some kind of distraction I could cause that would get rid of these jerks.
We don't really have any reason to clear these people out right now, so let's go back and try the toy factory again. We need to do something about that lock, and as a matter of fact, we do have the right thing on hand already.
A handsome rogue like Malcolm will surely know how to pick a lock, right?
He sure does. Picking the lock bent the nail in the process, but that's fine. We also got a bunch of Common Thug points. It's not easy to predict what will give points, but random acts of vandalism and mayhem are a good way. We didn't actually get 16 points, by the way; it shows how many points total you have each time, and I got some other points offscreen earlier. Anyway, let's go inside.
I hope they didn't close this place just because I lived here.
We seem to have stumbled upon Malcolm's home before he moved into the castle all those years ago - remember, he spent nearly eighteen years locked up in there after the mystics sealed him inside. The giant contraption in the middle of the room is a toy machine, but we lack the means to operate it right now. There is one obvious exit at the back of the room, so let's go there.
And there it is: Malcolm's pad. It has seen better days, though I have a sneaking suspicion that it was never in particularly good shape even at the best of times.
Yeop. What's in the second drawer?
I've got my copy of "Gardening for the Criminally Negligent" in there...
Oops. I guess not any more.
So that's where the moth collection went. What about drawer number three?
My favorite childhood toy!
You'll remember this from the introduction cutscene. Malcolm used it to lure that squirrel onto a branch. There's one more item we can get in here right now, and it's under the bed.
I thought I had lost this!
We've recovered the Jester's Staff. So what does it do? Here's what the manual has to say about it:
Okay, that's about as clear as mud (although the hint as to where to find it is appreciated). You use the staff on people to amuse them. It's not exactly clear what you're actually using the staff for - some interpret it as tickling, others as some kind of jester's routine. The point is, it makes people laugh. Sometimes you need to do that to solve puzzles, sometimes you get new lines for doing it, or just random points. It's quite a step down in terms of complexity compared to the previous game.
Boy, I don't know about you, but this has been a pretty trying day. Let's have a nap and consider our options for the future.
While Malcolm naps away, we have a decision to make.
You see, this game starts out with a nonlinear section. Malcolm wants revenge on Brandon and Kallak, but he's got no magic, and it's only a matter of time before someone recognizes him. Thus, the first goal of the game is to make it out of Kyrandia to somewhere safer where we can plot our revenge. The game offer us six different ways of getting off the island, and you're going to vote on which one we'll do. If possible, I'd like to eventually show them all off in bonus updates later on, but for now let's decide which way to go first. The rest of the game is the same regardless.
Please vote on one of these six options: Juggler, Mime, Portal, Pegasus, Convict, or Reality-Warpingly Terrible Pun. They're a little vague, I know, so just choose whichever you have the best feeling about. Some of them are slightly longer than the others, but that's all right. We'll see them all sooner or later, hopefully.