Dragon’s Gate – PC Review

Dragon’s Gate is the newest online
interactive role-playing game available
on the GEnie network.
Garners who like medieval fantasy (in a
world liberally filled with nonhuman characters)
will positively love the Dragon’s
Gate experience.
It’s something like falling down Alice’s
rabbit hole. At the bottom, one finds
oneself in a strange office facing Max the
Magic Dragon. This is the beginning of a
“new life” for the player, a life in which
one’s old body, identity and gender are
swept away and the gamer is reborn as
one of the twenty different major intelligent
races that inhabit the land. One
can be fully human, as this writer chose
to be, or totally inhuman: a Dragon or an
Arachnian (giant spider), Elf (three different
varieties), Dwarf, Goblin, Ogre or
Muatana-Al (a kind of vampire that feeds
on life-force instead of blood); Fighter,
Holy Order, Bard, Thief, Barbarian,
Forester or Rune Mage — all express
one’s alter ego through choice of race
and occupation. Each being is defined
through six major numerical attributes
and five minor attributes. These attributes
are randomly determined within
certain ranges appropriate to the type of
creature chosen. In addition, there are
dozens of skills to be learned and practiced
(including all combat and magic
skills), as well as several foreign languages
to master — thus assuring
players of the fun of watching their characters
grow and improve as long as they
continue to play.
Like any good fantasy world, Dragon’s
Gate is full of places to explore,
monsters to slay, quests to complete and
treasure to amass. Furthermore, the
world is dynamic, and new realms of adventure
can be brought on-line as the
need for them arises. It is pretty much a
hack-and-slash environment for new
players. Virtually every NPC in the game
who isn’t a shopkeeper or a priest will
turn out to be hostile, which means that
every time the player stops moving
his/her character, something or someone
will attack. However, there are
friends to be found! Those friends are the
other players who happen to be adventuring
in Dragon’s Gate. Although players
may attack each other if they wish to, it
makes far more sense to team up
against the dangers of the Dragon’s Gate
world. The very real social interaction
among the players is the chief attraction
of this game — that and the unparalleled
opportunity for extensive role-playing.
There were only three drawbacks to
Dragon’s Gate that this reviewer experienced.
The big one is that, like all online
experiences that use a national
database, it will cost money, in this case
$6.00 per hour. That seems like a very
reasonable price for being transported
into a world of alien wonder and adventure.
The second disadvantage concerns
the game manual, which must be
downloaded and printed out by the
gamer. While quite extensive, it neglects
to explain some very important parts of
survival in the world of Dragon’s Gate —
such things as how to fight or cast magic
so that it will actually accomplish something
are often explained by other
players rather than by manual text. While
this lack of basic information does lend
to the feeling of exploring an alien
society, it also costs time and money in
getting familiar with the basics. Lastly,
Dragon’s Gate is a text-only game. The
feeling one gets through play is like
being in an old-style text-only computer
adventure game. There is something to
be said for such games. The imaginative
pictures conjured into the gamer’s mind
as play progresses should be much more
satisfying than some low-res graphics sup
plied by a front-end program. However,
for those who don’t actively use their imaginations,
the graphic front end
provided for something like Neverwinter
Nights might be more satisfying. At least
the graphics make it easier to visualize
where one is and what is going on.
Dragon’s Gate is a production of Adventures
Unlimited Software, Inc. and
is available for $6.00 per hour between
the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. on
GEnie, page 915. The original concept
can be attributed to Mark Jacobs; design
and programming by Darrin Hyrup and
Mark Jacobs; scenarios by Mark Jacobs
and Dave Dickinson.
There is much to tell about the world of
Dragon’s Gate that this adventurer
hasn’t even hinted at, but time and space
are short.
Right now, Rime has disappeared
and these weary bones must go in
quest of him. Should the gentle reader
happen to meet one Huemac the Rune
Mage when adventuring in the world
of Dragon’s Gate, such a gentleperson
is urged to proffer a “Hail and Wellmet!”
We might well hoist flagons and
slay monsters together!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *