September 21, 2001
Gauntlet: Dark Legacy - Review
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It's mindless destruction and death.
As a youngster I owned an IBM XT computer with 640kb RAM and a CGA (4 colour) video card. Alas, it didn't stop me spending countless hours playing, and indeed enjoying, a little game called Gauntlet. The game was a tremendous fun, especially in multi-player modes, and could keep you up until the wee hours of the morning. Now, over a decade later, Midway has released a new home conversion of Gauntlet, but of the arcade game released only a year or so ago now. Does it really stand up these days? What are the improvements from the original? Is it really worth looking at?

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That boss is bigger then Arnie.
Gauntlet Dark Legacy is basically a 3D "hack 'n slash" game with a bit of magic thrown in for good measure. The game is played from a top-down isometric perspective and upon beginning the game you can select from eight different styles of playable characters including Warriors, Valkyries, Wizards, Jesters, Dwarves, Sorceresses, Archers, and Knights. As you would expect each has his or her own strengths and weaknesses. The Knights, for instance, have a lot of strength but are lacking in the magic ability. Once your character is selected you head into the first level where you will be battling hundreds of foes throughout the level. As well as standard attacks each character has a super powerful move as well as the ability to use magic such as fireballs or lightning. The levels are also littered with chests, which contain power ups such as food, magic or occasionally a booby trap.

The game contains 8 magical realms (Mountain, Desert, Forest, Castle, Ice, Town, Sky, and Dream) that are each split up into about 6 levels each. These levels aren't too short however with many levels taking well over 30 minutes to complete, and much longer if you plan to discover all the games secrets such as hidden areas and special items. The level design is quite impressive with multiple paths to the level exit and plenty of hidden areas to discover.

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If that isn't Star Wars inspired...
The game isn't quite perfect however. The game is very repetitive with plenty of mindless thumb mashing required to kill the hundreds of enemies in each level. This however, is also one of the game charms. But is there a problem when you play a game for two hours and don't even come close to dying? Usually yes. But it doesn't really matter much in this game.

Midway have done an admiral, if uninspired, job with the graphics. There is always plenty to see and do in the game and the game suffers very little slowdown considering the number of enemies, explosions and detailed backgrounds on screen. While the lighting routines are impressive enough it would have been nice to see a little more animation on the characters as they seem a little rough around the edges.

Perhaps the most charming aspect of this title is the great voice over. In a deep voice you will here quotes such as "Player One Needs Food" or "Find A Key To Open Gate". It's quite fun to listen to. Unfortunately, the sound effects and music seem to fall into the background. It's not that they're bad; they just lack any real punch.

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Watch out for the chess spikes!
Gauntlet: Dark Legacy is a tough game to review. On the one hand it's really a very crap game. But for older gamers the nostalgia makes it worth considering. A few days ago I had a few mates around (all of us are in our 20's) and we had more fun playing Gauntlet: Dark Legacy then we did with Gran Turismo 3. Is it just our twisted minds, or is there something to be said. Hmmm... I think it's out minds. But if you have a large family, and want a mindless 4-player shooter then this game should fit the bill. Just don't expect to love it for absorbing gameplay or it's difficulty.

Graphics Sound Gameplay Value Overall



76% 2+ Players



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