Browsing through the The Underdogs archive (archive of old abandonware games) few days ago, looking for some old game to play, I stumbled on 1994 point and click adventure called Death Gate.
I played the game when it was released and I remember I thought it was great, so I decided to play it again.
While its name (Death Gate) might suggest that the game is about killing, it is not at all (though it includes few occasional deaths, they are not in action sequences). In the game you are put in the role of a young wizard named Haplo, which gets outside of the Labyrinth in which his race (Partyns) is jailed. Little by little you learn the history of what happened with your race, and their place in the grand story which includes few other races (elves, men, dwarfs, and other race of wizards called Sartans). The story in the game has depth which I think is never seen in any other game (adventure or otherwise). Probably it is because the game is based on several fantasy books by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. Wikipedia says about the septet: “The Death Gate Cycle was their most ambitious work yet, to create five fully realized and distinct worlds.”
What distinguishes this game from others is probably a lot of text in it. The conversations to other characters are not just placeholders for finding something that you will need to solve further puzzles, but they are lively, rich, and full of side stories. Also, through the game you find a bunch of books (each of them with several pages), which give you some further insight in what is happening (and of course information you need). So, if you play this game, you should be ready for a slow pace, and enjoying it not just as a game, but as fiction story too.
The puzzles on the other side are also great. They are never silly, usually it is clear what you need to accomplish beforehand and the solutions are logical. (If you have problems, you can check a walkthrough)
Also, if you play it, be sure to save often. There are places in the game where the character can die, so if you save often, you wouldn’t return much back.
How to install it and play it?
First download it from the underdogs archive (here, 96MB). As it is old game, to avoid any problems with graphics and music cards, you also need DOSBox (of course you can also use another DOSBox installation to play it on other operating systems like Linux, Mac OS X, BeOS etc…).
The downloaded game should be unpacked (e.g. in c:\dgate). After that install DOSBox, start it, write in it something like:
mount c c:\
The game should start. Of course if you installed in different directory (and not in c:\dgate, you should change to that directory using cd command, and I think you should also open the install.ed file with notepad, and change the path there too). If the game starts in window mode, and you want it to be fullscreen, you can use Ctrl+Enter to toggle.