If you thought the grues in Zork were bad... well, this Darker and Edgier series is actually way worse. Welcome to the nightmare world of the Enchanter series. Be careful, as there are unmarked spoilers ahead!
- When you come across to the east and south, the first thing you see is a decaying village that looks more like a Ghost Town, except for a sign of life that one house is inhabited by a strange old crone who tells of the end times before handing you the REZROV spell and kicking you out of there.
- Before that, when you enter a shack to the north, you noticed that the shack is in a shambles, with a broken lantern and an overturned table, but the oven is still working and keeping a loaf of bread warm for the journey ahead.
- When you first enter the castle, the first thing you see beyond the Pebbled Path is darkness all around... and you haven't FROTZ'ed your item yet.It is pitch black and there is evil in the darkness.
- As time passes by the further you explore the castle, the days become darker and darker, and Krill's doing is turning everything into nearly Planetary Single-Dominant Species Extinction.Everything you see is grey and lifeless, as though covered with a veil of ash. Sound is muted and there is a faint acrid odor.
- This gets even worse than that: as time passes, Krill's Mordor is spreading out, turning the entire land into a Villain World; if kept up, it could spread throughout the entire village and even the long road on the west side of the fork. By that time, not even the sun, moon or stars could give light, bringing the entire world into the deepest blackness and plunging it into The Night That Never Ends, bringing about The End of the World as We Know It. If Krill is still not stopped before time is up (i.e., after about 1,400 moves), you are treated to this Non-Standard Game Over that could also double as a Downer Ending:Belboz appears before you, in a magical sending. He speaks, his voice soft and saddened. "You have failed. Universal night has now fallen. Krill and his creatures now may freely roam the earth. The power of the Circle is diminished, if not broken. I go to prepare the last defense." The sending vanishes.
- This gets even worse than that: as time passes, Krill's Mordor is spreading out, turning the entire land into a Villain World; if kept up, it could spread throughout the entire village and even the long road on the west side of the fork. By that time, not even the sun, moon or stars could give light, bringing the entire world into the deepest blackness and plunging it into The Night That Never Ends, bringing about The End of the World as We Know It. If Krill is still not stopped before time is up (i.e., after about 1,400 moves), you are treated to this Non-Standard Game Over that could also double as a Downer Ending:
- As time passes by the further you explore the castle, the days become darker and darker, and Krill's doing is turning everything into nearly Planetary Single-Dominant Species Extinction.
- The hunched hairy shapes are rather frightening. If they ever spot you, they will capture you and throw you into the Temple prison for a sacrifice that you are not yet prepared to survive (see below). If you try to NITFOL the shapes, the result is pretty frightening:The shapes, whose language you understand instinctively, say something on the order of "Blood for sacrifice!", "Master pleased!", and other not-so-soothing words as they approach.
The group of hunched and hairy shapes takes you in their arms and escorts you into a huge temple.
- If you try to ZIFMIA Krill, you get treated to this:The warlock Krill appears before you, staring in astonishment. "Who is it that disturbs my slumber? Oh, it is only you, secondary-school sorcerer!" He points a finger and chants a spell. You are cast into the endless void!
- If you think that dying is bad, well, Belboz the Necromancer can revive you, but his moves are limited, so you have to be careful. If you die too many times, you get treated to this Game Over scene:You awaken among the members of the Circle. Belboz the Necromancer is exhausted, and the other members of the Circle are disgusted. "I told you Krill was too powerful for such as this," says one. "We must send someone who has a chance to defeat a warlock of Krill's experience and guile." Acrimonious discussion begins, as you are waved away to join the apprentices in the scullery. A long acquaintance with potatoes and dirty pots is about to begin.
- You may think that it's safe to sleep in the castle's tower, right? Well, if you keep sleeping in the featherbed, you'll start having nightmares, such as this one foreshadowing the Human Sacrifice in the temple:note After a while, your sleep is disturbed by a strange dream. You are wandering in a darkened place, for you have no light or other possessions. You feel that you are being watched! You are surrounded by faces, their eyes following you. They drift in and out, staring at you with proud indifference. One face, brightly lit (unlike the rest), draws you closer and closer. As you touch it, you wake.
