zork, buried chaos

bloodbath (2009)


I hate to have to admit this, but Iíve never played Zork. I tried it a few times, but the parser is so limited that I couldnít get into. Iíve always wanted to play Dungeon, but I havenít gotten around to it yet, so the references that are used in zork, buried chaos are lost on me. Whatís left is a shallow pack-rat game with no reason for playing it.

Zork, buried chaos is a poorly written game, it doesnít even make an attempt to change the default descriptions of some objects like the elvish sword. Room descriptions are thin with no imagery, like:

You are in a tiny room in a building. North lies a big room and a hole is in the ground. Crates are everywhere.

For me it felt so bad that I had trouble visualizing the rooms so I could navigate them. It almost seems like the author is new to Inform and in the end came up with this. I guess now with the threshold to enter IF lowered by Inform 7 we can expect to see more of these things, but on an upside, we're not seeing short stupid-joke games anymore, people seem to be trying harder.

In this game all you seem to do is try to collect stuff, but thereís no reason behind it and thereís no story here at all. With the genre so far progressed you have to ask yourself why you would even bother with a game like this, it does nothing for you. Maybe it worked in Zork, but that was 30 years ago. On top of that the game is broken into two sections, above the ground and below, with the upper area no longer accessible once you go below. So if you havenít collected everything in the upper level before you go below, youíll get stuck and have to restart the game in order to find the missing item. What bad design.

Itís also filled with lots of sudden deaths, but with a twist. When you die youíre teleported to some random place in the game, but it doesnít work to well because you really feel lost when it happens. I ended up just UNDOing the turn.

On top of all of this the game is poorly clued, so of course I had to turn to the walkthrough. But it seems incomplete, and I wasnít even able to finish the game. I really hate when something like this happens, but when you get a game that's not even beta tested you can't expect that the author is putting his all into it.

I scored this game a 2. There was practically nothing here, the puzzles were weak, the writing was nonexistent, and there wasn't even a story to push it along. In the end if just felt like a waste of time.