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Zork: The Great Underground Empire (DOS)

87
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100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.8
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Written by  :  Steelysama (106)
Written on  :  Jul 30, 2009
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars

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Summary

You are standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door. There is a great game here.

The Good

Zork: The Great Underground Empire (also called Zork I) is a classic text adventure game from text legends Infocom. The sparse plot casts you as a nameless adventurer placed without ceremony near the entrance to a vast underground empire. Your goal: Explore and get stuff.

As simple as it is, the game pulls you in from the beginning. There is a real sense of a large world worth discovering. Getting to the next room is a goal in itself.

Probably the most famous aspect of Zork is its humor. The game is full of delightful little jokes and details. For instance, famously, when the player enters an area which is pitch dark they are warned that they could be eaten by a grue. Asking what a grue is yields hilarity.

The lack of graphics can be an asset if you allow yourself to be sucked into the game. There is a certain experience to entering the theater of your imagination and Infocom knows how to guide you there. Even if a graphical version of the game were available, it would lack that character which is apart of Zork's very nature.

The Bad

There is really only one issue I have with Zork, though it is a big one: It is possible to "break" the game and not know it.

In other words, actions which you take can make it so that you cannot win the game. And, as stated, the game will not tell you that this has happened.

The Bottom Line

Zork is a very challenging but very fun game. It is a legend among text adventures and a game which every gamer should try at least one.