The island of Capra was a peaceful place. Full of singing birds, pretty flowers and friendly people. A law had kept it peaceful for so long, that stated that if a war was started the gates of hell would open and the Devil could do his worst. All the island’s inhabitants obeyed the law, but the Vellons, nasty creatures from the underworld, did not, and all hell broke loose (literally!). You’re the hero whose job it is to force the Devil back into hell and save the island. Easy, huh?
At the start of Gauntlet 3 you can choose one of eight characters to control. Take your pick from Thor the Warrior, Merlin the Wizard, Dracolis the Lizard-man, Questor the Elf, Petras the Rockman, Blizzard the Iceman, Neptune the Merman and Thyra the Valkyrie. Depending on which character you choose, your various character attributes change (for example, Thor’s shot power is good and Thyra’s is poor).
Keeping your energy level up is very important. Food is dotted around the game’s eight kingdoms but beware, as some of it has become poisoned by the evil presence. Being careless with your firepower is not a good idea, either — you can shoot the food and drink before you have a chance to get to it.
The game is similar to the original Gauntlet. You run about the levels shooting ghosts and other nasties, collecting keys and going through doors. The big difference (if you hadn’t already realised) is the way you see the levels. Whereas Gauntlet was glorious 2D, this sequel is in full 3D, with highly detailed backgrounds and characters, all in lovely monochrome. The 3D works really well, characters able to walk behind as well as in front of objects. Unfortunately, as you can’t see behind things like trees, you can get stuck now and then.
You can play Gauntlet 3 with just one player, but a two-player game is included where both players battle evil together. You can help each other out with the ghosts and share the food, although if you play with Richard he usually shoots you and steals the food for himself (Oi! — Ed)!
Gauntlet 3 - The Final Quest is excellent stuff. The original game was highly addictive in both arcade and computer versions and this gives it a whole new lease of life. It’s skill!
NICK ... 89%
'When the original Gauntlet appeared in the arcades I was forever playing it (an expensive pastime). Now the third part of the saga of Thyra, Merlin, Questor and Thor has appeared and it’s on the Speccy! The first thing that struck me was the sheer size of each level; it’s a map-maker’s dream come true. You can wander around a level for ages, exploring and blasting the creatures that appear out of the hated generators before beginning to solve a level. Most of the original evil nasties are back, and they’ve brought a few friends along to add to your misery. Gauntlet 3 looks good, plays well and would take most of my week’s wages if it were an arcade game. But it’s not — it’s a Spec game (anyone lend me 11 quid?)!'
MARK ... 91%
Any Capricorns in the audience tonight? Ah, there you are. Well prepare for a bit of a shock - how does it feel to know you're a Lord Of Decay? Mmm. Thought you'd be a bit surprised. But look on the bright side - it beats being a landscape gardener or a milkman, doesn't it? Let me explain why...
You see, once upon a time (in Gauntlet 3) there was this island (called Capra) that was being threatened by a bloke called Capricorn (the Lord Of Decay) For some odd reason, he'd taken it upon himself to unleash nasty awfulness upon the islanders unless they were very, very good and didn't fight with each other. Luckily, the people were pretty peace loving bods and didn't particularly want a war anyway, so all was groovy, hippyish and, in fact, rather wet. (Oi, watch it! Ed)
But to muck everything up, a race of aliens called the Velcrons suddenly appeared (so-called because they stuck to furniture and clothing), who managed to kick up a bit of a war, so now everything's is in complete turmoil.
And guess what? Yep, somebody big and brave's got to wander up to Capricorn's semi-detached castle and give him a jolly good hiding for what he's done. And that somebody is you (gulp!).
HEARD ANY OF THIS BEFORE?
Of course you have - and probably in 2 other games called Gauntlet that've been out before now. So why run through it all again? Well, basically because now you can do it all in isometric 3D. Hurrah!
