Zork: Endgame   21 comments

Your score in the end game is 100 [total of 100 points], in 52 moves.
This score gives you the rank of Dungeon Master.

Spoilers ahoy.

Notable things about the endgame:

The scoring trick. I never did quite make it to 616 out of 616 points, but I’m not worried in that a.) knowing how things went down throughout my game, it might’ve just been a bug and b.) The score resets anyway to a separate “endgame score” out of 100 points.

INCANT. Upon entering the endgame the player is instructed to INCANT “word of their choice” and the game responds with a passkey to use to warp to the endgame (so I did INCANT “STUFF” and it told me to keep “INCANT ZEAAA”). This can be done without a save game (saving no longer works in the endgame, anyway).

Object choice. It’s somewhat unclear what is needed if anything in the endgame. It turns out the sword is necessary but it’s very hard to realize such other than it seems the iconic thing to be carrying around. Fortunately, warping to the endgame with INCANT also drops the lamp and sword in the player’s inventory, so I took that as a hint.

Life without objects. The sword gets used fairly early and the rest of the puzzles use no objects at all. Given how much Zork relies on objects, the style is rather different, almost like Myst

> go in
Inside Mirror
You are inside a rectangular box of wood whose structure is rather complicated. Four sides and the roof are filled in, and the floor is open.
As you face the side opposite the entrance, two short sides of carved and polished wood are to your left and right. The left panel is mahogany, the right pine. The wall you face is red on its left half and black on its right. On the entrance side, the wall is white opposite the red part of the wall it faces, and yellow opposite the black section. The painted walls are at least twice the length of the unpainted ones. The ceiling is painted blue.
In the floor is a stone channel about six inches wide and a foot deep. The channel is oriented in a north-south direction. In the exact center of the room the channel widens into a circular depression perhaps two feet wide. Incised in the stone around this area is a compass rose.
Running from one short wall to the other at about waist height is a wooden bar, carefully carved and drilled. This bar is pierced in two places. The first hole is in the center of the bar (and thus the center of the room). The second is at the left end of the room (as you face opposite the entrance). Through each hole runs a wooden pole.
The pole at the left end of the bar is short, extending about a foot above the bar, and ends in a hand grip. The pole has been dropped into a hole carved in the stone floor.
The long pole at the center of the bar extends from the ceiling through the bar to the circular area in the stone channel. This bottom end of the pole has a T-bar a bit less than two feet long attached to it, and on the T-bar is carved an arrow. The arrow and T-bar are pointing west.

…except Myst is really awkward and difficult described as text. At a basic level this puzzle isn’t too difficult (the mirror is a vehicle you have to control) but just reading the words is brain-jumbling.

Master of the Dungeon. I was warned about this one: you get to a door, knock, and the Master of the Dungeon comes and asks a trivia quiz about Zork.

It’s clear some of the questions are meant to test alternate solutions or methods of transport:

‘What can be done to the mirror that is useful?’

(Touching the mirror warps to the other mirror.)

Others are more, mm, trivial:

‘What is the absolute minimum specified value of the Zorkmid treasures, in zorkmids?’

And one of them’s just evil:

‘In which room is ‘Hello, Sailor!’ useful?’

(If you know your Zork mythology, you can answer this even if you haven’t played the game. I’ll answer in the comments.)

The Final Puzzle. After the quiz the Dungeon Master starts to follow you, and there’s a room with another Myst-like setup:

There is an object here which looks like a sundial. On it are an indicator arrow and (in the center) a large button. On the face of the dial are numbers ‘one’ through ‘eight’. The indicator points to the number ‘four’.

The trick here is that you can direct the Master of the Dungeon just like a robot from earlier in the game, with TELL MASTER ‘DO ACTION’ as the syntax. This is one of those odd cases where pre-Infocom syntax was my nemesis; I admit it never occurred to me (even though the Master says he is yours to command) that I could even give him directions. This seemed to be because the syntax felt like a special-case thing for earlier in the game and it wasn’t incorporated as part of my puzzle-solving reflexes.

The ending scene. After puzzling out the business with the dial comes the end:

> go out
Treasury of Zork
This is a room of large size, richly appointed and decorated in a style that bespeaks exquisite taste. To judge from its contents, it is the ultimate storehouse of the treasures of Zork.

The treasures are described in intricate detail (I’ll post all of it in the comments), and this could’ve been the end of it, akin to being carried off by cheering elves in Adventure. However, there’s one final paragraph:

As you gleefully examine your new-found riches, the Dungeon Master himself materializes beside you, and says, “Now that you have solved all the mysteries of the Dungeon, it is time for you to assume your rightly-earned place in the scheme of things. Long have I waited for one capable of releasing me from my burden!” He taps you lightly on the head with his staff, mumbling a few well-chosen spells, and you feel yourself changing, growing older and more stooped. For a moment there are two identical mages staring at each other among the treasure, then you watch as your counterpart dissolves into a mist and disappears, a sardonic grin on his face.

