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Gold Rush!

Your rating: None Average: 3.8 (6 votes)
Year released:
[www].se [ftp].se [mirror].us [mirror].de
Gold-Rush.img_.sit (1.28 MB)
MD5: ebddc8fa653b6dcbf711ad1ab32f0aa4
For System 6.x - System 7.0 - 7.6
[www].se [ftp].se [mirror].us [mirror].de (66.85 MB)
MD5: cbf5e484a954334785dcc4df5123f236
For System 6.x - System 7.0 - 7.6
[www].se [ftp].se [mirror].us [mirror].de
This game works with: Basilisk II, Mini vMac ScummVM

Make your way from Brooklyn to California to reunite with your brother and take part in the gold rush.

The 'Manual' download is the Readme file supplied with the game, converted to PDF format.

Architecture: 68k

On the Mac, this game works in b/w or 16 colors.


ClockWyzass's picture
by ClockWyzass - 2021, January 26 - 12:12am

I have very mixed feelings about the original (Mac) version of Gold Rush!. On the one hand, it’s an incredibly ambitious game design for a late-80s Mac. On the other hand, it’s dependency on obscenely-excessive game-saving makes the gameplay border on miserable, at times. Quite frequently, this game is much harder than you’d expect, and not for reasons you’d expect or in ways that you’d expect.


4-5 years before Myst-style CD-ROM adventure games exploded on the game market, this game ambitiously incorporates:
• arcade-style animations, especially of people
• randomly-selected (and perhaps even randomly-generated) outdoor landscapes
• a rich sound-effect palette (even though the arcade-game-style sounds clash a bit with the old-west theme)
• a very complex user-interface with outdated text commands, innovative arcade-style navigation controls, and icon-driven modal dialog boxes
• a strong storyline of considerable length (compared to one-floppy-disk games)
• an even stronger historical setting, complete with cheesy 80s-arcade-game-style arrangements of popular old songs

If you’re curious about the origins of adventure games, then this game is one you should play through. It was one of the most popular games of that era and it represents an important milestone in between the text-adventure era of the early 80s and the multimedia-adventure era of the 90s (by combining elements of both).


Any Mac software from the 80s that incorporates animations is usually not forward-compatible with the 90s Mac OSs (without modifications), and the original Mac version of this game is no exception. I used Mini vMac to emulate the compact-Mac for which this game was originally ported, and System 6.0.8 causes it to instantly crash. Instead, I mostly used the 1987-vintage System 4.3/Finder 6.0 combo, but even with that OS, the game still crashed a few times. At times, the System 3.3/Finder 5.5 combo worked better. One of the earlier System 6 versions (with color capability) is probably the best fit--I just don't have every single flavor of System 6 stored in my Mini vMac folder, at the moment.

The navigation methods in this game are… “interesting”. The high-quality (but not high-resolution) images that were drawn for this game use a perspective that is closer to a true perspective (with vanishing points) than a pure isometric perspective, but they still suffer from the same misalignment problems between the keyboard/joystick orientation and the screen-image’s orientation. Add to that the fact that the player-character’s avatar keeps walking once it’s set in motion, precisely guiding that avatar to doorways (and other narrow targets) is tricky and awkward. There’s a point-and-click option which doubles the keyboard navigation, but it’s hard to direct the avatar to the far edge of the screen (and force a change in the location and/or perspective angle).

Sandwiched in between all of the quirky graphical navigating, you’ll be repeatedly forced to decipher the necessary textual directing. But unlike the geniuses of Infocom, who crafted some of the slickest language-parsing-engines of the decade, Sierra mostly fell on its face and bloodied its nose, by comparison. Even with a walkthrough, there are times in this game when it seems nearly impossible to find the exact words, and exact word order, that are needed to solve an action-based puzzle. Sierra doesn’t give you 10 or 100 ways to word the same command, it gives you one, and only one, way. And if you can’t figure it out, you’re completely stuck. The Internet didn’t exist in the 80s, so there isn’t a massive repository of hints floating around that’ll spoon-feed you the solution.

