Review by KFHEWUI

Reviewed: 11/01/12

Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows is a good step forward for the series thanks to a heavy duty make over

The former Emperor of Uricointi was once a wise man with four immortal warriors that server him, but the Emperor coveted their immortal power. One of his six advisors tricked the Emperor with his cunning tongue for he also coveted the throne and the power of the immortal warriors. The four warriors were trapped in a magical tree yet after this the six advisors turned on the Emperor, and with his final strength, he broke the magical seal releasing the four warriors. Now free from their prison, the four warriors must hunt down and stop the six advisors.

Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows has a great backstory, and there is a nice developed story. The backstory and characters are told through the instruction manual however after every level there is a cut scene that explains an update on the character's path.

Gauntlet received a heavy duty make over since Dark Legacy, and Seven Sorrows has dropped the arcade nature of the previous two games for a more fast pace action game. The change actually works well, and this time there are only four characters to choose from Athalbrandr (warrior), Idain (elf), Ragneithur (Valkyrie), and Madoc (wizard).

Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows supports up to four players at once, and what is a first for the series, the game has online co-op however the online does not work anymore since X-Box Live has been shut down plus Midway is no longer in business.

Graphics received a huge upgrade and gone are the cartoony and bright color graphics from Gauntlet Legends and instead Seven Sorrows goes for a more realistic look. The new art style looks great, and the graphics are impressive. While the levels are standard fantasy affair including dungeons, forest, ruined city, harbor, mountain, and underworld the areas look great, and the forest level looks amazing with the sunlight shining through the treetops. Textures and character models look great and are clean, and the models are nice animated. Cut scenes in the game are nothing more than a still screen of a painted picture, and they look okay.

Sound track is beautiful, and it is performed by a real orchestra. Each track is unforgettable and fit the moods right, and the sound effects are great. Weapons make a clang sound when they hit shields, and generators make a nice shattering sound as they degrade. There is voice acting in the game, and the voice acting is excellence however the game has a different narrator than the guy from the previous two games. Personally I missed the previous narrator with his "warrior is about to die" lines. One issue I do have with the music is that it is too loud by default but even after turning it down, the music still drowns out the voice acting making tough to hear what is actually being said.

Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows is still a hack-and-slash game, but the gameplay received a huge face lift from the previous game. The hub world is now gone and instead there is a linear game, and after clearing a level, the player moves on to the next level. The end of the level is always marked by a purple marker that looks like a crystal. There are in total 16 levels, and the levels are range from straight forward to maze like. The maze like levels usually is encompassed with a lot of backtracking which can be tedious. Scattered across each level are checkpoints at predetermined places, and when the player dies, they will return to the last checkpoint. The amount of lives the player has depends upon what difficult they are playing on but once the player runs out of lives they will have to restart the level.

Combat has been completely redesigned from the ground up and the player now have a hack and slash for standard attacks. Hack is great for breaking up an enemy's block while slash is a quick attack. With a press of "Y" the player can launch enemies into the air for a nice combo plus they still have projectiles that they can toss at enemies also new is that they can now block attacks. Players can still use magic which is now called mana blast however the mana blast can only be used if the player has enough mana. This new combat system adds a lot of depth to the game, and each attack should be executed with timing instead of attacking blindly.

There is a deep combo system, and after each level the player can purchase new combos with the treasure they collected in the level. Only problem is that there is not a lot of combos to purchase, and eventually I ended up a massive amount of gold since there was nothing else to purchase.

Controlling the character is simple thanks to an intuitive control scheme that is simple to grasp which takes very little time to learn and is laid out nicely, and the controls are very solid and responsive.

Throughout the levels are generators which will endlessly generate enemies until they are destroyed, but not all enemies come from a generator like archers. Enemies are standard fantasy affair including soldiers, skeletons, insect, and gargoyles to name a few, but the bosses on the other hand are unforgettable and nicely designed. One memorable battle takes place against a scarecrow in a wheat field. Killing enemies will net players some experience, and after gaining certain amount of experience, the player will level up. The player can tell how much experience they have by looking at the HUD, and at the bottom is a bar of circles which represent the experience. As experience is gained, the bar will fill up green, and at the end of the level, skill points can be used to level up either: health, mana, or strength.

Scattered around levels are chest, barrels, and levers and now chests no longer need a key to open. Keys are now used to open only doors, and there are three types of keys: silver, gold, and magic. Chests usually house gold while barrels can contain food, and there are three types of food: cheese, ham, and turkey and each one restore a different amount of health. Sometimes enemies will drop health when defeated. There are two types of chest: gold and item, and gold will always have gold while item will either have a weapon or armor upgrade. There are four armor and weapon upgrades for each character scattered over the course of the game. Hitting switches quickly becomes a common theme in the game, and there are several types of switches. Most can be activated by walking up, but other will have to be hit with a projectile or pushed. Switches usually open the next passage by either raising a platform or dropping a wall. Also scattered about are teleporters, and teleporters will transport players to different areas which usually house gold.

Replay value of the game comes from playing as multiple characters plus the now defunct online co-op, but the developers also threw in a trailer of the game L.A. Rush. There are four different difficulties which do offer a nice challenge.

Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows is a great step forward for the series, but the game is over to quickly and lacks the replay value of previous games plus the repetitive nature of the game is not for everyone.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

Product Release: Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows (US, 12/12/05)

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