Friday, 20 November 2015

Gauntlet 2 - Arcade

Whose face is more horrifying between Warrior and Valkyrie?

Why Gauntlet 2 and not Gauntlet 1? Simple really, read on and I'll tell you. Gauntlet 2 is the successor to the largely popular game Gauntlet. A game based around the lovely lore of Dungeons and Dragons, which involve some Dragons and maybe a Dungeon or two. Everything that Gauntlet has, Gauntlet 2 has more of and better.

Mazes, ghosts and monsters ahoy!

Pick your character by holding the joystick in a specific manner and pressing start. Choose from A warrior (Tough guy but slow shots), Wizard (Wuss but heavy firepower, a glass cannon so to speak), an elf and a Valkyre who are the middle ground between the warrior and wizard, and venture forth into the multiple, multiple levels of Gauntlet 2.

New incidents come with a little instruction.

You start your intrepid journey in Gauntlet 2 with a top-down/birds-eye-view display of the local part of the dungeon and can move in 8 directions while either firing your weapon or casting magic (if you have it). You'll have a health counter that steadily counts down, meaning you'll have to find food or other sustenance to survive (more credits help a lot) and battle lots of different enemies that will be keen to drop your health counter further than it already has.

Sadly, some mazes have invisible walls.

That is the basics of both Gauntlet and Gauntlet 2, however the intricacies are what keeps the game going and what keeps bringing people back to the game itself. Through each level, one can find keys to unlock doors and chests that (may) contain treasure (or death... he's not nice at all), locate food to up the health counter and other special power ups that include Invulnerability (Yet the health drops quickly anyway), reflective shots (which can hit AND hurt you), transportation (You teleport through walls, chests, keys, potions etc), IT (makes the enemies run at JUST you), repulsiveness (enemies run away but still shoot back) and various potions that act like smart bombs in taking out most of the junk on the screen or boost stats like strength, attack, defence and speed. There's a lot to be found and used within the game.

Wouldn't be much of a secret if it didn't have those...

To stop you, Gauntlet 2 throws every cliché in the book at you. Ghosts, trolls, lobbers (little people that throw stuff), demons, sorcerers, dragons (rare but damn they're tough) and DEATH to name but a few problems you'll encounter. You can run into most of these things and cause damage (except ghosts and death, they just damage you and Dragons... Well if you're running INTO one you deserve to be crispified) or shoot them. They in turn will cause damage if they chomp, whack, bite, punch or "death" you on contact or hit you with a ranged shot.

The deeper you go, the harder it gets. Said the Actress to the Bishop.

Interestingly, the game has a curious narrator that likes to comment on almost everything and every new "instance" of something happening will pause the game, explain what it does and then carry on without repeating itself. This goes for being hit by a new enemy, being shot by a new enemy, picking up anything you've never picked up before etc. etc. The narrator will happily talk to you about it including when you do stupid things like shooting the food, even going so far as to tell EVERYONE who did it. The narrator will also happily tell you when someone's "Life force is running out" or the most famously remembered line of somebody " about to die" with base notes warning of impending demise.

Eventually though, you just get bored of it all.

That said, unless you're pumping in credits left and right, this game will not let you finish it. Even working in tandem with partners and having a foolproof system, you're going to get butchered one way or another and enemies like Death are designed almost purely just to get credits out of pockets and into the machine. Dragons too if you get too close. Else it's a good fun, smoothly playable game that is worth a visit or two every few years or so.