Then there’s some more-severe failings with regard to keeping the player on-script and preparing the player for future challenges. For most of the game, there’s a false sense of freedom, where the player can pretty much walk around and do anything; however, it turns out that the game isn’t playable or completable without both following a fairly rigid script AND acquiring essential inventory items that’ll be needed much later in the game. In other words, without a well-written walkthrough, the likelihood of the player figuring out what needs to be done next, as well as what items need to have been collected in a much earlier part of the game, are negligible. In other words, if you don’t use a walkthrough at all, it’ll take a really long time to trail-and-error your way through every stage of the game, only to discover that you’ll have to restart the game all over again (probably numerous times) because a decision you made at the beginning of the game undermined your chances of survival. Worst of all, without a walkthrough you may NEVER understand why some situations automatically result in instant death.

And speaking of instant death: there’s a ton of that in this game. Some parts of this game are so (inappropriately) difficult that you may well spend about half of your gameplay time doing nothing but saving and restoring. Furthermore, trust me when I say that the hardest parts of this game are completely unexpected. Countless computer games have been (often poorly) designed over the decades that are incredibly difficult, but the challenges are always of a well-known (i.e., predictable) type. This game will have you wondering why certain, trivial little tasks are insanely hard. It isn’t you; it’s the game design. Maybe the designers wanted to be cruel and throw in some senselessly hard obstacles, but maybe they were also sloppy hacks that didn’t care about how enraged their customers get. Either way, you’ll have to work really hard to win this game, and it won’t be pleasant.

Having said all of that, if you’re masochistic enough, go ahead and treat yourself to some oddball self-torture. It’s a truly fascinating game from the era of grainy greyscale Macintoasters, and unlike the idiots that actually did rush to find gold (and got themselves killed in the process), you’ll survive this challenge and live to play another day.

Realitystorm's picture
by Realitystorm - 2020, August 11 - 2:45pm

There appears to be a fix. Larry 1 with AGI 2.06 works in 16 colours, on Basilisk II with some issues, works without errors on my LC 475 in 24bit mode. So keep an eye out for 2.x releases, only the interpreter seems to have changed (1991 date stamp), the other files and game version appear to be unchanged. More details of my testing and experiments at

Realitystorm's picture
by Realitystorm - 2020, January 25 - 3:30pm

I found out the reason for the issue with the color versions, it appears to be a incompatibility caused by the move from 24-bit to 32-bit quickdraw. The issue was never fixed, see section 2 at:

MCP's picture
by MCP - 2012, June 4 - 9:45pm

I've added a second archive with disk images taken from original media, and including full docs in PDF taken from the web.

Bolkonskij's picture
by Bolkonskij - 2011, April 10 - 9:19am

Gold Rush! from Sierra. One of the hardest adventure games I've ever played. But one of the best too. You start out in Brooklyn in 1848 just before the Gold Rush when everyone drops whatever he is doing and rushes to California in search of gold. Unsatisfied with your life you decide to go to Cali too. You may even find your long lost brother there. From here on it is up to you as the player what to do - are you going to buy a ship passage? Will you go on the stagecoach? What items should you get for the trip? How to raise the money? Is it better to wait for the Gold Rush to begin (ETA: 15 minutes in game) or should you silently leave NY before that?

Gold Rush! is one of those gaming gems that makes you perfectly believe that you enjoy freedom while there is (almost) none. As with all Sierra adventures the story is the driving element, not the game mechanics itself. Using a parser to type commands feels a bit quirky today, but is fun too. Especially some of the responses are really funny Smile)

Unfortunately the game is very picky on how to run. I tried it both in OS 9.2.2 and classic emulation, with colors set back to 256 but to no avail. Best thing might be getting a cheap original OS 7 machine.

MacSierraLover's picture
by MacSierraLover (not verified) - 2009, June 16 - 1:07am

Man I could never beat this game with full points. Mining for that gold never seemed to get me enough points!! But boy this game sure brings back memories

IIGS_User's picture
by IIGS_User - 2009, May 1 - 7:56am

I think this game also works in Basilisk set to 16 colors.
Someone could check this, please.