Review by KasketDarkfyre

Reviewed: 08/06/02 | Updated: 08/06/02

The original dungeon crawler...

Gauntlet is a game that goes over fifteen years back, but still retains a charm that keeps me going back for more. The thought of taking control of one adventurer and wandering through countless dungeons in search of gold and monsters really has an appeal to some gamers, including myself. With the present versions of Gauntlet being more visually stimulating and overly impressive with the way that they are presented, it’s easy to wonder why this older game is harder to appreciate. Dated visuals and a purely overhead view make for a tough time to make it through the endless caverns without looking for something a little more impressive.

-The Game Play-

Your goal is to collect as much treasure and kill as many monsters as you possibly can before either the time limit or the monsters do you in. When playing, you’ll find that there are secrets to unlock, treasures to collect, monsters to destroy, and several dungeons to venture through. You’ll find that Gauntlet plays much like an RPG of sorts, but you’re not required to level up to gain extra stats to make it through other stages.

The best part of Gauntlet is the fact that you can play up to four players at once, which can get fast and furious, and mighty competitive. You’ll find that smashing out monsters, collecting the gold, and finding everything that the game has to offer in four player, can be fun, as well as frustrating, because your friends are out to get the one up on you. While you can’t really kill off your friends, you can try to screw them on gold and other items.

Another feature that Gauntlet offers up is the fact that you're working against a timer of sorts. In order to keep moving, you must keep your player healthy by smashing open the opening chests. Each time you're hit, you're losing energy. Each passing second, your health meter drops by 1 point. So it is very imperative that you keep your characters health at maximum. In Legends you also allowed to keep your character on a specific machine by using an initial and pin number. However, in this game, you’re left with simply dumping quarters into the machine until you run out of money or until you get bored with the game!

Your character movements are done near flawlessly, with an action button and a magic button to use as your attacks. You’re not left with any excessive button presses to gain extra attacks, as most of them are just a combination of two buttons pressed at the same time. A two-button set up is what you'll find located to your right. A standard arcade stick to your left. There shouldn't be a problem getting used to the standard arcade button set-up, and without much work, you'll find that character control is easy enough to do.

-The Visuals-

The older Gauntlet game has nothing more than an overhead view of the characters and the constantly wiggling sight of your enemies as they approach you. Because of this, it might be hard to find any purchase in the game because at certain points enemy characters surround you. However, once you work past this little problem, you’ll find that the game is easy enough to navigate through and the chests are pretty much colored in such a way that you can find them just about anywhere. There isn’t anything flashy here, and you’ll have to remember that this is a much older game, without comparing it to the more modern versions of Gauntlet that we have now.

-The Audio-

There is a haunting melody that plays in the background while the game is going, and it never stops or varies from its original theme. The music sets the tone of adventuring through huge dungeons well enough, but it just doesn’t seem to keep a fast pace with the game and because of the simplicity that it offers, there is little here that changes. The sound effects are also pretty minimal, with no voice effects or any real impressive sound effects. You pretty much have some basic sounds to go along with your adventure that make it sound like any other action game out there.

-The Verdict-

Gauntlet is one of the oldest adventure games that I’ve played and it is also one of the most addicting. With some games, you have to work on visuals and audio instead of actually playing through the game with any depth. Even though the game never ends and there is no real goal to get to, there is plenty of room for adventuring with three more friends. Simple visuals in the traditional overhead theme and the haunting music as well as the easy to play system makes for a quarter eating machine that is worth playing if you get drawn into it!

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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