A return to the Gauntlet

I’m a happy nostalgic gamer right now. :-)

A few months ago, WB Games announced that they were rebooting one of my favorite arcade games from the 80’s: Gauntlet. If you’re not familiar with Gauntlet, it’s a top-down dungeon crawler game, with adventurers in search of treasure while trying to stay alive. The latter part was difficult, as enemies of all kinds were plentiful, and your health constantly diminished even without taking damage. There is a reason the game is known for the saying, “Elf needs food badly!”

I used to love playing Gauntlet in arcades. The graphics were wonderful for the time, and all four characters (warrior, valkyrie, wizard, and elf) were actually unique and had different strengths and weaknesses. For example, the warrior was the best brawler but was very weak in magic, while the elf was very fast and great at ranged attacks, but couldn’t melee worth crap. :-) The game had a sequel and another reboot in the 90’s which I admittedly rarely played. I even got the NES port by Tengen that gave an actual story to the game (well before Gauntlet Legends). I ALMOST finished the game, but got stuck on a level in the last section and ended up giving up. To be fair, I’ve since seen the ending and it wasn’t worth the time I had put in. ;-)

Today, WB Games released another trailer for their reboot of the game.

I have to say, I really like this.

The addition of different gear with different effects brings the game in line with modern dungeon crawlers, yet the game definitely keeps the feel of the original four characters. If anything, it reminds me of Gauntlet by way of Diablo III (which is not a bad thing for me). The game also retains some of the original sound effects (if the trailer is to be believed), and game mechanics such as keys opening walls still remain.

It’s not surprising that it looks as good as it does, though. I’ve also played another game by Arrowhead Game Studios called Magicka, which was a quirky and enjoyable dungeon crawler in its own right. Based on time with Magicka and what I’ve seen so far, I’ve pretty much considered the game a definite buy. It’s available for preorder via Steam, and should be out on September 3rd. Normally I would buy it for my Xbox 360 instead of PC, but while Arrowhead/WB Games have hinted at a console version, one has not been officially announced.

Still, I’m excited for this game, no matter what platform I’ll be playing it on. Here’s hoping Arrowhead does as good a job with this as they did with Magicka.