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Gauntlet - 20081999120000 by Shadow Lord
Game:GauntletCompany:Atari
Type:PlatformPlayers:1/4

If we were to build an Arcade Game Hall of Fame, I think few would contest me when I say we would need a mural of Thor, Kyra, Merlin and Questor fending off hordes of grunts, ghosts and demons.
Gauntlet is an arcade classic in every sense of the word, and opened the doors to the world of simultaneous, cooperative play for thousands of arcade games to come. I remember the days of elementary school, where I would go out Friday Night to Pizza Hut, bringing my whole allowance, and me and my friends would battle through mazes till the restaurant closed!
In the old days, if a fellow slapped you across the face with a gauntlet (a heavy glove) and threw it at your feet, that meant he was issuing you a challenge. If you picked up the gauntlet and handed it back, it meant you accepted the challenge. So, you pick up the metaphorical gauntlet when you drop a quarter in the slot, and you accept a challenging task indeed: the levels go into the hundreds, and monsters are progressively tougher and more numerous. This is not just a shoot-em-up romp (although that is a big part of it :P), but a strategic game: choosing places to "dig in" and fend off the incoming army, when to use the potion, and yes, to do the other player in if he is consistantly shooting potions and food!
Choosing the character is also strategic: Questor the Elf is very fast and has an incredible rate of fire, but his hand-to-hand sucks and his shots do little damage. Thor the Barbarian has devestating firepower, and is excellent at hand-to hand, but is ponderously slow, has a slow fire rate, and can't use magic very well. Merlin the Wizard excels at magic use, but takes more damage than any other character. Kyra the Valkyrie is the best all-around medium. While she excels at nothing, she also lacks in nothing. Who can forget standing around the large, four-player console? Who could forget the famous "box strategy?" Most of all, who can forget conversations like these:

Console: "Red Warrior shot the food..!"
Green Player: "YOU JERK!! I needed that!!"
Red Player: "Damn man, well come take some of these Grunts off of me!!"
Blue Player: "Don't shoot that potion guys... PLEASE..."
Console: "Merlin... your life force.. is running OUT!"
Green Player: "Yo! Red! Get the lead out, we can't move on till you get over here."
Red Player: "I'm comin, I'm comin.."
Blue Player: "Anyone got a key?"
Yellow Player: "Damn! I died... lemme go get some more change.."

-sigh- the good ol' days. Well, the MAME emulator captures this one pretty well: the sprites are all faithful, and the gameplay is the same. However, using a keyboard, to play a game where speed and fancy footwork makes the difference, can be a hinderance. You would need a well-equipped system indeed to have four people able to play this game comfortably. The sound is my only complaint. The speech is terrible, and the sound effects are sometimes chopped and distorted. Otherwise, I can now fulfill a childhood fantasy: play Gauntlet, the REAL Gauntlet, and start out with 10 billion life points! If you have a two controller system, play it with a friend: the real treat to playing Gauntlet was always the cooperative play.
Graphics
7
6
Sound
Play Control
9
10
Challenge
Replay Value
10
8
Performance
1999 EmuViews