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Return to Zork

MobyRank MobyScore
PC-FX
...
3.2
PlayStation
...
3.0
DOS
74
3.4
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Description

You are standing behind the white house. There is something in the mailbox. A video message from a wizard informing you that you are the sweepstakes winner to the Valley of the Sparrows... right now, by magic flight. Upon arriving at this mysterious place however, not everything is as it should be. There's nobody to meet you and those who you do come across don't seem to have any knowledge about a sweepstakes. It looks like this is a private vacation and you'll need to find your own way through this land.

Return to Zork is a first-person adventure game using live actors and video sequences. The game is similar to Myst in interface; the player is also able to rotate the viewpoint to discover new areas and uncover items that can be used or picked up. Various characters will be met along the way and spoken to via a system of dialog choices. The game allows the player to experiment with items in various ways, including discharging them; however, this often leads to "dead ends", rendering it impossible to complete the game.

Screenshots

Return to Zork PC-FX Cool! Listen to the game's music
Return to Zork PlayStation Miller
Return to Zork PlayStation Title screen
Return to Zork DOS Slide-the-tiles puzzle

Alternate Titles

  • "リターン・トゥ・ゾーク" -- Japanese spelling

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

Historically important, but confusing and frustrating DOS אולג 小奥 (168982)
The Encyclopedia Frobozzica manual is more entertaining than the game. DOS WildKard (12149)
An adequate adventure, but not very Zorkish. DOS Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe (1519)
Zork -- Now with Pictures! DOS Game22 (42)
Creativity at its finest! DOS Deen F (4)
One of the best adventure games DOS James1 (240)

The Press Says

Freak DOS Nov, 1993 94 out of 100 94
Génération 4 Macintosh Oct, 1994 85 out of 100 85
Top Secret DOS Feb, 1994 8 out of 10 80
Techtite Macintosh 2000 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80
PC Games (Germany) DOS Jan, 1994 79 out of 100 79
PC Player (Germany) DOS Oct, 1993 79 out of 100 79
PC Games (Germany) DOS Nov, 1993 76 out of 100 76
All Game Guide Macintosh 1998 3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars 60
Power Play DOS Dec, 1993 53 out of 100 53
Just Adventure DOS Dec 07, 2003 D 25

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Trivia

1001 Video Games

Return to Zork appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Bugs

The endgame has one of the most frustrating bugs ever in the history of adventure gaming. In order to reach the final confrontation with the main villain, you have to throw every single item in the game that isn't nailed down into a pit to raise a bridge. The problem is, due to various bugs, you'll sometimes end up not raising the bridge even after throwing everything into the pit, making it impossible to progress to the ending and resulting in you having to restart the game from the very beginning.

Because this game was made before the WorldWide Web allowed for the widespread distribution of patches to correct post-production bugs, this error was never addressed and anyone playing the game will just have to hope they're lucky and don't run into it.

Cut Content

The singing tree mentions some "friends" who have brought you to her. This is a reference to the Mushroom People, who were in the game's original screenplay and design but ultimately cut out of the final version. The tree's reference to them was accidentally left in.

Development

The creators of Return to Zork weren't familiar with the rest of the series, never having actually played any of the original text games.

Encyclopedia Frobozicca

Nino Ruffini, compiler of the Encyclopedia Frobozzica, merged the encyclopedia entries from Sorcerer and Zork Zero with text from some of the other Infocom games' box contents and a few of his own entries. The original version of the Encyclopedia was circulated around Delphi and the rest of the Internet until Activision came across it and asked Ruffini for permission to use it in RTZ so they wouldn't have to recompile everything themselves.

Floppy Version

The floppy version of this game came on an incredible 21 floppies! In order to play the game, you had to spend a fair amount of time installing it first by floppy swapping. It proved to be one more reason to get a CD-Rom drive for your computer.

Macintosh Version

In the Macintosh version of Return To Zork, many things that were not required for completing the game were eliminated. For example, in the original DOS version, showing the matches to the Lighthouse Keeper would trigger a response "Thank you, I never smoke *cough*". In the Macintosh version however, he simply has nothing to say about it.

MPEG Version

A special version of the game was released with re-encoded MPEG video for both DOS and the Macintosh in 1995. It was exclusively sold as OEM version. The Macintosh version came with the Apple MPEG Media System card and the DOS version came with the ReelMagic card.

Planetfall Trailer

Return to Zork came with a trailer for Planetfall. Infocom/Activision was developing a graphic update of the the verenable favorite. Unfortunately, the game never saw the light of day.

References

The game's intro video begins with the text on a black screen "You are standing behind the white house. In one corner is a small window which is slightly ajar.". This text is copied from the first thing shown on the screen of the first Zork game. The video then shows you the house and rotates around it before finding the sweepstakes invitation in the mailbox (which is not what happens in the first Zork game).

Information also provided by Alan Chan, molokaicreeper, Scott Monster, Techademus, Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe and WildKard

Related Web Sites

  • Game Nostalgia (Provides extensive background info for Return to Zork, pictures of the cast and examples of voice-overs, full credits with shots and info about the design team, a demo of the game, specific details about the game, various goodies, all musical themes, shots of every location in the game, saved games, a list of reviews, including a "nostalgic "review and tech specs.)
  • Playing Return to Zork Windows XP (Instructions by Inferno will tell you how)
  • ScummVM (supports Return to Zork under Windows, Linux, Macintosh and other platforms.)
Contributed to by Corn Popper (69643), Dragom (4297), Kabushi (121980), Terok Nor (18433), Derrick 'Knight' Steele (2156) and Cyborg (1184)