While I normally like to bring to you reviews based on games that are hot and current at the moment, I thought it might be a nice change of pace to focus on 2 Xbox games that are sorta relics by now, Gauntlet Dark Legacy (circa 2001) and Gauntlet Seven Sorrows (circa 2005 ) my oh my how time does fly!
I also thought it might be interesting to do a comparison of the two. While it’s probably no secret to any of you by now that I hate/loathe/despise most sequels to anything (movies, books, and games) I assure you that it will be worth reading! They are broken up into 2 separate editorials starting with Dark Legacy.
Gauntlet and I have a bit of history together- in fact I have a confession to make; I am a Gauntlet fiend (there I said it). Ever since that day when I first heard the booming Gauntlet voice utter these simple words, “Red Warrior needs food badly,” I was hooked!
When I sit down to write a review I try to be objective yet fair, informative yet entertaining. Even if I love a game but it has flaws, I will mention them. I don't know if I can do that with this game though. I will try my best however but please forgive my constant drooling as I continue on.
Girliegamer Needs Rest Badly!
It's 3 A.M., and the question is how long have I been playing “Gauntlet: Dark Legacy” anyway? Well, I guess the real question is what day is it? I think I might have seen the sun set once or twice while I was playing!
Ah, Gauntlet. The ancient game of yesteryear, a great medieval dungeon game where enemies were plentiful, treasure was grand, and bosses were mean, relentless S.O.B.’s.
I have played many games in my time, I've played the good and oh have I played the bad!
Then I “experienced” Gauntlet Dark Legacy and right before my eyes it raised its mighty sword and crushed everything else I have ever played before! Sounds a bit melodramatic? What can I say, I just love this game!
Hack, Slash, Explore, Repeat
You may think the only point to this game is to kill as many bad guys as you can to gain as many points as you can to beat the game as best as you can. And essentially you would right, but only partially right. There is actually a story attached to this hack n’ slash masterpiece.
You see, a magician, named Garm, summoned a demon named Skorne, who incidentally is his brother using 13 runestones. Garm lost control over Skorne. Skorne crushed Garm, who then in turn summoned his minions and took over the 8 realms (wow Thanksgiving at their house must be awkward) … Long story short, choose your hero (Warrior, Wizard, Elf, Sorceress, and Valkyrie) to help bring peace back to the world by journeying through 8 realms filled with monsters, might, magic, and some kick-ass combat.
Outta My Way!
You will come face to face with many bloodthirsty creatures along your quest such as scorpion- like chiggers (that's not what they’re called, but hey, it's my review) ghosts, mummies, guards, skeletons, and even a few suicide bombers who will stop at nothing to prevent you from collecting the runestones. Not a problem; you've got weapons!
Not only will you have to contend with a whole mess of minions, but Death, swoops in every once in awhile. Yes, even Death is a character here, good heavens! There are 2 types of Death, red and black. Red death steals life, while black death steals levels. Not a problem; you’ve got magic!
At the end of each level there will be a boss that you’ll need to defeat such as The Lich, Chimera, Dragon, and Spider Queen.
I must warn you these monsters are very tough to beat; you will need to find a “Legend Item” that will help you destroy each particular boss. And of course these items can only be found in the battlefield. So search carefully my friends, or like me you'll be doing a good amount of backtracking in search of what you missed.
Gauntlet is in a sense an RPG game, one that allows you to walk around and explore your surroundings after you killed all the bad guys that is!
But it is also linear (much to my relief), meaning you're limited in what you can see, and how far you can go with winding corridors and pre-determined structured paths. This is great for gamers like me who hate getting lost and stuck within a level.
I don’t normally go for action/RPG/combat games but Gauntlet was the first and only exception to that rule. There was just something so satisfying in shooting and blocking, hacking and slashing basically everything and anything that moves (“cleaning up” is what I call it.)
Combat is the name of the game here but there also a lot of little surprises within the gameplay as well which I loved! From items hidden in walls to the tons of treasure chests placed throughout the battlefield just waiting to be looted, it was like Christmas again and again.
Coming upon these chests full of mysterious items, was a crap shoot every time; you see some may contain good items (mmmm meat, to gold) and some bad (poisoned apples to bombs). You just never knew what you were gonna get, unless of course you had the stylin’ x-ray glasses that is! Yep x-ray glasses! Gotta love it!
Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better
Each character has a unique weapon they can throw, and magic potions they can use. The Warrior and the Dwarf are fierce with weapons, but weak with magic, while the Sorceress and the Wizard are just the opposite.
The Valkyrie and Knight are well armored and well armed, mixing a little of everything, and the Jester and the Elf are the fastest of the all characters, but are low on armor and strength.
As you progress, you earn experience which makes the characters stronger. Every 10 levels or so your character changes in appearance, and at certain points they will gain abilities like special attacks, or the ability to heal themselves with magic. At level 99, your character becomes a Legend.
Controlling your character is a breeze, there are different controller options, from arcade to “robotron”mode where you can use the right analog stick to shoot while you use the left stick to move, a trick that you might want to try. Although I never fully got the hang of it I hear it really comes in handy when the combat gets super intense and hairy.
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One is Such a Lonely Number
Gauntlet is in effect, a party game; a button mashing, monster slashing free-for-all best “experienced” with others. Multi player Gauntlet is really the only way to go; it's the cool cooperative action that makes this one hell of an adventure.
Just be advised when playing with a group to always stick together. The camera will allow the characters to wander only so far away from one another or they get stuck. Even though this is easily remedied with some fast backtracking, it could get annoying especially when you 20 or so goons attacking you.
So sure, by all means pick someone to be your leader but remember to work as a team, nothing will be accomplished by everyone trying to be the hero!
And while we’re on the subject, there is another thing I noticed when playing multiplayer co-op is (and it never fails), the player who is weak, dying and needs sustenance the most can't get to it because of the health and item whore(and you know who you are!) will run over and snatch it up! What’s up with that!?
Graphics: Blurry textures absolutely, a little choppy sure; some lagging here and there you bet! Old school is the order of the day here released in 2001 for Xbox , the game sure looks dated by today’s standards of graphics from games like Gears of War for example. But to be completely honest with you, I don’t remember being all that impressed with the graphics back in 2001 either!
Sound: Now that's more like it! That voice! That great booming voice that can be heard throughout the game narrated by Skarn the Magician mixed with some pretty cheesy dialogue; it just doesn’t get any better than this folks!
For instance when you're heavily damaged, you will hear will things like, “Blue Warrior needs food badly” or "Green Archer is about to die."
Each of the characters talks as well and will frequently make hilarious comments and sound effects especially when they eat. They will say things like "Mmm meat" or, "I like food." Valkyrie moans when she eats and says seductively “Umm, de-lee-shus”. The Knight (who sounds a lot like Kelsey Grammar) shouts ''Sweet nutrients!'' after eating a banana. Pay no attention to the Jester however, who makes a lot of gross guttural sounds and chews with his mouth open.
Truly a Game of Epic Proportions
Gauntlet sure gives you your money’s worth; a real bang for your buck, no joke this game is long! It takes a good amount of time, 20-30 hours of gameplay just to get through the whole game from start to finish. Bring it on! The more, the merrier I say!
In fact, my advice is to go through all the different levels more than once, a few several times in fact, in order to accumulate more treasure and such. I say go ahead fight those bosses again and again to release some pent up aggression, but mostly to gain experience points as well strengthening your character.
What’s the rush anyway?
Personally I can sit and “experience” this game until my eyeballs fall out. Yeah I know I have used this term a lot here, but it truly was an experience –the absolute joy that I felt when my character stumbled upon that elusive secret key, runestone, or Legend Item truly can’t be beat. I rejoiced like a proud parent when my Red Valkyrie hit Legend status by making it to level 90. You go Girl!
The bottom line is this when it comes to “Gauntlet Dark Legacy” you will either love it or you will hate it.
I have heard of people playing this game for 6-7 hours at a time (amateurs) while others will play it for 10 minutes and never mess with it again (haters).
Listen I could write about this game till the cows come home and it still wouldn't do it justice, so please do yourself a favor, get your hands on a copy and just “experience” it.
But I must warn you in advance, clear your calendars; because you will lose all track of time, dates, work, family, friends, and anything else that has to do with real life!
-Did Gauntlet Seven Sorrows live up to its predecessor?
-Has my opinion about sequels finally changed?
-Does shiny and new always equal bigger and better?
and most importantly
-Did poor Elf finally find the food he needed so badly?
Stay tuned my fellow warriors all these questions and more will be answered in the 2nd part of my Gauntlet series review!
Get Gauntlet: Dark Legacy Here
Posted by oxyjen on Apr 13, 2007
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