Review by AshelthF

"Err you're kidding right?"

Okay, let me preface this with one bit of personal information:

I sank a LOT of quaters into the old Gauntlet 2 game in the arcades and I LOVED it. Mindless hack-n-slash with friends is fun.


Gauntlet 7 Sorrows is the latest in the venerable Gauntlet series of games. None of these have ever been plagued by things like "plot" "cut scenes" or anything other than pure "omg I have BLISTERS" button mashing.

Basically you wander from point A to B and cut everythign you see in half. In any way possible.

This time around a few things have been revamped. More emphasis on melee attacks with 2 base attacks and a handful of combos. Ranged combat has been relegated to the back burner. No more keys/potions to collect, magic/special attacks use the same "mana" gague that slowly refills. Going from A to B has some minor challenges "Pull the switch to get to the key" to get to the exit.

You can purchase a few combo moves at the end of each stage with whatever gold you found.

The good:

Massive graphics update.

The backgrounds and levels look far better than the old gauntlet games. Some of the levels look better than others, particularly the 3rd boss's room with the setting sun and long shadows cast by everyone looked good. Same with the second to last level.

Good Camera.

This isn't like the latest Castlevania game (something darkness) where the camera is directed by monkey on crank. The angles are good, it pans nicely and you can zoom in and out by pressing R3. A few times I wished I could re-angle the camera to do some long range sniping, but that was when I was dying fighting a boss and didn't want to run around for food. ^^


I'm guessing some people will disagree with me here, but there are slight and noticable variations in playing the different characters. The elf is faster with a smaller attack range, his combos have fast recovery times and can stun/blind enemies. On the other hand the valkerie has a larger melee range but her combos take a while to recover and when you're swamped you won't be all that happy with her basic hack combo. The differences are subtle and I only noticed a few times when say the Elf's skills were more useful than the Warrior's on solo play. This is an improvement over the last two, where everyone's attacks were pretty much the same only with different animations. So I'd call this a step in the right direction.

Animation/play quality.

The game is fluid with no slowdowns. Loading time is low. Basically what you want in a game like this. Nothing to complain about.

Boss fights. They're actually varied. In some you just go into a slug fest, others you have to interact with the enviroment to defeat the boss. Some nice variation and there was clearly some thought put into this.

The bad.

Characters. Long gone is the 'stamina' meter that fuels your special attacks. You use the same pool to drop a magic potion as you do to smash 4 guys at once. Which means if you just used half your magic then accidently opened a chest with death... Start running.

Leveling up/Buying skills.

Wow. Utterly superficial folks. Expect to get enough gold halfway through to buy every skill, and don't expect to use more than 1 special attack and maybe 2-3 combos. Each level you get a point to add to one of 3 stats, mana recharge, strength and hp. They all do something, it's not horribly noticable. Then you have the "upgrade your equipment" part. There are 4 weapon and 4 armor upgrades in the game. You can't miss em (well you can miss two if you weren't paying attention to the popup messages). They change how your character looks. I'm not sure if they affect their stats, I never noticed any difference.

Level design.

Worse than Daikatana. Thanks Romero, we all know Carmack was a damned good level designer you don't need to keep proving it with every game you work on. They're utterly linera, VERY short. And I only noticed 4 rooms with "hidden" extras. And they're unsatisifying. That's what gets me, level design is horrid. But the LOOK nice. You can see reinforcements rushing up from background points of interest. Enemy archers on towers or ledges. Lush looking traps. But no depth.

Some of the levels are better than others. It's just strange. There's a lot of attention to details in some levels yet others...

Game Length.

4 hrs.
5 if you are playing slowly.
That's it.


AWOL. With a game this short you'd expect some fun unlockables to mess around with. Extra characters to play with. Or something to give the game more replay value.


Where to start...

GSS ultimately ends up being a very un-even game.

It looks good and offers some updates in complexity to the gauntlet mix. The characters are decent, the graphics are nice and in some places I stopped to look at the cool details they added in.

Then you get to the horrible level/upgrade system. Short, linera levels unspeakably short game play. And no unlockable extras to play around with.

Then you realize "I payed 54$ (tax) for this...."

It's about value. Yes you have online play. I haven't tried this, but who wants to play ONLINE a gauntlet game? Gauntlet games were always about screaming at your friends as someone pushed you into the poison, tagged you "it" or shot the food. It's a much better game if you are sitting with friends boozing up and smacking the crap out of each other. You can actually sit down and finish it while you're still sober... and move on to other debauchery all in the same evening!

Here's the point of reviews.

"Should I spend my hard earned money on this game?"

The answer is: at full price (49.99$) this game isn't worth it. It's too short with little replay value.
It's a fun game, don't get me wrong. Playing it is fun. There's nothing wrong with any part of the execution or design work. But EVERYTHING should be better.

1) More characters. They should have left in the other 2 characters as unlockables.

2) Secrets, branching paths, or something other than utterly lineral levels. The second to last level pretty much gets it perfectly right for what I'd expect of the current generation of a gauntlet game.

3) Length. For what the retail price is, you'd expect something more.

3) Character development. Part of the fun of the last 2 gauntlet games was collecting gold, buying stat potions, leveling up and turning yourself into a blindingly fast killing machine. There wasn't anything wrong with that system. A refinement of that system? Sure. Maybe introduce various weapons that give you a choice between damage or ranged speed. And armor that let you choose between defense and speed. Make it simple, not into something like the diablo games.

My recomendation:

This is a $19.99 game. Go buy Evil Dead Fist Full of Boomstick.

It was 19.99 on release. About as short as this game, amusingly fun and worth EVERY penny of that 20$ I spent on it.

Reviewer's Rating:   2.0 - Poor

Originally Posted: 12/19/05

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