Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders

About Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders.

It's 1997, and the world is a dumber place then ever... Space aliens have built a stupidity machine that's slowly reducing everyone's IQ to single digits. Worse yet, the only person who can stop them is Zak McKracken, reported for the disreputable National Inquisitor, who dreams up stories about carnivorous cantaloupes and vegetarian vampires.

They've taken over the phone company... Sure sounds like another one of Zak's tabloid fantasies. But while most people wouldn't believe him, he finds three who don't need convincing -- Annie, head of the Society for Ancient Wisdom, and her friends, Leslie and Melissa, two Yale co-eds who travelled to Mars in their modified van. The four of them must piece together fragments of an ancient puzzle, unmask the aliens and destroy the stupidity machine.

Here's where you come in... You direct the actions of Zak, Annie, Melissa and Leslie, taking them to many exotic places where they discover some pretty strange objects -- and some even stranger characters!

To help you solve the game's dozens of puzzles, movie-like "cut-scenes" will appear from time to time. They will reveal new dimensions of the story by showing you what's happening elsewhere in Zak's world. You'll also find plenty of valuable clues in the enclosed copy of the National Inquisitor.

If this is your first computer adventure game, be prepared for an entertaining challenge. It may take a while to figure out some of the puzzles. If you get stuck, you might need to solve another puzzle first or use an object you haven't yet found. But if you hang in there and use your imagination, you will guide Zak and company to victory!


NOTE: It is recommended that you first make a backup copy of all disks and put the originals in a safe place.

Bring up Workbench on your Amiga. Insert Zak McKracken Disk 1 in your disk drive. Open the disk icon and double-click on the Zak icon (the big nose glasses).

When prompted, put in Disk 2.

To use a two-drive Amiga system, place Disk 2 in your second drive.

To install Zak McKracken on a hard disk, first use your Workbench menu to create an empty file drawer called "Zak". Without opening the "Zak" drawer, insert Disk 1 into the drive, double-click on its icon, and drag both the Zak and Rooms icons into the new hard disk drawer. Then insert Disk 2 into the drive, double-click on its icon, and drag its Rooms icon into the the hard disk drawer. (Note: If you open the hard disk drawer before moving the icons, take care not to drag the second Rooms icon on top of the first one. If you do so accidentally, simply delete the hard disk Rooms drawer and re-copy the Rooms icons from both disks.)


After the opening title sequence, you will see Zak standing in his bedroom. When he turns to face you and the text appears at the bottom of the screen, you will be ready to start directing his actions.

  1. The Message Lines are the two lines at the very top of the screen. Words spoken by any of the characters, as well as game-related messages, appear here.
  2. The Animation Window is the largest part of the screen and is where the animated action takes place. It shows the "camera's eye view" of the room or location that the currently active character is in.
  3. The Sentence Line is directly below the Animation Window. You use this line to construct sentences that tell the characters what to do. A sentence consists of a verb (action word) and one or two nouns (objects). An example of a sentence you might construct on the Sentence Line is "Use crayon on torn wallpaper." Connecting the words like "on" or "with" will be automatically inserted by the program.
  4. Verbs must be selected from the words in the columns below the Sentence Line. All the verbs shown can be used. Check the list from time to time - new verbs will appear as the game progresses. To select a verb, position the cursor over the word and click.
  5. The Inventory is the area below the Verbs. Each character you control has his or her own inventory. At the beginning of the game Zak starts with only one object. When a character picks up or is given an object during game play, the object's name is added to the character's inventory. There is no limit to the number of objects a character can carry. When there are more than four objects in an inventory, arrows appear in the middle of the list. Use them to scroll the list up or down.

Nouns (objects) can be selected in two ways. You may select a noun by placing the cursor over an object in the Animation Window and clicking. Most objects in the environment, and all usable objects in the game, have names. If an object has a name, it will appear on the Sentence Line when you click on it. You may also select nouns by clicking on them in the inventory.

To move a character around, select "Walk to" from the Verbs by positioning your cursor over it and clicking. Then move your cursor into the Animation Window, point it where you want the character to go, and click. If you point to an open door and click, the character will walk through it. Notice that "Walk to" appears automatically on the Sentence Line after a sentence has been executed - this is because moving around is what your characters will be doing most often.

To tell a character to carry out the directions you've put on the Sentence Line, either click once more on the final noun or verb selected, or click once on the Sentence Line itself. If nothing happens, double check the way you constructed the sentence.

To replace a noun or verb on the Sentence without reconstructing the entire sentence, simply click on the replacement word. It will appear in the right place in the sentence.

