Traitor's Gate is a game best suited for gamers who possess that rare quality -- a wealth of patience! Personally, it felt some of the puzzles in the game had been painstakingly constructed to go beyond "difficult" and approached "insane challenge" level. My first, foremost and most functional recommendation is to save often. You never know when one little slip is going to bring the wrath of the jolly ol' English guards down on you.
Traitor's Gate is marketed as a title quite like Metal Gear Solid with stealth and subterfuge at every turn. Unfortunately, the box is quite deceptive and the title is more akin to Metal Gear Solid meets Myst in Macromedia.
The environments in Traitor's Gate are beautifully detailed. The production crew was actually allowed access to certain parts of the Tower of London to take photographs to render for the game. Even so, while some of the Tower is based on these photos, much of it is false. The sewer, for instance, has been completely fabricated along with any high-security sections.
While DreamCatcher obviously attempted to capture some of the excitement of games such as Myst, Riven, 7th Guest and other point-and-click adventure games, something is missing from this one. The puzzles are either too difficult or too easy and there is just that intangible "something" that detracts from the game.
Gameplay in Traitor's Gate really doesn't appeal to me. I'm a huge fan of Thief: The Dark Project, Metal Gear Solid, Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six and other stealth-based games but the fact that all the action is entirely point-and-click driven really sabotages the overall feeling of anxiety. This game had enormous potential as a first-person game but fell short due to the aforementioned unexciting interface.
Traitor's Gate made me sit through some of the longest load times I've had in a while and involved an enormous amount of disk swapping. Someone in testing should have complained about this and suggested the programmers optimize the use of each disk. A constant requirement to change CDs is evidence of shoddy development practices.
The game does introduce some great gadgets with the Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) being my favorite. Should you get stuck on a puzzle, you can request help via the PDA (it receives e-mail and images) from Headquarters. On the other hand, HQ is not always so helpful (grumble).
Overall, Traitor's Gate is a game with potential for those who like to take things slow and be meticulous and who have the ability to overcome frustration. It's unfortunate so much effort clearly went into the game with the result being a lackluster presentation that is not enough to truly showcase its good qualities.
Graphics: The environments in Traitor's Gate are fantastic. The efforts of the developers in gaining security clearances to actually photograph parts of the Tower of London are commendable. The scenes have been nicely rendered. Puzzles, on the other hand, become far too complex thanks to needless clutter. Finding "code" words on a wall of intricate graffiti was too much. Macromedia content really was an eyesore in the game as the cut scenes and movies were very poorly done.
Sound: With many puzzles being sound-driven, you would expect to a higher rating in this category. Unfortunately, the music, a crucial part in building suspense and overall theme, is base and generic. Much of the time, there is no music at all and in a game like Traitor's Gate, where maintaining the player's attention is key, this is a serious omission of a powerful resource.
Enjoyment: The potential for a spy-op/espionage game is fantastic with games like Thief: The Dark Project, Thief II: The Metal Age, Metal Gear Solid and other "spy" games becoming instant bestsellers. Traitor's Gate moves at barely a crawl and failed to hold my interest early in the game.
Replay Value: Once the puzzles are solved and you've finished the game, it's a breeze. There is absolutely no reason to go back for more.
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