Videogame (1988). Lucasfilm Games. Designed by David Fox. Platforms: Amiga, AppleII, AtariST, C64, DOS.
Zak McKracken is a graphical Adventure game with an interface similar to that of Maniac Mansion (1987). The player alternates between the roles of the titular Zak (a reporter for an American supermarket tabloid, the National Inquisitor), Zak's love interest, and her friends, who have converted their van into a Spaceship and gone to Mars. All of these characters follow a linear storyline (see Interactive Narrative) in which they must defeat some extremely poorly disguised Alien invaders, who have taken over the phone company for nefarious purposes. Fortunately, a group of benevolent aliens have hidden the components of a defensive Machine in exotic locations on Earth and Mars; guided by their dreams, the characters must solve the puzzles which guard the pieces and reassemble them. Amusingly, Zak's interior monologue on the bizarrely unfolding plot is phrased as possible headlines for the Inquisitor. Zak McKracken is a light-hearted romp through the paraphernalia of New Age culture, from golf-playing gurus to ancient astronauts, enlivened by much excellent dialogue.
Related works: The New Adventures of Zak McKracken (2003 Lucasfan Games, Win) is a sequel made by amateurs, under somewhat ambiguous legal circumstances. [NT]
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