Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Forces of Krill book review

There were actually books based on Zork. Real, published physical books. Zork, as you may know, was one of the earliest computer game franchises from the early 80s, which also, if I may say so,  garnered a place in the hearts of those who played the series of games. Around that time the choose-your-own adventure book format came to prominence and the Zork books to which The Forces of Krill belongs is the lovechild of both cultural trends.

In it, sister and brother are transported to the world of the Great Underground Empire. The Empire has already fallen and the warlock Krill, of Enchanter fame, is about to take the remnants under his sway. Only the siblings can avert this by bringing the sword of Zork and the three palantirs to their uncle, who has the power to wield them against the forces of Krill.

As it goes it is a fun read. Some of the more famous landmarks from the first game are to be found here: the white house, the troll room and maze, FCD #3, the coal mine. A nice aspect of them is that the solutions, though they follow closely those of the game, differ enough to make them all new. 

Regarding its canonnicity, I cannot  decide on the matter. The events here don't really click in with the content of the games; on the other hand, it is written by Meretzky, one of the authors of Zork I, himself. Some previously unexplored areas are revealed and some perennial mysteries  cleared such as the owner of the white house. However I still prefer the open-ended enigmas of the original games. Having it all revealed actually diminishes the enjoyment for me. I'd rather just take the plot here as an alternate-story.

The book is intended for children and can be enjoyed by itself without having played the game, but gives enough hints and references to make the reader want to rediscover the old gaming classics. It is also some sort of collector's item.

The Forces of Krill can be bought dirt-cheap online and the series is continued by at least 3 more books.