Game music of the day: Shadowgate

Game: Shadowgate

Song: Theme of Shadowgate

Composer: Unknown artist

Above: Theme from Shadowgate

When you think about point and click adventure games, the original NES is not the first platform that comes to mind. Its version of games like King's Quest V are notoriously awful, and the limited graphics made the already challenging act of pixel hunting an even more laborious chore. With Shadowgate, we got a relatively pretty game with clear, workable graphics and a gothic environment that made the static visuals and pointy gameplay totally bearable. But the best part, obviously, would be the music, which sets the stage for a creepy, death-defying journey right from the start.

Above is the game's main theme, which plays as you first approach castle Shadowgate. It's simple and pretty short, but sits perfectly between head-scratching puzzle music and ominous hallways-full-of-monsters music. This is one of those games where you can die at any time by opening the wrong door or combining the wrong items, meaning you'll hear this song over and over again. Yet so many years later I'm nowhere near tired of it.

This song plays in a room with a shark-filled lake that also contains a key you'll need later on. As with most point and click games, the solution to the puzzle isn't entirely clear, meaning you'd enter and exit this room time and time again, testing various theories. But, just like the main theme, I love listening to this no matter how many times I had to engage in fruitless trial and error.

And finally, one of the very first game songs I downloaded as a MIDI back in the dusty old '90s, the Lightning Rod theme. It's more upbeat and fanciful than the other songs, and only plays in a very specfic area of the castle, so it's easy to let this one seep into your mind.

There's a kick ass metal remix of Shadowgate by Jake "Virt" Kaufman called Warrior King - check it out. Virt's also got a large collection of game remixes here. Did you know he scored the soundtrack for Contra 4? Well, he did, plus all of this as well.


Game music of the day: Way of the Samurai 3
Normal Battle by Noriyuki Asakura



Game music of the day: Cel Damage
Lunarcy by Egg Plant Productions



Game music of the day: Super Mario Galaxy
Purple Coins music by Koji Kondo and Mahito Yokota


  • Ravenbom - July 27, 2010 10:03 p.m.

    ooohhh! Good pick!
  • Martfish - July 27, 2010 8:57 p.m.

    Actually, scratch that. The Amiga version sucked ass. Atari version was much better. The difference is staggering
  • Martfish - July 27, 2010 8:23 p.m.

    Does anyone remember the music from Turrican 2 on Atari or Amiga. The theme music was ace and all the way through the music was spot on with each environment! Awesome game. Imagine twin sticks on xbox!!!!
  • BodyDamage - July 27, 2010 1:30 p.m.

    i used to have this game and at the time i hated the shit out of it. i think it had a lot to do with not quite being old enough to figure it out or just not understanding what to do. great music though
  • Modroneman - July 27, 2010 1:17 p.m.

    I'm not really sure if I have played this game or not. Great example of what is so memorable about the NES. The music!
  • screwball08247 - July 27, 2010 11:44 a.m.

    That almost sounds Middle Eastern in a way.
  • Octoboy - July 27, 2010 10:49 a.m.

    I still own the original NES cartridge.
  • philipshaw - July 27, 2010 9:57 a.m.

    I have never heard of this game but the music is great,good pick as always Brett
  • JayBeat - July 27, 2010 7:44 a.m.

    Pretty cool pretty cool.
  • grappler51 - July 27, 2010 3:52 a.m.

    Nice, I love it when you do NES soundtracks. You guys should check out this song from VVVVVV, which has one of the best soundtracks ever, IMO.
  • Tenfey - July 27, 2010 3:38 a.m.

    Ever since I played this game as a child, I've always just assumed that if the power goes out and I have no flashlight I will immediately trip and die.
  • icantbelieveitsnutbutter - July 27, 2010 1:38 a.m.

    You have no idea how many hours were wasted on this game! Had it for NES. Very nostalgic. Thanks Brett!
  • bjt2012 - July 27, 2010 12:27 a.m.

    It has a very "epic march" vibe.
  • garnsr - July 27, 2010 12:24 a.m.

    Never having owned a PC as a kid, this must have been the first point and click adventure I played. And considering how much pointing and clicking I've done the last month or so on PS3, it was good enough to not drive me away. I don't exactly remember the music, but it seems like it was pretty good.
  • VMPSaberwolf - July 26, 2010 11:45 p.m.

    I actually had to write a letter to Nintendo Power to get help on beating this game back when I was a kid. The guy who wrote back was very nice and got me all the way through.
  • EsotericFerret - July 26, 2010 11:36 p.m.

    I don't comment nearly enough, but I wanted to say how much I enjoy all these Game Music of the Day posts. Keep them coming.
  • goochbiscuit - July 26, 2010 11:31 p.m.

    Good stuff, Brett. I never heard of it either, but I like it. Better start downloadin'...
  • CoolBowling - July 26, 2010 11:29 p.m.

    Poor ICOM Simulations Inc, we hardley knew ye
  • Thuperman - July 26, 2010 11:03 p.m.

    Ive never heard of this game but that is a rockin theme song
  • BigLandoz - July 26, 2010 10:23 p.m.

    Thanks for the link to Virt's page. Some good stuff. Check out "Blood of Ganon". Pretty awesome. Will definitely be using some of this stuff for my heavy metal radio show.

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