Reviewer: Phil South
At last! Another really good reason to spend all day playing Gauntlet. Yes indeed, the sequel you've all been waiting for, with more levels than Mr Spock's chessboard and more ghosts and ghouls than a Bela Lugosi flick. All the publicity for Gauntlet II makes out that there's so many new features it's practically a new game. Is this the truth or is US Gold just pulling a fast one, I asked myself?
Actually the blurb wasn't far wrong, there's a lot more to this one than there was in the original game, and come to think of it, there being a point to it at all is a big bonus. In the first Gauntlet all you had to do was chase around the various level mazes, shooting anything that moved and collecting treasure, potions, food and keys in order to proceed deeper into the dungeons. And speaking of Deeper Dungeons, that's what you had next, a bolt-on upgrade tape with a lot more Gauntlet to play if you'd already scaled the 8 billion multiload levels on the first tape. But the initial aim of the game was the same (coo, that rhymes!) and although a good blast for your average shoot 'em up maniac, had very little to offer in the way of action once you'd mastered the basic of survival.
Now we have Gauntlet II, and what a brillo game it is too. The idea behind the game is to find your way to the dragon's cave and destroy him. thereby getting all his treasure. All the favourite beasties are there from Gauntlet I, the few additions being ITs, THATs, stun tiles, spell-lobbing wizards and sorceresses, and nasty yerchy acid puddles. The exits are a bit more mobile too, phasing in and out, sometimes before you can get into them. Not to mention the magic walls - I told you not to mention the magic walls - which vanish when you shoot them turning into something nice (treasure or exits) or something nasty (monsters or baddies). But to help you through these extra hazards, there's a whole bunch of extra special powers, like extra armour, extra magic power extra shot speed, extra shot power, extra fight power, extra pick power... and who knows, maybe even extra, extra power! (ho ho)
One of the nastiest pitfalls in the game is the stun tile. This is an invisible tile set into the floor of a dungeon, indicated by an occasional twinkle as you approach it. When your foot touches it your character is stunned for a few second, not really the sort of thing you want to happen when there's a mound of seething manticores bearing down on you, spitting death. Other high points include a bullet that bounces off the walls, three bounces before it tuckers out, and a super shot, which ploughs through everything in it's path until it hits a wall.
Not really much sonix to speak of, the tune at the beginning only just sneaking by as music, and the usual scritchity-scratch whenever you shoot at anything. The graphics have been tweaked a bit in this version, not so much that you'd really notice, but the action is just as fast and furious, and I think you're going to like it a lot. A 'must have' for all of you who asked for Gauntlet on your Desert Island Disks. (Yay!)
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