Beyond Zork: The Coconut of Quendor

aka: Beyond Zork: The Coconut of Quendor - An Interactive Fantasy
Moby ID: 54
DOS Specs

Description official descriptions

Aimlessly wandering through the Southlands of Quendor, the hero of the game encounters the Implementors, powerful beings who warn him of a terrible danger: the Coconut of Quendor, the very embodiment of Magic, has been stolen by terrifying monsters known as Ur-Grue, said to be the spirits of fallen Implementors. The task is clear, but by no means easy: locate the Ur-Grue and return the Coconut of Quendor to its rightful owners!

Beyond Zork: The Coconut of Quendor introduces a somewhat different gameplay system compared to the previous text adventures of the Zork series. Text-based interaction and puzzle-solving are still present; however, role-playing elements have been added to the mix. The player character has six attributes assigned to him: endurance, strength, dexterity, intelligence, compassion, and luck. These can be determined by the player at the beginning of the game, randomly chosen by the game, or provided as part of a pre-generated character. The attributes affect the outcome of combat, which occurs in certain locations. They can also be raised or lowered during the game by gaining experience, drinking and eating certain items, wearing accessories, or in another fashion (sometimes humorous - for example, intelligence will be lowered by typing in swear words). Many locations and objects in the game are randomly generated.

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Reviews

Critics

Average score: 84% (based on 13 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.3 out of 5 (based on 55 ratings with 4 reviews)

Great blend of classic text adventure with mouse navigation

The Good
The mapping feature and the mouse control added to the Zork experience.

The Bad
It's a great game. A little harder than usual but that isn't always a bad thing.

The Bottom Line
Great way to experience the old school text adventure.

DOS · by gametrader (208) · 2000

A good IF/RPG hybrid, though not as much of a "Zork" experience as the trilogy.

The Good
Random layout of rooms and objects each time the game starts up -- so no game is ever quite the same. I also liked the character design feature, since some puzzles are easier to solve with certain stats. Also has a great storyline that ties in quite well with the printed manual (worth a read!).

The Bad
Very easy to get to an un-winable state. Save early, save often.

The Bottom Line
The next step up from the traditional "Zork" experience. For a more traditional approach to IF, stick with the earlier Infocom titles. However, it is fun and does have lots of customizable features (map, colors, display modification, etc...). A great game overall.

DOS · by Mirrorshades2k (274) · 2000

A truly great game from one of the masters of interactive fiction

The Good
Back in the '80's, I used to worship at the throne of Brian Moriarty the way kids today worship at the throne of Sid Meier or the Blizzard gang, and this game is one of the reasons why. Forget all the "innovative" stuff like the automap and the (basically inconsequential) RPG elements in the game; Beyond Zork is essentially about two things: great writing and great puzzles. First, the writing.

As anyone who has actually tried it knows, it's very difficult to write good descriptive prose for text adventures (especially back in the day when the whole game had to fit into 256K of memory). A lot of information needs to be conveyed as concisely as possible, and with an artistic flair that makes it an enjoyable read for the player. It may sound easy to do in theory, but it's devilishly hard to bring off successfully in practice, even for talented and accomplished writers. Yet Brian Moriarty makes it all seem so easy. Witness the opening room description from Beyond Zork:

Hilltop: The horizon is lost in the glare of morning upon the Great Sea. You shield your eyes to sweep the shore below, where a village lies nestled beside a quiet cove. A stunted oak tree shades the inland road.

Now, compare that to the usual kind of schlock we get in text adventures:

Hilltop: You look across the valley and see a village sitting on the shore of the Great Sea. There's an oak tree next to the road.

'Nuff said. I'll only add that while many text adventure fans feel that Brian's best writing was done in Trinity (which I certainly loved as well), the prose in Beyond Zork is every bit its equal in my book, and this game is worth playing if for no other reason than to experience it and savor it.

But there's another reason to play as well: the puzzles. As in so many of the Infocom fantasy games, Beyond Zork's puzzles are often satirical takes on everyday themes and cliches, or reference jokes and in-jokes between the author and his audience. This is not only what makes them so much fun to solve, but this familiarity also gives the player some built-in clues as to how he might actually go about approaching them. That's not to say that they're easy--not by any means. Beyond Zork sports some of the hardest puzzles in the whole Infocom repertoire. But they're not obscure or unfair puzzles, either, and that's what ultimately makes them so satisfying when you do finally crack them. There are also quite a lot. This game is pretty long, and it has a lot of content.

The Bad
If you don't like puzzles, you probably won't like Beyond Zork. Just a warning up front. It's a lot like Spellbreaker in that regard. Also, it's possible to get the game into an unwinnable state and not realize it, which is a major strike against it. It's one thing to get a game into an unwinnable state, but to struggle with one for days on end only to find out from some third party that you've been trying to go up a dead-end alley is unacceptable. Still, this game was made in the days before it was set in stone that games just couldn't do that, so I tend to cut it some slack in that regard. But be forewarned anyway. If you get stuck to the point where you think you've tried everything, you just might have.

The Bottom Line
Beyond Zork is one of the best text adventures of all time by one of the few true masters of the genre. It features outstanding writing, clever puzzles, zany, off-kilter humor, and tons of atmosphere. If you liked Spellbreaker and/or Trinity, then it's a fair bet you'll like Beyond Zork too.

DOS · by Jim Newland (56) · 2001

[ View all 4 player reviews ]

Trivia

Extras

The box contained the booklet "The Lore and Legends of Quendor", the map "Southland of Quendor", a registration card with promotion for Wishbringer and a flyer "Infocom Presents Lane Mastodon for InfoComics".

References

Based on the illustrations in the manual, the Coconut of Quendor looks pretty much like the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which also had a unusual fascination with coconuts.

Information also contributed by beatbox

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Brian Hirt.

Amiga, Apple II, Macintosh added by Terok Nor. Apple IIgs added by Игги Друге. Commodore 128 added by Mr Giggles. Atari ST added by Belboz.

Additional contributors: Alan Chan, Dan Homerick, Jeanne, Pseudo_Intellectual, David Ledgard, mo , c64fan, Patrick Bregger.

Game added March 1, 1999. Last modified January 23, 2024.