Sunday, January 8, 2012

Return to Zork

Does anybody remember playing this game? I do, my friends had it across the street, and I couldn't figure out how to do anything. Seriously, I was stuck on the first couple screens and would either get killed by a vulture or die wandering in to the Road to the South. Return to Zork came out in 1993. If you heard me blabber on about the original Zork, you'll know it's a text-based adventure game. Well, this game follows the same play style and setting, but has a few major improvements; graphics, sound, and a mouse cursor.
Gameplay: 7/10
Return to Zork just constantly keeps you guessing what you're supposed to do. You click objects in your view from a first-person perspective and choose what to do with them. Simple enough. You can do things like add it to your inventory, throw it, or have it interact with another object in the world. Click when the arrows show up to move in the designated direction. Sounds easy, but you're going to die die die, all the time. You can save anywhere, and this function becomes quite obligatory. Since you can't skip the cutscenes, the game takes a relentlessly long time to complete and the character's rambling was driving me crazy. -3 points.

Graphics: 8/10
The game portrays a large, strange world with disappearing cities and crazy citizens. There are times you'll talk to people, which are just segments of like, four pictures or so, and they don't really portray any recognizable emotion, and there's also times that you're staring at the awesome art in front of your face. While the game is pretty captivating and detailed, sometimes it's tough to spot items, and you end up playing I Spy with a bunch of areas, just clicking around trying to find something. -2 points. Even in the original Zork you could type "look around" and see all the items you could interact with.
Sound: 5/10
It's annoying, but you gotta have it, or you're going to miss some very key things. This game is a bit like a book that talks to you, tells you a little story and you should do what it says. I turned off the music, thank god you can do that, plus points. Every time you run through Boos' house, he asks you if you "want some rye?" -5 points for redundant crap like that.

Overall: 7/10
Some other games caught wind of this first person I Spy trend, like Myst and such, but this game predates them all. It's a courageous and experimental attempt  to create a brilliantly captivating world where weird stuff is going on. I mentioned before that I couldn't get very far in the game, but this time around I managed to float down the river on a raft made of vines and planks to the next town. I didn't get much farther than that though, and I realized it's time to put Return of Zork down. It's like a good book that you want to keep reading but you'll hate the fact that you are reading it. Give it a shot, you can pick it up free of charge.


  1. Not a bad looking game, might try it out

  2. oh, this time there's graphics... ahahaha

  3. That screen shot is not at all what I expected haha.

  4. Like I said, the graphics are tight... the game is too damn hard

  5. Blimey i do remember this, talk about a blast from the past.. oh, i could never figure it out either!!