Gauntlet (Nintendo DS)

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Developer(s) Backbone Entertainment
Publisher(s) Midway Games
Series Gauntlet
Platform(s) Nintendo DS
Release Cancelled
Genre(s) Hack and slash, dungeon crawl
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

Gauntlet is an unreleased Nintendo DS hack and slash dungeon crawl video game developed by Backbone Entertainment, based on the 1985 arcade game by the same title. The game was originally announced in April 2008, and was scheduled to be released later that year.[1][2][3]


A player, displayed on the lower screen, faces a horde of skeletons approaching from the top screen.
The game is viewed from a top down perspective, with the DS's two screens extending the player's field of view.

Press releases and previews of the game characterized it as "retro",[4][5] with gameplay based on the first two titles in the Gauntlet series, with some additions such as the character leveling system introduced in Gauntlet Legends.[6] The four original classes from the series, Warrior, Valkyrie, Elf and Wizard, return, along with a number of "fan favourite" enemies.[5][7] Also included are newly recorded versions of the series' trademark speech samples, whereby a narrator announces events occurring in-game with statements such as "Red Warrior shot the food" and "Wizard is about to die!"[6][8]

The game features play spanning both screens,[9] using an entirely new 3D graphical engine, with local wireless as well as online four-player mode, 40 maps, and voice chat capabilities.[2][9] Gauntlet's multiplayer modes were said to include ranked deathmatch, team deathmatch, and capture the flag styles of play.[4][6] Its Wi-Fi features were said to use a dedicated server rather than the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection and its Friend Code system,[4] featuring all of the same multiplayer modes available locally.[6][7] Players are able to use their single-player characters in multiplayer modes, and retain experience earned in multiplayer games for solo play.[5][6]


The possibility of a Nintendo DS Gauntlet title was first revealed by an ESRB listing in February, 2008, which was later removed.[10] The intended publisher, Eidos Interactive, officially announced the game on April 7, 2008,[2] with a projected release in "summer 2008".[1] This estimate was refined to a more specific June release date, which was later amended to October.[11]

Artist's depiction of a battle, with text showing the game's title and "Coming 2008!!"
The playable demo version of Gauntlet displays this "Coming 2008!!" screen upon completion.

The game was featured in a playable state at the Penny Arcade Expo in August 2008, with both single-player and multiplayer modes available.[12] At this time, the game was still expected to meet its October release date.[8] Additionally, a demo of the game was made available to the public in the United States via the DS Download Station service during the summer of 2008.[13]

By late 2008, the still-unreleased game had received several reviews in the gaming press, from magazines such as Nintendo Power, Official Nintendo Magazine,[14] and Retro Gamer.[15] In February 2009, however, rumors began circulating that Gauntlet had been canceled by Eidos, though no official statements were made by the involved parties.[3]

In June 2009, Gauntlet was found to have been rated Teen on the ESRB web site under a new publisher, Majesco Entertainment, implying that a release may still be a possibility.[16][17] In May 2013, Artwork of the game, depicting various classes, surfaced thanks to a former Backbone Entertainment artist.[18]

Despite the game itself being unreleased, its engine was reused by Backbone for the Nintendo DS version of the film tie-in game G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra,[19] (released August 4, 2009 in the United States) itself a Gauntlet-style hack and slash.[20] The game was not well received, garnering a 49.62% on GameRankings,[21] and a similar 49 on Metacritic, signalling "generally unfavourable reviews".[22] North American and European 100% complete ROMs were dumped and released around Christmas of 2013.[23]


  1. ^ a b "Eidos Revitalizes a Timeless Coin-Op Classic with Gauntlet on the Nintendo DS". IGN. April 7, 2008. Retrieved 2010-01-16. 
  2. ^ a b c Boyes, Emma (April 7, 2008). "Eidos throws down DS Gauntlet". GameSpot. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  3. ^ a b Sliwinski, Alexander (February 4, 2009). "Rumor: Gauntlet DS has died". Joystiq. Retrieved 2010-01-16. 
  4. ^ a b c Crecente, Brian (September 2, 2008). "Gauntlet DS Wicked Retro Fun". Kotaku. Retrieved 2010-01-28. 
  5. ^ a b c "Gauntlet at Nintendo :: Games". Nintendo. Retrieved 2010-01-16. 
  6. ^ a b c d e Jordan, Jon (April 16, 2008). "Talking Gauntlet DS with Eidos". Pocket Gamer. Retrieved 2010-01-28. 
  7. ^ a b Harris, Craig (April 4, 2008). "First Look at Gauntlet". IGN. Retrieved 2010-01-28. 
  8. ^ a b Hatfield, Daemon (September 2, 2008). "PAX 2008: Gauntlet Progress Report". IGN. Retrieved 2010-01-16. 
  9. ^ a b Casamassina, Matt (April 23, 2008). "Hands-on Gauntlet". IGN. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  10. ^ Sinclair, Brendan (February 15, 2008). "ESRB: Eidos runs Gauntlet on DS". GameSpot. Retrieved 2010-01-16. 
  11. ^ Purchese, Robert (September 1, 2008). "Gauntlet DS crusades to October". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2010-01-16. 
  12. ^ Torres, Ricardo (August 31, 2008). "PAX 2008: Gauntlet Hands-On". GameSpot. Retrieved 2010-01-16. 
  13. ^ "What was on the DS Download Stations in the past?". Series 9 (Summer 2008). Retrieved 2010-01-16. 
  14. ^ "Gauntlet (ds) reviews at". Metacritic. Retrieved 2010-01-16. 
  15. ^ "Retro Gamer Magazine Archive". Retro Gamer. Issue 56. Retrieved 2010-01-16. 
  16. ^ RawmeatCowboy (June 13, 2009). "ESRB says Gauntlet is alive...and Majesco is publishing?". GoNintendo. Retrieved 2010-01-16. 
  17. ^ Gilbert, Ben (June 13, 2009). "Gauntlet DS found on ESRB website with Majesco as publisher". Joystiq. Retrieved 2010-01-16. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ Harris, Craig (August 4, 2009). "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra Review". IGN. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  20. ^ Workman, Robert (September 9, 2009). "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra Review". Modojo. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  21. ^ "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra for DS". GameRankings. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  22. ^ "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (ds) reviews at". Metacritic. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  23. ^

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