To see how far adventure games have come since the original text adventure Zork, you need only insert Zork: Nemesis (Activision) into your CD-ROM drive. Zork’s 3D environment uses subtle earth tones and plenty of classy visual effects (like candles, mirrors, and dusty sunlight) to impress even the most jaded 3D adventure gamer. It also contains many sophisticated logic puzzles that are so deviously difficult they will keep seasoned pros working until the crack of dawn. It is tempting to call many of the puzzles too difficult, but Activision has anticipated this problem and included an online help function that works on three levels: hint, suggest, and instruct. Without revealing too much of the mystery, we can say that the overall plot involves wandering through a temple searching for four lost alchemists. The puzzles you’ll encounter use air, fire, water, and earth as their basis, but they are all unique, and they all require great leaps of logic. Other themes, still in keeping with the overall motif, include sundials, fountains, and eclipses. Once the first mystery is solved – it took us quite awhile (and that’s an understatement) – the ambitious player can explore two more discs of alternate universes before reaching the game’s climax. The music is starkly gothic, a perfect counterpart to the subtle visuals. Our only complaint with Zork: Nemesis is that the videotaped segments which pop up from time to time, with their lousy acting and melodramatic writing, drag everything else down. Ignore these, however, and you’re in for a treat – assuming you’ve got several months to devote to the game.
– October 1996, Adventure & Mystery