The famous Zork saga continues in this modern installment that features lush 360-degree rendered 3D graphics and live-action video. Ranging through five worlds, you undertake the task of freeing the souls of the Great Alchemists, whom the Nemesis imprisoned in an unending hell. But that liberation will come only if you unlock the age-old secrets of alchemy by tackling more than 35 puzzles.
Download Zork: Nemesis
I remember 14 years ago spending days of my life trying to unravel the mysteries of the original Zork trilogies. Well, Activision has brought back the haunting world of Zork, but this time with more than just text. They've brought the land of Zork back to us with an incredible display of 3-D graphics, full motion video and a cast of characters that will have you looking over your shoulder for any lurking Grues!
Four of the world's leading alchemists have mysteriously disappeared. The game begins with you standing in the shadows of the ancient mountain Temple of Agrippa. Inside you discover the four renowned alchemists, Dr. Erasmus Sartorius, Madame Sophia Hamilton, Bishop Francois Malveaux and General Thaddeus Kaine. Unfortunately they have been imprisoned by an evil entity known only as the Nemesis. To make matters worse, as if being imprisoned by the demon Nemesis wasn't bad enough, they are dead, but held in stasis that still allows you to communicate with them. Once you find their elements, hidden within the Temple, you learn from them that the Nemesis has imprisoned them. He has been torturing them with the hope that they might reveal to him the secrets of their alchemy. With their knowledge he can create the elixir of eternal life, the quintessence, known as the Philosopher's Stone. They have resisted his tortures so far, even unto death, and have not revealed where their elemental metals are hidden. They implore you to help them.
They tell you that you must travel to each of their homelands and find their secret labs so that you can retrieve their elemental metals. Only with each of the four pure elements will you be able to finish their experiment to create the Philosopher's Stone. With this completed, you can bring them back to life and together, the alchemists can destroy the Nemesis.
You set off in your quest to rescue the imprisoned alchemists, but along the way you must overcome the taunting of the Nemesis, for he has planted traps and puzzles to block your path. One by one you journey to each of the Alchemists' worlds: the Monastery, the Asylum, the Conservatory and the Castle. Along the way you run into various wild characters and experience disconcerting flashbacks that begin to shed light on the nefarious characters that inhabit these almost desolate worlds.
Each of these worlds is brought to life with incredibly rich, intricately detailed 3D graphics and animation. The Monastery and Asylum are particularly unsettling. The time that Activision has put into fully detailing these vast worlds and the eerie original soundtrack that accompanies each world makes this one of the finest graphic adventure games that I have ever played.
Everything you need to do in Zork Nemesis can be achieved through using your mouse. One of the really nice features that separates Zork Nemesis from other graphic adventures such as Myst is that when you are in any one location, you can pan left or right in a full 360-degree circle, and in some areas you can even pan up and down! This really immerses you in each of the worlds as you explore them. I found that the panning was crisp and responsive, perhaps even too much so. It may take you a while to get used to panning. It was a little disconcerting, at first, whenever your cursor gets near to the left or right edge of the screen, all of a sudden you find yourself starting to pan left or right. After spending some time in the game, I began to get used to this feature. Once you are used to the panning, it becomes second nature to enter a new area and then start panning to get a good look at your surroundings. Moving from place to place is as easy as pointing your cursor in the direction that you want to go. Oftentimes there is so much detail in each location that it becomes difficult to find all the items you will need to finish your quest. Many times, after reaching an apparent dead-end, I had to go back and search previous locations to find the object needed to open up a new area in the game.
To make use of an item in your inventory, all you have to do is right-click and the cursor changes to that object. Using that cursor, click on something to use that object with that item. To pick up an item, simply left click on the item to add it to your inventory. Accessing the save game, load another game, change your preferences and quit options is as easy as moving your cursor to the top of the screen and allowing a toolbar to unroll with all of these options listed.
Another nice feature is that for most of the game, you are free to explore anywhere you want. You can come and go freely through each world without being forcefully led down any one path. The non-linear aspect of this game is a refreshing change from other graphic adventures that allow you to do nothing until you solve the riddle that they want you to solve, in the order that they want you to solve it. I found that if I was stuck on one puzzle, I could just go on to another puzzle until I could think of other solutions to try with the original puzzle. If you ever get stuck and are desperate, you can always ask the naked lady. She's always good for a couple of clues...
What can I say about the graphics? The game designers spent a lot of time in intricately detailing each of the worlds that you explore and it really shows! The video sequences played flawlessly on my Pentium 133, and I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the actors and actresses that Activision used. At no time during the game did I ever think, 'Who are these bozos fooling?' With an engaging plot, finely detailed environment and a script that was acted out very convincingly, I found myself quickly drawn into the game. The deeper I went into the game, the more I began to find out about what was really going on. I like games that don't tell you everything up front before you even load the game, and Zork Nemesis definitely starts out with more questions than answers. It takes you until the very surprising ending sequences before you really discover everything that is going on.
Installation and Setup
What could be easier? Since Zork Nemesis was designed to work under Windows 95, all I had to do was drop the first CD in my CD drive and the game loaded itself, the DirectX drivers, and even placed an icon on my desktop. This was extremely convenient. I was up and playing within several minutes. Now that's what I have come to expect in a computer game! The desktop icon was great as well. Any time I want to resume my trek through the lands of Zork, all I had to do was double-click the icon and I was on my way.
486/Dx2 66MHz, MS-DOS or Windows 95, 8 MB RAM, 2X CD-ROM drive, 35 MB hard drive space, VESA local bus/PCI SVGA, mouse, SoundBlaster or compatible sound card
Just as Infocom took the lead in text adventure games a decade and a half ago with the original Zork trilogy, Activision has continued the line of excellence with their latest twist in the Zork saga, Zork Nemesis. They have put together a game that strives for so much and succeeds. Graphics, plot, video sequences, acting and gameplay'all are above average and combine to put together one awesome graphic adventure game. I spent many long evenings engrossed in this game and found myself more than once a little disturbed with the shadowy world that they put together. If a game can truly achieve this type of reaction, then it is worth checking out. Activision scores a 95 with its outstanding latest release in the Zork series.