Have you ever had a game that you played as a child but have only vague memories of? The game becomes almost mythical in that you can’t place a name to it and can’t find mention of it on the internet anywhere but you just know you played it at some point? Torin’s Passage was that game for me.
I played this when I was elementary school age on my parent’s Windows 95 machine (oooh, we were so fancy :P). This is one of the only games my Mom has legitimately enjoyed playing. I liked it too. The storyline had this dark and exciting feel to it. I admit, when I was first starting out on this game, probably 6 or 7, it legitimately scared me. The snakes in the introduction cutscenes were crazy! Plus, I didn’t want to be banished to an underground world!
As the years passed and Torin’s Passage became a distant memory for me, I found myself becoming nostalgic for my childhood games and tried to find this but it was nowhere online, at the time. I didn’t remember the name and nobody seemed to be talking about it. I even recalled, incorrectly, that there were sequels made. This probably stemmed from the rumors about sequels being planned, but they were never made. Either way, this made it even harder to find.
It wasn’t until the last couple years, when a couple of YouTubers I follow covered the game and GOG picked it up that I finally remembered all the details. I haven’t played it again and can’t say for sure whether the game holds up but the game holds a place in my heart regardless. It was my first point-and-click adventure game, my first look into what stories in video games could be, and one of the first games I could enjoy with my family.
4/29 – Torin’s Passage
Hello and welcome. My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s Video Game of the Day.
Today is the second day of DOS week so let’s get a little more obscure with Sierra’s point and click adventure game, Torin’s Passage, originally released on MS-DOS, Windows 3.x, Windows 95 and Mac computers in 1995.
Back in the 80’s and 90’s there were two major companies in the adventure gaming scene. Sierra and LucasArts, both with such unique styles that they were almost genres in and of themselves. We’ll talk about some LucasArts adventure games another time but for now, Torin’s Passage was a classic Sierra title similar in many ways to the King’s Quest series.
The game begins with a fully animated video showing a sorcerer murdering a king and queen as the couple’s nanny rescues their infant child. The nanny is later condemned for abducting the child and is banished to the lands below. Cut forward several years and we meet Torin, a boy very reminiscent of Luke Skywalker from Star Wars. Torin is a farmhand who is sent on errands but then comes back to find his parents being magically trapped in green crystal before vanishing before his eyes. A cloaked figure suggests that this is the work of the sorceress, Lycentia. Thus, Torin ventures to the lands below in order to rescue his parents from the evil sorceress.
Torin’s Passage is graphically styled after early 90’s animation with bright, colorful characters and charming, unique personalities. Al Lowe, the creator of Torin’s Passage, famous for his Leisure Suit Larry series, was inspired to make Torin’s Passage after watching Mrs. Doubtfire, not due to a similarity in plot or style but because he wanted to make something both kids and adults could enjoy. Thus, while Torin’s Passage does contain some subtle adult humor and a dark storyline, it isn’t too much for kids to enjoy as well. The puzzles mostly consist of inventory puzzles or brief mini-game-style puzzles that may challenge kids but likely won’t hold up adults for very long.
While the game was critically and commercially successful, Al Lowe would later remark that the game was spoken of as though it were a failure, although he wasn’t certain why. Despite planning a five game series, none of the sequels would ever be made and most of the staff would move on to different companies. While it is rather obscure, Torin’s Passage is still available to play on modern operating systems on GOG.
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