"This is no mere treasure hunt. During your amazing journey, you’ll come face to face with creatures so outlandish, they defy description."
Hooey, horsefeathers, and balloonjuice. Videogames are all about Press X To Not Die.
I’m pleased to announce I got a copy of Zork: The Great Underground Empire, and I have been loving it. "Press X to not die" is no longer a factor, unless you count the X in "Extinguishing the flame of malevolent darkness that animates your foes, using a mythic sword of incredible powers".
From the opening lines of the intro, the game is instantly compelling. Your task is simple: Find an entrance to the appropriately-subterranean Great Underground Empire of Zork. There are twenty grand treasures of the Empire. Find them. Retrieve them. Survive.
Your task will not be easy. Traps and trials litter the path to the prize, populated by a cast of memorable characters– from the vile pickpocket who will happily relieve you of your valuables to the mysterious spell-casting Dungeon Master, or the horrifying Grue that always seems to be lurking around a dark corner.
I’ll touch briefly on the technical specs– this game uses an incredibly light set of system requirements. Zork runs smoothly on EVERY test system I tried, and is being released for Windows, Mac, Linux, and iPhone. Loading times ranged from "negligible" to "nonexistent". The controls are incredibly responsive and well-laid out. This isn’t to say it’s all perfect: In all fairness, the sound design is very spartan, and the default volume the game sets for the soundtrack is very quiet (I could not find an option to increase the volume). To make up for the game’s audio shortcomings, the graphics are like nothing I have ever seen.
Zork is published by Infocom Software, and released in March with a suggested retail price of $19.95. This first volume in the trilogy is expected to take 40 hours to complete.