Sierra On-Line stopped selling the game when it wasn't profitable anymore. Game authors Ken MacNeill and Doug MacNeill acquired the rights from Sierra to this game so that they could sell the game themselves. See more »
In "Gold Rush!" you play as Jerrod Wilson, a Brooklyn newspaper editor who receives a letter from his long-lost brother and must make his way to Sacramento in California in 1848, just before the great gold rush of 1849. What is remarkable in this game is that you are given three ways of getting to your destination, by ship around the Great Horn, by boat to Panama (then overland) or by stagecoach. This adds to the replay-ability factor and each of these has its own perils, such as scurvy, mosquitoes, Indian attack etc. many of which are random, so you have to follow the old Sierra principle of "Save early, save often" to avoid your adventure ending in disaster. This is a frustrating aspect of the game, as is the fact that many activities are timed. Too much time wasted in the early stages and your quest is over before it has begun, though it does have the effect of heightening the realism.
"Gold Rush!" was one of the last Sierra games to use the AGI (Adventure Game Interpreter) engine and uses it far more effectively than some of the earlier efforts. However it can still be a frustrating experience when you know what you want your character to do, but are unable to come up with the right words! The setting is one that is rarely explored and is more involving for that reason. The copy protection required getting the right word from the manual, which was extremely educational in learning about the fascinating history of the period, something that is missing from a lot of games these days.
Though the graphics are exceedingly dated due to the limitations of the technology available in 1988, there is a certain charm to them, particularly to nostalgia fans. If you are looking for a game that has a quality plot, with interesting characters and plenty of challenges you could do a lot worse than having a go at this.
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