(top) Standing on top of cliffs, looking at sea
       (midde) Looking down from top of cliffs
       (bottom) Looking up from a lower ledge

   Looking south across sea (A1) / (A2) / (B1) / (B2)
            Art: (A) / (B) / (C)
   Looking down/up from top of cliffs (A)
            Art: (Ad) / (Au) / (Bd) / (Bu) /
            Art: (Cd) / (Cu) / (Dd) / (Du)
            Prototype Artwork
   Looking north from cliffs (A1) / (A2) / (B) / (art)
   Looking south from entrance (A1) / (A2) / (art)
   Tunnels: (low) / (high) / (B) / (C) / (art)
   Chuckle's, Int. (low) / (high)


The Cliffs of Depression form a large chunk of the coast at the southern end of the underground region of the Valley of the Sparrows, overlooking The Great Misty Sea, a massive subterranean body of water. Its sheer cliffs end abruptly at the sea and rough, angry shores create a foamy collar at its base.

These cliffs were formed just prior to the First Great Diffusion, when a previous evil antagonist destroyed and sunk the majority of a large area of land from an ancient underground city with a complex structure of caverns and passages. This action was forced in response to the ULP having graffitied the word "YOBIB" in large letters that could only be read from above (as was the view the evil antagonist would see in his crystal ball). When the city was destroyed (literally cracking, then breaking off and dumped into the sea), the underground tunnels and mazes went beyond the split in the earth; these exposed passages remained visible on the sheer cliff side, appearing as "holes" in the face of the cliffs (as if one were viewing an ant farm). Also, the destroyed sections sunk to the bottom of the Great Misty Sea, where they were barely visible beneath the waters. However, the collapsing rubble exposed the defiant painting of "YOBIB" on the sunken town, but it could only be seen while directly above the sea (and not even from standing upon the heights of the cliffs themselves). Some of the city establishments not sunk beneath the waters included Chuckles Comedy Club, as well as an entire shopping mall.

In the 1640's, these labyrinthine caverns, known as the Zorkian Caverns, were engineered by Canuk in order to mine translumynite for the empire of Morphius, in an attempt to break the dwarven union permanently which were beginning to charge too steep of a price for the mining of their illumynite. The evil entity enslaved most of the people from East Shanbar to mine the ore, to build his new empire. The translumynite, along with the illumynite stolen from the dwarven mines by the vultures was used to build the Citadel of Zork as a giant incubator for Morphius. The result against the dwarves was futile, as their union only grew stronger.

The sorcery of Morphius was so strong that it radiated from the cliffs causing his prisoners within to grow so depressed that they could not get up to leave (which was exactly what he wanted). The only ones able to temporarily stay without being affected were those with a bonding plant. But the spells of Morphius were so powerful, that the bonding plant could only survive a short time before wilting and its holder be trapped forever at the cliffs as a virtual slave—a worker in the translumynite mine. In fact, the negativity was so strong here, that those who brought their negatives were able to save on photography bills, for during the reign of Morphius it was so negative there that they came out positive.

These slaves were extremely somber, lacking energy, enthusiasm and spirit--the most depressing people in existence; they could be heard even from the tops of the cliffs bewailing their misery. They become known as the Ridiculously Lonely. Hoping to rekindle even a fleeting spark of joy or laughter, the prisoners revived Chuckles Comedy Club, and established Cliff Robinson (another of Morphius' slaves) as manager; although the prioprietor warned those without bonding plants to keep away, both with words and with posted warning signs.

With the destruction of Morphius and the dispersal of magic in 1647 GUE, the Cliffs and surrounding areas were freed of their curses, thus releasing all of the depressed slaves from

SOURCE(S): Return to Zork (game, design materials, storyboards)