- And here's another nightmare, this time foreshadowing the release of the Unseen Terror:You dream of being pursued through a dank cavern. Something is behind you, something horrible that you can't turn face to face. It gets closer and closer, and you can feel its hot breath on your neck. You awaken.
- Here's yet another nightmare, this time of the aforementioned further destruction of the land:You fall asleep quickly and begin to dream. The dream turns into a nightmare of decay and desolation, as your surroundings turn grey and lifeless. You feel a great weight, like a pile of ashes, constricting your movements, and then you bolt awake!
- And still another dream, this time of the Big Bad:You dream of Krill. He works feverishly in an evilly lit workroom. He is working a conjuration of great complexity and power, and the room is strewn with the noisome components of this horrific casting. Krill chants words of awful power as he works.
- And here's another nightmare, this time foreshadowing the release of the Unseen Terror:
- The journey to the sacrifice in the temple... Hoo boy, where to begin? As soon as you set foot into the courtyard, you notice that it is no walk in the park as it is becoming Mordor.This is the westernmost point in a large open courtyard. The huge entrance gate to the castle looms ominously to the west. The courtyard widens as it proceeds to the east, where a large, ivy-covered temple stands. On either site of the temple are small towers. Far beyond the temple, high above, are two large towers marking the corners of the castle. A squat black turret hunches between them, blackening the sky around it. A small path leads into the castle to the south.
- This goes From Bad to Worse as you further explore the courtyard:You are in the center of a large courtyard, which surrounds you. Everything around you is ashen and grey, and the air seems miasmic and oppressive. The dead grass seems to grab at your feet as you stand gazing around. To the east is a temple flanked by two smaller towers. Behind it can be seen the two eastern towers of the castle, shrouded in blood red fog. Between them is a dark turret, black and ominous as night. It sends dark streams of smoke curling around everything near it. From the temple can be heard a mournful chant.
- The Temple itself is pretty scary, as though you feel like you're discovering Hollywood Satanism or a Religion of Evil.This is the interior of a huge temple of primitive construction. A few flickering torches cast a sallow illumination over the altar, which, atop a row of stairs, is still drenched with the blood of human sacrifice. [...] Two open doorways lead out of the temple to the east and west, while two wooden doors stand at the north and south. A mass of hunched figures in the temple are chanting a haunting tune. They don't seem interested in your presence.
- The altar itself... well, that is truly a nightmare to behold:This is the altar of the temple. Acrid smoke fills the air, and a feeling of lurking evil is all around. A low droning, just at the lowest end of your perception, causes your hair to stand on end. Behind the altar is an enormous statue of a demon which reaches toward you with dripping fangs and razor sharp talons. The fangs and talons are blood-red. In the temple below is a mass of hunched figures, chanting in hideous tones.
- The altar itself... well, that is truly a nightmare to behold:
- As soon as you step into the temple, you feel like you are being surrounded and cornered on all sides. To make matters worse, as soon as the hairy shapes grab you, they strip you of your possessions if you have them, as though you are condemned to death without a fair trial. It Sucks to Be the Chosen One, indeed.A low noise begins behind you, and you turn to see hundreds of hunched and hairy shapes. A guttural chant issues from their throats. Near you stands a figure draped in a robe of deepest black, brandishing a vicious dagger. The chant grows louder as the robed figure approaches the altar. As the shapes grab you, the figure in black speaks: "Take the victim to the tower. I shall prepare for the sacrifice!" The figures, whose form you can barely guess, take you from here through the northern door and into a prison cell. They take your possessions from you and close the door with a crash!
- The prison cell feels kind of depressing, because, as The Chosen One, stripped of your possessions, there are only a few turns left, leaving you with very little time to cast OZMOO on yourself... if you already memorized the spell beforehand from your spell book.This is a small prison cell in the north tower of the temple. Hideous shapes can be seen through the iron-barred window in the prison door. From the temple, a bloodcurdling chant can be heard.
- The sacrifice itself is even worse, as it kinda feels like you are being led to a Public Execution. Whether or not you've OZMOO'd yourself, NOTHING prepares you for the terror that is about to strike at your heart! We'll let the narration text speak for itself.A host of hunched and hairy shapes appear through the window. The cell door opens and you are marched solemnly to the temple and, from there, up the steps to the altar. The large, black figure approaches menacingly. He reaches into his cloak and pulls out a great, glowing dagger. He pulls you onto the altar, and with a murmur of approval from the throng, he plunges the blade into your heart!
