Friday, February 17, 2017

Fate: Gates of Dawn: Summary and Rating

Fate: Gates of Dawn
reLINE Software (developer and publisher)
Released in 1991 for the Amiga and Atari ST
Date Started: 21 April 2016
Date Ended: 3 February 2017
Total Hours: 272
Difficulty: Moderate (3/5)
Final Rating: 42
Ranking at Time of Posting: 200/239 (84%)
Ranking at Game #455: 392/455 (86%)

Fate was conceived as a successor to Alternate Reality, which had promised much--a city, a wilderness, an arena, a palace--but delivered little. In that, Fate succeeded. Not only did it retain most of the logistical considerations of Alternate Reality--hunger, thirst, fatigue, nutrition, encumbrance, disease, and so forth--as well as the complex NPC interactions, it allowed multiple characters in the party, created a full game world, and added a main quest.

The problem is that the game didn't know when to quit. I recommend that modern players, if they want to play Fate, end when they solve the Cavetrain quest. Up to that point, it's a great game. Different NPCs create a very different experience in combat and exploration, as in the beginning each one only has one or two spellbooks. You get to explore a large city, a large wilderness around it, a smaller sister city, and a large, complex, 7-level dungeon with a variety of navigational puzzles. Leveling is relatively swift and rewarding, and the economy still holds some value. Hints are plentiful, and the main quest is adequate. Seriously, play it this way. Don't read the backstory. Some mage has cut the city of Larvin, enclosed by mountains, from the outside world. Winwood is the son of a tavernkeeper whose family was murdered by marauders looking for supplies, since no goods are coming in from the outside world. Your only quest is to restore the function of the train. You'd have a 60-hour RPG with decent mechanics, and you'd walk away happy.

Instead, the game continues for another 200 hours, with senseless plot developments, character development that becomes less and less important (my characters ended the game with dozens of improvement slots), and combat that becomes either mindlessly easy (outdoors) or absurdly deadly (indoors). Equipment upgrades slow and then stop, the economy spins out of control, and the player spends dozens of hours just getting from one place to another. What would have been high GIMLET scores for Fate: Quest of the Cavetrain start to bleed away as the game gets more sprawling and pointless.

Yes, I got seduced by the map. It's happened before, often at work. With major projects on my "to do" list, I'll get sucked in by some boring, menial, seemingly-incompletable task and I'll have to tear myself away from it. "Chet, that report was due last week!," I'll hear, and respond, "Sorry! I'm busy coding some variable I'll probably never use across 200,000 records!" The process of filling in those little boxes became an opiate. I'm glad I stopped myself before insisting that I finish. I will admit that the map is pretty cool. The developer could have set an excellent RPG there, full of lore and side quests. He just didn't.

The plot of Fate starts out intriguing. Winwood is transported from the real world and current year to an alternate Earth in the year 1932 in which magic is real and other races exist. The agent behind his transport seems to be an evil wizard named Thardan. Thardan uses one of his followers to disable the Cavetrain and block Larvin's access to the rest of the world, ostensibly to keep Winwood from escaping the starting area.

It's not a bad beginning, but from there the game doesn't develop the plot at all. Thardan's motives are never revealed. Unlike the much later Lionheart: Legacy of the Crusader, Fate doesn't try to put real-world analogues into its alternate Earth. (And I'm not suggesting that Lionheart is a particularly good game; it's just the only other one I know set in an alternate history.) Neither the maps nor the names of the cities suggest an alternate Earth. The only real "plot twist"--having Winwood whisked to the dungeons beneath Cassida via the wand on Naristos's body--isn't explicitly part of Thardan's plot. If it is, it was a stupid idea, as it was the only way that Winwood came into contact with Bergerac and Morganna.

Morganna, the deus ex machina, comes out of nowhere with a compelling back, but no compelling backstory. Thardan comes to a swift and ignominious end without even the traditional villain's exposition. He remains a passive villain the entire game.
Fate officially jumps the shark.
The hint system, which starts out strong in Larvin, requiring only that the player find the right class of NPC, completely disappears by the end, where the player has to make several nonsensical leaps of logic.

The name of the game remains a complete mystery throughout. What are the "gates of dawn," exactly? What "fate" is at stake here?

I don't even know what to expect from a GIMLET at this point.

1. Game World. The backstory of the alternate Earth is clumsily explained and never referenced in-game. As noted above, Winwood's part in the world starts out intriguing and ends stupid. On the other hand, the developer did a good job with the design and mechanics of the game world. The cities feel like huge places, populated with hundreds of NPCs. The map is exquisitely detailed, if light on the thematic content. The day/night cycle and changes in the weather pattern have meaning and consequences in the game. A mixed bag overall, but I suppose a step up from the typical RPG of the era. Score: 5.

2. Character Creation and Development. There's no creation, but the game gets some credit for the variety of ways that you can develop your party by selecting different NPCs. The strengths, weaknesses, and abilities of the various classes create a fundamentally different game for each player, particularly in the opening stages.

The races are entirely unreferenced and unused. The guild-based development system, supplemented with boosts from the altar in the Alarian Vaults, is only "okay." I saved my development slots the entire time I was in Larvin because commenters told me it was more efficient to use the better guilds outside the city. Once I did so, I really didn't notice that much improvement in my characters' performance, even though in some cases their attributes (like strength, dexterity, and skill) went from the 20s to the 90s. Acquiring spells is the more important mechanism of development, but even this stops being important after each character has 3 or 4 books.

I also give the game credit for the multiple-party system, which I really didn't exploit the way I could have. For instance, instead of circling my single party around the world to look for hints, I could have kept several parties in convenient locations. Since all party members get experience from all kills, it wouldn't have diluted my leveling very much; in fact, it would allow you to develop a party explicitly for grinding and to keep them in a convenient grinding location (near an inn and tavern in Katloch would have worked well), switching to them periodically to add a couple of levels while everyone else explores.

I don't know whether to regard the various logistical challenges--hunger, thirst, nutrition, fatigue, sins, conditions--as part of character development or not. Either way, the game made them too easy. Trivial amounts of money and time take care of them, and by mid-game you can deal with them all with various spells. Score: 5.
Fate features a large number of attributes and statistics to develop.
3. NPC Interaction. NPCs make up a major part of the game. You need them to join your party, give hints, train your characters, and further a variety of steps on the main quest. A complex system of gaining their favor with various chat options is undermined by a system that allows you to simply bribe most of them. Like most things, it's stronger in the beginning game than the ending.

I do like that once characters join the party, they have some wants and preferences of their own. They occasionally pipe up with hints or random comments. They may refuse to give their money in bribes, to hide in combat, to yell, or to go off on their own in taverns. I look forward to later games that develop these unique personalities deeper and allow more role-playing encounters with the NPCs. Score: 6.
A party member refuses to follow orders.
4. Encounters and Foes. There is a huge variety of monsters in the game, and it follows the old Bard's Tale tradition of using the same graphics for many different monsters, some of which are trivially easy and some of which are bafflingly hard. The inclusion of monsters that never die from any hit point loss, no matter how many rounds, was inexcusable, as was making an initiative system in which some groups of enemies always go ahead of the party. Overall, the various strengths and weaknesses of the foes never really impressed me or led me to create different tactical templates for dealing with them, beyond simply bashing weak monsters and using my few NUKE options against tough ones.

