Thoughts and comments

Home Forums Previous Months 31 – June 2020: Gateway Thoughts and comments

This topic contains 15 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by rnlf rnlf 1 week, 3 days ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 16 total)
  • firefyte
    firefyte
    Participant
    Podcaster
    #3396

    Just completed it.
    The game is fun, has a lot of not-so-impossible puzzles, and a few references here-and-there.

    Graphics were fun, text was well-written. Animations were fun, although the resolution bounced around (in windowed mode).

    I don’t like the parser 100%, but otherwise it was a blast!

    If you haven’t played it yet, do so!

    Tijn
    Tijn
    Keymaster
    Podcaster
    #3397

    Wow, you did that quite fast!

    How many hours did you put in in total you think?

    I remember playing this years ago and being really impressed with how accessible and fun it is. Definitely will try to finish it again this month 🙂

    firefyte
    firefyte
    Participant
    Podcaster
    #3398

    I think I hit around 10-20h.
    At least the game doesn’t outright softlock you or kill you without a restore or undo.

    Shattered
    Shattered
    Participant
    #3399

    Wow, I’m impressed you finished it so quickly too. I started a couple weeks ago because I’m not really into Pinball so I thought I’d get a head start on this game.

    I do like how there are no dead ends, it’s not quite the LucasArts approach to adventure games but it’s close enough to avoid frustration. I’m really liking the game so far. It’s like an adult version of Space Quest. I guess I’m used to the text parser from playing SQ2 and 3 so much so I don’t mind it. But there’s the mouse option too, so that’s nice. I agree it has an interesting plot and logical puzzles so far. Looking forward to posting more once I beat it, but stuck in part 2. (Don’t want help yet!)

    firefyte
    firefyte
    Participant
    Podcaster
    #3400

    The endgame is much more difficult and takes more time and thought vs. the start, so keep at it!

    Tijn
    Tijn
    Keymaster
    Podcaster
    #3402

    I just beat the game too! I got motivated to do so after Firefyte beat it so quickly. I actually finished it years ago, but it’s crazy how little I remember of it. I don’t even remember how old I was when I played it. I just remember liking the game a lot.

    The story is really pretty cool, which might not be so surprising since it’s based on a novel. The number of frustrating puzzles is quite limited, I feel most things make sense. The way the game is structured also means puzzles are contained to their own area, so the number of items and rooms you have to mix and match aren’t too much to handle.

    Very impressive game all in all!

    rnlf
    rnlf
    Keymaster
    Podcaster
    #3403

    Here’s what I thought about the game:

    I think it’s a really good game for text adventure beginners (such as myself). There are no dead ends (or if there are, they happen locally and you don’t get to play for a dozen hours before realizing you fucked up) and if you die, you can always just undo your last step – no regular saving required. With one exception, where I am not sure you can still recover if you did it wrong and you only realize after another 7 or 8 turns or so.

    Puzzles are mostly solvable locally, i.e. you get most of the items you need to solve a planet on that planet. The only exception I can think of is the pistol from Gateway that you need to defeat the giant spider on one of the planets. The game goes so far to disallow you to bring any items from the planets you visit in the main series of four planets – this relieves you from needlessly searching all four planets for items that you might need on a different planet. It’s a clever little trick that I first thought was a bit strange, but realizing it kept the planetary puzzles to a manageable difficulty, made me really appreciate it.

    The graphics are really beautiful and they make *excellent* use of the 16 colours they have available. The pictures clearly look like more than 16 colours.

    The music is nice, but ultimately quite disconnected from the game. It’s not annoying, but not really supporting the world either.

    Some of the writing was really excellent. I giggled quite a few times at messages like “One of the hydra’s heads bites off one of yours. You are dead” or “You attack the spider. The spider attacks you. The spider is poisenous [sic]. You are not. You are dead”.

    Here are some things I didn’t like too much, for balance:

    * You need to find the exact right phrasing to get Becker onto the raft. This was the one place where I had to ask for help, after this idiot standing there for about an hour – why didn’t he go on the raft by himself, we were there for rafting, actually.

    * Some places, like the sleepy planet Dorma 5 change music every few rooms, sometimes have different music on each of three adjacent rooms. A change in music takes around 3-4 seconds each time in which you can’t do anything else but wait. That made navigating those places annoying.

    * All the text in the text based cutscenes advances automatically. Everything else in the game can be done at your own pace, but these cutscenes often contain essential information and you cannot pause them. This stressed me out quite a lot. Especially when you’re a bit tired and don’t read that fast anymore, these scenes can become a problem. Doesn’t help that English isn’t my first language either. On top of that, if a text is short and you’re done reading it early, you can press a button to manually advance – a couple of times I pressed the button just to see that the text advances automatically a fraction of a second earlier, so I skipped an entire page of text. The only way to get it back is to reload the game.

    * Some of the puzzles don’t really fit into the world. Those are all the logic puzzles in the first part, or those based on colours. Especially the one on the first planet in part one, where you have to insert a rod of one colour into a socket of a different colour to make a third color. Some of those combinations were additive (red + blue = violet), others were subtractive (blue + yellow = green). That’s inconsistent, but ultimately not really hard to deal with.

    * You get a promise of $1,000,000 early on in the game if you can find Rolf Becker. But by the time you find him, you have a couple of millions already and just returning from the mission you find him on already gives you $5,000,000. So by then this one extra million doesn’t really feel like a big achievement anymore.

    That’s it for now. All in all I really enjoyed the game.

