Gauntlet Legends and Dark Legacy Appreciation and Version Comparison: Remembering Some of the Best Action-RPGs Ever Made

As an aside before I begin, in fact the first Gauntlet game with some of the hallmarks of Gauntlet Legends — saving your character, character levels, a quest with an ending, themed areas to play through with bosses at the end of each area, a home base area with a shop in it and access to the five worlds (which you can do the first four of in any order) — actually debuted in Gauntlet IV for the Genesis.  It’s a very good game that I would say was a transitional title between the classic style of Gauntlets I and II and the style of Legends and Dark Legacy.  It also, sadly, has its saving done by 30-plus-character passwords… oh well, it is great anyway.

(Note — NES Gauntlet I also has saving and an ending, but because the game doesn’t have most any of the features listed above, the password only saves equipment and the game level you are at (there are no character levels), and only at five or six points in the game.  It should be mentioned, but it is quite different from the full RPG mode of Gauntlet IV’s Story mode.  No bosses, the areas aren’t themed, just broken up into worlds, no hub area, shops, experience system or levelling up, no game time clock (that is saved), etc.  But still, it is saving, so it should be mentioned.)

Gauntlet: Legends was a great, great game, and it’s surprising that the Gauntlet series hasn’t really had a good thread here before, I believe.  These two games are some of my favorites ever of their type; I’ve beaten Legends twice (on N64) and Dark Legacy once (on Gamecube), and have played it a lot more than that, in arcades (Legends only) as well as consoles.  These games seem to be love-or-hate games with not too much ground in between; I have always loved them, but critics, like GameSpot’s reviewers for instance, trashed them all.  But just because a game is relatively simple does not mean it can’t be great!

Essentially, Gauntlet Legends and Dark Legacy (and Gauntlet IV) are simple action-RPGs.  The core concept is, as in all Gauntlet games, defeating enemies that are infinitely spawned from monster generators by destroying those generators, and then going and finding the exit to the level.  You hack and slash your way through dungeons and fields and castles and forests and more with your character or party of heroes, choosing one of a variety of character types that each have their own strengths and weaknesses.  You level up as you gain experience, and at each new level multiple of 10 (10, 20, 30, etc) you get a new title.  You also get other bonuses as you level up, such as a permanent familiar and, finally, at level 99, a permanent anti-death halo (awesome item!).  All characters have basic projectile and melee attacks (with bonuses, generally, for using more melee; strength determines your skill here of course), can use magic potions for an area-of-effect attack that varies in strength depending on your characters’ magic skill, and have Turbo Attacks, charged shots that do extra damage and have larger areas of effect (and cool visuals!).  They are spectacular multiplayer games designed for 4-player co-op play above all else.  I have always also liked playing them in single player, but there’s nothing quite like four player Legends or Dark Legacy.  Hack, slash, hack some more, shoot at walls to find secret areas, collect gold and keys and potions, hit switches and figure out the sometimes clever puzzles, find even more secret areas… the level designs in Gauntlet Legends and Dark Legacy are fantastic and are some of of the best things about the games.  I really, really love the levels, and find going through them endlessly fun.  It’s great that they aren’t just straight linear paths, but are often branching levels with lots of secret areas and things to find, and I really like that they do actually make you search around some to find those switches; the game would be much more boring if the level designs were plain and straightforward, for sure.  The designers did a great job in making the levels interesting and fun to explore.

The characters and design are generally great as well.  The  characters are all interesting and each of the base classes has four completely different designs based on which color you choose.  Hidden characters often only change in color, but still, there are a lot of options here.  You can build characters up to a maximum level of 99, and I find it hard to resist the desire to want to max out a character’s level; you haven’t really finished until you’re level 99! 🙂  The enemies are as varied and interesting as the characters, and the bosses are gigantic and hard.  Indeed, boss levels (excepting Dark Legacy’s oddly easy final boss battle) are often the hardest levels in the game, even though all you do in them is fight a boss and don’t have to deal with a stage as well (except for the Skorne fights, which is part of why they are so tough).  Thankfully, you can skip the boss levels for a while in all console ports of the games and play them later when you are better prepared.  But from the generator-spawned enemies large and small to the single archers and bombers and suicide bombers, the enemies are varied, well designed, and fun to fight.  There are also different enemy types in each realm.

