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The Lurking Horror

aka: The Lurking Horror - An Interactive Horror
Moby ID: 475
Amiga Specs
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Description official descriptions

Despite a terrible snowstorm, a young G.U.E. Tech student travels to the school's computer lab to work on his grad paper. However, something strange has happened. The file containing the student's document has been partially overwritten by the Department of Alchemy's files. At first the student's only goal is to retrieve his lost document, but soon he realizes that something far more sinister is occurring in the depths of the school building.

The Lurking Horror is Infocom's only horror-themed text adventure game. The game is set in the haunted school building, in the midst of a blizzard that rendered escape impossible. The player explores the environments and has to solve puzzles to overcome obstacles. There are hostile creatures in the game, most of which must be defeated or outsmarted by using specific items.

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Screenshots

Credits (Amiga version)

Founder
Architect
Sound Engineer

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 86% (based on 16 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.1 out of 5 (based on 48 ratings with 4 reviews)

Horror Text Adventure set in ‘M.I.T.’

The Good
You start the game in the computer center furiously working on an assignment. Your only companion is a hacker. You must figure out a way to get his keys which open all the doors in the college. You can take the elevator or stairs out of the computer center and begin to explore the vast expanses of the college.

One place you can visit is dead storage where all the old science equipment is kept. Another is the infinite corridor (based on a very long corridor in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where the games implementers studied). You must work out how to get past a cleaner with a cleaning machine. A ‘lurker’ also hangs about. Down the corridor you pass an office labeled ‘Department of Alchemy’ (the ancient study of making gold out of base metals which lead to chemistry). There is also a professor’s office that you work out how to enter with a mysterious pentagon drawn on its floor.

Sorry that’s about all I can remember, it was a long time ago. I did finish the game, but had to cheat using invisiclues a booklet with a magic pen that gradually revealed more and more specific clues.

The Bad
Not one of there best games. They did say they wanted to make it longer but were constrained by disk space, 330Kbytes for the parser and game I think.

The Bottom Line
Mildly interesting.

DOS · by David Ledgard (58) · 2005

Become the protagonist of a Lovecraft-like tale

The Good
It's a very highly atmospheric game; the writing is excellent and the puzzles are smart; the parser -as in every Infocom game- is great!

The Bad
I didn't like very much that you may be forced to restart the game if you've spent too much turns.

The Bottom Line
The only Infocom's horror title is a great incursion in the genre.

DOS · by jgdjgdg jsjgsgsjhfdj (1) · 2000

Lovecraft-lite

The Good
Lurking Horror is an interesting game that is both well written and poorly designed. LH takes a Lovecraftian motif and combines it with a university setting. There is a mixture of cosmic horror and bureaucratic university banality that tips this game into the William Browning Spencer end of the Cthulhu spectrum and during gameplay it becomes readily apparent that Lurking Horror would have made an excellent and hilarious Lovecraft parody.

There are several readily identifiable puzzles. Some involved bribing a hacker with a perfectly heated meal and others involve using items to outwit adversaries. Largely these puzzles are well-explained and logical, although occasionally they become confusing. SPOILER A particularly ingenious puzzle, which I think is equal to the infamous Babelfish one, involves using an elevator to tear down a wall. END SPOILER.

There are few characters and interaction with them relies more on scripted events than on conversation. There are also a limited number of locations to explore (due to bad weather).

Finally two tips: have a good light source and the means to stay awake.

The Bad
Several things:

  1. Lurking Horror isn't scary. This really isn't as bad as a comedy that isn't funny, but it would have been nice.

  2. Too many red herrings. I wasted a lot of time searching for a nonexistent item, I was led to believe was vital.

  3. While the story is interesting, there were several moments when I wasn't sure what to do. The game's motivation was to have me search all areas while my character's motivation (and thus mine) was to complete a term paper.

Another tip: keep saving in multiple locations, often I found myself without a needed inventory item and was forced to restart.

The Bottom Line
I think this is one of the few Interactive Fiction games which describes a Windows environment. There is something wrong with having to type: CLICK ON PAPER. Anyway, this is a fun IF game based on Lovecraft style horror. Not scary but interesting. Not terribly dated either. I would suggest to fans of Lovecraft, Spencer and Neal Stephenson's The Big U.

DOS · by Terrence Bosky (5398) · 2001

[ View all 4 player reviews ]

Trivia

Copy protection

Copy protection for the game required the user to input the correct Student ID number and password into a computer terminal.

Extras

(From the Infocom Home Page site)

The game contained "G.U.E. at a Glance" (G.U.E. Tech guide), a G.U.E. Tech student ID card, and a red rubber centipede (between two sheets of clear plastic).

References

  • The college you find yourself at is George Underwood Edwards Tech, aka G.U.E. Tech. GUE was the abbreviation for the Great Underground Empire from the Zork series, also published by Infocom.
  • G.U.E. Tech was based on MIT, the alma mater of most of Infocom's employees. Locations in the game are similar, along with various MIT slang.

Sound

Lurking Horror featured sound for certain systems (like Amiga). Do you want your version of LH to have sound? As of 2000, the missing sound files and a utility to upgrade your .DAT file were available via anonymous ftp from ftp.gmd.de at if-archive/infocom/missing-files, and the file was called LHSOUND.ZIP.

Unofficial Sequel

The premise and setting (radically recast as "PUE Tech") are revisited in Jason Davis's 1991 Amstrad CPC text adventure The Smirking Horror, written with the "Graphic Adventure Creator" (GAC).

Awards

  • Happy Computer
    • Issue 01/1988 - Best Text Adventure in 1987

Information also contributed by Afterburner, Adan Baratz, Belboz, Chike Mikesell and Pseudo_Intellectual

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  • MobyGames ID: 475
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Contribute

Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history! If your contribution is approved, you will earn points and be credited as a contributor.

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Tony Van.

Apple II added by Droog. Atari 8-bit, Amstrad CPC added by Kabushi. Amiga, Macintosh added by Terok Nor. Amstrad PCW added by Игги Друге. Atari ST, Commodore 64 added by Belboz.

Additional contributors: Pseudo_Intellectual, David Ledgard, mo , c64fan, Patrick Bregger, theclue.

Game added November 26, 1999. Last modified January 19, 2024.