Zork III: Beyond the Guardians of Zork   13 comments

This is my finale post for Zork III, so make sure you’ve read my other posts about Zork III before this one.

While I had discovered the area of the game with a “beam room” and so forth about 40% of the way through my gameplay…

Beam Room
You are in the middle of a long north-south corridor whose walls are polished stone. A narrow red beam of light crosses the room at the north end, inches above the floor.
The corridor continues north and south.

…I remembered the beam being the start puzzle to the endgame of mainframe Zork, so I wanted to save it for after I had everything else taken care of first. There’s some interesting (and slightly confusing) aspects the game has for people who enter this section early (which I’ll get into later), but for my own game I only had two things left to do.

First was a secret action which I got essentially by luck. When you fall into the lake any items you are carrying drop in. I originally got the feeling that such items were lost forever, but you can dive in and find them:

You are below the surface of the lake. It turns out that the lake is quite shallow and the bottom is only a few feet below you. Considering the frigid temperature of the water, you should probably not plan an extended stay. The lake bottom is sandy and a few hearty plants and algae live there.
There is a lamp here.
Out of the corner of your eye, a small, shiny object appears in the sand. A moment later, it is gone!

(Mind you, the lamp is ruined if you do this with that item specifically, although you can make do with the torch.)

The “small, shiny object” is a medallion, one of the items you need. Rather frustratingly, there is a 50% chance picking it up will fail, and if you stay in the water too long you will drown. So there is a chance for some people they would assume there is some extra puzzle other than just typing GET SHINY over and over. I died after 5 failed attempts, which has about a 3% chance of happening. Game designers, would you really be happy with 3 out of 100 people being in this circumstance? (I know, I’ve gone over this before, and it is a flaw I don’t see in modern games nearly so often, but everyone once in a while it does happen.)

The last remaining issue was the battle with the hooded figure.

From the Zork User Group hintbook, via the Museum of Computer Adventure Games.

I was able to kill the figure entirely through raw persistence, which was a puzzle in itself (my first combat took, without exaggeration, about 50 turns, and it is possible to straight-up die if you’re unlucky) but that still felt fairly unsatisfying even though it caused my score to go up by 1.

I ended up needing to check hints. I think I get (by reverse engineering later events) how this was supposed to be puzzled out, but at least at the time I didn’t manage.

>hit man with sword
A good parry! Your sword wounds the hooded figure!
The figure is hurt, and its strength appears to be fading.
The hooded figure attempts a thrust, but its weakened state prevents hitting you.

>get hood
The hooded figure, though recovering from wounds, is strong enough to force you back.
The hooded figure attempts a thrust, but its weakened state prevents hitting you.

>hit man with sword
A good slash, but it misses by a mile.
The hooded figure attempts a thrust, but its weakened state prevents hitting you.

>hit man with sword
A good stroke, but it’s too slow.
The hooded figure attempts a thrust, but its weakened state prevents hitting you.

>hit man with sword
A quick stroke catches the hooded figure off guard! Blood trickles down the figure’s arm!
The figure appears to be badly hurt and defenseless.
The hooded figure attempts a thrust, but its weakened state prevents hitting you.

>get hood
You slowly remove the hood from your badly wounded opponent and recoil in horror at the sight of your own face, weary and wounded. A faint smile comes to the lips and then the face starts to change, very slowly, into that of an old, wizened person. The image fades and with it the body of your hooded opponent. The cloak remains on the ground.

As the early part of the excerpt indicates, this is only possible at the exact right moment. I tested it multiple times and I’m fairly sure I’ve also had a situation where it the figure went from not-wounded-enough straight to dead after a good sword blow, making the hood-nabbing impossible. I had tried every iteration of yielding or stopping the combat I could think, so I had the right concept, just the wrong action.

I think the point of the puzzle was to suss out, from the description of the Dungeon Master (which is given fairly explicitly on death)…

He is dressed simply in a hood and cloak, wearing a few simple jewels, carrying something under one arm, and leaning on a wooden staff. A single key, as if to a massive prison cell, hangs from his belt.

