Shadowgate (NES)

Shadowgate was developed and published by Kemco for the NES in 1989.


Shadowgate is a 1987 point and click adventure that is one of the four MacVenture games for the Macintosh (along with Deja Vu I and II as well as Uninvited). It is the third game of the group and is the medieval-themed one. It was later ported for the NES in 1989.

Shadowgate’s storyline is vague and explained by bits of lore during the gameplay. As soon as the game start on the first screen, a wizard known as Lakmir sends the player (a male lord) to the walls of Castle Shadowgate. According to Druid’s word that still in the player character’s ear, his goal is to defeat the Warlock Lord that is able to raise the mighty Behemoth Titan. The player character remember he is the seed of prophecy and the last of the line of kings. During the adventure, more information is given about the setting and the characters themselves.

The NES version , like the other MacVenture games ported to it, features music which was not present in the original games. It also features colour and simplification of the menu. Every move is done one at a time. The player can use many actions in the courses of the game to solve puzzles or to battle hostile opponent. Shadowgate allow the player to wander around the castle even if he should not go here yet, but there is a main line to follow in order to complete the quest. Most of the game action will revolve into going from scene to scene and find the right combination of action to avoid being killed.sode 2, known as Fortress of Mystery (E2M9) in the original, is now the final level of the game if the player doesn’t cheat. Military Base (E1M9) is now the only secret level. For all the level present, simplification (especially one episode 2 level) were made dues to the limitation of the platform and are mainly based on the first console port of Doom, the Atari Jaguar.

The player can optionally look at everything to get information and lore of the castle or the land itself. Some of these informations are also hinting to help the player on a particular screen. One notable feature of Shadowgate is the high number of ways that the player can die. Since the player doesn’t have a health bar, most wrong move will be lethal for him. There is some case where a chance is given to the player, but generally speaking, the trial and error are part of the game in order to beat it.

The player also has access to an inventory and spells. Many items that the player can get are necessary to progress into the game, though some are optional or can be used as an alternate solution, such as a screen where a troll block a bridge. The player can either defeat it with a spear, give him money or use a spell to turn invisible.

Shadowgate also has a “real-time” feature related to the player’s torch. When the game is first started, the player has a fully lit torch. However, each time an action is performed, the fire get weaker and weaker and the torch must be replaced. Failing to do so will eventually cause it to extinguish and make the player pass out. Fortunately, there are plenty of torches placed around the castle that player can take in their inventory.

It is possible for the player to save their game at any time, which can be handy when dying as it will bring the player right back at the area he/she saved.

Shadowgate Playthrough

The goal of the run is to beat Shadowgate without dying once. A secondary objective is to include as much information/lore as possible with the “look” function.

TAS tools were used in this playthrough.

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