"Cut-scenes" are short, animated sequences - like scenes from a movie - which can provide clues and information about the characters. When you are viewing a cut-scene, you do not direct the action so the text below the Animation Window disappears.

Keyboard Commands

All of the verbs used in the game can be selected by using keyboard commands. Each key corresponds to one verb. Pressing the appropriate key once is equivalent to moving the cursor over the verb and pushing the button; pressing the key twice is the same as double-clicking on it. The keys are mapped according to the layout of verbs on the screen:

  ________   ________   _________   ________   _________
 (   Q    ) (    W   ) (    E    ) (    R   ) (    T    )
 |  Push  | |  Open  | | Walk to | | Put on | | Turn on |
 (________) (________) (_________) (________) (_________)
    _________   ________   _________   ________   ________
   (    A    ) (    S   ) (     D   ) (    F   ) (    G   )
   |   Pull  | |  Close | | Pick up | |Take off| |Turn off|
   (_________) (________) (_________) (________) (________)
       ________   _______   _______   _______   ________
      (    Z   ) (   X   ) (   C   ) (   V   ) (    B   )
      |  Give  | | Read  | |What is| |  Use  | | Switch |
      (________) (_______) (_______) (_______) (________)

You can also select inventory items from the keyboard. On the screen, you can see four items at a time in the inventory list. Use the following keys:

   ___                   ___                    ___
  (   )                 (   )                  (   )
  | U | Scroll list up  | I | Upper left item  | O | Upper right item
  (___)                 (___)                  (___)
   ___                    ___                    ___
  (   )                  (   )                  (   )
  | J | Scroll list down | K | Lower left item  | L | Lower right item
  (___)                  (___)                  (___)


Open Zak's dresser drawer. Select "Open" from the Verbs and then click on the dresser in Zak's bedroom, creating the sentence, "Open dresser." Click again on the drawer to execute the sentence. Zak will walk over to the dresser and open it.

To pick up the plastic card under Zak's desk, try the sentence, "Use phone bill with plastic card."

  1. First, place your cursor over the "Use" verb and click once. "Use now appears on the sentence line.
  2. Second, move the cursor over the phone bill on the drawer and click once, creating the sentence "Use phone bill with."
  3. Third, select the plastic card by moving your cursor over the object in the Animation Window. By double-clicking on the plastic card you can complete the sentence and execute it at the same time. Notice that Zak was smart enough to pick up the phone bill first.

Read Zak's phone bill by moving the cursor over "phone bill" in the inventory list below the Verbs and click once, creating the sentence, "Walk to phone bill." This time, instead of clicking on the noun a second time, click on the "Read" verb, changing the sentence to "Read phone bill." Click once more on the "Read" verb and Zak will read the bill. Notice that the final click can be on either the noun or the verb.

Walk Zak to his living room by first opening his bedroom door ("Open door") and then walking through it ("Walk to door"). The screen will iris to black while the next room is loaded from disk.


To switch control from one character to another, select the verb "Switch." The names of the four characters you can control will appear as Verbs. Place the cursor over the name of the character you want to control and click once. As a short-cut, you can use function keys F1-F4 to change characters (see below). NOTE: The Switch verb will not appear until Zak has solved several puzzles and meets Annie.

To find out what is in a room, select the "What is" verb and move the cursor around the room. When the name of something appears on the Sentence Line, you'll know that it is an "active" object and you might want to use it in the game. If you click on that object, the "Walk to" verb will appear instead. You can then click on the object a second time to make your character walk to it, or you may click on any other Verb that you want to use with that object.

To save your progress in a game, so that you can turn the computer off and start again in the same place, use the "save" feature. "Save" will not work during cut-scenes. You can "save" up to ten games on your Zak McKracken Disk 1 or on your hard disk, depending on how much free disk space there is. Previously saved games will have an asterisk next to them, for example: Game B*. Simply press the Save/Load Game function key (F5) and follow the on-screen instructions.

To load a game you have saved, use the Save/Load Game function key (F5) anytime after Zak McKracken has been loaded. You can do this during the opening sequence, but not during other cut-scenes. Follow the directions on the save-load menu.

To bypass a cut-scene, use the right mouse button or the Esc key. After you've played Zak McKracken several times, you may want to use this function to skip over scenes you have seen before, including the title sequence. (While travelling on jet airliners during the game, this same key can be used to reach your destination immediately.)

To restart the game from the beginning, press the F8 key.

To pause the game, press the space bar. Press it again to resume play. The game will automatically pause if you make no input for five minutes, and you will need to press the space bar to continue playing.

When the disk is being accessed or the game is paused, the cursor will change; a picture of a snail replaces the cursor during these times.

