The game's extremely dated appearance and poor performance keep it from competing with other four-player Xbox games.
When the original Gauntlet debuted in 1985, it became an instant hit in arcades, revolutionizing multiplayer gaming. Gauntlet was among the first games to offer a simultaneous four-player action experience, and its quarter-munching records were considerable. Several sequels have been spawned by the original, including Gauntlet II, which saw the addition of dragons but didn't really mess with the original game's formula too much. Gauntlet Legends took the series into 3D, and Gauntlet Dark Legacy is an upgraded version of Legends. This 3D incarnation has appeared on several different consoles in both Legends and Dark Legacy forms with varying degrees of mediocrity. The Xbox version of Gauntlet Dark Legacy doesn't buck this trend--it provides a passable four-player experience, but the game's extremely dated appearance and poor performance keep it from competing with other four-player Xbox games.
The game's storyline, while almost completely unnecessary, places you in the role of one of a series of heroes who are destined to rid the land of an evil mage named Garm and his demonic summonings so that his brother, the rightful ruler of the land and your wizardly benefactor, Sumner, can return to power. Up to four characters must travel through eight different lands and several hidden areas to collect the powerful artifacts, rune stones, and gems that lead to a final boss battle with Garm himself.
Each of the eight different characters available at the outset has his or her own particular advantages and disadvantages. The warrior and dwarf classes are easily the strongest melee fighters, and they're able to turn junk into valuable treasures when they reach a high level, but they're cursed with pathetic magical capabilities. The knight and valkyrie are the heavily armored pair, and as such are able to withstand more punishment, and they can nullify the effects of traps when they reach a high level. The jester and archer are extremely fast, and they benefit from an efficient rate of fire with their bombs and arrows, respectively. Later in the game, they can reveal hidden passages. The arcane sorceress and wizard characters make best use of the game's magic, and at a high level they can transform poisoned food into its more edible counterpart. Each character's weaknesses can be lessened by raising his or her statistics at the tower's store, where treasure can be traded in for statistic augmentations. Characters also gain experience points and levels as they fight, improving their abilities along a relatively linear curve, enhancing their strong points quickly and their weaker points slowly. The action, which basically boils down to you hammering on the attack button for hours at a time (or simply walking into enemies, which executes your attack animation), gets extremely repetitive and is broken up only by brief bonus areas (which let you unlock hidden characters by picking up coins in a classically themed Gauntlet maze) or the amusing and fairly challenging boss battles. Some of the boss enemies will be familiar to veterans of Gauntlet Legends, such as the laughably crude dragon, but others will be new to those who haven't played the Dark Legacy version of the game, such as the Liche.
Gauntlet Dark Legacy's gameplay is fairly intuitive. Each character is able to pull off weak and strong attacks, use magic, and execute other maneuvers such as strafing, blocking, and using turbo. Each character also has a ranged attack in the form of a projectile like an arrow or the ability to throw his or her melee weapon. When in melee combat, each character can pull off a variety of combos that are useful for dealing with crowds of enemies. Magic, as in the original Gauntlet, comes in the form of potions, now color-coded to signify what type of magic they release. These potions can be consumed to provide an elemental shield or thrown for offensive effect. There are also a great variety of power-ups that are activated with the controller's D-pad, although fairly unintuitively. Characters can find weapon augmentations, antideath abilities, and even a power-up that transforms them into a fire-breathing chicken.
- Player Reviews: 15
- Game Universe:
- Gauntlet Legends (DC, N64, PS, ARC),
- Gauntlet: Dark Legacy (PS2, XBOX, GC, ARC, GBA),
- Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows (PS2, XBOX, PC),
- Gauntlet (DS),
- Gauntlet (C64, APL2, PC, ST),
- Gauntlet IV (GEN),
- Gauntlet III (C64, CPC, ZX),
- Gauntlet II (NES, GB, ST),
- Gauntlet: The Third Encounter (LYNX),
- Gauntlet (SMS, CPC, ZX)
- Offline Modes:
- Number of Players: