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ZX Spectrum 48K

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Mark Caswell
Chris Bourne

Once you could walk into an arcade and guarantee seeing a four player Gauntlet machine. For some reason no one ever wanted to control the elf, Lord knows why 'cos he's the fastest character (being a little squirt with a pillocky name like Questor probably had a lot to do with it.

Now Kixx have re-released Gauntlet, The Deeper Dungeons and Gauntlet 2 on one compo, so the scraps over who plays which character can start all over again!

For those unfamiliar with the Gauntlet plotline, a party of three heroes and one heroine are lost in a maze of dark and dank dungeons. Thor the Warrior, Thyra the Valkyrie, Merlin the Wizard and Questor the Elf must battle their way to freedom past stacks of weirdos.

Some, like ghosts, grunts, demons and lobbers, are easy peasy to splatter. But the likes of sorcerers, acid puddles and me 'old mate 'Desmond' Death to take more than a few potshots to conquer.

But beware, 'cos contact with the phantasmagorical denizens lowers old energy level. Food and drink (but no fat chef) are scattered around the place so pick 'em up quickly to give your health a boost.

To escape the nasty old spooksome dungeons, the fab foursome (liar - Thyra looks nothing like Ringo Starr! - Ed) collect the keys lying around and find the exit tiles lurking in each dungeon. These lead to the next or a later level (usually specified), but some move around and others are red herrings, painted tiles that are a right pain in the posterior.

I loved the arcade versions of both Gauntlet and Gauntlet II; indeed, at the time of review Gauntlet received a wopping 92%. But time has sadly taken its toll, and in the light of the isometric splendour of Gauntlet III this package is rather dated.

But three games for four quid is still good value if you missed them first time around. Hack yourself a slice of coin-op history!

MARK ... 80%