…that we are supposed to try to match; that is, we need the hood to complete our ensemble in the first place.

Clearly, the authorial goal (I think Marc Blank is the person making the choices here as opposed to Lebling, but I’m not sure) is to intentionally have a bit of the flair of randomness which was admittedly present back in Zork I to craft a puzzle around. Having circumstances, say, where exactly five turns of hitting are needed before the action, would feel a bit mechanical a suck some of the appeal out of the combat system. The game also is extremely forgiving on death, so in a ludological sense needing to have a “rematch” with the hooded figure may be an intended part of the narrative.

The end result of the two resolutions was give me:

A wooden staff
A strange key
A vial
A cloak (being worn)
A hood (being worn)
A sword
A lamp
A very ancient book
A golden ring (being worn)
A golden amulet (being worn)
A torch

I also had a chest (too heavy to be carried at the same time as the items above) but I used it to immediately solve a puzzle in the end game.

Beam Room
You are in the middle of a long north-south corridor whose walls are polished stone. A narrow red beam of light crosses the room at the north end, inches above the floor.
The corridor continues north and south.

>put chest in beam
The beam is now interrupted by a chest lying on the floor.

This allows pushing a button to the south, which consequently allows entering a “mirror room” to the north.

>push button
Click. Snap!

Beam Room
There is a chest here.

This is a part of the long hallway. The east and west walls are dressed stone. In the center of the hall is a shallow stone channel. In the center of the room the channel widens into a large hole around which is engraved a compass rose.
The hallway continues to the south.
A large mirror fills the north side of the hallway.
The mirror is mounted on a panel which has been opened outward.

Inside Mirror
You are inside a rectangular box of wood whose structure is rather complicated. Four sides and the roof are filled in, and the floor is open.

As you face the side opposite the entrance, two short sides of carved and polished wood are to your left and right. The left panel is mahogany, the right pine. The wall you face is red on its left half and black on its right. On the entrance side, the wall is white opposite the red part of the wall it faces, and yellow opposite the black section. The painted walls are at least twice the length of the unpainted ones. The ceiling is painted blue.

In the floor is a stone channel about six inches wide and a foot deep. The channel is oriented in a north-south direction. In the exact center of the room the channel widens into a circular depression perhaps two feet wide. Incised in the stone around this area is a compass rose.

Running from one short wall to the other at about waist height is a wooden bar, carefully carved and drilled. This bar is pierced in two places. The first hole is in the center of the bar (and thus the center of the room). The second is at the left end of the room (as you face opposite the entrance). Through each hole runs a wooden pole.

The pole at the left end of the bar is short, extending about a foot above the bar, and ends in a hand grip. The pole has been dropped into a hole carved in the stone floor.

The long pole at the center of the bar extends from the ceiling through the bar to the circular area in the stone channel. This bottom end of the pole has a T-bar a bit less than two feet long attached to it, and on the T-bar is carved an arrow. The arrow and T-bar are pointing west.

How was one supposed to work out interrupting the beam was needed? Even though I solved the puzzle right away I have no earthly idea. I remembered the puzzle from Zork mainframe and applied that solution. Importantly, the mainframe version of the puzzle had a different feel to it: you have your inventory reduced to the iconic sword and lamp, but you need to interrupt the beam! I remember feeling a pang at leaving the sword behind; so even though the puzzle didn’t have good motivation, at least it led to a good narrative moment. Here, the empty chest (or likely a few other item choices, like the empty grue repellent can) hardly makes for the same poignance.

The “Inside Mirror” room is just as headache-inducing as I remembered. 12 years ago when I wrote about the scene I compared it to Myst, writing “Myst is really awkward and difficult described as text”. To sum up what’s going on:

The room is a vehicle that can shift around on a track. The track only goes south/north.

The short pole is sort of an anchor that keeps the vehicle from turning. You need to raise it first to be able to get rotation buttons to work.

