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Zork: Grand Inquisitor

From the Database of Home of the Underdogs

GAME DESIGNER:Laird Malamed

GAME DEVELOPER:Activision

GAME PUBLISHER:Activision

Copyright 1997, Activision

The last official game based on Infocom’s venerable Zork franchise, Zork: Grand Inquisitor ends the series on a high note with a wonderful, immensely entertaining game that brings the whimsical world of Zork to life as never before. The game is true to the series’ roots, featuring a lot of goofy humor, fun puzzles, and even creative spells a la Enchanter series.

Even the plot is true to the whimsical humor of classical Zork. A mysterious man who calls himself the Inquisitor has moved into Port Foozle and outlawed the use of all magic. Your quest, naturally, is to liberate Port Foozle and all of Quendor from the Inquisitor’s rule, and avoid being totemized (a very bad thing) in the meantime.

Zork: Grand Inquisitor is not only a good Zork game: it is a game that was created partly to please die-hard fans. The plot is crafted in such a way as to bring as many famous Zork locations and persona to life as possible. The White House, GUE Tech, Flood Control Dam #3, Hades, and Port Foozle are just a few “classical” locations that have been brought to life in wonderful SVGA graphics. Although nothing could replace your own imagination that text adventures cultivate, it is nice to see these famous locations recreated with such loving detail for the next generation of Zork fans.

Graphics is useless without good gameplay, of course. And here Grand Inquisitor does not disappoint. The Myst-style logic puzzles of Nemesis are now gone, replaced by traditional inventory-based puzzles. Similar to the Enchanter trilogy, you can cast a number of quirky spells to solve puzzles. The puzzles are not difficult, but a few are quite clever. Plenty of colorful characters, locations, and a wonderful sense of humor permeates the game throughout, although I found the last portion of the game disappointingly short and the ending a bit abrupt.

Although the story is admittedly not as interesting as Zork Nemesis, the wonderful charm, interesting magic-based puzzles, and a whimsical sense of humor that is true to Zork legacy combined to make Zork: Grand Inquisitor a better game for both Zork fans and adventure fans in general. Even with some bugs and inconsistencies that suggested the game was rushed out the door without adequate testing, Zork: Grand Inquisitor is still sheer joy to play, and remains a must-play for every fan of adventure genre. Two thumbs up, and a cheerful, grue-proof induction into our Hall of Belated Fame.



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