Anthony's Film Review

Zork Nemesis
(Video Game, 1996)

The story is rather quick, but the worlds to explore and their puzzles make the game worthwhile enough...

Of the different entries in the Zork series of computer games, the first one I ever played was Return to Zork, a game I found quite enchanting. I had similar expectations when I purchased a copy of Zork Nemesis, another graphic Zork adventure developed by Activision. The game wasn't bad, though it wasn't like the other game because this one had an overall darker atmosphere. Still, I liked it to a certain extent.

Zork Nemesis ia another game where you play a nameless protagonist from a first-person perspective. You start the game at the Temple of Agrippa, exploring the various rooms and corridors. One things becomes clear: the number four is a pattern. You learn that there are four elements - Air, Earth, Fire, and Water - each associated with four characters who are dead and yet to be reanimated. As you may guess, the characters come from four different worlds.

Essentially, the game goes like this. You solve one main puzzle in the temple to gain access to any of the other four worlds. In each world, you explore around, solve puzzles, and reach the end where you must perform alchemy to produce a symbol of one of the four elements. The four characters, worlds, and elements are as follows: Doctor Erasmus Sartorius's Gray Mountains Asylum with the element of Air, General Thaddeus Kaine's Irondune fort with the element of Earth, Bishop Francois Malveaux's Steppinthrax Monastery with the element of Fire, and Madame Sophia Hamilton's Frigid River Branch Conservatory with the element of Water.

The puzzles, I have to admit, are pretty tough. You have to be an experienced adventure gamer with a hard-working brain to get through the game without help. As for the story, you get glimpses of it through flashback scenes at different points in the game. There are interactions among the four characters as well as two other younger characters: Lucius Kaine, the general's son, and a young woman named Alexandria Wolfe. Situations in the story include Alexandria playing music at the conservatory and Lucius arguing with his father at the fort. Aside from this, it's fun to discover new places, especially with the nice ambient music in each world.

The last part of the game takes place after doing the necessary tasks in all four worlds. You finally face the Nemesis, a villain who was previously unseen until this point. The final actions you take are sort of a race against time before something catastrophic happens. The ending is just OK, but I thought it was a nice one. Overall, Zork Nemesis has a story that's really a breeze if it weren't for the puzzles you spend time solving. Though not as great as Return to Zork, it's still something Zork fans might enjoy checking out.

Anthony's Rating:

For more information about Zork Nemesis, visit the Internet Movie Database and Moby Games.


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