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Gauntlet The Third Encounter - The Atari Times

Gauntlet The Third Encounter


Endlessly bored in the endless mazes...
by Dan Loosen

May 16, 2003
Ahhhh, the good ol' days when you traveled to your friend's house on a cold winter day and you got so wet and so cold on the way over that you decided to warm up by drinking hot chocolate and playing NES Gauntlet for hours on end.  Of course, the only reason why Gauntlet seemed so amazingly fun is that it really felt like you were getting somewhere.  After you finally progressed to over 200 levels and found that there were still more to go, it started to get repetitive.  Then, when your mom turned off the power, the magic that you had felt before you achieved just a repetitive goal was washed away and the game sat on the shelf until nostalgia made you pick it up five years or so later.  Although it usually earned its place as a bookend, Gauntlet in both NES generations was incredible, and was worth at least a good 100 hours of gameplay before you got sick of it.

That having been said, Gauntlet: The Third Encounter tries to do everything right, and just falls on its face over and over.  I really wanted to like this game.  Unending games are what a handhelds need.  Unfortunately, I never even tried to figure out if Gauntlet 3 had an ending because the game was too horrible to want to play beyond the third level.

Most of the problem can't be attributed to the game itself, but instead can be attributed to Atari's decision to use the Gauntlet title on this game.  The game was never made to become a Gauntlet title, but when Atari bought the rights to the Lynx, they also changed the title of this game hoping to sell more titles.  This change in titles makes the customer expect a great, old style Gauntlet game, and they are presented with what is more or less like a mediocre overhead semi-role playing game.

Gauntlet 3's one strong point is to allow a person to select from an entire plethora of characters to play as.  There is the usual wizard and warrior types, but there are also computer nerds and pirates.  Each of them has their own separate attributes, and picking one better suited to your style of gameplay can help you explore the "Gauntlets" better.  It's too bad then that only about three of the characters are useful at all, and the other ones appear to be bad jokes or untested gimmickry.

Gauntlet 3's graphics aren't anything that are worth writing home about, and often times the Lynx tries to present us with too much information, and most of it proves useless in the long run.  The screen is cluttered with displays and numbers, and the graphics don't always seem to move as fast as they should.  Control is hindered by the lack of graphics speed, and is also extraordinarily slow for a game bearing the Gauntlet title.  The classic key ring has been eliminated and in place a general items list has been added.  This forces the character to not be able to carry important things such as gold in huge quantities, and makes many of these powerups seem like extensions of the monster generators instead of helpful things.

Other then that, Gauntlet 3 is an extraordinarily dull game. I haven't been able to sit down and play past three or so levels because I get so bored with it, and it's gameplay is so flawed.  It is the only Lynx cartridge that I have attempted to erase in the Amiga -- it is that bad.  Unless if you really have to have every Lynx game that has been created to this point or want to see a reason behind the Lynx's failed entry, avoid this game at all costs.  You'll thank yourself that you did.

Gauntlet 3 is one of the few games that took advantage of vertical gameplay.
Avoid the giant beetles!
This mysterious creature is known as a magic nose goblin.
Gauntlet The Third Encounter
System: Lynx
Publisher: Atari
Genre: Adventure
Graphics Score: 50%
Sound & Music Score: 50%
Gameplay Score: 15%
Control Score: 10%

Final Score: 35%

More Gauntlet The Third Encounter Reviews

Lynx Gauntlet The Third Encounter by Matthias Jaap, 77%



Reader Comments for Gauntlet The Third Encounter

One of my firsts by Gregory D. George on 2007-01-19 22:48:18
I remember getting this for the Lynx, I played it all the way through with no cheats. Boy was I proud of myself! I think I may have played it through once again, but I don't think I've played it since. It's a game that doesn't have much replay value.
i like gauntlet by d willy on 2009-02-10 15:30:15
it is a fun game as a 2 player game. I am getting 4 atari lynx to try out 4 players. you can wander away from the group and invisibility causes your character to disapear from other players screen. I give it 2 thumbs up. oh it also get interesting on the higher levels with space and invisible walls
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