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(based on 44 ratings)
About the Story
Dread times have befallen the Kingdom of Quendor. The wizards have mysteriously disappeared. The Enchanter's Guild Hall lies in ruins. Villages are abandoned, drunken men mutter strange tales, and vicious monsters haunt the streets and wastelands. Now it falls to you, a lowly peasant, to unravel the meaning behind these ominous events. Will you accept the challenge?
Language: English (en)
Current Version: Unknown
Development System: ZIL
Forgiveness Rating: Cruel
Makes reference to Spellbreaker, by Dave Lebling
Makes reference to Wishbringer, by Brian Moriarty
Adventure Classic Gaming
Beyond Zork: The Coconut of Quendor is a game that works very hard to bridge the gaps between the Zork and Enchanter trilogies. Rightly regarded as among the most distinctive games from Infocom, Beyond Zork: The Coconut of Quendor's innovations are many, and its successes plentiful. Though it does not achieve complete success as the adventure/role-playing hybrid it aspires to be, it is nonetheless a game not to be missed by devoted Infocom fans.
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Beyond Zork is a game with a great amount of play and replay value. Many of the puzzles have multiple solutions, and will keep players coming back to find more even after they have played the game to a conclusion.
On the whole, Beyond Zork is well worth the playing; truly difficult puzzles are few, the game atmosphere is effective, and the ending--even if it points to a sequel that never happened--is thoroughly rewarding. Even if RPGs aren't your style, there is plenty more in Beyond Zork than hack-and-slash; it deserves consideration among Infocom's best.
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Although the extra features mean that the text is not as verbose as usual, it still scores over a lot of other adventures with its descriptions. There are some really sneaky puzzles in the game and the plot is very convoluted. The author, Brian Moriarty, also wrote Wishbringer and Trinity and in Beyond Zork, he has excelled himself. There are even guest appearances from some characters and objects from his other adventures.
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>INVENTORY - Paul O'Brian writes about interactive fiction
For our entire playthrough, we found ourselves frequently guessing blindly at how our stats were affecting gameplay. For example, would this game’s extremely annoying inventory limits have been relieved had we had more strength or dexterity? Because if so, boy oh boy would I have maxed those stats. I ran into more infuriating inventory limit nonsense in this game than in any other Infocom game before or since...
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The "Next Level" is something you'll either love or hate in IF. I loved it.
Beyond Zork happens at the same time as Spellbreaker, in the same universe, but with a differenct character. While the PC in Spellbreaker is trying to destroy all magic, you're trying to preserve it by collecting the Coconut of Quendor, in which magic knowledge is held, and hiding it to reinstate magic one day. (Which will be done in Zork: Grand Inquisitor).
What makes this game different is the mini-map, the ability to name objects, a money system to purchase things, some items have random descriptions and locations to change the gameplay, multiple enemies with randomize combat, D&D style stats and make-your-own character. The puzzles are what you would expect from Zork, ranging from obvious to "why does this bridge never seem to end?", where you would need some kind of extra world knowledge to get the joke.
This may be one of the first Zork/Enchanter games to involve a variety of NPCs (even though 3 of them are the same person) who you can speak to and have a REASON to speak to (unlike that Thief from Zork I), and even some NPCs that follow you around.
The downside to this is that, like many games of its era, you would need the instruction book to pass some puzzles. Luckily, it's not as blatant as in Spellbreaker or Sorcerer, where you actually need to look up info, but some hints on how to defeat some creatures (like the christmas tree monsters) are nonsensical, and only by reading the feelies would you know what to do.
All the classic Zork/Enchanter puzzles are here, and most of the trash was left out: no hunger puzzles, very little light issues, a magic system, a time travel puzzle, a place to say "Hello, Sailor", all the goodies.
However, if the Zork games weren't your think, or you prefer non-randomness in your games, this one probably isn't for you.
Take a game that has had a successful trilogy, add a bunch of elements people might like, and hope it's received well. That seems to be what Infocom did with this addition to the Zork series.
I'll begin by saying the downside to this, just to get it out of the way since there's nothing else I don't like about it. To me, this game was a turning point. Future Zork games were just campy, with the exception of the radical departure that is Nemesis. Also, most interpreters I've used don't display this game correctly. Fortunately, I was able to play it again in all it's original glory once I started using Termux, a Linux environment for Android devices that doesn't require rooting.
As for the upside, I like everything else that's new in this game so much that I wish it was done for more IF game sequels. It's obviously heavily inspired by Dungeons & Dragons, with the avatar creation, turn-based fighting, character growth, barter system, randomized maps, and randomized item placement. The screen is divided into four main sections, which is why it's necessary to play this in a text-based environment. In addition to the usual Status Bar at the top, there's a pseudo-graphical minimap, with a window to the left containing room descriptions, and below all that is the usual call-and-response text parser area.
Many of the scenes were ridiculous, like the ripoff from The Wizard Of Oz and part of the ending ((Spoiler - click to show)a magic spell to turn granite into fettucini), not to mention some throwbacks to other Infocom titles. Some puzzles were just too convoluted as well, like getting the helmet. But all that was eclipsed by the immersion into this world with the game's new features. A couple scenes were touching too, like the interaction with the Minx. The reaction of the Implementors when they become aware of my presence was a very nice touch too, in addition to the easter egg: (Spoiler - click to show)trying to open the mailbox pictured on the wine bottle's label. Messing around with the various magical items was a lot of fun, and I felt a great sense of accomplishment too when I achieved the highest level in the game.
While I was playing through the game though, I couldn't help but think that the audio tracks from the CD-ROM version of Return To Zork would fit here. Imagine the Morpheus Nightmare music as a backdrop in the tavern cellar, the Whispering Woods music in the jungle, or the forest music in the ... forest. Event-driven tunes would include the creepy "abandoned hardware store" music when finding the Circle in shambles, the Troll Fight music when an enemy appears, and even that pretty little tune from the intro when you open the Sea Chest. If I put some effort into it, I could probably modify the stand-alone PC-DOS executable file to make the game do just that.
That leaves me with a couple questions. First, what does the game look like when played on a VT220? Second, are there any Android apps out there that display this game correctly?
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