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Gauntlet II - The Atari Times

Gauntlet II


Wizard needs entertainment...badly!
by Darryl Brundage

March 14, 2005
Note: If you've never played Gauntlet, you might want to read my review on that first, since I'm not going to explain the elements at all here, as they're all present in this sequel. (And, for those who DID read my review of the original, luckily this one will be a lot shorter! You're welcome!)

So, not that I'm slamming this game at all, this is a fairly uninspired-feeling sequel: it plays pretty much exactly the same as the original, but since the original was great (in my opinion), this isn't a bad thing. There are a few new wrinkles in this one though, but I guess Atari's philosophy here was "if it ain't broken, don't fix it" (or could that be the other way around?), since, after all, I figure Gauntlet to be a much improved version over Dark Chambers, which came out first.

The graphics, sound, gameplay, characters, control, and game elements (enemies, traps, shootable walls, etc.) all seem to be unchanged from the original (although the kind of blocky graphics could have been improved a little, if you ask me, which is why I'm rating them lower than the original's, since they could've done something with those). However, this sequel has over 100 new mazes (according to it's entry on www.klov.com), a few new enemies and power-ups over the original. All four players can choose the same character as well, unlike the original, although they will be different colors in order to tell them apart. So if you have four guys playing, and they all want to be the Valkyrie, that's fine, just as long as they don't act like hardcore sci-fi geeks who dress up as characters and are actually seen in public going into the movie theatre when the next Star Wars movie opens (imagines four guys wearing the "Vogue" Madonna-type bra while standing around a Gauntlet II machine; shudders).

Unfortunately, there's a few nasty new surprises in this game as well. There are unshootable acid puddles that all you can do is avoid. They're not very aggressive, but they move fairly fast, and take off more health than by being only a bit disgusted by being "slimed" in the Ghostbusters movies. There's also food with an x on them that can reduce health, and others with a question mark on them, meaning it's use is unknown (which I'd avoid if I were you). Some treasure chests are locked and could have Death in there, should you unlock the wrong one (man, that's even worse than a jack-in-the-box!). Plus a glowing sphere in some dungeons will cause a person to become "it" for several seconds once it makes contact with that player, which all the monsters will gang up on that guy, like he had just doused on some of that Axe body spray stuff that supposedly makes you irresistible to the opposite sex (which is probably a good idea for it's company to advertise that during any sci-fi show for the nerds who can't get dates for that oh-so-important Star Wars opening)

However, you DO get a few things that actually help out, like a power-up that will repel monsters from one player (guess this is some kind of cologne that was made from the sweat of the caveman-like grunts from the first game). So whoever grabs that is at an advantage to create a crossfire for when the monsters avoid him like a much-needed shower and start going for the other player(s).

This game has been ported recently (at the time of this writing) to one (or possibly more) of those Midway Treasures compilations, but I don't know if it was a decent copy or anything; hopefully it was, I'm getting sick of hearing of these blasted companies not caring for us classic gamers who are paying them money to put out garbage (what, me bitter?).

All in all, if you liked the original Gauntlet, you'll like this too, but there's not a whole lot new going on with it. Oh well.

Back for more!
Ouch!
Erm... Note to game programmers. Invisible mazes are NOT fun.
Here's the first Gauntlet. Looks similar, don't it?
Gauntlet II
System: Arcade
Publisher: Atari
Genre: Adventure
Graphics Score: 75%
Sound & Music Score: 85%
Gameplay Score: 100%
Control Score: 95%

Final Score: 90%



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