Shadowgate/Uninvited (NES) Review

Shadowgate was ported to the NES in 1989, The Uninvited in 1991 and are 2 games as part of the Macventure series, the other 2 games being Deju Vu I and II. Originally on Macs and PCs, these games are point and click adventure titles which involve solving clues, picking up items, and overcoming obstacles. Death is something you’ll get used to a lot in these games as they involve a lot of trial and error. You’re shown the room you are in, and you can see your inventory along with any magic spells you may discover. At the bottom of the screen you have a list of simple commands you use to manipulate objects in the rooms you encounter, along with using items on yourself. Shadowgate has a time limit, shown with how lit your torches are as you travel the castle. A time limit comes into play upon picking up a certain item in Uninvited. Seeing how the games in the Macventure series are all pretty much the same, except for settings, this review will be for both Shadowgate and The Uninvited.

SO HOW IS IT? I loved Shadowgate as a kid! Rented it a lot and friends at school and summer camp and I would compare notes as to what to do and where. Deju Vu was another favorite of mine growing up! I never played The Uninvited until recently, so I don’t have any history with the 3rd game in the series. I loved the graphics, the story, solving the vague clues and the music which drew you into the story! The death scenes were a bit scary, but the sarcastic comments of how you died always made me smile a bit as Death grinned at me. The plot for Shadowgate involves you as the last of a line of kings, fulfilling a prophesy to stop the Warlock Lord from summoning the Behemoth in Castle Shadowgate. Uninvited tells the story of a man trying to find his sister after a car accident in a mansion, and getting swept into an ancient battle between good and evil.

GRAPHICS AND SOUND: The game window in these titles is split 3 ways. The main window to the upper left is your current location, on the right is your inventory, the bottom is where the text scrolls of what you’re seeing, doing, etc, along with your move and commands options. The graphics in each location are quite colorful and have a lot of detail to them and fit the mood of the game. You will find yourself wondering sometimes why is such a room in this castle or mansion, but there’s usually a reason for it later. Even the graphics when you die and you see a bloody skull in Uninvited or Death smirking at you in Shadowgate is detailed! Animation is limited to some objects being used or enemies in your location.

The music in both games is incredible. From the more peaceful tracks to the tracks that play when danger approaches, you may want to spend extra time in some areas to take in the music. When your torch is going out in Shadowgate the music changes to a more frantic pace to remind you to relight a new torch or die.  Sound effects are simple and nothing more. The music in Shadowgate and Uninvited will draw you further into the mysteries of both games indeed!

PLAY CONTROL: Being able to choose where to move, or what verb to use in your command list is pretty easy, though it may take some time to get used to it using a nes controller. Most play control you have is moving the cursor to point at objects, flipping through your inventory and so on.

CHALLENGE: The challenge in these game sis navigating the rooms, and picking up objects to figure out how to use them later. Not everything you can pick up is useful, so if you enjoy hoarding gear in a rpg then you’ll be at home here. The solution to solving some puzzles and fighting off enemies may not be the most obvious and logical solution. Sometimes you gotta think outside the box. Magic spells in both games have uses to solve puzzles too when you find and learn them. The key in these game sis to look and try to manipulate everything in rooms. Keys are used for certain doors in Shadowgate, and the keys in Uninvited can be used in multiple places. Once you know how to solve all the puzzles in these games there isn’t much else of a challenge unless you wanted to try to speedrun them.


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3 thoughts on “Shadowgate/Uninvited (NES) Review

  1. Pingback: Top 100 NES Review: # 26 – Shadowgate (1989) – The Top 100 Reviews

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