Tag Archives: PC Adventure Games

Runaway: A Road Adventure

Publisher: Dinamic Multimedia
Developer: Pendulo Studios
Year: 2001
Platform: Windows, iOS

I think I am going to write a review now of the game Runaway: A Road Adventure. Yes! That is what I am going to do. I’ll put my fingers on the keys and type out words that describe my feelings about this game! For starters, I will tell you about the plot. Runaway was originally developed in Spain, by guys who obviously like Tim Schafer’s work on Full Throttle. I also liked Tim Schafer’s work on Full Throttle. This game emulates that one in style and graphics. However, what this game has is a stripper! Yes, a real live one, who escapes from the mob after watching her father get killed. However, during her escape, she gets hit by a car driven by Brian, a college student on his way to Berkeley. After helping her escape the hospital, she convinces him to let her tag along and solve a mystery as to why her father was killed. Sounds like fun, don’t ya think?

I really liked the concept of this game to begin with. And I’ll tell you why I liked the concept. There’s a nerdy college student, a stripper, and the mob. Though, I probably already told you that, how could this game not be great with that formula? You control Brian (that’s the main character played by you), and you get to pick up lots of random items and use them to solve puzzles! However, I didn’t like the puzzles. I’ll tell you why I didn’t like the puzzles. There are many objects very hard to find, so you spend a lot of time searching pixels instead of solving anything. Also, sometimes Brian will (realistically) not pick up an item until he has a use for it. But then sometimes, he will just pick up a random item (like a poker) hoping he can use it sometime later. I will tell you one more reason why I didn’t like the puzzles. Brian will often have an item that would easily solve a particular problem he is having, but when he tries to use that item, he is not able to. Not only that, a reason isn’t given! So Brian must find the really bizarre solution to the problem that involves tricks MacGyver wouldn’t even try. Wow, who would think one could write so much about puzzles!

Runaway: A Road Adventure Windows A very strange laboratory

The stripper–by the way her name is Gina–is cute and nice, but unfortunately, I didn’t like the way she is used in the game. I bet you want to know why, too. I didn’t like the way she is used in the game because she never actually does anything except get in trouble or get injured. So what I am trying to say is that she was just eye candy, a plot device to make the game more appealing. And, if I’m being perfectly honest, she didn’t really have that great of a personality. So that is what I think about Gina.

I will tell you one thing I did like about the game, and that is the cut scenes. I really liked the cut scenes because the graphics were nice and the underlying plot was kind of fun. But that’s all I have to say about the cut scenes.

Runaway: A Road Adventure Windows A shot of the thugs chasing Brian and Gina.

Finally, I should summarize my feelings about Runaway. So, to summarize, I will tell you that an interesting plot is made boring by uneven and mostly uninteresting puzzles along with uneven and mostly poor acting. Those are the feelings I have about this game, so you can probably guess that I will not be rushing out to play the sequel any time soon! Well, that was fun writing that review. I sure hope you enjoyed it too!

Disclaimer: The entire review was written exactly the way Brian talks, which may be the primary reason I loathe this game. Unfortunately, I don’t know whether to blame the original script writers or the translators. Amazingly, I seem to be one of the few people who feels this way, as this game is generally held in high regard.

Star Trek: The Next Generation: A Final Unity

Publisher: Spectrum Holobyte
Developer: Spectrum Holobyte
Year: 1995
Platform: DOS; Macintosh

With characters, actors, visuals, and sounds straight from one of my favorite television shows, I figured this game would have a hard time displeasing me. But it missed on all cylinders, and probably needs a new warp drive to boot.

In A Final Unity, you find the Enterprise unwillingly involved in a Garidian civil war and later in a race with the Garidians and Romulans to discover the power behind the mythological Unity Device. Several missions await, and on the way you run into Ferengi, Klingons, Vulcans, and a few new alien species. The plot is dished out slowly and effectively in gameplay and cut scenes, culminating in a satisfying end game reminiscent of Judgement Rites.

Star Trek: The Next Generation - A Final Unity DOS A zoological society governed by females.

