According to the myth, the Great Underground Empire of Zork was destroyed and all evil magic was dispersed. But now, the IT&L Corporation claims to have discovered the mythical dark recesses beneath the Valley of the Sparrows.
Since their discovery, nightmares have become common. People have vanished. Buildings have disappeared. You, the unwitting traveler, must save the underground empire from the forces of evil.
Age requirements: ESRB Rating: TEEN with Use of Alcohol and Tobacco, Realistic Violence.
Minimum system requirements: Windows XP or Windows Vista, 1 GHz Processor (1.4 GHz recommended), 256MB RAM (512 recommended), 3D graphics card compatible with DirectX 7 (compatible with DirectX 9 recommended), Mouse, Keyboard.
Posted on 2011-02-01 11:18:22 by Export:
The transition from text-based to a more graphical experience is largely successful although it has aged in such a way that it all has this very camp feel to it - like classic UK TV series Knightmare, which also mixed CG with live action in this way - rather than the more cutting-edge feeling it would have had at the time.
The interface is great - this is the games biggest successread more in many ways. It has the usability of later point-and-click games but with the versatility and openness of text-based controls. It was oddly dropped from consequent entries in the series, though that may be because they were made by a different team.
The acting quality wildly varies from good to horrible, but to be fair, that's still the case in even the very most modern games. I think because of the camp feel that these FMV games now have, the bad acting can kind of become enjoyable in its own way, like a computer game version of The Room.
Perhaps the worst thing about the game, as usual for this genre, is the ridiculousness of some of the puzzles. They can be good and enjoyably satisfying but maybe a little to often they're obscure and only make any sense to the deranged mind that conceived them. An early puzzle can actually be done incorrectly without the player realising until much later in the game. By this point it's too late to backtrack and you have no choice but to restart the game from scratch.
These kind of facepalm inducing missteps are what drag this down from a 4/5 to a 3/5 for me. If you don't mind that sort of frustration or risk of entering a dead end, please regard this as a 4/5.
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Posted on 2011-02-01 21:17:54 by doctorfrog:
Buying my first PC, I borrowed Return to Zork from a friend, circa 1998. It was the first adventure game I ever played. Actually, borrowed isn't the right term, my friend simply gave the thing to me, and I later discarded it.
I made it about as far as the first text sliding puzzle without hints. I never finished it.
I'm now watching a Lets Play of it on YouTube. I'm surprisedread more I made it that far. This game has some genuinely nonsensical puzzles with needlessly punitive setbacks. I was very proud that I figured out the bra underwire puzzle all on my own. Past that, though, I'm proud that I simply gave up on the stupid thing.
I don't know if Zork counts as IF, but modern versions of IF and adventure games are careful to maintain a good distance from ridiculous and frustrating puzzles, and for very good reasons. Only now is this genre making an indie comeback, and they carefully skirt annoyances.
There are games on GOG that will only really appeal to people who originally played and conquered them, and this is one of them. The rest will only scratch their heads and adjust it to to the lower shelf of their GOG gameshelf. This is one of them.
In closing, this game isn't without its charm, but a modern player shouldn't attempt it without a walkthrough in front of them.
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Posted on 2011-03-16 03:12:33 by brilliance:
Return to Zork is an interesting adventure game: It is filled with humor, has some clever puzzles, and is quite lengthy, and challenging; on the other hand, it is filled with dead ends, and is annoyingly inconsistent.
Many interesting characters dot the world, each an interesting, if archetypal figure. They are interesting, have senses of humor, and create a colorful population.read more Interactions in this game are pleasurable, and have some twists.
Some of the puzzles are clever: I do not want to give anything away, but I was impressed by instances such as the comedy club, which utilizes a seemingly-pointless item for a clever trick.
A variety of fun death scenes can occur, and half the fun of adventure games is finding all the ways the character can die.
Now, we come to the caveats, and they are many: First, we have the inconsistencies. A mysterious figure will steal all of your inventory items if you commit certain crimes, but you have to commit several robberies during the course of the game. You will be punished for stealing items from someone's house, yet you are forced to steal items from a statue in someone's backyard. This sort of trickery is no fun.
Dead ends are the main problem with this game: They are almost as prevalent as they were in the text adventures! Never hit the statue in the forest with your sword; dig out the plant that is near the vultures; do not open the letter to the witch; make sure that you have done everything in the bottle ship before leaving: These are but a few of the steps necessary to prevent the game from being impossible to finish.
Return to Zork is imperfect, but I think anyone who enjoys difficult adventure games will enjoy it despite the flaws.
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