hide results

    FAQ by Darkniciad

    Version: 1.0 | Updated: 01/26/03 | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

    VERSION 1.0
    (1) Some terms I use
    (2) Some general tips
    (3) First Stage
    (4) Second Stage
    (5) Third Stage
    (6) Fourth Stage
    (7) Some factoids and gratuitous self gratification
    (8) Some notes about playing via emulation i.e. Mame
    ***(1) Some terms I use***
    This game was the favorite pastime for several of us for a whole
    lot of years, and we've developed a whole lingo to go with it.
    Some of the terms are not exactly PC, and I've substituted more
    appropriate versions in this FAQ.  Here are some terms I use
    to describe certain elements of the game.
    "Chance Stages" are the side scrolling walks you take through
    the castle being assaulted by all kinds of traps in between
    combat with the foes guarding the Treasure Place.
    "Rolling Pins" are cylinders made of stone which roll toward
    the player in chance stages during stage 2 and 3
    "Hyper" or "Hyperactive" ((Spaceballs! ^_^)) Refers to a method
    of battle with combatants.  It basically involves attacking
    with your weapon in one direction constantly, while rapidly
    moving your shield to intercept their attacks as best you
    "Freeze", "Freeze up", etc... This means an opponent in combat
    will stop attacking, or defending, or both.  This may occur
    for a period of time, or the enemy may never unfreeze.  This
    depends upon the opponent and is described in the section
    with them.
    ***(2) Some General Tips***
    During chance stages, you are presented with many opportunities
    to increase your combat ability in upcoming fights.  Learn to
    take advantage of these stages, and you will advance rapidly.
    First, you receive more points for destroying a trap
    (Throwing star, fireball, sword, brick, etc...)
    With your sword than you do for letting it bounce off your
    shield.  Since (on most machines) you earn an extra man at every
    100,000 points, this is important.  Get as many points as you
    can and you'll have more chances to beat an elusive enemy.
    Second, you can create a magical barrier called the "Electric
    Shield" by rapidly moving the joystick up and down during
    chance stages.  This flashing barrier of light appears before
    your character when the move is successful.  For a few seconds,
    you are completely invulnerable to harm from the traps of the
    chance stage.  This shield destroys everything it touches.
    You do not get ANY points for this however, and I discourage
    it's use in anything but the most desperate situations.
    You will not immediately die from being hit by an enemy's weapon
    or a trap.  The first shot will always cause one piece of your
    armor to come off and roll away offscreen.  If anything hits in
    that un-armored area, you're dead!  So guard a body part that is
    missing it's armor well!
    You begin the game with the Iron Shield.  This shield will flash
    when hit by enemy attacks or traps.  As it is hit, it sustains
    damage.  After a few hits, it will crumble a bit and offer a more
    narrow range of defense.  After a few more hits, it crumbles into
    something about the size of a large beer mug, and offers very
    little in the way of defense.  Another very good reason to destroy
    all the traps with your weapon.  I also have never been able to
    conjure the Electric Shield when the Iron Shield has been reduced
    to it's "beer mug" state.
    At points during the chance stages, green bats will fly over
    carrying shields.  These are the all-important Gold Shields.
    Whack them out of the bats claws with a sword shot high to
    send them to the floor.  Then, when the Shield is below your
    character onscreen, press and hold down to make the Gladiator
    bend down and pick up the Shield.  The Gold Shield takes NO
    damage from anything, even the most powerful opponents sword
    blows.  It therefore will always have the most wide range
    of defensive area.  Grab these shields for the points even
    when you already possess one, however.
    Swords are thrown at your character in the chance stages.
    Knock these down with sword or shield and they will land
    on the floor.  Bend down by pressing and holding down, and
    the Gladiator will pick up these swords.  If you can pick up
    four of these swords in a single chance stage, you will acquire
    "The Red Sword".  The Red Sword is a magical effect which is
    attached to your weapon.  While in combat with the guardians
    of the castle this magic comes into effect.  Once you have hit
    your opponents shield a certain number of times, The Red Sword
    will discharge it's magical power.  This power makes you
    invulnerable for a few seconds, but more importantly, replaces
    any armor plates you have lost up to that point.
    During chance stages, crystal balls will occasionally hover
    into view at the top of the screen.  These stay onscreen for
    a few moments, then drift away.  If you hit one of these with
    your weapon, it shatters and destroys everything onscreen at
    that moment.  More importantly, it replaces any armor plates
    you may have lost up to that point.
