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Frederik Pohl's Gateway

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Critic Reviews 81% add missing review

Pelit (94 out of 100) (94%)

Gateway kuuluu ehdottomasti klassikkopelien joukkoon jo sen takia, ettÀ Frederik Pohlin romaanin tunnelma on onnistuttu vangitsemaan kylmÀlle tietokoneruudulle. LisÀksi kunnollinen parseri, korea grafiikka ja erittÀin nautittava musiikki vain lisÀÀvÀt pelinautintoa. Valitettavasti tÀmÀ pelintyypin ystÀviÀ on aika harvassa. Kokeilkaa kuitenkin ennen kuin nappaatte sen Super Mario nelosen kaupan hyllystÀ tÀmÀn namupalan sijaan.

Apr 1992 · DOS · read review

Abandonia Reloaded (4.5 out of 5) (90%)

All in all this is a great game, that shouldn't be missed if you're a fan of adventure games. They just don't make them like this anymore. I give it a four out of five, the last point being subtracted due to the music and the fact that the game is over too soon. Enjoy!

Dec 18th, 2005 · DOS · read review

SPAG (8.6 out of 10) (86%)

Forget everything you've ever heard about text games being obsolete. Time has not killed the text adventure; it has not fallen victim to progress. Rather, time has finally allowed text games to reach their potential. Gateway is an Infocom game for the nineties, built with state-of-the art graphics and classic text.

Sep 16th, 1997 · DOS · read review

ASM (Aktueller Software Markt) (10 out of 12) (83%)

Hat man sich einmal in die Story verbissen, lĂ€ĂŸt einen das Game so schnell nicht mehr los. Wer Textadventures nicht mag, wird wohl nie verstehen, was an dieser Art Spiel so faszinierend ist. FĂŒr Fans dieses Genres jedoch ist Gateway ein erlesener Leckerbissen und unzweifelhaft ein echter Hit.

Jul 1992 · DOS · read review

PC Joker (82 out of 100) (82%)

Automapping vermißt man hier zwar, ansonsten hat sich technisch gegenĂŒber den frĂŒheren Legend-Adventures wenig geĂ€ndert: Die Musikbegleitung ist, naja, Geschmackssache, die Grafik mit ihren Zwischenscreens und kleinen Animationen bekam ein paar Auflösungs-Punkte mehr spendiert, und das Benutzer-Interface gibt sich genial wie immer. Auch gute Englischkenntnisse sind nach wie vor unabdingbar, aber die kann man sich ja wĂ€hrend der langen Monate aneignen, die einen diese 6MB-Space-Opera in den Bann schlagen dĂŒrfte!

Aug 1992 · DOS

Power Play (82 out of 100) (82%)

Von der gewöhnungsbedĂŒrftigen Story abgesehen, wird Text-Adventure-Unterhaltung auf höchstem Niveau geboten. Die Sensoren des Gateway-Prospektors werden mit teils animierten High-Res-Grafiken und wunderschönen Jazz- und Space-Soundtracks verwöhnt, das Benutzer-Interface ist ohne Fehl und Tadel. Obwohl einige RĂ€tsel nur extrem schwer zu knacken sind, findet sich nirgends eine unlogische Sackgasse. Einen dicken Minuspunkt habe ich trotzdem zu vergeben: DafĂŒr, daß der Packung das komplette „Hint-Book“ beliegt, sollte man Bob Bates ins All schießen. Wer besitzt schon so viel WillensstĂ€rke, um in kritischen Momenten nicht mal kurz zu „linsen“. Am besten gleich zu einer Vertrauensperson in sichere Verwahrung geben und nicht schwach werden.

Jul 1992 · DOS · read review

Joker Verlag prÀsentiert: Sonderheft (82 out of 100) (82%)

Sich mit der bereits aus der „Spellcasting“-Serie bekannten BenutzeroberflĂ€che (Grafik- und Textfenster, Windrose, scrollbare Wörterlisten und diverse MenĂŒs) anzufreunden, ist dagegen eine Sache von Sekunden. Auf Wunsch kann Gateway auch als reines Textadventure gespielt werden, was angesichts des gebotenen Wortwitzes gar nicht mal sooo abwegig ist — aber mit der Maus reist es sich halt deutlich komfortabler durchs All, und warum sollte man auf die hĂŒbschen Super VGA-Grafiken verzichten, wo sie doch nur ein Viertel des Screens beanspruchen? Von knackigen RĂ€tseln ĂŒber einwandfreies Gameplay bis zu netter PrĂ€sentation ist alles da, bloß der Sound klingt auf sĂ€mtlichen Karten nicht eben nach einem Symphonieorchester. Sei‘s drum, wer gut genug Englisch kann, findet in Gateway jedenfalls monatelangen Adventurespaß von wahrhaft kosmischen Dimensionen!
(page 47)

