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The Legend of Kyrandia: Hand of Fate (DOS)

87
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100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.0
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  אולג 小奥 (168750)
Written on  :  Sep 25, 2001
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars

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Summary

Rather shallow, despite the occasional charm

The Good

The first game in Legend of Kyrandia series looked and sounded good, but overall it was a rather dry and corny adventure without much humor or original features.

In this sequel, Westwood realized their mistake: they took the first game too seriously. In this case, they injected more humor and a much more attractive protagonist into the game (sorry, Brandon).

Zanthia is charming mostly because of her intelligence combined with true feminine sides: she makes clever remarks about the world that surrounds her, she is independent enough to perform a dangerous quest, yet she never forgets about changing clothes...

The graphics of this game are very good, even better than in the first game. The hand-painted graphics are in the spirit of LeChuck's Revenge and belong to one of my favorite graphical styles. The MIDI music is also nice and easy-going, fitting the light-minded atmosphere of the game quite well.

There is some attention to detail in this game and a couple of nice gameplay elements. I already mentioned Zanthia's habit of changing clothes. Also, you can manipulate an insane amount of items here, collect several items of the same kind, drop them on the ground, and so on, almost in a RPG-like fashion. And the idea of basing puzzles on sorcery and "cooking" spells was quite good.

The Bad

There are too many underdeveloped features that made the game fail the test of time.

First of all, the story is as basic as it gets. Many comedy adventures managed to become great despite a lack of story; the problem in "Hand of Fate" is that there isn't much comedy here. The humor is too sporadic and too mild; there are no truly amusing or entertaining characters. The corny fairy-tale-like atmosphere is still there, and the occasional jokes are not enough to help the game rise over it.

The mechanics of adventure game were over-simplified. The interface has been reduced to a mere clicking on objects, which is much less fun than icon-based interface in Sierra's adventures or the verb commands of LucasArts' SCUMM interface. The clicking quickly becomes boring.

While the overall idea for the magic-based puzzle is nice, it is greatly overused in the game. Most of the time you'll be collecting items and then trying out various combinations for spells. That, and an occasional standard inventory-based puzzle, is all that you'll be doing in the game. There are neither logical tasks nor insane item-manipulations. But near the end of the game you'll have to solve an atrocious, hideous "Inverted Tower of Hanoi" puzzle. I spend hours and days trying to figure it out. It was so out of place in the game and so unnecessarily frustrating.

There is no real dialogue system in the game. There are no multiple dialogue lines or subjects you can talk about with characters. You just click on a character and exchange a few lines with him. There is also very little dialogue in the game, which makes most locations looks empty.

The Bottom Line

+ Charming protagonist
+ Nice gameplay elements
- Limited interface
- Mediocre puzzles
- Shallow content
- Poor dialogue system


Playing as Zanthia and fooling around with spells and inventory items are pretty much the only really bright points in this game. It looks nice, and its occasional mild humor make it more original than the first installment of the series, but as an adventure game, it is quite shallow, and doesn't offer anything particularly interesting either in gameplay, story, or content.