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Although Gateway to Apshai is an introduction to the more difficult fantasy role-playing games like Temple o f Apshai, I found it a better game in many ways. First, it moves faster and holds your attention longer. Second, it eliminates many of the keyboard commands that prove so frustrating to children. Yet the game retains much of the flavor that made the original series popular. Finally, the cartridge form makes it available to owners of Atari 400 and 600XL computers.
The fighting controls are extremely awkward. You need to press "2" to enter "fighting mode", and this allows you to "wave" your sword. This waving action is neither precise nor effective. Even lowly rats can sustain multiple hits, and if two monsters gang up on you, you're toast. Yeah, the fighting stinks, but you also have to option flee or use spells. Gateway to Apshai is an interesting stepping stone in the evolution of adventure gaming, but you won't want to ditch your old D&D player's handbook for this.