Review — Gauntlet: Slayer Edition

One of my favorite childhood games was Gauntlet: Dark Legacy on the XBox. It was a huge game with around five levels in each of (if I remember correctly) twelve different realms. From forests to graveyards to tundra to dream. You could advance from level 1 to 99 and it took quite a while and killing thousands of monsters to get there. You only had a few different attacks on a game that old, so it can’t compete with new hack and slashes, but few games like that had as many different levels.

So, since Dark Legacy was the only version of Gauntlet that I’ve played that I thoroughly enjoyed, I didn’t have high hopes for the one we got for the PS4 (a free game one month for having PSN). Surprisingly, though, it was a lot of fun. When I went to my brother’s house for his birthday, we actually ended up playing it for several hours.

You can set the difficulty from Easy to Hard, so naturally, we chose Hard. But after a few levels we got to a point where the bosses we were fighting were just impossible, so we switched it to Medium. There’s only four playable classes (five if you want to buy the Necromancer for $5), but they were all viable. I played a Wizard, and they are actually quite difficult.

In order to cast a spell, you have to make it. Square, Triangle, and Circle are three different elements, and you have to hit two of those buttons in a particular order to get the spell you want. Regular fireball is Triangle x2. Teleport is Triangle, then Square, but if you hit Square then Triangle you cast a freezing spell. Each of these spells have different cooldowns, too, meaning if you cast one spell you have to wait a certain amount of time before you can cast it again, and each cooldown is particular to that spell. So if you want to only cast one spell you could only cast it once every, say, five seconds. So basically as a wizard you have to constantly be switching spells and for every attack you have to hit a specific order of three different buttons, making nine different spells. If you mess up that order, especially on hard, you prepare the wrong spell and you’re more than likely dead. Wizards can’t take as much damage as a Warrior can. None of the other classes were half that complicated, but it was fun once I got the hang of it.

The problems that I do have with the game, though, is that the gold system is purely cosmetic after a while. You don’t level up in this game, and the only way to improve is to buy better weapons and ‘relics’. After you do that, though, which doesn’t take a whole lot of time or effort, you’re the strongest you can be, and the only thing to spend gold on is different clothes. It isn’t a huge flaw, but one of my favorite game mechanics is progression. I like leveling up and earning better and better weapons, so since this game barely has that it does cut a bit of the fun out for me.

If you have nothing to do for a while at a friend’s house, though, I would definitely recommend this game. If you’re not so good at games, just set it to easy, don’t play the Wizard, and you’re set. The game explains itself, and it feels a lot like a new version of an old game.

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