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Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Gauntlet - Arcade [007] Shortplay PlayThru Levels 1-26

Here is a playthru of an emulation of the arcade's original quarter eater: Gauntlet.  Four player co-operative simultaneous gameplay, with limited health, and an easy player opt-in design made this game a favorite in arcades at release.  I can remember line ups at this machine in the local Time Warp arcade. 

In my opinion, even the original cabinet is a nice sharp design.  Atari Games managed to squeeze 4 players in around a nice CRT screen, and at the same time nicely decorate the cabinet.  They even put Atari and the fuji on the ball of the original sticks.

The biggest downfall of the game (and by far the biggest improvement of the sequel in my opinion) was the ability for the player to select which character to play as in the game.  In the original Gauntlet, each character type is bound to a joystick: Warrior for Player 1, Valkerie for Player 2, Wizard for Player 3 and Elf for Player 4.

So, what is Gauntlet?  Gauntlet is an overhead, multi-player, hack-and-slash with an emphasis on escaping each monster-filled level, or, on some levels, quickly collecting treasure and finding the exit before the timer reaches zero.  Each of the four available characters has their own strengths and weaknesses.  For example, Warrior is the best fighter, while Wizard is the best magic user.  Valkerie and Elf are more balanced, with the balance towards fighting on Valkerie (my typical choice) and magic on Elf.

Each player starts with a certain amount of health, which steadily decreases over time, but health is also chewed away by monster attacks.  Refilling of health is done either buy eating food in the mazes, or feeding more quarters into the machine.  Besides food and treasure chests, there is also poisoned food, health potions, potions that have power ups, and other temporary special abilities spread thoughtout the various mazes.

And now for a little trivia:  Gauntlet is a clone.  Yes, that's right, it is a clone of a game called Dandy that was written for the Atari 400/800 in 1983 and distributed through the Atari Program Exchange.  That game made use of the 4 joystick ports included on the early models of the Atari 8-bit computers.  Dandy itself was later released in 1988 as Dark Chambers for the Atari 8-bits (specifically targeting the XEGS), Atari 2600, and Atari 7800, but the game only supported two players.  I guess there are a few more games to give a whirl on the old Atari 8-bit besides Atari's own port of Gauntlet!

Anyway, I think Gauntlet is a very good game, and has held up decently.  I own a few original PCBs from the arcade, but I was never able to get a Gauntlet machine though.  As Gauntlet is one of my favorite games, I might not be the best person to give an unbiased opinion.

Capture info -

This gameplay was captured on September 2, 2019.

Game was played in MAME with the output provided by NVidia's ShadowPlay.

Video was edited with Shotcut.

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