Sadly, the plot is the only redeeming quality of the game outside from what the show itself brought to the table. The ship interface is downright maddening. The battle station and engineering are simultaneously slow and confusing, let alone uninteresting. While you can leave the controls up to Worf and La Forge, respectively, I was left yearning for the system in the Interplay games, which says a lot. Navigation is damn near impossible when the game doesn’t automatically set the course and speed for you.  You’re given a three-dimensional view of space, and discerning between sectors, neutral zones, and nebulae is a puzzle in itself. Finally, Starfleet gives many vague orders that are misleading at times. Sometimes, the plot advances simply by waiting for an indefinite period of time, with little clue that waiting, is in fact, what advances the game.

If that were all, I could forgive this section of the game. But away team missions are not much better. You can take any member of the crew on your away teams, and who you take matters very little, most of the time. Each crew member is given a ton of generic responses to every possible action and are not always in character. Who you control on the away mission is also usually irrelevant, and more or less is up to whose voice you’d rather hear at that moment. And while there are some conversation trees, there are rarely consequences for saying the wrong things until the end game, where you must control Picard. The puzzles themselves are fine, with some creative and original ideas and some clunkers. Regardless, some of the puzzles simply involve, again, too much waiting.

Star Trek: The Next Generation - A Final Unity DOS Romulan Warbirds closing in.

Yet, all of these faults pale in comparison to the most glaring atrocity in A Final Unity. The series was a veritable joy to watch week in and week out for two reasons.  The first one, intelligent and engaging stories, is present. But there was hardly an episode of TNG where I wasn’t laughing out loud on several occasions. There was a sense of humour underlining nearly every story, and sadly, there is absolutely nothing worthy of a laugh, or even a smile, in this game. Riker makes no mention of his exploits with women.  Data doesn’t ramble off his thesaurus nor makes any social faux-paus. Worf doesn’t even get to say, “Klingons do not play video games!” In short, the characters, while having the voices of their original actors, had none of the charm or personality. A significant reason for my enjoyment of 25th Anniversary and Judgment Rites was how well the writers embodied the characters and integrated them into the story. The rivalry between Bones and McCoy was there, as well as Scottie’s pleas in vain about the damage to engineering. And William Shatner’s overacting was funny enough on its own accord. I was hoping that perhaps Wesley Crusher could make an appearance so Picard could belt out, “Get the boy off my bridge!”  But, alas.

If you are a hard-core fan of Star Trek, you will probably enjoy this game, at least to some degree. But I found this adventure, despite the few positives, an insult to the fans.

Space Quest IV: Roger Wilco And The Time Rippers

Year: 1991
Designer: Mark Crowe & Scott Murphy

One one would think that taking a previously hilarious science fiction character and throwing him into a time travel story would be the easiest formula for success, but Space Quest IV is one of the laziest adventure games I have ever played, putting me to sleep even with a walkthrough at hand.

Roger Wilco, per usual, is gloating about his success in the previous Space Quest games when he’s captured by Vohaul’s goons. At the last minute, he’s saved by some mysterious men and zapped headlong into Space Quest XII, in the middle of his now desolate home planet. After figuring out where he is, Roger must thwart events happening in the future (a la Marty and Doc), save his own skin, and get back to his own time. All along, he’ll be traveling to other Space Quest games to do so, trying to avoid Vohaul’s police force.


Sadly, most of what happens during the game feels more like it belongs to Leisure Suit Larry’s universe than Roger’s (including an over the top narrator). Very few of the game’s puzzles relate to science fiction, and are often tacky and obtuse (which also describes the graphics), including some unbelievably boring arcade games (e.g. making burgers!). Worse yet, many of the puzzles require extensive backtracking; I think I spent more time walking from one place to another than I did interacting with the game world. The only interesting diversion is a trip to Ulence Flats from Space Quest 1, but this excursion lasts only a few short minutes.

