Shadowgate review - Nintendo Entertainment System
The evil Warlock Lord is up to no good again - and only you can stop him! Or at least that's the story the good Wizard Lakmir has told you. Lakmir used to be one of the most powerful wizards in the land, but one of their number spent many hours studying the Black Arts and one day found himself a magically superior, psychotic, deranged magic user. The forces of evil had claimed him for their own.
Lakmir's a tad on the worried side. The evil one has holed himself up in castle Shadowgate, working out some evil plan for universal domination. Mystical disturbances that only a wizard can understand lead Lakmir to believe that the Warlock Lord is attempting to raise the dreaded titan-like Behemoth (look that up in the dictionary) from the satanic abyss. As you can probably gather, such an evil combination would spell an end to the civilised world.
Wizard he may be but Lakmir is comparatively powerless against the likes of the Warlock Lord. This is where you come in, for legend tells of a brave knight descended from the kings who will seek out the Warlock Lord and put an end to his regime of terror. It's all up to you then, but Lakmir isn't asking you for your permission. One wave of his magic hands and you're standing in front of the gatehouse to castle Shadowgate... Good luck!
What the Mean Machines staff thought
I don't mind RPGs or adventures if they're any good, but Shadowgate is just plain boring and very, very, very frustrating. It takes an age just to move the pointer anywhere! Also the interaction with the game is limited to the commands at the bottom of the screen, which makes some of the solutions to the puzzles rather obscure and a tad bizarre too, like opening a skull to find a key (????). Open doors? Yes I can see that. Opening a skull, I don't think so, somehow. The graphics and sound are pretty dull too - in fact some of the music is hopelessly out of tune! Also, the amount of times the player kicks the bucket in a sudden death situation makes frustration set in almost immediately. Deranged adventure buffs may get some satisfaction out of this product, but after a few minutes of play, and about seventeen different kinds of gross and hideous deaths I didn't want to touch the cart again.
Aaaaaaaaaaggh! I hate this game. It's so-o-o-o frustrating I want to smash it up and then set all the pieces alight. "Playing" it involves struggling to solve puzzles that are made completely obscure by the hopelessly crap commands menu. Making progress even more annoying is the ultra-slow cursor, which moves like a slow-motion crippled slug in a sea of molasses. Another very irritating factor is that during the game there's never any warning of impending death - you're just dumped out of the game in seconds if you make one wrong move. And since it's very easy to make a simple mistake and die, you have to keep saving the game every ten seconds, which gets very tedious. Even the biggest adventure fans will find this a frustrating bore.
Laurie - 20 Jun 2008, 10:46 GMT
Although not a favourite with the Mean Machines crew, this game is surprisingly compulsive, albeit with a Game Genie. The slowness of the cursor and menu system, much reviled by Jazza, are surprisingly calming and suited to the game style. Moreover, the sound and graphics, bizarre as they are, create a unique atmosphere of foreboding. Perhaps the MM crew, accustomed as they were to that golden era of arcade and home video games, were in no fit state to persevere with a slow and frustrating game. Not the best RPG ever made but far better than 26% suggests.