I do admire the various pre-combat options, which allow some limited role-playing and additional encounter tactics. Again, though, these are terribly unbalanced. "Prayer" shouldn't work as often as it does, nor should it be necessary as often as it is.

Then we have the various non-combat encounters with objects and buttons and such, all of which use the same set of menus. Since the correct selection is often nonsensical, you learn to just try every option, often with every party member, before the solution is revealed. The various button and lever puzzles never rise to the level of even the weakest Dungeon Master knock-off. Score: 4.
These types of special encounters were nice, but rarely offered much in the way of role-playing.
5. Magic and Combat. "Overblown" is probably the best word to describe the combat and magic systems. I like systems that have lots of options, but only when those options come together to create real tactical decisions. I never found any use for "Grope," "Steal," "Warcry," or "Mock," even when they worked. Many of the spells, as I covered extensively, are essentially useless, or duplicates of each other. Straight attacks become overpowered when you get "greater melee weapons" that damage all creatures in one attack.

And yet, we have to give credit for the sheer number of options, even if they don't all work. As with everything, the first third of the game does best here, as you gingerly approach each new party and try a variety of actions to create "tactical templates" to use against different foes. When each character only has a couple of spellbooks, you find yourself experimenting more than when all characters have half of them. Some of the spells are highly-original and fun. Score: 5.
Towards the end of the game, combat difficulty got pretty nutty.
6. Equipment. This category is perhaps Fate's strongest. I always like games in which you regularly get equipment upgrades, and this only happens when the game offers numerous equipment slots or numerous characters. Fate does both. Each character gets two weapons, two pieces of body armor, a helmet, gloves, and boots, plus a variety of potions and special items. Multiply that among 7 characters in a single party and potentially 28 characters in all parties, and you find that the game never stops giving regular rewards except in the final act.

Fate also has solid mechanics here. Examining each item tells you most of what you need to know about it, including who can equip it and how it affects your statistics. Encumbrance becomes a real concern as the best armor tends to be quite heavy. My strategy was generally to equip the best item and deal with the encumbrance effects by discarding other things, but it's possible I could have done better by equipping lighter armor and keeping a greater variety of weapons in inventory, for instance.

Fate gets the highest score here that I can offer without complex item interaction (a la NetHack), detailed item descriptions (a la Might & Magic VI-VIII), or item crafting. Score: 7.
Rarely do games give you this kind of detail to help with equipment choices.
7. Economy. I like games that give you plenty to buy. Early in the game, Fate sets a tone like Alternate Reality in which you need gold just to survive. You might find yourself murdering a peasant for enough cash for your next meal, or a night in the inn. If you find a nice weapon, it's a real dilemma whether to keep it or sell it for enough rations and water to keep you going for the week. Above those basic needs are a variety of shops selling weapons and armor, healers, chapels selling indulgences, and of course new spells and character upgrades. Offering "alms" to NPCs also burns through the cash very quickly.

But having a lot of things to spend money on is only fun if money itself is scarce. From the moment you wander outside, kill your first dwarf, and get 1,500 "piaster" for the deed, you generally have as much money as you need the moment you need it. There was never a point in the game that I worried about going broke, and because of that, I never bothered to sell a single piece of equipment--I just dropped it when I was done with it. You saw how I bought about 6 redundant ships (perhaps the most expensive item in the game) and shrugged off the loss of over $7 million towards the end.
Towards the end of the game, when you have millions of piaster, the most expensive potions--such as this one that restores all spell points--only cost a couple of thousand.
The imbalance in the economy is perhaps best illustrated by the uselessness of the banking system. The developer spent a lot of time positioning banks with various investment opportunities throughout key cities, but you'd have to be daft to bother with them. Just go kill some more dwarfs. Score: 3.

8. Quests. The game only gets credit for having a main quest, and a rather stupid one at that. There are no alternate paths or outcomes, no opportunities for role-playing, and worst of all, no side quests throughout the enormous game territory. Oh, I suppose you could argue that it has some "side-areas" that improve character development, but anything it would gain here would be lost in light of the idiocy of the main questline. Score: 2.

9. Graphics, Sound, and Interface. The graphics and sound are perhaps the best that they could have been for the era. The developers put a lot of effort into well-composed monster and NPC portraits, outdoor settings, and little mises-en-scène in the taverns, shops, and train. They certainly pass the "good enough" point that I require for this category. The sound effects go beyond that; not only are the clashes and zaps of weapons and spells done well, the game is one of only a few to offer evocative background sounds, so well-composed that I sometimes confused them for the real thing.
A diverse group awaits the Cavetrain.
The interface is the only place that I had real trouble. The game is meant to be used with a mouse--which makes me hate it already--but even worse, you have to click on very small menu options and frequently double-click by accident. Although you can use the keyboard in a limited sense, you have to mentally number the menu options to select the right key; an explicit numbering would have partially redeemed it. Too many options that you might want to use in concert are on different menus. All told, a bit of a nightmare. Score: 6.

10. Gameplay. Fate offers extensive map non-linearity but not plot non-linearity, and I prefer to see both together to really enjoy myself. (The 7-part Moonwand quest, which you can do in any order, was the exception and probably the high point of the post-Larvin part of the game.) I definitely would not call it "replayable." You'd have to be insane. In difficulty, it starts with a nice moderate level but goes off the rails after the Cavetrain quest, alternating between very easy and very hard. For "pacing," we of course award a big, scrawled "F" for being way, way too long. Score: 2.

This gives us a subtotal of 45, which puts it fairly high on my existing list. I'm not sure how to feel about that. On the one hand, the game does so well mechanically that you absolutely have to recommend it. For 1991, it is a wonder to behold, and when I first started it, exploring Larvin and its environment, every hour I discovered some new nuance that led me to admire the developer even more. On the other hand, the inability of the developer to know when to quit seems like it ought to count more than a few points in the final GIMLET category. And it's especially bad for offering an ending that isn't worth reaching, and for hints and directions evaporating towards the game's end. In the end, comparing it to the other games on the list, I feel better knocking off 3 points and kicking it down to the level of Knights of Legend, which had similar problems, at a final score of 42.

But let's talk for a moment about the game-within-the-game: Fate: Quest of the Cavetrain. Not only does it not lose those 3 additional points, it gains 3 more in the "gameplay" category for not being too long, 1 more in the "quests" category for not being stupid yet, 2 more in the "economy" category for not having gone out of control, and 1 more in "character creation and development" for development being more significant, and 1 more in both "combat" and "encounters" for not yet becoming bland and rote. Fate: Quest of the Cavetrain is a solid 54-point game, 9th-highest on my blog so far, better than everything except titles that offer extensive side-quests and more detailed role-playing options, and an obvious candidate for 1991's "Game of the Year." Don't cheat yourself out of this excellent game. Just don't worry about where the Cavetrain leads.