- The aftermath of the sacrifice, while giving us a sigh of relief at the fact that it's over, is actually kind of... weird... and a bit disturbing, not long after the OZMOO spell you prepared beforehand has revived you and given you protection. Once again, we'll let the narration text speak for itself.You feel yourself filled with a strange warmth as your eyes slowly open. You are lying on the altar, a glowing dagger in your chest. You are in no pain, however. The large figure is gone, but the throng of shapes, taking no notice of your movement, is chanting in the temple below. You slowly remove the dagger from your chest, but you are not harmed. The blade shines faintly in the light of the flickering torches.
- That's not all to this scary scene: When you encounter the Big Bad Krill toward the end, you discover that the same Krill you encounter was your executioner in the temple! (Not to mention that the Gem-Encrusted enchanted dagger you obtained at the sacrifice actually belonged to the villain himself.)Before you stands Krill, engaged in the casting of some complex and horrific magic. Krill turns to face you, surprised and annoyed by your intrusion. You have seen him before: cloaked in black, he sacrificed you at the altar before his hoard [sic].
- That's not all to this scary scene: When you encounter the Big Bad Krill toward the end, you discover that the same Krill you encounter was your executioner in the temple! (Not to mention that the Gem-Encrusted enchanted dagger you obtained at the sacrifice actually belonged to the villain himself.)
- This goes From Bad to Worse as you further explore the courtyard:
- The Engine Room is cluttered with Death Traps and a giant hammer that comes crashing down on the floor. And the traps are guarding the KULCAD scroll that nullifies magic. If you take the KULCAD scroll and try to head back:You run across the room, trying to dodge the crashing machinery, and you are succeeding for a while until you set off a trap. A volley of sharp spears, powered by cunning machinery, comes at you from all directions. You are skewered! The huge hammer crashes down for the Coup de Grâce.
- Even when you try the EXEX spell on yourself and head back with the scroll... *shudder*You rush across the engine room, your speed enabling you to avoid the gigantic hammers and gears; at this speed they appear to move with great deliberation. Unfortunately, you set off a trap, and many sharp spears fly at you from all directions! They seem to move pretty fast. Too fast, in fact. You can't dodge them, and you are severely skewered.
- Even when you try the EXEX spell on yourself and head back with the scroll... *shudder*
- Later on, you come across a Guarded Door, which is a whole mess of Death Traps and a flashing neon purple sign that reads "Don't Bother". If you try to go north, you may end up getting killed. If you have the Adventurer from Zork along and tell him to open the door, this becomes a Funny Moment in the form of Black Comedy.The seemingly fearless adventurer shrugs and walks purposefully toward the door, ignoring all harm to his person in the form of knives, tentacles, and molten lead. As three buckets of the latter pour onto his head, he casts you a perplexed look.
"Did you try the doorknob?" he asks, as twenty-seven knives deliberately skewer him.
Before you can answer, he reaches for one of the gargoyle heads which, by sheerest coincidence, has just flooded him in red-orange flame, and turns it gently.
"I think it's unlocked," he says, stoically ignoring the host of human-sized rats which feed on his incinerated torso.
His left hand, broken and bloodied, pulls at the gargoyle head.
"I'm going on ahead!" he cries, opening a simple wooden door.
Wooden door? You rub your eyes for a moment and look again as he goes through it. Yes, just a plain wooden door.
- Three words: The Unseen Terror. Never heard of it? You can look it up through a book in the Spooky Silent Library. Read it and shudder.This legend, written in an ancient tongue, goes something like this: At one time a shapeless and formless manifestation of evil was disturbed from millenia of sleep. It was so powerful that it required the combined wisdom of the leading enchanters of that age to conquer it. The legend tells how the enchanters lured the Terror "to a recess deep within the earth" by placing there a powerful spell scroll. When it had reached the scroll, the enchanters trapped it there with a spell that encased it in the living rock. The Terror was so horrible that none would dare speak of it. A comment at the end of the narration indicates that the story is considered to be quite fanciful; no other chronicles of the age mention the Terror in any form.
- You think that legend was a myth? Well, go down to the Transclucent Rooms below the dungeon, all the way to point P, then connect point P to point F.An evil presence, borne on a cold blast of air, seems to move beside you, weighing you down with emanations of malice and hatred. A cold fear covers you like fog.
