Word Rescue

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Word Rescue
Genre(s) Educational, platform game
Year of Release 1992
Platform(s) DOS
Developer(s) Redwood Games
Publisher(s) Apogee Software
Official Website www.3drealms.com/word/index.html

Word Rescue was an educational, platform game created by Redwood Games and published in 1992 by Apogee Software for the DOS operating system. It was designed by Karen Crowther, who originally designed it in order to entertain her children whilst she was at work. Due to this, the main characters are directly modelled after her son and daughter.

The game was released in three episodes, the first one being a shareware release whilst the final two requiring a payment. The game was twice nominated for 'Best Educational Game' at the Shareware Industry Awards. The game has a sequel, Word Rescue Plus, and a spin-off, Math Rescue.


The mean Gruzzles could not read, and in a fit of jealousy they were stealing the words out of all of the books so that nobody else could read either. Benny Bookworm had the solution, but needed help. He needed the player to reunite the words with their pictures, and then Benny would be able to put them back into the books.

Players worked their way through three episodes:

  • Episode 1 - Visit Gruzzleville and the Castle
  • Episode 2 - Explore GruzzleBad Caverns
  • Episode 3 - See the spooky Haunted House


© Screenshot: Apogee Software
After uncovering the word 'pen', the player must find the picture of a pen. Luckily for them, in this case they are next to each other.

At the beginning of the game the player was asked to enter their name and to choose whether they were a boy or a girl. The character they control in the game is then a child, either male or female depending on their previous answers. They could move left or right, as well as jump.

The game was split into multiple levels, each of which had 'question mark blocks' spread around them. In order to progress onto the next level the player had to collect all seven of the question mark blocks to complete the key and then reach the exit. In order to collect one of the blocks, first the player had to jump into it which caused it to turn into a short word, such as 'pen'. At this point, all of the other blocks temporarily changed into pictures. The player then had to find the picture that matched the word and touch it. If they did this then the original question mark block was be collected, however if the player touched the wrong picture then a Gruzzle would appear. Players who were unable to read the word could press the 'w' button to see a list of all of the words and pictures on the level matched together.

Gruzzle's were found randomly throughout the game, as well as appearing when a word is matched with an incorrect picture. They were the main 'bad guy' of the game, and touching them caused the player to be carried away by Benny and have to restart the level. Gruzzles could be destroyed using a slime. When the slime button was pressed Benny the butterfly appears above the Gruzzle and dropped a bucket of slime on it, making the Gruzzle disappear. This used up a slime however, which could be gained by collecting buckets around the game.

The player was awarded points for most things, from sliming Gruzzles to solving problems. A few ways to gain extra points were included. Books were scattered around each level and were there only for points gaining purposes. Also, at the bottom of the screen was displayed a 'secret word'. Scattered around the game were letters, and if these were collected in the correct order to spell the word then the player would be awarded bonus points.

Once the player had matched all of the words Benny would appear and put the words back into the books. This would grant the player the key to the exit, which they then had to move to in order to move on to the next level.

Game options

© Screenshot: Apogee Software
Gruzzles were harder to avoid in higher difficulty modes.

At the start of the game the player chooses a difficulty mode of either easy, medium or hard.

Easy mode was aimed at players aged four to seven. There would only be one Gruzzle per level, and the Gruzzles were not very good at chasing the player in this mode. Also, when the player collected a bucket of slime it would completely replenish the amount of slime the player had.

Medium mode was aimed at players aged seven to ten. There would be several Gruzzles per level, and the Gruzzles had slightly improved AI in this mode. Also, when the player collected a bucket of slime it would only give the player an extra three slimes.

Hard mode was aimed at players aged ten and over. There would be many Gruzzles per level, and the Gruzzles had significantly improved AI in this mode. Also, when the player collected a bucket of slime it would only give the player an extra two slimes.


A few cheats were available for the game. By pressing the letters P and S simultaneously the player received extra slime. By pressing the letters L and Z the player could enter a number and move to that level.