I say all of these things coming from an era in which 200- or 300-hour games are hardly uncommon. Steam tells me that when I last played Oblivion on my PC, it took me 213 hours. Skyrim took 278. (Neither totals count the multiple times I played both games on my console.) But of course these titles are packed with content, including so many side quests and faction quest threads that it's hard to keep track of them all. Even if you don't take a single quest, simply exploring each dungeon or structure and learning its individual story provides more rewards than the totality of Fate's plot.

On top of this, I have a sneaking suspicion that Fate was actually supposed to take even longer. I base this on the horribly unbalanced initiatives of the monsters towards the end of the game. Certainly, the developer didn't intend for the player to "pray" away every fight, right? Certainly, he didn't intend every encounter with the wandering demons to completely wipe out the party. Given that Morganna joins the party at Level 105, I wonder if the party wasn't supposed to be of a comparable level (my characters topped at around 60) before braving the Cassidan dungeons in the first place. That would have required an insane amount of grinding, but the game is already pretty insane.
Before any of my characters even had a chance to act.
I was therefore curious how reviews of the time treated a game of such unprecedented length. I scanned reviews offering both the best rating (89/100, from Amiga Joker in March 1991) and the worst rating (26/60, from Aktueller Software Markt in November 1991). Of the two, the Amiga Joker reviewer seems to have gotten the furthest--screenshots show scenes that could only be in Mernoc or Katloch, plus hit-point totals that suggest Level 50+ characters, which is pretty impressive. While recognizing that the game will involve "months of play," he doesn't seem to attach much quality to that, though he does warn of the game's overall difficulty. He particularly seems to enjoy the graphics and sound, and like me, he praises the background effects. (I only translated parts of the review, so if any German-speaking readers would like to read the entire thing and offer more details, I'd be grateful.)

The ASM reviewer, on the other hand, manages to make most of his negative points not about the gameplay or length but about the very graphics that everyone else seems to like. Only Amiga magazines would take a game with graphics as well-composed as this and find some way to bitch about them--in ASM's case, the complaint is that they're not animated. This is the 1991 version of modern reviews that, faced with a game like Fallout 4 where you can count individual blades of grass, conclude that the graphics "suck" because the blades don't cast individual shadows. ASM also seems to have issues with the scope of the game, at least in terms of numbers of party members, spells, and dungeons.
I'm hard-pressed to find any contemporary reviews of the English version. I understand reLINE was going out of business (although later recovered) just as the English version was published. It's possible that it barely made it to English players' Amigas, let alone American ones. This is unfortunate, because--no offense to my European readers--American players had the most experience in 1991 with actual RPGs, and it would have been fun to see their reactions to both the length (Scorpia surely wouldn't have been able to finish the game before turning in her review, which would have galled her) and the clear foundation in Alternate Reality mixed with The Bard's Tale. Most European reviews focused on its relationship with Legend of Faerghail (1990), reLINE's previous RPG, which also showed a heavy Bard's Tale influence and also featured graphics by Matthias Kästner.
Fate's auteur was Olaf Patzenhauer, who apparently began working on the game around 1986, after some experience with Alternate Reality, The Bard's Tale, and some of the Ultima titles. I otherwise haven't been able to find very much about the man, such as age, education, or previous employment. He died in late 2011 or early 2012, some sites say from a heart attack but I was unable to find a specific obituary. Fate and a 1992 strategy game called Dynatech seem to be Patzenhauer's only non-adult games, and as we've seen, even Fate had plenty of adult material. His post-Fate credits include Penthouse Hot Numbers Deluxe (1993) and Biing!: Sex, Intrigue, and Scalpels (1995), described by MobyGames as "an erotic hospital-management simulation," which raises a number of questions I do not want answered.

From what I can gather from message boards, mostly in German, sometime in the early 2000s, Patzenhauer wrote a Fate 2 but never published it. Instead, he sent a personalized copies to friends and fans with the stipulation that they not share them. Accounts suggest that the game was never finished and had no main quest. (If any German-speaking reader would like to browse the forums here, you might find more information about the game than I did.) I've seen some sites that say the source code was destroyed upon Patzenhauer's death, as per his will, and others that say he lost the game in a computer crash before he died. (On one message thread in 2006, Patzenhauer talks about a computer crash but later says he recovered his data.) What everyone does seem to agree on is that the game featured plenty of manga-influenced graphics and nudity, if not outright hentai gameplay. (By his own account, Patzenhauer developed a deep interest in all things Japanese in the post-Fate years.) The image below, minus the black bars, came up in an RPG Codex thread in 2008, for instance. (As for the black bars, the images in my "won" posting are as explicit as a I dare get without worrying that Google will require me to turn on the "adults only" flag.) There are some rumors of a fan sequel in-progress called Fate 3.
Purported screenshot from the privately-distributed Fate 2.
It's going to be weird not having the occasional Fate session on my "to do" list, and I have a feeling that my memories of the game are going to be wrapped up in my memories of a weird year in which Irene and I moved 4 times. I played Fate in the cramped study of a temporary apartment in Boston, and on the porch of a beach house we rented for a few months on the North Shore. I had it going on the kitchen table of a one-bedroom in Portland as the summer breeze came through the window, and in the comfy office of the condo we eventually bought near Bar Harbor, as the snows fell on the harbor outside. Perhaps the instability of my living situation explains why I took refuge in the stability of mapping square after square of the huge game world. And perhaps it also explains why I was so personally offended at its shaggy-dog ending. Despite a relatively high score, I'm glad to be done with it and moving on.


  1. Excellent summation, especially the final paragraphs. I often find my feelings about a game are tied to where I was and what I was doing at the time.

  2. After reading about Fate for a year, this is a good summary. I was expecting it to score a bit lower, even if the individual aspects are interesting and full of ideas, I was left with the impression that when you put it all together it didn't make a very harmonious or polished combination... But anyway, I'm really looking forward to you moving on to next games!

  3. That was a good review, I expected a lower rating, but I also forgot a lot of good things about the game, since they mainly happened at the beginning.
    Thank you for playing this. I had it on my list for a long time after my internet buddy winwood suggested it for me, but it's removed now (sorry pal).

    Fate2 has aimed for the following scope (see:
    *2000x2000 tiles of wilderness
    *several cities with dungeons up to 9 levels
    *up to 11 parties of 9 members each
    *over 500 playable characters
    *a quick glance shows about 120 spells
    *12 language styles which affect dialogues
    *a karma system called "evilpoints"
    And I don't know how many items.

    It was programmed by OP alone (minus graphics), but I honestly don't see how he could have ever filled that large world with life. I'm not sure what the lesson of the unfinished Fate 1 was, never found a comment about that at the forum.

    Biing was actually a really good game, hidden behind the erotic stuff was a quite complex business simulation with lots of strange ideas and zynic humor, for example your ambulance raced with other hospitals for accident victims.

    1. Ohai Sucinum. Nice to see you're still active. I used to be Trauerklinge on inDia2 (aka.: Nai's Ex).

      Small World :)

    2. The graphics in Biing (by Celal Kandemiroglou, who also did the Fate cover art) were very cartoonish and overdone, it never struck me as adult or even erotic. The humour was fantastic, but the learning curve was so steep. I never survived the first day. Maybe I should give it another try now that there's plenty of help on the internet.