- No matter where you draw an escape route for the Terror, Belboz will appear frightened than usual.You feel that two powerful, evil forces are searching each other out. As they meet, the air lightens. Belboz appears before you. "Something has disturbed the ancient Terror. Krill himself knows this and will try to use it for his purposes. Already, they may have joined together. You must not allow the Terror to escape, or we are all doomed!" He fades into the gloom.
- If you try to go southwest from F to P while the Terror is there, this happens:Your feet are leaden with fear, and cold sweat runs down your back as you make your way to the door, but you make no progress. Your mind tells you you are running, but you aren't getting anywhere.
Somewhere near, an evil presence lurks, probing your mind. It seems to be moving quickly.
- If you fail to stop the Terror from escaping, you get treated to a Non-Standard Game Over scene:You suddenly feel weak and your knees buckle. Just as you collapse to the ground, you find yourself in the presence of the Circle. They seem tense and frightened and ask desperately about your recent doings. As you tell your tale of the map and pencil, they recoil in horror. "The Terror is released!" cries one. Belboz sinks into his throne. "We are doomed!" he gasps. One by one, the wizards flee to prepare a hopeless defense.
Your score is -10 out of a possible 400, in [number of] moves.
This gives you the rank of "Menace to Society".
- If you disconnect the Terror's escape route while it is nearby, you get a disturbing message:From somewhere nearby, an unseen force probes you, and you are gripped by a sickening feeling.
- If you get the One-Hit Kill GUNCHO spell and make it to the exit after trapping the Terror, you get this nice little message:You hear a horrible anguished scream through the walls of the cavern as the Terror realizes that it is trapped and its scroll of power stolen!
- You think that legend was a myth? Well, go down to the Transclucent Rooms below the dungeon, all the way to point P, then connect point P to point F.
- When you finally get to the Winding Stair in Krill's tower, you may find it harmless and yet they seem to go on forever. However, try KULCAD'ing the stair, and you get this message:The stairway begins to dissolve before your eyes, leaving a circular area with exits east and west, but remarkable mainly for its absence of a floor. Indeed, you find yourself standing in midair above a deep pit with the sort of comical look which is found mainly among duped cartoon characters. Frantically, you grab for the solid bannister, dropping your heavier possessions in your desire to save yourself! But the bannister shifts and dissolves as well, leaving you grasping what appears to be an ornate scroll.
You plummet downward, deeper into the pit, but the bottom is still not visible. Far ahead of you fall your former possessions.
- If you cast KULCAD on the stair while it is dark, you get this frightening message:
- If you fail to cast IZYUK to save you, or if the spell wears off:You plummet deeper and deeper into the pit! Oddly enough, you never seem to hit bottom. After many years, only tattered remnants of you remain, still falling.
- If you IZYUK'd yourself and head west, but then try to go back east:There is no floor there, and the pit beneath you is of great, if not infinite, depth. You fall forever.
- The battle with Krill is very frightening if you're unprepared. First off, he summons a fire-breathing dragon to incinerate you. If you use the wrong magic besides GONDAR, you are treated to this:Krill looks your way and spits: "You were fortunate, wizard-worm, to have survived our last encounter. But your trivial spells of protection will not save you now!"
The dragon engulfs you in flame. As you perish, you can hear Krill's mocking laughter.
- The next being Krill summons has An Axe to Grind. If you fail to stop that being, you get this:The monster hits you with its battle axe! You fall, dead, as the laughter of Krill reaches a crescendo!
- If you do stop both the dragon and the ax-wielder, Krill will try to use his magic to open the void. If you even fail to stop him... well, we'll let the narration text speak for itself:Krill finishes his spell and his harsh laughter is all that remains! You are in a void, without sight, sound, or sensation. You scream at the top of your lungs, but nothing happens. You break into a cold sweat as you ponder the infinite, beyond all help and hope!
