Return to Zork

1993 Infocom/Activision
Designed by Doug Barnett; Michele Em
Reviewed 1995 February 1

Rating +4 Linearity wide
Reasonability deductive Connectivity moderate
Difficulty difficult Relevance moderate
Interface 1st paned menu Real-time none

This is a solid adventure game in the classic style. The modern interface is well done. It doesn't add to the content of the game, but it makes for smoother play. The interface includes some nice touches: a tape recorder to record characters' words for later playback to other characters, and a camera to take pictures to show to other characters.

There is little plot, but there is a strong setting. The back story is entertaining and highly relevant to the solution of the game. The whimsical nature of Zork is alive and well, balanced nicely with the adventurous aspects.

Return to Zork is a difficult puzzle, but there are many clues that tell you how to proceed. The trick is to discover them before they are hindsight. There is some stretching of rational expectation, but only in very limited circumstances: the scope of likely possibilities is small enough to use exhaustive play.

Return to Zork is an honourable continuation of the Zork tradition. It is entertaining, but it also very demanding. Adventure novices are advised to start elsewhere.

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.