Amstrad Action


Gauntlet

Author: Bob Wade
Publisher: U. S. Gold
Machine: Amstrad CPC464

 
Published in Amstrad Action #16

Mastergame

Gauntlet

The 'official' conversion of the arcade smash is here and you won't believe there's so much in it. There are over 500 levels and 3,000 screens of action. You'll probably never finish all the blasting and searching (unless of course you poke it!) For sheer addictiveness and hectic gameplay it's a winner for Christmas.

You can play the part of one of four heroes (one of them's a heroine, actually): Thor the Warrior, Thyia the Valkyrie, Merlin the Wizard and Questor the Elf. Only two can play simultaneously, but that still gives some excellent two-player action where co-operation is everything.

Each character has different powers and is good or bad m particular abilities. For instance, Thor has excellent fighting skills but lacks magic, whereas Questor is only a moderately good fighter but possesses strong magical powers.

Gauntlet

You can also choose to have a one- or two-player game from the delightful title screen showing the four heroes. Once you've chosen, it's on to the first level of the game.

Action takes place in a smooth-scrolling window. In a two-player game, both have to stay inside - disagreements could cause battles off the keyboard as well as on it. Although at first the graphics look bare, you'll soon encounter hordes of dangers and a variety of interesting levels.

On each level there is at least one exit that takes you to another level. Some exits will take you more than one level forwards whichever the first player takes, the second is forced to follow.

Gauntlet

Each level is a different sort of maze: within it lies a host of features.

There are of coarse thousands upon thousands o: nasty monsters. Generators emanate them in six horrific varieties. Some you need to shoot with the weapon you're carrying, others are better dealt with by hand-to-hand combat, and some you just want to steer well clear of. Some can shoot, and others just enjoy getting to grips - but all of them home in on you. They drain your energy and if you get in a tight spot it can disappear fast.

Weapons can also be dangerous to your side: after a few levels you can hurt or stun your playing partner with your own shots.

Gauntlet

Other little surprises include levels with a potion bottle that gives extra powers to your armour, magic, shooting and fighting.

Monsters and generators can be destroyed and the damage they do to you can be restored if you can find items of food and drink. Even then you have to watch out because some things are poisoned.

Potion bottles and keys also come in very useful The potions can be used magically to destroy large numbers of monsters and generators - in the right hands, that is. The keys open doorways to objects and important areas of the mazes.

Gauntlet

Treasure chests, dotted around all levels, and can be collected for points. There are also special levels where you have to collect as much treasure as possible within a time limit and escape. Rarer objects are an amulet that gives invisibility, walls that crumble when shot: traps that make walls disappear and transporters that move you to the nearest other transporter.

On cassette, the game comes as a multi-loader. but this could be an advantage. That's because US Gold has plans to release expansion cassettes next year with hundreds of new rooms on them. In fact, the company is offering you the chance to design them!

Some levels are much tougher than others, but there's tremendous variety in the hazards you face. What doesn't change is the need for plenty of blasting and running around - great fun.

Gauntlet

It's best with two players: the element of co-operation really brings the game alive. As a one-player game it's pretty nifty too, although it's much tougher. The graphics are small but perfectly formed, and with so many different levels you'll never get tired of them.

Second Opinion

Fantastic true two-player action is possible. This game's phenomenal size and addictiveness will keep you at it until next Christmas. Excuse me while I get back to the game...

First Day Target Score

10,000 points.

Green Screen View

On certain screens the background gets lost. But who cares? The game's brilliant!

Good News

P. Over 500 levels and 3,000 screens.
P. Some levels have fantastic designs with plenty of complications.
P. Endless hordes of enemies to blast.
P. Lots of features like treasure rooms, special powers and teleporters.
P. Superb two-player action that demands co-operation.
P. Really captures the excitement of the arcade version.

Bad News

N. The backgrounds are a little plain.

Bob Wade

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