The Organ Trail
The internet loves nostalgia! The internet loves zombies! What do you get when you mix these two great tastes that taste great together? The Organ Trail, a parody of a certain retro edutainment adventure simulation, developed by The Men Who Wear Many Hats! It tasks you with the familiar goal of safely leading a party across the US to the west coast. However, this time your Conestoga is replaced by a station wagon, there are no buffalo, and, oh yeah, there are legions of the undead just waiting for a good ol' fashioned brain chomping. You'll need all your wits and luck to successfully ford the river of monsters out there, but with your shotgun by your side, you just might make it.
The play of The Organ Trail will be very familiar to anyone's who has played the original. Using, [1-9], [enter], and the [spacebar], you'll start by putting together your party and scavenging for supplies in Washington DC. Soon, though, you'll set off for the trail, reaching a series of landmarks before getting to Safe Haven, 3000 miles away. You must manage your speed and your supplies, balancing a quicker trip against the health of your party. Random events will help or hinder your progress, though, in a pinch, you can pull over to the side of the road and hunt for canned goods with [WASD], fending off the undead by shooting with the [spacebar]. Naturally, the presence of zombies affects gameplay, especially in how you can use medicine kits to boost your party's health, but they can get expensive... especially if someone gets bitten. There's rumors of a cure at Safe Haven, but if things get too bad before you get there, you may just have to shoot them. Lord knows that's an option MECC never thought necessary to include.
Undoubtedly, The Organ Trail is the flash gaming equivalent of junk food: something that will be easily played and enjoyed, but not particularly filling. That said, junk food can be tasty, and The Organ Trail is very entertaining. It manages some striking, even evocative, Apple ][ depictions of the apocalyptic landscape, a genuinely eerie background music, and a number of hilariously esoteric shout-outs to the original game (including the "peperony and cheese" grave marker that shows up in the most commonly pirated version of the original.) The game suffers by sticking too close to its inspiration, especially in the mid-game where, like the original, there's not a whole lot to do but wait around and hope you don't get cholera. It's worth playing all the way the climactic finale, though. There's not much beyond what you'll see in a single play-through, but The Organ Trail has horrific charm aplenty.