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Gauntlet: Dark Legacy (GameCube) artwork

Gauntlet: Dark Legacy (GameCube) review


"Let me begin this review with a heart-rending performance of that most famous of arcade theme songs: Gauntlet. "



Let me begin this review with a heart-rending performance of that most famous of arcade theme songs: Gauntlet.

NEE-NOO-NEE-NOO. NEE-NOO-NEE-NOO. NEE-NOO-NEE-NOO. NEE-NOO-NEE-NOO. NEE-NOO-NEE-NOO. NEE-NOO-NEE-NOO. NEE-NOO-NEE-NOO. NEE-NOO-NEE-NOO.

Thank you. And now, for an encore, I will perform the predominantly heard noise in Gauntlet: Dark Legacy.

THUMP. THUMP. THUMP. THUMP. THUMP. THUMP.

That's just one of the severe problems that plagues this otherwise lovable port: every character's footsteps are accompanied by a comically loud THUMP, which drowns out every other noise in the game. The first thing you should do upon getting Gauntlet: Dark Legacy is mute your television, stereo, what have you. Because the constant, annoying THUMPing is only the tip of the iceburg. Apparently, one of Sumner's distant relatives was a Banshee, and his family must have some kind of susceptibility to bronchitis. That would explain his voice.

And then there's the graphics. Let me emphasize this point, as it's an important one: Gauntlet: Dark Legacy is essentially a port of the excellent 32-bit era game "Gauntlet Legends." And the graphics reflect as such. This would have been fine, except the game does not bill itself as such. It attempts to sell itself as a whole new game, with mostly all-new levels (including a brand-spanking new hub). But the graphics are an entire console generation out of date.

After the horrendously blurry, grainy opening FMV, you get to watch plastic-stiff characters run around with many a loud "THUMP THUMP THUMP." Even the new character models you unlock for reaching milestone experience levels, which are admittedly very cool, do little to improve the graphics. Speak of character models, the model for the Sorceress is ridiculous. Imagine a botox-addicted beauty queen with a double-D bra size, a stick up her butt, high-heels that look like platform shoes, and a miniskirt that would make a hooker blush. That about sums up the Sorceress.

But past the THUMPing, the 32-bit graphics, and the sexist representation of the Sorceress, the game improves significantly. It's basically Gauntlet Legends on steroids. The biggest addition is eight new character classes. Okay, sure, so four of these are just clones of the original four, and the other four are clones of the other clones. But if you can't see how being a giant bomb-throwing Jester is better than an elf with giant mammary glands, than I can't help you.

Taking control of one of sixteen characters (eight of them unlockable), one to four players battle through an unnecessarily large number of levels. All that stands in their way is an unnecessarily large number of enemies. Players must use an unnecesarily large amount of force to gather unnecessarily large numbers of crystals, which unlock more levels, where the unnecessarily complicated process starts all over again.

The odd thing about Gauntlet: Dark Legacy is, despite its last-gen graphics, uninspired gameplay, and THUMPing, I really like it. I really, really do. There are enough levels for you to THUMP through that, even though you're essentially doing the same thing the whole time, it still stays fun. The ridiculous number of characters to choose from, not to mention that they can (finally) be saved to one profile, gives Dark Legacy a huge amount of replay value. I love this game. And not in a love-it-because-it's-terrible kind of way. No, in a love-it-in-spite-of-its-terribleness kind of way.

Gameplay: 7 out of 10
Story: 3 out of 5
Controls: 7 out of 10
Graphics: 2 out of 5
Sound and Music: 1 out of 5
Extras: 4 out of 5
Game Length, Difficulty and Replay Value: 8 out of 10
Overall Score: 6.4 out of 10

I'll close by mentioning three of the game's biggest faults. First, THUMP THUMP THUMP. Second, the "improved item system" that the case makes so much about is awful. When the item menu isn't bugging out so that you can't even see it, you have to sort through miniscule icons and text to find what you want. Also, those super-handy item timers from Legends are gone, for reasons best known to some crazy guy at the Midway development department. Lastly, the melee classes are worthless compared to the ranged classes, solely because they don't attack as quickly.

Gauntlet: Dark Legacy. It's terrible, but I love it anyway.

Rating: 6/10

mrshotgun's avatar
Community review by mrshotgun (March 21, 2007)

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