The red and yellow panels are buttons which both rotate clockwise when pushed.

The black and white panels rotate counterclockwise when pushed.

The mahogany panel moves forward, and the pine panel opens the vehicle.

The long pole and arrow indicate direction.

With these functions sussed out the solution is pretty straightforward: lift the short pole, turn to the north, drop the short pole, move to the end of the track, lift the short pole again, spin so the exit is on the north side, and open. Voila.

The pine wall swings open.

As you leave, the door swings shut.
Dungeon Entrance
You are in a north-south hallway which ends, to the north, at a large wooden
The south side of the room is divided by a wooden wall into small hallways to
the southeast and southwest.
The wooden door has a barred panel in it at about head height. The door itself
is closed.
Your sword is glowing with a faint blue glow.

Now, anyone familiar with the game might know I skipped over something: the Guardians of Zork.

These are statues standing on either side of the track that will wallop you if they see you, which can happen if the vehicle is wobbly (that is, you don’t stabilize with the short pole). I only found this after after the fact looking at people writing about the game, though! The Guardians are meant to thwap anyone who they see, but if there is a stable mirror passing through it looks like they’re just seeing the other Guardian.

There’s a part that makes this even more confusing. Let’s suppose you’ve gone through this and find you haven’t completed all the tasks in the first part of the game. I’m guessing there’s a couple results based on the circumstances, but here’s one if you leave an item behind.

>knock on door
The knock reverberates along the hall. For a time it seems there will be no answer. Then you hear someone unlatching the small wooden panel. Through the bars of the great door, the wrinkled face of an old man appears. He looks you over with his keen, piercing gaze and then speaks gravely. “I have been waiting a long time for you, and you are nearly ready for the last test! I will remain here. When you feel you are ready, go to the secret door and ‘SAY “FROTZ OZMOO”‘! Go, now!” He starts to leave but turns back briefly and wags his finger in warning. “Do not forget the double quotes!” A moment later, you find yourself in the Button Room.
Your sword is no longer glowing.

This gives you a “teleport” command that now works to jump past the mirror altogether. However, you still can’t get back using the vehicle (at least from everything I’ve tried). The only way back through is to ignore the mirror vehicle and walk, on foot, past the Guardians.

Narrow Room
You are in a narrow room, whose east wall is a large mirror.
The opposite wall is solid rock.
Somewhat to the south, identical stone statues face each other from pedestals on opposite sides of the corridor. The statues represent Guardians of Zork, a military order of ancient lineage. They are portrayed as heavily armored warriors standing at ease, hands clasped around formidable bludgeons.
Your sword is no longer glowing.

>examine guardians
The guardians are quite impressive. I wouldn’t get in their way if I were you!

You can’t go that way.

The Guardians awake, and in perfect unison, utterly destroy you with their stone bludgeons. Satisfied, they resume their posts.

**** You have died ****

This is doable if you’ve got the flask from the sailor. The liquid will make you invisible for a turn, long enough to scoot by the Guardians safely. But there’s only one dose, so you need to use the FROTZ OZMOO in order to come back.

So we have a weird circumstance, where

a.) the flask is technically optional

b.) however, it is not optional for someone coming to visit the Dungeon Master early

c.) however, who would arrive at the Dungeon Master early and keep playing, rather than load a saved game?

Also! You can, weirdly enough, move the mirror vehicle a bit (you can’t ignore it entirely), get out of it, and then walk north past the Guardians on foot. This requires the invisibility again.

So the vial is intended to give a little extra flexibility — was the ability to use it to avoid finishing the mirror puzzle more or less inadvertent? The manner of obtaining it (saying HELLO SAILOR) I’ve already prodded at as a design flaw, but it works a little better if it considered optional. I still never found anywhere in Zork III to give a clue on the phrase, though.

Going back to the door, here’s what happens when you have done everything correctly and have all the relevant items. This means: hood, amulet, ring, key, staff, book.