Gauntlet: Dark Legacy is essentially just an enhanced, larger version of Legends.  It has many new levels as well as the old ones, new characters as well as the old, more of the same great gameplay, slightly improved graphics, and more.  As a result, the original game serves less purpose now; excepting only one solitary stage, you can play all of Legends’ content in Dark Legacy. The exception to this is Dreamcast “Gauntlet Legends”, which is actually an odd mixture of elements from both titles, and as a result feels more like a half-complete version of Dark Legacy than an actual version of Legends.  It’s an interesting game, but as a result of how it feels like half of the game is missing (having only four of Dark Legacy’s eight main realms, etc), it probably isn’t the version to get unless you have no other choices.  Its oddity was what inspired this thread, though; I was playing it and thinking that it was a strange conglomerate, and had to go back and think about/look up the differences between all of the versions as a result… 🙂  The Gamecube and Xbox versions of Dark Legacy are the best versions of the game, for sure, however, and are the most highly recommended, particularly the Xbox version.  If you do want to play classic Gauntlet Legends, however, thanks to the exceptional inventory system, it is by far the best on the Nintendo 64.  If you want to play Gauntlet Legends or Dark Legacy, ideally do it on the Xbox, Gamecube, and/or Nintendo 64.

(I’ll add more to this post in the future, including more on the gameplay and levels (about the gameplay that is, not just the listing of the next post.  But this is pretty good now, I think, for a start…)

Gauntlet Series Game List  


Gauntlet (Arcade, Atari 2600, Apple II, BBC Micro, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, Sega Master System, Game Boy Advance, Midway Arcade Treasures 1 (GC/Xbox/PS2/PC), Midway Arcade Treasures: Extended Play (PSP), X360 Live Arcade (digital download), cellphones), Midway Arcade Origins (PS3, X360), Arcade’s Greatest Hits: The Atari Collection 2 (PS1), Midway’s Greatest Arcade Hits Volume 2 (DC), Midway Arcade app addon (iOS)

Gauntlet (NES – it’s quite different from the arcade game)

Gauntlet II (Arcade, NES, Commodore 64, Atari ST, Game Boy, Midway Arcade Treasures 2 (GC/Xbox/PS2), Midway Arcade Treasures: Deluxe Edition (PC), PS3 PlayStation Network (digital download)), Midway Arcade Origins (PS3, X360), Midway Arcade app addon (iOS)

Gauntlet: The Deeper Dungeons (Commodore 64) (third party game)

Gauntlet III (Commodore 64, Atari ST, Amstrad CPC) (third party game)

Gauntlet: The Third Encounter (Lynx) (third party game, originally not a Gauntlet game)

Gauntlet IV (Genesis)

Gauntlet Legends (Arcade, N64, PSX, DC) – though each version is very different (see below)

Gauntlet: Dark Legacy (Arcade, PS2, GC, Xbox)

Gauntlet: Dark Legacy (GBA — it’s completely different from the other versions

Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows (PS2, Xbox; generic and no good)

Gauntlet (DS) — Upcoming [2012 EDIT: later cancelled, tragically]

2015 EDIT: Note: Errors in a couple of release listings in the section above were corrected by Leo A from Digital Press.

 

And now to the point, a description of the games and their differences.

Gauntlet Legends/Dark Legacy Version Comparison (Some of the differences are pretty interesting, I think!)
2012 EDIT: Originally (in ’08) I thought that N64 Legends was a port of the arcade game, for whatever reason.  This has at long last been corrected, along with some resulting errors.

For a complete table comparing all levels in each version, go here: http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showpost.php?p=42879144&postcount=24 I would post it here, but WordPress has a character count limit, and I can’t find any way of inserting a lined-up table like that, either.  I did, however, insert some tables from Quattro Pro below.  Those, and the posts below, replicate just about everything in the table above.

Levels

Gauntlet Legends (Arcade) – 19 standard levels, 6 bosses/boss levels

Mountain (6 levels): Valley, Peak, Cliff, Cave, Cavern, Dragon (Boss)
Castle (5 levels): Courtyard, Dungeon, Armory, Treasury, Chimera (Boss)
Forest Realm (5 levels): Swamps, Roots, Tree, Branches, Spider Queen (Boss
Desert Land (5 levels): Ruins, Temple, Pyramid, Tombs, Genie (Boss)
Skorne’s Cathedral: Skorne’s Cathedral, Skorne (Boss)
Underworld: Underworld, True Skorne (Final Boss)


Gauntlet Legends (N64/PSX)— 22 (N64) or 26 (PSX) standard levels, 6 bosses/boss levels

Mountain (6 levels): Valley, Peak, Cliff, Cave, Cavern, Dragon (Boss)
Castle (5 levels): Courtyard, Dungeon, Armory, Treasury, Chimera (Boss)
Town (5 levels): Fields, Cemetary, Spire, Airship, Plague (Boss)
Frozen Plains (5 levels): Docks, Camp, Mine, Fissure, Yeti (Boss)
Skorne’s Cathedral (1 level with boss at the end, no separate access or saving before boss): Skorne’s Cathedral, Skorne (Boss)
Battlefield (3 levels): Trenches, Towers, Fortress
Underworld (1 level with boss at the end, no separate access or saving before boss): Underworld, True Skorne (Final Boss)
(PSX version has 4 additional hidden levels at the end: Mountain: Summit, Castle: Barracks, Desert: Tombs, Forest: Village.  The latter two are from the Legends arcade game, but the first two were new.  Castle Barracks was later included in the console Dark Legacy ports, but Mountain Summit is PS1 exclusive.)