1993 · DOS · read review

Adventure Classic Gaming (4 out of 5) (80%)

Frederik Pohl’s Gateway is the first game from Legend Entertainment I have played. Based on Pohl’s famous Gateway Saga, the game occurs in the same Heechee universe from which the books are rooted. Highly imaginative and a pleasure to play, Legend Entertainment has become a game developer to be reckoned with since publishing this title. Gateway is underrated by many gamers when it is initially released. Fortunately, like many cult classics, it eventually rises to become a sleeper hit worthy of Pohl’s name.

Nov 1st, 1998 · DOS · read review

PC Format (UK) (73 out of 100) (73%)

Gateway is a good adventure, but it hasn't improved significantly upon Legend's past adventures. Despite the parser's undoubted sophistication, and all the possibilities it creates, you can't help feeling that you're using a slightly outdated system.

Aug 1992 · DOS

Play Time (72 out of 100) (72%)

FĂŒr den PC ist diese Art zu spielen recht ungewöhnlich, aber nach einer kurzen Eingewöhnungszeit fĂŒhlt man sich wie in einem Roman in dem man den Fortgang der Story selbst bestimmen kann. Zu den action- und soundĂŒberladenen PC-Games eine sicherlich interessante Alternative.

Sep 1992 · DOS

Good Old Days, The (staff reviews only) (4 out of 6) (67%)

On the whole, Gateway is a mixed bag in both story and puzzles. There are no parts which are bad or even below average, but for example compared to the great scenes based in 'virtual reality' where the puzzle quality really shines, the exploration of a few of the planets the protagonist visits falls short. Either plot development or better puzzles would have been enough in these intermediate scenes, but the game provides us with neither. A missed opportunity, but a worthwhile waste of time.

Aug 28th, 2004 · DOS · read review

Computer Gaming World (CGW) N/A

Gateway is a good enough game, but good enough for what? It is certainly playable. It is generally entertaining. It takes place in an interesting universe and is well plotted. Yet nothing about the game makes it compelling; nothing makes it feel fresh, different, or new. Just as it is full of filler puzzles, it is a filler game, treading water in the shallows of interactive fiction. Pohl is well served by the game, which is faithful and respectful to his work. Players, unfortunately, are less well served, and Gateway will most likely join Rendezvous With Rama, Fahrenheit 451 and their like in a dusty corner of adventure game history.

Oct 1992 · DOS

Alle PC Spiele N/A

Daß Textadventures nicht in die Mottenkiste gehören und in Zeiten von Super-VGA auch noch ihre Daseinsberechtigung besitzen, beweist Legend mit „Gateway“. Wie beim Lesen eines Buches entsteht nach einer Weile bei „Gateway“ eine phantasievolle Sience-Fiction-Story, die den Spieler voll in ihren Bann zieht und mit anspruchsvollen RĂ€tseln aufwartet. Wem’s zu schwierig wird, der guckt am besten in das praktischerweise mitgelieferte Hint-Book.

1993 · DOS

Player Reviews

A magnificent space odyssey with unknown destination

The Good
Released in 1992, "Gateway" was Legend's first work based on a license, more specifically a cycle of novels by renowned science-fiction author Frederick Pohl. The title of the game refers to a space station located right in our solar system, circling the sun near the orbit of Venus. In the distant future, where this game takes place, Gateway Station is central to mankind's exploration of outer space, holding a great number of ships, which are capable of faster-than-light-travel.

Legend put much effort into working out the details of the setting. There's lots of written material, that provides further insight into the game world, all of it worth reading. The in-game news channel, where you can read about many events from earth and other places in the galaxy, is only one example for this. Important to know is, that humanity only discovered Gateway Station. The original builders were the so-called Hechee, a mysterious, technologically advanced alien race, that vanished without a trace. Although mankind is making use of the Hechee technology, they are still not able to fully understand it. As a result, faster-than-light-travel is a risky business, as the guidance system of the Hechee ships are beyond human understanding and the destination of a ship remains a great enigma. Still, there are more than enough volunteers, called Gateway Prospectors, who are willing to take the risk. They go on journeys with unknown destinations, hoping to discover alien races, new technology or anything else, which may bring them wealth and fame. As you may have guessed, you start the game as a newly arrived Prospector. In the course of the game, you will be the first human to visit many strange planets. Your discoveries are going to be rather unpleasant ones, however.