When Sierra updated their engines for point’n’click play, their games in every one of their long-standing series temporarily suffered (even Police Quest 3, which I enjoyed). It was as if the designers and producers spent so much time playing with their new toy that they forgot what made their games great in the first place. Roger Wilco and the Time Rippers isn’t quite as awful as tomorrow’s entry, but the diminishing return on your IQ will be about the same after playing. I can’t recommend this game to anyone, even to fans of the series.


Publisher: Atari
Developer: Quantic Dream
Year: 2005
Platform: Windows; Playstation 2; Xbox; Xbox 360


That was my reaction after completing this adventure. To be honest, that was my reaction about every fifteen minutes while playing. About two or three times a decade I play a game that blows my mind with its innovation and storytelling.  This is one of those games.

The movie-like introduction carries you through New York City to a little diner where you see one man murder another in cold blood, right there in the restroom.  The murderer is you, Lucas Kane. The game takes off from there, and while it’s obvious that Lucas, in a trance, was being controlled by something else during the murder, there isn’t any time to worry about that at the moment. A cop is drinking coffee just outside, and you have to figure out how to get out of there without being caught.

The premise is good enough in its own right, but the way the game treats your predicament is where Fahrenheit really shines. Do you want to bolt out of there and head for the subway tunnel? Or do you want to clean things up, wash your hands, hide the murder weapon, and casually stroll out of the diner? Either way, you only have a few minutes, and nearly every action you take has repercussions later. Bolt out of there frantically, and your mood meter drops (and if it drops too low, Lucas will commit suicide or go insane). Cleaning everything up will improve your mood, but it’ll give you less time to escape the police. And the witnesses will remember everything you did and report it to the police accordingly.

Speaking of the police, you’ll also be playing Carla Valenti and Miles Tyler who are investigating the crime. You can switch between the two officers most any time, and they’ll provide different information based on the way they investigate. You’ll also play as Lucas’ brother Markus, a priest who will struggle between his faith in his Lord and his faith in his brother. Sometimes, the game will have you debating over how hard you should follow a character’s motivations, because you know it’s in direct conflict with another character you control. All four are developed very well, and I cared about all of them to some extent while playing. The performances (including the supporting cast) look as natural as you’ll see in a computer game, and the narration itself blends seamlessly with each scene.

Throughout the game, Lucas will be learning about what happened, trying to gain the trust of his brother and avoiding the police. The police will be doing their best to find Lucas. And while Fahrenheit was not billed as a pure adventure, it really has what I think most adventurers are pining for. People have realistic motivations. Puzzles are in the form of game-related problems; none are inappropriate to the situation at hand. Some require strategic planning, such as distracting guards to make it through an area. There is no inventory, though you will pick up objects at times and use them shortly thereafter. And, bless their hearts, you can actually die in this game. Not only that, puzzles have multiple solutions, with some leaving you better off in the long run. There are even three different endings.

However, the designers added an action element to the game which is going to appeal to some and turn off (if not completely alienate) others. Many scenes require quick reflexes and hand-eye coordination, such as playing a pick-up basketball game, or diving away from police cruisers. The game will flash a “GET READY!” sign before presenting you with two Simon-esque patterns. For example, it will quickly flash a sequence of lights that you must copy in order to successfully complete that action sequence. There are three difficulty levels, and the easier the setting, the less of the sequence you have to perform correctly to move on. In some scenes, you have to perform anywhere from ten to twenty of these sequences in rapid succession, all while trying to watch what’s going on in the background. Furthermore, there are other scenes (such as pulling someone up from the edge of a balcony, or balancing on a high beam), where you must alternately mash two buttons for a predetermined length of time to complete the sequence.

From what I’ve read, these action scenes are very difficult using a keyboard and mouse, so I took the advice of other reviewers and bought myself a dual analog joystick, in my case, the Logitech Rumblepad 2. So yeah, I also got to enjoy the controller vibrating in my hands during intense moments. For me, these parts of the game were exhilarating.  I had the difficulty setting on medium and managed to make it through without ever dying (though I did die in other scenes where button-mashing wasn’t required), but I have excellent hand-eye coordination.  I was also able to enjoy the scenes in the background while still focusing on the button mashing. Many people will have a hard time with this, even on the game’s easy setting. If the sound of this turns you off, or if simple action games like Super Mario Bros. gave you fits, you’ll probably become frustrated with Fahrenheit on the whole and should probably avoid it.