And that not the only change. This time there aren't just the 4 characters to choose from, but 8. As well as our usual pals like Thor The Warrior and Questor The Elf we've also got the company of such dependable yokies as Petras the Rockman and Dracolis the Lizard Man. You've got to choose which one you want to play of course, depending on the particular range of armour, magic and fighting skills that you want to use, and then set off towards Capricorn's place. (Oh, and there's a 2-player option too.)
On the way. you'll travel through 8 kingdoms (or levels), one for each of the hero-type characters (so there's the ice Kingdom, the Sea Kingdom and all the others). What this means of course is that the game is just as enormous as it was before, only this time it's been compacted into sections as opposed to the 100 or so old 'floating' levels, (And there's also a ninth bit waiting at the end, in Which you get to confront Mr Cappy himself.)
The 3D system works beautifully, with the characters having full 8-way movement, staying pretty much in the middle of the screen whilst everything scrolls around them. It's not just a simple case of walking along in a straight line of course - you've actually got to find your way through the terrain to get anywhere, with arrows pointing out the way and the odd clue here and there giving you a bit of a helping hand. There's also food, magic spells and lots of other items to pick up, some of which (especially the nosh) can be protected by nasties, or booby-trapped (hur hur).
AND TALKING OF NASTIES...
There are absolutely loads even more than before! (Probably.) Some (like ghosts) appear everywhere, follow you around and are easy to kill, while others are particular to certain levels and include things like mummies, zombies and even venus flietraps. Eek!
But I could ramble on for hours about these nice little touches and stuff. (Please don't. Ed.) Basically Gauntlet 3 is, overall, an absolutely stonking game. It's not just that the look of it's changed - this time round there's an even greater range of puzzles to solve and, as I've said, monsters you've got to squish. It's huge, it's exciting and it'll take a jolly long time to complete (and even then you'll probably have missed a whole load of other features and locations!).
There is however one major quibble that I'd better mention before I pop off. The graphics are most definitely funky but at times they get totally bogged down by some extremely thick and heavy colours. (There's one particular tone of blue that swamps the screen in mugginess and makes it ridiculously difficult for you to tell what's going on.)
But that apart, it's thumbs up all round. Those who've had the pleasure of treading these paths before might not want to again (no matter how different the view!) but for newcomers (especially ones who like blasting monsters) it comes highly recommended.
Eight heroes, their magical quest takes them deep within the depths of the underworld, delve deep into the dark corners of rooms, overcome great odds and terrible monsters and retrieve old underwear.
Well, not exactly, but 3D Gauntlet does have that comfortable ring to it; that familiar feel you get when you pull on three day old boxer shorts and is the the latest in the great coin-op saga.
3D Gauntlet gives you the option of one two players and you con choose from eight different character's - four of whom are the familiar Questor the elf, Merlin the Wizard, Thyro the Valkyrie and Thor the warrior.
Each player has different characteristics of magic, defence, speed and damage with play running along, (or briskly walking) in much the some way as the former versions. However, the viewpoint and scenario differ - you begin play above ground, tootling around in graveyards and fields and try to avoid whatever monster the earth throws up at you through its monster generators.
You can mutilate the mummies, gun-down the ghosts and generally make life a living hell for the world's inhabitants who inhabit eight separate kingdoms.
As you roam around the world, you'll find various items that will help you in your quest: food, as with all of the Gauntlet saga, restores strength which slowly depletes as you wander around or more rapidly as you get attacked by the world's wildlife; keys that unlock doors and walls and the inevitable potions.
Each type of monster is produced from a monster generator which is set into the ground and can be destroyed with several smatterings of well-aimed violence and once dead, con be forgotten for ever.
As you wander around each kingdom, there are portals to other parts which are indicated with large arrows, (so that you can't miss 'em), that lead you down into the very bowels of the earth itself (it's a good job that no-one's developed games in 'Smellaround' yet!)
This isn't a bad product - the graphics are reasonable if a little complicated, but the game play is simple enough to get straight down to business - if you're in the ghost-bustin' business that is, and with osso many options to choose from, 3D Gauntlet should keep you blastin' away for quite some time.
Label: US Gold
Price: £10.99 Tape, £14.99 Disk
Reviewer: Garth Sumpter
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