Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows Review

It,s been a long time since Gauntlet first appeared on the scene as an arcade game with 25-cent admissions. Although Gauntlet was an excellent hack-and-slash action game back in its day, and was one of the first arcade games to successfully implement four-player co-op, its new successor doesn,t bring the same fun and excitement to the table. Midway has decided to recreate Gauntlet much like they did with the old Area-51 arcade game last year. They manage to stay true to the roots of the original game, but unfortunately for them, 20 years have past since the original unveiling of Gauntlet. So the formula that made up Gauntlet years ago just doesn,t have the same impact today. The end result is a very boring and repetitive game that fortunately ends swiftly.

The story for Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows is merely ok, following the tired, cliché action hero storyline. Basically, the story is being told by a dead Emperor through stationary art drawings. This Emperor was once the leader of the Uricointi Empire, and had 4 immortals serving under him and acting as his aids. The job of these 4 was to spread the reign of the Empire and maintain the balance of the civilization. Unfortunately for them, the Emperor desired their immortality.

The Emperor had 6 advisors with magical skills and power that always stood with him. His 6 advisors persuaded the Emperor to go after their immortality, and eventually all seven of them began to plot how they were going to steal the immortality of the 4 heroes. After the heroes were imprisoned, the 6 advisors turned on the Emperor. Before the Emperor died he used what little magic he had to free the heroes. The land soon turned to pure evil as the advisors ravaged through everything and became monsters themselves. As you can imagine, it,s now up to the 4 heroes to defeat the 6 advisors and restore balance to the land. It,s not the best story that’s ever been told, but it,s probably one of the finer aspects of this game.

Right when you start the game you,re given the option to choose which of the four heroes you wish to play. Just like with the original Gauntlet, you,re also able to play with up to 3 other players throughout the whole game. Each character comes with their own unique weapon, but most of their abilities remain the same, as do the controls for each. All four of the heroes have their own set of attacks, some based on power/mana levels.

The game,s basic principles lie around mindless hack-and-slash action, which can be fun if executed correctly. In fact, the game starts to feel much like other titles of this genre (Lord of the Rings, for example), but it just doesn,t have the same quality put into it as many other action titles. It,s somewhat entertaining at first, but when you engage in your first boss fight about an hour into the game, you,ve pretty much seen the whole game already. From then on it,s just the same repetitive gameplay and environments over and over again. There,s really not much of an incentive to go on. The levels themselves are very linear, and you,ll just run into the exact same stuff again if you replay the game using a different character.

There,s also no end to the countless enemies unless you destroy their spawn points. The spawn points are like fat green pillars coming out of the ground that need to be destroyed in order to stop all of the creatures from appearing. It,s as simple as destroying all creatures around you, blowing up the spawn point, and then defeating the next boss. This is basically how the entire game plays out. It,s all fairly easy and can be beaten in just 6-7 hours. The boss fights themselves aren,t really that hard, because if you end up dieing you just respawn right at the same spot and continue to hack at him until you finally run out of lives. These checkpoints automatically appear throughout the game and are occasionally used to travel back and forth in the same level to either open a gate with a key or lower a bridge.

Much like the Lord of the Rings games, Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows does include the ability to upgrade your character between levels. This is accomplished by simply breaking treasure chests found throughout the game. Most chests will have gold, which is used to buy upgrades at the end of each level. Some upgrades that you can purchase allow you to store more health, increase the damage that you can inflict upon your enemies, accelerate your mana regeneration, or you can also purchase new combat moves. The game seems to try and take on a simple RPG feel with this whole concept, but it ultimately fails. Besides finding gold in treasure chests, you can also discover meat or cheese which is the only way to regain health. On occasion, breaking a chest will result in Death himself appearing to suck the life out of you. Apparently this land really has gone to hell. When this does happen, though, it can become very annoying, as there,s really no way to get rid of him until he simply disappears.

Besides the single-player game, Seven Sorrows does include a multiplayer online mode. The online mode basically plays out much like the regular 4 player co-op. There,s really nothing special here other then slashing your way through the game with your friends over long distances. We will mention, however, that it,s kind of a pain to get online with this game.

As far as graphics go, Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows has a decent look, but it,s nothing spectacular. Some of the textures are just plain and dull, and the overall effect just doesn,t take advantage of the PS2,s hardware. Of course the Xbox version does fair better in this regard as it offers a slightly crisper look. Unfortunately the combat in the game is also bloodless, and there are very few times when you feel like you,re overwhelmed with enemies. One main reason for this is that the camera is just too close to your character most of the time, blocking many of the creatures you,re fighting from view.

The sound effects in Seven Sorrows are very similar to the original game. You,ll hear the same eating noises when you run over some food to get health, and you,ll also hear your character say something like “red warrior needs food, badly” when they’re low on health. This can get really annoying.

In the end, Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows is hardly worth its $50 price tag. It feels much more like a budget title that was put together rather quickly. There,s really nothing here to draw the crowds other than its slightly enjoyable co-op play. Otherwise there are plenty of better hack-and-slash action titles out there that do the exact same thing much better and at a much cheaper price. Fortunately, the anguish of playing Seven Sorrows is quickly forgotten.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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