Zork II: The Wizard of Frobozz

1981 Infocom
Designed by Dave Lebling, Marc Blank
Reviewed 1995 November 10

Rating +0 Linearity open
Reasonability sporadic Connectivity moderate
Difficulty difficult Relevance weak
Interface text parser Real-time none

Zork II directly continues the adventure of Zork I. You explore an underground land looking for adventure, treasure, and a way out.

The primary weakness, as in Zork I, is a lack of story. There is little, if any, plot or characterisation. The setting, the dungeon itself, has no thematic unity. It is just a collection of locations to contain the challenges. This is not as bad as it sounds, since the whimsical nature of the game invites a bit of silliness.

The challenges are very difficult. They are well crafted, and generally have reasonable solutions. What are lacking are sufficient clues to solve them without resorting to resurrection: you must die, or enter into a no-win position, to acquire the knowledge to solve the puzzles. The latter is a serious failing, since you might play a large part of the game before discovering that you can't continue because of something you did long ago. It may not even be clear exactly what it was that you did wrong or when you did it.

There's fun to be had, but you must be careful to save often. This is a game for serious adventurers only.

Beware! Here are some spoiler-ridden notes on the game. They're only recommended for people who have played the game and want to see some of my rationale for my evaluations.

Solution by me.

Related reviews:

  • The Zork Series
    David Tanguay's Game Reviews
    Here's a description of all the gobbledygook in these reviews. It's also a bit of an essay on the nature of adventure games.