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Enchanter

by Marc Blank and Dave Lebling

Episode 1 of The Enchanter series
Fantasy/Zorkian
1983

(based on 77 ratings)
3 member reviews

About the Story

In Enchanter, the first of a spellbinding series in the tradition of Zork, you are a novice magician whom Fate has chosen to do singlehanded combat with a dark and fierce power. But worldly weapons will avail you naught, for your foe is the Evil Warlock who holds sway over the land.

To defeat him, you will have to match your skills as a necromancer against his, casting spells you have learned from your masters in the Circle of Enchanters and other incantations you will acquire as you proceed on your quest.

If you succeed, you will be elevated to a seat in the illustrious Circle; if you fail, your land will be doomed to an eternity of darkness.

Difficulty: Standard.

Game Details

Language: English (en)
Current Version: Unknown
License: Commercial
Development System: ZIL
Forgiveness Rating: Tough
IFIDs:  ZCODE-10-830810
ZCODE-15-831107
ZCODE-16-831118
ZCODE-24-851118
ZCODE-29-860820
CODE-29-860820-2547
TUID: vu4xhul3abknifcr

Spoofed by Disenchanted, by Joseph S. Licari
Followed by sequel Sorcerer, by Steve Meretzky

Editorial Reviews

Adventure Classic Gaming
A nice diversion
The puzzles in Enchanter are very clever. They are all reasonable, but they also require moments of “Eureka” insight. The little bit of story in Enchanter adds a lot to the typical dungeon crawl in Zork. The grim and gritty ambience is great. ON the other hand, the gameplay flaws that are typical of adventure titles from this past era require you to save your game often. In some cases, it leads to a cycle of save, explore and learn, and restore to repeat in order to find the optimal path.

Overall, Enchanter is a fun game. The few gameplay flaws are more than balanced by the ingenuities of the puzzles. While there is not a lot of story in this game, it is well told and is a nice diversion.
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SPAG
The Enchanter Trilogy
The game basically centers around the collection of more and more magical spells to add to your arsenal. These spells are what enable you to defeat the aforementioned tricks and traps, along with some well-timed help from a few NPC's (including the Adventurer from Zork I, a classic moment if ever there was one!). [...] Enchanter is a fun game that will provide you with some hours of enjoyment.
-- Molley the Mage
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SPAG
On the whole...
On the whole, Enchanter works, and while there are problems--I wish the authors had rethought the insistence on hunger, thirst and sleep, for example--this is an example of one of Infocom's more solid early efforts. Though it takes a very different approach to its fantasy element than does Zork I, it's no less entertaining for that.
-- Duncan Stevens
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SynTax
Infocom packed enough puzzles into under 80 locations and made the whole game ooze such atmosphere that you rapidly get sucked into the plot. Rated standard level, it's not particularly hard - just hard enough to keep you thinking.
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Member Reviews

5 star:
(35)
4 star:
(33)
3 star:
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2 star:
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Average Rating:
Number of Reviews: 3
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful:
Come and get you exploration/puzzle-solving fix!, September 9, 2010
by Victor Gijsbers (The Netherlands)
After finishing Moonmist and Seastalker, I felt the time had come to tackle one of Infocom's normal difficulty games. Since everyone seems to enjoy Enchanter, that seemed to be as good a place to start as any.

From a modern perspective, Enchanter has a number of features that do not immediately create enthusiasm: you are subjected to hunger, thirst and fatigue; your inventory space is limited; there are many ways to die; and the game can be put in an unwinnable state. Still, Enchanter isn't quite as foreboding as that list may make it sound. There is an unlimited supply of drink and, uh, sleep; a limited but large supply of food; the number of objects you need to carry around is small; you'll generally know when you're about to do something dangerous; and it's almost always clear which actions are irreversible. The result of this is that Enchanter feels quite friendly, even though you'll be seeing that Restore-menu a lot more than is strictly speaking desirable.

Enchanter is slightly different from Adventure and Zork in that you'll need to use spells rather than objects to solve most problems. This difference is of course mostly cosmetic -- it doesn't really matter whether you light up the darkness by saying "frotz" or by wielding a lantern -- but it reduces guess the verb problems and allows the designers to implement some effects that would have been hard to visualise using material objects. Also, learning spells from scrolls is simply cool.

