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  Review by
Steve Cooke
(The White Wizard)

 

 
Welcome to Game of the Week! Each week there will be a new featured game on this page. The game may be good, average or diabolically bad, it really doesn't matter! Just look at the pics, read the text and enjoy the nostalgia! :-) Game of the Week! is open to contributions so if you would like to contribute a game article for this page you're more than welcome to! Every article we receive will be considered!

The Lurking Horror
1987 Infocom
By Dave Lebling

 
Most text of the present article comes from the review published in the twenty eighth issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (street date: July 9th, 1987).
 

 

LURKING HORROR
Infocom/Activision , 24.99 disk only

 

his is the latest creation of Mr Dave Lebling, co-creator of the original Zork trilogy and solely responsible for Spellbreaker, Suspect, and Starcross.


Well, Spellbreaker wasn't too bad, Suspect was brilliant and Zork was . . . well, Zork! Despite the more recent appearance of the other titles, it's good ol' Zork that really comes to mind when you get down to playing Lurking Horror.

The game has been touted as a horror story -- it's certainly got atmosphere oozing out of the circuit board and the Wiz actually jumped out of his skin when, listening intently to the 'chittering of rats' in the nearby darkness, the telephone rang in real life and almost induced a cardiac arrest.

Things start off easily enough. You have to finish your end-of-term paper at college and find yourself in the computer room in the company of 'a hacker', whose appalling body odour, abuse of normal speech patterns and undisciplined code have to be EXAMINEd to be believed. After playing the college student role for a bit, fiddling with microwaves in the canteen, exploring the nearby buildings and labs, you soon find yourself drawn downwards -- literally.

Perhaps you've discovered the innocuous looking trap-door in between two of the buildings, or the man-hole in the basement . . . Perhaps you may have stumbled across the - gulp - sacrificial altar, or even heard the . . . are they really rats, or are they . . . Aaaghghgh!

Of course, any sane student stays upstairs grappling with the problems of logging onto his PC, but not you -- you've paid 24.99 for this software and blow me if you're not going down into the darkness before you can say forklift truck.

All this is carried out in Infocom's usual meticulous style -- and there's no doubt that Dave Lebling has a wonderful talent for bringing both locations and those that inhabit them to life -- witness his description of the Hacker: 'The hacker sits comfortably on an office chair facing a terminal table, or perhaps it's just a pile of old listings as tall as a terminal table. He is typing madly, using just two fingers, but achieves speeds that typists using all ten fingers only dream of. He is apparently debugging a large assembly language program, as the screen of his terminal looks like a spray of completely random characters. The hacker is dressed in blue jeans, an old work shirt, and what might once have been running shoes. Hanging from his belt is an enormous ring of keys. He is in need of a bath.'

No doubt about it -- you've got to get those keys. To do that, however, you'll have to find out what exactly turns the hacker on -- not easy when his favourite rejoinder is 'Mumble. Frotz.' I can't help feeling that maybe Dave Lebling had a younger Dave Lebling in mind when he wrote this game -- or perhaps one of his colleagues from MIT.

As it is, the world of end-of-term essays soon dies away when you slip down through the trap-door into the damp, dank recess below and find that: 'You can hear, in the distance, a chittering, scratching sound . . .'

 
Atmosphere 94%
Interaction 89%
Lasting Interest 91%

Overall

90%
 


If you want a walkthrough, visit
Jacob Gunness
' Classic Adventures Solution Archive or
Martin Brunner's C64 Adventure Game Solutions Site

Htmlized by Dimitris Kiminas (26 Jun 2005)
There were no screenshots in the original review.
Check the above screenshot for the required login code & password!

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