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Zork: The Great Underground Empire (DOS)

87
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.8
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  vedder (20152)
Written on  :  Aug 28, 2008
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  3.33 Stars3.33 Stars3.33 Stars3.33 Stars3.33 Stars

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Summary

It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

The Good

Zork is one of the first in its genre. And it is quite enjoyable, even to this day. It has witty humour, interesting puzzles and a strange yet interesting setting to explore.

The Bad

Zork's main shortcoming is how some of the actions you perform can lead the game into a dead end. Don't leave any candles burning, for example. You might need them later and they actually do get shorter over time. Also use your batteries sparsely because they might be useful later on. Things like these can make the game rather frustrating, because you get no warning of their importance and when you lose them the game just continues. So if you save your game, there's no turning back anymore and you have to start over.

Some of the solutions for puzzles are also rather obscure, but I won't spoil anything here.

Though the game has plenty of back-story and setting, there is no real story that drives the player. No real motive, except for gathering treasure that result in a numerical score.

The Bottom Line

Zork is worth playing. There's quite some funny bits, and interesting puzzles. If not just for its historical relevance as one of the first text adventures to reach commercial success.