The puzzles are generally good and well-clued. I hardly used hints, and never for the interesting parts of the puzzles. Most of them ask for pretty straightforward application of spells or objects found, but there a few more complicated puzzles which are also more memorable: especially the puzzle with the hammer and the puzzle in the translucent rooms.

In terms of story and atmosphere, Enchanter is functional and no more. You are a young enchanter, you must defeat the evil warlock, his castle is east of here -- that kind of stuff. Still, having a story and a sensible (if fantastic) set of locations is a major step up from Zork. The writing is short and to the point, serious with the occasional joke. Most of the jokes work, too, although the effects of a certain useless scroll were rather juvenile.

So, should you play Enchanter? You should if you would like to explore a sizeable game world, collecting special abilities along the way, and then solve a number of fine puzzles. That is the experience the game seeks to deliver, and it succeeds. If you are looking for story, characters, thematic writing -- look elsewhere.

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
Enchanting, March 17, 2010
by tggdan3 (Michigan)
To start out, as much as infocom may have said this is not Zork IV, it is basically Zork IV. (You can visit this place in Zork III, and the game includes the Zork Adventurer as an NPC).

The game has a story, albeit a basic one- you are a weakling novice mage, one so minor the big bad mage Krill won't even notice you mucking about his castle. So go kill him.

The game includes a magic system which works nicely, and a very annoying hunger/thirst puzzle.

Some of the puzzles in this game seem to have multiple solutions. However, you will find that solving them the "wrong" way, will leave you without the tools to solve later puzzles, as I found out when I played it. You do run into some issues with the randomness aspect (that Zork Adventurer keeps running around before I can cast my spells on him!), and there are some times you need to use out of world knowledge to solve puzzles. (The last battle requires 3 specific spells, and you don't know you need to memorize them until you get there, and then it's too late).

The writing is wonderful, and you do get a sense of dread as time goes on, pushing you to complete the game faster. There are plenty of ways to screw with the spellcasting system, such as breaking everything, then repaing it with the repair spell, or summoning all kinds of people like the game designers or Krill himself. There is also a very clever (and nasty) puzzle involving a magic map and an imprisoned beast.

I played this game and loved it, and I am a big fan of the fantasy/Zorkian genre. If you are as well, you will love this game. If not, then this game will not be for you.

One of Infocom's best; the first game where you memorize and cast spells, February 3, 2016
by MathBrush
Related reviews: Infocom, 10+ hours
Possibly inspired by the Wizard of Frobozz in Zork II,and originally intended to be Zork IV, Enchanter was my favorite Infocom game up to this point. You play an apprentice enchanter who is chosen to defeat the Warlock Krill, due to your not being a big enough threat for him to notice (like Lord of the Rings).

The main idea of Enchanter, and the entire focus of the game, is the spells. Unlike the wand in Zork II (which is described as unreliable and old-fashioned here), scrolls are copied into your spell book, and then can be cast over and over again.

There are well over a dozen spells. It was designed to give you a feel of more power than in Zork. The things you can do feel amazing.

I got up to about 150 points before consulting a walkthrough. I couldn't solve two key puzzles. One I knew what to do, but wasn't clever enough to figure it how. The other came out of left field, although I later realized that your dreams are a clue to the puzzle.

Which brings me to the one point that may be most divisive: your player's bodily needs. You constantly have to satisfy hunger, thirst, and sleep! You have a replenishable water supply, but you're toast when your food is gone.

I recommend reading the manual on NPC conversations, or one puzzle will be far too difficult.

I played this game on the iOS Lost Treasures of Infocom App.

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Polls

The following polls include votes for Enchanter:

Bound by human frailties??? by Stickz
I'm looking for games where the PC is faced with needs like eating, sleeping, and thirst. Unusual inventory limitations. Things that make them appear a little more human.

Canonicity and IF by juliaofbath
I'm interested in determining whether or not a clear canon has emerged within the world of IF/hypertext. Of course, there is a clear critical opinion regarding which works belong to this tentative canon, but I'm interested in what...

Must-play games by Jeff Sonas
I am looking for the games that, in your opinion, you simply must have played in order to really call yourself an IF aficionado. Or if someone wanted to play N number of IF games in order to get as good an overview of the IF classics...

See all polls with votes for this game

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This is version 8 of this page, edited by Edward Lacey on 7 April 2013 at 11:23am. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item