Gauntlet (Donald R. Lebeau video game)

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Developer(s) Donald R. Lebeau
Platform(s) Atari 8-bit
Release 1984
Genre(s) Multidirectional shooter
Mode(s) Single player

Gauntlet (later Gauntletak) is a multidirectional shooter game written in 1984 by Donald R. Lebeau for the Atari 8-bit family of computers.[1] It was released as shareware, with a full-version available for registration of US$35. Gameplay was divided into separate screens (50 in all) with terrain and enemies (though the game can be played with the last half of the total number of screens and no terrain at all).


In-game screenshot

The player controls a saucer-shaped ship using a joystick and the keyboard, and can fire weapons in eight directions, both at the terrain (to dig holes or tunnels) and at enemies.[2] The player uses the joystick to apply thrust in different directions, meaning the ship can be moving in one direction and firing in any other (strafing the ground or enemies). The X key on the keyboard causes the ship to full-stop.

Options screen and author copyright message

Various kinds of enemies are found in the game, each of which reacts to the player differently. Some attack the player immediately, some wait until the player is within close proximity, some wait until the player is in their line of sight, etc. Some large enemies release smaller enemies that in turn attack the player.

Additionally, the player has an arsenal of different weapons to choose from -- "fusion bolts", homing missiles, flares, and so on—that have different effects. For example, "fusion bolts" are similar to the counter-missiles in Missile Command; they explode when they hit other objects, including explosions. The player can fire repeatedly in the same direction causing explosions to "walk back" towards their ship, providing a kind of shield against enemies.


A year after the game was published, Atari Games released the hack and slash arcade game Gauntlet (itself based on another Atari computer game, Dandy). Despite having trademarked the name, after talking with his lawyers, Donald renamed the registered version of his game Gauntletak to avoid infringement.[3] The registered version was released in 1987. The game was very rare, since few people purchased the registered version, but in 2007 became available for download as a disk image.


  1. ^ Kendrick, Bill (2008-10-08). "Gauntlet (no, not that one)". Livejournal. Archived from the original on 2011-07-25. Retrieved 2010-09-25. 
  2. ^ Konrad, Gunnar (January 2008). "Interview mit Donald R. Lebeau, dem Entwickler von Gauntletak". ABBUC Magazin (in German) (92): 25. 
  3. ^ "Gauntlet by Donald R. Lebeau" thread at forums

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