Gauntlet: You Haven't Needed Food This Badly Since the '80s

Return of the fearsome foursome.

The elf, the wizard, the warrior, and the valkyrie--a group of heroes joined by a common purpose. In my mind, Atari's 1985 arcade classic Gauntlet looms as the game that spawned the multiplayer, class-based fantasy hack-and-slash, a genre that has evolved over the years to give us games like Diablo and Path of Exile. At an event that took place during the Game Developers Conference, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment revealed a new Gauntlet, being made by Magicka developer Arrowhead Game Studios. Rather than incorporating elements like loot and inventory management that are common in the genre today, Arrowhead is trying to create a game reminiscent of the original Gauntlet, with a focus on speedy arcade action.

For my playthrough of the brief demo, I selected the elf, whose standard arrow attack could be aimed and fired with the right stick. I could also fire an explosive arrow that damaged the target and other nearby enemies, and a precision-aimed arrow that took time to line up but presumably did increased damage, though these abilities were on a cooldown timer. The other classes similarly had standard attacks and special attacks; the warrior could spin around wildly for a short time, slicing enemies around him with his axe, and the valkyrie could thrust forward with her spear, piercing through enemies standing in her path.

The gameplay moves fast and takes plenty of cues from the original Gauntlet. Keys need to be collected to open doors. Monster generators often appear that need to be destroyed to stop the enemy onslaught. You can't carry health items, though you can gobble up platters of food you find in the environment. However, you do have inventory slots for two relics, magical items you find in the dungeon that give you special abilities which, like your special attacks, are also on cooldown timers. I snagged the boots of speed at one point, which let me move and attack significantly faster for a short time, and another player grabbed a relic that let him freeze enemies around him.

Shoot the monsters. Don't shoot the food.

The section I played involved a bit of light puzzle-solving, requiring my fellow adventurers and me to find and carry items to a trio of pedestals to open a door, but the focus was squarely on movement and combat, and I made liberal use of my elf's evasive roll to try to stay away from enemy attacks and pick foes off from a distance. The finished game will combine prebuilt dungeon floors with procedurally generated floors, which game director Axel Lindberg said would help with pacing, shifting the emphasis between exploration, puzzle-solving, and action.

When my fellow adventurers and I encountered a towering boss who appeared to be an undead warrior king, the demo came to an end, and although my fellow players and I had been cooperating all along, I took some pleasure in being acknowledged as the winner, the party's most valuable member. Gauntlet doesn't appear to be trying to reinvent the genre, but it may serve up some enjoyable, old-fashioned hack-and-slash action when it launches on Steam this summer.

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64 comments
seanwil545
seanwil545

Reminds me of Dead Nation a bit with camera angle. I played the original Gauntlet in the Arcades back in the day, I'll certainly check this out.

Anteares
Anteares

it will get boring if there's no lewt.  sad but true.

Sablicious
Sablicious

If it has character skins, overwhelming hordes and Death... SOLD!

nicecall
nicecall

nice zoomed out view, i like it.  One problem of Gauntlet Legends/Dark Legacy was it was far too zoomed in when in single player mode, so it made it hard to navigate to find where to go and to fight enemies, but even with that the game was very classic.

I just wish there was more classes in this, im only seeing 4 here.  Gauntlet Dark Legacy had 3x more... also it had some minor color changes you could make.  Maybe there are unlockable classes im hoping to wait and see.

What we need here is epic music like Gauntlet Legends/Dark Legacy, and 20+ hrs of gameplay and unlockable characters.

lanmanna
lanmanna

I remember playing Gauntlet Legends at this one pizza place a lot (Gatti's). Good times. Since WB basically has all the rights to the Midway franchises, can they get to work on a new Rampage please?

spectreSE7EN
spectreSE7EN

I lost countless quarters in the original arcade game as a kid growing up in the 80's.  One of the first, if not the first 4 player co-op arcade game that I remember.  This would be followed by TMNT, Double Dragon, Rampage, etc.  All great arcade games.  Can't wait for this to come out.  I'm hoping for a console version in the future though.  My PC is old and I'm not sure I want to upgrade for this, but maybe I won't have to.  So happy they are staying true to the look and feel of the original and not doing a Gauntlet Legends style game.  This looks like good old fashioned arcade goodness, with better graphics of course. 

Wintereich
Wintereich

Oh man... I remember playing Gauntlet Dark Legacy on my PS2 sooooo much. Just get all your friends over, plug in the extra controllers, and bam, hours of mindless fun. Definitely gonna be a preorder for me!

jj2112
jj2112

God I remember playing this on my C64. It was fun but limited to 2 players.

hardeddie
hardeddie

No matter what the review score will be, this is an instant buy for me.

gamespotpanayis
gamespotpanayis

4 players, on one console, at once will make this a hit.  I used to love playing this in the arcade.. it's different from a lot of the similar genre games today (Diablo springs to mind) in that you are fighting massive swarms of weak enemies.. so managing that mass of enemies and using bottlenecks was always the key to keep from having to feed the machine every few seconds!

mobywv
mobywv

I hated the warrior back in the day.  Too dang slow.  Give me the archer!

grove12345
grove12345

while a classic in its own time. This is one of those games that wont hold a candle to modern day gaming.


side note im a old school gamer and there are tons of games that are 15+ years old that can beat the crap we have today

Brakkyn
Brakkyn

I used to play this on NES.  It had a weird-shaped cartridge.

vicsrealms
vicsrealms

Geez, I lost a lot of quarters to that game back in the day.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

I just looked up some text which appears in the game, such as "use magic to kill death". That's so incredibly silly - who wrote these entertainingly inane lines? XD

Lawrencevanrijn
Lawrencevanrijn

It is a true original, yet, will it not fall under the shadow of Diablo? Diablo can be seen as a 1-player evvolution of Gauntlet, now that it is  be multiplayer, gauntlet might fall a little short.

dark_rising76
dark_rising76

I remember playing the original Gauntlet game at the arcades and it was so much fun when playing with other people. 

Vodoo
Vodoo

This game was designed around multiplayer. While you could technically possibly get through it alone, it was damn near impossible. I wonder if they're keeping it like that or they'll make it more single player friendly. 

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

The heroes in Gauntlet, who eat food of dubious origins in dank, dirty and/or dangerous dungeons, make the dudes in Streets of Rage and Final Fight look like chump hobos. XD

Alecmrhand
Alecmrhand

Gauntlet was an amazing game at the time. Its narrator yelling "Warrior needs food badly" was a meme a decade before the internet even existed. 


I have to wonder though, is it too simplistic and thin to be fun now? 


I look forward to finding out.

Pyrosa
Pyrosa

I'm VERY glad to hear that it's focused on the general play-style of the original.

Hurvl
Hurvl

The original Gauntlet was released the same year I was born and reading about people's memories of it makes me feel like I'm still quite young, lol. Hopefully, this will be a good remake. I've heard great things about Magicka and since Arrowhead is Swedish, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.

adambrinsmead
adambrinsmead

My most memorable entry from this series was Gauntlet Legends on N64. Oh man, so many hours lost playing that game with my brother and my mates. Many, many repeated playthroughs, one of my favorite bosses in that game was the Chimera.

clr84651
clr84651

I played this arcade game in the 80s with a friend who was 6"11'. He was always the Elf & I the Warrior. We were unstoppable! 

Azghouls
Azghouls

And please don't shoot the potion. 

NiteX
NiteX

Remember playing the N64 version all night long until the morning with 3 friends.  N64 was such an amazing multiplayer system.  I don't think there will ever be anything like that again.  

RRouland
RRouland

Forget food...I need this game...badly.  Grew up on this game.  True story - me and my 3 best friends played this game religiously all through high school.  For our high school graduation, our parents sent us to Hawaii for a week.  We spent the week in an arcade in Honolulu playing Gauntlet.  We still laugh about it to this day!

Hiraishin
Hiraishin

Rather have a new baldur's gate imo

Lach0121
Lach0121

I have a friend who grew up with this game, he will be happy a new one is coming out.


Will have to let him know this information.

nl_skipper
nl_skipper

Cool,  I used to love playing these games back in the day,  great couch co-op fun.  Never played the arcade version though.

faschijp
faschijp

Used to play the arcade game at my hometown's local theatre everytime I was there before and after movies. Good times.

olddadgamer
olddadgamer

Dunno, man.  Still not convinced that this'll feel right if you aren't playing it with a roll of quarters, smelling like smoke with a bunch of strangers.This just feels like an honest to God arcade game to me.  


Showin' my age, I guess. 

tsunami2311
tsunami2311

Before there was Diablo there was Gauntlet and i enjoyed Gauntlet more then i ever did diablo

Tsuchikage
Tsuchikage

Gauntlet:  Dark Legacy on PS2 is one of my favorite games of all time--so many hours were spent killing things in that game and eating food of questionable nutritional value.  This new Gauntlet sounds good, but I'd rather play it on PS4 or Xbox One than PC.

gamespotpanayis
gamespotpanayis

@mobywv  I agree.. but without the warrior to slow them down the poor elf really struggled to stay clear of the melee :-)

gamespotpanayis
gamespotpanayis

@Lawrencevanrijn  I hear what you're saying, but think the vastly different (and more simplistic in a way) mechanics could still keep this fresh... It's not as deep as games like Diablo.. and as we are seeing with mobile gaming, simple shallow games can offer a quick fix of enjoyment for a lot of people without having to engage too much brain power.

hystavito
hystavito

@Hurvl  It's easy to feel old amongst the gamer crowd, but I have read many times the average gamer is around the age of 34 now :).

Hurvl
Hurvl

@clr84651 Damn, that's one tall friend! I hope Arrowhead won't find this remake to be a tall order, as tall as your friend.

Pyrosa
Pyrosa

@Azghouls FFS YES!   No one likes the dude who shoots the potion, particularly when there are at least two more Deaths on the board.  (Not that food-shooters are much better.)


...damned potion-shooters...

Lach0121
Lach0121

@tsunami2311  

I loved the original Diablo, best of the genre I have played.  I thoroughly enjoyed Diablo II. But III well you know the story I am sure, it was quite lackluster for many.


However, I never got to play this game Gauntlet, I have a friend who grew up with it, says it was pretty great. I think he will be quite pleased about a new one. I will have to try it out as well.

spectreSE7EN
spectreSE7EN

@gamespotpanayis @mobywv  Yep...the original tank in video games....distract the monsters with Warrior and Valkyrie while the wizard and elf hit them at range.  Hopefully they'll stay true to the strengths and weaknesses of each class.  Loved that about the original.

tsunami2311
tsunami2311

@Lach0121 @tsunami2311

1 was good there for I got 2 when came out, and was dispointed by it, so i had no intentions of getting 3, I tried it on the ps3 with the demo, and I didnt like it years of hype and waiting did not translate to something good, atlest not for me 

spectreSE7EN
spectreSE7EN

@Lawrencevanrijn @gamespotpanayis  To add to both of your comments, if they keep Gauntlet simple like the original, not go too deep with story or RPG elements and inventory management, then this game is sure to do well on its own. What I loved about the original was its simplicity...use keys to open doors, use potions to destroy enemies in the area...pick up food to gain health, and don't shoot food!