>knock on door
The knock reverberates along the hall. For a time it seems there will be no answer. Then you hear someone unlatching the small wooden panel. Through the bars of the great door, the wrinkled face of an old man appears. After a moment, he starts to smile broadly. He disappears for an instant and the massive door opens without a sound. The old man motions and you feel yourself drawn toward him.
“I am the Master of the Dungeon!” he booms. “I have been watching you closely during your journey through the Great Underground Empire. Yes!,” he says, as if recalling some almost forgotten time, “we have met before, although I may not appear as I did then.” You look closely into his deeply lined face and see the faces of the old man by the secret door, your “friend” at the cliff, and the hooded figure. “You have shown kindness to the old man, and compassion toward the hooded one. I have seen you display patience in the puzzle and trust at the cliff. You have demonstrated strength, ingenuity, and valor. However, one final test awaits you. Now! Command me as you will, and complete your quest!”

Narrow Corridor
You are in a narrow north-south corridor. At the south end is a door and at the north end is an east-west corridor. The door is closed.
The dungeon master is quietly leaning on his staff here.
Your sword has begun to glow very brightly.

The way the game is structured (especially with the ability to loop back) this is really where the endgame for Zork III starts, as opposed to starting at the beam with Zork mainframe. It is consequently fairly short and feels odd in a plot-drama sense.

brief aside on endgames of old school text adventures

Crowther/Woods Adventure had a simple, impossibly abstruse puzzle, but tried to make it a finale with a giant collection of items from the game and a giant explosion. Warp tried a very long impossibly complicated sequence of puzzles. It really seems like you’d optimally want something in the middle, something that is both a narrative and game climax, where the narrative speeds to some dramatic reckoning and the puzzles perhaps involve putting together prior insights but aren’t necessarily hard in order to keep things from getting driven into the ground. It is shockingly hard to find a game that has those two parts in combination. Hezarin managed to have a nice final showdown with a the titular wizard, but got absurdly hard. (Is the absurdly hard part a bad thing? Should the culmination actually be testing the most extreme puzzle skills?) The only game from All the Adventures so far that I think really stuck the landing is Level 9’s take on Adventure, which pushed hard on difficulty, true, but not absurdly so, had the cave slowly flooding for added drama, and included one of the best puzzles in the entire game (or all of 1982, even) in the form of “rescue all the elves”.

end aside

Mainframe Zork had a trivia quiz which seemed to encapsulate “include some element of all things from the journey before”. This gets understandably cut here, but without a replacement, it is just a single straightforward puzzle.

Here, the Dungeon Master follows you around and you can give him commands, like STAY or PUSH BUTTON. There’s a parapet by a cell door which is quickly recognizable as an elevator of sorts.

You are standing behind a stone retaining wall which rims a large parapet overlooking a fiery pit. It is difficult to see through the smoke and flame which fills the pit, but it seems to be more or less bottomless. The pit itself is circular, about two hundred feet in diameter, and is fashioned of roughly hewn stone. The flames generate considerable heat, so it is rather uncomfortable standing here.
There is an object here which looks like a sundial. On it are an indicator arrow and (in the center) a large button. On the face of the dial are numbers 1 through 8. The indicator points to the number 1.
To the south, across a narrow corridor, is a prison cell.
The dungeon master follows you.

>master, stay
The dungeon master answers, “I will stay.”

>turn dial to 3
The dial now points to 3.

North Corridor
Your sword is glowing with a faint blue glow.

Prison Cell
You are in a featureless prison cell. You can see an east-west corridor outside the open wooden door in front of you. Your view also takes in the parapet, and behind, a large, fiery pit.
The dungeon master is standing on the parapet, leaning on his wooden staff. His keen gaze is fixed on you and he looks somewhat tense, as if waiting for something to happen.
Your sword is no longer glowing.

>master, push button
“If you wish,” he replies.
Prison Cell
You are in a bare prison cell. Its wooden door is securely fastened, and you can see only flames and smoke through its small window.
You notice that the cell door is now closed.