Part of what makes Legend games unique is their flexibility, that gratifies hardcore interactive fiction players as well as people more used to modern point and click adventures. What I mean is, the game offers different ways to communicate with it, either by using your keyboard or your mouse. For the latter method, there's one menu bar with verbs and another one with nouns, both of which can be easily combined to what you can call sentences. After clicking on a verb, there are also prepositions popping up, making more complex commands possible (and often necessary). What still makes the handling somewhat more cumbersome than for example LucasArts famous SCUMM system is the sheer mass of verbs, that's placed at your disposal. While the most common ones are conveniently placed at the top of the list, you have to scroll down quite a bit to reach some of the less often used ones. Remember, however, that if you're a fast typist, like me, you can always switch to entering the commands via keyboard. And the upside of things is, that you can and must elaborate your thoughts more clearly, when talking to the game. It also enables experimentation to a wide degree, meaning you can try out countless things, which aren't even related to the puzzles, but nevertheless bring up many unique responses.

Even though it plays quite differently from what we're used to nowadays, games by Legend are still very accessible. They manage to transfer the qualities of classic IF games to the 90s, modernizing a lot, but never losing sight of what made them great in the first place. The presentation is a good example therefor: like some later games by Infocom, Magnetic Scrolls and other IF manufacturers of the 80s, "Gateway" also features graphics: the environments are illustrated by slightly animated pictures, showing everything from a first person view. What really brings the world to life, however, still is the pristine power of words: detailed and well-written text descriptions. Purists may even turn the graphics off and experience the world through nothing but mere words and imagination, but in my opinion the illustrations are too nice to really consider this.

When you travel through the galaxy in "Gateway", you'll visit many different planets, each of them with individual landscapes and individual challenges. Kaduna III, for example, is a quite perilous place, where both flora and fauna are exceptionally aggressive. On this planet you better save often, since you can die quite easily here. Opposed to this is the peaceful scenery of Psi Dorma V, centered around an idyllic pond, that looks as if it was imported from a fairy tale. As the atmosphere is very dreamlike, it fits the setting very well, that you constantly feel sleepy on this planet. Be prepared for some cryptic dream sequences, that actually provide hints for some puzzles, once you decipher their meaning.

Speaking about puzzles, this is easily the most wonderful part of the game. I really think, that every adventure game designer should intensely study the works of Legend. Here you can see, how good puzzles are made. Not only is each and every one intelligent and reasonable, but also perfectly integrated into the plot, never feeling forced or artificial, always appearing as a natural part of the narrative. Moreover, every new planet seems to be a little more difficult than the previous one. If you visit them in the order suggested by your ship's control system, you will experience a notable learning curve. Another cool feature: many puzzles can actually be solved in multiple ways. This is especially the case on Nemira III, one of the coolest parts of the game.

I could easily go on a while like this, talking about how great the puzzles are, but I think you should discover the details yourself. The last thing I'd like to add is, that "Gateway" actually is one of those games, which have an internal clock. With every move you make, one minute passes in the game world. This means among other things, that you have to sleep from time to time, since the story actually spans several days. And when a character tells you to meet him in the Blue Hell Bar at ten o'clock, you better arrive on time. Of course, you can always leap forward in time by using the "wait" command. This kind of an internal clock is another feature taken from classical interactive fiction games and I always enjoy it.

The Bad
Well, I would have preferred multiple choice conversations instead of the system that's employed here, which is still similar to Infocom games. Basically you have to form commands like "ask character X about topic Y". The only improvement over older text adventures is, that you can do this via mouse. The game will show a list of possible topics as soon as you have specified the character, you want to talk to. Later games by Legend implemented multiple choice dialogues, which is in my opinion the better technique. The sequel to this game, "Gateway 2: Homeworld", already had it, by the way.

Otherwise, my only criticism concerns the game's MIDI soundtrack, which is at best mediocre and sometimes even slightly annoying. Actually the music was always one of the weaker points in Legend games. While LucasArts and Sierra already had excellent composers working for them, Legend was clearly a little behind the times in that regard.

