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"It began on the day of the great eclipse; the day of my murder."
It's the year 948 GUE, and a significant portion of the Eastlands have fallen under the influence of an evil force known as the Nemesis and have thus been declared the Forbidden Lands. The Nemesis's appearance coincided with the disappearance of four prominent citizens of the Great Underground Empire, but as the only agent to venture into the Forbidden Lands in search of information has also vanished, little is known about any possible connection. The agent's recovered journal indicates that the four were likely secret alchemists working together, and that when they were last seen, they were all heading for the same place: the Temple of Agrippa.
As the game starts, you find yourself at the entrance to the Temple of Agrippa. It is now up to you to solve the mystery of the alchemists and break the Nemesis's curse...
- Abandoned Area
- AFGNCAAP: The player, though the hint painting lady refers to the player as "Wanderer."
- Call Forward: A guide to a limited form of time travel comes in the form of a set of paintings. The one depicting the 'Futurelithic Epozz' shows a familiarly dreary valley.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: General Kaine was not above using this, if the torture room in his castle is any indication.
- Darker and Edgier: The other Zork games all have a humorous take to them, sort of as a parody of text-based adventure games. This one is full of gothic imagery and a dark storyline.
- Determinator: Apparently, General Kaine's castle is under attack. It's being defended by one soldier.
- Element Number Five: Love. The alchemists were trying to create it via a complicated series of rituals, including planned pregnancies and literal baptisms by fire.
- Face Heel Turn: The four alchemists.
- Nemesis also pulls a Heel Face Turn at the same time.
- Feet of Clay: As you venture through the game, you find out that the alchemists aren't the pillars of morality they are believed to be. In fact, they're the real villains.
- Though they do tell you, point blank, they're not exactly saints.
- Harmless Electrocution: The player has to get shocked in order to solve a puzzle. If they fail, nothing happens.
- Interface Screw: When zapped by the electricity in the asylum, the screen will rapidly pulse while the effect is on.
- Jerkass: General Kaine, the earth alchemist. He insults you just after you meet him, even though you're his only hope of escape. And in flashbacks showing how he treated his son Lucien, he's barely above a Complete Monster.
- The Many Deaths of You: Nowhere near as many as other titles in the series, but it is certainly possible to die in this game.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: You revive the four alchemists by finding their elements, and then their metals... and then they pull a group Face Heel Turn and start a ritual to give themselves eternal life and kill you.
- Nuke'Em: The thaddium bomb. Once the player picks it up, they have 90 seconds to put it in the tank. If they don't... boom.
- Pensieve Flashback: Triggered by seemingly-random objects.
- Powered by a Forsaken Child: The Quintessence. The alchemists had to go so far as to artificially impregnate Zoe to get Alexandria, who is needed for it.
- Press X to Die: After you revive the alchemists, they offer you a drink at their dinner table. It's poisoned. Drink from the glass, and you die. You just have to wait for them to get frustrated and give up trying to talk you into it.
- The Reveal: Nemesis is Lucien, who wanted revenge for Alexandria's murder. The alchemists used you to get the Quintessence and come back to life, and now they can complete the ritual.
- Room Full of Crazy: Read any of the journals by Nemesis. He'll randomly write things like "BLOODY REBIRTH" and "IN HELL" in them. Notes found in the asylum also count.
- Solve the Soup Cans: Most of the puzzles can be explained away as relating to the four elements. But when you're sliding giant tiles out of your way or putting broken pieces of a sword on a pedestal to open a door, it's this trope.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: Lucien and Alexandria.
- Total Eclipse of the Plot: Eclipse imagery is everywhere, and a solar eclipse marks the climax.
- Wham! Line: "Oh shut up, Lucien."
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: You, once the alchemists come back from the dead.