This sequence here incidentally traps you. The thing to realize is to mess with the elevator first and find there is a special bronze door in the “cell” when you set the number to 4. Then go through the same sequence above, but while you are calling the the master from within the elevator, have him set the dial to 1 and only then push the button. Then you can pass through the bronze door:

Treasury of Zork
This is a large room, richly appointed in a style that bespeaks exquisite taste. To judge from its contents, it is the ultimate storehouse of the wealth of the Great Underground Empire.

There are chests here containing precious jewels, mountains of zorkmids, rare paintings, ancient statuary, and beguiling curios.

On one wall is an annotated map of the Empire, showing the locations of various troves of treasure, and of several superior scenic views.

On a desk at the far end of the room may be found stock certificates representing a controlling interest in FrobozzCo International, the multinational conglomerate and parent company of the Frobozz Magic Boat Co., etc.

As you gleefully examine your new-found riches, the Dungeon Master materializes beside you, and says, “Now that you have solved all the mysteries of the Dungeon, it is time for you to assume your rightly-earned place in the scheme of things. Long have I waited for one capable of releasing me from my burden!” He taps you lightly on the head with his staff, mumbling a few well-chosen spells, and you feel yourself changing, growing older and more stooped. For a moment there are two identical mages standing among the treasure, then your counterpart dissolves into a mist and disappears, a sardonic grin on his face.

For a moment you are relieved, safe in the knowledge that you have at last completed your quest in ZORK. You begin to feel the vast powers and lore at your command and thirst for an opportunity to use them.

Your potential is 7 of a possible 7, in 377 moves.

The puzzle is oddly simple to finish things off, but I also do appreciate it not requiring an absurd act either. However, I do remember being blown away by mainframe Zork’s ending, and not quite as much here.

The last sentence is remarkable. That was the ending?

I was stuck by it as a lens of sorts: here is a new art form, one raw and unrefined, with the potential to be serious and profound.

For me it was the most gratifying moment of playing Zork.

The thing about this is: the last sentence of mainframe Zork is not the same as Zork III. Mainframe ends at the sardonic grin. Zork III ends with “You begin to feel the vast powers and lore at your command and thirst for an opportunity to use them.”

This changes the tone drastically. The first almost seems like a cruel cosmic joke, with it left ambiguous just how happy the protagonist is about their situation. The second ending is much more explicit about the protagonist’s position, and it dampens the effect. I can see why it’d be more commercially desirable but I certainly would not call it “the most gratifying moment of playing Zork III”.

Let me round things out with two reviews or at least comments, one from the period and one recent. First, from the 1984 Kim Schuette Book of Adventure Games:

If you play this game the same way you play other adventures, you’ll never get anywhere. This time you must consider sensitivity, trust, and human compassion. Yes, educational value occurs here, as well as a lot of interesting puzzles, some of which have alternate solutions … The game pays superb attention to detail. Did you know, for example, that the chest is watertight?

Regarding “the same way you play other adventures”: from the perspective of 1982, this was something very, very, different. We’d certainly had games that interrogated the idea of killing monsters (including a direct parody of killing the troll from Zork in House of Thirty Gables) but the scene with the chest, which really doesn’t have a puzzle at all, and just demands you have the patience to allow yourself to get “ripped off” of the valuables in the chest, was nearly without precedent.

On the chest being waterproof: later versions of Zork III removed this, but the earlier versions let you fit the lamp in the chest. This allows for a solution to the dark dilemma where you put the lamp in the chest, close it, enter the lake, grab the chest from the lake, get out on the south side, open the chest and get the lamp, and then use the lamp to safely reach the key. (The dark rooms just don’t have a description, sadly.)

Here’s some quotes from Gold Machine’s coverage last year two years ago (god where did time go):

Zork III begins in a no less innovative way that challenges the amorality of the Zork trilogy as well as our own assumptions about adventure games. Unfortunately, Zork III: The Dungeon Master fails to escape the diminishing gravity of Dungeon. The result is a sputtering conclusion to the Zork trilogy.

