Eric the Unready
Description official description
An ancient prophecy states that King Fudd the Bewildered will die peacefully, his daughter accompanying him during his last hour. However, Princess Lorealle the Worthy mysteriously disappears, abducted by her stepmother Morgana, who intends to put her own daughter on the throne. In order to prevent the princess from being rescued by a valiant knight, Morgana makes sure that the Union Hall selects the most unworthy one for this valiant task: Eric the Unready, known for bringing the book "How to Joust" to his duels.
Eric the Unready is a humorous text adventure with graphics, similar in concept to Legend's own Spellcasting series. Like in those games, the player can select combinations of verbs and objects from a list to interact with the environment, but is encouraged and sometimes required to type commands as well. Some scenes display full-screen character portraits with pre-set dialogue choices. The game often makes verbose humorous comments on the player's actions, including many completely optional and arbitrary ones. It contains many segments that parody various aspects of contemporary pop culture as well as other video games.
Credits (DOS version)
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|Graphics / 3D Programming|
|Music / Sound Programming|
|Interpreter / Development System|
|Graphics / Artwork|
|[ full credits ]|
Average score: 80% (based on 9 ratings)
Average score: 3.6 out of 5 (based on 41 ratings with 3 reviews)
Let me quote a remark of Bob Bates, experienced designer and mastermind behind Eric the Unready: "An adventure game has to entertain the player even when he makes mistakes." Given this prerequisite, Eric the Unready is the ideal adventure game. Almost every action you attempt, however strange, triggers an answer, most of them gems of humour. Heck, it's even more fun to do wrong things than actually solve the puzzles, just to laugh at the results! Moreover, Eric the Unready is one of the (unfortunately) very few titles that parody other games. The surprising, ingenious reference to Zork alone is worth playing the whole thing.
Okay, Eric is not the ideal adventure game. But it's close. The puzzles, although (with some patience) solveable, lack brilliancy; in fact, they tend to get a little bit frustrating in the later game.
The Bottom Line
A great parody, witty and extremely funny. But above all, you will never be bored. This is the essence of good entertainment.
DOS · by -Chris (7764) · 2000
This was the first and best Interactive Fiction with Graphics game I’ve played. It was a good change to see this game focusing on parodies, more than the storyline itself. I enjoyed getting the items which Eric needed on his quest to save Princess Lorealle. Of all the items, the Pitchfork was my favourite. I also liked the whole underground empire, and the music certainly made it feel more gloomy. I enjoyed a lot about this game, from the introduction right down to the many puzzles there were to solve. There were also a lot of great jokes and game references in this particular game, which the player can enjoy, from Monkey Island to Zork. This game has it all. It even had a so called "review" from Guybrush Theepwood which was funny, I'll admit.
A bit too short. Sadly it is a shame to hear that Legend: Entertainment Company is no more. They have produced great games in the past and Eric The Unready is a classic.
The Bottom Line
If you're looking for great quality comedy in a game, pick this up, if not try the Monkey Island series instead.
DOS · by Everett Lamb (9) · 2004
Comedy games usually make for very entertaining experiences, as they have by nature that which makes a good game: they are FUN. Remember that word? Comedy games are entertaining by nature, and among the most entertaining among them you have Eric the Unready, a tongue-in-cheek medieval parody adventure from Legend.
As the goofy but well-meaning Eric, you somehow manage to get yourself honored as a knight in the game's opening and thus get entrusted to take care of some "knightly" business and completing a series of quests. As it goes, Eric finds himself involved in a major quest to save a princess that's being forced to marry a hideous creature. This plot actually hides a much more sinister ploy to take control of the kingdom but poor Eric only knows that he has to go out there and get the requisite magical items that will allow him to enter the evil castle and (hopefuly) get the girl in the process.
