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Border Zone

by Marc Blank


(based on 19 ratings)
1 member review

About the Story

Where the Iron Curtain divides East and West, the frontier is a no man's land between freedom and captivity, a place where moments lost or precautions not taken exact a toll in men's lives. In Border Zone, you cross this barrier not once, but three times, as three different characters in a fast-paced story of international intrigue.

The pulse-pounding tension of espionage is heightened by the addition of real time, which ticks on regardless of your actions. As you race against the clock to complete your missions, you'll find yourself caught up in a spine-tingling adventure that's far more suspenseful than any spy thriller you've ever read.

The story begins on the train to Litzenburg, a peaceful country just outside the Iron Curtain. In the border town of Ostnitz, Constitution Day festivities include a speech by the American ambassador. But plans are afoot to destabilize this key neutral territory by assassinating the diplomat. Speeding towards the border through the Eastern bloc country of Frobnia are an easy-going American businessman, an ambitious young American spy, and a ruthless KGB agent. All three are soon to be entangled in the assassination plot, their lives intertwining as each carries out his perilous assignment.

You'll see the story from three viewpoints, as you step into the shoes of a different major character in each of the three chapters of Border Zone. Set in separate locations on or near the border, the chapters are complete stories in themselves, each with its pwn riveting conclusion.

The on-line hints in Border Zone will help you out when you need it. But hints take you only so far. Even when you know exactly what to do, discretion and timing are crucial as you outwit the KGB, evade a snarling pack of search dogs, make a desperate assault on the border, and count down the moments to the assassination.

Border Zone was written by Marc Blank, a pioneer in interactive fiction and the author of such ground-breaking works as Zork and Deadline. In Border Zone, Marc takes the clever plotting and masterly prose of a top-notch thriller, brings it to life through interactive fiction, and intensifies the experience with the addition of real time.

So steel your nerves, and don't blow your cover, friend. You've a long way to go before you come in from the cold.

Game Details

Language: English (en)
Current Version: Unknown
License: Commercial
Development System: ZIL
IFIDs:  ZCODE-9-871008
TUID: 7epwz167lgruvm0u

Editorial Reviews

All three chapters are played in real time. If you ponder your moves too long, the story may go on without you. This is both good and bad. The puzzles are generally the save/restore type; although they are generally logical and good, they are not the type that you are likely to hit on the first time. You have to learn from several failures before you hit on the correct strategy. This is fine for puzzle fans, but not so good for realism fans (you can't RESTORE in real life). However, the whole idea of doing the game in real time seems to be geared towards pleasing the realism fans, though this may not have been the best game to do it.
-- Graeme Cree
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Number of Reviews: 1
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Intense Infocom spy game where the clock runs between actions, February 3, 2016
by MathBrush
Related reviews: Infocom
Border zone is stressful for me. Unlike most IF, you have to type very fast, as the clock keeps running and running. I had to type super fast on the iPad and I kept dying from typos, even using slow time and the walkthrough.

The story and puzzles are actually really fun. I enjoyed the game a lot, especially the first act (where you have to smuggle information out of a train) and the third act (where you are a double agent, and have to stop an assassination without people knowing you did it). The three acts can be started at any time, and each follows a different person.

Stressful, but rewarding.

If you enjoyed Border Zone...

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Border Zone appears in the following Recommended Lists:

The Canonical Infocom Games by wfaulk
This is a list of the canonical Infocom games in order of release, as according to the Infocom Fact Sheet.

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Games involving espionage, whether military or industrial. I've tried to put a few especially good games first, but the rest are in no particular order. This list includes games of excellent quality as well as games of lower quality.

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The following polls include votes for Border Zone:

Diversity in IF by The Xenographer
Most English-language IF that's set in something resembling the real world seems to deal with vaguely WASP-y types in the US, the UK, Australia, or Canada. What are some works that explore different settings from these and/or characters...

Influential Games by Rose
As a historical exercise, I've begun compiling a list of IF games that have either done something ground breaking with the medium or otherwise influenced it; and I've turned it into a poll so everyone can have input on the expansion....

Solved without Hints by joncgoodwin
I'm very interested in hearing truthful accounts of at least somewhat difficult games (or games that don't solve themselves at least) solved completely without recourse to hints, walkthroughs, etc.

See all polls with votes for this game


This is version 6 of this page, edited by Edward Lacey on 13 April 2013 at 2:21pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item