Gauntlet: Dark Legacy adapts the arcade/console game of the same name to the Game Boy Advance. It offers simpler gameplay, harkening back to early arcade entries in the Gauntlet series, with unique levels based on a selection of the other versions' themes.
Players can select from four characters in their quest to defeat the evil sorcerer Garm: archer, wizard, warrior and valkyrie, all with a unique weapon and different ratings in strength, speed, armor and magic. Starting from a hub world, players must fight their way through five different realms: Mountain Kingdom, Castle Stronghold, Desert Lands, Ice Domain and Dream World. Each consists of five levels, with a boss waiting in the final one. Only after all realms have been conquered will the path to the final battle against Garm and the demon Skorne open up.
The levels are displayed in isometric perspective and are huge and labyrinthine. Gameplay follows the classic Gauntlet template: many monsters have to be destroyed alongside the generators that spawn them while the player looks for the exit. Keys must be found to open doors and gates, food replenishes health and potions give an extra powerful magic attack. Piles of coins lie around and can be picked up, but there is no way to spend the gold as in other versions. Some timed powerups can also be found, including triple and five-way shots, rapid fire, speed boost and a reflective shield. Killing monsters gives experience, with attributes and health increasing automatically on level-up. The game can be saved to cartridge memory in the hub world.