The Bottom Line
Despite the criticisms expressed above, "Gateway" is an amazing adventure in the truest sense of the word, containing an epic voyage, diverse planets, stunning discoveries, good and evil, artificial intelligences, virtual realities, humans, aliens and nothing less than the saving of mankind as your ultimate goal. One of the most delightful and entertaining games Legend ever produced, "Gateway" has hardly lost anything of its charm in all these years.

by micnictic (391) on Sep 15th, 2009 · DOS

Definitely one of the best; but can you find a copy?

The Good
I've played many, many adventure games over the years. This may not have the best graphics, the best music or the best interface, but it has the best story. (Admittedly, though, I played the game using the hint-book that was packaged with it, so I didn't get too waylaid or frustrated by the puzzles).

You play a 'prospector', or space adventurer, who travels to far off planets from your base on 'Gateway': a space station created by an alien civilisation, and later discovered accidentally by humans.

Its gripping stuff. No really it is. Compelling in fact.

The Bad
It was virtually impossible to buy. Unlike its successor (Gateway 2) it's rare. It comes up on e-bay every 4 months or so (if you're lucky) and goes for a lot of money but I'd recommend it as its worth every penny (cent, euro etc).

The Bottom Line
A rare treat from story-tellers supreme: Legend Entertainment. The game is a challenge, but finding a copy is even more of a challenge!

by jossiejojo (43) on Aug 2nd, 2005 · DOS

Ahh! The good 'ol days!

The Good
Great plot, unprecidented atmosphere (even today), splendidly programmed and masterly fullfilled.

The Bad
A bit short, forehaps?

The Bottom Line
Gateway is a worthy game based on one of the most original science fiction novels of all time; "gateway" by Frederik Pohl (which, by the way, is one of my favourite books, so I guess this review is a bit biased).

Having its own independent plot, "Gateway: The Game" still re-creates the novel's famous atmosphere, and then some: following with a splendid and faithful re-creation of the Gateway facility and the Heechee starships (though I would like the other features of the book: traveling with companions for example, the turn-around as the ship slows down in Tau-space and so on - but hey, this game was made in the early 90's).

Gateway was one of the last real quality adventure games - a rare breed which, too me, seems to be dying in our day's. For present day computer companies have a lot to learn from these good old days; the days when making games was not just another way to make cash, but also when making the game itself involved the love from its creators.

Gateway, and its sequel, is one of those rare games we can truly call a work of art!

by Stargazer (104) on Aug 2nd, 2003 · DOS

One of Legend's best adventures

The Good
Great plot unfolds as you play, self-contained world/puzzles, variety of different worlds, occasionally multiple solutions to puzzles, engaging puzzles, adequate music, great parser (often allowing humourous returns).

The Bad
Graphics so/so. One nasty bug (which only intermittently comes up) which prevents completion of the game.

The Bottom Line
Definitely among my favourite IF titles, Gateway is based upon Frederik Pohl's universe, but has its own storyline. As a prospector seeking fame and fortune, you are prepared to risk your life unravelling the mysteries of a mysterious alien space station, and perhaps the biggest mystery of all: Who built it? This was the first Legend game I ever played, and one I revisit quite regularly, and mainly for one reason: the atmosphere. Gateway creates the sense of immersion expertly, and really represents the genre of "Interactive Fiction". Puzzles are sometimes devious, although I completed the game without cheating. There are many asides not related to the plot at all that certainly add atmosphere and backstory - for example, reading the news. The parser is one best I have ever encountered, with the option of typing, using the graphical window, or even a versatile menu system. The graphics are dated, although this doesn't hold a major problem - it is a text-based game at heart. The music complements the atmosphere despite its simplicity. A definite plus for me is the humourous responses possible from many actions. Try to "kiss" or "rub" everyone you meet, for example. If you enjoy adventure and puzzle games, or even just a great story, Gateway is definitely recommended.

by Shane Cornall (7) on Jul 31st, 2006 · DOS

An absorbing, compelling science fiction adventure!

The Good
The 'being there' factor is great if you are a fan of text based games, the writing is good in quality, the plot great, and, well, it just feel good 'till the end! And the VR puzzles rule!-) Plus, this game is freeware nowadays, something as great as this for free should not be passed up.

The Bad
Hmm.. well the musics aren't exactly from the top although they do fit, and the graphics are good but not excellent. But hey, this is a text based adventure game anyway!

The Bottom Line
Gateway is a brilliant game in the feel and the storyline alike. If you like the genre you really need to play this.

by RmM (73) on Oct 23rd, 1999 · DOS

Plus 27 player ratings without reviews

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by durplu pobba, Scaryfun, Pseudo_Intellectual, Patrick Bregger, LeftHandedMatt, Mr Creosote.