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Video Game / The Lurking Horror

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Infocom's 1987 entry into the horror genre opens in the computer lab at G.U.E. Tech. You've braved a snowstorm to finish an important assignment, but find your work interrupted by strange nightmares. When your paper vanishes from the server you find yourself exploring the campus for answers.

The Lurking Horror is one of Infocom's easier text adventures, but has some very creative puzzles and great writing and atmosphere.

This game contains examples of:

  • Blob Monster
  • Closed Circle: You're forced to spend the night in the computer lab by a blizzard.
  • Copy Protection: Your user name and password.
  • Expy: G.U.E. Tech for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • Feelies: Your student ID card and a little rubber centipede. The game currently provides the page image.
  • Have a Nice Death: Averted, surprisingly for the usually snarky Infocom.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The Professor is attempting to summon a dark creature for use in your being sacrificed for some "Elixir of Life"; but if you play the cards right and exit the pentagram, then he'll end up getting sacrificed by the very dark creature he has summoned.
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  • Lovecraft Lite: The monsters are terrifying, but for all the Lovecraftian trappings it's more general horror than a Cosmic Horror Story.
  • Mad Scientist: If you consider alchemy a science.
  • Moon Logic Puzzle: The maze at the bottom of the tunnels.
  • Must Have Caffeine: Of the soda type: you get a two-liter bottle of Coke from the fridge and save it for when you're becoming very tired and about to fall asleep on the job.
  • Mundane Utility: The disembodied hand. And how.
  • Nightmare Sequence / Or Was It a Dream?
  • No Name Given: None of the characters have names, not even the Featureless Protagonist.
  • Shown Their Work: The G.U.E. tech is based on the M.I.T. Institute (the place where Dave Lebling and his team were working from the 1970s to the 1980s) and its real-life experiences and rooms inside and outside. More info can be found here.
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  • Summoning Ritual
  • Things That Go "Bump" in the Night: The final monster you face is described in these terms.
  • Time Marches On: Much of the premise relies on 1980s computer networking technology, enough so that at times the game feels like a Period Piece.
  • Unwinnable by Design: Generally falls under Tough on Zarf's scale.
  • You Can't Get Ye Flask: There are quite a few examples in the game, like when you want to heat up the Chinese food for the hacker to eat ("set microwave to 5 minutes", "set timer to 5 minutes", "set microwave to 60 seconds", "turn on microwave", "program microwave", etc. don't work; the solution would be to "press 5", "press 0" x2, "press hi", and finally "press start"); or when you want to put the ladder down from the top of the dome (not "drop ladder to floor below", not "put ladder on floor", etc., but "lower the ladder").