Commodore User

Gates Of Dawn

Publisher: Virgin Games
Machine: Commodore 64

Published in Commodore User #21

Gates Of Dawn

When I first got my C64 gaming was a pretty straightforward business. You had adventure games which were text only puzzles and you had arcade games which were mostly just one or two screen shoot-'em-ups.

Then several clever-dick programmers began to add graphics to certain locations in their adventures and a multi-screen element to their arcade games. Arcade games became more than simply left, right, fire. You had to go to places in the right order, collect objects, and sometimes use them.

In short - arcade games were beginning to look and play a lot like adventures. So much so that some other clever dick - this one a journalist - coined the phrase - 'arcade adventure'.

Gates Of Dawn

So why am I telling you all this in a review of Gates Of Dawn? Because the game is an arcade adventure - it will doubtless be described by the reviewers as such - but when you sit down and play it you get the impression that it is the first computer game that really lives up to the name.

What puts Gates Of Dawn head and shoulders above most other arcade adventures including Staff Of Karnath is that the puzzles you have to solve really are like those you face in an adventure.

You play the part of the White Knight who must penetrate the fortress of the evil wizard. I know that doesn't sound too different but it's the way the game plays that is special.

Gates Of Dawn

The action is set in a complex maze - C64 screens in all. Each screen contains a challenge, or clue, and exits to other rooms. As you travel, a map is created for you on a panel on the information board which is situated in the top, right-hand corner of the screen.

Games with this gamer-friendly aid always score highly with me. After all - why should you have to draw your own map?

Real adventure style puzzles - like the bottle you have to drain to make yourself reduce in size to get under one of the obstacles. All of the puzzles are logical and fun - just as they are in any good, straight adventure.

Gates Of Dawn

Your information panel also shows what you are carrying, registers what you have picked up, and enables you to select items for use.

Charles Goodwin has tried to give the graphics in Gates Of Dawn a dream-like quality and Virgin make much of this on the cassette inlay blurb. I don't know whether they are "dream-like" exactly - but they certainly are very good - particularly the mysterious Knight disappearing down a corridor which you get every time you enter a new room.

For my nine quid this is the best arcade adventure currently on sale for the C64.