Of course, this story is just an excuse to lay out gag after gag and rejoice in pure comedic bliss. Granted, the basic premise of putting a dumb hero in the way of an epic storyline and watching the comedy ensue is hardly original, as games like the Monkey Island series can prove. But nonetheless Eric the Unready brings much more than the "goofy-dude-trying-to-be-a-hero" action to the table, starting with the absolutely ridiculous stuff that Eric has to go through in his quest. Disregarding everything that could make sense for the sake of comedy. In the same way, nothing is sacred for the guys at Legend Entertainment, and absolutely everything and everybody gets parodied in this one, from videogames to movies, books and anything else you can think of, including Star Trek (which gets it's own fantastic segment titled "Swamp Trek" in which you journey with the Enterprise's crew as they boldly go where no swamp raft has ever gone before!). It's also surprisingly nice to see other videogames be parodied, including Monkey Island and Zork, which gets a special sequence devoted to it in which the interface fades away and is replaced with the classic first paragraphs from the original Zork (you see a white house in front of you...etc.).
Furthermore, the developers seem to have placed a lot of dedication into making sure each and every input from the part of the player, no matter how stupid or out of context, gets it's unique comedic reward. Eric the unready is truly one of those games in which getting lost in the gameworld and exploring at will becomes a truly rewarding experience, giving the player a lot of the most funny moments in the game in this way.
As for the interface and technology, Eric the Unready stands to this day as one of the most playable text adventures, as it not only includes graphics and mouse support, but also a lot of interface refinements that break the mold of traditional text adventures and brings the game closer to the mouse-driven, dynamic world of classic point'n click adventures. It becomes evident that the days of the text adventures were long gone, and the fact that games like Eric the Unready were still around was more of a testament to the stubborn behavior of certain development houses than anything else, as "Eric" was basically two steps away from being a point'n click adventure, complete with animated cutscenes and all.
Well some of the puzzles are reaaaally out there, as the wacky theme runs deep in the game and sometimes nailing the right logic for some of the puzzles isn't such an easy thing to do. Also the game features some idiotic mini-games that really annoy you more than anything else, fortunately they are kept to a minimum.
Finally, soundwise the game is really lacking (as are the graphics, but that's for obvious reasons). And I also think that the idea of adding the possibility of death works against the nature of the game.
The Bottom Line
One of the most entertaining comedy titles ever made, no doubt about it. The fact that it still clinged to the dated text-adventure gameplay style can be blamed for it's lack of popularity, but that shouldn't keep you from trying it out. Trust me, you won't regret it.
DOS · by Zovni (10502) · 2005
The CD-ROM version adds animations, Super VGA graphics and a soundtrack.
In a interview (about 2001), when Bob Bates was asked which was the most favorite game he designed or wrote, he said:
Eric The Unready is my favorite, because I had so damn much fun writing it. I remember clearly being up in the middle of the night for many nights in a row, cackling to myself over the oddball responses I built into oddball inputs. My goal was to always reward the player for being creative. The odder his input, the more I wanted to reward him. I couldn't do that in my other games, because comedy wasn't the focus. In Eric, I could have as much fun as I wanted to, and I did.
About halfway in the game, you pass through a turnstile. Suddenly, the interface and the graphics are removed, so that there's only plain text on the screen. It reads:
West of House You are standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door. You see a small mailbox here.
This is the beginning of Zork: The Great Underground Empire. Of course, you can play on normally and investigate the building.
- Computer Choice Awards
- 1993 - Finalist
- Computer Game Review
- 1993 - Golden Triad Award
- Computer Gaming World
- October 1993 (Issue #111) – Adventure Game of the Year (together with Star Control II)
- November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) - #103 overall in the “150 Best Games of All Time” list
- November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) –#9 Funniest Computer Game
- November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – #11 Most Memorable Game Hero (Eric the Unready)
- November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – #7 Most Rewarding Ending of All Time
- Game Bytes
- 1994 - Editor's Choice Award
- Strategy Plus
- 1993 - Adventure Game of the Year
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Contributors to this Entry
Game added by Robert Morgan.
Macintosh, Linux, Windows added by Cavalary.
Game added November 14th, 1999. Last modified August 28th, 2023.