At the peak of point and click adventures fame there were numerous games of excellent quality to choose from. While Sierra and Lucas Arts took most of the lime light there were also other companies creating some great games. Westwood was one such company and the Kyrandia series is well worth visiting for fans of the genre.
On a personal note, this game in particular has taken me a very long time to get through. I first started playing The Hand of Fate in the mid-nineties one day while at a friend’s house. We spent a Saturday afternoon working out the first chapter before it was consigned back to the draw while we went off to do something else (probably involving clubs).
I completely forgot the name of the game for ages and it was a few years ago that I managed to search it out on the internet. Upon finding it I only managed to get hold of the non-talkie version and quickly discarded it again. Then the series appeared on Good Old Games and after purchasing it and having it sit in my library for a while I have finally managed to complete a journey started a very long time ago.
Hand of Fate follows the story of a sorcerer named Zanthia who discovers that the kingdom of Kyrandia is beginning to vanish in front of her. Little by little trees and buildings begin to vanish and she sets out to save the day. On the way she’ll encounter a rather suspicious magical hand and a host of weird and wonderful fantasy inspired characters. Zanthia is seemingly the sanest of the residents of Kyrandia and the other, stranger, occupants add a dose of humour and character throughout.
The world of Kyrandia is wonderfully drawn with a lot of character and magical whimsy on show. It does look a little pixelated now but the range of locations keep things fresh and the story moving along. It can be difficult to see certain objects at times but then that’s something that many of the games of the time suffer from. The only real issue is that the cursor arrow doesn’t tell you when you are moving over something that can be looked at or picked up. This means you may be clicking around a few times to see what is about. It never really seemed to be an issue though as most things of interest are fairly obvious.
The game is quite unique in the realms of point and click with some interesting mechanics present. As well as the normal process of using objects to solve puzzles you also need to mix potions by collecting ingredients. This adds a nice build up to the payoff of finally using a potion to solve a problem. These rang e from needing to make a sandwich to distract guards to turning yourself into an abdominal snowman or creating a teddy bear. The puzzles are always creative and normally follow a kind of magical logic (though, the results may achieve your goal not quite in the way you might think a t the time).
It’s Important to save often as there are a few places you can die during the game. There aren’t any instant deaths and you’ll often be warned but it’s likely you’ll be caught out at least a couple of times. You won’t be able to stump yourself by misusing ingredients though as they regenerate once used allowing you to try and mix things again.
Overall, Hand of Fate is an excellent adventure that has some nice tricks of its own to help separate it from other games in the genre. The characters are strong with good voicing and the script and the story is entertaining throughout. Fans of point and click games should definitely try it and It was well worth finally finishing Zanthia’s story.