    Don't ignore those green bats!  First off, they are worth points
    when you whack them with your sword.  Second, if they find an
    un-armored part of your body, they can kill you!  If you still have
    armor over the body part they touch, they can't knock it off, but
    if it's un-armored, they sink in their poisonous fangs and suck your
    life away.
    When in battle, you receive points for every chunk of armor you
    knock off your opponent, so don't hesitate to whack off as much
    of your opponent's protection as you can before you finish them.
    ***(3) First Stage***
    Chance Stage 1:  There is nothing really special about this chance
    stage.  Attempt to hit everything you can with your sword to earn
    more points toward extra men.  You can acquire the Gold Shield in
    this chance stage, as well as the Red Sword.  There is a crystal
    ball in this stage.
    Solon Fight 1,2:  Solon is a poor fighter.  He has a very easy to
    predict pattern which makes him fairly easy to defeat.  He'll begin
    by swinging his sword straight at you.  After a few shots, he'll
    start to swing high.  Then a few more and he'll swing low... you
    get the picture.  Just charge right in as soon as you approach
    this battle with your shield and sword both straight.  Once you
    get within range of him, swing a shot high.  Then swing a shot
    low, then swing a shot high, repeat.  You should strip off some
    armor for points and kill him with just a few shots before he
    switches to the swing high.  If not, just switch your shield
    high to block and keep the pattern up.  You need to dance back
    and forth a bit to make your shots connect, but you'll soon find
    that you can defeat Solon on even expert setting with your eyes
    Solon Fight 3:  Solon doesn't learn much from two nasty defeats.
    He starts out swinging high this time, but then goes middle and
    low in predictable pattern.  After he finishes his burst of low
    shots, he becomes less predictable.  However, he should be long
    dead before this happens.  Use the exact same pattern as before,
    but if you want to play it safe, block all his high shots and
    start attacking when he switches to straight shots.
    Irene:  Irene is a much more dangerous opponent than Solon, but
    she still has a predictable pattern you can exploit to defeat
    her.  There are two ways to finish off this female warrior.  The
    first is to keep your Shield high and your Sword straight.  Shortly
    after her shield breaks fully down, her sword will break under
    the strain of your stronger weapon.  She is now completely helpless
    and you can enjoy the fun of carefully stripping her armor off
    chunk by chunk as she futily swings at you.  You can strip her
    down to nothing but a bikini (that green chain mail will come off)
    if you place your shots carefully.  Nice place to earn quite
    a few bonus points.  The second method I recommend if you are
    missing either your chestplate or your codpiece when you reach
    the battle with Irene.  She takes great delight in seeing your
    chest or your Purple bikini briefs, and wants nothing more to
    shove her sword in a sensitive portion of your anatomy.  In fact,
    if she knocks one of these two pieces of armor off in battle, she
    will jump up and down and giggle (good time to stick a sword in
    her laughing rear if you're close enough)  It's safer then to
    keep your sword and shield both low until her shield breaks
    down.  Then, start shooting high to kill her.  She'll most often
    keep aiming for your shield, and you should be relatively safe.
    Always be on the lookout for that rare shot she throws straight
    when doing this, and be prepared to let your shield slide up to
    cover for a few seconds before dropping back into pattern.
    Note:  Depending upon what portion of Irene's anatomy you stuck
    your final sword blow, she will either fall flat to the floor or
    to her knees.  If she falls to her knees she will turn and offer
    up her sword (even if you broke it ^_^) to the warrior who
    defeated her.  This is just a matter of animation, because you
    can bend down and pick up her sword regardless of whether she
    offers it.  It's no better or worse than your sword, so grab
    it for the points.
    Chance Stage 2:  Just before, and just after the second crystal
    ball in this stage (only one will appear if you die during this
    chance stage or in battle against the next foe in line and have
    to replay this chance stage) there are sets of grey throwing
    stars which whizz in from the upper right portion of the screen.
    If you hit these with your sword, the will fall to the ground in
    the form of glowing whirlpools.  When you walk over these
    whirlpools, you'll obtain bonus points.  If you hit the crystal
    ball before walking over the whirlpools, you'll lose the bonus
    points.  You must be close to the right side of the screen in
    order to hit these throwing stars with your sword, so you'll
    have to charge a bit.  You can obtain the Gold Shield in this
    stage, but not enough swords are thrown to get you the Red Sword.