I agree with the evaluation here: in their plot-essence, the new parts of the game stronger than the old parts. However, many of the new puzzles get foiled at least partly by random aspects, somewhat; even the chest puzzle has a random number of turns before the man first appears to offer the rope, so one player might leave the room too early while another would get the encounter even though they do the exact same commands. On the other hand, the elements from original Zork, despite lacking that random aspect, don’t add the same thematic gravitas.

On the other (other) hand Zork always had a feel of a ramshackle combination of parts, ideas jammed in at random, so it is a remarkable feat that Zork III managed a coherent theme at all, so I’m still able to admire the end product.

Now, this might normally be my goodbye to the Zork Trilogy, but I do still plan to return to the (relatively recently unearthed) 1977 source code to compare gameplay. I’d also like to take another shot at the weird Zork-clone that happened on PLATO systems that I wasn’t able to finish (and given the lack of information/hints on the Internet, nobody has been able to finish).

For now, though, I’ll going to do a one-shot visit to a game I can nearly guarantee you haven’t heard of before, followed by a return to Med Systems and the first-person adventure game Asylum II.

Posted March 18, 2023 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction, Video Games

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13 responses to “Zork III: Beyond the Guardians of Zork

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  1. I have wondered if the mirror-box-and-Guardian puzzle was an attempt to do something consequential with Colossal Cave’s idea of the hanging mirror between two windows. (In CC, you can figure out what’s going on with the mirror, but it doesn’t help you achieve anything.)

    Separately, I’ve always enjoyed the idea that “superior scenic views” are a meaningful reward in the Zork world.

  2. The mirror box puzzle always struck me as a “how far can we push the engine” type of puzzle design – and the invisibility potion as an optional solution because they realized how tiresome it could be.

  3. “Rather frustratingly, there is a 50% chance picking it up will fail, and if you stay in the water too long you will drown.”

    There’s also a small random chance that a fish will eat you. Very annoying.

    “have him set the dial to 1 and only then push the button.”

    This is the bit I mentioned in an earlier post where the sword was acting funny, because at least when I played it I got this:

    “If you wish,” he replies.
    Your sword has begun to glow very brightly.

    I took this to mean that the game was warning me that I was doing something reckless, which I thought was a nice touch. But when I looked at the source code, I could find no trace of any such case. What I *think* is happening is that the game is warning you that the Dungeon Master is here, because “here” temporarily refers to his location, not yours. Bug or feature…?

    Torbjörn Andersson
    • They would have noticed it I am sure. Guessing they decided “eh it works” so kept it.

      • Maybe. Though according to the Winter 1984 issue of The New Zork Times, none of the testers noticed that the first release of the game would crash if you were still carrying the sword at this point.

        (I haven’t tried that myself, though.)

        Torbjörn Andersson
    • I guess sort of a bug, a side effect of the fact that the Dungeon Master is treated as “you” when you issue him commands. As I recall it’s possible to get some weird output from the game with regards to the DM (at least in some versions), similar to the rainbow turtle in Enchanter.

      • If memory serves me, “MASTER, KILL ME” will cause the game to say that the Dungeon Master has died.

        Torbjörn Andersson
  4. Reading the lore book gives a hint as to how to solve the cell puzzle. It’s yet another thing you’re expected to try again to see if it’s changed since you attempted it before.

    I think it’s a great final puzzle, requiring to player to deduce not only how the machinery works and where the cell needs to be to open the bronze door, but the fact that the dungeon master can still hear you when you’re in the cell as long as the cell hasn’t been moved, but without being too obtuse.

    Regarding the sword bug in the end game, this seems to have suffered from the fact that players of mainframe Zork (such as, it would seem, all the betatesters) would use the sword to block the beam. Since it wasn’t possible to still have the sword in the mainframe Zork, this was easier to overlook in testing by both programmer and player.

