ZORKER'S CORNER and tidbits from Infocom, Inc. Since I've been away for a while and a few

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ZORKER'S CORNER and tidbits from Infocom, Inc. ************* Since I've been away for a while and a few rookies have signed on, I'll print out an "Infocom Primer", describing each Infocom game available. These are the Infocom levels of difficulty: Introductory, Standard Advanced, Expert. A starred review means that I have played the game and am rating it on difficulty and overall enjoyability out of five stars. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Zork I: Standard. I recommend it for first-timers. A hunt for twenty fantastic treasures among pitfalls and murderers. A little dull. Difficulty: ** 1/2 Overall: *** Zork II: Advanced. Much more complicated. Very funny and colorful. Outsmart the damned Wizard of Forbozz who only talks in F-words (no no, you know what I mean). Every puzzle interwoven with others. Difficulty: *** 1/2 Overall: ***** Zork III: Advanced. Very hard. More serious, not too playful. The whole adventure an encounter with the Dungeon Master. For calculating minds. Difficulty: **** Overall: *** Enchanter: Standard. Magical, mystical, diabolical. Gain in magic powers as you seek to overthrow the evil warlock Krill. This one was going to be Zork IV. Difficulty: ** 1/2 Overall: **** 1/2 Sorcerer: Advanced. Find the leader to your Circle of Enchanters and defeat the evil demon. Second in series, with more magic needed (but not more memory) Spellbreaker: Expert. Possibly Infocom's hardest. You must save the kingdom as magic itself, as well as your powers, fades. Good luck.... Wishbringer: Introductory. Fantasy 100%. Start on a search for a kid- napped cat, end up on a fantastic adventure with a magic wish-stone! Moonmist: Introductory. Recent addition. Great fun, EXCELLENT character- ization!!! Must solve two mysteries: who is the "ghost" haunting the mansion and what is the hidden treasure? Four variations (in one game). Difficulty: * Overall: *** 1/2 PLanetfall: Standard. Droll. Try to save a doomed planet with the help of a childish robot (but he is cute!). Adventurous and exciting. Difficulty: *** 1/2 Overall: **** Seastalker: Introductory. Confront the monster laying waste a new underwater lab, while discovering a possible traitor! Infocom's first Introductory. Infidel: Advanced. A little more "realistic". Discover the mysteries of an ancient Egyptian pyramid (Indiana Jones-type). Written with some knowledge about ancient Egypt. Starcross: Expert. Thoroughly sci-fi and VERY hard. Solve the puzzle of a race of alien beings and one of a larger scale.....good for logical, mathematical minds. Suspended: Expert. Arising from a cryogenic capsule (brrr!), your world is in danger. Set it straight using six highly different robots. Reminiscent of Planetfall, but a little more down-to-earth (ha-ha). Deadline: Expert. Great characterizations. Tough murder mystery and you've got 12 hours to solve it. Many different endings....watch it, another murder could be committed! Difficulty: **** 1/2 Overall: **** Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Standard: Excellent. Yes, co-written by Douglas Adams. You are Arthur Dent at the beginning of the familiar storyline, but at the end...who knows who you are? I recommend reading the book first. Difficulty: *** 1/2 Overall: ***** Leather Goddesses of Phobos: Level unknown. Naughty comedy by other co-writer of HGTTG (see above). Collect the materials you need to escape the slave driver Goddesses. With three levels of prudity, nudity, and/or lewdity. Another recent addition. A Mind Forever Voyaging: Level Unknown. Interactive Fiction Plus, where you need 128K (Mac, 512K). Not really puzzles; you are a computer in a simulated future of the United States of North America (fat chance). Trinity: Standard. Interactive Fiction Plus (see above). You are involved in an atomic explosion, where you switch between fantasy and reality. Many puzzles in a strange new universe (reminiscent of Split Infinity?) New one. Cutthroats: Standard. Shallow characterizations, stereotypes. But good game. As you dive on one of two randomly-c in your ranks may be ready to... well, see the name. Difficulty: *** Ballyhoo: Standard. Somewhat new. A mystery behind the scenes of the circus. A cross between Zork and Deadline, where you solve puzzles in order to find a kidnapped child. The Witness: Standard. Murder Mystery in the Thirties. Realistically set. Again, only 12 hours.............11..................10........... Suspect: Advanced. Mystery in more ways than one, when you combine murder with embezzling with a costume ball. And you are not the detective, you're....gulp....the prime suspect! So-so characters. Great red herrings. Difficulty: **** Overall: *** 1/2 And, coming this month..... Hollywood Hijinx: Set in good ole Hollywwod. Mystery is to find ten peculiar treasures, and you will inherit a house full of Hollywood memorabilia. Humorous. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Well, that's it! Remember, you can ALWAYS ask me questions about any of the starred ones. And, if you'd like to be a party to all this craziness, write to INFOCOM 125 CambridgePark Drive (that IS one word) Cambridge, MA 02140 and ask to subscribe to THE STATUS LINE (formerly the New Zork Times until a copyright law hit 'em.). --------->The Zorker<--------- -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Zork, Enchanter, Deadline, the Witness, Starcross, Suspended, Planetfall, Infidel, Seastalker, Cutthroats, Suspect, and Wishbringer are registered trademarks. Ballyhoo, Trinity, Sorcerer, Spellbreaker, A Mind Forever Voyaging Leather Goddesses of Phobos, and Moonmist are trademarks of Infocom, Inc. