Again, another nostalgia moment for me. My early childhood was spent on the Atari ST, and even though I couldn’t truly enjoy the games and other functions of the computer, many things left a deep impression on me.
One of those things was Golden Path. A point and click adventure that most people have never heard of, but is one of the games that defines the Atari ST for me.
This game definitely didn’t win any awards, and it largely flew under the radar in 1986, from what I can find anyways. There are a few reviews I was able to dig up around the net. One for the Amiga version which had slightly better background art. There was one more review for the ST version in an old magazine but I can’t find the actual article.
The game holds a strong place in my mind, and will continues to do so every time I play it.
It certainly wasn’t a terrible game. In fact, after about 5 minutes, just about anyone will have a good handle on the mechanics. The visuals are appealing to me, and with the music, seem to work really well with the overall presentation.
The music is great, clean, a bit stereotypical of China, and clear on the ST version. I was watching some game play on the Amiga version, and even though it may sound a bit more “realistic”, it lacks in quality, and at points in the game is more of a distraction that a working piece of the game’s presentation.
As for the difficulty, it is a bit steep. There is a book in the bottom left corner of the screen that will open and close from time to time, that will help you understand what is on each screen that you pass through. But this lacks in any helpful clues most of the time, and you will be left doing the trial and error dance until something works. This wasn’t unusual for games at the time, it is something that I personally enjoy about these older games, but is understandably a turnoff for those who are venturing into the older realms of video games for the first time.
I didn’t have the box or manual growing up, and I was pleasantly surprised when I got my own copy recently. The box front has something that is reminiscent of classic Chinese painting that looks like mount Fuji (not Chinese at all), and dragons. With a well designed rear cover, that graces us with some well captured screen shots of the game with a short, and surprisingly deep, back story. The innards include two floppy disks containing the game its
elf, a registration card, a warranty card, and a surprisingly impressive 39 page manual. Containing basic instructions on how to play the game, but the majority of it taken by a lengthy back story which may or may not have some basis in Chinese history/mythology.
Nostalgia aside, this is a must play for any point and click fan. It provides a great look into what developers were experimenting with in terms of game play and themes shortly after the likes of Kings Quest, but before great titles like Full Throttle and the Monkey Island series.