The Legend of Kyrandia: Malcolm's Revenge

1993 Westwood Studios
Designed by Rick Gush
Reviewed 1997 April 30

Rating -4 Linearity wide, segmented
Reasonability sporadic Connectivity moderate
Difficulty challenging Relevance strong
Interface 3rd paned simple Real-time none

In the final installment of the Kyrandia saga, you play Malcolm, the court jester who was the villain in the previous chapters. As it turns out, Malcolm is not really evil, but was instead framed. Freed from your magical prison, you must somehow prove your innocence to King Brandon and the Kyrandians. Before you can do that, though, Kyrandia needs saving.

The story is light hearted, but it doesn't succeed at being funny. Malcolm's character doesn't fit well with the way he was portrayed in the earlier games. It's not just a change of perspective: his actions were too nasty to be overlooked. It's not a problem if you haven't played the prequels, but it's jolting if you have.

The challenges are mostly inventory based. A lot of effort has been taken to provide alternate solutions and paths, giving the game some serious replay value. There are some good, clever challenges, but they are more than matched by the many irrational and tedious challenges. In addition to a boring maze, there are situations where you have to continue trying something until you randomly get what you need. You can get lucky, but if not, you might easily continue on thinking there was nothing more to do there, getting stuck later (not a dead end, since you can come back). Silliness aside, this is still a harder game than the previous Kyrandia chapters.

Malcolm's Revenge uses simple interface with a single action mouse. Once again, the inventory is too small for comfort, leading to the occasional caching of objects. The artwork is simple and clean, not dazzling but effective. The voice acting is terrible, worse than the previous games despite having mostly the same cast. This is probably due to the clunky dialogue.

The interface has an additional control element: you can set the tone of your approach to other characters, being nice or nasty. It's an interesting idea, but it seems to cause as much tedium as novelty, since you often just end up talking to the same character in three different modes.

Malcolm's Revenge is an ambitious game in some ways, with its multiple paths and the speaking modes. On the other hand, it seems to have been rushed through production without sufficient work on the details of the challenges, story, and dialogue. The silly and/or tedious nature of many of the challenges make the game an ordeal to suffer through, and the story and dialogue do nothing to lighten the load.

Related reviews:

  • The Legend of Kyrandia
  • The Hand of Fate
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