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United States: 1985
So, you walk into an Arcade and see Gauntlet. A game known to eat
quarters due to it's popularity, and the fact that if you were low on
energy, you could increase it by putting some more quarters in. Well,
now, you don't have to lose all those quarters. This is Gauntlet for
the NES, and though it isn't exactly the same as it's arcade
predecessor, it is a very good port by Tengen and is worth your money,
whether you bought it at full price when it was new or you are getting
a used one at a local game store or Ebay.
Well, there is a story in this game, but like most NES games, it
isn't very in depth. This is the story as printed in the Instruction
"The story of the Sacred Orb
The black clouds swirled over the heads of the chosen ones.
Four has come this far, but only two would continue.
The portal to their deadly challenge awaited.
Foreboding screams rose up from the Gauntlet.
Morak the Evil One cackled in glee as he watched the intrepid warriors
prepare to enter his most terrible Gauntlet.
He knew they would never reach their goal.
The Sacred Orb would remain forever imprisoned at the lowest level of
Gauntlet. Without the Sacred Orb, Morak knew the mortals that
Rendar would be helpless against his evil magic.
Morak had plundered the lands and hidden his booty in the Gauntlet.
He garrisoned his henchmen in the Gauntlet to guard it.
There were ghosts, grunts, demons, sorcerers,
and even incarnations of death itself.
But could the Sacred Orb be in the Gauntlet? No mortal knew for sure.
If nothing else, the warriors could retrieve the treasures of Rendar
Morak had plundered and stored in the Gauntlet.
If only all four warriors could all continue, on this, the last leg of
quest. Alas, the portal only allowed passage of two mortals.
The warriors need your help.
Choose from among them the two that shall continue:
Become Thor the warrior, Thyra the valkyrie,
Merlin the wizard or Questor the elf.
The fate of Rendar is in your hands."
There is one thing about this gameplay above all others that makes
it so great: It is simple. You controlled you're character in 8
directions in a top down view, you used A to shoot and B to use Magic
Potions to wipe the enemies off the screen. It couldn't get more
simple than that. It is easy to control, there is no lag. Most of the
gameplay involves finding an exit, but along your way, you'll run into
plenty of enemies that you need to shoot or crash into. You risk
taking damage when crashing into enemies, but depending on which
character you picked, you have a better chance of fighting through
The gameplay starts off very easy, but the longer you get into the
game, the harder it gets. You have a time limit, but it is no normal
timer, it is your life slowly draining away. You must pick up food to
replenish this, but watch out! If you accidentally shoot the food, you
will destroy it, and you are no longer able to use it to replenish
life energy. Hitting enemies or getting shot by enemies will make your
life drain faster.
Unlike in the arcade, you cannot put quarters into your Nintendo to
give yourself more life, to make up for this, you replenish some life
after passing through treasure rooms.
This game had a 2-player mode. It is exactly the same as 1 player, but
you have a friend to help you along the way. You better share food
though, because you don't want to leave one player for dead. The only
disappointment here is that the Arcade version had 4 players, and this
game didn't utilize the NES Four Score multitap.
I give the gameplay: 9/10
The graphics are very simple, and are a downgrade from the Arcade.
The NES was capable of better graphics than this game uses. This isn't
a problem though, the game used good colors for the most part and it
doesn't hurt the gameplay in any way. It was also a game that came out
only 2 years into the life of the NES, so it was more common to see
games that didn't take full advantage of the capabilities of the NES.
I give the graphics: 7/10
The sound in this game is great. The original arcade game was full
of voice samples, but the NES couldn't handle this, the only thing
they kept is a sound of satisfaction when your character eats food and
a sound of getting hurt when you take damage. Unlike the arcade game,
this game has background music, and it is pretty good. There are at
least 5 main songs in the game, and they are all very good 8-bit
tracks. The sound effects are pretty simple, but they are by no means
I give the sound: 8/10
This game has good reply value. There are somewhere around 100
levels, but most of the time, you don't visit every one. Many levels
have multiple exits, and most of the time, an exit will cause you to
skip one or more levels. So, going back to play again is always
exciting, especially seeing if you can find any other hidden exits.
Also, it's always fun to see how far you can get on 2 player, and you
can play different ways. You could try to cooperate in one game, but
in the next game, you could try to hog food from eachother and use
eachother as human shields from the enemies.
I give the replayability: 9/10
As I have stated before, this game goes from being very easy to
very difficult. Then, to add to that, sometimes taking a different
exit will skip a treasure room, or make it take longer to get to a
treasure room, and beating treasure rooms replenishes a bunch of your
energy. Plus, you can accidentally shoot the food that you need to
replenish your energy. Usually, you are not able to beat this game, it
is usually a test of how far you can get, although, there is an
I give the challenge: 10/10
This game can become frustrating at times, but it isn't too bad.
The most frustrating thing is when you can't find your way out of a
room and you are too busy fighting off hordes of monsters to worry
about where you are going. Depending on how good your sense of
direction is, this may be only mildly frustrating or very frustrating.
I give the frustration: 6/10
This game was worth the money back then, and is definitely worth
the money now. You can pick up a used copy on ebay for only a few
bucks, so it is well worth the money. Plus, you don't have to feed
this one quarters.
I give the value: 10/10
Overall, I think this is an excellent NES game. The gameplay is
great, the music is great, the control is great, and even though the
graphics are a little more simple than the NES could handle, it isn't
a game that needs better graphics to be playable.
I give Gauntlet: 10/10
There are many ports of Gauntlet on other game systems, if you have
played the Arcade version or any other port on other systems and loved
it, then you will love this as well.
Written By: Mr. X
Date Submitted: April 24th, 2007
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