Wacky alien adventure
This is one of the earlier efforts from the LucasArts stable, with later releases like Fate of Atlantis, Day of the Tentacle and the Monkey Island games ensuring the developer's place in the video gaming history books for such a consistent run of high quality adventures. While Zak McKracken might be showing its age a little more than some of these other games, it remains an absorbing and entertaining graphic adventure that should be played by genre fans as an important historical artefact and as a fun game in its own right. The story here revolves around a second-rate journalist, Zak himself, who stumbles across an alien conspiracy to render all of Earth's inhabitants to mindless idiots, so after teaming up with an anthropologist and her friends, it falls to Zak to travel the world and track down the alien artefacts which can save the day. The game was the second to use LucasArts seminal SCUMM engine, after Maniac Mansion, and which basically acted as a sort of more advanced version of Infocom's system as seen in the Zork series, allowing players to interact with items through an extensive list of verbs, using collected objects to solve the many puzzles. While similar in terms of basic gameplay to others of the genre, Zak McKracken distinguishes itself through its wacky, off-the-wall humour and warm, inventive script which is extremely well written. When you throw in the wonderful characters, imaginative puzzles and simple, but charmingly effective visual design, you have an adventure that really does deserve to be played and which stands as a true classic.