Graeme Cree's Zork II bugs page
- In version 7, when the wizard is in the room, KILL WIZARD produces the
beginning of a response, then crashes the interpreter. Frotz says, "Fatal
error: Illegal object".
- In versions 7 and 15, when the wizard and robot are both in the room, you can TELL ROBOT "GET WAND" to get the wizard's wand. This loophole was removed from version 17 by having the wizard cast "Float" on the robot, who dies because "he has no floating point processor". --James Adams
- In versions 7 through 17, at Safety Depository, you can THROW anything AT CURTAIN, whether you're carrying it or not. You can even steal the Wizard's wand using THROW WAND AT CURTAIN. --Allen Garvin
- In versions 7 through 17, you can PUT any of the stands IN or ON
something, allowing you to carry them around, stack them on each other, etc.
- In versions 7 through 17, you can POUR WATER even if you're not carrying it; the full teapot just has to be in the room.
- In versions 7 through 18, if you give the lit lamp to a gnome or
cast "FRY" on it in a dark room, then the room stays lit until you leave it.
- In versions 7 through 18, if you aren't carrying the wand, then you
can't find the secret door the first time you enter the Crypt.
- In versions 7 through 18, if the dog is wearing the collar and you cast "FLOAT" on the collar, it claims the collar floats, but nothing changes. In versions 19 and up, the dog floats.
- In versions 7 through 18, if you cast "FLOAT" on the dead sea serpent, the room description includes, "There is a dead sea serpent lying on the floor. (floating in midair)". In version 19, "lying on the floor" was changed to "in a heap here", which fits better.
- In versions 7 through 19, you can PUT SERPENT IN BOX (or CHEST) or
PUT SERPENT ON MAT and carry the baby sea serpent around with you. When you
break the aquarium, the live sea serpent disappears from wherever it is, and
the dead one appears by the aquarium.
- In versions 7 through 19, when the wizard is in the room, you can WAVE WAND AT something even though the wizard has it. This makes it possible to move the menhir without solving most of the puzzles or getting any of the treasures; just wait in Menhir Room for the wizard.
- In versions 17 through 22, if the teapot is open and full of water and you SHAKE TEAPOT, then the water stays there on the floor. You can GET WATER or FILL TEAPOT there and make it disappear, or if you get water in another location it goes away too.
- In versions 19 through 23, the word TEA is treated ambiguously as referring to either the tea pot or tea table. When you use the word TEA with both of these objects present, you get a garbage message of the same sort as when you use a color ambiguously.
- In versions 17 through 23, SHAKE UNICORN causes the key and ribbon to fall to the floor. You can't see them in the room description, but you can always interact with them there after that, whether the unicorn is present or not. You still can't take them; you get the same responses as if the unicorn still had them.
- In versions 17 through 23, if the place mat is under the door at Tiny Room, and you PUT something ON it, then all objects on the floor are listed as on the mat in the room description. If the wizard appears and stays, the list
includes, "Sitting on the place mat is: A Wizard of Frobozz". If you go
through the door to Dreary Room, you only see objects on the mat that have
been PUT there.
- In versions 7 through 23, when the wizard casts "Float" on you, you can DROP anything visible, including ME.
- In versions 7 through 23, if you give a command to the robot while you're in the bucket, there is no output, the location on the status line changes to "wooden bucket", and you can no longer see or interact with anything that isn't in the bucket, including the bucket itself. It seems the only way to leave this location is to take the water.
- In versions 7 through 23, the teapot is closable, but the description
doesn't tell you whether it's open or closed, and you can always see its
contents. This is a lot like the bottle in Zork I, but it's even worse,
because a china teapot really shouldn't be transparent! You can FILL TEAPOT,
POUR WATER, or GIVE WATER TO someone from the closed teapot, but you can't
DRINK WATER from it, PUT objects in it, or GET objects from it. SHAKE TEAPOT
also behaves consistently with the open/closed state. If the closed teapot
contains some object other than water, and you try to DROP the object, THROW
it at something, or GIVE it to someone, you get the message, "The letter
opener [or other object] is closed." In version 48, the teapot isn't closable.
- In versions 7 through 23, you can GET WATER from the bucket at Top of Well when you're outside the bucket, but you can't put it back in. In version 48, you have to be in the bucket to get the water out.
- In versions 7 through 23, the routine to deal with trying to pick up an object when your hands are getting full doesn't take into account getting an object out of a container. If you're carrying a large inventory, with the
letter opener inside the teapot, for example, the command GET OPENER can
result in, "Oh, no. The ruby slips from your arms while taking the letter
opener and both tumble to the ground." However, you only drop the ruby. The
letter opener is still in the teapot. In version 48, you don't drop anything
when trying to get something. In contrast, note that all versions of
Planetfall and Witness do the same thing, with the same message, but you drop
both objects correctly.
- In versions 7 through 23, FILL TEAPOT or GET WATER in Pool Room has
strange effects. The teapot fills with a "quantity of salty water", but the
quantity of water is removed from the bucket, and the salty water is not a
well-behaved object. POUR WATER or DROP WATER claims to work, but leaves the
teapot full. DRINK WATER, EXAMINE WATER, and many other verbs produce a string
of garbage. It looks like the only way to get the salty water out of your
inventory is to SHAKE TEAPOT (in versions 17-23). After you do so, the room
description includes, "You see some water here." From then on, that room is a
permanent source of water. In version 48, you can't fill the teapot in Pool
- In versions 7 through 23, when the volcano gnome is present, you can THROW anything AT GNOME to get him to destroy it. THROW GNOME AT GNOME gives the response: "That wasn't quite what I had in mind," he says, crunching the Volcano Gnome in his rock-hard hands. --Allen Garvin
- In versions 7 through 23, you can "FILCH" the dead dragon, which is too heavy to carry.
- In versions 7 through 23, if you send the robot to Top of Well, and the lit lamp is not there, then the room you are in becomes dark. If you leave and return, or turn the lamp off and on, the room is lit again.
- In versions 7 through 23, you can get the message, "The dragon looks
bored." after leaving Dragon Room, if just before leaving you do something to
the dragon other than attacking it. This message can follow you anywhere that
the dragon would follow you. If you go to Ice Room you can get, "The dragon is
no longer around. He must have become bored with you."
- In versions 7 through 23, you can get yourself stuck permanently in Room of Black Mist. Blow up Inside the Barrow using the brick, then get yourself killed and resurrected. Instead of being resurrected, you get, "The way is blocked by debris from an explosion." Room of Black Mist has the same
description as Room of White Mist, but you can't move in any direction. You
can do the same thing by opening the flask Inside the Barrow: "Noxious vapors
prevent your entry."
- In versions 7 through 23, if you TELL ROBOT something right before an
event that is supposed to kill you, then he dies instead of you. As a result you have only 4 turns to escape from Cage, although the game is designed to give you 5. If you TELL ROBOT "LIFT CAGE" on your 5th turn at Cage, then the robot is poisoned, and you're stuck at Cage permanently. You can also use this to avoid being killed by the exploding brick.
- In versions 7 through 23, LIGHT MATCH subtracts 1 from the number of
matches remaining before checking to see if there are any. Thus, COUNT MATCHES
will give you a negative number if you keep lighting them. To take this to an
extreme, if you LIGHT MATCH 32774 times, you suddenly have a lot of matches.
In version 48, you can get as low as -1 matches, but no lower.
- In versions 7 through 23, locking the cobwebby door doesn't work after you've unlocked it. Although LOCK DOOR WITH KEY seems to work, it still opens normally, and UNLOCK DOOR WITH KEY responds, "It is already!"
- In versions 7 through 23, throwing things at a fragile object is buggy. You can THROW an object you're not carrying--even an untakeable object--AT a fragile object. For example, THROW NORTH AT FLASK breaks the flask (and kills you), or THROW GAZEBO AT LAMP breaks the lamp (also bad!). If you THROW something you're carrying AT LAMP, the lamp breaks, but the object you threw stays in your inventory. THROW BUCKET AT ROBOT destroys the robot, but THROW SOUTH AT AQUARIUM produces, "The southern wall bounces harmlessly off the glass.". THROW SERPENT AT AQUARIUM gives, "The baby sea serpent bounces harmlessly off the glass.", but leaves the sea serpent outside the aquarium. If the wizard comes to Aquarium Room and stays, then THROW WAND AT AQUARIUM moves his wand to the floor where you can get it, but it's invisible.
- In versions 7 through 23, if you die while the dragon is following you, then after you are resurrected, the dragon is still where you died. It still "hisses at you and blocks your way" if you try to go north from Dragon Room.
- In versions 7 through 23, you can open the metal keyhole lid when
it's already open. Each time you get the message, "The lid is now open."
- In versions 7 through 23, if the mat is under the door with the lit
lamp on it, and you go south from Dreary Room to Tiny Room, then the room is
dark although the lamp should light it. In version 48, you're told you have
moved into a dark place, but it's not true.
- In versions 7 through 23, if the clear sphere is on the floor, then
the room description includes, "There is a clear crystal sphere lying in the
sand.", which isn't always appropriate. In version 48, this was changed to
"There is a clear cyrstal sphere here."
- In version 48, the sword can be used as a treasure to give the demon. Thus you don't have to get all the treasures to win, or you can give him all the real treasures too and win with 402 points. --Allen Garvin
- In version 48, if you're in the bucket at Top of Well and tell the robot to go east, then there is no output, but you move to Tea Room--in the bucket! Now you can move from room to room by ordering the robot there, or you can go from Tea Room to Top of Well, in the bucket, by simply going WEST. While you're in the bucket, anything you drop goes in the bucket, even though it's not there. You can get out of the bucket using STAND. You can go to Circular Room using FILL POT (not GET WATER). If you eat the green cake in Tea Room you get the message about the room getting bigger, followed by, "You can't go there in a wooden bucket." You're still in Tea Room, but the robot is gone. If you go to Dingy Closet and try to get the red sphere you get the message about the cage and gas, followed by, "You can't go there in a wooden bucket." You're still in Dingy Closet and you can see the red sphere, but not the robot, so you can only get away using FILL POT, or STAND followed by NORTH. You have to get away within a few turns or be poisoned. After you do this, the cage is in the room, but not in the description. You can bring the robot back by getting trapped in the cage and freed from it in the normal way.
- In version 48, if there is a container full of water in the room, then FILL WATER gives, "(Taken) There is nothing to fill it with." Your inventory then contains the "quantity of water".
- In version 48, if you die while holding a lit match, then go back to
Gazebo to get the matches after being resurrected, then the match stays lit
permanently, unless you light another or do something to put it out.
- In version 48, GIVE BOX TO DEMON with the violin inside responds,
"The genie frowns briefly, then opens the box. He smiles horribly." He takes
the violin and leaves you the box. You get this message even if the box was
already open, and if it was closed then it stays closed.
- In version 48, if you use PASSAGE as a noun you are asked, "Which passage do you mean, the tunnel or the way?", but the game doesn't even know the word WAY.
- In version 48, JUMP gives no output in many locations, including Cobwebby Corridor, Lava Tube, Ledge in Ravine, Tiny Room, Riddle Room, and Stairway.
- In version 48, you can order the baby sea serpent to do things. You can make it eat itself by saying SERPENT, GET SERPENT.
- In version 48, if you die in the gazebo from fumes from the flask, get resurrected,
then follow the princess back to North End of Garden, then you get the message, "The princess enters the gazebo, although you would never get past the debris. She must be magically protected.." But there is no debris. --Torbjörn Andersson
- In version 48, if you die after the dragon is dead, then it is returned to Dragon Room. When you are resurrected you still find the dead dragon at Deep Ford, and the revived dragon doesn't stop you from going north to Dragon's Lair. You can lead it back to Ice Room, repeating its death, even though the ice is already gone.
- In versions 15 and up, LOOK AT FLASK THROUGH FLASK gives the
message about magnifying twice, followed by the flask's description.
- In versions 18 and up, disambiguating between the two keys doesn't work
to unlock the door at Tiny Room, but the exact problem changes from version to version.
In versions 18-19, UNLOCK DOOR WITH KEY asks, "Which key do you mean?", and IRON
says, "It doesn't seem to work." In versions 22-23, UNLOCK DOOR WITH KEY says,
"Which key do you mean, the rusty iron key or the delicate gold key?", then IRON
says, "Which key do you mean, the rusty iron key?", and IRON again says,
"It doesn't seem to work." In version 48, the second question is the same as the first.
Versions before 18 have no trouble with this.
- In versions 22 and up, casting "FLOAT" on the collar says, "The huge dog rises about an inch off the ground, for a moment.", even before the dog is wearing it. --Torbjörn Andersson
- In all versions, if you THROW something you're carrying AT ROBOT, the
robot is destroyed, but the object you threw stays in your inventory.
- In all versions, if you DESTROY ROBOT WITH something, you're told the
robot is destroyed, but it's not. Instead, object 1 is removed, which in
version 48 is your hands. --Torbjörn Andersson
- In all versions, if you try to raise or lower the bucket to an area that's "blocked by debris from an explosion", then the bucket goes without you. You're still considered to be in the bucket, but it's not there. You can continue to move the bucket using POUR WATER and FILL TEAPOT (not GET WATER). In version 48 you can get out by saying STAND.
- In all versions, you can go up the well without taking the teapot with you. If you drop the teapot, full of water, outside the bucket, and get in the bucket, then GET WATER fills the bucket with the water from the teapot.
- In all versions, if the open, full teapot is in the room, not in your
inventory (and you're not in the bucket or basket), then GET WATER picks up
the teapot, but gives no output.
- In all versions, after you blow open the rusty box, GET ALL FROM BOX
gives a list of the items in it, each followed by, "The box is imbedded in the
wall." You get nothing.
- In all versions, you can "FILCH" the collar when Cerberus is wearing it. He stays friendly and his description says he's still wearing it, but now you have it, although it's invisible. It will never show in your inventory or a room description, and INVENTORY gives no output if it's the only thing you're carrying. If you drop it, then picking it back up kills you wherever you are, as if you took it off the dog.
- In all versions, if you "FRY" the collar while Cerberus is wearing
it, then he stays tame and his descriptions says he's still wearing it, even
though it's gone.
- In all versions, you can "FILCH" the dead sea serpent, which is too heavy to carry.
- In all versions, the "FLOAT" spell behaves oddly. If you try to GET a floating object, you get, "You can't reach that. It's floating above your head.", but you can GET objects from a floating container. If you cast "FLOAT" on an item in your inventory, it stays in your inventory, but says, "(floating in midair)". If you cast "FLOAT" on an item inside a container (or on the place mat), it stays there, but says, "(floating in midair)". This is especially odd with an object sitting on the place mat.
- In all versions, the aquarium is closable and not transparent. If you
CLOSE AQUARIUM then you can't see the sea serpent. If you CLOSE AQUARIUM and
then break it, you get the message about seeing the clear sphere inside it,
but then you can't see or interact with the sphere until you open the
- In all versions, you can CUT things WITH CLUB. You get a message
similar to the one you get for using the sword: "Your skillful wooden
clubsmanship slices the [object] into innumerable slivers..."
- In all versions, anything you drop while in the steel cage disappears
when the robot frees you. If that's the brick with a lit fuse, it explodes elsewhere.
- In all versions, go to the room with the lizard on the door, and try
to unlock it with anything (for instance UNLOCK DOOR WITH LAMP). There is a 1 in 5 chance that the game will print "But you drop the key" (when the lizard snaps at you). At this point, the game will move the delicate gold key to the room, regardless of what you tried to unlock it with. If the princess hasn't taken the key from the unicorn, you won't be able to use it however, because it still has the SCENERY bit set. But you can EXAMINE it. --Allen Garvin
- In all versions, SMELL ROSES says, "It smells like a roses."
- In all versions, PUT the CAN of grue repellent somewhere is treated as if you had said to SPRAY it.
- In all versions, just as in early versions of Zork I, you can carry
the water without a container, but you need to be in the presence of a full
container to get some. Commands that do this are EAT WATER, READ WATER, LOCK
ME WITH WATER, UNLOCK ME WITH WATER, or BREAK ME WITH WATER. In version 48,
this doesn't work if you're carrying the full teapot. In version 48, you get a
funny response to EAT WATER: "(Taken) You have to be holding the cretin
- In all versions, once you've made it to Dreary Room, you can use the
keyhole to destroy either the letter opener or the rusty iron key. If you put
one of these in the keyhole on each side, and the mat isn't under the door,
then the first one is removed from the game.
- In all versions, when the wizard casts "Float" on you, you can DROP HANDS. You get the response, "The pair of hands drops to the ground." They don't show in the room description. You can repeat this as long as you're floating, but when you leave the room the "pair of hands" stays behind.
- In all versions, when the wizard casts "Float" on you, you can POUR
anything visible, dropping it to the ground.
- In all versions, after putting the letter opener in the keyhole, you can pick up the mat without the key falling, using EAT MAT, READ MAT, etc. Now
the key is not on the mat (or visible at all), but anywhere you put down the
mat, you can make the key appear using GET MAT, MOVE MAT, or PULL MAT.
- In all versions, if you die from opening the flask, then you can't
return to that room after resurrection, due to "noxious vapors", but if you
die from breaking or throwing the flask, then there's nothing wrong with
the room. --Torbjörn Andersson
- In all versions, you can lock the door to Dreary Room when it's open.
If the door is open but locked, then CLOSE DOOR says, "The door is locked."
- In all versions, you can close the keyhole lid when it's already
closed. Each time you get the message, "The lid covers the keyhole."
- In all versions, if you attack the princess, the Wizard appears, "seeming to unroll himself out of nothing like a window shade" to "Fry" you, even if he already happened to be in the room.
- In all versions, when the gnome of Zurich materializes at Small Room, you're told he's "carrying a safety deposit box", but he's not. There's no such thing in the game.
- In all versions, you can see the Wizard appear and disappear in the dark.
- In all versions, the room descriptions at Path Near Stream and Marble Hall
continue to refer to the whirring sound coming from Carousel Room, even after it
stops spinning. --Torbjörn Andersson
- In all versions, Dreary Room is lit, but if you close the door and turn off
the lamp, then LOOK THROUGH WINDOW says, "It is pitch dark. You are likely to be
eaten by a grue." --Torbjörn Andersson
- In all versions, nothing happens if you go to Landing in superbrief mode. The Landing doesn't have any exits, so you can't go back, or anywhere else for that matter. But the game won't end until you explicitly type LOOK. --Torbjörn Andersson
- In all versions, if you are in the balloon basket, you can put only one object in the receptacle. Trying to put in another tells you it's already occupied. You can put in more than one if you're standing outside of the basket. --Torbjörn Andersson
- In all versions, if you throw the brick with the lit fuse at the aquarium, there is no output. The fuse stops burning. --Torbjörn Andersson
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