    3. "it never struck me as adult or even erotic." Are we looking at the same game? I mean, "erotic" is a matter of opinion, but go just do a Google image search for "Biing." The very opening cutscene has a nurse stripping as she explains the game's controls.

      If you wouldn't want your mother walking in when playing a game, it's "adult."

    4. The stripping was even part of the game: you had a nurse in every room (waiting room, doctor's room, patient's room) and if you made them strip, your patients were happy and your rating increased.
      It kind of fits into the setting, nurses are pin-ups, doctors are drooling idiots, patients have ridiculous illnesses and hospitals send out thugs to get patients It's really hard to describe, everything about this game is weard on hindsight. The game is not about undressing nurses, that just happens casually.

      To survive the first day, you have to micromanage everything and do everything right. Even then a bit of reloading can help, since patient influx is mainly based on your rating, which means random at the first day, since every hospital starts with the same rating.
      You don't even have time to enjoy the nudity ;)

      And hi :) I keep meeting people from indiablo, also at Path of Exile. The internet is really small :D

  4. German here to leave some feedback:
    Your summary of the Amiga Joker review was pretty spot on: The reviewer loves the game, but warns that it's pretty rough and should be attempted by experienced players.
    Sidenote: Amiga Joker was a laid back, fun magazine, at the time, while ASM attempted to be "serious journalism". My (early teen) friends and I preferred Joker because their articles were hilarious and their taste in games matched ours. In retrosight, I assume ASM targeted the mature audience.

    As for Fate 2: According to the forums you linked, every copy of Fate 2 was on CD, personalized, and prominently featured the personal data of the person Olaf sent the CD to, including adress, name and phone number. Apparently, the data couldn't be removed without destroying the .exe. That's a very solid copy protection.

    1. I guess. It's not really "copy protection," though, unless the people who received copies didn't want anyone else to know their addresses and phone numbers.

    2. This is how the film industry sends out screeners... it has the name of the recipient scrolling across the screen periodically. If they find out who leaked it, lawsuit ensues. Though, it is not clear that this strategy works for anyone less than a huge company with near-infinite lawyer money.

    3. Probably removing the data without destroying the .exe was simply beyond the talents of the people he sent copies to. Hexediting .exe files is something of an art, but a sufficiently determined person could write an entire game using nothing else.

    4. Fate Gates of Dawn used a sophisticated 8-bit encryption which limited hex editing of both save games and in-game memory. Pathetically, I'm unreasonably proud of the fact that, when I posted details of this encryption scheme at the Might and Magic web site that Chester linked, commenters at that hard-core fan site observed that this was a new first -- to their knowledge, the encryption had not been broken in the 25+ years the program has been around. In fact, it wasn't actually "broken" -- instead, I used the capable WinUAE debugger to discover the relevant code.

      Sorry I lost my point in the bragging: it's likely that Patzenhauer buried Fate2 code behind similar, perhaps even longer key, encryption, which might prevent all but the most technically knowledgeable and dedicated of users from hex editing their personal details away.

  5. Nevertheless this blog post series about Fate was great. Congrats and thank you!
    And now I know that I finished playing this game at the right spot. I repaired the Cave train and went to the Grottos and stopped playing, mainly because of the cumbersome interface. Seems it was a good decision.

    1. If you still feel quite favorably about the game, then yes, it was a good decision.

    2. It's copy protection in the sense that you know who sold you out

  6. So ... you never learned German or French at school but you developed enough of a grasp to get the gist of some German reviews and some pretty obscure French RPG in-game text. Chet, you continue to amaze me. Plus: Thanks for this slog through an RPG that intrigued me in my youth, even though I was never able to play it myself.

    1. You give me too much credit. Google Translate helps a lot.

      I can read both French and Spanish. I can talk in Spanish. I can't understand what's being said to me in either.

      This creates weird scenarios when I have to visit Latin America for work. I have to keep saying, stuff like "quiza lo parece que de mi discurso que entiendo español, pero por favor creo que no puedo entenderte. Por favor responda 'sí' o 'no' solamente."

    2. Before anyone corrects me, I just meant "de," not "que de."

    3. It's more correct in this way: "quizás le puede parecer por mi discurso que entiendo español, pero por favor, creo que no puedo entenderte" / "maybe it seems for my discurse that i understand spanish, but please, i think i can't understand you" near literall translation.

    4. Revision, as an Spanish speaker. This is more polite:

      quizás pueda parecerle por mi discurso que entiendo español, pero por favor, no creo que pueda entenderle

      This is polite and effcient:

      Aunque por mi discurso parezca que entiendo español, lo siento, pero no es asi.

  7. To question the bit about English reviews of the game, there are plenty here:

    Unless you are specifically asking for american english reviews.

    As for the complaints about the graphics, in the same way Fallout 4 looks drab compared next to The Witcher 3 or Dragon Age:Inquisition, this looks quite primitive next to Shadow of the Beast 2, which isn't even an RPG, but it was probably what most reviewers compared most games to at the time. Yes, it's stupid. Fallout 4 is still a good looking game, so is Fate.

    1. I swear that when I looked at those sites earlier, the relevant pages weren't scanned. Now I see reviews all over the place. I may add a paragraph above.

    2. Well, I'm not sure that they add much. The CU Amiga reviewer identifies the developer's name wrong and wrongly cites the game's inspirations as Dungeon Master, Galdregon's Domain, and Might & Magic. I don't even think any of them had a German release. Judging by screenshots, he never acquired party members and perhaps never made it to town. "Definitely a case of try before you buy," he concludes, leaving me confused as to how you'd actually do that.

      The Amiga Mania review is fairer and the reviewer got at least far enough to get a boat and rescue Mandrag. (His screenshots, oddly, all exclude Winwood.) Say what you want about my nudity comments, I didn't pepper them with "ahem," "cough," and "erm."

      The Amiga Format review is just inept. It focuses on things that don't even matter in the course of gameplay, including thieves and snakes. It feels that it has to offer advice like "procuring a weapon somewhere along the line is definitely a good move" and it wastes time making comparisons to Dungeon Master and Eye of the Beholder without seeming to realize that they feature completely different gameplay. He incorrectly thinks that there's only one magic mapping jewel and says bizarre things like "when confronted with [tough monsters], the game doesn't react to player choices quickly enough to be of much use," as if combat took place in real time. And judging by the screenshots, he didn't get out of the starting area.

      The Amiga Power reviewer played it for all of 10 minutes, praises the fact tht it takes place outdoors instead of in a dungeon, and explicitly liked the graphics of women best.

      So, yes, I guess I meant American English reviews. British reviewers of the time simply didn't know what they were talking about, as I'm reminded every time I have to read an Amiga magazine from the era.

    3. True. Probably the best, technically speaking, magazine of the time was joystick, which was French.

      It's true that British magazines sounded unprofessional, but to be fair they had dozens of games to review every month, and huge RPGs usually suffered with that.

