In the past, and still to this day, some of the best RPG games played are the likes of Dungeons and Dragons. I’m sure almost everyone out there has either heard of it, or played it. If not, it’s an adventure game, done by a Dungeon Master who uses books with information about monsters and the characters, and builds his own adventure for the players. In an age when computers and consoles started to gain momentum, RPG style games began to appear, in the form of a Text-based RPG adventures. There were many of them, one of which always had a special place in my memory as being one of the first, and most fun text-based adventure RPG I had ever played. The game was called “ShadowGate”. It was a NES text-based RPG where you read the story as it unfolded, and made choices by interacting with the environment. It was great fun, and I spent many hours trying to get to the end and defeat the boss. Fast forward several decades later (yes I’m old) to the summer of August 2014, in Seattle at a gaming convention called Pax Prime. In a small booth, joined together with several developers, along the back wall of one of the big convention rooms was a small, yet familiar site that drew my attention immediately. I rushed over with delight and awe in my eyes as I saw a familiar friend, one I had not seen for a very long time. “ShadowGate” was being reborn, this time on the PC, with all new graphics and some adventure/story changes to make it feel like a whole new game, yet oddly familiar.
The main premise of the game remains the same, the game is text-based, where you can interact with the environment to solve the puzzles and make choices, just like the original. The graphics though, changed a great deal, looking new and refined with today’s technology, compared to the 8 bit and 16bit limitations the hardware had oh-so-many years ago.
While this is a reboot/remake of the original game, the new “Shadowgate” is not the same game, so don’t expect to breeze through it if your memory has stored all the answers to the puzzles (mine isn’t that good anyway). I found the puzzles very tricky, but the game played very well, and is definitely a challenge. The story of the game is good, with a nice back-story told in a type of still-shot preview at the beginning of the game. If you play through multiple times you can of course, skip this movie, but I recommend watching it at least once.
Another nice feature of the game is several instances of the graphics are animated, giving you a little more realism, like glowing eyes that blink, or a glowing orb pulsating with energy, this adds more to the imagination of the player, along with the graphical imagery on screen.
In the end I enjoyed this game, and while I have not finished it yet, I am certain this game will take many of my free hours, as I plan to eventually finish “Shadowgate”. I am in no rush, as a game this enjoyable should be enjoyed at a leisurely pace, so you will take in all the glorious visuals and amazing story that it has to offer.
Zojoi is a small gaming company, tucked into the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains of central Virginia and led by industry veterans Karl Roelofs and Dave Marsh. The duos first title, Shadowgate, premiered on the upstart Apple Macintosh in 1987 and became an instant classic, helping to define the first-person adventure genre. They went on to port Shadowgate and the other “MacVentures” (Déjà vu, Déjà vu II, The Uninvited) to no less than 10 platforms including the NES and Color Gameboy. Zojoi is devoted to bringing both the original games and new games based on these and other exciting properties to many gaming platforms!