Beyond Zork: The Coconut of Quendor (Infocom, 1987)

Infocom's first game with graphics, though the graphics consisted only of bar graphs and a map in the corner of the screen, Beyond Zork was an adventure/role-playing hybrid. The role-playing part of the game was pretty weak, with combat serving little real purpose, and not being an accurate measure of skill or achievement. The adventure portion, however, was one of Infocom's most challenging quests. The mapping feature in Beyond Zork was very useful, as the game took place over a large area and incorporated several areas that were randomly generated before play began, so they would never be the same for anyone at any time. The character statistics helped make the game a more realistic growth endeavor than in Zork I, for instance, where experience was never really clearly defined. This was the first game in a series that was supposed to answer the questions asked in Spellbreaker, but the rest of the series never came to pass. If you are looking for a serious role-playing game, it is best to look elsewhere, but you will find few better examples of a challenging (and epic) adventure game than this.

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