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back to article Running the Gauntlet: Atari's classic ... now and then

Rumours of a new version of the Atari classic Gauntlet at E3 took me straight back to the arcade circa 1985. I remember being dwarfed as a preteen by the fearsome presence of Gauntlet’s massive cabinet. It dominated the arcade and the rest of the machines in the room with its huge screen and impressive multicoloured keypad. …

"Green elf shot the food"...

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Mushroom

aarg beaten to it. My favourite was always

"Wizard is about to die"

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Followed quickly by "FFS [insert name of stupid friend here], stop shooting the F**KING food !!!".

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For me, the game changed when someone said ...

"Wizard now has ... extra fart power!"

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Re: For me, the game changed when someone said ...

I've not seen such bravery?

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Valkyrie

I always wanted to play the Valkyrie

Lol you big girl.

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Re: Valkyrie - Lol you big girl.

Yes I suspect "LUCY" is a girl. *rolleyes*

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Facepalm

Re: Valkyrie - Lol you big girl.

Yes I suspect "LUCY" is a girl. *rolleyes*

Yes. I know. That was the joke.

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"Pick up your skirt and run old man"

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Ah, fond memories, wasted youth.

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Not wasted. Better than going out, getting drunk and fighting. We had many a very sociable day playing Gauntlet, Stunt Car Racer, Midi Maze etc. And it all ended without a trip to A&E. Well, usually :-)

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Anonymous Coward

Yes wasted

Not better than going out, getting drunk and getting laid.

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Midi Maze! My first ever networked game, we had fun with that one

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Re: Yes wasted

Wasted alright, Played enough Guantlet while at University that it put a severe dent in my lab work. Enough in fact that I had to come back and put in an extra couple of days after the end of term to pass the unit.

I won't say its the reason I failed to work enough to actually achieve a degree. It was a symptom rather than cause.

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Re: Yes wasted

@graeme Legget we are contemporaries. A fond memory from the student common room at Sunderland Polytechnic. IIRC it was quite a good spectator sport too. I spent at least as long watching others as actually playing. Cool.

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Re: Yes wasted

"Not better than going out, getting drunk and getting laid."

But a lot better than getting into a drunken fight, catching herpes and having an unintended offspring with a beer-goggled beauty.

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MSX version for me. Killed the fan on it so could only play for a few hours before it shut down. *sigh*

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My memory

"I have never seen such bravery" just before you die.

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Go

Great fun, and Gauntlet 2 was just as good. It was such sweet revenge after "so and so is eating all the food/stealing all the treasure" to wait for a shots stun other players level, stun the smegger and shove them into the room with level 3 ghost generators.

Fingers crossed this lives up to the legacy.

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Yes, I liked Gauntlet, but Gauntlet 2 made it so much more fun with a much wider variety of features ("Blue valkyrie is it", "Green elf now haaas... reflective shot"), although the option to have all 4 players with the same class (e.g. "Red elf", "Green elf", etc) took something away.

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o_0

I have owned 5 Gauntlet arcade cabinets over the years. I had a Gauntlet and Gauntlet II which I had kept over the years but I finally sold them a friend a couple of years ago. Really want them back right now after reading this :(

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Atari ST with printer expansion port

3 friends, several beers, and long afternoons.

Ah, nostalgia, it ain't what it used to be....

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Happy

I had the Amstrad CPC464 version. Which I think must have been simplified. I don't remember being able to block with the shield, for example, although it was a long time ago. I don't think you could play more than 2-player either. Still, I loved it, as I don't recall seeing it in an arcade until much later. We didn't have a local one, so I didn't go to them often.

My record was to waste a whole Saturday afternoon playing a game. Play a couple of levels, load more from tape, repeat. Every so often there'd be a treasure room. I got to level 87 when it happened. I had a decent number of lives left, only a hundred levels on the tape, lots of treasure rooms done, so all stacked up with nice potions for dealing with deaths Tape error. Aaaaaarrrgggghhhh!!