    Regarding the ending, while I mostly agree that the original Zork had a superior conclusion, I feel it’s a subtle move on Infocom’s part in the direction of creating a more morally ambiguous protagonist (what to think of someone who thirsts to use immense power?) which they would continue to experiment with in later games. It sets up a different moral question of whether the entire quest and the realization of your ambitions has left you as the PC truly better off or not as a person. In that regard it could be seen as a subversion of the arc of the series, itself a subversion of adventure game expectations– the PC is simply just a greedy treasure hunter in Zork 1, then in Zork 2 they learn to give up treasures (to a demon!) in exchange for the greater good of expelling the Wizard, and then finally in Zork 3 having to leave material desire behind completely to help others in need. But now here at the end of it all, we’re left to question whether the PC has really grown as we were led to believe, or whether the entire quest was just a means to an end and the PC will now become even greedier and even wicked upon acquiring such immense wealth and power.

    The dungeon master being happy to be relieved of his burden is another sly nod–also, since the empire itself has fallen, what good is all the power and wealth anyhow? While later games would give us a more expanded, not so desolate universe, at this point in time we’re led to believe there’s almost no one left around, and certainly nothing to buy with all those riches–one can certainly come to view the PC with pity rather than admiration. So this is another way the game plays with our expectations in a way that might not seem so significant or profound now, but certainly was in 1982. At the time, having the PC not be a complete cipher of the player or be completely imprintable with the player’s morals was a big leap forward in expanding the possibilities for gaming.

    • “Since it wasn’t possible to still have the sword in the mainframe Zork”

      At least in the version I’ve been playing, I had enough time to pick up the item before entering the mirror. And all the rooms appear to be lit, so you could use the lamp instead of the sword to break the beam anyway.

      I’m not familiar enough with MDL to fully understand exactly how the sword works, but it seems that the Dungeon Master is not considered a “villain”, and the uses different logic for the endgame anyway. There the sword only glows while you’re in the mirror box, and the mirror box is next to the guardians, I believe.

      Zork III still has that same “EG-INFESTED?” function for the sword in the endgame, but maybe it didn’t work correctly because as far as I can tell it’s never called. So it uses the same logic throughout the game: Glow if any actor is present or nearby. There’s also some added logic for it to glow at the cliff/chest puzzle. I guess the man technically isn’t present, so it has to fake it as if he is, giving you a clue that there is someone watching you. Unfortunately that’s easy to miss since the game forgets to activate the sword when you first get it, so you have to put it down and pick it up again to see it.

      Torbjörn Andersson
  5. If you’re rejected by the DM for being unready, he transports you back south to the Beam Room. So you don’t need to use the mirror box vehicle again, so long as you knock on the door.

    Still, it is surprising that the mirror box vehicle wouldn’t work in reverse. What happens when you try to just retrace your steps by reentering the box, turning it back around and going south with it? At what point does this fail and what happens?

    As an aside, I wonder if “FROTZ OZMOO” can be used at the Secret Door before you’ve learned of it? What happens if you try to use it as a “cheat code” in this way?

    IIRC you can also “test” the guardians by throwing something between them and seeing them destroy it, in case you needed any further clue that walking past them is a bad idea.

    • Trying to re-enter just says it is closed. Without access to the button I’m not sure how you would open it.

      I did try frotz ozmoo at the door before learning it, no dice.

      • Interesting, I didn’t realize the door closes behind you when you leave the box. I suspect you might have restored a saved game from before knocking on the door.

  6. The denouement of Hezarin involving the staircases reminded me strongly of the levers puzzle in Ferret.

    Even Ferret’s endgame however didn’t involve chaining multiple macros together and disabling Save as Warp did; there are similarities between God Mode and Guru Mode in Ferret and Warp I suppose together with the large amounts of ASCII art in both games. I did enjoy walking on water in Warp. Mind you the Postman could even breathe unassisted underwater.

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