Gauntlet - Arcade





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Published on Jun 22, 2009

Gauntlet (c) 12/1985 Atari Games.

Up to four players take on the role of either Elf, Valkyrie, Wizard or Warrior in this classic Dungeons & Dragons-inspired shoot-em-up. Gauntlet's four heroes each possess different strengths and weaknesses : Elf inflicts the least damage but is the fastest and has good magical skills, Wizard is slow but inflicts the highest magical damage, Warrior is the strongest in hand-to-hand combat but has the weakest magical attributes and Valkyrie is the best all-round character, with good mixture of both magical and physical strength.

Players must battle through one hundred mazes, fighting for survival against the hundreds of creatures that populate them. Keys must be found to open the many locked doors and gates that bar the players' progress, food also needs to be sought to top-up the players' ever-diminishing energy levels. Potions can be collected and used at any time, these range from straight 'smart bombs' that clear the screen of monsters (depending on the magical abilities of the character) to increasing player attributes, such as shot power and speed.

After Level 8, the game presents the dungeons to players in random order from the hundred that are available; thus ensuring that no two games were ever quite the same.

Main CPU : 68010 (@ 7.15909 Mhz), M6502 (@ 1.789772 Mhz)
Sound Chips : YM2151 (@ 3.579545 Mhz), POKEY (@ 1.789772 Mhz), TMS5220 (@ 650.826 Khz)

Screen orientation : Horizontal
Video resolution : 336 x 240 pixels
Screen refresh : 60.00 Hz
Palette colors : 1024

Players : 4
Control : 8-way joystick
Buttons : 2


1. Gauntlet (1985)
2. Gauntlet (1985, NES)
3. Gauntlet II (1986)
4. Gauntlet - The Third Encounter (1990, Atari Lynx)
5. Gauntlet III - The Final Quest (1991, Atari ST)
6. Gauntlet 4 (1993, Sega Mega Drive)
7. Gauntlet Legends (1998)
8. Gauntlet Dark Legacy (1999)
9. Gauntlet Seven Sorrows (2006, Sony PlayStation 2 & Microsoft XBOX)

Gauntlet was originally going to be called 'Dungeons' and was inspired not only by TSR's tabletop RPG, ''Dungeons & Dragons'', but also by another Atari game called ''Dandy''. Dandy's creator, Jack Palevich, tried fruitlessly to get his name added to the list of credits in Gauntlet. In lieu of public recognition, Atari Games Corp gave Pelvich a Gauntlet cabinet, and he in turn agreed not to sue Atari.

Gauntlet's revolutionary, non-linear game-play gave players multiple choices, as they were no longer forced into taking a linear route through the game. Like 'Dungeons & Dragons', Gauntlet players could choose their own path, searching for keys, treasures, food and transporters to take them to other levels. Unlike most other games at the time, the player didn't always have to fight; a simpler route through the dungeon could sometimes be found, or players could simply try to make a run for it.

Another Gauntlet milestone was in the game's use of sound effects. Synthesized human voices had been used sporadically in games in the early eighties and while it had proved, on most occasions, to be moderately successful, was still considered something of a novelty. Gauntlet, however, revolutionized the concept of in-game speech and added immeasurably to the game's superb atmosphere. The deep timbre of Gauntlet's very own 'Dungeon Master' would guide players through the levels, informing them that 'Elf needs food, badly', or that 'Blue Wizard is about to die' and the always-good advice that is 'Don't shoot food.'


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