Mr. Bill's Adventureland Review
Reviewed by Mr. Bill & Lela
We really don't understand why this is called a Zork game since it is one in name only. It is actually only a thinly disguised horror story that has little, if anything, to do with the old Zork series. We suspect that Activision was simply trying to capitalize on Zork's reputation and fan base, but their occasional insertions of Zorkian humor in this otherwise macabre game wind up being merely incongruous and jarring: they just don't fit. But, if you like horror stories, this one is extremely well done and is disturbingly realistic.
The setting is supposed to be in some 'forbidden' area of Zork, where the land and the people have been cursed by someone whom the people refer to only as 'The Nemesis'. Stories of torment and torture and madness abound there, and four prominent citizens have disappeared (a General, a Concert Musician, a Bishop, and a Doctor). Some kind of conspiracy or foul play is suspected.
You have been sent to investigate, and your only clues about what may have happened come from the diary of your dead predecessor. He suggests that the four missing people must have been somehow valuable to the Nemesis, and that they lost their battle with him. He also suggests that the General's son, Lucien, and a little girl were somehow involved.
But all you know for sure is that there is talk of black magic and alchemy (which searches for the secret elixir of Eternal Life) and that the four people were connected to each other in some way, all having been last seen heading for the Temple of Agrippa. And so you begin your investigation there.
This is a 1st Person, 3D, point and click game with full 360 degree movement. The graphics are detailed and realistic, the atmosphere is foreboding and oppressive, and the mood is deadly serious, with eerie sound effects and music. The story is morbid and engrossing, with numerous subplots, and it will keep you guessing until the very end. There is a full hour of dramatic live-action video included, with 14 Hollywood actors, all directed by Joe Napolitano ('The X-Files' and 'Murder One').
It is an unusually long game, with 5 different 'worlds' to visit (Temple, Conservatory, Monastery, Asylum and Castle), any one of which is as long as some other entire games. The complex and absorbing puzzles are logic or mechanical, and are either part of the setting or serve to develop the plot. Clues are found scattered everywhere and you should take notes. You should also read the hardcopy diary included in the box since it provides important clues.
But be warned! This game contains realistic graphic blood and gore, disturbing screams of torture victims, human body parts, and you are required to perform certain gruesome and disgusting acts in order to complete the game.
It is definitely NOT a game for children! And we ourselves would not have played it had we known beforehand that these things were included in the game.
For some fun things to try after you finish playing the game, click HERE.
Developed (1996) and published by Activision.
Minimum System Requirements: For the PC and Mac on separate CD ROMs
PC: Pentium 90 MHz; Windows 95; 16 MB RAM; 4X CD ROM Drive; 50 MB of Free Hard Drive Space; High Color(16 Bit) 640 X 480 Graphics with a VESA Local Bus (VLB) or PCI Video Card with 1 MB RAM; 100% SoundBlaster 16 Compatible Sound Card; 100% Microsoft Compatible Mouse and Driver; 100% Windows 95 Compatible Computer System (Including 32 Bit Windows 95 and DirectX Compatible Drivers for CD ROM Drive, Video Card, Sound Card and Input Devices)
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