I could nitpick this game all day long (e.g. how can these guys be outside when the weather is 70 degrees below zero and not have their exposed skin freeze instantly?), but the only real quibble I have is with the conversation system. Conversations happen in real time, so there’s no pausing for two minutes to figure out what you want to say.  When a player asks you a question, a list of two to four responses will appear on the screen, and you must select one before the timer runs out. If you don’t select anything, the players will continue to talk on their own. While the game won’t let you miss anything vital to completing the game, you’ll miss out on quite a few helpful details if you don’t participate.  The frustrating aspect is that oftentimes your choice of responses are condensed to single words.  Sometimes their meaning is obvious. I could figure out that Suspect/Bizarre meant “Did you see anything bizarre about the suspect?” But I had no idea that News meant “So is there anything new in your life lately?” It’s hard to make appropriate choices when you’re not sure what your choices even are.

Obviously, the game has a ton of replay value, as there are thousands of ways the game can be played out. Granted, most of the differences are just in the details, as no matter what choices you make, the plot eventually pigeonholes you into just a few different ending sequences. But it is the fine attention to these details that makes Fahrenheit such a delight. And you don’t have to start the game over just to see something you missed. You can replay any chapter you like and experiment with different conversations and actions. Of course, I wanted to check out all of the fun ways to kill Lucas. And trust me, there are plenty of ways to do that! Many have complained about the endgame for its sudden and bizarre plot twist, and I can’t say I disagree. But I did enjoy the final boss battle and all three endings just the same, so it didn’t ruin my enjoyment.

The soundtrack is above average, though at times is just a little cheesy. The graphics are wonderful, with obvious inspiration from The Matrix. Character movement is about as realistic as I’ve seen in an adventure game, with facial details a marked improvement over other engines. Switching camera angles and moving the guys around takes a while to get used to, but is not too clumsy. The game is rated Mature for strong language, violence, adult themes, and sexual situations. To keep that mature rating in America (retitled Indigo Prophecy), they removed some non-gratuitous sex scenes. Apparently, animated nipples are more impressionable than brutal, gory murders.

If you like your games to have a little action and a little tension, but are still primarily told with narrative and dialogue rather than guns, then I can’t recommend Fahrenheit enough.

Contemporary RatingHigh.

Cruelty RatingMerciful. You always get taken back to the beginning of a scene if you die.

Heart of China

Publisher: Sierra
Developer: Dynamix
Year: 1991
Platform: DOS; Amiga; Macintosh

Review: Dynamix took everything great about Rise of the Dragon and nearly perfected it for their second adventure game. You play pilot Jake Masters (though Indiana Jones would fit as well) of a touring company in the Far East. The only blemish Mr. Masters has on his record is an acquiring debt with his creditor E.A. Lomax, a ruthless businessman out of New York and currently stationed in Honk Kong. Lomax gives Masters an ultimatum: save his daughter Kate who is in the hands of the Chinese in Chengdu and his debt will be cleared. Refuse Lomax’s offer, and well, let’s just say Masters can’t refuse the offer.

In Honk Kong, Masters finds Zhao Chi, a masterful ninja who offers to help Masters. Of course, Masters knows he needs no help, but lets him tag along anyway. Saving Kate in China is just the beginning of the adventure as you travel to several different cities, trying to get back to Paris where Mr. Lomax will be waiting for you.

Heart of China is a captivating game. Every character is fully developed, making the player feel for the heroes and hate the villains (and sometimes vice versa). Conversation is realistic. As in the game’s predecessor, what you say can come back to help or haunt you later. A romantic story develops with believable sexual tension and humour. The graphics are superb, and the sound is appropriate and lively most of the time.

Even the plot develops as the game progresses, which is a rare treat in the adventure genre. You can play all three main characters at various times, and discover plot branches that give you a completely alternate path to proceed through that part of the game. Along with three distinct endings based upon the relationships you develop (or destroy) throughout, the replay value is high.

