Video Game Thoughts: Gauntlet Legends

Gauntlet Legends was a 1998 arcade role-playing game by Atari Games that I played on the Nintendo 64. I never really planned to buy this game. In those days, I read gaming magazines and video game websites every day. I was always aware when a new game came out. Gauntlet Legends was a surprise because I hadn’t followed it. When I saw it getting pretty good reviews, I decided to buy it. The game was just as fun as the reviews said it would be. I had never played the original, but Gauntlet Legends was a good introduction to the Gauntlet series.

The player could choose between four different classes. They were all typical role-playing game archetypes like archer, warrior, and wizard. They were different enough to all be fun to play. The characters started at level 1 and could be leveled up to 99. Each level their stats improved a little eventually becoming “gods” at the maximum level.

The game had a central hub that sold useful items for the characters such as potions to recover health points. The hub world connected to each other world. Each world had a certain theme like grasslands or desert, with several levels per world. Each world also had a really cool end boss to fight. The levels were fairly short but still really fun. Each of them had secrets like new items or treasure to find. The secondary rewards of gaining experience (to level-up) and gold (to buy items in town) was enough to keep me replaying levels.

Just like the old arcade versions of Gauntlet, the game was great in co-op. In multiplayer, each hero could be controlled by a different player. It was a lot of fun to work together to collect treasure and fight bosses. Sometimes players would fight over things like health pick-ups for some friendly rivalries. To do everything in the game took quite some time. This was a meaty game. I loved it.

Over the years I followed the later Gauntlet games to see if they offered anything, but none of them ever really seemed to advance the series. The newer games mostly just had better graphics without any new interesting gameplay to pique my interest. These days it would be hard for me to buy a game like Gauntlet Legends. I’ve really been cutting back on my game purchasing because I want to pursue other interests. Gauntlet Legends was a lot of fun, but it just wasn’t a revolutionary game. With the limits I put on my spending, I pretty much have to stick to the best of the best games.

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