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About the Story
"You play the part of Kuulest's slave, and must recover the Orb of Studosity from the evil Unnkulians. Kuulest, the old geezebag, has died and left you with nothing to go on but a cryptic message about saving the planet. You'll encounter amazing Acme products, the infamous Guardian, those witty creatures known as Drolls, a giant beaver, and even the Dread Unnkulian Warrior. <Gasp!>" [author's blurb, from The (Other) TADS Games List version 1.2]
The first episode in the satirical Unnkulian saga. Like Zork, it's set in a high fantasy environment peppered with anacronisms. You're a slave to Kuulest, a wise hermit who dies during the intro. This makes you free, but also charges you with the obligation of descending into the ancient caverns of the Valley King to set something or other right. All the recurring themes of the Unnkulian games are established here, from Duhdhism and the obligatory fried egg puzzle to the Acme Corporation and its vastly inferior products. Hunger is a factor, but not a seriously limiting one. Contains a maze. Contains a lot of old adventure cliches, for that matter, but mostly for the sake of mocking them. Has some very nice puzzles, the sort where the solution arrives in a blaze of inspiration while you're waiting for the bus or whatever.
-- Carl Muckenhoupt
[Reviews by Audrey A. DeLisle, Toni Cortes and Valentine Kopteltsev]
Seriously, Unnkulia 1 has everything a text adventure needs to be successful: a nice setting, a memorable player character, good puzzles... Admitted, it's not as deep as most of its successors -- but for what it lacks in depth, it makes up in bright humour, and vividness of descriptions [...] (Valentine Kopteltsev)
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How can you stop the Acme Sekuritee Ghards from carting you off to prison? What does the beaver want? Why can't you unlock the Acme Dam Tastee Cheez (tm) Door? And how can you get past the deadly shaft of green light which blocks the way to your goal?
These are just a few of the well thought out puzzles constructed by the author throughout this 70 location adventure. While some problems have fairly obvious solutions there are many that will require lateral thinking and action which is definitely out of the ordinary. But, as long as you examine everything and read all the text carefully, the clues are there to help you on your way.
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Between the end of Infocom and the beginning of Inform, the biggest news was Unnkulia. This was the first game in the series; it is long, polished, and interesting.
It is also juvenile, with 'cheez' products that are toxic, some sex jokes, names like 'Kuulest' and 'Beegashell' mountains.
As the series progressed, it got better, until The Legend Lives! is actually quite a good game. But this first entry in the series is plagued by unfair puzzles and other features that made more sense when most of its players would be in a small community sharing tips with each other.
Mainly interesting as a historical curiosity. Another good game by the authors, I now remember, is the Horror of Rylvania.
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This is version 6 of this page, edited by Edward Lacey on 7 March 2013 at 3:58pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item