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Gauntlet Dark Legacy is based on the recently released console games. Porting a 3D console title to the GBA isn't the easiest thing to do and the development team had to overcome several things. Midway might of been better off porting the old... eh, 'classic' versions instead of the newer games. The game uses a psuedo-3D engine as the camera. Think of Spyro 2 or the Lord Of The Rings: GBA.
Game Over Online
However, the multiplayer is quintessential to the Gauntlet franchise -- I'm not sure how it could survive without it. With anemic gameplay, less than stellar visuals, something is found wanting in Dark Legacy. And in the final analysis, you can be sure the only legacy left here is a long shadow cast on the next Gauntlet title, which will have to work double time to redeem itself to fans here. If you want to cuddle up next to friends for Dark Legacy action this holiday season, seek out one of the console versions. But if you're scrooge and you like to play alone, maybe Dark Legacy on the Game Boy Advance is for you.
It's rather odd that Midway and Pocket Studios would choose to water down the concept of Gauntlet Dark Legacy into a game that's basically a modern revamp of the original Gauntlet games from the 1980s. That was a simpler time, and it just wasn't possible then to implement a lot of the gameplay features we're used to today. Still, even those old and dated games had multiplayer capability, something that is missing from this supposedly modern game. Gauntlet Dark Legacy is a fair adventure in button pressing, but that's as far as it goes.
The Game Boy Advance is a capable system, so there's really no excuse for this clumsy translation of Gauntlet. If the amount of levels was lessened and the attention to detail was heightened, it'd be a moderately more entertaining adventure. Yet, that's hardly the case. Instead, this is a hack-and-slash fest in its most basic, embarrassing form -- and faulty, at that. In this day and age, where no gaming platform is restricted to an 8-bit palette, there's entirely no justification for an awkward free-for-all like this to have been released.
If I had been in charge of the Gauntlet project, I would have canned the whole Dark Legacy port. Instead, I would have put the team to work on reproducing the 1985 original on the Game Boy Advance hardware, with emphasis on getting the engine to fit in a multi-boot file so that anyone with a GBA system could jump in and connect for four player connectivity. It could have been done, and it should have been done...and probably would have taken less time than attempting a ground-up GBA recreation of an arcade and console sequel that wasn't that great to begin with.
The primary appeal of the Gauntlet franchise always has been its multiplayer aspect. Going solo gets tedious, as the games are pretty simple and repetitive; but with multiple players, things change in a heartbeat. The action gets tense as everyone competes over kills, treasure and life-restoring food items. In the olden days, life meters would descend as time passed, making the competition for goods all the more crucial. Many recent Gauntlet releases, such as home versions of Dark Legacy, eliminated the "constant life draining" thing, but added special powers and bonus characters to unlock.
Game Informer Magazine
I can't believe Midway published this stinker and let it put a black eye on a series, that as a whole, is usually quite good.
The game’s greatest flaw is immediately apparent; GDL thoroughly lacks ambition. Gauntlet Dark Legacy was never exactly an ambitious title, but it was extremely fun in a classic manner. From the onset, Gauntlet Dark Legacy GBA disappoints. The graphics resemble high resolution Gameboy Color technology, the music is insipid and loops endlessly, and the gameplay crawls along at a pace that simply cannot be believed. A stage that would take you two or three minutes to sprint though had it been running at a normal pace instead takes ten or fifteen.