Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Introduction: Hello, Adventurer!

Welcome to Zork version 3.2B!
Known to many as Dungeon, this is the forbearer of the Zork trilogy, written between 1977 and 1979 by MIT students Tim Anderson, Marc Blank, Bruce Daniels, and Dave Lebling before Infocom was formed.  It was inspired by the Adventure game of Crowther and Woods, and the Dungeons and Dragons game of Gygax and Arneson.  The original version was written in MDL (alias MUDDLE).  The current version was translated from MDL into FORTRAN IV by a somewhat paranoid DEC engineer who prefers to remain anonymous.
Basically a treasure hunt in a cave, it contains mazes, some randomized combat and puzzles.  Nearly everything in this game can be found in the Zork trilogy, although some crucial details are different.  This version is the approximate equivalent to Zork I + about half of Zork II + the endgame of Zork III.  Hats off to Bob Supnik (aka, the somewhat paranoid DEC engineer), who first created a Fortran version from the MDL sources and then sporadically updated it.
This information has been updated for version 3.2B of Dungeon, which is reputed to be the last Fortran version.
As the game tells you:
You are near a large dungeon, which is reputed to contain vast quantities of treasure.  Naturally, you wish to acquire some of it. In order to do so, you must of course remove it from the dungeon.  To receive full credit for it, you must deposit it safely in the trophy case in the living room of the house.
In addition to valuables, the dungeon contains various objects which may or may not be useful in your attempt to get rich.  You may need sources of light, since dungeons are often dark, and weapons, since dungeons often have unfriendly things wandering about.  Reading material is scattered around the dungeon as well; some of it is rumored to be useful.
To determine how successful you have been, a score is kept.  When you find a valuable object and pick it up, you receive a certain number of points, which depends on the difficulty of finding the object.  You receive extra points for transporting the treasure safely to the living room and placing it in the trophy case.  In addition, some particularly interesting rooms have a value associated with visiting them.  The only penalty is for getting yourself killed, which you may do only twice.

Some useful commands:
Help - provides a quick tutorial.
N, S, E, W - Moving requires direction.  Type north or n for north, east or e for east, west or w for west, and south or s for south. The game will describe the directions you are permitted to go. It will tell you, for example, that there are "Exits to the north and east."  Keep in mind there are other directions besides the cardinal directions of a compass, which, strangely enough, must be entered as abbreviations (i.e., northeast or north-east is not understood, but ne is...go figure).  Also, don't be like Khan Noonien Singh and remember directions exist in three dimensions.
Take (or get) - The command for taking things, such as "take key".
Look - This will give you an explanation of where you are and what is around you. It can also be used in conjunction with other things, such as "look at leaflet".
Save - Saves a game in progress.
Restore - Restores a previously saved game.
NOTE: the SAVE and RESTORE commands take an optional file name, in quotation marks; by changing the name, you can save as many times as you want and have separate files.  If no name is given, the file name defaults to "DSAVE.DAT" and each time you save it overwrites the previous save file.
There are many other commands as well, such as inventory, diagnose, open, close, read, lift, pull, etc.  You can find a more detailed list in Appendix 3.

Things to keep in mind:
Actions to take are proceeded by >.
Text from the game appears in this Courier size 11 font. Nifty, huh?

You get the verbose description of an area the first time you go there:
This is an open field west of a white house with a boarded front door...

The short name of the area is included in square brackets as a point of reference:
[West of House] This is an open field west of a white house with a boarded front door...

Anything without the prompt is high quality narrative.  Pay attention to it!
You will find various items along the way.  Prior to starting out from your home base, Check yourself! will tell you what you need for that section of the game.  Pay attention!
There are many variables in this game that really cannot be completely accounted for in a walk through.  The best defense is always a good offense: save early and often!

Regarding the Thief:
The Thief (he of the large bag) wanders around in the dungeon and is said never been seen by the light of day.  He steals for pleasure (as opposed to profit) and would likely be diagnosed with sadistic personality disorder (SPD) if he ever chose to see a doctor, as he only takes things which you have seen.  While preferring valuables, in his haste he may take items that are worthless.  He tends to discard items at random, typically things of no value to himself.  He may stop in a room when you are present, but is more likely to just wander through and rip you off.
The Thief is difficult to defeat in a fight; if you come upon him, the best choice is to leave immediately.  He is easily distracted, so giving him a treasure will also keep him from attacking you for one turn.  As you explore and gain points, you become a better match to the Thief; do not attack him too early in the process.  The nasty knife from the Attic is a better weapon against the Thief than the sword.  As an added bonus, he will do the heavy lifting for you, as whatever treasure he may steal from you or take if you leave it behind will be yours again in the end.  The more of your treasure he has, the easier it is to defeat him.  It is necessary for the Thief to receive the jewel-encrusted egg at some point during the game in order for you to win.
NOTE: should the Thief steal the torch from you before you have been to the Coal Mine, you have some choices to make.  You either restore the game to a point where you still have the torch or you will need to kill him earlier than this walkthrough suggests.
The Way Around:
The map is self-attributed to Steven Roy, and some searching reveals that it was scanned from November 1982 issue of The DEC Professional.  I updated it to version 3.2B using as much of the original features from the map as possible.  Each chapter will show you only what you know to date...no spoilers, sweetie.

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more...

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