To adjust the speed of the Message Line to suit your reading speed, press the < key to make the messages stay up longer or the > key to make them stay up for a shorter period of time.

To end the game, press Ctrl-C.


Switching Characters:

          Zak             F1
          Annie           F2
          Melissa         F3
          Leslie          F4
Save or Load a game       F5
Bypass a Cut Scene        ESC or Right Mouse button
Restart a game            F8
Pause Game                Space Bar

Message Line Speed:

        Faster            >
        Slower            <
End a Game                Ctrl - C


We believe that you buy games to be entertained, not to be whacked over the head every time you make a mistake. So we don't bring the game to a screeching halt when you poke your nose into a place you haven't visited before. In fact, we make it downright difficult to get a character "killed."

We think you'd prefer to solve the game's mysteries by exploring and discovering. Not by dying a thousand deaths. We also think you like to spend your time involved in the story. Not typing in synonyms until you stumble upon the computer's word for a certain object.

Unlike conventional computer adventures, Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders doesn't force you to save your progress every few minutes. Instead, you're free to concentrate on the puzzles, characters and outrageous good humour.



Without it, you won't be able to take international flights - and you won't be able to complete the game.

To use the code book, watch for the Exit Visa Code reference on the screen when you're buying a ticked to leave the United States. You'll see, for example:

Travel key is: Section 4 (C 22)

Now, you should turn to the indicated section, column, and row and find the four symbols. They refer to the symbols on the screen, which you should then click in order. Once you've entered the code correctly, you can go on with the game. If you enter incorrect codes too many times in a row, something embarrassing will happen to you.

The Letters "A - L" represent the buttons on the key pad as below.
Just use the cross reference given to find the correct sequence.

            |                                        |
            |       A       B       C       D        |
            |                                        |
            |       E       F       G       H        |
            |                                        |
            |       I       J       K       L        |
            |                                        |
            |                                        |
           A       B       C       D       E       F       G
 1       ACGB    HHHI    BKGI    LDHK    CBIA    HBJC    IIKJ
 2       JBJK    FEKA    BFJA    GFKC    IFLJ    CIDJ    CLEL
 3       AJDA    FJEC    LKDC    LKEJ    EKFL    AEGB    KBGI
 4       KBGJ    DBHL    LCGL    CAHB    AAII    CFJK    FDKA
 5       ELGK    GCHA    BKGA    HDHC    JDIJ    CDJL    CGKB
 6       FBJC    CIKJ    LCJJ    ECKL    EFLB    FLDB    LHKB
 7       AIDJ    BLEL    LHDL    HKEB    JKFI    CKJK    GBHA
 8       CAGK    CDHA    FLGA    ALHC    JIIJ    KEJL    BCKB
 9       BCJC    LCKJ    DDJJ    ADKL    AGLB    EHDB    HAEI
10       CHDJ    AAEL    DIDL    DLEB    BLFI    ALGK    CCHA
11       BBGB    LBHI    HCGI    ACHK    DAIA    FFIC    DFKI
12       CEJK    FCKA    BDJA    GDKC    IDLJ    JJDJ    CJEL
13       ELDA    LLEC    IHDC    LIEJ    EAFL    DKGB    CDHI
14       LIGJ    KCHL    BKGL    FBHB    HBII    ABJK    AEKA
15       HDJB    JDKI    IHJI    KEKK    GHLA    CIDA    HIEC
16       LHDI    JAEK    AIDK    ALEA    FLFC    DLGJ    BLHL
17       GBGA    DBHC    HCGC    JCHJ    CCIL    CFJB    CHKI
18       LEJJ    EEKL    AFJL    DDKB    BDLI    CJDI    LJEK
19       KIDL    GLEB    FHDB    IAEI    BAFK    AKGA    GDHC
20       KCGI    DCHK    AKGK    CBHA    HBIC    JBJJ    LGKL
21       EDJA    BDKC    FEJC    DEKJ    AELL    BKDL    EIEB
22       DHDC    CIEJ    JIDJ    CIEL    BLFB    ALGI    LLHK
23       EKGL    ABHB    ECGB    LHHI    LCIK    LFJA    EFKC
24       LHJI    BEKK    JFJK    ADKA    FDLC    JJDC    LJEJ
25       DIDK    DLEA    CHDA    IAEC    KAFJ    DAGL    DDHB
26       CCGC    ACHJ    DKGJ    BDHL    EBIB    CBJI    EGKK
27       DFJL    GDKB    CEJB    AEKI    JELK    AKDK    BIEA
29       BKGK    FBHA    BCGA    GCHC    ICIJ    BCJL    BFKB
30       IEJC    KEKJ    JIJJ    LFKL    CDLB    DJDB    BJD


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