Gauntlet (series)

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This article is about the video game series. For the 1985 video game, see Gauntlet (1985 video game). For other uses, see Gauntlet.
Official game logo for Gauntlet 2014
Genres Hack and slash, dungeon crawl
Developers Atari Games
Midway Games West
Arrowhead Game Studios
Publishers Atari Games
U.S. Gold
Midway Games
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (Currently)
Platforms Arcade, Amstrad CPC, MSX, Apple II, DOS, Atari ST, Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64, Atari Lynx, ZX Spectrum, Amiga, Nintendo 64, PlayStation, Dreamcast, Nintendo Entertainment System, Game Boy, Apple IIGS, Sega Master System, Genesis/Mega Drive, Brew MP, Java ME, Microsoft Windows, Linux, PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox, Game Boy Advance, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4
First release Gauntlet
October 1985
Latest release Gauntlet: Slayer Edition
August 11, 2015

Gauntlet is a series of scrolling shooter style dungeon crawl arcade games developed by Atari Games. Due to its success in the arcades, Gauntlet was ported to several home systems of the day. These platforms include DOS, Apple II, Atari 8-bit, MSX, NES, Apple IIGS, Sega Master System, Sega Genesis/Mega Drive (as Gauntlet IV), Atari ST, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC and ZX Spectrum, among others. For some machines, only Gauntlet II was converted, since it was considered to be more advanced than the original. 16-bit conversions (Atari ST and Mega Drive/Genesis) had similar sound and graphics as the original game, and retained the four-player mode (more limited machines only allowed a maximum of two players). In 1990, the original Game Boy received a version of Gauntlet II. Gauntlet: The Third Encounter for the Atari Lynx was not a port of any of the earlier titles but was originally developed as a different game by Epyx. In 2003, an emulated version of Gauntlet was included in Midway Arcade Treasures—a compilation of arcade games available for the GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox and Microsoft Windows.


  1. Gauntlet (1985)
  2. Gauntlet II (1986)
  3. Gauntlet: The Third Encounter (1990)
  4. Gauntlet III: The Final Quest (1991)
  5. Gauntlet IV (a.k.a. Gauntlet) (1993)
  6. Gauntlet Legends (1998)
  7. Gauntlet Dark Legacy (2001)
  8. Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows (2005)
  9. Gauntlet (2014)


Ports and re-releases[edit]


The NES version was a departure from the arcade version, keeping only the basic game formula and cast of characters. A hundred entirely new levels were constructed for this version, which added a definite quest; the goal was to retrieve the "Sacred Orb" located in the 100th level, which could only be accessed by collecting portions of a password hidden in certain "clue rooms" scattered throughout the first 99 levels. Power-up attributes that granted extra shot power and faster speed could be carried over from level to level, and a password system allowed the player to save their character's progress. The NES Gauntlet was one of only three Tengen cartridges to be released as officially-licensed Nintendo cartridges (the others being Pac-Man and R.B.I. Baseball); it was later re-released as an unlicensed game following Tengen's split from Nintendo.

Genesis/Mega Drive[edit]

The Genesis/Mega Drive version, which was titled Gauntlet in Japan and released in North America and Europe as Gauntlet IV, features a totally original soundtrack and three new game modes in addition to an arcade mode which is a port of the original game:

  • Quest Mode – A story mode where the player must defeat the four towers and solve the mystery of the ancient castle; weapons can be bought with collected gold from merchants in the main hub area, where one can also choose which tower to take on next. The player can gain experience points to increase their character's stats and passwords can be used to continue.
  • Battle Mode – Where multiple players fight against each other to the death. Maps can include teleporters/monsters/items etc. Players who go into exits are eliminated from the round.
  • Record Mode – A single-player variation of the Arcade Mode with some variations such as using passwords to continue. The player character cannot die in this mode, although points are subtracted for every 500 health points lost.

Gauntlet IV was the first game to support both the Sega Team Player and 4 Way Play multitaps.[1] MegaTech magazine said that the four-player modes were one of the main reasons to buy a multitap.[citation needed] The month following release, Mega said that it was better than the coin-op.[citation needed]

Nintendo DS[edit]

A Nintendo DS version of the original Gauntlet was being developed by Backbone Entertainment. This version of the game was to feature an entirely new 3D graphical engine, online four-player mode, and voice chat capabilities.[2] According to Nintendo's website, its release date is "TBD".[3] However, as of 2014, it remains unreleased and has presumably been shelved. Despite its lack of a physical release, the rom has been uploaded to various emulation sites.


A programming glitch in the original DOS version of the game released in 1988 rendered Level 59 unbeatable because an impossible wall was between the party and the exit to the level. The only way to get off the level and continue playing was to wait for five minutes so that the walls could turn into exits and the player could continue playing until the game ended at Level 118. Level 118 also had a programming glitch that no monsters would spawn out of any of the generators. The game would exit to DOS once the player beat Level 118.

ZX Spectrum[edit]

A test mode in the original game conversion for the ZX Spectrum allowed the player to walk through any wall by holding down the "symbol shift" key. It was kept in the released version and was widely reported in contemporary magazines.[4]

Other versions[edit]

A cell phone version for Java ME and BREW phones was developed by TKO Software.

Gauntlet was released for the Game Boy Advance on one of DSI Games two packs, alongside Rampart. In addition, Gauntlet and Gauntlet II are among the emulated games that can be found in Midway Arcade Treasures 1 and 2, respectively, for various modern console systems, as well as Midway's Greatest Arcade Hits and Arcade's Greatest Hits: The Atari Collection 2. It was also released for GameCube. In 2012, Gauntlet was included in the compilation Midway Arcade Origins.[5]

Gauntlet II is available for download on PlayStation 3's PlayStation Store service.


  1. ^ "Jam Times Four". Electronic Gaming Monthly (60). EGM Media, LLC. July 1994. p. 18. 
  2. ^ IGN: Gauntlet for DS
  3. ^ "Gauntlet". Nintendo. 
  4. ^ Hannah Smith (1987). "Gauntlet Cheat" (38). Crash: 59. 
  5. ^

External links[edit]