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Gauntlet Legends
Platform:  Nintendo 64
# of Players:  1-4
Developer:  Midway
Publisher:  Midway
Features:  Expansion Pak, Rumble Pack compatible
Ratings:  Everyone
Memory Req.:  
First thing first, Gauntlet Legends is made for those more nostalgic players out there. And they are legion. It has all the classic Gauntlet touches such as voice overs, treasure chests, barrels, potions and special power-ups. Along with lots of lots of swamping enemies attacking you at once, now presented in a new 3-D perspective package (a virtual requirement for these 90s updates). The 3-D graphics are detailed and all the characters are distinct, all having their own individual features and dress to make this game stand out. True Gauntlet fans will find little to fault with this title.

It's the others players who are not so familiar with the series who will. Game balance is a problem with unrelenting (and seemingly endless) hosts of enemies attacking you from all sides. You don't really have time to think and there is not much as way of strategy; you hack and hack and run and hack some more. To the game's benefit there are multiple paths on a single stage, which is good, because you'll most likely have to go through it many times before reaching the end. When you die, the game simply drops you at the stage select portal and you enter right at the beginning with your health the same as when you entered the first time. This is not for one who is irritated quickly.

Gauntlet Legends is one of those titles that was made to be played with 2 to 4 people. Like Mario Party, Gauntlet Legends was never intended to be a one-player game. And it shows.

You start out with a large host of selectable character templates, all familiar to Gauntlet fans out there. You have the Wizard, the Warrior, the female Valkyrie and the elven Archer. Each template has four variant costumes, so even if two players want to play the same template, they can still be unique in appearance. There is also a host of secret character templates that can only be selectable when you acquire 50 coins that bear their likeness in the game. Another added feature is the weapon power-up, new to the series, giving the player a greater range of attacks, such as tri-blades and quake-blade.

While the game was made to be a port of the arcade, the cart lacks the simple (and logical) feature of allowing other players to come in while you are playing a stage. If another player wants to join, the existing player(s) has to exit the stage to allow the other(s) to come in and reenter the stage at the beginning again.

Gauntlet Legends is a good title to add to your collection, especially for those nostalgic among you. But if you are looking for original gameplay and game mechanics, you'll have to bear in mind that this is simply an old game updated with 3-D graphics. While it is an okay one person hack-em up, and a decent multiplayer hack-'n-slash, it shows that the Gauntlet series is still strong. And for many fans, that is all that matters.

Jesse Labrocca

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