A Legend has returned, to the next gen! Midway deserve a pat on the back for revamping Gauntlet Legends properly.
The story is simple and easy to understand. An evil wizard Garm, used 13 Runestones to summon a powerful demon called Skorne to summon legions of demons at his command. However, Skorne betrayed him, and killed him there and then whilst sending the Runestones to different Domains. All of his demons are placed across each Domain, and Sumner, a powerful wizard, has decided to try and stop Skorne, and send him back to the Underworld.
You start off by picking your character, each with their own attributes and skills. You level when you kill a lot of demons, and is fairly simple to do. You will have to face more powerful demons as you progress, so like Generals and Golems, whom will take multiple hits rather than 1 or 2 like usual demons. You will have to collect Runestones along the way, as well as keys to open chests and doors, and magic potions to kill Red Death, who drains 100HP, and Black Death, whom drains an entire level. In order to progress to the next domain you have to collect the right amount of crystals, and collect Golden Items to access them and progress through your quest.
The graphics at the time weren't the best, in fact some magazines said it had the worst graphics in that time of release. However, this game is long, and I'm not just saying that. You won't complete this in one sit down, you'll have to play this maybe for 3 or 4 weeks to at least get into the Underworld. Even to this day many people judge a game by it's graphics rather than the duration or even story.
The controls are very simple, X for a light attack, Square for a Heavy attack, O to use potions, R1 to block, L1 to do a Sprint whilst hitting foes, and Triangle for a "Turbo Attack". When the Turbo Meter is fully yellow, you will release a close quarter special attack, which will take out multiple enemies around you. When it's glowing red, you will release a attack which can destroy enemies far away, and does a lot more damage. X and Square can be used for close quarter combat, pressing them in different patterns will activate a defensive move, or a offensive one that does more than light and heavy attacks. Chaining these together are key for Generals, as well as learning how to guard at the appropiate time.
You can decide to play this alone, or with up to 4 players. Both have their own benefits, by doing it alone you can pick up more treasure, whilst playing with 2 or more can build up your team work, making you more co-operative, whilst becoming more fun. You can change the difficulty (preset to Normal) and technically you can do Deathmatch, despite Midway saying that Gauntlet DS would've been the first with those modes. You can switch that your weapons dont hurt your allies to hurt.
In most RPG's you can power level your character(s) to max long before the last level, in Gauntlet you can do this easily. If you have someone in say the Ice Domain, and their are at level 80, whilst a second person is at level 45, you can do Co-Op, go to that boss and continually kill the Yeti (or whatever boss you choose) and gain a lot of EXP, as well as money. Money is used to buy power-ups, like invulnerability, amulets, shields and food, as well as stat increases.
Personally, this is the best multiplayer RPG for the PS2, if you want to buy it then I highly suggest looking on Ebay, as this was a early PS2 release, so chances are that it won't be in your local game shop. I hope that Midway contine to deliver in their Gauntlet series.