Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
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The arcade smash has finally arrived on the Master System! This game was a sensation when appeared in 1986, and this version has all the features of the original machine.
Each player (and there can be two at once) selects a character - either the Valkyrie, Elf, Wizard, or Warrior. Then you're thrown in at the deep end - placed in a huge scrolling dungeon full of creepy creatures and malevolent monsters! All you have to do is make your way to the exit - not easy because there's a vast army of creatures out to knock down your health points.
The levels are littered with treasure chests, which give bonus points when collected. Food can also be found which adds 100 points to your health, and there are also potions which give temporary benefits such as invulnerability and spells which damage or kill everything on-screen when unleashed.
Gird your loins, hoist your axe, and prepare to enter the dark catacombs to kill the dragon - but write your will before you go!
The game really comes into its own when played with a friend. They don't have to start simultaneously, but can join in at any stage. Thor the warrior makes a good companion to Merlin, as his superb shot power and 20% armour gives him real muscle to cleave his way through the dungeon while Merlin stands back and blasts from afar. But don't ignore Thyra the Valkyrie and Questor the Elf - they both have useful talents!
Merlin the Wizard is the best character to choose when playing solo: his shots and magic power are very powerful, and are quite capable of destroying the monster generators scattered around. His lack of armour and poor hand-to-hand skills mean that it's best to dodge foes whenever possible.
Thyra the Valkyrie is tough, fires strong shots and can use magic well - a good character for solo play, but not quite as good as the wizard.
Questor the Elf is very puny and hand-to-hand combat causes him much damage. His shots aren't particularly powerful, but he can use magic almost as well as the wizard and can run faster than all the other characters.
Big, tough Thor the Barbarian is great for hand-to-hand combat - most baddies hardly scratch him. His shots are powerful too, but he's a bit slow and his magic powers are almost zero.
There are a variety of monsters - here's a list so you know what to expect.
I was flabbergasted by this game - it's fast, furious, and above all faithful to the coin op. Seriously, the whole Mean Machines team were impressed by this game, which is challenging but still accessible. The graphics are brilliant and the sound fits the game well, but it's the payability that made me love the game so much (I was a big fan of the arcade machine). Atmosphere is an important element in any game, and Gauntlet positively oozes the stuff. Turning a corner only to be confronted with a dozen ghosts is an experience you won't forget in a hurry! Reaching the later levels is a tough challenge, but is by no
Gauntlet has appeared on virtually every home computer system on Earth, and Tm glad to say that the Sega version tops the lot for sheer addictive payability. The game is played at a tremendous speed, and each dungeon is packed with literally hundreds of vile and gruesome creatures all out to get you - as you can imagine, it's action all the way! As well as being very playable, the graphics and sound are also excellent. The sprites are small, but they're superbly detailed, and the backdrops are very polished, giving the game a true arcade look. With 100 different levels to challenge you, Gauntlet won't lose its appeal in a hurry. If you've got a Sega, do yourself a favour and plug this into it.
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