Xbox Live Arcade Review: Gauntlet

It may have been the beginnings of the action-RPG genre, but time is not on Gauntlet's side. Its purpose, sucking down four players quarters at once, is obvious. Blatantly so in fact, and as such, Gauntlet isn't worth playing regardless of the console it's on.

Ed Logg gave us this dungeon crawler back in 1985, and unlike the rest of his titles, Gauntlet relies more on luck than skill. Most of the levels are impossible to get through without some form of health regeneration regardless of how skilled the player is. The cheap shots, mass enemies, and regeneration spots only exist to make the game more money in the arcades. At home, it makes everything last longer than it should.

Gauntlet earned classic status thanks to its multi-player, a perfect set up for Xbox Live. Four players can take this one on, though the level design restricts this. Single corridors only let one person lead, while the others trail behind unable to throw/shoot their respective weapons. Open stages are the only ones that allow for true teamwork, especially since the stages require the players stick together on the same screen.

This specific version of the game, aside from Xbox Live play, doesn't offer much in the way of new material. The only real upgrade is a slight graphics boost and widescreen support. Achievement Points are easily accessible to anyone willing to give this one time.

Excluding blind nostalgia, the tremendous variety of Live Arcade games sends Gauntlet to the bottom of the quality list. Four-player Xbox Live play is fun in short bursts, but wears thin when the basic, simplistic, and cheap gameplay shows through. It's hardly worth the effort anymore.

(** out of *****)

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