    Fire Demon:  This guy can be dangerous if you don't know his
    secret.... He's a coward.  If you rush forward rapidly with
    your shield straight and your sword high (block if necessary)
    and begin to rapidly pound on his shield, he'll freeze up.
    This allows you to calmly break his shield down to a crumpled
    useless lump.  Then dance back and forth a bit to wake him up
    and he'll come out of his stupor and realize he's going to die
    if he doesn't do something.  He'll unfreeze and start spitting
    fireballs at you again.  Just block with your shield and keep
    swinging high.  He'll eventually lean right into one of your
    ***(4) Second Stage***
    Chance Stage 1:  Nothing special about this stage, there is
    a crystal ball, and you can acquire the Red Sword sometimes
    here (the more times you get hit, the more likely it is
    enough swords will be thrown to grant the red sword... at
    least that's how it seems to work to me..)
    Zaid fight 1:  Zaid is big and slow.  You can either get
    in close and just try to wax him, or you can stand back and
    match his every sword thrust with your own to break his
    sword.  This is what I usually do, as it allows you to
    earn some bonus points by stripping off all his armor once
    his sword is broken.
    Zaid fight 2,3:  His first defeat seems to have knocked
    what little brains Zaid had right out of that enormous head
    of his.  As soon as he appears, just have your shield
    straight and your sword high.  The big dumb brute will
    charge straight in and keep whacking your shield forever
    if you let him.  Start aiming high and eventually you'll
    either kill him, or break his sword.  If you're quick, you
    can also charge in quickly with your sword and shield both
    straight and quickly whip off a couple of high shots that
    will kill him before he even realizes he's in battle.  If
    you break Zaid's sword in these fights, he will freeze up
    and only move his shield.  This will prevent you from
    removing more than a couple of pieces of armor.
    Black Mace Giant:  This foe is dangerous, especially on
    the higher difficulty settings.  He picks his shots with
    care and moves his shield rapidly to intercept your cuts.
    He does however have a few weaknesses...  If you start
    swinging your sword straight when he first comes out,
    he'll concentrate most of his shots there.  This allows
    you to push him back a bit by hitting both his sword
    and shield at the same time.  Match his shots as best
    you can (or just keep swinging straight) and break off
    his mace.  Beware, if you miss hitting his mace a few
    shots, he will occasionally charge and start to swing
    rapidly at you for a few seconds.  If he does this,
    hit straight as fast as you can and block with your
    shield until he backs off a bit.  Every so often this
    immense enemy will raise his mace and laugh at the puny
    creature confronting him.  A quick run up and two
    straight stabs will often remove his codpiece and teach
    him the folly of laughing at a foe in battle ^_^
    Note:  If you manage to knock off his codpiece and then
    finish him by stabbing him in that rather sensitive
    portion of his anatomy, he will do a little dance and
    land on his knees after he dies.  It takes more than
    one mortal wound to finish this mountain of a man, so
    as the Gladiator walks past him, he stabs him once
    more to finish him off.  Bend down and you can pick
    up his mace either before or after you finish him off.
    Time this carefully, or the final stab may cause him
    to get too far behind you to pick up the mace.... And
    you defiantly want that mace.  It has a greater range
    than the sword, and is at least twice as strong.
    An enemy's shield will vanish in only a few shots
    under the assault of this powerful weapon.  It also
    pushes your enemies farther away than the sword when it hits.
    Chance stage 2:  You can acquire the Gold Shield in this
    stage, and there is a crystal ball.  Near the end of this
    stage a rolling pin will come out.  Keep your shield pressed
    down and walk forward as you are doing it.  Whack away with
    your weapon low to destroy this trap.  If your shield slips
    up for too long, or you get too far to the back of the screen,
    this trap will roll over you and crush you like a grape.
    Amazon Archer:  This un-armored foe isn't that difficult to
    dispatch.  Just charge forward blocking her arrows with
    your shield (there is a pattern to the first several shots
    you can discern, 2 high, then 2 low, then one straight) and
    once you get right up in her face, start whacking at her
    with your weapon high.  The moment she moves her bow down
    to take a shot anywhere but high, you'll dispatch her.  Just
    keep your shield moving and she should be no problem.
