GAUNTLET / Atari / Arcade

Gauntlet is enshrined as a classic of the arcades despite being one of the most blatantly cheap quarter-suckers ever made. I guess the main problem is that the game is scaled for four players to play at the same time, without any real variation except for amount of food tossed into the levels depending on the current amount of players. So if you try to play the game solo you basically have to buy your way through with big heapum pocket change, and even with two players its really too overwhelming. Just too damn many enemies flooding you all the time.

It gets a good rating anyway though, cause it's Gauntlet I guess, and fuck it. DAT NOSTALGIA. Even though it's honestly aged badly and is really almost unplayable anymore unless you somehow get four people together to play it with MAME online or something.

Anyway, for the youngsters out there, Gauntlet was one of the first four-player arcade games ... maybe the first, I'm not sure. Came out in 1985. Anyway, each position was a fixed character - the Warrior, the Valkyrie, the Elf and the Wizard. Up to four people go into this seemingly endless dungeon where there's no real goal other than to just keep clearing levels, grabbing loot and surviving. Each character has a range weapon, can melee by running into certain enemies, and can use magic potions that are picked up to damage everything on-screen.

The most interesting thing about it at the time was that it was the first arcade game to have a class system. Each character has their own little strengths and weaknesses. The Warrior hits for the most damage, but his magic ability sucks and he moves and fires the slowest. The Valkyrie takes less damage than anyone but has middling speed, attack and magic power. The Elf fires the fastest and has the longest range but takes a fair bit of damage, and has the weakest attack. The Wizard has a powerful attack and his magic potions are almost guaranteed to clear the screen, but his melee and resistance to damage is awful and he's slow.

At the height of its arcade popularity in '85-86, when you could walk into any arcade and people would be waiting to fill all four positions, Gauntlet was a great experience. Playing it solo is pretty boring, though.

Videos :

* Gameplay Video