Spellbreaker is the climax of the Enchanter trilogy, preceded by Enchanter and Sorcerer. Unlike its predecessors, it is ferociously difficult — though most of the solutions feel fair, once you realise what they are.
But, boy, is it hard. With this one, I followed the maxim Cheat Early, Cheat Often, and I don’t regret it one tiny bit.I read a ton of invisiclues, and at one point resorted to a walkthough in the hope of finding the exact command I needed to get past a problem I had already solved. In the end, I wanted to experience Spellbreaker more than I wanted to beat it. And beating it would have taken months or years, if I managed at all.
Sorcerer is the sequel to Enchanter, and uses essentially the same mechanics: the only addition is potions, which function effectively the same as one-shot (non-transcribable) spells. This time your goal is to find and exorcise your mentor Belboz, who has been possessed by the demon Jeearr.
But does it surpass its predecessor?
I finished Enchanter a few days ago, but forgot to blog it. It turned out that all the remaining puzzles were tied up in a single string of dependencies, such that when I’d solved the first problem, all the others became pretty obvious. That’s satisfying — but the way into solving that first problem was not satisfying — it derived from the only spoiler for the game that I’d read. (For those who know the game, it was a comment about the reason why frotzing yourself is not a good idea.)
Following the spoiler that this pointed to led to a scroll which led me to solution of one, then another, then another of the remaining problems, and soon I was done.
After the genuinely climactic conclusion to Zork 3, the Infocom people wisely decided to shelve plans for a Zork 4 which could only have undermined that ending. Instead, they began a new trilogy of adventure games — or interactive fiction, as they were now being called — set in the same universe as the Zork games, but taking a different approach. The first of these was Enchanter (1983), to be followed by Sorcerer (1984) and Spellbreaker (1985).
I’ve played this once before, many years ago, and now I am trying again. Happily, I remember almost literally nothing about the game, so I am getting to solve the problems as though from fresh.
As a long-time lover of Zork, I’ve been familiar with Flood Control Dam #3 since about 1984, when after years of desire I was finally able to play it on my new Commodore 64. The original Zork was of course a text-only adventure game, but the graphical Return to Zork (1993) included this rather underwhelming image:
But how accurate is it? Continue reading