My only major gripe about this game is the same one I had with Dynamix’s first offering.  The arcade sequences simply do not fit.  While the first one is marginally enjoyable, the second one (which literally ends the game)  is a clunky mess that ruins the tempo of the ending. Blissfully, you are given an opportunity to skip them if you fail a certain number of times, but that’s certainly anticlimactic.

Despite the arcade debacle, Heart of China is easily one of my favorite games and is one that I have gone back to on more than one occasion. If you love Indiana Jones, then this game should be on your must-play list.

Contemporary RatingLow. The arcade sequences along with some occasional confusion manipulating inventory items would likely irritate some.

Cruelty Rating: Nasty. There are a few times you can make the game unwinnable, sometimes obviously, sometimes not.  However, the game never allows you to become walking dead for long, as it becomes obvious pretty quickly you’ve goofed.  Regular saving should allow you to explore and enjoy various paths and dead ends without getting frustrated.

Full Throttle

Publisher: LucasArts
Developer: LucasArts
Year: 1995
Platform: DOS; Windows; Macintosh

Whenever I smell asphalt, I think of Maureen. That’s the last sensation I had before I blacked out; that thick smell of asphalt. She said she’d fix my bike. Free. No strings attached. I should’ve known then that things were never that simple. Yeah, when I think of Maureen, I think of two things: Asphalt, and trouble.

Review: That’s the first line of narration in Full Throttle, in the deep, gravelly voice of Roy Conrad, as Ben of the Polecats biker gang. He narrates over a beautifully shot 2-D road sequence as the credits roll, giving the player the immediate feeling that it just won’t be a game, but an experience. And an experience it is.

You play as Ben, who quickly becomes involved in a conspiracy, being framed for murder by some powerful people who’d just as well like to see biker gangs disappear altogether. Though you’re left for dead, you manage to survive and go on pursuit to straighten out the mess.  On the way, you meet a handful of characters, who may or may not be helpful (and you won’t always know until much later!), and are veered through some plot twists, all the while solving puzzles.

If there’s anything that hurts this game it is the puzzles. There are many, and quite a few of them are there for puzzle’s sake and nothing else.  While nearly everything is humorous, or at least amusing, one can only take so many pointless diversions. You’ll know what I mean when you are forced to collect Energizer bunnies to clear a path through a mine field(!). There are also a few arcade sequences, one of them painfully irritating, though original. Much to my delight, the player can die in this game (though rarely), but Ben is automatically restored to a point shortly before his death to give the player another shot.

What makes this game a classic is the writing, the best I can remember. Tim Schafer ably makes us feel for the protagonist, and despite his aggressive tendencies, gives him a personality that reaches far beyond the cliché persona. And the dialogue is consistently engaging and genuinely funny. To wit:

Ben: Why’d your dad keep you a secret for so long?
Maureen Corley: He didn’t want people to find out about my mom.
Ben: What was wrong with Mrs. Corley?
Maureen Corley: She wasn’t my mom.
Ben: Ah.

The dialogue is made even better by the believable acting throughout. Mark Hamill continues to amaze me with his voice talent, and here he plays the bad guy, Adrian Ripburger, in an unrecognizable performance. But it’s Roy Conrad that makes the game. Even the “You can’t do that” messages are a non-issue, as Ben gives simple, yet clear remarks (in character) to let the player know to try something else. And several Easter eggs and in-jokes are competently weaved into gameplay for LucasArts fans.

All of this is complemented by a soundtrack rivaled by only The Dig in sheer quality. San Francisco band The Gone Jackals provides most of the music, with all original songs that capture the atmosphere to perfection. The soundtrack Bone to Pick is available on their website and has sold many copies. Also, a Richard Wagner composition is slid in neatly as well as a catchy and hilarious country-western ditty called “Increased Chances.”

To top it off, the ending pays homage to overblown action movies but surprisingly doesn’t resort to trite dialogue or closure that infests many games (and movies, for that matter). Anyone who considers themselves a fan of adventure games must play Full Throttle.