Gauntlet: Dark Legacy (Arcade) — 33 standard levels, 11 bosses/boss levels (note that two (sort of three) Gauntlet Legends (console versions) levels, Town: Airship, Mountain: Summit, and sort of Town/Province: Poison(ed) Fields, are not in any version of Dark Legacy.  Poison Fields is “sort of” because the setting returns, but the level design in DL is almost entirely new.   All other Gauntlet Legends (console and arcade) levels are in it, despite the Town realm being broken up between two new areas. Thus 8 standard levels are new in this version, plus 3 bosses.)

Mountain Kingdom (ex-Mountain) (6 levels): Valley, Peak, Cliff, Cave, Cavern, Dragon (Boss)
Sky World (4 levels): Spire, Docks, Shipyard, Plague Fiend (Boss)
Castle Stronghold (ex-Castle) (5 levels): Courtyard, Dungeon, Armory, Treasury, Chimera (Boss)
Forest Realm (5 levels): Swamps, Roots, Tree, Branches, Spider Queen (Boss)
Forsaken Province (5 levels): Fields (very different from the old “Fields” level), Town, Cemetary, Mausoleum, Lich (Boss)
Ice Kingdom (ex-Frozen Plains) (5 levels): Docks, Camp, Mine, Fissure, Yeti (Boss)
Dream World (4 levels) : Carnival, House, Illusion, Wraith (Boss)
Desert Land (5 levels): Ruins, Temple, Pyramid, Tombs, Genie (Boss)
Desecrated Temple (ex-Skorne’s Cathedral) (1 level with boss at the end, no separate access or saving before boss): Desecrated Temple, Skorne (Boss)
Underworld (1 level with boss at the end, no separate access or saving before boss): Underworld, True Skorne (Boss)
Battlefield (4 levels): Trenches, Towers, Fortress, Garm (Final Boss)


Gauntlet Legends (Dreamcast) — 23 standard levels, 6 bosses/boss levels (all levels are Dark Legacy level maps.  Note how Fields was added to the Castle for some reason, too.  The Forest and Desert worlds were reversed in play order versus the original arcade game.  There’s one semi-exclusive level, the hidden Castle: Mausoleum stage.  It’s a reversed version of the Dark Legacy Mausoleum level.)

Mountain Kingdom (6 levels): Valley, Peak, Cliff, Cave, Cavern, Dragon (Boss)
Castle Stronghold (7 levels): Fields (DL ver), Courtyard, Armory, Treasury, Mausoleum [Reverse] (Hidden Level), Dungeon, Chimera (Boss)
Desert Land (5 levels): Ruins, Temple, Pyramid, Tombs, Genie (Boss)
Forest Realm (5 levels): Swamps, Roots, Tree, Branches, Spider Queen (Boss)
Desecrated Temple (1 level with boss at the end, no separate access or saving before boss): Desecrated Temple, Skorne (Boss)
Battlefield (3 levels): Trenches, Towers, Fortress
Underworld (1 level with boss at the end, no separate access or saving before boss): Underworld, True Skorne (Final Boss)


Gauntlet: Dark Legacy (PS2/GC/Xbox) — 37 standard levels, 11 bosses/boss levels (As with Legends, the home versions of Dark Legacy added levels and moved others around. There are three new levels plus one previously only seen in PS1 Legends, Castle: Barracks.  The new stages are Sky: Mothership, Dream: Illusion, and Dream: Nightmare.  Level order was shifted around again: the Forsaken Province was moved from being the 5th realm to the first. A couple of realms had slight name changes as well.)

Forsaken Province: Fields (very different from the old “Fields” level), Town, Cemetery, Mausoleum, Lich (Boss)
Mountain Kingdom (6 levels): Valley, Peak, Cliff, Cave, Cavern, Dragon (Boss)
Castle Stronghold (6 levels): Courtyard, Dungeon, Barracks, Armory, Treasury, Chimera (Boss)
Sky Dominion (5 levels): Spire, Docks, Shipyard, Mothership, Plague Fiend (Boss)
Forest Realm (5 levels): Swamps, Roots, Tree, Branches, Spider Queen (Boss)
Desert Land (5 levels): Ruins, Temple, Pyramid, Tombs, Genie (Boss)
Ice Domain (ex-Frozen Plains) (5 levels): Docks, Camp, Mine, Fissure, Yeti (Boss)
Dream World (6 levels) : Carnival, Grounds, House, Nightmare, Illusion, Wraith (Boss)
Desecrated Temple (1 level with boss at the end, no separate access or saving before boss): Desecrated Temple, Skorne (Boss)
Underworld (1 level with boss at the end, no separate access or saving before boss): Underworld, True Skorne (Boss)
Battlefield (4 levels): Trenches, Towers, Fortress, Garm (Final Boss)


Gauntlet: Dark Legacy (GBA) — See explanation below for more on this version.

