Remembering Infocom's Enchanter

Congrats to jeffro on beating Infocom’s Enchanter! (OK, that’s a really old post, but sometimes I get way behind on my blog reading.) I played the Zork trilogy like crazy back in junior high and high school, but for some reason I never picked up any of the Enchanter trilogy. It’s too bad, because playing it now I think I might actually have enjoyed Enchanter even more than I liked the Zork games—the Zorks are essentially gonzo Gygaxian dungeon crawls, whereas Enchanter seems a bit more traditional and plot-oriented, and in general I prefer the latter to the former.

I played Enchanter for the first time ten or so years back after acquiring a copy of the wonderful Infocom Classics collection. I got maybe two-thirds of the way through before getting stuck and then distracted by school, but I’ve always intended to revisit it. The puzzles that I recall were a little less… random than those in Zork, and I didn’t encounter any that exhibited the sheer nasty near-unsolvability that some of the Zork puzzles did. (Jeffro mentions Zork III, which was the game that finally made me break down and consult InvisiClues for help: that stupid maze with the movable walls still makes me angry just thinking about it.) I really like Enchanter’s central gimmick—you’re a magician who knows a handful of low-powered but useful spells, which must be put to unorthodox uses to solve puzzles. Some of the puzzles made really clever use of the spells.

Ahhh, now I’m in the mood to dig out Enchanter and see if I can solve it this time. It’s strangely comforting to know that should I ever want to dig into Infocom games again, I’ve got an entire unplayed trilogy to explore.

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6 Comments

  1. lispy says:

    Oh yeah… Enchanter is very solvable. Almost fair, even. I’m not so sure about Sorcerer– it’s giving me that Zork II unfairness vibe, but I haven’t invested a whole lot of time into it. Spellbreaker is supposedly increadibly hard in order to satisfy the most challenge-starved adventurer. (Evidently Infocom fans really liked being stumped back then….)

  2. Andy says:

    Yeah, my tolerance for being stumped was greater back in the day–it took me a year or more to beat several of the Infocom games, and that didn’t strike me as outrageous at the time.

    Is Zork 2 supposedly more difficult than Zork 3? For some reason I didn’t have all that much trouble with Zork 2, but Zork 3 absolutely drove me up the wall with its puzzles. In addition to the horrible maze with movable walls (honestly… that’s just evil), I remember some puzzle with a time machine towards the end that really gave me troubles. But I don’t recall Zork 2 very well; it could be that I’ve just blocked its puzzles from my memory…

  3. Raymond says:

    I think Spellbreaker has one of the best box covers around — matched only by the eclipse-themed cover to Zork: Nemesis. I have the Nemesis box but not, alas, the one for Spellbreaker.

  4. Andy says:

    Ooh, that is a nice box cover. Makes game boxes today seem fairly uninspired in comparison.

  5. lispy says:

    Zork II’s baseball maze and bank of Zork puzzles are fairly infamous. Zork III has some tough ones, but I think the thematic coherence compensates for it.

  6. Andy says:

    Wow, I hardly remember the baseball maze or the bank of Zork puzzles. Guess it’s been quite a while since I played. The only things that stand out in my memory of Zork 2 are the topiary area near the beginning and some sort of puzzle involving a fire-breathing dragon.

    I need to replay that game… but I’d better finish Infidel first.

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