- If you do GUNCHO Krill, it doesn't end there, as he is a Load-Bearing Boss trying to pull off a Taking You with Me on you. (Fortunately, you are saved from certain death.) But the Nightmare Fuel you pull on him will remain in your mind. We'll let the narration text complete the job.Krill recoils as he hears the first words of the guncho spell. For a few seconds he continues with the spell he was casting, trying to finish before you. He fumbles some syllables! Then he steps back and, with his hands outstretched toward you, lets out a bloodcurdling scream. His face twisted, and his body vibrating with the effort of resisting the enchantment, he utters a spell of power, and is gone! After a quiet moment, a rumble begins deep in the earth. It strengthens as the tower starts to sway. The floor gives way beneath you and you tumble towards the sea... then you are surrounded by a burst of light.
- The next being Krill summons has An Axe to Grind. If you fail to stop that being, you get this:
- The first thing you do when you start this game is find yourself in a strange place (though it will later turn out to be All Just a Dream):You are in a strange location, but you cannot remember how you got here. Everything is hazy, as though viewed through a gauze...
You are on a path through a blighted forest. The trees are sickly, and there is no undergrowth at all. One tree here looks climbable. The path, which ends here, continues to the northeast.
A hellhound is racing straight toward you, its open jaws displaying rows of razor-sharp teeth.
- If you wait here in the dream, this happens (just be lucky that you aren't killed for real, as the dream will serve as a warning):The hellhound reaches you and tears you apart with its powerful teeth.
- If you try to wake up earlier than expected, you get treated to what turns out to be a Press Start to Game Over:As you wake up, Frobar sticks his head in the door and invites you shopping. When you return late that evening, you find the Guild Hall sacked, and many fellow Enchanters slaughtered. Servants of evil, teeth smeared with blood, fall upon you as well. A menacing voice echoes about the room. "Pathetic Enchanters... Who can save you now?"
Some days it just doesn't pay to wake up.
- If you wait here in the dream, this happens (just be lucky that you aren't killed for real, as the dream will serve as a warning):
- If you wait too long in the Enchanters' Guild before you can escape, something terrible happens:You drop in your tracks from exhaustion.
You drift off to sleep and dream of the distant Kovalli Desert. Waves of heat from the sand make breathing hard, and the bright sunlight burns against your eyelids. Suddenly you awake — the Guild Hall is on fire! Through the thick smoke, you see Belboz standing before you. But no, this could not be Belboz, his face an unrecognizable mask of hatred, his outstretched arms dripping with blood.
He who is not Belboz speaks, in a voice filled with malevolence. "So, you are the young Enchanter that Belboz thinks so highly of. That senile wizard thought you would be the one to rescue him from my clutches. I wonder why I bothered to come at all — an insect like you poses no threat! Still..." He gestures and your surroundings change.
- He then teleports you to the Chamber of Living Death:The very walls of this room seem to soak up all light, so it seems as though you're floating in the center of an infinite void.
Hideous parasites descend upon you and tear the flesh from your bones, gnaw the eyes from your sockets, and feast upon your very brain tissue. Amazingly, you do not die, and your body regenerates itself as you await the next attack...
This room is filled with blinding light that stabs at your eyes.
- This is the same as when you open the door to the Chamber, and you get this before you are pulled in:As the door opens, hundreds of slime-covered tentacles stream out and drag you across the threshold...
- The Hall of Eternal Pain is even a Fate Worse than Death (which is the same as when you try to wake up Belboz while he is possessed; see below):
Disembodied forces suck the very thoughts from your mind, savoring each moment and growing stronger. Every second is an agonizing torment, as though thousands of raging fires were exploding in your skull, filling you with a pain greater than you could ever imagine.
- If you try to escape or do anything, you get this message:
- This is the same as when you open the door to the Chamber, and you get this before you are pulled in:
- He then teleports you to the Chamber of Living Death:
- As you are preparing to leave the Hollow through the Glass Maze after inserting the SWANZO scroll through the chimney, a dorn beast comes down to attack you. If you don't escape in time, this happens:The dorn beast fries your brain with its hypnotic gaze and begins secreting digestive juices.
- If you lured the beast into the pit and it falls to its death, but then MALYONed its corpse:The corpse comes to life just long enough to fry you.
- If you lured the beast into the pit and it falls to its death, but then MALYONed its corpse:
- If you enter G.U.E. Coal Mine #502 and wait a few turns without drinking the VILSTU potion, the coal gas will suffocate you. Once you drink the potion, you only have limited time to get the VARDIK spell and escape. If you wait too long before the potion runs out:You feel the final effects of the vilstu potion vanish. Unfortunately, coal gas is a poor substitute for oxygen.
