Zork: The Great Underground Empire

aka: Zork, Zork I, Zork I: Le Grand Empire des Ténèbres, Zork I: The Great Underground Empire, Zork I: The Great Underground Empire , Zork: The Great Underground Empire - Part I

DOS version

Zork?!? Zork What? Zork you too, pal.

The Good
That's what I said when I uncovered this relic from my disk box when I was eight or nine. Maybe younger. Zork? What kind of a weird name was that? It had to be a stupid action scroller, I figured. Or maybe one of those Ultima rip-off rpgs. Or maybe it was a curse-word. Back then I guess it was my surmise that in the gaming community there were only a few types of games 1) action 2) rpg 3) the sparse graphical adventure games 4) text-adventures with limited parsers. Well... I was wrong. Zork was a great game with an unparrelled (at that time) parser. There were no graphics, which put me off at first and it took me a while to discover that I didn't even need my joystick. Sadly, I set it aside and began tentatively typing orders. And, as I deciphered more and more commands, it showed me the light. The landscape surrounding the seemingly innocent white house was inhabited by few characters, most memorably the thief (with his trademark stilleto), a cyclops, and a troll. The descriptions provoked wonderful images in my mind. So I was content to wander around and push buttons rather than solve the puzzles.

The Bad
I dunno. Everyone should take a look at it once. It might not be your thing, but it's still a large chunk of gaming history.

The Bottom Line
CAUTION: Zork could spark a love for interactive fiction. I didn't even know what I was doing, but somehow I managed to find my way to a certian room and type [jump off the cliff], and I've never looked back since.

by rs2000 (13) on January 12th, 2001

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