    4. Dungeon Master had a German Release and even a German Version. Everybody played it, the sales were about 50% of the sales of the Atari ST (!) and the other half had cracked copies or borrowed it.
      Computers were quite rare back then, but I didn't know a single person with an Atari or Amiga who didn't play Dungeon Master.

      I'm still not sure how much inspiration it was, Fate is far closer to Bard's Tale.

    5. Joystick was the best overall magazine, but specifically for RPGs, Micromania (Spain) took the cake with large, A3 size, multiple page, RPG previews/reviews and a section dedicated to Q&A & Tips on RPGs called "Maniacos del Calabozo" ("Dungeon Maniacs").

    6. Micromania's "Ferhergon" was Europe's version of "Scorpia" :)

    7. Micromania was good, and quite cheap compared to British magazines, but it was so unbearable to read, with its huge size:)

  8. Congrats - I am going to miss the posts.

    But what the heck is a "Dongbats"-attribute?!

    1. Dongbats is the currency used in Fate 2.

    2. I'd buy that for a dongbat!

    3. I thought it was a bat shaped like a do- nevermind.

  9. Wow, a lot to think about with this review. One thing is the question of how this game would have been received if it had been Quest of the Cavetrain. Theoretically it would have been released a lot sooner... Soon enough to save money on production cost? And possibly save the company from failing, allowing the sequel, Quest for the Moonwand, and the final game, Winwood's Return, making Fate a beloved, groundbreaking RPG trilogy? I can't help but think so, which is pretty sad. An important lesson to let others look at your work and take constructive criticism seriously, it might make the difference between sucess and failure.

  10. Aaand it's finally over, congrats. I was expecting a larger penalty for its length, but overall it's a fair score.

    "It's possible that it barely made it to English players' Amigas, let alone American ones."

    Not through legal channels, as very few copies made it to stores, but pirates took care of that little problem.

  11. Olaf Patzenhauer was quite active on the German language forum, and left several comments there about Fate. Apparently, when Fate was released, there was a telephone hotline which you could call if you were stuck (and which Olaf had to answer himself). You might also like to hear that he regretted not marking things like the holes more clearly as jokes.

    1. The holes! I was going to mention those. I don't understand the comment, though. The only thing remotely funny about the holes is that players would waste so much time trying to figure out what to do with them. If they were "clearly marked" as jokes, that would defeat the entire purpose. Not that I really appreciate their purpose to begin with.

  12. The. Map. Needs. To. Be. Finished.

    If Chet doesnt do that in his free time as some kind of relaxation, someone else should finish it!

    1. Let. The. Boy. Watch.


      There you go. I found it with a quick search.

    3. Do I have to tell you, that it's not the same thing?

  13. Some games just give you the impression that the creator had big dreams, but ran out of steam partway through. FATE appears to be a good example. Lionheart was too, come to think of it. Might and Magic 2 is another, starting off with some detailed towns with intricately crafted dungeons beneath and ending up with a big corridor leading to a lame boss fight and a weird puzzle after the main plot fizzles out anticlimactically.

    But I've seen this happening with a lot of the '91 games you've been covering- ambitious games that are either too long or too complex for their own good. Perhaps the driving question of this year in RPG design is "How much is too much?"

  14. In the original, unpublished version of the game, the hero was named Bigwood, "Fate" contained three more letters and "Dawn" was a different, rhyming word.

  15. Just a few days ago, Might and Magic World's "Fate-Gates of Dawn" section seemed to go silent [Kritischer Fehler = critical error].

    Perhaps fittingly, as CRPG Addict closes the book on this epic marathon, so too fails one of the few remaining, brilliantly burning candles to Olaf Patzenhauer.

  16. I will miss the methodical, oddly calming, regularity of the Fate updates.

    1. For me, I miss them mostly because of the disappointing ending. It just leaves Chet's own ending of this series similarly empty, though this post certainly provides a better closing than the real game did.

    2. Yeah, I still can't believe it's finally... over? I never played the game itself, haven't even heard of it before, but this insane marathon Chet did was somehow so soothing. Something upsetting in the news? Ah, at least there's a post about Fate, probably with lots of mapping.

    3. Fate is probably the first game in my chronology that could serve as blog material essentially forever. You could have an entry on each command, each monster, each spell, and probably get a least a few paragraphs out of them.

  17. A '6' for graphics and sound is not that impressive, a bit surprising after all the praise. Perhaps you should create an 'interface' rating for your gimlet.

    1. It would have dropped points for lack of voiced dialog and a weak interface as per the gimlet explanation back in April 2010. Also, despite the graphics being good for their era, they weren't really used to convey a sense of scale or awe in the way that the top scoring games in this category will have done.

    2. I cram graphics, sound, and interface into the same category because I value them about the same, and less than the other categories. 6 is a good rating for a game whose interface I mostly didn't like. The highest a game could get before voiced dialogue is probably 8.

      I might re-think that at some point because in some ways, I think voiced dialogue is hurting RPG development.

    3. Voiced dialogue adds atmosphere, but also slows the game down - I can read faster than people speak (that's why I prefer blogs to youtube as well).
      I like cut scenes if they are used moderately and show more than dialogue. In the very early 90s, when games were mostly on disks, you usually only had intros and/or winning sequences, though. CD-ROMs will change a lot :-)

      I personally value interface highest and ambient sounds next. Direct control is what draws me best into a game, because I can make things happen.
      Graphics are good enough if they aren't ugly and you see what is meant. Technology doesn't matter, for example, Baldur's Gate looks nice, but NWN (2002) looks very ugly with all that faux 3D.

    4. When I play a game with voiced dialogue I play with the subtitles - I generally listen to the high-impact moments and read low-impact moments. Interplay/Bioware stuck with partially voiced for a long time which seems like a good balance - InXile seems to be taking the same approach.

      How is the Aurora Engine faux 3d? I agree that 3d games age worse than sprite based games.

    5. The 3rd dimension added nothing at all to NWN, not a single tactical option. It allowed to create cutscenes in the same engine, but who cares for that? Also it's really ugly, especially if you zoom in at your characters, the hands look like bags of screws. So basically it was 3D for the sake of it, never understood that decission.

      I can understand why Pillars of Eternity went a step back from that.

    6. A lot of 3d games don't really use the physics engine side of things - What a 3d engine lets you do is more easily combine a large variety of different visual pieces. When you want to display different weapons & shields (with a variety of visual effects), armor, cloaks and helms on a range of different body shapes it quickly becomes implausible using sprites.

    7. Sight kids these days ...

      First of all NWN looks like what it does because all games 2002 looked like that because the graphic cards at the time could barely handle it.

      also 3D was in 'fashion' in a sense that back then everything had be in 3D no matter what.

    8. I always feel guilty skipping over the voiced dialogue -- I'm robbing myself of the full cinematic experience. And, so much money and effort went into it.

      But, I always skip over the voiced dialogue. So, as a feature, it just adds guilt to my experience without much else.

  18. I think I would have enjoyed the game if I'd played it at the time. It's unlikely I would have progressed far enough to experience the later issues so would probably have considered it something of a classic. I might well try "Fate: Quest of the Cavetrain" if I can get a reliable configuration running in WinUAE.

