Death Gate

72.8 KB
4.30 / 5.00
(5 Reviews)
Board Count
47 / 50
Submitted By
20 years, 4 months ago (Mar 13, 2004)

I played this game months ago and Im bored so Im going to do a review! YAY! Over all the game is kinda cool, I love the boat thing in the title screen. The music is well done, and the gameplay somewhat verys between worlds, (which is to be expected because everyone who made this game did their own speshul little part. ON TO ZA NUMBAS!

Graphics- Very nice, and it keeps up the beat because it changes the styles of the graphics every time you change into another 'world/level' whatever they called it. I did notice some slack in one level however I cant recall who's it was so I'll leave off of that. I give the graphics a 5 out of 5.

Sound- I dunno, Wells up there said it could be much better but I like it. I think the cold music durring the start is cool and snuff. I give the sound a 4.5 out of 5.

Story- I've never read the books that were used to make this games story but since it is not made entirly by them, right out of their imagination then I will take points off for that. But all in all the story is very good. I give the story a 3 out of 5.

Gameplay- Now this is where the lack was. I did not like the first level overall because it was boring and I forgot to save and I had to do it all over again! BLARG! That nadir place was just annoying. Jacobs thing was random and I thought it just did not fit the mood that the game's story tried to set up. Wil's was also annoying in a diffrent way. I belive I told that shy girl something wrong and that messed everything up and I had to start all over again! AUGH! I DONT LIKE THAT. But I did find it very interesting to say the least. With that said I give the gameplay a 2 out of 5.

Overall the game seemed to be rushed at some parts...meh, thats what ya get. In any other way the overall score is.... A 3.5 out of 5.

3.50 / 5.00
Submitted By
20 years, 9 months ago (Sep 20, 2003)


So, I'm looking at the top scores box, and I see that this game, Death Gate, got perfect scores from three reviewers. Now, three different opinions, all written up in reviews over three sentences long, mean something. Also, I notice that Zenith is in the credits. As is WiL. As is Jacob Hammond. As is Hercules. I don't know how this could fail.

I download Death Gate and start it up; it opens well. A bunch of people are sitting around, plotting to destroy the world. They then destroy it. Nifty.

It's pulled from the Death Gate game, of course, which was in turn based upon a series of fantasy novels, but hey, steal from the best, right? As long as they credit the original authors somewhere... yes, there they are. Legend is mentioned at the very, very end of the game.

The game is broken up into segments, each of which is written by a different author. This is probably a good thing; having too many people work on the same scenes is a quick way to ruin a game, and probably quite a few friendships. I don't know; I've never tried that.

Wow. Why didn't I get around to playing this earlier?

Answer: It lacks either compelling gameplay or a well-told story. The writing is weak. The thing just doesn't stick together as a whole.

I wasn't missing much.

The first bad sign was the text at the bottom of the screen. It wouldn't have been a mortal sin, I think, if it had been well-written. Sadly, it was an ungrammatical mush of the game's fantasy jargon and Big Pronouncements. There were some attempts to give unique characters to the people in the game, but only the author cameos actually had real voices. I don't know; I guess that's what happens when you write yourself.

Oh, yes, the second bad sign was the author cameos. See, in order to put the pieces of the world back together, the player has to go to different realms and bring back the game authors. So, first the game sets up an elaborate fantasy premise, which it repeats at great length whenever possible, and then it tears down any suspension of disbelief. I don't know; is this meant to be cute, or clever, or just wink-wink-nudge-nudge in-joking?

In order to review Death Gate, I'm going to have to look at each of its sections separately, though, as each has its own personality. Even if Death Gate's dialogue often strikes the same few notes of exposition over and over, it doesn't repeat itself here. The segments are quite clearly distinct.

Hercules' segment:

This one begins with Lord Xar, your character's exposition dispenser, doing what he does best: dispensing exposition. He drones for a bit, and Hercules, who just a few seconds before was asking himself questions about the possibility of life in the other realms, listens politely to the spiel. Of course, this seemed repetitive to me, but I don't know.

This is probably the most interesting thing in this segment. The rest of it consists of the player walking around HercLand, talking to a few token NPCs, fetching an item, and answering a pop quiz. On ZZT.

Now, I don't know why people include ZZT quizzes in ZZT games. First of all, it breaks the fourth wall so thoroughly that you just can't repair it again. Secondly, it's not fun. If you know the answers, you know them, and it's a piece of cake. If you don't, there's no real way to deduce them. You just keep trying again and again until you're through with the damned thing. And, of course, they become harder with time.

On the bright side, this one doesn't kill you if you make a mistake. You just have to start over. This alone suggests the existence of a merciful God. I don't know; it seems a lot better than the Prime Mover argument.

Summary of HercLand: Not fun. Not interesting. No compelling characters. No real reason to keep going. Dull. I don't know; there might be something I'm missing.

Jacob Hammond's segment:

This one's short and bizarre. The player does a nonsensical fetch-and-carry, solves a really, really simple puzzle, and, well, that's it. It feels sort of... dashed off. On the bright side, this one doesn't take itself too seriously.

Summary of Jacob Hammond's bit: Silly. Quickly over with.

Zenith Nadir's segment:

What's this? Actual gameplay? A throwaway joke opening? Two diverging paths through an action segment? Okay, we've got a game, now.

