Video Game / Enchanter

The Enchanter trilogy is a series of Interactive Fiction games published by Infocom. It is set in the same world as the Zork series.

The trilogy consists of:

  • Enchanter (1983) by Marc Blank and Dave Lebling — The protagonist, a novice enchanter, is sent on a quest to defeat the evil warlock Krill, in the hope that he will be able to pass under the radar where a more powerful enchanter would be detected and defeated.
  • Sorcerer (1984) by Steve Meretzky — The protagonist, now a full member of the Circle of Enchanters, investigates when his mentor acts strangely and then goes missing.
  • Spellbreaker (1985) by Dave Lebling — The protagonist, now head of the Circle of Enchanters, investigates when the foundations of magic itself become unreliable.

The main magical mechanic involves learning magic words, such as BLORB, FROTZ and NITFOL, each of which has a particular effect.

The tone of the series gets darker as it progresses, and the puzzles more difficult.

For the arcade pinball game called Sorcerer, click here.

This series provides examples of:

  • Bag of Spilling: In Spellbreaker, the magic problem affects the protagonist's spellbook, causing you to lose the spells you gathered over the previous two games.
  • Bewitched Amphibians: The CLEESH spell turns a person into a frog or a newt.
  • Controllable Helplessness:
    • In Sorcerer it is possible for the protagonist to end up in the Chamber of Living Death. There, the protagonist will be horribly torn apart and devoured by hideous parasites, only to not die but regenerate, over and over again, being unable to do anything about it because 'Your agony is too great to concentrate on such an action'.
    • Also, in Spellbreaker, the Big Bad freezes you in the final confrontation, leaving you unable to do anything but watch him carry out his evil scheme.
  • Darker and Edgier: Than Zork. You're thwarting the plans of Evil Overlords instead of just searching for treasure in a cave and getting rid of a senile wizard along the way.
    • Spellbreaker is this for the trilogy itself. The ultimate source of the problems is Inherent in the System, since any sufficiently powerful sorcerer will have an evil shadow; and even if you were to win, it would only be a matter of time until one managed to destroy everything. Of course, you don't even manage to win cleanly, leading to a Downer Ending.
  • Death Is Cheap: Most of the games have a mechanism for bringing the protagonist back to life, and in Sorcerer dying actually simplifies a certain puzzle.
  • Demonic Possession: This is what's behind the mentor's strange actions in Sorcerer. Letting the demon possess you is... not a good idea.
  • From Beyond the Fourth Wall: In Enchanter, you can summon an Implementor (that is, one of the developers of the game), who will make a comment about "fixing bugs" and then disappear.
  • Guide Dang It: Spellbreaker was so hard the developers actually apologized and admitted most people would have to use a hint book to finish it.
  • If I Can Only Move: At the end of Spellbreaker, the Big Bad paralyzes you and then starts a Just Between You and Me speech that goes on just long enough to let you make one move at the last second to stop him. Unfortunately, by that point your options are limited. Even more awkwardly, you have to deliberately provoke him into paralysing you as soon as possible, so the paralysis wears off in time for you to act; if you try to remain under the radar he'll eventually paralyse you anyway and it won't wear off until after he's already won.
  • Invisible Monsters: The aptly named Unseen Terror from Enchanter.
  • The Magic Goes Away: The threat of this sets off the plot of Spellbreaker. In the end, making it happen is the only way to defeat the antagonist. You get a rank of "scientist" for completing the game, since wizard is no longer a useful occupation.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: If you mess up in the endgames, you can get a negative score and the title "Menace to Society" for unleashing a horror upon the world.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: In Enchanter, your job is to defeat Krill without disturbing the Cosmic Horror that's sealed below his castle. The tie-in novel by Robin Bailey takes the tack that your character accidentally did release the thing, and now it's up to the book's protagonist to stop it.
  • Self-Destructing Security: In Enchanter there's an mechanical egg with a scroll inside. No matter how you open it, the egg shreds the scroll so it's unusable. You later get a spell that allows you to reconstitute the scroll and learn the spell on it.
  • Shout-Out: Some of the spell names; for instance, NITFOL, which lets you talk to the animals, is named after Hugh Lofting.
  • Stable Time Loop: One in Sorcerer and two interlinked loops in Spellbreaker.
  • Stepping Stones in the Sky: Spellbreaker has this as a puzzle solution ... though it makes a little more sense jumping up rocks when you've stopped time in the middle of the rock collapse.
  • Time Stands Still: The recurring Girgol spell does this.
  • Time Travel: The time travel spell, GOLMAC, is used for a series of puzzles in Sorcerer, and a rather more fundamental method is used in Spellbreaker.
  • Turtle Power: In Enchanter, a turtle is one of the friendly creatures you encounter, and a useful ally in getting one necessary item.
  • Twelve Coins Puzzle: Implemented in Spellbreaker as a puzzle involving the magical power levels of a set of physically-indistinguishable white cubes.
  • Unwinnable by Design:
    • In Enchanter, the Kulcad scroll can only be used once. It cancels magic. Since every puzzle you encounter is basically a magical trap, the spell allows you to "cheat" your way past any one puzzle in the game. Doing this gives you no warning that you've done anything wrong — until you get to the endgame and lack the spell you need to win.
    • If you fail the copy protection in Spellbreaker, the game lies to you and tells you that you passed it. Many hours later, at the very end of the game, Belboz will suddenly appear and imprison you below the earth, with no warning as to why, what you did wrong, or when.
  • Unwitting Pawn: In Spellbreaker, the player character.
  • Vancian Magic: Spells have to be memorized each time you want to cast them, although apparently you can "master" a spell to retain it in your mind permanently.
  • With This Herring: In Enchanter, you are a novice sent to kill Krill with almost no spells to start with. Gets a Hand Wave that Krill would detect a more powerful mage and raise appropriate defenses.
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: Enchanter requires you to eat regularly, or else die of starvation. Players found this so annoying that very early in Sorcerer you obtain a magical potion that enables you to go without food and water almost indefinitely. Spellbreaker dispenses with starvation mechanics entirely.

Alternative Title(s): Sorcerer, Spellbreaker