C&VG1st January 1987
Published in Computer & Video Games #63
It's here. The game which promises to pack a real punch. Gauntlet, the game EVERYBODY has been waiting for. Will this conversion of the classic Atari coin-op grab you by the throat and not let go? Or is it just more glossy hype?
Well, we're pleased to report that the computer version is just as awesome as the arcade original. It's colourful, classy and so addictive.
If you've been hiding under a stone, or down a dungeon for the last 12 months, you won't know about the multi-player arcade machine that instantly captured the imagination of games players all over the UK.
You could play the part of Thor the Warrior, Thyra the Valkyrie, Merlin the Wizard or Questor the Elf in a quest for magic and treasure in the maze-like dungeon world of Gauntlet.
The computer version follows the arcade game faithfully. The four characters are included - although you can only play with a friend. No four player antics here, unfortunately.
If you play with a friend you'll have to work as a team just as in the coin-op. The game won't scroll unless both players move in similar directions. If your mate is busy bashing ghouls, goblins or ghosts you'll either have to go to his/her aid or wait until they are free to move on again.
The smooth eight-way scrolling was another feature of the coin-op, and the small screen version has this too. It's a real joy to be able to move freely around the screen.
You can explore the different dungeons at will - zapping from level to level as freely as the monsters allow you! That means you can explore as far as your energy lets you get. But once you've done that you'll want to get down to the real purpose of the game collecting treasure and bashing nasties..
When you first load up the game you'll see a neat rendering of the arcade machine's first screen - the Valkyrie and Warrior swinging their deadly weapons.
Then it's on to the option screen where you choose your character and what sort of game you want.
Now you're plunged into a weird world of monsters and mazes. As in the arcade version there are various objects to be collected. Potions are useful for keeping up your energy as is food - but watch what you eat. Some food could do you more harm than good.
You'll need to plan a strategy to work out which levels to tackle and in which order. But it's always a good idea to build up a good stock of keys and potions before you venture into the later more intricate levels.
Energy is at a premium and you can't always rely on finding food/potions to keep you going.
The different characters have different weapons - Thor has an axe, Merlin his magic bolts, Questor his arrows and Thyra her trusty broad sword. In the arcade version you needed all four characters to successfully complete the game - but here it's a bit different. It is possible to win through on your own.
It's up to you to choose your favourite character. Each has his or her own hall of fame hi-score chart which appears at the end of each session.
The monsters you meet are many and varied. There are ghosts, goblins, evil wizards, the even nastier Death who can only be destroyed by using a "smart-bomb" type potion, and my favourite the giant red toads. At least I think they are toads...
Although we only managed to get our hands on the Amstrad version for this review - the glimpses we've had of other machine versions of the game convinced us that they are all going to be just as good.
Great graphics, good sound, perfect playability. What more could you ask for?
Now that the real thing is here the imitators begin to look a bit weedy. There's really only room for one Gauntlet - and this is THE business. Accept no alternatives and shop at the sign of the chainmailed fist. You won't be disappointed.