The last sentence is remarkable. That was the ending?

I was stuck by it as a lens of sorts: here is a new art form, one raw and unrefined, with the potential to be serious and profound.

For me it was the most gratifying moment of playing Zork.

I’m not entirely done with Zork. I’m planning a “backtracking post” at some point to discuss Hunt the Wumpus and related games. Zork has two parts that definitely show Wumpus influence and I’ll discuss them with the same post.

In the meantime I’m moving on to 1978 and Bill Wolpert’s Mystery Mansion, a game with almost ridiculous ambition for its time.

About these ads

Posted April 29, 2011 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

Tagged with

21 responses to “Zork: Endgame

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. HELLO SAILOR is useful nowhere at all, the quiz answer is “NONE”.

    Also, here’s the complete ending text.

    > go out
    Treasury of Zork
    This is a room of large size, richly appointed and decorated in a style that bespeaks exquisite taste. To judge from its contents, it is the ultimate storehouse of the treasures of Zork.
    There are chests here containing precious jewels, mountains of zorkmids, rare paintings, ancient statuary, and beguiling curios.
    In one corner of the room is a bookcase boasting such volumes as ‘The History of the Great Underground Empire,’ ‘The Lives of the Twelve Flatheads,’ ‘The Wisdom of the Implementors,’ and other informative and inspiring works.
    On one wall is a completely annotated map of the Great Underground Empire, showing points of interest, various troves of treasure, and indicating the locations of several superior scenic views.
    On a desk at the far end of the room may be found stock certificates representing a controlling interest in FrobozzCo International, the multinational conglomerate and parent company of the Frobozz Magic Boat Co., etc.
    As you gleefully examine your new-found riches, the Dungeon Master himself materializes beside you, and says, “Now that you have solved all the mysteries of the Dungeon, it is time for you to assume your rightly-earned place in the scheme of things. Long have I waited for one capable of releasing me from my burden!” He taps you lightly on the head with his staff, mumbling a few well-chosen spells, and you feel yourself changing, growing older and more stooped. For a moment there are two identical mages staring at each other among the treasure, then you watch as your counterpart dissolves into a mist and disappears, a sardonic grin on his face.

  2. I’m pleased to see that Confusion on Windows worked well enough to get to the end!

    • Thanks for helping on that. There’s so many ports to choose from it’s easy to forget each one represents a lot of work.

      The one part I nearly got foiled was at the balloon. After tying the wire to the hook I could not get it untied with a crash.

      Fortunately when redoing the section from the start the problem didn’t crop up.

      I still have the save game from there if you (or Matthew) wants to see it. I think it might be an “authentic” bug though.

      What might be a not-so-authentic bug is how restoring doesn’t reset the state of burned objects (I mentioned the burned out torch thing in an earlier post).

      • The balloon bug sounds like it’s likely to be beyond me: possibly Matthew would get further, but getting in contact with him is not easy. I will make a note to look into the start of burned objects issue.

  3. “the mirror is a vehicle you have to control”

    I reread the description at least twice looking for the mirror before I noticed the name of the room. This is not really the description’s fault (I was up late making up an exam).

    • I was also confused here. Before getting to that room the mirror ‘swings open’ revealing a panel, and the only syntax that works (at least on the MDL version) is GO IN, and I didn’t realize beforehand there was anything to go in.

      I’m still not sure how to visualize the whole setup.

  4. My inner 16 year old is quite pleased.

  5. HELLO SAILOR is actually useful. If you use it in Zork 3 when the ship is visibile in the Flathead Ocean, you’ll get a vial. You can then drink the contents of the vial to turn invisible for a few moves. It’s an alternate solution to get past the Guardians of Zork right before you go to the final dungeon.

    • Huh, that’s interesting. The portion you refer to doesn’t occur at all in mainframe Zork, but I hadn’t hit upon that solution back when I played Zork III.

  6. Pingback: Blogging Infocom: Zork I | 6502 Lane

  7. Pingback: » Zork III, Part 2 The Digital Antiquarian

  8. Awfully late to be commenting on this, I know, but I just came across this site. I got a real kick out of reading this, having played mainframe Zork in whatever incarnation it would have been in at MIT in the early ’80s. I do recall getting up one night at 3 am having just figured out a puzzle and shlepping over to the computer lab to login (uphill both way, you ungrateful youngsters!).

