Before you is a room containing weapons, treasure chests, and a dragon. You step forward and pick up the nearest sword--you've gotta defend yourself, right? Except the dragon immediately unleashes room-filling hellfire that quickly ends your adventure. A few burning deaths, and you eventually try picking up the shield first. Whaddaya know--it actually protects you from the fire, allowing you to grab the other goodies around the room.
This is Shadowgate, a puzzle game where death waits around every corner, inside every chest, and beyond every doorway. It's one of the most beloved graphical adventures from the early NES and PC era, and the team at Zojoi is entirely redesigning this no-holds-barred click adventure, adding modernizations like intuitive controls and new lore.
The original game dropped you off at a castle door with a brief "you have to stop the wizard!" message, but the new Shadowgate is filling out the world with a new backstory, making this feel like a real realm in peril. Throwaway characters from the original are redesigned as NPC's with important roles to play--what was once a woman in chains is now a goblin general...who totally turned into a werewolf and ate my face.
New rooms and redesigns of old ones mean that you'll spend time solving puzzles and discovering secrets even if you know the original Shadowgate inside and out. Thanks to a sidekick skull named Yorick (Hamlet, anyone?) and improved controls--contextual double clicks and custom keyboard shortcuts included--you'll be able to taste these puzzles with a bit of modern flavor. To put it bluntly, this isn't a simple remake, but a full-on re-imagining of the original adventure. We'll see what new traps and secrets Shadowgate holds when it releases in mid-August.
Check out the following slides for more screenshots and information.