(2012 EDIT: Fixed various fact errors in this post.)


Characters

For a table showing which games have which characters, see lower in the post.


Gauntlet Legends (hidden upgrade characters are in quotes)

Warrior (Minotaur)
Valkyrie (Falconess)
Wizard (Jackal)
Archer (Tigress)
(Sumner) [modified Wizard] (not in all versions)


Gauntlet Dark Legacy

Warrior (Minotaur)
Valkyrie (Falconess)
Wizard (Jackal)
Archer (Tigress)
Dwarf (Ogre) [modified Warrior]
Knight (Unicorn) [modified Valkyrie]
Sorceress (Medusa) [modified Wizard]
Jester (Hyena) [modified Archer]
(Sumner) [modifed Wizard] (not in all versions)

Note: the Dwarf, Knight, Sorceress, and Jester are also playable in Dreamcast Legends.  Their upgrade forms are not, however.


Features and Differences

For a table showing most of these elements and some more, see lower in the post.

Gauntlet Legends (Arcade) — 1998
-For 4 players
-Includes levels as noted (Mountain, Castle, Forest, Desert, Temple, Underworld)
-Includes all Gauntlet Legends characters
-Level Unlocking: You simply play through them in order, there isn’t a hub world.  You can select a world, but once in it you play through all stages in that world in order.
-Item/Interface System: No Item Storage or Selling (once you collect an item, it is activated until it times out.), No Health Buying (you can buy items and stat-ups only in the shop you access between levels), No In-Game Stat Display (you can see stats only between levels), Can access the shop after you beat a level, Inventory Items Have No Visible Counter (cannot see how much time or uses are remaining)
-Controls: Attack, Magic, Turbo.  Move via stick.
-Death: Black, steals 100 health
-Health slowly decreases over time. Put in more quarters or find health to increase it. Unlike the home versions of Gauntlets 1 and 2, no home versions of Legends or Dark Legacy have this feature, thankfully.
-Saving: Password (PIN number).
-Naming: Initials Only (for saving and identification)

The classic, and still great!

[Note — keys and potions are stored in all versions. Keys are used automatically, potions by a button. “Item storing” refers to other inventory items, not keys and potions.]

Gauntlet Legends (N64) — August 1999
-For 4 players
-Includes 11 arcade Legends levels plus 4 bosses (Mountain, Castle, Temple, Underworld), plus 11 new levels and 2 new bosses (three new worlds: Town, Ice, Battlefield).
-Includes all Gauntlet Legends characters
-Level Unlocking: In order to unlock realms, you need to find the hidden Obelisks, of which there are three per Realm. In order to play the Cathedral, you need to beat the four main bosses. In order to play the Underworld, you need to find all 13 Runestones, which are scattered through the game.
Controls: Attack, Magic, Turbo.  Move via analog.  The C-buttons navigate the inventory, stat display, and special item panels (boss-killer weapon and bonus-level crystal) that are shown in your character’s box in the bottom bar. R enables/disables items; when you pick them up you switch to that item and it is enabled, so you will need to disable it to keep it.
-Bonus characters are unlocked by getting enough tokens in the Treasure Room bonus levels. The game saves the number of tokens you have, so if you fail and come back again you only need the remaining number from before.
-Item System: Full Item Storage and selling (because you can store items, now you can sell them as well as buy. You can sell everything you have, no restrictions.), Can Buy Health (in the store), In-Game Stat Display (with the C-buttons, navigate to the stat screens), Can access the store both after you finish a level and anytime from the tower by talking to Sumner, Can see exact count of item time/uses remaining
-Death: Black, steals 100 health
-Naming: Can name your character, ~7 letters.
-Can save between levels. Can access the shop at any time in the tower. Each save file includes one name and base character, but if you switch to a bonus character, you can then switch between any of the five bonus characters at any time in the tower (though once you have switched to a bonus character, you cannot return to your original base class form, you can only switch between the bonus characters), though your level is static. You can change your character name at any time in the tower. Can save to any memory card, controller paks 1-4.

Great port! All the features of the arcade game, plus more, with the best-in-the-series inventory management system, the only game in the series with the feature to be able to look at your character’s stats ingame (by using the C buttons to change what is displayed on the lower bar display), and more! Plus, it has four player support and improved graphics with the Expansion Pack. This is the console version of Gauntlet Legends to own.

