Midway isn't wasting any time bringing Atari's latest quarter-muncher to the home arena. When the medieval role-playing action of Gauntlet Legends hits the Nintendo 64 and the PlayStation, you can expect everything you loved about the arcade hit plus more, more, more! There's hardly an element of the arcade version that won't be enhanced.
For starters, the game's original four characters will be joined by three new ones. Four players can battle their way through the N64 dungeons together, while two can team up to tackle the PlayStation. Not that catacombs are all you'll each are planned for plenty of long-term questing. Midways also adding more enemies and new bosses as well as a 3D map to help you out. Most intriguing is the Gauntlet Death-match where players duke it out with each other for both glory and gold. But does this classic action-oriented franchise have a sharp enough blade to cut through the RPG-laden home market? Watch for a future Hands-On preview for more information.
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Midway, known for sweeping nostalgic gamers off their feet with remakes of classics (like Rampage), is now focusing on the '80s coin-eater. Gauntlet Gamers who've seen Gauntlet Legends in the arcades already know that Midway has built a 3D engine around the original game and given it a 3/4-overhead isometric view. You can still play as the warrior, wizard, archer, or valkyrie while you run around and hack a bunch of ghouls, scorpions, and other miscreants--but Legends is better looking than its mid-80s inspiration thanks to enhanced 3D graphics. The game also supports four players in deathmatch and cooperative modes.
Although ported from the arcade, Gauntlet Legends for the Nintendo 64 will have some significant changes, including multiple paths, secret characters, and three new levels. In the preview version we played, the graphics needed a little jump start, and there were draw-in and fogging nuances that needed to be corrected. The gameplay was fine, however, and fans of intense exploration tides such as Pitfall 3D or Mega Man will find there's much ado about Gaundet.
If you've always wanted to play the arcade version of Gauntlet Legends but couldn't muster up enough energy to get up off your couch, you'll be happy to know it's coming home to the Nintendo 64 by way of Atari Games and Midway.
Legends is a modem 3D take on the classic '80s arcade series--same basic feel, same basic gameplay. There are still keys and chests filled with magic and food to discover, monsters and monster generators to destroy and multiple exits to find. There's also that familiar booming voice from the heavens that tells you when you need some food or when you're about to die. And there are the same four classes of characters to choose from: warrior, valkyrie, magician and archer.
Of course, there's a lot about the game that's different from the original, too. Most obvious, the graphics and level designs are completely 3D, with loads of lighting effects for magic and in the environments. According to Scot Amos, producer for Atari Games, the N64 version can handle four players on screen and as many enemies, objects and magical effects they can throw at it without a problem. In fact, the most recent version features the four main players and more than 25 enemies, and still runs at 30 fps.
In addition to visuals, gameplay has been upgraded a bit. Besides the usual hack and slash-type moves, characters now have special moves which can be used once his/her power bar has built up. For example, one character sends a fiery phoenix toward the enemy while another uses a BFG (the gun from Doom). On top of the action, some levels have a puzzle-esque the-e-mostly a "hit this switch here to reveal a sv. itch here, which in turn opens a door over there" type of thing.
The game is made ip of four main worlds (themed mountain, castle, forest and pyramid), and two endgame boss levels. Eac world is composed of five to six levels (some of v.-ich are console-exclusive) and a couple of secret levels, all of which can be accessed through four world hubs.
So does this console port feature enhancements to the arcade version of Gauntlet Legends? You bet your sweet axe it does. There are new player characters, secret characters, new enemies and bosses. In addition, a deathmatch mode allows players to go up against each other for points, treasure and gear. Consequently, the N64 edition has one- to four-player support for all game modes.
Like the arcade version, players can save characters in order to build up experience, items and gold. But with this home game, you can save your player on your Controller Pak, so you can take it to a friend's house and use it there.
- MANUFACTURER - Atari Games
- THEME - ACTION
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1-4
Here is a very early look at Gauntlet Legends. The screens you're looking at are from a pre-alpha version of the game which is less than 40 percent complete, but as you can tell, it's already shaping up to look like a clean translation from the arcade version. The N64 version will, of course, support four-player simultaneous play and will include all the features from the coin-op game, like the ability to level up and save your characters. Gauntlet Legends is due out in May from Midway and Atari Games.
First things first Gauntlet Legends is best enjoyed in the company of friends. If you're lucky enough to possess two or three chums willing to sit down and obliterate hordes of ores with you, then you're in for a treat. On its own, however, it's, well, a bit dull.
Ostensibly a port of the arcade Gauntlet Legends, the game mechanics are till pretty much the same as the original's (which came out in 1984, fact fans). Namely, a simple, button-bashing slog through hundreds of green-skinned enemies, with the usual picking up of keys, opening of chests and using of potions. As such, it only really comes alive with two, three or four players sitting around and working co-operatively. "Send the warrior in firstl", "I'll cover you with my archer!" and "Use the wizards' potion!" are all cries that N64's neighbouring magazines have become familiar with. Formulating strategies, slaughtering beasts, destroying the monster-spawning generators - doing your best to keep each other alive. Ifs simple and nostalgic, but great fun all the same.
The single player game, though, is a lonely and repetitive experience, quickly becoming a bit of a chore. The relentless waves of enemies are tiring and there's none of the thrill you get as you're about to be overwhelmed, just as a friend unleashes a life-saving magical attack. Ifs simply a bit bonng.
Like Mario Party, Gauntlet Legends is designed for four human beings huddled around a TV, shouting, helping each other out, and generally having a whale of a time. We've had a great time in the office with it, and if you're fortunate enough to have some friends then prepare your controllers for some serious wear and tear.