I don't think I ever got much past level 30 again. I wonder if the machine overheated, it was randomness, or there just weren't 100 levels on the tape?

I want to play it again. I'm amazed no-one's released it for iOS / Android, or just as a Flash game online.

Boo, no happy wallowing in nostalgia icon. Say eating Spangles and/or Wham bars, while wearing mismatched flourescent socks and listening to rubbish music...

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On the spectrum, Gauntlet came on 2 tapes, once you finished tape 1 side a, tape 1 side b, tape 2 side a, tape 2 side b it would instruct you to insert tape 1 side a, and you start again from the beginning, but with a few more beasties!

Infinite play :)

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@I ain't Spartacus

>>I want to play it again. I'm amazed no-one's released it for iOS / Android, or just as a Flash game online.

One word.... MAME

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CPC464

I had Gauntlet on the CPC464 at the same time as playing it in the arcade. The Amstrad version was well done and very close to the original. It was just a bit less smooth and powerful due to the hardware.

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I seem to remember turning the tape over somewhere around level 50, and then getting to level 100 only to be told to turn the tape back over again. Can't remember how far I got before the dreaded read error happened, I think it was somewhere around 120. Amazing to think that this was on a computer with 48k of usable memory (the other 16k was taken up by the graphics memory) and a processor clocked at 2 MHz!

I remember playing Gauntlet II on the old CPC464 too, the do'h! moment of stunning yourself with a reflecting shot...

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Linux

Re: @I ain't Spartacus

You wouldn't want the "re-release" for Android anyways. They would find some way to muck it up and ruin it by trying to "update" it.

Emulation is really the best way to go here. You get the unadulterated original. Warts and all you end up with the thing that inspires all of our fond memories rather than a cheap imitation.

...and Han shot first.

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Go look for

"Midway Arcade" in the Apple App Store, it includes Gauntlet and Gauntlet II

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Re: @I ain't Spartacus

Plus with emulation through MAME you get infinite credits AND save states!

Downloading now...

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Home computers

Home computer versions of Gauntlet were quite good because it didn't require massive animation or BLIT operations like, say, Afterburner. There was also no scrolling on the home versions IIRC.

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Re: Home computers

Real computers (like the Amiga) scrolled :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71zGo_V0kuE

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Ah, fun...

Mine was the speccy version, with about 4 levels loaded before you had to load more from tape... Favourite for me was the wizard; top notch ranged combat, top notch magic and survivable if you played it smart and didn't let the bad guys get near.

Gauntlet Dark Legacy was also fun on the PS2 - played it a lot while laid up with a broken ankle :)

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Re: Ah, fun...

A friend and I slogged it out on the Speccy version, making it all the way to the end of Side 2 of the tape, expecting some sort of epic reward for our efforts. Being told to turn the tape over, and having nothing happen (as the first part of Side 1 isn't level data) was crushing...

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Pint

N64 variant of "Gauntlet Legends"

This was actually a pretty good 3D game in the series, available at the arcade (never saw it) and on home machines like the Nintendo. I wasted plenty of Sunday afternoons with friends and family playing this and building up my character's experience.

Only mention it because no one else seems to have.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gauntlet_Legends

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Re: N64 variant of "Gauntlet Legends"

The Dreamcast version of that is the good one.

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Recently booted up the classic for a four-player fest with some (non-gamer) friends at a party.

The comments on Facebook the next day revolved around "Yellow Wizard, keep the hell up and stop shooting the potions!" (NB: I was red warrior, not yellow wizard").

Great fun and one of those few games that is truly endless without getting boring quickly.

The remake (which is on Steam, by the way) better live up to the original. So tired of junk remakes at the moment (Syndicate, etc.).

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The remake looks suspiciously like a Diablo III clone... Not that that's a bad game, after the rebalancing and DLC, but why make the same game?

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Did this game have an end ??