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a trademark of Douglas Adams, so DON'T PANIC (I know, I know, you're sick of that)!!! -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Enter selection or for menu: 2 Ctrl and [S-Stop] [Q-Continue] [C-Quit] ZORKER'S CORNER ******************************************************************************* Hello, sorry it took so long for me to get back to you, but I'm at school up in the backwoods of northwest Michigan and vacation times don't come all that often. Lots of interesting stuff is going on up at old Infocom; new games, new formats, new packages, and new genres. One of their newer games is called Plundered Hearts. It's a new idea in "interactive fiction" (whatever that's supposed to mean) because it's Infocom's first romance. It's a time-proven story of 17th century ships, beautiful maidens, and pirates. If you get frustrated and bored easily with most of Infocom's games--that is, the "novel" format, try Nord and Bert Couldn't Make Head or Tail of It. This game is a collection of eight "short stories" involving verbal, not physical, puzzles, such as spoonerisms, metaphors, and homonyms. Infocom has put out a few collections, as well: the Zork trilogy (including, of course, Zork I, Zork II, and Zork III), the Enchanter trilogy (including Enchanter, Sorcerer, and Spellbreaker), Science Fiction Classics (with The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Planetfall, and A Mind Forever Voyaging), and Classic Mystery Library (with Moonmist, The Witness, and Suspect). These trilogies will save you a lot of money on each game. Planetfall fans might enjoy the long-awaited sequel, Stationfall. This is another episode in the life of you, the promoted deck-washer, and Floyd, the infantile robot you've dealt with before. The idea is much the same, to renovate a deserted space station, but don't count too heavily on your buddy Floyd for too long....(enough melodrama). Three games I'm working on now are The Lurking Horror, Bureaucracy, and Beyond Zork. The Lurking Horror is a horror story set in G.U.E. Tech (no, not Great Underground Empire, George Underwood Edwards!). Bureaucracy, written by famous Hitchhiker Douglas Adams, is his revenge on all the "red tapers" who "assisted" him in his move across town. Your object? To get a change-of-address form acknowledged, along with all the other duties that relate. Sound easy? Don't bet on it. Beyond Zork is the most revolutionary of the new games. It adds a whole new twist: the complexities of Dungeons & Dragons and other role-playing games. No longer are you an anonymous male character; you have variable amounts of traits like endurance, luck, strength, intellingence, dexterity, and compassion, not to mention changing levels of experience and armor class. New features are introduced, like UNDO, which allows you to back up a step in the case of an error, and NAME, which gives you the power to name certain inanimate objects (example: if you'd rather call the shillelagh "Al" or the rusty dagger "Fleshrender"). In the game, you are in a Zorkian environment encompassing forests, villages and cities, jungles, and ancient ruins, to name a few. You search for magic and mundane items to either use in your quest, or sell to buy other items to use in your quest. There are three shops with shopkeepers to keep you informed of the price, value, and nature of items of magic, weaponry, or armor. Every monster vanquished and many problems solved will raise your attributes, allowing your character to change and evolve gradually. There's an on-screen map and a window for features like your status, your inventory, and room descriptions. There are terrible monsters, curious riddles, and legendary treasures: The Coconut of Quendor, your goal. This is definitely for anybody who enjoyed any or all of the Zorks, or even an Infocom novice. Well, that about wraps up another fabulous edition of ZORKER'S CORNER. Remember, you can come to me with questions about games on the following list, either about puzzles or just a personal review. If you'd like a piece of the action, subscribe to The Status Line (formerly The New Zork Times but some big obnoxious metropolitan paper didn't seem to find that too funny) either by buying an Infocom game and sending in the registration card, calling 1-800-262-6868, or writing: Infocom, 125 CambridgePark [one word] Drive, Cambridge, MA, 02140. Good luck and happy Zorking! PROBLEM: Why aren't Infocom fans considered good Americans? HINT: Because they're Infocommies. ******************************************************************************* The Zorker can give hints, answer questions, or offer advice on these games: Zork I Planetfall Zork II Deadline Zork III Suspect Moonmist Infidel Enchanter The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Sorcerer Cutthroats * Beyond Zork * The Lurking Horror * Bureaucracy * * The Zorker, for whatever reason, has not completed this game and so may not be able to answer every question concerning puzzles. Reviews are still available, however. All titles are trademarks of Infocom, Inc. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a trademark of Douglas Adams. ******************************************************************************* *******************************************************************************

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