Dark Legacy’s the latest version of Gauntlet & it may be the greatest one yet but it’s very much still Gauntlet. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Check these impressions to find out!
In the realm of video games, the Gauntlet series has been around forever. It was one of the first four-player arcade machines and also one of the first games to feature continues and allow players to insert money for more health. Gauntlet helped create a trend of “quarter munchers,” where gamers would empty their pockets to progress.
Gauntlet has shown up in some shape or form on a majority of game consoles over the years which has always been a mixed-blessing. The biggest problem with any home version of Gauntlet is that even though it is free & fun, the simplicity of the settings and game eventually get mind-numbingly dull.
With the earlier versions, the basic graphics and limited selection of enemies helped accelerate things to boredom. Gauntlet Legends was Midway’s upgrade to the series and made things a bit more interesting, transplanting the classic gameplay into 3D worlds and added minor RPG elements. Now the sequel to Legends has arrived on GameCube and Gauntlet Dark Legacy looks to be the best Gauntlet yet. There are many different enemy types and a good variety of classes, including new ones like the Jester and even a few hidden ones. Each level is filled with insane amounts of enemies, including oversized ones such as trolls and even a dragon—requiring lots of intense battling. Some levels have branching paths, basic puzzles and traps.
Gauntlet being Gauntlet, it’s also got the classic booming voice shouting things like “WARRIOR NEEDS FOOD BADLY!” which of course, rocks. This time it seems the voice has a bit more of an identity in the form of a Wizard, whose lair serves as the game’s hub. From there you warp off to quest through eight different worlds, which must be unlocked as you advance.
The gameplay is the same as ever, pick a class and embark for a hack and slash session. The graphics could have been a great deal better though hold up for the most part even when there’s a lot happening onscreen. The camera is adequate, allowing a fair amount of exploration until it stops and forces players to assemble once more. As long as you’re communicating with your friends, you’ll be fine.
Dark Legacy’s strength lies in its multiplayer & there’s a very good chance that your friends will love this game. Being a 4 player co-op game, it’s an absolute blast to get some buddies together for dungeon crawling. Playing the game alone doesn’t hold much allure but it is still somewhat fun and provides a chance to level up your character. It’s a good idea to power up too; the levels can get pretty tough later on and once your character dies, you’re out of the game until the end of the level.
Another nice touch is a good amount of customization. You can choose the color of your character with each color offering a different design. There are costumes too and I’ve seen Japanese schoolgirl outfit and a stick figure body so far.
Anyone expecting an in-depth action/RPG title should look elsewhere. Gauntlet’s still very much Gauntlet: hack ‘n slash with little purpose or story. Mindless fun is the best way to describe it. Still, my friends are currently playing the hell out of the PS2 version. In fact, they prefer the game to State of Emergency (which my pal is going to exchange for Virtual Fighter 4). If you’re a big fan of the Gauntlet series and/or have 4 controller and 3 friends, you might want to pick up Gauntlet Dark Legacy. If you’re new to the series you should probably rent it but if you mostly play alone, you might want to avoid it all together. Dark Legacy is a real fun party game with a fair amount of replay but it’s far from an in-depth quest.
I’ll be spending lots of time with Gauntlet on GameCube soon, so stay tuned for a review.