IF Comp ’09 – bloodbath’s zork, buried chaos!

October 12, 2009

Not gonna lie to you; my expectations for zork, buried chaos are not high.  It’s not an original IP, which is usually not a good sign.  The dude who wrote it goes by the name “bloodbath,” which he doesn’t bother to capitalize.  (Yes, I am assuming bloodbath is a dude.  Sorry, fellow feminists!  Or, rather, you’re welcome!)  Also, I have had bad luck with neoZork games.  I just don’t think it’s going to be very good.

Hopefully, I can get most of the not-very-good games out of the way now, then spend the last bit of the comp playing brilliant life-affirming gems of pure crystallized humanity, about which I will have nothing to say except “This was good game I like good game game was good,” so, y’know, you can stop reading at that point.  I will have.

All right.  Let’s go drop these kids off at the pool.

Mostly Spoiler-Free Upshot: This might just be a sad case of self-fulfilling prophecy, but I was right:  this game just isn’t very good.

[spoilers begin here]

You were exploring the underground empire when it began to cave in!  You are trapped!
The more consecutive sentences that end in exclamation points, the more amusingly excitable the narrative voice sounds, a phenomenon used extensively in webcomics and also sometimes here on this very blog!  Now you know!  Try it yourself!  You’re welcome!
…well, I guess sometimes it just sounds sarcastic really.  Maybe there’s an uncanny valley involved.

Four points if I get eaten by a grue.  Which I might, because it’s dark here, and I deliberately did not light my lantern.  This game is already suffering from you-can’t-see-that-thing-it-says-in-the-room-description-is-here syndrome, but so far it’s actually better than I was expecting.  Granted, I was not expecting very much at all.

Hello?  Where is the grue come to eat me?  Where is the warning about how the grue is come to eat me?  Oh, hey, does xyzzy work?  It does not!  Bad Zork game!  No… whatever it is that good Zork games get!  Frobozz Instant Cookie?

Does anyone not like verbose mode?  Every time I find myself having to turn it on, I wonder why it isn’t the default, and what I’d do if I were unaware how to turn it on.  Cry, probably.  How unimaginative.

Wow.  The security on this treasury either consists of a one-digit combination lock or a four-digit lock with combination 1234.  That could be a reference, I guess, but still.  How am I the first one to break in here?

I WANT TO UNLOCK THE CHEST WITH THE KEY.  Seriously, can I just swear an oath never to want to unlock anything with something that is not a key, and in return, every game I play will assume I want to use the key to unlock the thing I want to unlock?  I could see that biting me in the ass later on when I want to unlock, say, the secrets of somebody’s heart, but ninety-nine times out of one hundred I want to UNLOCK THE FUCKING WHATEVER WITH THE FUCKING KEY.  Gaaaah.
(Sorry, zork, buried chaos; that anger is not even primarily directed at you.  I’m just a little upset with your father right now.  Go on up to your room and play with your duckie.  Mommy loves you.)

There’s an obstruction halfway down this slide, but it’s apparently not the kind of obstruction I can see or interact with.  Did I miss an exit somewhere?  Oh, right, the hole in the ground!  Can I light that lantern yet?

No.  But I found a wire.  It’s a small wire.  Also, I’m not sure whether there are two gray doors in the treasury, or just the one, but this game’s definitely got some ish.

…yeah, the combination is just 4.  And it will cause the door to swing open even if it’s already open.  The security’s not just bad, it’s eldritch.

There is pretty much no Zork flavor to this game.  If it wasn’t called zork, buried chaos and I hadn’t been told I was exploring the Underground Empire, I would have no idea it was supposed to be Zorky at all.

…oh, according to the walkthrough, TURN ON LAMP gleams the lantern, while LIGHT LANTERN merely makes the game ask what you want to light it with.  Beta fricking testing, people, Jesus Christ.

Oh bloody fantastic, I’m in a maze.  All the rooms are descriptionless and simply called “maze,” and I don’t even have any breadcrumbs… well, actually, I do have a bunch of stuff, but I’m probably going to need it later.  I don’t feel like expending much energy mapping something I care so little about.  There are not even listed exits.  Grrrr.

Okay FINE I’m mapping I hope you’re happy.  Um.  Hey.  According to my map, I am trapped in a set of three rooms.  That is not cool.  That is rather upsetting actually.  Oh, wait, according to the walkthrough, all of a sudden “southeast” exists as a direction, where previously it had not!  Well, beats being trapped in three rooms, I guess.

The platform is collapsing!  You fall onto spikes! You have died!  You wake up in a random room!
…huh?  I have died and I wake up in a random room?  It’s kinder and gentler, sure, but does it make narrative sense?

Guess-the-verb funtime with GET ON SHELF.  Interest… waning.  Must… save… planet…

> read book
It’s just got loads of symbols drawn on the pages.
Well, yeah.  That’s called writing.

Oh.  These triangles.  I am supposed to push them?  Well, all right.

> x square
It’s got a circle on it.
> x circle
It’s got a triangle on it.

> x keypad
Numbers and letters can be typed on the keypad.
> type 1 on keypad
You can’t do that.

iron maiden:  Taken.
Really?  Aren’t those things, like, big?  And heavy?  And covered in spikes?  Yeah, Wikipedia confirms.  Also, brrrrrrr.  Grody.

I’m not sure this game makes any sense.  It’s definitely not very good.  I’m’a slap a three on it and get on with my life before I find out what this iron maiden is for, other than having a small squares in it.

One comment

  1. I could see that biting me in the ass later on when I want to unlock, say, the secrets of somebody’s heart,

    In Planescape: Torment, you do acquire the keys to somebody’s heart. Literally.

    (Which is hardly surprising, given that you can also acquire such things as “a scrap of your flesh with a regret inscribed upon it”, a “foul-smelling, oozing bit of chocolate”, and a weapon whose special ability is that it can only kill _you_.)

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