Review: Gauntlet: Dark Legacy
Posted 19 Dec 2002 at 21:32 by Paul
Being a long-time Gauntlet fan I was hoping for a direct upgrade from the N64 version of Guntlet Legends. I thought, oh four more worlds, four more characters, some new items, but otherwise it will be almost the same. Oh how wrong I was. The vast number of differences between the two games took me quite by surprise. Unfortunately, not a lot of these differences are good ones.
The graphics are somewhat detailed. However the game is just about always too far zoomed out to tell. Think "Lost Kingdoms" on the maxed out view, but the graphics are not quite as good. In fact, they're really not a whole lot better than Gauntlet Legends I suppose, but I guess I really wasn't expecting them to be better.
The sound is not so great either. Like its predecessor, it has pretty blurry voices, so you may never know what item you just picked up without looking or that your "green archer is now a level 10 ranger." Especially annoying were the voices of the characters, some sounding like grandparents and, for example, exclaiming "food is good" every time you pick up food. On the plus side, however, unlike GL, the background music sometimes changes in mid-level, so you won't be bored by the same tunes over and over again throughout the course of a half-hour level.
The gameplay is extremely repetitive to say the least. "Oh look. A generator. Enemies. Let's throw some stuff at them. Then run up and hack-and-slash," sums up pretty much the entire game. This becomes especially boring considering that the levels range from long to extremely frustratingly long, and the demonic hordes ain't exactly what they used to be. Seriously, there is practically no challenge in at least the first five worlds. Most of this is because generators no longer constantly pump out enemies; instead, they produce only a handful and then go dormant. In addition to this, the game gives out way too many items. And, unlike Gauntlet Legends, can you sell the majority of your items in exchange for gold to purchase stats? NO. Do you need all those items to use against the sissy semi-swarms of enemies? NO. Sadder still, you can even turn off some of rarer items, unlike before, such as invincibility, but you can neither sell them nor do you need them. And as a result of this, the items pile up and mysteriously disappear, probably from having to many.
And the four new characters? Practically clones of the old ones, only slightly different stats. At least the secret characters(the ones you unlock; not the code activated) have better then normal stats, unlike Gauntlet Legends. However, unlike GL, you can't freely switch between them; instead, every time you change character you have to start over at level 1.
Pretty much the same as Gauntlet Legends, except you have a few more moves in this game. They're pretty much worthless anyway. Charge uses your turbo meter to run, brandishing your weapon to hurt nearby enemies as you do. The 2 player combos are not as good as the single turbo attacks, so no reason to use them. And the slow attacks are, well, to slow to be good against several enemies. The only improvement is the Robotron controller configuration, which allows you to fire in different directions while you run (using the c-stick to aim Quick Attacks).
Yeah, the game is really long, but is there any variety or challenge? Not really. And, if you're not sick of playing by the end of just a couple of these annoyingly long levels, I admire your patience. That or your dullness. I can hardly get to the fifth world without having to stop playing for weeks because of the intense boredom. The secret characters(the earnable ones as well as the code-activated ones) add a bit of spice, but its not nearly enough.
Too bad for the Gauntlet series. This game is living proof that good series can go bad all too easily. I guess I would recommend it to die-hard Gauntlet fans, but if you're seeking a good action-RPG, this game isn't it. Really, Midway could have done a better job than this. I gues sometimes we just have to face the cold, hard facts.
N-Europe Final Verdict
Not a bad addition, but so much more can be done to make it so much better. Ah well...
Frustratingly long levels