Did the game have an end, or was it a money maker for Atari by generating new levels infinitely to encourage you to pop in more and more cash for energy ??

I got disillusioned when I discovered that the press of one key on the keyboard allowed you to walk through walls in the Spectrum version. Found out by accident, and got through lots and lots of levels until I got bored.

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Re: Did this game have an end ??

I think you could go round the clock - as it were - on the levels. But although you could just keep shoving 10p pieces in, the levels got harder and harder and it would be more fun to stop, die, and then start again. Though perhaps taking the shortcut to level 10.

At University there was a charity challenge where a few people played it non-stop for 24 hours.

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Re: Did this game have an end ??

IIRC, the first 8 levels came in a preset order after that (predefined) levels would be selected randomly forever. I knew a few very good players that told me that, once they got past level 8, they could go forever without adding more coins.

Of course I also remember "Elf has been eating all the food lately."

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Re: Did this game have an end ??

"At University there was a charity challenge where a few people played it non-stop for 24 hours."

I didn't need a charity challenge to play it 24 hours, I just needed the shopkeeper to stop chasing me out of his store because it was closing time. And for my parents to stop being stingy with advances on my allowance after the game ate my savings. Not that I had much saved when I was 11, but there was a stern talking to about fiscal responsibility that really delayed my return to Gauntlet the next morning.

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Ahhhh

This cabinet game was a proper bonding game, so many randoms met as a kid down cleethorpes.

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Wall Exits

Ever got stuck? Stand still for 5 minutes and all the walls turned to exits.

You just had to keep feeding in those 10p pieces as your health was forever running down.

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Re: Wall Exits

IIRC, it was five minutes and all the doors opened (not necessarily a good thing if you'd run out of keys and there's a generator on the other side, or worse, deaths trapped behind doors), and then another five minutes and all the walls turned to exits.

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"That was a heroic effort!"

Gauntlet's technology was a big deal in 1985. My nerdy friends and I had never seen the likes of it and spent hundreds of dollars plodding through the levels. At one point a friend had a small arcade in his shop with a leased Gauntlet and a couple of other games. One night after hours we picked the locks on it--not to steal the money, but being the geeks we were, we wanted to have a look at the silicon to see how much hardware was crammed into the cabinet to provide this level of gameplay. As I recall, we might have adjusted the skill level a bit to give ourselves a better chance. It was easy when coin-ops of the 80s usually came with technical manuals and operator instructions lying at the bottom of the cabinet. :)

Gauntlet IV on Sega Genesis was a pretty good clone, and "Dark Legacy" on PS2 was enjoyable. But I still like firing up MAME/MESS and taking a run through Gauntlet I and II when the mood hits me.

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Anonymous Coward

"Gauntlet deserves a reboot"

It's had HUNDREDS of them.

It's just they were done by different people with different names.

And given the history of Atari... These are different people too.

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Reboot

Played it on MAME. Now that's a real reboot.

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"Red Warrior all your powers will be lost!"

I discovered a "cheat" on the Atari ST version whereby if you pulled the disk out while it was loading and then put it back in straight away it would corrupt the room layout and you'd end up with a completely random room, blocks all over the place, sometimes rooms full of potions and food, other times rooms full of deaths. Very rarely was there an exit, at which point you would have to reboot and start again, but it was worth the agro if you got a mega room.

Nostalgia. Can't wait to have a go on this reboot!

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about time it was revived

I still play both Gauntlet and Gauntlet II on MAME with my daughters and even the neighbours when they pop round for a cuppa.

The game still has legs and having no ending means you just keep going until bored or passed out.

Gauntlet Legends in the arcade didn't seem to catch on and my Mame box doesn't have the horsepower to simulate it properly at the moment. Really looking forward to this new version for the PC.

Who remembers the space themed game that was also similar as a 4 player with health requiring constant 10p input? I forget it's name but in Swindon the local arcade had this and Gauntlet.

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