Gauntlet Legends is an arcade game released in 1998 by Atari Games. It is a fantasy themed hack and slash game, a sequel to 1985's popular Gauntlet and 1986's Gauntlet II. Its unusual features for an arcade game included passwords and characters that could be saved, enabling players to play over the course of a long period of time.
In ages past, a corrupt mage named Garm used a set of Runestones to summon a demon named Skorne (It is not stated what Garm intended to use Skorne for; however, as Gauntlet Legends introduces Garm as a "greedy young mage", it can be assumed he wanted Skorne for his own personal gain.) However, Skorne crushed Garm and imprisoned his soul in the Underworld. Skorne, fearing the power of the Runestones, scattered them throughout the four realms, so that they could never be used against him. The player(s) must defeat the end bosses of each of the four realms to obtain the four golden keys which allow access to Skorne's temple. While traveling through each realm, he/she/they must also collect the Thirteen Runestones from where they have been scattered. The complete set of Runestones allows him/her/them to pursue Skorne to the Underworld in order to finally destroy him. The players must find 3 rune stones on each kingdom in order to defeat Skorne in the Underworld, and of course 1 from the battle grounds.
A new aspect of the Gauntlet series is established in Legends: the ability to level up the player's character(s) as the game is played, increasing their abilities through experience earned by slaying enemies and acquiring treasure, similar to the character progression methods in many role-playing video games. The four primary attributes are:
- Strength - Determines damage dealt by physical attacks.
- Speed - Determines character movement and attack rates.
- Armor - Determines amount of damage character takes from enemy attacks.
- Magic - Determines the range and effectiveness of magic potion attacks (see Items below).
Attributes increase with each level attained; increases can also be purchased from the Items menu with gold acquired in gameplay.
The stock fantasy characters from the original Gauntlet return for Legends; as before, each has greater starting ability in a single attribute than their fellows.
- Warrior/Minotaur - Strength
- Wizard/Jackal/Sumner - Magic
- Archer/Tigress - Speed
- Valkyrie/Falconess - Armor
Character progression is saved through a password system; a player can progress all four characters to a maximum level of 99, and each of their attributes to a maximum of 999.
There are many categories of items in Gauntlet Legends, as well as some unique ones. Most are contained in treasure chests and barrels scattered throughout the game, but some can be found lying in the open; most can also be purchased from the Items menu between levels. You can also dissable the items and save them for later use. Gold is distributed through the game in a similar manner.
- Amulets: Amulets add power to each standard attack, but can only last up to 90 seconds. Various types are fire, acid, electric, and light, and there is no apparent difference in attack power. The only catch is that the character cannot equip multiple amulets simultaneously.
- Breaths: Breaths allow the character to damage all enemies within a small semicircle in front of him/her, and come in increments of five, but cannot exceed 15. Like amulets, they come in fire, electric and acid breaths, however there is no light breath.
- Shields: Shields form an indestructible wall in front of the character. In addition to preserving the character's health, it also damages any enemies that come in contact to it. They come in two varieties, fire and electric.
- Shot Multipliers: There are only two types (3 way and 5 way) and they allow the character to shoot 3 or 5 shots at once, as opposed to the standard 1 shot.
- Potions: Potions exist for one main reason, but can serve several others. The primary function of potions when one's character is at an early level is to kill Death, a character who is hidden in various chests and barrels and drains 100 health from any character he comes in contact with. They can also be used to attack several enemies at once within a certain radius, increasing in range and potency as the player character's skill with magic increases. Potions can be used three different ways: thrown, dropped at one's feet, or used as a momentary shield (similar to the Shield items, but only a few seconds in duration).
- Keys: They open chests and certain doors, and appear in chests, barrels, and on the ground.