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Gauntlet Dark Legacy
Score: 98%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Midway
Developer: Midway
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: Miscellaneous/ Arcade

Graphics & Sound:
Absolutely stunning. That's the best way I can describe the graphics in Gauntlet Dark Legacy. Everywhere you look, you'll see little touches that add to the depth of this wondrous experience. Arcade classics purists may feel it's not even Gauntlet anymore with all the graphic enhancements. True Gauntlet fans, however, will doubtlessly love the rich environments and enhanced gameplay. In my opinion, Gauntlet Dark Legacy merely takes the Gauntlet premise and runs with it - taking advantage of the graphical power of the PlayStation2, while staying true to the style and feel of gauntlet.

As much as I've gone on about the graphics, the sound of the game is wonderful; imagine a series of wonderfully rendered versions of the original Gauntlet music, courtesy of Midway Games West's Joe Lyford. The music loop in the menu screens is a short loop and, therefore, gets redundant quite quickly, but the in-game music is gorgeous! Oh, and the sound effects! Each one serves to bring out the mood of the game perfectly. But when the Sorceress eats food, its damn near pornographic. Good stuff. ;)


Gameplay:
The interesting thing about Gauntlet Dark Legacy (or any Gauntlet game for that matter) is that it manages to present very 'RPG' elements in a much more mainstream way. You don't have to like RPGs to love GDL. It's white knuckled action as you slice, dice and flame hordes of evil enemies, but at the same time, you're developing your character. You enhance your attributes, gain abilities, discover treasures, vanquish bosses... the whole time working alongside your trusty sidekick. Grab a friend or three (and a multitap) and even the odds a bit.

Difficulty:
How doth it hurt me? Let me count the wounds...
If I had to sum Gauntlet Dark Legacy's difficulty in one word, it would be 'balanced'. However, I'm allowed to be a bit more verbose, so I'll elaborate. Many games ramp up in difficulty at a ridiculous rate, going from easy to impossible in short order. This game is huge and is separated into a series of levels that each have their own difficulty. If you find a level too difficult, you have several choices; you can grab a friend and have them join in, build up some treasure and buy power-ups to take into the level, or simply play some of the easier levels some more to build up your characters experince. More experience = more levels= raised attributes = more power = levels become easier to beat... I'm not a big fan of large equations, but this one's pretty straight forward!

Game Mechanics:
Gauntlet Dark Legacy plays well with others. Overall, it's an excellent game. There are a few slight mechanic 'bothers' that are worth mentioning here. One slight distraction is the fact that when one player loads/saves to the same card as another, the PS2 freezes the menu options until the load/save is complete. This, however, is just a minor hangup. Probably the most notable irritation would be the 'restriction of movement' caused when characters stray too far from each other. This is an age-old problem, being my major complaint about the original Gauntlet arcade unit. (God, I'm old...) However, with a roaming 3D camera and vertical freedom of motion, the problem seems harder to solve. When moving characters in separate directions, it is possible to get one character around a corner and far enough to stop players from being able to move - and trigger a camera angle change. Once this camera angle has changed, it can be very tricky to move back far enough to get the camera to move again and allow for free motion. To compensate for the motion - binding problem, the camera will back away a bit. Unfortunately there is a limit to this feature. I personally would have preferred to have a limitless pan out so that characters could work separately within the same level, if desired. However, the whole idea behind Gauntlet is the multiplayer experience; you're supposed to work together. Well, mission accomplished, lesson learned. I spent many hours playing GDL with a busty hottie (whose assets rivaled those of her sorceress...) and learning to work as a team. In a game like this, there are no 'winners' or 'losers'. Okay, so she gained levels faster than I did; she was watching the SCREEN while she played... I had, um , distractions...

-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins