Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders

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Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders is a graphical adventure game, originally released in October 1988[1], published by LucasArts (known at the time as Lucasfilm Games). It was the second game to use the SCUMM engine, after Maniac Mansion. The project was led by David Fox and was co-designed and co-programmed by Matthew Alan Kane.

Like Maniac Mansion, it was developed for the Commodore 64 and released in 1988 on that system and the PC. An Apple II version was apparently planned, but never released. The following year, the game was ported to the Amiga and Atari ST and rereleased on the PC with enhanced graphics. Finally, a version was produced for the Japanese FM-Towns computer, which came on a CD-ROM and featured 256-color graphics, full soundtrack and redrawn sprites in Anime style (when played in Japanese).

Contents

Storyline

The story is set in 1997, 10 years after its production. the plot follows Zak (full name Francis Zachary McKracken), a writer for the National Inquisitor, a tabloid newspaper; Annie Larris, a freelance scientist; and Melissa China and Leslie Bennett, two Yale University coed students, in their attempt to prevent the nefarious alien Caponians (who have infiltrated the phone company) from slowly reducing the intelligence of everybody on Earth using a 60 Hz "hum".

The Skolarians, another ancient alien race, have left a defense mechanism hanging around to repulse the Caponians, which just needs a quick reassembly and start-up. Unfortunately, the parts are spread all over the Earth and Mars.

Production

The game was heavily inspired by the many popular theories about aliens, ancient astronauts and mysterious civilizations. The many places visited in the game are common hot-spots of relevant literature, like the pyramids of Egypt and Mexico, Lima, Stonehenge, Atlantis, a space cadillac with Elvis (really an alien) and eventually the Face on Mars. The general New Age feeling is very obvious since players will meet also gurus and a shaman who hold secret knowledge of everything, as well as help convert an airport-housed bum to become a Hare Krishna.

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