Take a trip back
to the days of yore when Dwarves, Jesters
and Sorceresses with big **** fought side
Midway has a rich and storied
history in the arcades. Many of my years
and quarters have been spent in front of
arcade boxes bearing the Midway logo. One
game from this era (was it really almost
15 years ago) would be the original arcade
cabinet of Gauntlet.
There was one pizza place
that my friends and I would hit every so
often, and we always made sure to bring
enough change to be able to spend several
hours with Warrior, Wizard, Valkyrie, and
Elf (who was always "about to die"). Several
updates later, the franchise has hit the
Gauntlet: Dark Legacy is
one of those games that are best enjoyed
with a group of friends. The original arcade
game supported a revolutionary 4-player
co-op style of play, something that has
thankfully not changed throughout the series
various incarnations (and resurrections).
Up to four people (friends, family, neighbors,
the mailman, etc.) can get together and
join in on the fun. Singly, the game becomes
a chore as you sit there camped out hacking
at the enemies by yourself.
The Gauntlet series has
always had a "cover your friend's back" appeal
to it, which adds much more fun to the
game. It should almost be a requirement
that the game not have a single player
option. When one player locates food, they
will almost inevitably shout out "Who needs
food?" instead of automatically taking
it for themselves.
Gauntlet: Dark Legacy is
a port/update/retread of the PS2 game that
came out a year ago. That shouldn't stop
interested gamers from picking up the Xbox
version though. If you haven't played the
game on the PS2 (or GameCube) and you have
a group of gamers looking to do something
collectively other than play Circus
Maximus, this is a great way to spend
an afternoon or two.
The game is not without
it's flaws though. The first being that
the arcade game this is based on came out
years ago. While this isn't necessarily
a bad thing, a little updating would seem
to be in order. Aged arcade cabinet technology
and the Xbox aren't the same. Sure the
game looks nice on the Xbox, but it could
have looked better.
The framerate stutters
or slows down only occasionally, which
was an issue (reportedly, I have no first
hand knowledge) with the GameCube and PS2
versions of the game. There are some spots
where the camera can get in the way, especially
when four players are headed in different
directions, but overall, the graphics are
decent, but not up to Xbox standards.
The audio is also fairly
standard. While this would be a bone of
contention with most console games, remembering
that this is a title that should be played
more like an arcade game will help you
realize that the music isn't going to be
too symphonic. The music is still decent
though, and appropriate for the game.
Sound effects are good,
but after a few hours, you get sick of
hearing the same "thwack" over and over
again. This will be alleviated if you play
the game with friends, since you will all
be talking at the same time. That's the
sort of audio that Midway was aiming for.
The primary goal of Gauntlet:
Dark Legacy is secondary to the fun had
in getting there. You clear level after
level through several different environments
of the baddies, each environment (or world)
will have a boss that needs to be conquered.
It's all pretty standard fare really. While
a simple "hack 'n' slash" at heart, it
is this simplicity in gameplay that keeps
In trying to beef up the
home experience, Midway packed in a lot
of levels, a lot of power-ups, nearly every
(if not all - if memory serves correctly)
character that ever graced a Gauntlet game.
While the characters have to be unlocked,
doing so isn't much of a chore. Perhaps
Midway, in trying to increase the value
of a 4 year old game, packed in too much.
While unlocking characters is great, do
you really want to go through the same
60 levels as a different character just
because you can?
Midway did a decent job
in porting over Gauntlet's latest iteration,
it's just too bad that it's old enough
to where people have already played it
to death in the arcades or possibly have
it for PS2 or GameCube. It would have been
nice to see the original arcade game unlockable,
much like Midway did with Spy
Hunter. That would have added some
much needed depth to the game, as well
as enticing old school gamers to pick up
the Xbox copy of a game that, if they really
are true fans of the series, already have
for another console.
While Gauntlet: Dark Legacy
is a decent enough game, its main saving
grace is the four player co-op play, something
of a rarity. Midway will most likely bring
out another update to the Gauntlet series
in the coming years. Hopefully, the Xbox
version will be treated with a bit more
graphical respect than just a straight
PS2 looking port.
Daniel "monk" Pelfrey
Had no qualms about playing as the Valkyrie "back in the day."
Dark Legacy: The Scores
This game is best enjoyed in the company of others. While
other games such as Halo have a co-op mode, with the
Gauntlet franchise, it's not just a feature, it's a basic
gameplay premise. While it's an older arcade/PS2 game
ported over, there is not much in the way of competition
for Gauntlet Dark Legacy. If you already have the game
on another platform, there really is no reason to pick
this up. If you don't, and are hankering to have a game
you can play with your friends, this should fit
the bill quite nicely.