Gold Rush Anniversary Edition
What to do when you remake a
game – faithfully reproduce the original, or tweak it/bend it/change it
in some way to take account of changes in taste/style/something else. If
you fiddle too much it isn’t a remake, it’s really a reinterpretation or
“inspired by” or some such thing, and do you then stand accused of not
having remade it at all? And who is to say your perceived improvement
really is an improvement; perhaps fans like the game precisely because
it’s the way that it was.
It’s a vexed set of issues, and
one which I am sure makers grapple with as we get more of these
makeovers. Me, I just have to decide whether to play it.
This one I did, and having not
played the original I have nothing nostalgic to compare it to. I might
have enjoyed it more had that been the case.
From the Sierra stable
originally, this remake has kept faith with the original, right down to
the dead ends and timed puzzles that you can’t undo. Games used to have
these things, Sierra’s in particular, but I think they disappeared for a
goodly reason. Not knowing that you have to do something and then not
being able to do it, or having to find something which can now not be
found or be in time for something that can now not be met, is, as far as
I am concerned, simply frustrating and not fun. It leads to aimlessness,
and very quickly for me disinterest.
You can die too, and may not
know that you are going to because you did or didn’t do something. If I
get run over by a coach I can get out of its way next time; if I die of
disease because I took a seemingly unrelated item much earlier, then it
isn’t clear what would stop me taking it over and over again.
Perhaps I just got soft. Perhaps
a game which is really one big puzzle and which will challenge you on
many levels is more appealing than I appreciate. Go in with your eyes
open and such a game may well appeal to you.
As I said, I didn’t play the
original but a quick google and it’s clear the graphics have been much
upgraded, not to 2014 standard but to a far more modern level. Point and
click and speech are new additions, although you can play using the
original parser control (eg “take book” etc), and the score is
apparently the same, but doesn’t sound like I expect it did in 1988. I
did find it loud and overwhelming at times, and I thought the voice
acting was passable at best. There is ambient sound as well.
According to the website, there
will be some more quests than in the original, but I can’t confirm
whether that is the case.
What is the case are the three
paths through the game that were present in the original. You play
Jerrod Wilson, living in Brooklyn, who gets a letter from his brother
telling him to come out west. With rumours of gold in the air, Jerrod
decides to do just that.
There are three ways to get to
California; by plain old wagon train, around Cape Horn or through
Panama, but the first is the only one that is always available. To do
either of the others requires you to have achieved certain things in
certain times, which I didn’t do. Some more googling and they all seem
A walkthrough suggests that the
direct route through to the end won’t take very long at all, but without
a walkthrough I would still be trying.
In a nice little tribute to
things from the old days. You can buy this in a boxed version with the
sorts of goodies you used to take for granted. My old version has a
large parchment map showing the three routes referred to, an 88 page
book detailing the California gold rush, a hint book and a game manual.
This new boxed version includes a poster, concept drawings and “the
making of” material and there are apparently only 350 in total. You can
also download it, and Steam upgradeable content includes digital
booklets and things as well.
I like a boxed version, but
suspect I will pass on this one.
I played on:
OS: Windows 7
Processor: Intel i7-3820 4GHz
RAM: 12GB Ripjaw DDR3 2133 Mhz
Video card: AMD Radeon HD 7800 2048MB
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