Written by  :  Andrew Fisher (505)
Written on  :  Jul 11, 2017
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars
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Summary

Lacking much of what made the first part great

The Good

Well the game starts in the secret barrow that you discover at the end of Zork 1. I like the idea of secret barrow and I think the game starts well enough. The barrow seems more mysterious than dangerous like the caves under the white house that start with you fighting the troll. Even so, the barrow has a white gazebo that seems like a sanctuary, like the white house(and like the well house in Colossal Cave Adventure on which Zork was of course based). So the whole game takes place in the barrow, which has more remains of the "Great Underground Empire" and it's fun to continue exploring it. Where your main competition in Zork 1 was the thief, this time it's the Wizard of Frobozz and while he is less deadly, he's harder to avoid. You got to use a boat in Zork 1 and in this you get to use a balloon. Like Zork 1, you have to collect many treasures in the caves, but rather than storing them in a trophy case in a house, you have to use them to buy the help of someone, who's help you need to complete the game.

The Bad

I think being underground the whole game made this inferior to Zork 1. One thing I liked about Zork 1 was discovering new ways back to the surface. I think Zork 1 had better puzzles, very challenging ones like Zork 2, but cleverer and finding the solutions more satisfying. Interestingly, I've since discovered that the Zork trilogy was made from an earlier Zork game, a non-commercial version shared at universities in the late '70s. The original had just one network of caves and had caves and puzzles that were transferred to all of the games in the Zork trilogy (mostly to Zork 1 & 2, most of Zork 3 was new). It seems to me that Zork 1 got the best stuff from the Zork prototype.

The Bottom Line

Well if you liked Zork 1, there's no reason why you shouldn't find out how the story progresses and play Zork 2. I'd be inclined to think that if you loved Zork 1 like me, you'd be let down a bit by Zork 2, but there are moments where the game feels as good as Zork 1.