Review: Shadowgate 64 – Trials of the Four Towers (N64)

By Drew Wilson

Shadowgate 64 is a puzzle adventure game released on the N64. We take a look at this game and see how it plays out today for us.

Shadowgate 64 was released in 1999. It is one of the later iterations of the Shadowgate series. As of this writing, this is actually the latest part of the series even though there have been attempts to make another sequel.

The game centres around Del, a halfling whose caravan was attacked by thieves. You start the game being carried by the jailer. He eventually throws you into a cell. You get a chance to speak to the wizard before receiving a meal from the unhappy jailer. This is pretty much where you start your quest.

While it is in the first person perspective, there are very few enemies in this entire game. This doesn’t necessarily make this game a walk in the park. You have to solve a series of often difficult and sometimes dangerous tasks as you make your way through the four towers.

Unlike a number of other games, in this game, your character is actually quite fragile. One misstep or one wrong turn and you’ll end up dying.

If you are into a game that really challenges you, I would say this game is for you. Without a guide, I would often spend hours running back and forth trying to find the one item I am missing or the one person I should have spoken to. If you’re not following any sort of guide, you’ll probably eventually find yourself stuck sooner or later.

One thing I didn’t like about this game is that sometimes the items are extremely hard to find. It’s not that they are hidden in a clever nook or tucked away in a corner somewhere, it’s just that the item you are looking for has similar colours to it’s surroundings. A Rusty Key is one example of these items that can be difficult to see where it is located.

The graphics, I found, were a little below par for a game of this time. They weren’t completely hideous, but they weren’t exactly something to brag about either. The animations of the characters were quite stiff at times where there was only the movement of the head or a gesture of the arms or a small combination of the two. If you want a game with good graphics, there are better games to be had that were released at this time.

The music of this game takes a back seat. It’s there and it breaks up the silence on some parts of the game, but that’s all it does. There’s a song or two that’s nice to listen to, but if you get stuck in that level and you’ve been listening to the song for over an hour, it can get a little tiring at times. Luckily, by default, the music is low to begin with, so it isn’t grating on the ears. The sound effects, on the other hand, were actually quite well done. This is probably one of the strongest points in the game.

Overall, if you want a challenging puzzle game, this is actually a decent game to play. Is it an absolutely amazing game? Not in my opinion, but it is an interesting one to play for a few hours to see how far you get. without the help of a guide.

Overall

Furthest point in game: Without the guide, I retrieved the Stone of Thirst, but couldn’t figure out how to get back into the Disciples Tower to get the incantation. Beat the game with the guide.

General gameplay: 17/25
Replay value: 5/10
Graphics: 5/10
Audio: 4/5

Overall rating: 62%

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85



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