That game begins with Simon, continues with Sokoban, putters along through a tricky, but generically Nadir-y, RPG/action segment, and ends with a standard action battle. Nothing original, I think, but what they hey. There's an effort here, and it doesn't exactly take itself seriously. Indiana Jones makes a brief cameo. I don't know; does that count as a joke, or just half a joke?

Incidentally, am I the only one who thinks that those two paths through the temple are actually kind of similar? No? Darn.

Summary of Zenith's segment: We've got (pedestrian, but well-executed) gameplay!

WiL's segment:

This was the most ambitious segment; it relies on the use of a timer and a sort of real-time adventure gameplay. In this case, "adventure" means "running around frantically trying to talk to the right people at random before time runs out."

It could have worked, but it's way, way too easy to put into an unwinnable state. Now, to be fair, WiL clearly means to do this, and does warn the player, but that doesn't make it good design. More open-endedness would have been a good thing. I don't know... maybe it would have just made things messier.

There's another multiple-choice segment here. If you make a wrong choice at any point, which is easy to do, then you are left in Can't-Win Limbo. You'll also end up in Limbo if you aren't in the right place at the right time. You won't even know it immediately. You'll just flounder like a hopeless king who forgot to pick up the dead fish.

Now, all of this would be sort of forgivable if the gameplay made any sense, but you're in a dreamworld of sorts, and that's WiL's favorite excuse for discontinuity. You just have to hope you're on the right boards when the timed events happen; logic won't get you far. I don't know; maybe I'm missing something.

This is all a shame. This segment tries to raise Serious Ideas, and almost succeeds at some point; one of the key questions is whether or not we should cling to the comfort of old dreams. But the writing can't escape its pretension, and the attempt at connecting emotionally with the player was too much like a multiple-choice exam to really work. Sorry.

Summary of WiL's segment: It tries.


I don't know. Am I missing anything? Oh, yes, the graphics. Very nice graphics, I think. I didn't notice them much, which meant that they were good. Bad ZZT graphics tend to stand out. The music was passable, such as it was, but it wasn't the sort of soundtrack I've come to expect from a game with WiL on board.

I don't know. Perhaps I'm missing some central part of the appeal of the game. The dialogue certainly seemed to repeat itself quite a bit; Lord Xar chooses the climactic moments of the game to give a tedious full recap of all the preceding events, which is a bad habit of his. Maybe repetition = good fantasy writing. I don't know.

I don't know. The gameplay was generally absent. The plot was good, but the story - that thing where characters react to events and drive the action - just wasn't there. What can I say? This is a game that didn't work for me, in spite of the great effort that obviously went into it. I don't know.

3.00 / 5.00
Submitted By
20 years, 11 months ago (Jul 15, 2003)

It's a very good game, no doubt about it. I like the twist on The Death Gate cycle, personally my favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy series of all time. I reccomend two steps to playing this game

  1. Read all nine books of the death gate cycle

  2. Play this game.

Certainly, one of the top 5 games in my ZZT Library.

Graphics: 10/10 Sound: 10/10 Gameplay: 9/10 Overall: 9.7/10

5.00 / 5.00
Submitted By
21 years ago (Jul 12, 2003)

Yup im back on z2 not uploading games but i want to review something! so anyways like Flamed O said this is a game made by Herc Hydro Aetschy WiLLIE and The Nadirous Zenith Hercules and Hydras realm has great tranquil forest graphics Aetsch's realm is short but with good graphics WiL's is greatly programmed and with cool twists and Zenith has Nadirous humor (temple = shirley temple heh heh) added a soundtrack by master muscians WiL and aetsch so download it or i shall condemn you to endless torture in hell!

Graphics: 10/10 (wow full marks are so damn rare) Sound: 9.9/10 hey man this is WiL and Aetsch/Jacob Hammond Gameplay: 9.6/10 oh the variness WiL's atmospheric masterpiece hercules tranquilik masterpiece Aetsch's slightly wierd realm and Nadurs dungeon (2 routes welcome back to pysche) Overall 9.9/10 so close i recomend you work better you hammond this could have gotten 10! well okay im nice rounded 2 10/10 YAY SRIS! grab this and put in neatly into your ultimate games ZZT directory and if you dont have one get one its free you fool!


5.00 / 5.00
Submitted By
21 years, 5 months ago (Jan 27, 2003)

For Death Gate, it is not a matter if it is a five star game or not. Rather, it is a matter if you can have too much of a good thing in ZZT. You have five of the greatest minds in possibly the entire history of ZZT, Wil, Zenith Nadir, Hercules, aetch, and Hydra78, coming together to make a single ZZT game. The thought of it is enough to put any ZZTer in heaven. But is it as good as we expected? The answer is undoubtfully yes. Death Gate brings out the best in each of the authors. Each contrasts the other to make it a superb gaming experience like no other, like a fine gourmet meal. From the musical stylings of Wil and aetch, to the beautifully drawn boards of Hydra78 and Hercules, a graphical nirvana, and the wit and pure enjoyability of Zenith Nadir. And to top it all off, one of the most original and excellent science fiction plots, not only in ZZT, but quite possibly in all of science fiction. So, as far as Death Gate is concerned, you cannot have too much of a good thing.

5.00 / 5.00

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