VAMPIRE: Hoo boy. Don't tell me. HE sent
you. So I killed a few trolls...big deal!!
I'M A VAMPIRE!!!! I'VE GOT TO KILL
LINDOR: Lord Cracula, I presume?
CRACULA: Yep. And I eat you now. But I'll
be nice about it. What's your name, kid?
LINDOR: Lindor MacWellianson Phd. Why?
CRACULA: I need your name for this joke...
Ahh!! Dr. MacWellianson, I CONSUME?!!!
LINDOR: Ferget it. That joke's old.
CRACULA: Well, you get the point. Now
hold still...WHILE I BEAT THE CRAP OUT OF
LINDOR: Oh darn.
A dwarf in a priestly outfit approaches
DWARF: Greetings, wizard. Welcome to the
Temple of Obsideon.
LINDOR: Hiya. Here, what are dwarves doing
in a volcano??
DWARF: Oh, sorry. I'll explain.
I'm the head of the LightningDwarves, a
littleknown race of dwarf. We live in the
volcano. Or, at least, we used to. About
6 months ago a dragon rose from the lava
pool near our village and blew it on fire,
leaving only this temple and a few remains
intact. All communications were cut off-
(there are LightningDwarves living all
over this volcano, not just here), leaving
the temple (that's us) to provide a
sancutary for the villagers.
Right now, we badly need someone
to get rid of the dragon. We can't combat
it, it is made of molten iron. Pure iron's
lethal to all dwarves. And it's been like
that for the past six months. Until now.
LINDOR: Your point?
HEAD DWARF: Pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease
LINDOR: NO! I've already been pushed
around enough by trolls and bogeymen
and vampires, I don't want to!! I only
came here looking for directions!
HEAD DWARF: Yeah? Where to?
LINDOR: <calms down> I'm on a quest to
find a mind-control gem. It's called the
Minfannon. That's ALL. AND YOU'RE NOT
GONNA SEND ME ON SOME DUMB QUEST!!!!!
HEAD DWARF: Okay....your choice. Of course
you DO know that the dragon lives down the
passage south-west of here...and the
Minfannon is south-west of here too...
LINDOR: <Gulpgt; uh...really?>
HEAD DWARF: Yeah, and the dragon will
incinerate ya instantly unless you've some
kind of protection...
LINDOR: <Something tells me I'm not going
to like the outcome to this...>
HEAD DWARF: And the only place you can get
that protection is HERE. But, as you won't
help us, I guess you'll just have to give
up your quest...
LINDOR: Arg. OK, OK, I'LL HELP!!!!
HEAD DWARF: Good...I knew I'd get you to
see it my way.
LIND0R: If you hadn't, I guess the title
to the game would be pretty meaningless.
Ok, where's this stuff?
HEAD DWARF: Go into the inner sanctum.
We've got three spells there that you can
use against the dragon - we can't use them
though. Dwarves can't.
LINDOR: I'll do it. I don't get a choice.
• • • • • • • • •
Okay, here's the scoop:
As you entered the village, your
protection ran out, and you fainted of
heat exhaustion. However, just before you
fainted, you set up a short-range teleport
spell to get you out of the cavern. When
you awoke, you found yourself in a cooler
part of the volcano. You got up, brushed
yourself off, and turned around to see...
A MASSIVE GREAT DRAGON?!??!!!???!!!!! It
must be the same one those dwarves were
going on about...anyway, the dragon
attacked, and here you are. In a turn
based RPG battle. Isn't that special??
You have the following spells:
you have any.
The dragon can:
Good luck, and remember this...no matter
how well/badly you do at this, it's not
fixed. It's random. So save NOW!!!!!
• • • • • • • • •
Anyway, to cut a short story long, you
basically restart the journey, get the
manual, feel badly done to, come back
again, and use the Minfannon to get rid
of the king, and making him think he is a
peasant farmer. Everyone has a party, then
Salmonella becomes queen, and you and the
other CATS get cool courtier jobs that
require little work and pay loads, like
being a politian does.
Oh yeah, and Coastilvania becomes well
governed again, whatever.
Congratulations. This is the Iongest word
l can think of that doesn't have an `e' in
it. But enough chat. I've got some credits
to give out!!
Concept by - Sarah Carter, a weird
RPG-lover from school.
Game, sound & graphics by - Zenith
Some of the Sƒx - ALexis JAnson
SIMON Password Engine by - Zenith
Interactive Fantasies by - Hercules
ßeta Testing by - Hydra78, Tom Bowman, HM,
& LemmingCow. (Thank you, people!!!)
Thanks 2 -
Hydra - for letting me into IF. It rules.
Sweeney, Janson...as usual.
yenraB - for the Coolie's Fire Engine.
Chronos - for the ?-dark proof engine.
Hercules - I put a LOT of Savage Isle
referances in the game. Some are more
obvious than others... ;)
Me!! - for fixing my EMS so I can run
MegaZeux. Honour Quest is the only good
game I've played so far, though.
And, of course, YOU!!! Don't ask me why.
Apologies to -
LemmingCow - because his computer is too
crappy to play this game. (I'll send him a
special 2-file edition, tho'! =)
No thanks to -
Anyone who even THINKS of ripping this
Dammit. Now I've finished this game, I'll
start work on my next project, /\/emesis!
• • • • • • • • •
You know what? I liked it. Dragon Woods is very much still a game made by somebody still learning their way around ZZT, but it's a competent adventure with a few messy points. Nadir was well on his way here to becoming a major player in the ZZT scene and for good reason. Dragon Woods manages to be funny, has a lot of charm to it, and holds up pretty well today.
Yes, it has rough patches. Wrong turns do nothing but lead the player to
dead ends and force them to turn around. There's an invisible maze. You're
instantly killed if you use the
?-DARK cheat. It's
easy to miss things in Coaster and stumble around without knowing what to
do. The wildmen battle is annoyingly frantic. The final RPG battle is virtually unwinnable without reloading away bad
rolls. There's plenty here to find fault with.
All of these small blemishes add up, but they're well counteracted with the fun of the adventure. Even this early on Nadir manages to do some impressive stuff with his art. The writing is silly sometimes purposely and sometimes not. Still, we've seen several takes on "comedy RPG" before: November Eve, Stupid RPG, and Algorithm, but its Dragon Woods which was released before any of its competition that is able to be the most pleasant to play and most likely to make you laugh.
Dragon Woods certainly earns its reputation of being an above average ZZT world for the time that isn't groundbreaking. Its contributions to future ZZT worlds is basically zilch, save for the one large exception where the game's structure is cleaned up and refined for Nadir's own Frost games. Lindor's serious quest that isn't taken very seriously maps out to Penny's own perilous journey through the woods in Frost 1 quite well. Turn the character into anthropomorphic animals and you've basically got a spin-off.
A lot of these games of middling quality (and this is on the high end of that) end with me seeing the author as having potential and wishing they kept at it. Nadir gets to be one of the few cases where the author did. Taken on its own Dragon Woods is a game where the good constantly battles the bad and I feel like the overall outcome is subjective enough that I can't give a definitive answer on whether others would enjoy it as much as I did. However, if you've enjoyed any of Nadir's later games, whether we're talking about the highly polished Frost or simply the Dizzy conversions, I think it's worth going back to this one. Nadir lays the groundwork in Dragon Woods that flourishes in his later titles. Attempting to understand Nadir's time in the ZZT community as a whole, Dragon Woods is an immensely important title that reveals quite a lot about the kinds of worlds he made and the decisions contained within.