Gauntlet Legends is an arcade game released in 1998 by Atari Games and Midway Games. It is a fantasy themed hack and slash styled dungeon crawl game, a sequel to 1985’s popular Gauntlet and 1986’s Gauntlet II and marks the final game in the series to be produced by Atari Games. 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.
The game was given a sequel called Gauntlet Dark Legacy, which featured new characters to play and new levels.
In ages past, a corrupt mage named Garm used a set of Runestones to summon a demon named Skorne. 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 kingdoms to obtain the four keys which allow access to the desecrated temple and be able to banish Skorne to the Underworld. While traveling through each realm, they must also collect the Thirteen Runestones from where they have been scattered. The complete set of Runestones allows them to pursue Skorne to the Underworld in order to finally destroy him. The players must find three rune stones on each kingdom in order to defeat Skorne in the Underworld (in the arcades only), and of course one from the battle grounds (home versions only). The initial arcade version had a contest by which the first 500 players to complete the game and send in the supplied validation code would win a free Gauntlet Legends shirt. This game will not end unless the player runs out of health.
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
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.