Gauntlet Legends (PSX) — February 2000
-For 2 players (!!)
-Includes all N64 Gauntlet Legends levels plus 4 postgame bonus DL levels as listed above (in Extra world)
-Includes all Gauntlet Legends characters
-Level Unlocking: In order to unlock realms, you need to find the hidden Obelisks, of which there are three per Realm. In order to play the Cathedral, you need to beat the four main bosses. In order to play the Underworld, you need to find all 13 Runestones, which are scattered through the game.
-Controls: Attack, Magic, Turbo. Move via d-pad or analog.  Shoulder buttons disable items in your inventory and move through the menu screens.
-Item System: Full Item Storage and selling (because you can store items, now you can sell them as well as buy. You can sell everything you have, no restrictions.), Can Buy Health (in the store), In-Game Stat Display (with buttons, navigate to the stat screens), can access the store both after you finish a level and anytime from the tower by talking to Sumner, Can see exact count of item time/uses remaining
-Naming: Can name your character, ~7 letters.
-Saving: Between levels, can save at the tower.
-Bonus characters are unlocked by getting enough tokens in the Treasure Room bonus levels.
-Difficulty Levels: Unlike all other versions, there are NO difficulty level options in this version — there’s just one, somewhat easy, preset.   Very unfortunate.
-Death: Black, steals 100 health

It’s decent, but with no item saving, only one difficulty level, only 2 players max, and inferior graphics, don’t bother with this if you have an N64 unless you want to play its exclusive level.  Indeed, that is its main positive feature, but it’s only one level at the every end of an otherwise identical but not as good version of the game, versus the N64.  It’s nice, and it’s also nice that it has those three other levels that do also show up in other versions but that the N64 version does not have, but even so, it’s definitely not enough to put it over the N64 game.

Gauntlet: Dark Legacy (Arcade) — 2000
-For 4 players
-Includes most Dark Legacy levels (home versions added three more than this has), except the order is different
-Includes all Dark Legacy characters except for Sumner. Additional hidden characters (available via a code): Pojo, Armored Warrior, Stick Figure Jester
-Level Unlocking: You simply play through them in order, there isn’t a hub world.  You can select a world, but once in it you play through all stages in that world in order.
-Item/Interface System: No Item Storage or Selling (once you collect an item, it is activated until it times out.), No Health Buying (you can buy items and stat-ups only in the shop you access between levels), No In-Game Stat Display (you can see stats only between levels), Can access the shop after you beat a level, Inventory Items Have No Visible Counter (cannot see how much time or uses are remaining)
-Controls: Attack, Magic, Turbo.  Move via stick.
-Health slowly decreases over time. Put in more quarters or find health to increase it. Unlike the home versions of Gauntlets 1 and 2, no home versions of Legends or Dark Legacy have this feature, thankfully.
-Death: Black, Red?  Unsure
-Bonus characters are unlocked by reaching level 10 with a class and then going to ‘create new character’ after loading that file. You can now choose your classes’ alternate version (Wizard to Jackal, etc).
-Saving: Password (PIN number)
-Naming: Initials Only (for saving and identification)

I haven’t played the Dark Legacy arcade machine, sadly, so I’m not certain on the specifics here…

Gauntlet Legends (Dreamcast) — May 2000
-For 4 players
-Levels: Mountain Kingdom, Castle Stronghold (with DL Fields added to it), Forest Realm, Desert Land, Battlefield, Desecrated Temple, Underworld (note that these are all the Dark Legacy levels and world versions, not the Legends ones. They try to hide this by putting Mountain first as in Legends, but it’s obvious once you see it.)
-Characters: Warrior/Minotaur, Valkyrie/Falconess, Wizard/Jackal, Elf/Tigress, Dwarf, Knight, Sorceress, Jester (that is not a typo: the 4 new Dark Legacy characters are there, but not their alternate forms, and Sumner is not playable in this version, unlike all other home versions.)
-Death: Black, steals a level
-Level Unlocking: In order to unlock realms, you need to find the hidden Obelisks, of which there are three per Realm. In order to play the Cathedral, you need to beat the four main bosses. In order to play the Underworld, you need to find all 13 Runestones, which are scattered through the game.
-Controls: Attack, Magic, Turbo. Move with d-pad or analog.
-Bonus characters are unlocked by reaching level 25 and then starting a new game while holding down Turbo. The four hidden characters are now selectable. (Treasure rooms just have money in them, unlike all other home versions.)
-Item/Interface System: No Item Storage or Selling (once you collect an item, it is activated until it times out.), No Health Buying (you can buy items and stat-ups only in the shop you access between levels), No In-Game Stat Display (you can see stats only between levels), Can access the shop after you beat a level (but not anytime from the tower!), Inventory Items Have No Visible Counter (cannot see how much time or uses are remaining)
-Naming: Initials Only (for saving and identification)
-Can save between levels. Each save file includes initials and a character.  You cannot change your initials.  Can save to any memory card, A1 to D4.

