Review: Gauntlet II (NES)

By Drew Wilson

In this review, we check out the sequel of the NES game Gauntlet and play Gauntlet II. We find out if this action dungeon crawling game is worth playing.

This particular NES game was released in 1990 and is the sequel to Gauntlet which was also released on the NES.

This game shares many features found in the prequel, so this review will focus on specific differences for the most part. Like the previous version, Gauntlet allows you to pick one of the four main characters – each with their strengths and weaknesses.

One big difference is the fact that there is no overworld map. Instead, you are just put into random dungeons of increasing difficulty.

Most of the enemies make their return in this game (not to mention the monster generator system) though we did encounter one enemy we didn’t encounter in the previous game – a dragon that killed us in our most successful run.

There are a few other twists such as an exit that moves. While the treasure rooms do make a return, they seem to be far more infrequent and the gold you get contributes nothing to your health. Instead, all gold you gain seems to simply go to increasing your total score. That means that the only means of gaining any health is through food. This is especially annoying since a feature that I felt shouldn’t have been implemented in the first place makes it’s return in this game – a continually diminishing supply of health.

Graphically, this game makes some interesting improvement – most noticeably the improvement of a floor texture from simple lines to something that does resemble a rock floor. There is also minor improvements to the monsters and characters as well.

The audio took a step back in this sequel. Instead of music playing throughout, there’s just the stark silence with sound effects continually popping up every time you do something. While the intro music was nicely done, I felt this game was a step back in the audio department because of the removal of a musical feature beyond the intro screen and title screens between levels. The only way it improved was the fact that it introduced audio samples from someone speaking.

Overall, this game is, in some respects, a step forward, but in many others, a step back. There are some new interesting features such as switches and moving exits, but it is also a step back with the removal of features such as music in the levels and, seemingly, the removal of being able to spend gold on additional health. I’m personally of mixed feelings of this particular game. It still has some playable features, but it fails to improve on itself in overall gameplay in some cases. It’s OK, but nothing special.

Overall

Furthest point in game: Level 8

General gameplay: 15/25
Replay value: 5/10
Graphics: 7/10
Audio: 2/5

Overall rating: 58%

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85



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