There's good news and there's bad news regarding the graphic adventure game Death Gate. Fortunately, the good news outweighs the bad and even the bad isn't a result of quality but of quantity. The true strength of Death Gate lies in the marvelous original story based on the richly evolved Drangonlance series written by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. It's a compelling, enchanting story about a young hero faced with the daunting prospect of saving his world and people from imprisonment caused by the nasty Sartan race. By journeying throughout the land on a perilous quest of discovery, your character's ultimate goal is to find five pieces of the World Seal which have been scattered throughout the realm by the Sartan's and by reuniting them, destroy the wicked Death Gate that keeps the kingdom separated and restore peace and tranquillity to the land. The major weakness is simply that the adventure is too short. Considering that to be the main flaw speaks well of the rest of the game.
As in most adventure games, Death Gate relies on puzzles and plot twists to tell the story. A refreshing aspect of the puzzles here is the logic behind them (and there are plenty to deal with). You'll have to reach solutions by paying attention to everything happening in the game and then organize your observations into a meaningful conclusion. The minor downside to this is that a few of the puzzles may actually seem easy because they are so logical and thus don't require inordinate amounts of wasted time clicking on everything in sight hoping to luck into the solution. Any fan of the genre knows this is not the usual way. Why? Because it doesn't add length to the game. Death Gate is relatively short (for most novice gamers probably not much more than 40-50 hours tops) compared to many graphic adventures but, again, that's a product of efficiency and design that eliminates the ploy of prolonging a game artificially. In this case, quality surpasses quantity.
The interface in Death Gate is a seamless point and click affair. The game, as might be expected considering the subject and influences, uses a great deal of text to move the story along (and you'll have to read every bit of it to make sure you get all the ammunition you need to solve the puzzles). In fact, very little in the way of arcade action or animations occurs on the screen other than object manipulation. However, the relatively few animation cut scenes that are included are exceptionally well done. Death Gate is mostly a cerebral exercise, designed to involve the gamer in a solid story with logical interaction of objects and it's large cast of interesting and appealing characters. The gorgeous graphical background art and 3-D effects are complemented extremely well by excellent voice acting and a befitting musical score that enhances game play and atmosphere. This shouldn't be news to fans of most Legend Entertainment games. Death Gate is a worthwhile and satisfying gaming adventure.
Graphics: Beautifully rendered game environment with crisp, clear art that sets the tone and mood for the story perfectly.
Sound: Voice acting far surpasses that normally found in the genre. Good musical score complements the game and sound effects are sensibly mixed with the story.
Enjoyment: Great story with superb game design that allows the story to unfold at a nice pace. Rich cast of characters, good range of puzzles from easy to hard and solid visuals and audio.
Replay Value: Maybe just to look at the graphics again, but, as is the case in most adventures, nothing new to be gained by replay.
Two thousand years ago, an advanced race known as 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 the race of Patryn was banished to the deadly Labyrinth. After those two thousand years, some of the Patryn have found their way through the Labyrinth's exit. The game's protagonist is a young Patryn named Haplo, and his mission, given to him by his lord Xar, is to sail through the Death Gate into each of the other worlds to find each world's seal piece, so that the Patryn may reconstruct the planet and have revenge on the Sartan.
Death Gate is an adventure game that follows the tradition of interactive fiction with graphics. The entire game is viewed from first-person perspective and has plenty of text interaction through selectable verb commands, text descriptions, and dialogues with multiple choices. There are also many puzzles in the game, most of them inventory-based. A unique gameplay feature is Haplo's ability to cast magic spells, which are essential for solving many of the game's puzzles.
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