Kingdom of Kroz was released in 1987 as the first game in the Kroz series. Created by one Scott Miller, it was the first game released by the newly founded Apogee Software. The name Kroz was a nod to another at that time pretty well known text-game, Zork. This and all of the Kroz series of games used characters from the colored extended ASCII set as graphics to represent objects, creatures, the main character, and everything else, actually.
The story of the game features the player character as an archeologist searching for the Magic Amulet of Kroz.
Kingdom of Kroz is in many aspects a puzzle game. Levels are one full screen each, and the object of each level is to reach the staircase to progress to the next level. In the original version there are 25 levels. Most levels are top down, but there are some which simulate "side view", in which gravity is an important concern.
The player must wade through hordes of incoming monsters that home in on you and you have two different forms of defence: Whips and gems.
Whips kill monsters one space adjacent to the player, but each attack uses up a whip. Extra whips are lying everywhere around the levels.
Gems are also found scattered around the levels. Each time a monster touches you, you loose one to three gems (depending on which variation of monster) but the monster dies in the process, so survival revolves around careful conservation of your gems and whips.
The design of each of the levels is a character in it's own right, with it's numerous ingenious tricks and traps and shenaningans that reveal a truly inspired creation by just one man.
All in all, a great game (and series) which, as a puzzle game, still holds up today. And this was just the beginning. Kingdom of Kroz went on to become the 1st in a trilogy (the Original Kroz Trilogy), followed by another trilogy (the Super Kroz Trilogy), and finally one final swan song for the series: The Lost Adventures of Kroz
, with a mammoth 75 levels to play through. You might want to check out a flash version someone made of Kindom of Kroz with updated sound effects.