Note that this is actually essentially a mixture of Legends and Dark Legacy. Like Legends there are only four main worlds, but all of the levels in those four worlds are from Dark Legacy, and reflect the changes they underwent in the Dark Legacy arcade machine when compared to the original Legends.  Two levels new to Dark Legacy were added to the game as well.  However, Legends features like unlocking new realms by finding obelisks remain in this game, as opposed to the item-collection system of the “Dark Legacy” home ports.

Gauntlet: Dark Legacy (PS2) — November 2001
-For 4 players (3-4 player requires multitap)
-Includes all Dark Legacy arcade levels plus three more
-Includes all Dark Legacy core characters
-Level Unlocking: In order to unlock Realms, you need to collect a certain number of crystals. Collect enough crystals in one realm and you unlock the next; each realm has its own crystal type, you you need to repeat this in each realm. To unlock wings of the building (the realms are divided into several areas), you need to collect items you get from major enemies in levels — the giant enemies like gryphons, etc. These items are exclusive to the enemies in the realms in that wing; collect enough, and you unlock the next wing. Realm access within that wing still requires crystals, of course. To access the Desecrated Temple (Cathedral), get all 13 Runestones, which are scattered across the game.
-Item/Interface System: No Item Storage (items disappear when they time out and cannot be suspended in an inventory), No In-Game Stat Display (can see stats only when you level up and then finish a level, in the ‘level up’ screen between levels.), Can Buy Health (in the store), Inventory Items Have No Visible Counter (cannot see how much time or uses are remaining)
-Controls: Weak Attack, Strong Attack, Magic, Turbo.  Move via analog.  Alternate option to aim your shots with the right stick instead of only being able to fire in the direction you are facing, for true dual-stick firing. While the new addition of two Attack Types — Weak Attack and Strong Attack, each on a button — is a potentially interesting addition, overall it means little; you usually just use your standard (“weak” attacks).
-Experience: Enemies give you reduced experience once you are too high level compared to them, and this eventually reduces to zero. To get to level 99, you’ll need to steal levels from death or gain XP on the hardest areas.
-Bonus characters are unlocked by getting enough tokens in treasure rooms. If you fail you lose the coins, so you must collect every coin in the room in order to unlock the hidden character.
-Death: Black, steals a level, and Red, steals 100 health
-You can save between levels. Unsure on details, but likely largely similar to the Gamecube version.
-Has Crash Bugs

Because it has no inventory (no item storage) management and requires a multitap for 3-4 player mode (and few people have them), don’t get this if you have any way of playing the GC or Xbox versions. It’s not bad, but the later versions are better.

Gauntlet: Dark Legacy (GC) — February 2002
-For 4 players
-Includes all PS2 Dark Legacy levels
-Includes all Dark Legacy core characters
-Bonus characters are unlocked by getting enough tokens in treasure rooms. If you fail you lose the coins, so you must collect every coin in the room in order to unlock the hidden character.
-Level Unlocking: In order to unlock Realms, you need to collect a certain number of crystals. Collect enough crystals in one realm and you unlock the next; each realm has its own crystal type, you you need to repeat this in each realm. To unlock wings of the building (the realms are divided into several areas), you need to collect items you get from major enemies in levels — the giant enemies like gryphons, etc. These items are exclusive to the enemies in the realms in that wing; collect enough, and you unlock the next wing. Realm access within that wing still requires crystals, of course. To access the Desecrated Temple (Cathedral), get all 13 Runestones, which are scattered across the game.
-Controls: Weak Attack, Strong Attack, Magic, Turbo.  Move via analog.  Alternate option to aim your shots with the right stick instead of only being able to fire in the direction you are facing, for true dual-stick firing. While the new addition of two Attack Types — Weak Attack and Strong Attack, each on a button — is a potentially interesting addition, overall it means little; you usually just use your standard (“weak” attacks). The d-pad navigates the inventory — left/right to select, up to enable/disable item. When you pick up an item it is disabled by default, so you will have to enable it to use it.
-Experience: Enemies give you reduced experience once you are too high level compared to them, and this eventually reduces to zero. To get to level 99, you’ll need to steal levels from death or gain XP on the hardest areas.
-Item/Interface System: Full Item Storage (though items are used up at double speed against bosses), Limited Item Selling (for no apparent reason, you can only sell some items, some of the time, in the shop), Can Buy Health (in the shop), No In-Game Stat Display (can see stats only when you level up and then finish a level, in the ‘level up’ screen between levels.), Inventory Items Have No Visible Counter (cannot see how much time or uses are remaining)
-Death: Black, steals a level, and Red, steals 100 health
-Can save between levels. One save file includes eight save slots, each of which has each character as a completely separate file (each one has their own level, items, etc), with only the file name in common with the rest. You cannot change your name once chosen in file creation (very annoying!). Saves one large file, to slot A only.
-Has Crash Bugs
-1.0 Version Is Buggy (no boss health bars, your 11th inventory item disappears, items are invisible in your inventory upon loading a save game, and more; the 1.1 and 1.2 release fix some of the problems.)

A great game, but early releases are buggy. Hope you have a v.1.2 disc and not 1.0 or 1.1! Some of the bugs include crash bugs (on the pop-up note screens, for instance), that your items in your inventory are invisible when you boot the game up (every time) and you have to enable and then disable them all in order to make them appear, and more. But still, if you don’t have an Xbox, the best home version.

Gauntlet: Dark Legacy (Xbox) — April 2002
-For 4 players
-Includes all Dark Legacy core levels
-Includes all Dark Legacy core characters
-Bonus characters are unlocked by getting enough tokens in treasure rooms. If you fail you lose the coins, so you must collect every coin in the room in order to unlock the hidden character.
-Level Unlocking: In order to unlock Realms, you need to collect a certain number of crystals. Collect enough crystals in one realm and you unlock the next; each realm has its own crystal type, you you need to repeat this in each realm. To unlock wings of the building (the realms are divided into several areas), you need to collect items you get from major enemies in levels — the giant enemies like gryphons, etc. These items are exclusive to the enemies in the realms in that wing; collect enough, and you unlock the next wing. Realm access within that wing still requires crystals, of course. To access the Desecrated Temple (Cathedral), get all 13 Runestones, which are scattered across the game.
-Controls: Weak Attack, Strong Attack, Magic, Turbo.  Move via analog.  Alternate option to aim your shots with the right stick instead of only being able to fire in the direction you are facing, for true dual-stick firing. While the new addition of two Attack Types — Weak Attack and Strong Attack, each on a button — is a potentially interesting addition, overall it means little; you usually just use your standard (“weak” attacks). The d-pad navigates the inventory — left/right to select, up to enable/disable item. When you pick up an item it is disabled by default, so you will have to enable it to use it.
-Experience: Enemies give you reduced experience once you are too high level compared to them, and this eventually reduces to zero. To get to level 99, you’ll need to steal levels from death or gain XP on the hardest areas.
-Death: Black, steals a level, and Red, steals 100 health
-Item/Interface System: Full Item Storage (though items are used up at double speed against bosses), Limited Item Selling (for no apparent reason, you can only sell some items, some of the time, in the shop), Can Buy Health (in the shop), No In-Game Stat Display (can see stats only when you level up and then finish a level, in the ‘level up’ screen between levels.), Inventory Items Have No Visible Counter (cannot see how much time or uses are remaining)
-Can save between levels. Unsure on details, but likely largely similar to the Gamecube version.
-Has Crash Bugs

I haven’t played it, but everything I have heard about this game says that it’s probably the best version of the game. Recommended. (However, are there any differences between this and the GC one aside from the removal of some of bugs? Here I have assumed that there are not, but not having played it I of course cannot be certain…)

Gauntlet: Dark Legacy (GBA) — November 2002
-For 1 player only (!!!!!)
-Completely different graphics and level designs from any other version. This version was outsourced to Pocket Studios. The graphics are isometric 2d and the artwork is mediocre at best. Overall, the graphics are poor. The music is not very good. Levels are huge, overly long, and hard to navigate (the path is often hidden in a corner somewhere and can be tough to find until you tediously walk all around the area), and, as a result, boring.
-There is minimal voice acting, including almost no speech ingame; Gauntlet without the announcer is a far less fun game… and it’s almost all gone here.
-No Turbo Attacks or Combination Attacks — your only attacks in this game are the normal attack (ranged or melee) and magic potions, as well as the few items (which you can’t save of course). Boring!
-You cannot name your character or file, only select which one you want.
-Levels: Either 27 (IGN) or 32 (Gamespot) total. I can’t find a level list online and don’t have the patience right now to play through this whole sad game… but the worlds are evidently Mountain, Castle, Desert, Ice, and Dream, based on five of Dark Legacy’s eight realms, with at least some of the usual Skorne/Battlefield levels afterwards I imagine. Each realm of the main five has five levels (Mountain, for instance, has no Cave stage). But remember, the level designs are all different and incredibly boring to explore.
-Characters: Warrior, Wizard, Valkyrie, Archer. Each one has four colors as usual, but only one costume; only the colors change, not the costume. The art on the character select screen is the standard Legends/Dark Legacy art, but some ingame sprites bear no resemblance to those characters — the Valkyrie is black and has some completely different costume, the Archer has pants and a wrap top instead of the usual Green Archer costume in the art you selected… the Warrior and Wizard look a bit more like their art, but still are noticeably different looking.
-Items/Interface: No Store (what is the money for?), No Item Storage (and there are very few items to pick up compared to other versions, and less variety as there are only a few item types in this game), Cannot talk to Sumner in the tower.
-Can save between levels (three save slots, each of which can hold a character)