    Having been caught by the red herring that is Hello Sailor (until I finally asked one wiser than I where it was useful), I was delighted to see that you could use it in Zork 3. It’s not necessary to solving the game — you get an invisibility potion, but there’s an alternative solution to whatever puzzle it solves (sorry to be so vague, but it’s been a very long time).

    It’s so cool that these games are still of interest (if only to dedicated researchers), and to see how lively the IF community is now!

  9. Has anybody here played zdungeon.z5, the FROTZable 646-point version of this game? It’s great to be able to save the game in multiple stages, and undo as many as 10 moves if I die or walk into a wall, but I can’t get into the mirror box in the end game even after I break the light beam and push the button! If I try to “go in”, the parser asks: What do you want to go in? Then I type “mirror” and the response is: “That’s not something you can enter.” And, unlike the similar end of Zork III, the “n” command earns me “There is a large mirror blocking your way.” What the bleep is going on here? Is the hallway including and beyond the mirror disabled in this version?

    Stephen Barry Einbinder
    • Hi Stephen – If you get the chance and read this I am at a stuck point and you seem to be the only one that has played a 646 point version. I am up to 628 points, from everything I have read I have all the treasures, and have wandered and waited an inordinate amount of turns. I am playing on the iphone/ipod Frotz app “release 13 Inform v6.14″. Thanks for any help or clues.

      • Here’s the points spoiler:
        ZORK (DUNGEON) TREASURES (and points; 1st number is for pick-up, 2nd for putting in case, 3rd is total):

        coins (10,5) 15
        torch (14,6) 20
        emerald (5,10) 15
        bracelet (5,3) 8
        necklace (9,5) 14
        figurine (5,5) 10
        grail (2,5) 7
        picture (4,7) 11
        portrait (10,5) 15
        stack of bills (10,15) 25
        trunk (15,8) 23
        trident (4,11) 15
        bar (12,10) 22
        coffin (3,7) 10
        chalice (10,10) 20
        card (10,15) 25
        egg (5,5) 10
        diamond (10,6) 16
        ruby (15,8) 23
        zorkmid (10,12) 22
        stamp (4,10) 14
        small statue (10,13) 23
        crystal sphere (6,6) 12
        blue sphere (10,5) 15
        red sphere (10,5) 15
        tin of spices (5,5) 10
        violin (10,10) 20
        Dimwit’s crown (15,10) 25
        pot of gold (10,10) 20
        brass bauble (1,1) 2
        canary (6,2) 8
        Don Woods stamp ( 1) 1

        POINTS GATHERED IN EXPLORATION:

        getting in kitchen: 10
        getting in cellar: 25
        getting in E/W passage: 5
        getting in strange passage: 5
        getting in thief hideout: 25
        getting in lower shaft: 10
        getting in sooty room: 35
        rising in well: 10
        getting in Land of the Dead: 30

        Stephen Barry Einbinder
  10. Never mind. Workaround found. All I need is to type “enter”. Not “enter mirror”, just “enter”. Game finished and case closed.

    Stephen Barry Einbinder
  11. I am stymied. The total points in the list adds to 464, but when one subtracts the 30 points for entering the Land of the Dead it comes out to 616. I am up to 628 and not in the LotD yet. Might be a different scoring system. I have everything in the trophy case and have wandered around a lot, but still no clear path to the LotD. Thanks

  12. OK. This is the SPOILER! To get to the LotD:
    Go to the Temple. Pick up the bell. Then go to the Altar. Pick up the candles and the book. Then go to Entrance to Hades. Drop the candles. Ring the bell. Pick up the candles. Read the book. You can now enter LotD.
    As for the scoring, there’s one other possibility. Are you playing release 12 or release 13? If you’re playing release 12, then if the thief picks your pocket at the moment you try to pick up a treasure, the pickup points are gone forever, even when you kill the thief and retrieve the treasures he stole from you. So if you’re playing release 12, google release 13, then try it.

    Stephen Barry Einbinder
    • Thanks. The spoiler you gave gets me into Hades, not the LotD I think. I am trying to get through the door into the crypt. I guess I confused LotD and the crypt. I have wandered for “days” and no one shows up to offer me passage into the crypt. Playing release 13 on the iPod Frotz app.

  13. How many points do you have now that you got to the Land of the Dead? 628? Did you take the canary out of the egg (after the thief opened it) and put it in the case separately?
    If all is lost, maybe I can send you a script off this list. But I’m playing using Frotz on my old PC. It might have different nuances from your iPod.

    Stephen Barry Einbinder
  14. Also, remember, if you get killed (and come back to life), there’s a 10-point penalty. Those points are gone forever.

    Stephen Barry Einbinder

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: