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  Game Name:
Gauntlet
System:
NES
Genre:
Action/ Adventure
Players:
1-2 Simultaneous
Developer:
Tengen
Publisher:
Tengen
Release Date:
United States: 1985
 

Introduction:

So, you walk into an Arcade and see Gauntlet. A game known to eat quarters due to it's popularity, and the fact that if you were low on energy, you could increase it by putting some more quarters in. Well, now, you don't have to lose all those quarters. This is Gauntlet for the NES, and though it isn't exactly the same as it's arcade predecessor, it is a very good port by Tengen and is worth your money, whether you bought it at full price when it was new or you are getting a used one at a local game store or Ebay.

Story:

Well, there is a story in this game, but like most NES games, it isn't very in depth. This is the story as printed in the Instruction Booklet:

"The story of the Sacred Orb

The black clouds swirled over the heads of the chosen ones.
Four has come this far, but only two would continue.
The portal to their deadly challenge awaited.
Foreboding screams rose up from the Gauntlet.

Morak the Evil One cackled in glee as he watched the intrepid warriors
prepare to enter his most terrible Gauntlet.
He knew they would never reach their goal.
The Sacred Orb would remain forever imprisoned at the lowest level of the
Gauntlet. Without the Sacred Orb, Morak knew the mortals that inhabited
Rendar would be helpless against his evil magic.

Morak had plundered the lands and hidden his booty in the Gauntlet.
He garrisoned his henchmen in the Gauntlet to guard it.
There were ghosts, grunts, demons, sorcerers,
and even incarnations of death itself.

But could the Sacred Orb be in the Gauntlet? No mortal knew for sure.
If nothing else, the warriors could retrieve the treasures of Rendar that
Morak had plundered and stored in the Gauntlet.
If only all four warriors could all continue, on this, the last leg of their
quest. Alas, the portal only allowed passage of two mortals.
The warriors need your help.
Choose from among them the two that shall continue:
Become Thor the warrior, Thyra the valkyrie,
Merlin the wizard or Questor the elf.

The fate of Rendar is in your hands."

Gameplay:

There is one thing about this gameplay above all others that makes it so great: It is simple. You controlled you're character in 8 directions in a top down view, you used A to shoot and B to use Magic Potions to wipe the enemies off the screen. It couldn't get more simple than that. It is easy to control, there is no lag. Most of the gameplay involves finding an exit, but along your way, you'll run into plenty of enemies that you need to shoot or crash into. You risk taking damage when crashing into enemies, but depending on which character you picked, you have a better chance of fighting through them unscathed.

The gameplay starts off very easy, but the longer you get into the game, the harder it gets. You have a time limit, but it is no normal timer, it is your life slowly draining away. You must pick up food to replenish this, but watch out! If you accidentally shoot the food, you will destroy it, and you are no longer able to use it to replenish life energy. Hitting enemies or getting shot by enemies will make your life drain faster.

Unlike in the arcade, you cannot put quarters into your Nintendo to give yourself more life, to make up for this, you replenish some life after passing through treasure rooms.

This game had a 2-player mode. It is exactly the same as 1 player, but you have a friend to help you along the way. You better share food though, because you don't want to leave one player for dead. The only disappointment here is that the Arcade version had 4 players, and this game didn't utilize the NES Four Score multitap.

I give the gameplay: 9/10

Graphics:

The graphics are very simple, and are a downgrade from the Arcade. The NES was capable of better graphics than this game uses. This isn't a problem though, the game used good colors for the most part and it doesn't hurt the gameplay in any way. It was also a game that came out only 2 years into the life of the NES, so it was more common to see games that didn't take full advantage of the capabilities of the NES.

I give the graphics: 7/10

Sound:

The sound in this game is great. The original arcade game was full of voice samples, but the NES couldn't handle this, the only thing they kept is a sound of satisfaction when your character eats food and a sound of getting hurt when you take damage. Unlike the arcade game, this game has background music, and it is pretty good. There are at least 5 main songs in the game, and they are all very good 8-bit tracks. The sound effects are pretty simple, but they are by no means bad.

I give the sound: 8/10

Replayability:

This game has good reply value. There are somewhere around 100 levels, but most of the time, you don't visit every one. Many levels have multiple exits, and most of the time, an exit will cause you to skip one or more levels. So, going back to play again is always exciting, especially seeing if you can find any other hidden exits. Also, it's always fun to see how far you can get on 2 player, and you can play different ways. You could try to cooperate in one game, but in the next game, you could try to hog food from eachother and use eachother as human shields from the enemies.

I give the replayability: 9/10

Challenge:

As I have stated before, this game goes from being very easy to very difficult. Then, to add to that, sometimes taking a different exit will skip a treasure room, or make it take longer to get to a treasure room, and beating treasure rooms replenishes a bunch of your energy. Plus, you can accidentally shoot the food that you need to replenish your energy. Usually, you are not able to beat this game, it is usually a test of how far you can get, although, there is an ending.

I give the challenge: 10/10

Frustration:

This game can become frustrating at times, but it isn't too bad. The most frustrating thing is when you can't find your way out of a room and you are too busy fighting off hordes of monsters to worry about where you are going. Depending on how good your sense of direction is, this may be only mildly frustrating or very frustrating.

I give the frustration: 6/10

Value:

This game was worth the money back then, and is definitely worth the money now. You can pick up a used copy on ebay for only a few bucks, so it is well worth the money. Plus, you don't have to feed this one quarters.

I give the value: 10/10

Overall:

Overall, I think this is an excellent NES game. The gameplay is great, the music is great, the control is great, and even though the graphics are a little more simple than the NES could handle, it isn't a game that needs better graphics to be playable.

I give Gauntlet: 10/10

Conclusion:

There are many ports of Gauntlet on other game systems, if you have played the Arcade version or any other port on other systems and loved it, then you will love this as well.

Written By: Mr. X
Date Submitted: April 24th, 2007

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