Worst Gauntlet ever? Probably! Do not get this game! Awful, awful game…

TABLES

2015 EDIT: Tables replaced with new, much better versions  — they are screenshots of the actual spreadsheet now.
Levels Present In Each Version
NOTES:  R = Realm, L = Level.  Brackets [] mean that the level is not in that place in that version; it’s somewhere else, at the point noted in the brackets (so yes, Poisoned Fields is in three or four different places and worlds, depending on which version you play). Asterisk * means a hidden level (that you reach via a secret level exit).  Columns are ordered right to left in order of release – left is first, right is last.  ALT marks mark points where that game does not have that level, but has a different level with a similar theme in them instead, such as Poison Field vs. Poisoned Field, or Toxic Air Ship vs. Mothership.  See notes below this block for a list of the titles. a -V ending to a listing (R1 L1-V for instance) indicates a variant level.  Specifically, it indicates Reverse Mausoleum.

Also, Underworld and Desecrated Temple are broken up into 1-1 and 1-2 instead of just stage 1 and stage 2 because in those two worlds, you do not go back to the tower between stages, and thus cannot save between the level and the boss in any console version.  In the arcade version there is no tower, so you must play each world straight through each time, so in those versions the stages are simply called “1” and “2”.

L-Arcade: Legends, Arcade version. L-N64: Legends, Nintendo 64 version.  DL-Arcade: Dark Legacy, Arcade version.  L-PS1: Legends, Playstation version.  L-DC: Legends, Dreamcast version.  DL-PS2: Dark Legacy, PS2 version.  DL-GC: Dark Legacy, Gamecube version.  DL-Xbox: Dark Legacy, Xbox version.  The Xbox version off the table to the right has an identical level set to the Gamecube and PS2 versions.

Gauntlet table - Characters

Notes: Some stages, while similar, have enough differences that they can’t be considered to be the same level.  These stages are, as a result, not listed in brackets in eachothers’ versions, because the levels are too different.  Poisoned Field and Poison Field are in the same location, but the stages are different.  They reused the location for a new stage.  Also, the hidden Dreamcast version of Mausoleum plays in reverse — you start at the DL version’s end point, and go to its start point.  It is the same level map though, so I count that as a variant, and not a completely different level.

Also, Mountain Summit is PS1-exclusive.  It is also important to note that Mothership and Toxic Air Ship have similar themes but are entirely different levels.   As a result, there are three levels not in GC/PS2/Xbox Dark Legacy: Mountain Summit, Toxic Air Ship, and Poisoned Field.  Reverse Mausoleum is also not there, if you count it as a separate stage.

Characters Present In Each Version
Yes means the character is selectable from the beginning.  No means the character is not in that game.  Yes (Unlockable) means that the character is unlockable in that game.  Yes (Code) means that this alternate outfit can only be accessed with a cheat code you enter on the controller or with a special character name.

Gauntlet table - Characters

Version Comparison
The features of each game, as in the descriptions above, but in a table format and with some additional categories.

Gauntlet Table

Note: Some parts of some boxes can’t be read.  I don’t think much can be done about that, but here are some longer parts.

Overworld – “Selection Screen”, “Sumner’s Tower”, or “Large Tower”; How to Unlock Realms: All Start Unlocked, Obelisks, or Crystals and Miniboss Items; Ending: Legends, Dark Legacy, or Dark Legacy False’; for the three Bug categories: the full GC boxes say “Some (in 1.2), No (in 1.2), and No (in 1.2).  1.2 fixes some of 1.0’s problems.; Exclusive Levels Other Than Below: PS1: “Extra Treasure Room”; DC: “Reverse Mausoleum”; PS2/Xbox/GC: “Mothership, Grounds, Nightmare”; Visible Boss Health Bars: “Yes (in 1.2) for the GC; Four Player Multiplayer Support: Yes (2 player only) for PS1, Yes (with multitap) with PS2; Custom Character Names: they say either No (Initials Only), Yes (Can Rename), or Yes (No Rename).  I describe the differences between these things in the paragraph descriptions earlier.

 

I

 

About Brian

Computer and video game lover
This entry was posted in Dreamcast, Gamecube, Lists, Nintendo 64, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Reviews, Xbox and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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