- Not to be confused with Zork.
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Screenshot of game
The Kroz series is a series of video games created by Scott Miller. The first episode in the series, Kingdom of Kroz, was released in 1987 as Apogee Software's first game. It was also published on Big Blue Disk #20. The story of the game places the player as an archeologist searching for the priceless Magical Amulet of Kroz in the mystical Kingdom of Kroz. The object of the game is to survive numerous levels of attacking monsters.
The player character collects gems as he goes; each time a monster touches him, he loses a gem and the monster dies. The character's main defense consists of whips which can be used to kill monsters and destroy certain walls; however, each whip can only be used once. Some levels are generated randomly; these tend to be rather chaotic, and essentially consist of a mad dash through waves of attacking enemies to pick up valuable objects and/or escape to the stairway. A major part of the game is careful conservation of gems and whips; sometimes it is better to allow an enemy to take a gem rather than use valuable whips that will be needed to break down walls blocking the exit.
The Kroz games were inspired by an earlier dungeon crawling game, Rogue. Scott Miller tried to create a game that had some of the elements of Rogue, but with less randomness and more reliance on the abilities of the player than on luck. Miller, fond of including backwards words in his games, came up with the name by spelling Zork backwards.
The original Kingdom of Kroz game took top honors in the game category in a programming contest in 1988, and came out number two overall.
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The game was implemented entirely in the text mode of the PC, using various characters in the computer's character set, as well as different colors, to present a "graphical" environment. This is not quite ASCII art, because it used the proprietary graphical characters of the IBM PC character set as well as standard ASCII characters, and also depended on the setting of foreground and background colors for individual characters; such a combination was sometimes termed ANSI art, but that is a misnomer in this case because the ANSI escape sequences were not used.
The game was originally distributed as shareware. It was later expanded to consist of seven episodes, with only the first episode distributed as shareware, and the rest available commercially. The episodes are:
- The Original Kroz Trilogy:
- Episode 1: Kingdom of Kroz (1987) (aka Kingdom of Kroz I, aka Kingdom of Kroz II), containing 25 levels
- Episode 2: Caverns of Kroz (1988) (aka Kroz, aka Caverns of Kroz II), containing 40 levels
- Episode 3: Dungeons of Kroz (1989) (aka Kroz II, aka Dungeons of Kroz II), containing 30 levels
- The Super Kroz Trilogy
- Episode 4: Return to Kroz (1990) (aka Shrine of Kroz, aka Castle of Kroz), containing 20 levels
- Episode 5: Temple of Kroz (1990) (aka Valley of Kroz), containing 20 levels
- Episode 6: The Final Crusade of Kroz (1990), containing 25 levels
- Episode 7: The Lost Adventures of Kroz (1990), containing 75 levels
Although Kingdom of Kroz was the first episode released, it was later marketed as the third episode in the series (as Kingdom of Kroz I), with episodes two and three moving up one place.
In 1990, an enhanced version of Kingdom of Kroz was released as Kingdom of Kroz II, which became the shareware episode of the series. Kingdom of Kroz II was quite different from the original version, and incorporated 21 different levels, many of them from later games in the series, especially from The Lost Adventures of Kroz. The original Kingdom of Kroz I stopped being distributed as shareware, but was still available commercially. For a time, the series consisted of seven commercial episodes (including the original Kingdom of Kroz I), plus an enhanced version of one of them (Kingdom of Kroz II) distributed as shareware. During this time, to be able to buy the commercial episodes, the shareware episode had to be registered first.
In 1991, the other two episodes of the first trilogy were enhanced to their "II" versions, and the original Kingdom of Kroz I stopped being available, being replaced by its enhanced version.
Episode 8: The Underground Empire of Kroz was planned to be released in March 1991, but it was cancelled.
The original Kingdom of Kroz was written in Turbo Pascal 3.0; later games were written in Turbo Pascal 5.0. At one point in time people could buy the source code of Kingdom of Kroz for $190, Return to Kroz for $350 and The Lost Adventures of Kroz for $950. Later the source code of Kingdom of Kroz II was for sale for $400, Return to Kroz for $300 and The Lost Adventures of Kroz for $500.