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Video Game / Word Rescue

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Word Rescue is an educational platform game written by Karen Crowther (Chun) of Redwood Games and released by Apogee Software in March 1992.

Like many Apogee games of the time, Word Rescue includes three episodes, with only the first episode playable in the shareware version.

  1. Visit Gruzzleville and the Castle
  2. Explore GruzzleBad Caverns
  3. See the Spooky Haunted House

Apogee still sells the registered version of this game.

The game is followed by Word Rescue Plus and Math Rescue.

The story centers on creatures called "The Gruzzles". Because the Gruzzles cannot read, they steal words out of books, preventing others from reading as well. Playing as a boy or girl, the player must help Benny Bookworm take back all the stolen words and match them with their meanings so that he may put them back into the books.

Word Rescue contains examples of:

  • All Deserts Have Cacti: The desert levels are based directly on the American Southwest and some of the cacti have birds living in them.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: The haunted house levels. Oddly, the ghosts themselves are just animated background graphics rather than enemies or hazards.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Benny the Bookworm and one of the types of Gruzzles in the second and third episodes.
  • Blob Monster: Two types of Gruzzles. One was replaced with a giant bug after the first episode.
  • Bottomless Pit: You can fall down endless waterfalls.
  • Construction Zone Calamity: The thirteenth level of episode one is titled "Construction Zone" and has you running around looking for words on the support structure of a half-finished building. The level is bordered by brick walls on each side and third wall that has barely been started takes up part of the background on the first floor.
  • Cycle of Hurting: Some levels can turn into this on higher difficulties if you run out of slime, forcing you to manoeuvre around the Gruzzles to find a slime bucket. Probably the worst is Episode 3, Level 18, which spawns you with three Gruzzles between you and the first slime bucket: one right next to you, one on the ledge above you (thus making it hard to jump over the first one) and one a short distance away (making it hard to jump over the first two and land safely).
  • Dungeon Town: Several levels take place in neighborhoods, with the houses' roofs acting as platforms. The ones in the first episode take place in the town of Gruzzleville according to their titles.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: You can enter any name except Q, which quits the game.
  • Impossible Thief: The Gruzzles are stealing words out of books. This somehow doesn't damage the books.
  • Jump Physics: You can change direction or even stop moving horizontally mid-jump and mid-fall. If you don't do a full jump, you can also press the button again before landing to get the rest of your air-time, which can be useful in avoiding hazards.
  • The Lost Woods: There are some forest levels in the later two episodes. Platforms generally take the form of branches and the leaves are climbable.
  • Nerd Glasses: Benny has gigantic nerd glasses.
  • No OSHA Compliance: The factory levels feature open slime pits, open tanks and dripping slime pipes. The slime drops are deadly hazards on higher difficulties.
  • Non-Lethal K.O.: The player stops Gruzzles by pouring a bucket of slime on them, and they leave afterward.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Simply touching a Gruzzle, falling into a pit and, on higher difficulty levels, touching slime droplets was grounds for Benny whisking you away and restarting the level. This gave this deceptively simple game a level of Surprise Difficulty.
  • Palette Swap: Differently colored versions of some Gruzzles appear in the story.
  • Parasol Parachute: Benny apparently gets around the same way as Mary Poppins.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: Players were allowed to choose to play as a boy or a girl.
  • Spelling Bonus: Letters for a random word on that level's word list were placed throughout the level. If all were collected in order, a 500-point bonus and full slime refill would be awarded. By themselves they were only worth 5 points each.
  • Twitchy Eye: The purple beaked Gruzzle and the blue Blob Monster Gruzzle both have this as a feature.
  • Underground Level: The cave levels, which mostly appear in the second episode.
  • Weird Moon: A crescent moon with a face.
  • Weird Sun: The desert levels have a sun that winks at you.
  • The Wild West: The desert levels are named along this theme.