Enlightenment

by Taro Ogawa

Cave crawl/Zorkian
1998

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>INVENTORY - Paul O'Brian writes about interactive fiction

You've already overcome dozens of obstacles, collected lots of treasures, and scored 240 points out of 250; now there's just the little matter of getting past a canonical troll bridge and scurrying out of the caverns with your loot. But how? In the game's words:

If only you hadn't used your Frobozz Magic Napalm on that ice wall...
If only you hadn't used your TrolKil (*Tm) to map that maze...
If only you hadn't sold your Frobozz Magic Tinning Kit.
If only you hadn't cooked and eaten those three Billy Goats Gruff...
... or that bear ...

If ONLY you'd checked the bloody bridge on your way in.

This brief excerpt is representative of the writing in the game: it is both a very funny parody of the Zork tradition as well as an enthusiastic participation in that tradition. In fact, as you can see from the above quote, the game actually features some familiar parts of the Zork universe, such as Frobozz Magic products, rat-ants, and even certain slavering lurkers in dark corners... Sly allusions and in-jokes abound, but they're never what the game depends on, so if you don't catch them, you're not missing anything important. Of all the one-room games I've seen this year, Enlightenment is definitely the best-written.

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- Edo, March 31, 2022

- William Chet (Michigan), July 19, 2020

- Zape, April 28, 2020

- mrfrobozzo, July 25, 2017

- Christina Nordlander, June 17, 2017

- Audiart (Davis, CA), February 27, 2017

- Xavid, December 7, 2016

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A hilarious and difficult game for Zork/Adventure/Enchanter fans, February 3, 2016

In this one-room, complicated game that upends IF conventions, you must extinguish all of your many lightsources to let a grue eat the troll blocking your way.

Adventurers may recognize the lantern from Adventure and Infocom games, the elvish sword from the Zork games, and the amulet from Spellbreaker. There are several other lightsources to deal with. Other items from Infocom games include the stock certificate from Zork III (I think), the grue repellent from Zork II, Zork III, and Sorcerer; the screwdriver from Zork I; and many others.

This game is hard. Like many others, I played for over a half hour without extinguishing a single light source. But once you start to get a feel for the game, it gets better and better. Because of an early experiment, I got the wrong idea about one item and never solved one of the harder puzzles on my own.

I recommed trying to get half of the points before using a walkthrough.


- dosgamer, April 10, 2015

- Thrax, March 12, 2015

- Lorxus, April 20, 2014

- lisapaul, January 14, 2014

- nf, November 4, 2013

- N.C. Hunter Hayden, October 25, 2013

- Indigo9182, August 14, 2013

- Jim Kaplan (Jim Kaplan has a room called the location. The location of Jim Kaplan is variable.), June 11, 2013

- DJ (Olalla, Washington), May 9, 2013

- DAzebras, April 22, 2013

- loungeman (Bilbao, Spain), May 30, 2012

- Mr. Patient (Saint Paul, Minn.), April 5, 2012

- Muskie, August 13, 2010

- schifter (Louisville, KY), July 21, 2010

2 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Illogical Yet Immersive (For Masochists Only), January 1, 2010
by AmberShards (The Gothic South)

As others have noted, the writing is top-notch and places the player in a believable penumbra of the Zorkian universe. The over-the-top humor is also well done. The first glaring problem, however, is that the PC's actions and restrictions just don't make sense. Adventurers are known for trying all sorts of things in order to solve puzzles; it's their nature. Thus, the game fails right from the outset with a PC that is effectively straitjacketed.

The responses are entertaining -- at first, until they become tiresome and opaque. Apparently the puzzles depend upon doing random things until you figure out the secret parts of various objects that allow you to solve them. I say "apparently" because after 100 turns and still not a single point, I gave up in frustration.

Beyond the mindlessly illogical PC, the unclued nature of the puzzles, and the ridiculous catch-all behavior of the troll, there's not much to really set apart Enlightenment as a game. Don't misunderstand -- the writing is excellent, but the game mechanics are not, so as a game, Enlightenment just doesn't deliver the goods. I suppose you could spend an afternoon banging your head against the wall, but why do that? If you need to resort to hints to get even the first point, you might well love this game. Me, I'm not in favor of games that frustrating.

Enlightenment is basically for masochists only.


- perching path (near Philadelphia, PA, US), December 19, 2009


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