Capsule Review: Gauntlet Dark Legacy

A co-op dungeon crawl with hack-and-slash action for up to four players and a surprising amount of scale and complexity. There are many stages to brawl and shoot your way through using a mixture of attacks and combos, an extended leveling system for becoming more powerful, and tons of hidden and not-so-hidden items with varying effects. There are a number of playable characters with unique looks and animations, though movesets are basically the same and characters mostly differ by stat allocation.

It can be a lot of fun to play with friends, working together to take out enemy spawners and huge bosses (just don’t let the griefer of the group play as the speedy Jester or they’ll be able to get to all the food before the poor Wizard who needs it badly). Due to the game’s arcade roots, the campaign is designed to take a long time to get through and requires replaying stages, though the large number of them mitigates the repetitiveness and you level up and increase in power the whole time. In some ways this makes it a great casual social experience, as you can just drop in and play some levels and make progress. But if you don’t consistently have the same group, it’s easy for some characters to outpace others and it can be hard to keep track of who’s ticked which boxes in the campaign.

In college, my friends found this game in the arcade and got hooked - the moment I knew it was the game for us was when one of us picked up an egg item and was transformed into a fireball-throwing chicken. Rather than pour quarters into the arcade cabinet indefinitely, we picked up the game (and a multitap) for the PS2 and had a lot of fun with it over the next months.

I Stopped Playing When: Eventually the repetitive combat lost its novelty, we had difficulty keeping track of who had beat which bosses or found which key items, and there was growing disparity between character levels, all of which diminished the appeal of popping the game in and our play trailed off.

Docprof's Rating:

Three Stars: Good. I liked the game enough to finish it (or just play it a bunch, for games that don't end). I recommend it to most genre fans.

You can get it or learn more here.