I played a lot of Shadowgate when I got it back on the NES, mainly because I died constantly. I can even recite, from memory, what Death said to me every time I saw his grinning face since I ran into him so much. You’d think I wouldn’t be excited for the prospect of running into him again in the remake that’s coming from developer Zojoi, but having members of the original dev team who worked on it, and games like Deja Vu, has me pretty excited.
For those who don’t know what it is, Shadowgate is a point-and-click game with a brutal difficulty curve. Shadowgate was not big on telling you that your item combination didn’t work on that particular puzzle. Instead, it was more likely to burn you alive, impale you, crush you with rocks, or just throw you out a window so you knew that now wasn’t the time to use the item you chose. Also, the death descriptions were pretty graphic for the time, really letting you know the extent of your screw-up.
Still the graphics of the era didn’t really communicate how painful and bloody your death was, which is where the remake is coming in. It’s updating the still images from every screen and adding in many more, and each is a gorgeous painting. The devs have added some nice motion and really menacing looks to the game’s creatures as well. The new trailer looks great, and has some fantastic orchestral versions of the soundtrack to really give the game some presence. The new visuals and sound match the harsh, graphic content of the descriptions of the game from years ago, and I can’t help but feel that this is the definitive version the devs had in their heads when they first imagined it.
Drooling fans can play it right now in the Beta by pre-ordering it in the most expensive Hero tier for $24.99. It seems a bit much, but there are a lot of nice additions for people who really loved the series. Otherwise, just watch the trailer and wait for the horrible deaths that are to come!