- This is the same when you try to sleep in the Coal Mine:Before you fall asleep you pass out from the bad air.
- If you enter the dial room but then try to REZROV the door, this happens:The door swings open as a loud alarm sounds. Laser beams criss-cross the room, glinting off the blades of the thousand flying daggers. A hundred well-armed and vicious kobolds rush into the room, swinging battle axes.
- Later on, you'll have to tell your younger self you meet the door dial combination, the same combination your older self gave you. If you don't do it before you escape:Suddenly, without the slightest fanfare, you cease to exist!
If you still existed, your score would be 320 of a possible 400, in [a number of] moves.
- This is the same when you try to sleep in the Coal Mine:
- If you enter the Grue Lair in the Griffspotter Caverns without a grue suit or grue repellent on yourself, you get this:This is a low, shadowy cave leading east to west. The rocky walls are scarred with deep claw marks.
A pack of grues fills the room! The grues, contrary to all conventional wisdom, aren't bothered by your light in the least. They must be mutated grues, no longer fearing light! Baring tremendous fangs, they form a circle around you...
The grues lurk toward you! Your last sight is a hundred slavering fangs.
- If you turned yourself into a bat with FWEEP, then go in without any light at all:It is pitch black, and your bat sonar-sense isn't much help in this terrain. Gurgling noises come from every direction!
Suddenly, you are set upon by countless slavering fangs!
- If you turned yourself into a bat with FWEEP, then go in without any light at all:
- The kinds of literal Nightmare Fuel settle in upon you if you try to sleep in dangerous places that get you Slain in Your Sleep.
- When you finally find Belboz, you are ready to exorcise the demon Jeearr from him. But here's the catch: if you don't VARDIK yourself before SWANZO'ing Belboz, Jeearr will approach to possess you, and you get treated to this Non-Standard Game Over:A wispy translucent shape rises from the body of Belboz. It speaks in a voice so deep that your whole body seems to hear it. "Foolish Charlatan! I am forced to flee that weak, old body — I shall take your own, instead! Already I have sucked all knowledge, all secrets from that ancient Enchanter. Now begins an epoch of evil transcending even your worst nightmares; a reign of terror that will last a thousand years!" The shape blows toward you on a cold wind.
You feel an overwhelming sense of oppression as the demon seizes control of your mind and body. The monster reaches into the recesses of your mind, adding your hard-earned magic powers to its own. As it settles comfortably into your skull, the demon grants you a vision of the future. You see the enslaved people of the land toiling to erect great idols to Jeearr. Parents offer up their own children upon these altars, as the rivers of the land fill with blood. And YOU embody Jeearr; you are cursed by ten thousand generations of victims; your face adorns the idols. And worst of all, you remain awake and aware, a witness to horror, never sleeping, and never, ever to escape.
- If you did VARDIK yourself, but then proceed to kill Belboz, you get this Downer Ending that also counts as a Tear Jerker:You stab the knife time and again into Belboz, who writhes in pain, eyes bulging outward. Sickened and dizzy, you stagger back. [...] Jeearr is vanquished; the kingdom is saved. But you - you are stranded in a land unknown, and your closest friend, the greatest Enchanter of his age, lies dead by your own hand. Kneeling by his blood-soaked corpse, you beg for another chance...
- If you try waking up Belboz before SWANZO'ing him while VARDIKed (or sleep in his hideout):Suddenly, Belboz's eyes flicker and he leaps to his feet. His face is unrecognizable, a twisted mask of hatred. "Meddlesome Enchanter! I should have killed you all before I left! But better late than never..." Lightning bolts flash toward you from his fingers, but rather than dying, you find yourself in the...
- See the "Hall of Eternal Pain" above.
- If you did VARDIK yourself, but then proceed to kill Belboz, you get this Downer Ending that also counts as a Tear Jerker:
- If you MALYON the bones, you just get this message before you die:
- If you PULVER the Frigid River Westlands, but then go northwest and try to swim through the stagnant pool:You wade into the stagnant pool. Suddenly, powerful tentacles lash out and drag you under the surface.
- If you again PULVER the pool:The pool evaporates, to the annoyance of a multi-tentacled denizen, who proceeds to take out its anger on you.
- If you again PULVER the pool: