The Legend of Kyrandia: Hand of Fate


Developer:    Westwood Studios

Publisher:   Virgin Interactive

Released:    1993

PC Requirements:   DOS 5.0, 2 MB, VGA, 20 MB free hard drive space, SoundBlaster compatible.



by Rick36

Gosh what an oldy! But worth a review as it is still doing the rounds on various budget releases and abandonware sites.

Originally a DOS game from the early 90's but updated to play on Windows (primarily 3.x or 95, but I played it OK on my work laptop which is a top of the range Dell (P3, W2000 etc) - just had to run from start menu and it played in a DOS window without hiccup).

The graphics are terribly dated now, but you know what, I thoroughly enjoyed them. It was a trip down memory lane to those halcyon days when decent adventure games came on about 20 3-1/2" floppies.

Although dated, the graphics are rather twee and enchanting and do not in any way detract from the experience. The layouts are purely 2D backdrops upon which you move the main heroine (also 2D), a sort of precursor to the likes of Bladerunner and Nightlong. The game is pure "point 'n' click" (oh joy!).

My primary comment is that this is pure, original, unadulterated, amusing, inventive and imaginative adventure gaming at it's best from the 'golden oldie' days of adv gaming (Space Quest, Maniac Mansion, Day Of The Tentacle, Sam & Max etc.). Although not as polished as some it certainly comes with a great deal of charm and playability.

One of the best features of games from this era is their sense of fun and humour, and HOF is no different. The whole game is an immensely enjoyable, knock-about throw-back and I would recommend it to anyone for a spin.

The storyline - you play Xanthia (heard that name before - ed.), a sorceress who is called upon to discover the reason why Kyrandia is disappearing at a rapid rate of knots and to reverse the process and save the day. I shall leave the storyline at this, again I do not like to reveal much of the storyline as I feel it may impact on the enjoyment for people who have not played the game and wish to do so.

The puzzling is primarily inventory management and using various items in various ways to overcome obstacles. A nice feature here is that, as a sorceress, many of the obstacles to overcome are done so by creating spells and potions. You have to find various magical ingredients throughout your quest and then combine them to produce an effect that will solve a particular problem.

Oh hum, easy, I hear you think, but you would be very much mistaken. You have to think very carefully about your spells, how to produce them, use them and how (& when!) to evoke them.

As with all games of this genre and provenance puzzles can range from simple to purely 'illogical'-'not a clue'-'try-everything'. With this in mind, numerous saves are in order (if you mix a potion incorrectly and only have one piece of a particular ingredient which you use, you have to go and find it again before you can proceed - BEWARE!).

Perhaps, for me, the star of this particular offering is the main heroine, Xanthia, who is as feisty as they come and has a different outfit for each level. I shall say no more, other than, anyone who plays this game will realize and understand these remarks.

A short review this one, merely to extol the virtues of some of the older games still on the market and to recommend to all adv gamers that they are certainly worth a whirl, and that they stand the test of time more than adequately. The main reason for this I feel is due to the gameplay and inventiveness of the developers. If I stand this game up against the likes of some of the lamer offerings of today I think they do pretty well (I have played some graphically wonderful games recently that were sadly rubbish in their gameplay - give me an older adv game with a bit of thought, intelligence and wit behind it anytime).

This is not to say that HOF is a classic, because it is not. However, I spent 3 - 4 days using up my idle moments playing this game and thoroughly enjoyed the experience (I did however need to refer to a WT on several occasions, as some of the puzzle logic is either very subtly clever or downright bloody abstract). One of the best things about these types of games is you can play it with your kids and have a really good time.

All in all - a nice little game, thoroughly enjoyable and well worth a spin. You will not go away thinking you have stumbled upon the next 'Myst'/'Riven' etc. but I am sure for all adv game purists it will not fail to deliver (no matter how puerile and abstract some of the puzzles can be!).

copyright 2002 GameBoomers

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