Gladiator (video game)

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US arcade flyer of Gladiator.
US arcade flyer of Gladiator.
Developer(s) Allumer
Publisher(s) Taito
Platform(s) Arcade, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64
Release date(s) 1986
Genre(s) Beat'em up
Mode(s) Multiplayer
Cabinet Upright, Cocktail
CPU Z80 (@ 6 Mhz), Z80 (@ 3 Mhz)
Sound M6809 (@ 750 Khz), YM2203 (@ 1.5 Mhz), MSM5205 (@ 375 Khz)
Display Raster, 256 x 224 pixels (Horizontal), 1024 colors

Gladiator, known in Japan as Ougon no Shiro (黄金の城 lit. "Golden Castle"?), was a 1986 arcade game developed by Allumer and published by Taito.[1] It was followed by a sequel titled Blandia.


The player controls a gladiator/knight named Great Guaranos as he walks through a castle.[2] Moving the joystick left and right moves Great Guaranos left and right, and up and down is used to position Great Guaranos's shield. The game's three buttons correspond to a high, medium, and low attack with Great Guaranos's sword.[3] Gladiator consists of 4 Stages. The first level is the 'Underground Chamber', 2nd is the 'Brick Corridor', 3rd is the 'Roof Top' stage, and the 4th stage is called the 'Mysterious 4-D World'. Your reward for completing the game is to enter the "Treasure Place" which is a fifth stage in some versions of the game.

Gameplay is split between two modes; in the "obstacle" mode, Great Guaranos walks forward, and the player must use the sword and shield to defend him from bats, fireballs, arrows, shuriken, and other flying hazards. The "obstacle" mode is broken up by a "fight" mode, in which Great Guaranos must fight against another, similarly-armored knight. In both modes, an un-defended hit to Great Guaranos knocks off part of his armor (his helmet for a high hit, his breastplate for a medium hit, and his leggings for a low hit), and a subsequent hit to the same area kills him.[4]

Your warrior "Great Guaranos" can generate a temporary force field during the obstacle course phases (when weapons and bats fly at him) by rapidly moving the shield up and down.[5] This can only be done once per level. During the combat phases, Great Guaranos can become invincible (flashing golden) for a short time. To do this, you must gather 4 swords in the obstacle course phase by striking them and then bending to pick them up from the floor. This will turn his sword red. Then, during the combat phase, strike the opponent's shield several times. After the invincibility has ended, Great Guaranos' armor will be repaired also. This can only be done once per level.[6]

On the third level during the obstacle course, Great Guaranos can jump up onto the railing behind him and avoid all the flying weapons.

Screenshot of Gladiator (arcade version).

To do this, press and hold the shield up when there is a break in the railing. Shurikens thrown during the obstacle course (level 1) are worth bonus points if they are struck just after they appear, as opposed to when they circle back towards Great Guaranos. Most enemy warriors will stop fighting and "jump for joy" when they remove your chest plate. You can defeat a difficult enemy by letting him remove your chestplate, and then strike him twice in the same spot while he's dancing.

The third green axe knight on the third level will often freeze up (cease moving) after some time. If you are having trouble beating him, stay out of range and strike at his weapon and shield until this happens. You may then attack without the knight attacking or defending. Some enemies swords may be broken, rendering them helpless. Simply strike the weapons about 25 times to break them. The following enemies weapons can be broken.. (Stage 1) Solon, Irene (Stage 2) Zaid, White Armored Giant You can pick up the mace of the White Armored Giant in stage 2. The mace has a much stronger attack than the sword, but cannot break other weapons.


The main character is Great Guaranos (also -sometimes spelled "Great Gurianos"). In the First stage your first fight is with Solon. Solon fights with a standard Sword and Shield. You fight Solon 3 times before facing Irene. In the original Japanese version of the game, and in the first U.S. release (entitled "Golden Castle"), the female enemy Irene's bare breasts were exposed when her breastplate was removed. In the final U.S. release, a bikini top was added to obscure them. The game is also notable because the main character's sprite is half the height of the screen, which is much larger than the sprites in most arcade games released at the time. Gurianos is also a playable character in Allumer's 1992 game Blandia. The final battle for the first stage is with the "Red Demon". The "Red Demon" uses a Spiked shield and attacks you with projectiles (fire balls) instead of a weapon like the previous opponents.

In the Second stage your first fight is with Zaid. Zaid is armed with a sword and Spiked Shield. You fight Zaid 3 times before facing Zenon. Zenon fights with a stronger weapon; a Mace. He also has a spiked shield. The final battle for the 2nd stage is with the "Amazon Archer"; a projectile opponent that shoots arrows.

For the Third stage your first opponent is the "Green Knight". The "Green Knight" fights with a standard Shield and the stronger Axe. You fight him 3 times before facing the "Red Knight". This opponent fights with a shield and Mace. The final opponent for the 3rd Stage is Agathon. He fights with 2 extending swords. But only one is used for attacking while the other is used to guard. For a shield -this cannot be broken. But the sword he uses is the easiest weapon to break in the game (provided you have the sword only). If you have any other weapon (i.e. the 'mace') you cannot break it and will have to move in close for the kill.

The fourth and final stage you are met by the Gold Knight 'Gaius'. He has a nearly unbreakable sword (although it is possible to break it) and a standard shield. After defeating his mortal form he arises as a skeleton armed with the same sword but this time bearing a spiked shield.

In the Let's TV Play Classic version of the game it is possible to enter the fifth stage of the game, the treasure place, where you face a third form of Gaius which is a golden skeleton and carries two swords.

Screenshot of the ZX Spectrum version, Great Gurianos


Gladiator was released for the ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC and Commodore 64 as "Great Gurianos".


  1. ^ Dean, Michael. "Gladiator". Classic Gaming. Retrieved 3 Oct 2013. 
  2. ^ "Gladiator". The International Arcade Museum. Retrieved 3 Oct 2013. 
  3. ^ "Gladiator". The International Arcade Museum. Retrieved 3 Oct 2013. 
  4. ^ "Gladiator". The International Arcade Museum. Retrieved 3 Oct 2013. 
  5. ^ Dean, Michael. "Gladiator". Classic Gaming. Retrieved 3 Oct 2013. 
  6. ^ "Gladiator". The International Arcade Museum. Retrieved 3 Oct 2013. 

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