For a long time, Gold Rush! was a game that I longed for. When I was younger, it appeared on the back of all my Sierra quest titles but by the time I could afford to buy it, it had mysteriously vanished from the shelves. What happened? The game disappeared along with Manhunter NY, destined to become a classic.
Almost ten years later, I happened upon a large collection of Sierra games including Gold Rush!. Although its hard to appreciate the graphics as much as I once may have, it is still an impressive title for its time.
For EGA graphics, they're very well done. I'm surprised Gold Rush! didn't receive as much acclaim as King's Quest, Space Quest, Police Quest and the other Sierra quest titles, despite being extremely similar.
The settings really draw you into the game. Stagecoaches actually move down the street at the beginning of the game, and the homes are authentic to the time-period.
The tunes of Gold Rush! include "Oh Suzannah!" which embodies the era, and fits the game perfectly.
The storyline was sound, although I did have some problems the first few times I played. At the beginning, you receive a letter and this starts you on your journey. I wandered around town lost, never receiving the letter. This is the only complaint I have about Gold Rush! (and the Quest titles). One plot hitch (even a minor one) and you're stuck dead in your tracks.
Overall, an enjoyable game. Definately should have received more praise than it did.
Graphics: Great use of EGA
Sound: Memorable, toe-tapping tunes
Enjoyment: Fun as long as you don't mind getting stuck on little minor details.
Replay Value: Once you play it once, there's really no point in doing it again.
In Gold Rush!, Jerrod Wilson (the player) receives a letter from his long-lost brother (who fled the city years before when was hastily accused and convicted of a crime he didn't commit) asking him to join in Sacramento, California. If that's not enough for Jerrod sell everything and give his hometown Brooklyn a fond adieu, under the stamp was one of the first nuggets of Californian gold seen in the Atlantic shores of the United States. So, Jerrod bids farewell to his peaceful life as a newspaper editor, and becomes a fore-runner in the the great Gold Rush of 1849, hoping to find his brother and "strike gold" (literally).
Released late into the lifespan of Sierra's AGI engine, Gold Rush! features some tricks not seen before the more advanced SCI engine, such as enlarged characters, but it is best known for the three routes available to reach California: by land, travel by boat to reach the Atlantic shore of Panama, cross the isthmus, and then get a second boat in the Pacific shore, or making the dangerous all-boat trip by Cape Horn. Each route has it's dangers: Cholera might strike as you make your way across the Northern states or your boat might sink.. As usual with Sierra adventures, instant killing happens if the player is careless, but will also happen at random. Other important (and innovative) concept is the game being timed. If Jerrod takes too long to leave Brooklyn, passages to California increase in price, and his house devalues.
Even though Sierra made Gold Rush back in 1988, it's still a classic I really wish they'd make a sequel to. The storyline is fresh and interesting and seems like a Monkey Island in the Old West or even an older version of Sierra's later western game, Freddy Pharkas.
The story follows the misadventures of a city slicker named Jerrod Wilson. A journalist for a Brooklyn newspaper, Jerrod's main goal in life is to go to California and find his long-lost brother who has been accused of a crime he didn't commit. Jerrod also hopes to find gold, become rich, and settle down with the lady of his dreams. It is up to you to help Jerrod accomplish his goals. He'll face many dangers in the Old West, so keep on your toes in order to protect him from danger. The game contains three different paths, but you'll have to find them for yourself as I don't want to spoil the game for you.
Game play is the same as all of Sierra's adventure games of the time. Examples include Space Quest, The Colonel's Bequest, and Quest for Glory. Use the arrow keys to move the character around; type 'get' to get, 'look' to look, etc; and use TAB to bring up the inventory. But beware, because like many Sierra games there are many ways to die. I recommend you save before doing something, so you get to see every hilarious dying scene. They are quite worth watching.
Puzzles are complex and difficult, but I always found that this was the best part of Sierra's games. Music and sound in the game are pretty good and give it an authentic Wild West feel.
I highly recommend this game to those who like Sierra games or any of the old adventure games.
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