Zork: 310 out of 616 points   10 comments

[Source.]

It’s time for a progress report, also known as a random selection of observations that don’t sort well as a single post:

* I found an ivory torch which seems to have unlimited fuel; I tested many, many WAIT commands and the torch kept going. Strangely, I also ran across a point in experimenting where I had a “burned-out torch” yet it was still providing light. [ADD: It’s a bug. If you throw the torch at the glacier (see below) and then restore your game the torch is in your inventory and burned out. If you quit and then restore the torch is back to normal.]

* The light sources in general are finicky and slightly buggy. The most annoying part came in a coal mine where you have to drop off a lit lantern and enter through a narrow passage (which cannot fit any items) where you have waiting for you a torch conveniently lowered by a basket. However, if you try to go back the way you came the room is dark. It took me a lot of fiddling before I realized if I raised the basket first the room with the lantern would be lit again. I guess the light sources need to be recalculated?

* The thief was dead as of the 190 point mark. I seem to recall in Zork I needing to wait until near the end of the game, but not here. I also realized there was an oblique hint in the temple that dropping items there made them safe from the thief (boldface mine):

> read inscription
The prayer is inscribed in an ancient script which is hardly remembered these days, much less understood. What little of it can be made out seems to be a philippic against small insects, absent-mindedness, and the picking up and dropping of small objects. The final verse seems to consign trespassers to the land of the dead. All evidence indicates that the beliefs of the ancient Zorkers were obscure.

* You can TAKE TREASURES as a shortcut for grabbing all items designated for the trophy case. This is handy for both inventory management and checking if something is a treasure.

* There’s a glacier I’ve been trying to get by. If I MELT ICE with my torch it works but I die getting carried away by water. If I THROW TORCH AT ICE I survive but I lose my torch (which is a treasure — I know from the TAKE TREASURES test).

* There’s a cake from the Tea Room that I need that apparently the thief has moved, but I can’t figure out where. I’m just hoping it’s not eaten, I may end up having a late-game restart (grumble).

* I recall being able to walk across the rainbow in Zork I, but I also recall an item in the gold coffin being used to manage that (which isn’t there now). Am I missing something?

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Posted April 25, 2011 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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10 responses to “Zork: 310 out of 616 points

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  1. Yay, Torch! Since the bulk of the game is a light puzzle, having the torch is nice.

    I wouldn’t worry about throwing the torch at the glacier. Things have a habit of turning up later.

    I only vagulely recall the Tea Room.

    The rainbow works, but I have completely forgotten how.

    • I guessed based on the bug I ought to be able to find the torch; the only problem is it gets rid of my everlasting light source so I want to save that part for near the end.

  2. Have you been down the river? There is an object which is particularly inconvenient to take downstream with you, and of course in Zork logic that means you need to take it to a place which is downstream.
    To my view, the thief is the biggest challenge – managing your objects until you have enough points to kill him. Non-valuable objects moved by him may make the game unfinishable.
    Note: the attic is fair game for the thief since it’s dark – don’t leave anything in there for ‘later’.

    • You don’t necessarily need to take the item you speak of down the river. I went the opposite direction (back across the rainbow).

      In original Zork, according to David Cornelson, even the room with the trophy case isn’t safe.

      And yes, I had to restart a couple times just to wrangle the objects correctly. One time I had left the rope tied to the railing and THAT disappeared; I don’t know why but I must have assumed that wouldn’t be stolen while it was tied up.

  3. Yeah, strangely, unlike Zork I, the thief can take anything anywhere in Dungeon. He can untie the rope, steal it and drop it off someplace else. He can take the red-herring bird’s nest and do the same. He can even dislodge one of the teleporting mirrors and drop it off in another room!

    Stephen Barry Einbinder
  4. Yes. For example, the thief can steal the mirror from the north (of the reservoir) mirror room and drop it off in Deep Canyon. So I can go to the south mirror room, rub the mirror, and unexpectedly teleport to Deep Canyon.

    Stephen Barry Einbinder
  5. BTW, is it at all possible to obtain a copy of the 616-point version?

    Stephen Barry Einbinder
  6. Just found this blog. Very nice work! I remember reading somewhere (maybe the Zork I Invisiclues hint book?) that the inscription about “picking up and dropping small objects” was an in-joke. Before there was a WAIT command, players would make time pass by picking up and dropping an item repeatedly.

  7. I’m back up to the point where I was before the thief took the rope.

    I don’t recall the thief taking anything in the room with the trophy case.

    I usually like to get the torch first thing. This is because there is the area beyond the glacier that you have to do with the lamp, so I like to use the lamp for as few turns as possible at the start. (And there’s also the coal mine.)

    If I get really desperate I’ll use the candles as well.

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