Amstrad Action1st June 1989
Published in Amstrad Action #45
Run The Gauntlet
Presented by Martin Shaw, Run The Gauntlet was a cross between Krypton Factor and It's A Knockout. Its success depended on the fact that everyone wants to have a go on jet-skis, little hovercraft and the like.
Now it's been turned into a multi-element CPC game. (That unfortunately also means multi-load on tape, which is a real pain.) You're presented with a randomly chosen set of events, each of which you compete three times in three different craft.
Really, Run The Gauntlet is no more - and no less - than a theme-connected compilation, and as such fails or succeeds on the quality of its components. And it's great fun! You'll take very little time getting used to the controls, though becoming acquainted with the different behaviour of the different craft takes some time.
What's good about it is that you can compete against up to three others (not at the same time), and whoever is last gets disqualified. "You have failed to reach the standard needed for Run the Gauntlet!" you're told; never a happy message, and back you go to the beginning to try again.
Some of those people who played Run The Gauntlet with me found it too tricky, and flung their joysticks away in disgust, saying things like, "Oh flipping heck, this game is too jolly tough for me and no mistake!"
Certainly the buggies are a pain, since you're only shown a very small piece of track ahead, leaving you very little time to take evasive action. It's frustrating, having to go slowly because you cant tell what will happen from second to second.
Although you are presented with what seems a great deal of variety it has to be said that it boils down to a small group of different backgrounds and courses, made to appear more by the use on them of different kinds of craft.
Either way you look at it - you really get to know the courses; or you soon run out of new scenery - it doesn't amount to quite the same variety as it sounds.
I'd certainly recommend Run The Gauntlet, with a couple of reservations. If you don't fancy the idea of a whole flight of similar races involving virtually the same sprite behaving in differing ways, then forget it. And if you don't have a disk drive, then certainly forget it. Life is too short!
Run The Gauntlet doesn't have an amazing selection of screens, and while sprites change, little else does. They're tiny, too, and some controls are too sensitive to be useable.
Green Screen View
Loses some appeal but still very playable.
P. Smooth and fast..
N. ...but the sprites are titchy!
P. Engine sound goes up when you increase speed - but that's about it.
Grab Factor 84%
P. Easy to get going on most sections...
N. ...though some are quite tough.
Staying Power 74%
P. Lots of different events...
N. ...but not so many different settings.
P. A Rave - but not on tape!
The Run The Gauntlet challenge is divided into three events picked at random. Each consists of three segments either on land, water or the assault course. The vehicles you compete with include:
- Hovercraft - tricky to handle
- Speedboat - fast and manoeuverable
- Jet skis - fast, tight turns
- Inflatable - moderate speed
- Buggy - fast one-man buggy
- Quad - fast four-wheel bike
- Supercat - amphibious six-wheel, all-terrain vehicle