The Shadowgate re...make? Re-imaging..? The new version of Shadowgate that came out this August went on sale this past weekend for about seven bucks. It also came with the Mac and IIgs versions of Shadowgate and Déjà Vu in a folder called "Retroventures 1". Which, you know. It makes one hopeful. We borrowed Shadowgate from a family friend and it scared the shit out of me. Enough that I would take the weekly pamphlet we got from church that featured various doors on it and use it to construct my own kind of point and click game. Because, despite how much it terrified me, I loved it. It made it super difficult for me to go into the basement alone.
So I flew through Déjà Vu with relative ease but managed to get myself stuck in Shadowgate twice. It's possible to make the game unwinnable on the first screen. Amazing stuff. But what stood out so much about these two is that they're a bit less frightening. It's not the graphics, but the lack of music.
Which isn't entirely surprising for a 1985 game, that let me be wild and guess was already doing a lot on the Mac. In truth, I don't know. Did that era of PC games have soundtracks in general? All I know is that the NES tracks for those three games are done by Hiroyuki Masuno, and bravo, what damn fine mood setters they are. Just writing about it now brings the tunes to the back of my mind and has a shiver creeping down my spine.
As much as these games were censored to be on the NES, it's hard for me to deny that the soundtrack is a key element in making them a much more enjoyabl experience.