Main      Site Guide    

The Apogee FAQ

[2.8.1] The Kroz Series

Scott Miller had been programming games since 1975, when he was in high
school.  "Caverns of Kroz" was the very first Kroz game, written in Turbo
Pascal and originally endowed with the simple title "Kroz."  It was sold to
the disk magazine I.B.Magazette, as was the second Kroz adventure, "Dungeons
of Kroz" (originally titled "Kroz II").  In 1987, Scott wrote "Kingdom of
Kroz" and, with the full knowledge that, at the time, 99% of shareware was
not profitable for its authors, released it into the shareware market.  Thus,
it was a mystifying surprise when Kroz turned out to be a smash hit.  The
letters poured in, expressing love for the game and demanding sequels.  One
of the reasons it was so successful, besides the merit of the game itself, was
its then new marketing scheme; Kroz was the first game to be split into
smaller episodes, with one episode released as shareware.

In 1988, Kingdom of Kroz I received top honors in the game category of
Softdisk's CodeQuest '87, a national programming contest, and came in second
overall (it lost to a spreadsheet program).  Scott Miller himself said, in the
notes to a later version of the game, "Thanks to Kroz, I now know what a mutual
fund is, but on the downside my taxes require a book two inches thick to
figure out."

In short, Kroz marked Apogee's birth, emergence into the national
mainstream, and coronation as one of the earliest kings of shareware.

What inspired Kroz?  At the time, Scott Miller's favorite games were
M.U.L.E., Archon, and Spelunker, among others.  He liked games where puzzle
solving was first, and the action secondary.  Kroz's main inspiration was
probably Rogue, which Scott used to play, but disliked for its randomness
and reliance on chance.  So Kroz was born.  Another of Scott's favorite
games is evident from the title; Kroz spelled backwards is "Zork," one of
Infocom's most famous and successful text adventure games.

The various episodes and versions of Kroz are many.  To confuse the issue,
Kroz, as well as many of the other early Apogee games, were not sold
strictly in a single bundle of three or four episodes.  The shareware
episode, Kingdom of Kroz, could be registered at a cost of $7.50, and this
registration made the customer eligible to buy other episodes at $7.50 each,
or several episodes at some savings.  The episodes of Kroz are as follows:

              1.  Caverns of Kroz
              2.  Dungeons of Kroz
              3.  Kingdom of Kroz
              4.  Return to Kroz
              5.  Temple of Kroz
              6.  The Final Crusade of Kroz
              7.  The Lost Adventures of Kroz

"Return To Kroz" was published in two separate disk magazines, under different
titles.  One title was "Shrine of Kroz"; the other, "Castle of Kroz."  Scott
finally decided upon the "Return to Kroz" title because he liked the title to
the third Star Wars movie.  Similarly, "Valley of Kroz" was an alternate title
given to "Temple of Kroz."

Episodes 1-3 comprised "The Kroz Trilogy," and originally published on
Softdisk's Big Blue Disk series.  These episodes were later redone in 1990,
their names changing to "Caverns of Kroz II," "Dungeons of Kroz II," and
"Kingdom of Kroz II."  Since Kingdom of Kroz II had significant map changes
to 17 different levels, the original "Kingdom of Kroz I" remained available
for purchase to registered owners of "Kingdom of Kroz II."

Episodes 4-6 comprised "The Super Kroz Trilogy."  These contained more
levels, more items, and more effects.  This trilogy was intended to complete
the Kroz series, but the letters kept pouring in, including one from
Patricia Baker, RI, who said, "I have lived in Kroz for almost a month and
was sorry tonight to finally find the Amulet."

So one final episode of Kroz was to be made, namely Episode 7, "The Lost
Adventures of Kroz."  This contained 75 new levels, and, as such, was sold
at the slightly steeper rate of $20.  As said earlier, however, the rates
were lowered if more episodes were purchased at once.  In early 1991, one
could buy the first six episodes for $35 total, or $45 for all seven.

"The Lost Adventures of Kroz" was the final episode to be completed.  At
one time, another episode had been planned for release in March 1991
entitled "The Underground Empire of Kroz," but this never saw the light of
day.  Apogee, along with the rest of the gaming community, started moving
on toward more ambitious projects.

In mid 1993, Apogee stopped registering individual episodes of their games,
including Kroz.  But the registered Kroz games were still commercially
available from Apogee until as recently as early 1999.  The revised Kroz
Trilogy, the Super Kroz Trilogy, and the Lost Adventures were all bundled
together and could be purchased for a $24.95 registration fee.  The game
was finally discontinued in early 1999 and is now no longer available from

Next Section

      [2.8.2] Pharaoh's Tomb and Arctic Adventure

Back to the table of contents page.