    I often felt that CRPGs received poor coverage in the UK Amiga magazines. I suspect they had never heard of or played Alternate Reality and only had a narrow, Amiga focused frame of reference for other CRPGs. Strategy games didn't seem to fair so badly.

    The earlier generation of UK magazines often had dedicated Adventure / CRPG sections (at least from a presentation perspective), giving the impression that they had dedicated reviewers who specialised in those genres. Not sure if that was really the case behind the scenes but I felt the reviewers were at least familiar with the relevant games that had come before.

    1. There's a glitch in how Blogger parses comments. The place where I described how to update the configuration file to reflect the current path, is wrong. It turns out that anything with pointy brackets around it seems to be interpreted as HTML and not displayed as typed. Basically, just change that path within the configuration file from what it shows, to the correct path for wherever you stored it.

      Of course this will not be needed as long as you store Megapaket in C:\ (the root directory).

      Sorry for that bit of a glitch!

    2. Just testing now, because both of those replies are a bit glitched. Does replying to oneself within blogger end up replacing the previous comment?

    3. The most complete download I've found is here:

      This works as configured if copied to C:\ (the root directory).

      To run, navigate to the directory:
      "C:\Megapaket-Fate - Gates of Dawn\Amiga Version"
      Double click "Fate - Gates of Dawn.exe" icon, and the launcher is running.

      Within the launcher window, click on “02_Fate English Version 1.6” or “01_Fate Deutsche Version 1.7” to get started.

      Only if you decide to copy Megapaket to a different location, it won’t run until you update the path within its configuration file:

      Navigate to the directory (wherever you saved the file) here:

      “[your path]\ Megapaket-Fate - Gates of Dawn\Amiga Version\ Configurations"

      Using Notepad or another text editor, edit this file:

      (English version) “02_Fate - Gates of Dawn - English Version (1.6).fs-uae”
      (German version) “01_Fate - Gates of Dawn - Deutsche Version (1.7).fs-uae”

      Update the path so that it is now correct for where you stored it:

      “hard_drive_0 = C:/[your path info]/Megapaket-Fate - Gates of Dawn/Amiga Version…”

      Save the file, and now you can click on the blue/rainbow "Fate - Gates of Dawn.exe" icon as noted above, and the program will work.

      A couple of potential pitfalls when editing the configuration file:

      Notice that, unlike windows, the configuration file uses forward slashes and not backslashes in the directory path.

      Please be sure that your text editor does not append a “.txt” to the configuration file name.

      Make sure that you only typed what is between the quotes, and never typed the quotes themselves.

      Also, if you actually typed in [your path info] instead of figuring out what the correct path is and entering it, then your configuration file will be broken.

      That should do it.

      What else is great about the Megapaket download?

      It includes German, French, and English manuals. The manuals are important because, although run-time copy protection has been removed, the game is still occasionally interrupted with copy protection questions which must be answered correctly from either the primary or the spell manual. Also, although by no means comprehensive, the manuals are very informative and helpful.

      It includes a bunch of fun extras including:
      -15 articles and reviews from magazines of that era
      -graphics including box cover scans, wallpaper images, and advertisements from that era
      -hints, tips, and walkthroughs
      -extensive maps
      - the intro soundtrack in MP3 format
      -someone’s power party saved games (LOL)
      -tools to cheat/edit characters and maps
      Although every item may not be used by everyone, this is a very nice, complete package.

      A few comments on why I thought this FS-UAE program file was the best:

      Although I’ve downloaded various ADF files from six different sources, I’ve never had been able to get any to work properly under either WinUAE or FS-UAE. I’ve been able to get several running, but not without fatal crashes in the Fate program itself.

      I used the WHDLoad from the below site for several months, and it worked fairly well, but I couldn’t get the sound effects to work, and it has a critical bug that prevents access to an important aspect of the game (it frequently crashes when potential recruits are asked to tell something about themselves). However, the download site also provides a wealth of other information:

      I’ve played the Megapaket FS-UAE variant for several months. It hasn’t crashed yet, and it’s surprising how a seemingly little thing like sound effects contribute to the sense of immersion within the game.

      What’s better in WinUAE than FS-UAE? For me, the debugger. So far, I’ve not figured out FS-UAE’s console debugger, while WinUAE is easily launched with Shift-F12.

      I hope this has been mostly clear and (maybe) a little helpful to those interested in following Chet’s recommendations (if not his entire path!). He takes the hits so we don’t have to. Thanks, Chet!

    4. Acrin1, which UK magazines had dedicated RPG sections?

  19. Alright, first let me introduce myself. I'm one of the moderators in the German sub-forum mentioned above and as such quite an expert in the game. I followed your gaming with interest and deliberately refrained from pointing out where you could have made life easier. Well, you finished the game anyway.
    So did I, several times. If you are interested in further discussions, you are very welcome in the forum - it is mainly German, but we do have a number of English-speaking contributors.
    As for your rating, I find it quite well-based. I even mostly agree with GIMLET. Pity you will never revisit the game and then *do it right* (evil grin).
    I never even had to use prayer or a scroll...
    Nevertheless, thanks for a very enjoyable playthrough and review.

    Yours sincerly,
    Sir Charles

    1. Maybe when he next has need to escape into his happy place of mapping. 3.5 years from now, perhaps? ;)

    2. Maybe you could elaborate a bit? It what ways could I have made things easier? What tactics did I miss?

    3. I'm also curious, I didn't see any obvious error. I suppose raising attributes with talking and fountains plays a larger role?

    4. I'm answering Chet here.
      Oh my, where should I start? You dismisses the potentially most powerful mage - Marina - right up front (she was the first to reach all 20 spellbooks at my game). You neglected to improve your magic defense which makes the grottos *much* easier. Your magic training (Alarian!) is way too low (I have at least two fully trained MASTER class mages before I even enter the Agysium) and on and on. If you would like to continue the discussion, I feel this is actually the wrong place; I'd be happy to welcome you in my forum (and you would like to meet some other experts I happen to know there).
      Oh, and no, raisng attributes by talking is basically worthless if you end with close to 100 unused attrib-ups. And playing with the fountain of youth is nice but unneccesary.
      Sincerely yours,
      Sir Charles

    5. So, in a nutshell: grind, grind, and grind some more. And that's where most people lose interest in this game. Way too much work for meager rewards.

    6. Playing blind is always a matter of imperfect choices and forcing of not best tactics ever possible. But is totally normal especially in quite complicated games that have lots of possibilities in build parties through the whole game. And that shows eventually which game is good balanced or not. Maybe if you play again or read some "hint books" later is easier and you'll take better or more optimised decisions then. But first time...

    7. Thank you, anonymous. If there's one thing I find insufferable, it's the suggestion that I played a game "wrong" when I played it blind.

    8. Alright, to avoid any misunderstandings, I never suggested you did something "wrong". You finished it, didn't you? There are lots of ways to achieve this (using berserkers, for instance). I kicked my first attempt into the bucket when I found out that my favourite tactic (stopping time) did no longer work and the mages in the grottos handed me my head on a plate.
      As for grinding, well, it depends. Once one puts one's hand on a meele weapon one tends to ignore magic. But if you give your spellcasters at least *some* action in fights with several opponents before wiping them out it will pay in the long run. Grinding for experience should not be necessary if everybody gets their share in combat. Grinding for magic hits/kills is another matter, though. But this usually becomes clearer once you replay the game, which you probably are not interested in. Never mind, you did fine, especially with no prior knowledge, by finishing it in your first (apart from some retries at the beginning) run.
      Oh, and finally, all "hint books" I know of just help you gettng to the finish but tend to skip the finer mechanics (especially concerning how Alarian works) so wouldn't help someone who managed to finish without them. As a matter of fact, reading your blog is as good as any hint books I have seen.
      Congrats and greetings,
      Sir Charles

    9. I mean, you can't play a game "wrong" if that's the way you enjoy playing it. And you can make the argument that if playing a game blind is "wrong", then the game itself is designed wrong.

      But when you look at some games (particularly JRPGs) that feature true endings that require you to truly obscure things in very specific orders, with very few hints in the game, and they're released at a time when officially licensed hint books are a booming industry, you have to assume that having access to that supplementary material is "intended play". Certainly anyone who played, for example, Final Fantasy 7 beginning to end and blogged it without the benefit of any walkthrough, hints, or guide would not actually be describing the game that so many people experienced, particularly if they missed characters like Vincent or Yuffie who are so easily missable.

  20. A thriller to the end. "Quest of the Cavetrain". Creative ideas. You are a special one. Really you're the best as always. Keep going ok? Thanks a bunch.

  21. Thank you for these entertaining series of blog entries. You did cover the German ASM magazines and some others, but the biggest (and most professional I dare say) German mag of the time was the PowerPlay. They gave Fate 74/100 which translates to "quite good". Not having the ability to create characters was bemoaned, but the reviewers praised the possibility to split parties and mentioned the atmosphere, specifically clouds, weather, background noises like chirping birds and more. Generally they liked the detailed world and thought it was better made than the one in Bard's Tale or Dragon Wars. Review here:

    Personally I hardly remember Fate at all. If there is a big German CRPG that made an impact around that time, it's "Legend of Faerghail" which had much more "presence", but maybe that's just me. Thanks again for the time you spend with this title.

  22. It's funny that you mention Lionheart in the same post where you suggest "only play the first part of this game, then stop", because that's exactly what I did with Lionheart! Everyone said the first part of that game was good, but it went to shit after a certain point, so I played up to that point and stopped, and because of that I remember Lionheart as being pretty good. So there's definitely some merit to your "Quest of the Cavetrain" idea :)

  23. "The name of the game remains a complete mystery throughout. What are the "gates of dawn," exactly? What "fate" is at stake here?"

    The subtitle is probably a reference to a chapter of "The Wind in the Willows" called "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn". (Or possibly to the Pink Floyd album which was named after it.)

    I don't know if the designer chose the name for a specific reason. He might simply have wanted to refer to a fantasy novel that wasn't written by J.R.R. Tolkien.

    1. Pointing to its origin doesn't really explain why it was used by this game tho.

    2. Unfortunately, as Mr. Patzenhauer has shuffled this mortal coil, any answer remains more speculative. But since alternate histories are such fun, may I give it a try?

      (speculatively) reLINE intended this to be the first in a series of "Fate" games. "Fate" is as good a name as any for a CRPG. "Gates of Dawn," the first in the series, is Winwood's first foray through the gate between these worlds, hence DAWN: emergence, genesis, inception.

      Could this more pedestrian theory measure up to luminaries such as Pink Floyd and The Wind in the Willows? ...well, um... boooorrrriiing. OK, (LOL) I'm out!

    3. That name certainly made searching for Fate information really difficult back in the 90s. 99% of the results were about Pink Floyd.

    4. Reminded me of the Power Metal outfit Gates of Dawn and their classic debut album Fate. But then I am always astonished that a certain swedish furniture company used the name of the seminal death/doom band Godmorgon without most people realizing it.

    5. I had no idea that Godmorgon was the name of a doom metal band, but me and my wife actually joked about that name while at ikea because it really sounded like the name of a Doom metal band:)

    6. Godmorgon means "good morning". A lame name for a death/doom band...

  24. Perhaps I can add a little more info about Olaf Patzenhauer (all from reading that German forum). I also found a post where he confirmed that he had a lot more plot planned for Fate but had to rush it because the release date was getting closer. Fate sold about 5000 copies in total. Another interesting tidbit I found (don't know if it has been mentioned before): The appeareance of some special NPCs is tied to trigger plates. So you can wander endlessly, if you never walk on the trigger plate, the NPC will never appear. Once triggered the NPC will appear at a specific location (can be somewhere completely different) and start to wander around.
    He never worked for another company than reLine. He was only 50 years old when he died.

    I think ReLine's biggest hit was Biing: Sex, Intrigue and Scalpels in 1995. It got pretty positive reviews and sold quite well. So they make a sequel (Biing: Sun, Beach and Hot Nights), released in 1999. But IMO they underestimated the changes that happened in the computer culture in those years. In 1995 the teenage humor and the nude girls were appreciated by a lot of people in the computer subculture. By 1999, computer games wanted to be a serious business and people got their nude girls from the internet. The Leisure Suit Larry series had the same problem. Biing 2 was decried as sexist by the same reviewers that had praised its predecessor and it tanked horribly, taking the company down a second time. When the company went down, they had started to work on Oil Imperium 2.

    Olaf said that he wanted to create a Fate 2 even back then but the success of Biing forced him to make Biing 2, and if it had been a success, he probably would have been forced to make Biing 3. After the company went down his health problems got worse and he was diagnosed as unfit for work and lived on welfare for the rest of his life, still programming computer games whenever his health allowed it. This is when he made Fate 2, an Anime version of Biing 2 and Dynatech 2. All of them were made with stolen graphics, which is why they were never released outside of those personalized sendouts. According to him he also made a 1:1 clone of the game Mad TV just for himself that he never sent to anyone "because the original was a good game but it had too many bugs and no adult content". He didn't have any money at that time. I remember people donated a new CD drive when his broke, and he lost Dynatech 2, the Mad TV clone and a years work on Fate 2 to a hard drive crash. The final destruction of the Fate 2 source after his death was distinct from that.

  25. Fantastic wrap-up. I really enjoyed the posts about Fate...thanks!

    I'm gonna have to try out the Cave Train game per your suggestion. The mechanics seem worth investigating; for some reason I've always liked having lots of stats and statuses to track.

  26. It is sad that they didn't end it at the end of the Cavetrain then move on to making a sequel with feedback from players. That would be really interesting.

    So I'm hearing this is the longest RPG ever, in all likelyhood? (Well, possibly Dwarf Fortress adventure mode, but I don't think that HAS an end due to Tarn Adam's design philosophy).

    That is a hurdle I am somewhat surprised came this early. On the other hand, graphics expectations are really punishing long game developers these days. Today you need 3d art that costs more to make per day then I make in a year, if not more. Back then you could focus on the game.

