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.
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