Spooks or not, the old empire has fallen, fallen...
Adventure/puzzle game fans rejoice! Nemesis has come! Well... that is... he's twisted and does horrible things to people... but rejoice anyway for the puzzles he has left for you to solve!
Unless you're a young whipper-snapper, the name Zork should ring a bell or seven. This is truly the rebirth of an old classic. Sure we've seen 'Return to Zork' and 'Beyond Zork' in the intervening years, but way back in the bad old days, Zork was the king of text based adventure games. Well, its has returned, and it looks like a winner.
Zork Nemesis has been souped-up for the 90's. Anyone who enjoyed Myst will recognize the game format. An intuitive point and click interface allows you to move around and pick up or manipulate objects. The plot of Zork Nemesis is at least as complex as that of Myst, and the puzzles are similar.
Zork offers something new, however. The beautiful graphics now scroll in a smooth 360 degrees! Activision calls it 'Z-Vision'. Anyone who has seen QuickTime VR will recognize the limitations of 'Z-Vision', but it looks nice, and makes the locations feel much more real.
The game itself is a bizarre combination of genres. Dark and disturbing characters and events mix freely with a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor. The most bizarre part is that it works. Horrible tortures, dark passions, avarice, and the nether regions of the human soul are explored in this game. But so are baaaad puns and musical instruments like "THE WERTMEZER - or 'Worst Marriage' - the cheerfully comical two-player accordion that sounds a disharmonic blast when its bellows are pumped."
Nemesis is a truly frightening evil character. He (It?) has taken control of the forbidden lands and has imprisoned four alchemists. Each alchemist had become master of one of the four elements. Nemesis wants their secrets and keeps them semi-alive, trapped, and in pain. Evidence of Nemesis' disturbed psyche can be found throughout the game.
You begin the game on a blasted mountaintop, by a crumbling temple. Inside you'll find the alchemists in their glass coffins. Free the alchemists and win, you say? If only it were that simple. The plot becomes more involved and complex as you delve into the lives (and vices) of the alchemists themselves. These are not your noble saviors.
There is enough here to keep you involved for many hours/days/months. If you thought Myst was too short (as I did) Zork Nemesis has 3 CDs full of gothic splendor, panoramic locations and video clips.