    I do wonder if we'll ever see a surge of indie games in the style of older RPGs, focusing on story or exploration or such at the expense of pretty graphics. We've seen it with platformers, where they go back to pixel graphics. Would be cool to have a gold box style game but with longer, more plot based gameplay from a single writer, and a better UI. OK, some graphics upgrade would be nice as well.

    1. Well, games like LISA and Undertale are sort of pushing things in that direction, though those are modeled after JRPGs rather than what you're thinking of. Then again, maybe it exists, and nobody's noticed it.

    2. I am one of those who claim that older games were better than modern games. Modern AAA titles are all about graphics, no depth or substance. Of course there are exceptions. And the indie scene has been producing some good titles - UnderRail (do not confuse with Undertale), games from Spiderweb, Tales of Maj'Eyal...

    3. There are plenty of modern RPG's with great depth: Divinity Original Sin, Lords of Xulima, Wasteland 2 (i know this one isn't consensual but i loved it), Might and Magic X (yes, I think it's worthy of its name!), and obviously, like you said Underrail.

    4. @RuySan,
      I played only D:OS and I would not call the game great. It had great mechanics, the combat was very fun. But the story and writing were pretty average, the humor was a little forced (like the annoying imps at your stronghold at the end of time). If you like isometric RPGs, then Tyranny is worth trying.
      Of course now I am wating for Numenera

    5. Yes, the plot was its Achilles heels, but story wasn't also among the strenghts of classic RPG's, so I didn't care for it. The combat was glorious, and that was enough for me.

      As for Tyranny, I really disliked Pillars of Eternity, so I doubt it will be my kind of RPG.

  27. Congrats on beating this monster game, you are a hero with infinite patience. This monster is down, more to come - Ambermoon, Wizardry 7, Darklands :-)
    I am too young for most of the games you have been playing up to now. I started playing in the early nineties and my first RPG was possibly Lands of Lore, although I am not sure. Do you have any limit on the year when you are going to stop? Like for example no younger games than 1995? Because in the 1990's the game industry exploded and it is beyond the capacity of a single human to play through all games that were made.

    1. I don't know, honestly. Maybe I'll come up with tighter restrictions, or invoke the 6-hour rule more often. No point in worrying about it too soon.

    2. Are you sure you would have stopped anyway? From what I see, you were already totally suckered in by the 3rd posting. You were totally deadset on seeing the end of this game (by a bug or the literal end) no matter what.

    3. I'm not sure you fully read the question I was replying to.

  28. Hi Addict, just to tell you I read the whole FATE story and I am again AMAZED about your endurance & persistance.
    I also read the "Eight-Bit-Bard" on your recommendation and liked it a lot.
    I keep recommending you and really whish that you someday arrive at games like Wizardry 7, Jagged Alliance and Fallout 1.

  29. Late reply on this one, but wow, following the link back to the RPGCodex thread you found that Fate 2 image on, I see that I posted it there! Pretty cool to see an almost ten year old post of mine that I had long forgotten about referenced here, hah.

    Apparently, I took the screenshot off this website:
    And it seems like the creator of that website personally contacted Fate's creator, and he claims the website contains info on the game that you can't find anywhere else. There's quite a bit of info on Fate 2 on that page, including a ton of screenshots of Fate 2 as it existed in 2001.

    The page claims that the game's creator made those screenshots specifically for that fan-page. Also, the guy who made the fan-page apparently received a copy of the game, too.

  30. Hey, I apologize that I've been thoughtlessly violating reasonable protocols for quite some time now.

    I registered the url "" and posted a bunch of my discoveries, before I realized that had all of that and more, in a much more organized and attractive format. I was contributing absolutely nothing with my poorly organized url.

    So, I thought, where should I point that URL? I could point it to, but that's mostly in German. Your blog seemed like one of the most definitive English language resource for those interested in "Fate, Gates of Dawn." Without any thought, I took the liberty of pointing that URL to your summary and ratings page. Now, anyone who types into their browser will wind up on your blog.

    I wonder, is this OK, or would you be happier if I pointed it elsewhere?


    1. I guess I don't really mind, but I think some Googlers are going to feel baited and switched.

  31. "Only Amiga magazines would take a game with graphics as well-composed as this and find some way to bitch about them--in ASM's case, the complaint is that they're not animated."

    I was just getting back into "Quest of the Cave Train," and I happened to notice that the characters actually ARE animated. Whenever characters are selected, they blink and appear to speak.

    My ASM translation reads as, " least a partial animation would be relaxing."

    Apparently, such limited character animation could not qualify as "at least a partial animation..."

  32. I read the first four or five entries of this around the time you were writing it, 2017. I was having fever dreams about it during drug withdrawal later that year and vowed to find this blog again. Sometime last night while getting a glass of water from downstairs the name 'crpg addict' flashed into my mind and I prayed the place still existed. you're doing the gods work here.

    1. Thank you! I hope you're doing better these days.

  33. What a wondrous slog this was! I can't imagine playing Fate, but offer my thanks that you were willing and able to tell us all about it. -AA

  34. Hey Chet, I just finished up through Fate. Do you ever miss it, or have the intervening 5 years given you plenty else to enjoy?

    1. It was a good game for the first 30-50 hours, but no, I definitely don't miss it. There are too many similar games waiting to be played.


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1. Do not link to any commercial entities, including Kickstarter campaigns, unless they're directly relevant to the material in the associated blog posting. (For instance, that GOG is selling the particular game I'm playing is relevant; that Steam is having a sale this week on other games is not.) This also includes user names that link to advertising.

2. Please avoid profanity and vulgar language. I don't want my blog flagged by too many filters. I will delete comments containing profanity on a case-by-case basis.

3. NO ANONYMOUS COMMENTS. It makes it impossible to tell who's who in a thread. If you don't want to log in to Google to comment, either a) choose the "Name/URL" option, pick a name for yourself, and just leave the URL blank, or b) sign your anonymous comment with a preferred user name in the text of the comment itself.

4. I appreciate if you use ROT13 for explicit spoilers for the current game and upcoming games. Please at least mention "ROT13" in the comment so we don't get a lot of replies saying "what is that gibberish?"

5. Comments on my blog are not a place for slurs against any race, sex, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, or mental or physical disability. I will delete these on a case-by-case basis depending on my interpretation of what constitutes a "slur."

Blogger has a way of "eating" comments, so I highly recommend that you copy your words to the clipboard before submitting, just in case.

I read all comments, no matter how old the entry. So do many of my subscribers. Reader comments on "old" games continue to supplement our understanding of them. As such, all comment threads on this blog are live and active unless I specifically turn them off. There is no such thing as "necro-posting" on this blog, and thus no need to use that term.

I will delete any comments that simply point out typos. If you want to use the commenting system to alert me to them, great, I appreciate it, but there's no reason to leave such comments preserved for posterity.

I'm sorry for any difficulty commenting. I turn moderation on and off and "word verification" on and off frequently depending on the volume of spam I'm receiving. I only use either when spam gets out of control, so I appreciate your patience with both moderation tools.