Contemporary RatingMedium. Some tedious puzzles is all.

Cruelty RatingMerciful. All deaths are remedied by the game.

Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers

Developer: Sierra
Year: 1993
Platform: DOS; Windows; Macintosh

Review: Near the height of Sierra’s peak in the gaming industry they were releasing copious amounts of sequels to the games that made them famous. But in 1993, Jane Jensen began a new series, and in this author’s opinion, created the best game Sierra developed.

You play Gabriel Knight, a New Orleans writer and owner of a failing bookstore. “Employing” a young post-grad, Grace Nakamura, to run the shop while you grimace with writer’s block, there is little to look forward to in life except philandering. The headlines are barraged with stories regarding the “Voodoo Murders,” a series of mutilations that appear to be a part of ritualistic cult. Your friend Detective Mosely lets you in on parts of the case to help you write your new book about Voodoo, and even reluctantly turns a blind eye to your own personal investigation of the murders the NOPD cannot solve.

While the game includes a comic book prelude to the plot, it gives away very little of the gaming experience. The pacing is brilliant, with a believable timeline and healthy doses of tension and humour. Gabriel’s relationships with his family and friends are genuine and deep, even though he has difficulty coping with his emotions. The story itself is fascinating, with several plot twists (mostly acceptable), and rich in detail and culture. I practically wanted to visit New Orleans after completing the game.

Sins Of The Fathers executes Sierra’s best implementation of the point’n’click system. Rather than four icons at Gabriel’s disposal, you now have eight, all with distinct and purposeful functions. The game differentiates between merely talking to a person and interrogating them about certain topics. Thankfully, you don’t have to take notes as the game saves all conversations for you. Unfortunately, the interrogation process can be painful; you are given a list of topics you can speak to each character about, and as you learn more in the game, more topics become available.  What this leads to is revisiting the same places dozens of times to see if a topic subject has appeared on the approved list.

What makes this whole process tolerable is the excellent voice acting by the game’s many characters. Tim Curry plays Gabriel. At first, I was turned off by his cocky drawl, but the longer I played the game, the more I became addicted to the personality Curry gives Gabriel. Michael Dorn also does a fine job as a Voodoo store clerk, and Mark Hamill gives a believable performance as Detective Mosely.

The game’s puzzles can be contrived at times, but usually fit seamlessly into the plot anyway. A few are also pointlessly difficult. What, if anything, holds this game back is the precise order you must complete all of your tasks in.  While the game employs Sierra’s time advance system, cutting things nicely into several days of action, it rarely allows the player to differentiate from the predetermined path. This creates stagnancy when the player is stuck on one minor puzzle, which a game should never do if the focus is on story and atmosphere.

To wrap up, the graphics and sound are brilliant, and the series of events that lead to the end of the game are superbly written and pack a wallop of intensity. Any serious fan of adventure games must play Sins Of The Fathers.

Contemporary RatingMedium. The constant revisiting of the same places annoyed me, so I’m sure it would annoy modern gamers.

Cruelty RatingPolite. Yeah, a Sierra game that isn’t cruel!  The few times you can die, it should be pretty obvious to save before hand.

Star Trek: Judgment Rites

Publisher: Interplay
Developer: Interplay
Year: 1993
Platform: DOS

Review: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Interplay obviously took this to heart when creating the sequel to 25th Anniversary. They changed virtually nothing about the setup, and once again were able to get all of the actors from the show to reprise their roles.

However, Judgment Rites elevates to legendary status with a few key additions. First, while the fighting interface remains difficult, it is now optional, a sigh of relief for those who dislike action or mediocre controls. Second, while the story begins a little slow, the plot has been tightened and leads to one truly satisfying end game. It is difficult to find a flaw in this adventure.

Sidebar: Doesn’t Majel Barrett have space’s most beautiful voice? She provides the voice of the Enterprise computer and I searched extensively for every computer entry just to hear her. As a bonus, the computer references plot points from the prequel and from the original television show.

