In the list of the most hated villains of the 20th Century, the IT monster must surely be near the top. The IT was the monster which, when it touched you in a game of Gauntlet, made all the other monsters home-in on you relentlessly.
Sadly, the heinous IT is missing from Gauntlet III, the (logically) third game of the series. The object of the game is the same: run around a large scrolling area shooting nasties (these emerge from generators which can themselves be shot), collect treasure, topping up your energy now and again with food, and finding magic items to give you extra powers. Buuuut... the perspective has changed. In both previous games, everything was viewed from overhead, which meant that although a lot could be fitted on screen at once - giving a manic feel to the game - the graphics weren't given a chance to shine. Now it's all in isometric 3D, viewed side on and slightly from above.
The trouble is, these graphics aren't nearly as good as their equivalents from the previous games. The landscape is patchy and poorly drawn and you don't recognise most of the monsters you so gladly slaughtered before. Worst of all, the sprites move so slowly, it's damn near impossible to get any "feel" for the game. By the time you've swivelled around to shoot at the monsters behind you, you've lost the will to live.
The essence of a game of Gauntlet - that is, the busy screen, hundreds of monsters literally queuing up to bash you, swearing at the other person playing because he just collected the magic item you wanted is missing from Gauntlet III, and so the game just falls over and does nothing. It's not fun to play it but a chore.
The graphics and sound don't help - if the transition to 3D was going to be made convincingly, they should have been razor-sharp. It's all very tedious. Can't wait for the holographic version of Gauntlet IV though.
- Obvious comparisons to previous Gauntlets abound, but both ST versions are better than this.