The tagline here – Enter at own risk, might insinuate that this would be a bad game, but in my opinion it is the complete opposite – this is one of my favorite NES games.
I have fond memories of playing Shadowgate together with my brother and father and we all tried to solve the puzzles and move further into Castle Shadowgate. I’m not proud of it, but at certain points we had to use a guide to be able to move forward (no, none of this “let me just Google that” stuff, we are talking sifting through a magazine guide which didn’t give all the answers either).
Shadowgate is a game where you have to not only invest a lot of time, but also understand the game developer’s way of thinking when creating the story. You will come to some parts where it turns into a pure “trial-and-error” torture in order to move forward. The level design is overall quite intriguing, especially compared to a lot of similar games for the NES from this time. You navigate through the castle in a first person view and in most cases you have the option to take different routes. This is something that really makes the game interesting, but at the same time very harder – and let me tell you this is a hard game! Be prepared to start over a lot.
The NES version also adopted brilliantly the creepy and large atmosphere of the castle, both through the room designs and music scores.
This game can be recommended to anybody that really likes a good big adventure with amazing atmosphere. The harder the game – the greater the reward.