Gauntlet The Third Encounter
Some maybe confused by all the Gauntlet versions. First there was Gauntlet which was an arcade game and then later ported to the ST and XL. Gauntlet II was the successor and is regarded as one of the best arcade conversions ever made for the Atari ST. It was also one of the few games that supported the four player adapter and it even featured digitized speech.
Then there was Gauntlet III. This game only appeared on home computers and used isometric pseudo 3D graphics. Gauntlet III was an average game and couldn't compete with the first and second part. The Lynx-Gauntlet III has nothing to do with the other Gauntlet III. It was developed by Epyx and one of the first Lynx games.
Once you switch on your Lynx you will see that Gauntlet III is one of those games that require you to rotate your Lynx. After pressing a button the character selection appears. If you have played the successors you will know that they had only four different characters (Elf, Valkyrie, Wizard, Warrior). Only the Valkyrie and Wizard remained of the original crew but there are new characters: Pirate, Gunfighter, Samurai, Android, Nerd (!) and Punkrocker (!). Don't be too enthusiastic about the latter one - there is no punk rock in Gauntlet III. Every character differs from the other in terms of speed, strength and number of missiles.
The character appears inside a labyrinth. Although Gauntlet III always featured a few RPG elements your main task is to shoot monsters and collect items. Your health is constantly decreasing even if you avoid any battle but you can regain health by collecting food. Other items are keys to unlock doors and potions. The monsters are coming from everywhere but this time there are no monster generators to worry about. The first enemies are scorpions, ghosts are introduced in stage two. Your character can only carry a limited amount of items.
The game's graphics are sharp and good. Some characters may be hard to see depending on the background graphics. The sprites are not animated very well but are nicely drawn. There is also more variation e.g. in the look of the walls.
The sound is ok although I couldn't hear any speech.
The main problem of Gauntlet III is the tiny screen of the Lynx. One third of the screen is covered up with the status display and you can only see a very small part of the dungeon at once. The status display offers a zoom so you will know when a monster is approaching or an item is near you. It's also another opportunity to show the Lynx's 3D capabilities and you'll see how the monsters really look. However, some of the 3D effects are unnecessary.
Gauntlet III can not compete with parts one and two. The game is not bad but it doesn't seem very suitable for the small Lynx screen. It is a great multiplayer game but not a must-have title.