Contemporary RatingHigh. While the battle system would annoy modern gamers, it’s entirely skippable, and there’s nothing in the rest of the game that isn’t awesome.

Cruelty RatingPolite.

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis

Publisher: LucasArts
Developer: LucasArts
Year: 1992
Platform: DOS; Windows; Amiga; FMTowns; Macintosh

Review: One of the first adventure games to utilize the concept of plot branches, this Indy title presents an intriguing story while staying true to the canon’s charm and style. With the help of professor Sophia Hapgood, you take Indiana Jones on an adventure through Africa and Europe to locate the mythical sub-aquatic city.

The introduction is absolutely stunning, as you guide Indy through some silly hijinx at the university while opening credits roll.  You really do feel like this could be a movie were it on the big screen. But what really grabbed me was the voice acting (on the CD version, which is a must have). Doug Lee, who plays Indy, does a marvelous job at capturing his quiet, yet cocky bravado. He doesn’t quite sound like Harrison Ford, but one couldn’t ask for a better job here. And Jane Jacobs, who plays Sophia, is also fabulous, eliciting a sexy and smart personality from her pixelated heroine.

Gameplay is fairly standard for a LucasArts game, intuitive with moderate difficulty. What raises the bar is the branch at the halfway mark, where you can decide upon three different paths to reach the ending (with two of them having Indy ditch Sophia!). And like the Last Crusade, aggression is an option for those truly wanting the game to match the intensity of the movies. The separate paths cross often, though puzzles are modified to fit the circumstances, and the endgame is the same no matter what. Still, when the gameplay is this engrossing, it takes few excuses to get me play it again, which I have done once already and hope to do so again.

While a couple sections drag on for a spell, I can really find nothing negative to say about Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. Sadly, it appears to be the last true adventure for this beloved character. But what a way to go.

Contemporary Rating: High. None of the frustrations of the prequel.

Cruelty RatingPolite.

Death Gate

Publisher: Legend
Developer: Legend
Year: 1994
Platform: DOS

Review: The first Legend game to eschew typing and implement strictly the point’n’click interface, Death Gate succeeds admirably in creating a captivating and moderately difficult fantasy adventure that almost anyone can enjoy. Based on the Death Gate Cycle short stories by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, the game designers managed to take many elements from those stories and use them to create a foundation for their adventure. Never does the game feel like a translation, and you certainly do not need to read the stories to enjoy the game. Following is the summary from Moby Games:

Two thousand years ago, the Sartan split the world into five realms. The mensch races – the humans, dwarves, and elves – were split between four of those worlds named for the four elements, and your race, the Patryn, was banished to the deadly Labrynth. After those two thousand years, some of the Patryn have found their way through the Labrynth’s exit. It is your job to sail through the Death Gate into each of the other worlds to find each world’s seal piece, so that your race may reconstruct the planet and have revenge on the Sartan.

The story is one of revenge and reunification and there are many plot twists (though mostly obvious) along the way. Magic is used extensively and often in very clever fashions never seen before in adventure gaming. Most puzzles range from easy to fairly challenging, though none are unfair and are usually interesting in their own right, and fit within the context. Rarely do puzzles feel contrived or pointless. While no puzzles have multiple solutions, you are often given appropriate feedback as to why your solution is not the correct one, with a pat on the back from the designers for your thoughtful try. I never felt insulted by the game’s interface, which is very easy to use but often requires critical thinking. One puzzle near the end of the game that involves conquering your own double had me absolutely giddy when I solved it, and is one of my favorites of all-time.

The graphics are mostly well-drawn still frames, though there are some decent movies. The voice acting is superb; however, the dialogue gets stale in many places and sometimes goes on forever. Despite the simple writing, the story behind it is consistently engaging, more than making up for its faults. The ending is a little weak, but on the spectrum of adventure game endings, is not all that bad.

You do not need to be a fan of fantasy novels to enjoy Death Gate, and any adventure game connoisseur should have this one in their library.

You get to play as a dog, too!

Contemporary RatingHigh. The game tries really hard to be accommodating to all players.  It was obviously beta-tested really well.

Cruelty RatingPolite.