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Gauntlet Legends

Action video game by Midway Home Entertainment for the PlayStation 1

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The Legend Returns with a Facelift

  • Jul 9, 2001
Rating:
+3
Pros: You get completly numb in brain and thumbs

Cons: The 3d action game elements

The Bottom Line: Blah...

A few months ago, I wrote an advice column about how action games are getting worse because of bad controls, too many puzzles and too few enemies. I wrote that a good action game is basically brainless. Gauntlet Legends is a game that has those old 2d action elements, but also the 3d elements that are all the rage now.

I can't really say much about the plot of Gauntlet Legends, but I know that it has something to do with finding runestones and oblisks. And who cares, really? This is a Gauntlet game, and Gauntlet games are known for their incredibly simple gameplay: If it moves, shoot it 'till it stops moving! So simple, yet so addicting was this formula that the designers of Gauntlet Legends decided to use it on a next generation system with little more than a mere graphic enhancement. It still works as well as it ever did.

Unfortunately, the designers also figured that with a graphic enhancement had to come a few 3d game elements, because they're so popular. I'm talking mainly about the search for the missing oblisks and runestones that are needed to get you from level to level. The oblisks can usually be found right in the middle of the action, so they're not much of a problem. The runestones, on the other hand, are hidden pretty well. They may be hidden in secret rooms (some of which you need special items to get into), or they may require you to throw tons of switches. What's worse, you need access to these levels to find items that will help you defeat bosses in previous levels. It's the very definition of what I meant in my action game column when I talked about "endlessly searching for items". And I can't see a point to fighting the bosses, since it's the runestones that open levels. They seem like pointless busywork.

The graphics have been given the 3d rendered overhaul. They look great. The sprites are bright and colorful, and you can actually see the individual power-ups. Unfortunately, the bacgrounds are sometimes so dark it's tuogh to distinguish between what you can walk on and what you can't. Furthermore, the annoying camera switches angles at the worst possible times when the action is thickest.

The sound is awesome! The medieval sounding music really gets your blood flowing and the soundtrack is accompanied by an omenous voice from nowhere that sometimes gives you advice and taunts you at the end of a level. The sounds themselves are perfect-like the crunch when you throw a switch or the thwack of a projectile hitting it's target.

The controls are also above average. Since you can't control the camera, you don't have to worry about spinning it. The controls that are there are very responsive. You have buttons for attacking, magic, items, and a run button that makes you move faster. Pick a button, press it.

All in all, Gauntlet Legends is a great remake. Sure, you have the3d elements to deal with (which brought my rating down a star), but it's the 2d elements that feel more defined. It's your father's Gauntlet with a few enhancements. So if you're a purist who is sick of gimmicky 3d action games, rejoice! For your ship has come.

Recommended:
Yes

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About the reviewer
Nicholas Croston ()
Ranked #19
Hi! I'm here in part to plug my writing and let everyone know that I'm trying to take my work commercial.      Now, what about me? Well, obviously I like to write. I'm … more
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About this video game

Wiki

If you haven't played it yet, the game is a modern 3D take on its classic '80s arcade series with gameplay much along the same lines as Gauntlet and Gauntlet 2. Many of the original elements have returned, such as lobbers, chests, food, monster generators, and Death, and there are still four basic character classics (warrior, valkyrie, magician, and archer), but now each has a different look and general power depending on what color scheme you choose for it. Red has a fiery barbarian theme, blue has an electrical energy about it and a royal air, green has a forest flavor and an acidic bite, and yellow has a sun-worshipping Egyptian feel. Each character also has a special move, or spell, which can be used once his powerbar has built up. New power-ups include three- and five-way shots, invulnerability, X-ray vision, and time stop, and can be built upon each other instead of canceling each other out.
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Details

ESRB: T - (Teen)
Number of Players: 2
Publisher: Midway Home Entertainment
Release Date: 2 April, 2000

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