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Slow and plodding mystery
If Myst and Amerzone-style adventures appeal to you, then you might find some interest in Golden Gate, an intriguing little point-and-click mystery that favours puzzles over action. However, it's not the greatest example of the genre so non-fans might be advised to look elsewhere for their thrills. The game sees players takin on the role of a modern day investigator on the trail of an ancient treasure lying hidden in San Francisco and basically takes the form of a fairly slow-paced adventure where you explore various scenes from around the city, hunting for clues and solving puzzles. Clues can be found in things like diaries, letters and manuscripts, so be prepared to do some fairly extensive reading, while the puzzles are quite varied and include inventory-, music- and logic-based head-scratchers. Golden Gate is quite open and you can pretty much explore as you wish but this does mean there is a certain amount of aimless wandering until you stumble on the clue you've been looking for, which does add a frustrating degree of luck to proceedings. The puzzles too are pretty difficult which is good for those who like a challenge and fortunately they are rarely unfair or illogical, instead relying on solid application of the old grey cells. Visually, the game scores a lot of points thanks to its water-colour-style graphics which depict San Francisco in all its glory and although they are static, they do give a good sense of being there. Unfortunately however, the unique visual style is not enough to save Golden Gate from being strictly average. The plot is less than compelling, with only one non-player character and a distinct lack of thrills or mystery, while the ending is a complete let-down. There are issues with controls too so unless you are a die-hard fan of such games, you are better off with something else.