    Shattered
    Shattered
    Participant
    #3453

    I finally beat it. I caved and looked up the part I was stuck at (pun intended?) 🙁 I don’t feel too bad though, I was attempting to do the correct action, but typed in variations that were unacceptable. Reminds me of the one time I called a Sierra Hint Line as a child. I typed ‘place gem in mouth’ and the correct phrase was ‘put gem in mouth’ (bonus points if you recognize the game and section, that part’s got some notoriety).

    I really enjoyed the game. It felt both familiar as an adventure game, but unique in how it was presented. I suppose Myst has a similar slide-show presentation, but without the dialog and inventory puzzles.

    Starting out I was incredibly nervous of an experience like KQ5 or Return to Zork where you can easily softlock yourself from winning. I really do not enjoy games like that, and I knew nothing about this one. Very quickly, the game gained my trust and I could tell it was more in the vein of LucasArts style. I was actually quite surprised you could die by the time I got to the 2nd planet in part two and the wildlife there made short work of me.

    I liked the gritty setting and details. Newsfeeds of political strife on earth and depleting natural resources… Sending humans as guinea pigs on missions that have a 15% chance of not returning… This came out right in the heyday of Star Trek: The Next Generation so I’m glad writers were willing to make alternative visions of humanity’s future in space travel. It’s a product of its time but hasn’t aged terribly. Although there was a description of the asian scientist as “oriental” at one point. And what happened to Sylvester’s shirt in the intro???

    I watched a video of someone playing on Youtube and the music sounded SIGNIFICANTLY different. I thought the intro’s music was awesome, it immediately took me back to that era, but the rest of the game’s was pretty neutral. Does anyone know if you can play Roland MT-32 Midi through Dosbox?

    Thanks to whomever suggested this and for all that helped me get through the parts I was stuck. I look forward to trying Gateway 2 and doing some research on the history of how the game was made. Strange I never heard of it growing up…

    firefyte
    firefyte
    Participant
    Podcaster
    #3454

    I used dosbox-ece to set up MT-32 emulation, and here’s a comparison:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iamTrlJ4CbY

    Pix
    Pix
    Participant
    Podcaster
    #3467

    Just finished it today. Loved the sci-fi setting and really enjoyed it all round. Definitely one of the easier text adventures I’ve played but that’s not a bad thing. The difficulty ramped up nicely as the game went on and I really liked how breaking the VR was brought back at the end. The only bit that really bugged me was needing the gun to kill the spider. It didn’t occur to me for the longest time that I would need an item from Gateway when everything had been so self contained prior to this.

    I completely missed out on all of Legend’s games at the time they came out but they seem to have a really solid catalogue. I’ve caught up with some of their later point and clicks before now (Death Gate and Blackstone Chronicles are both superb) but the only text adventure of theirs I’d played was Spellcasting 101. That was decent but a bit of a let-down compared to other Meretzky games I’ve played. I much preferred Gateway.

    The interface for these games is kind of strange. Did anyone actually use the keyword list? I pretty much ignored it the whole way through myself other than maybe seeing what was in the room. I struggle to imagine anyone clicking on keywords to form their sentences. To me at least, it does smack of a desperate attempt to keep the text adventure relevant at a time when point and click was taking over. I really like just using the text parser myself. It opens up so many more options than point and click and makes you actually think rather than being able to brute force puzzles.

    I can’t even remember after all this time but the truth is I probably ignored Legend as a teenager purely because these were text adventures. I associated the genre with slightly clunky 8-bit titles like The Hobbit or Worm in Paradise so it’s people like me that helped kill it off. It’s a hard sell to a teenager when put up against games like Monkey Island but at least I can appreciate them 30 years after the fact I suppose. I’ll be firing up Gateway 2 next.

    Shattered
    Shattered
    Participant
    #3471

    I agree with you Pix, the huge verb interface seemed unnecessary and distracting. I used the right hand side quite a bit to figure out what a could interact with, but the left hand with dozens of verbs I never even used once seemed excessive. I had the exact same thought that it was a poor transition attempt from text based to mouse based adventure games. I also thought they just added it to save on artwork.

    I fired up Gateway 2 last night, really enjoying it so far. I did have problems with playing cutscenes and saving games via Dosbox which I didn’t in the first game. I was able to solve them by putting the game in C:\Gateway2 and following some of the suggestions on abandonware’s forums. I’m happy to share my dosbox.conf file that I finally got the game working correctly with. I’ll attach it in case (or maybe someone might have an even better setup!)

    Shattered
    Shattered
    Participant
    #3472

    Welp, can’t upload my dosbox file… Just shoot me a message if you’re interested.

    firefyte
    firefyte
    Participant
    Podcaster
    #3473

    You can just edit the legend.ini file to point in the right location:
    KEYBOARD=NORMAL
    MOUSE=MOUSE
    FLCDATA=C:\gateway2\
    GAMEDATA=C:\gateway2\
    PICDATA=C:\gateway2\
    VOCDATA=C:\gateway2\
    SAVEDATA=C:\gateway2\

    Tijn
    Tijn
    Keymaster
    Podcaster
    #3474

    Really cool to see so many people playing this for the first time and finishing it all the way through to the end 🙂

    Tijn
    Tijn
    Keymaster
    Podcaster
    #3475

    Oh by the way, you can enable MT-32 music output by running the game with the “mt32” parameter (so: “gate mt32”).

    Similarly you can enable SVGA output by running the game with “gate svga”. SVGA mode allows for more text on the screen at once, but the graphics are otherwise the same.

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