Make no mistake: despite the obvious visual and audio overhaul, Shadowgate is still very much an old school (read: old) point-and-click adventure game that looks like itâs trying to be an RPG. But it is a remake of a 1987 classic, so thereâs also that.
An evil warlock is doing evil warlocky things and you get to single-handedly storm his living castle to put a stop to it. Or die trying. Thatâs the far more likely scenario, really. As with the original game, there are a lot of ways for you to mess up and die. Getting roasted by that dragon early on is probably the simplest example. But there are definitely more ways to fail/die.
Youâll want to save fairly often.
But newcomers fear not! When you begin a new game you can choose between playing a more âclassicâ version and one thatâs been updated with some of the creature comforts we often expect in more modern games – things like a hint system, a pop-up wheel of interaction options, etc. Having a talking skull walk you through some of the puzzles isnât as satisfying as figuring them out for yourself, of course. Still, itâs nice for newbies to have that option.
The most immediately noticeable change has to be the overall presentation, though. Especially the graphics, which include some really beautiful backgrounds and the occasional enemy. No, seriously, this game is extremely pretty. I canât drone on enough about how fantastic it looks (but Iâll try to anyway). Itâs almost like interacting with a series of fantasy paintings. The audio has also been updated of course, and it sounds really nice, but Iâm honestly in love with the graphical update quite a bit more.
As for actually playing Shadowgate, even with the updates itâs still a decidedly âolderâ game. Not to say that this is a bad thing, but it might catch you off guard if you arenât expecting it. The animations are sparse and fairly simple when theyâre there and some of the puzzles are a bit tough to intuit (if you donât call upon the talking skull for help, anyway). More than that, itâs honestly kind of slow.
Having a slower pace also isnât necessarily a bad thing. It builds the atmosphere well, and everything feels suitably oppressive. There are a lot of details to drink in, and you probably donât want to miss anything important. But itâs definitely not going to get your blood pumping with action-heavy moments. Granted itâs more of a point-and-click adventure game at its core, so the lack of high octane thrills isnât exactly a surprise, but it doesnât exactly look like an adventure game from the screen shots so just be aware, I guess.
Really though, I think Shadowgate is a solid upgrade to the original adventure. It looks and sounds great, can be just as brutal or a little less brutal than it once was, and can be quite the nostalgia trip even with all the upgrades. So long as you know what youâre getting into (and youâre okay with that, naturally) I think itâs a journey worth taking.
And probably failing at more than a few times. đ