    ***(5) Third Stage***
    Chance stage 1:  You can acquire the Red Sword and the Gold
    Shield in this stage.  If you bend down and pick up one
    of the swords while you are carrying the mace, you lose the
    mace!  So if you want to keep this strong weapon, don't pick
    up the swords!  There is a crystal ball to replenish your
    armor.  A cute little quirk about this stage is you can quite
    nearly bypass it entirely.  If you look in the background,
    you will see there are ledges running along the edge of the
    pathway you are on.  If you time it right, you can press up
    and jump up onto these ledges.  While you are walking on the
    ledges, nothing hits you.  You can jump over the gaps by
    pressing up.  You don't get the chance to get any points or
    any of the useful items if you do this, however.  This stage
    also brings your first encounter with "Sonics".  These traps
    are beams of energy of varying lengths which travel at you
    with a high pitched squeal.  If move forward too much, or
    swing your sword too much, while blocking these with your
    shield part of the sonic will get through and remove a
    chunk of your armor.  It's even possible for a single Sonic
    to finish you if you really mess up and it's long enough.
    Concentrate on blocking with your shield and don't swing
    your weapon unless absolutely necessary.
    Green Knight 1,2:  The first two fights with the Green Knight
    are not that difficult.  Just swing your sword high as soon
    as he appears and keep your shield straight.  He'll obediently
    whack on your shield while you destroy his and eventually
    penetrate his guard to finish him.  Occasionally, he can
    penetrate your guard as well, so swing fast to keep him back
    off you!  This doesn't happen very often if you are equipped
    with the mace.  I've also never seen a Green Knight's Axe
    break, so don't bother trying.
    Green Knight 3:  This foe is a bit more dangerous.  He's
    learned from his mistakes and swings in a random fashion
    at you... quickly.  The preferred method to dispatch him
    is to keep sword and shield both straight after defeating
    the second Green Knight and charge the third to cut him down
    with two quick stabs up.  If this doesn't work, you'll have
    to go Hyperactive and aim high to hopefully finish him off.
    There is an alternative, but it doesn't work every time.  Just
    back off and randomly swing your sword and move your shield
    without closing into his range.  Sometimes, he will become
    dazed by this display of swordsmanship and freeze up.  When
    he does this, you can waltz in and dispatch him with ease.
    This enemy is tricky however, and will occasionally fake a
    freeze to lull you in close.  Make sure you swing your
    weapon about four times before you decide he's actually
    Red Knight:  This foe is worthy of your attention even on
    the lowest difficulty settings.  He swings with remarkable
    speed, and fakes swings to make you move your shield to the
    wrong place before whacking you with a well place shot.
    I usually meet him with shield high and sword straight.  This
    helps keep him off you until you have broken down his shield.
    Once his shield has broken down, switch into hyperactive and
    aim high.  You should eventually stab him in an armpit and
    finish him.  If you move your shield rapidly enough, his
    fake swings will work against him.  He'll fake a swing, but
    discover your shield has moved to where he was going to aim.
    Then he fakes another swing, with the same result.  This can
    keep him confused enough he doesn't get off too many shots
    while you're whacking away at him.  You cannot break his
    mace to the best of my knowledge, and you cannot pick it
    up after battle.
    Chance stage 2:  There is no crystal ball in this stage, so
    you're going to be missing any armor you lost along the way.
    You can acquire the Gold Shield in this stage, but remember
    to watch yourself around those sonics.  At the end of this
    chance stage there are two more rolling pins.
    Agathon:  There are two methods to dispatch this dangerous
    two-swordsman.  The first is to stay back and break his sword.
    You cannot break swords with the mace (why, I don't know since
    it's so much stronger than the sword), so if you have it, you
    need to use the second method.  The second method is to get
    your sword high immediately after passing the second rolling
    pin.  Then charge like mad when Agathon appears and hit high
    as fast as you can.  This will often finish him before he
    has a chance to kill you with that long extending sword of
    his.  Alternatively, you can go into Hyperactive while aiming
    high to defeat him, but the odds aren't good with that long
    blade of his.
    Note:  If you break his sword, try to get his helmet off
    before you kill him.  His eyes bug out of his head in a huge
    way when you deal him a death blow ^_^
    ***(6) Fourth Stage***
    Chance stage:  Short bursts of sonics come at you rapid-fire, and
    the background itself becomes a threat in the form of asteroids
    that whirl from space to hit you.  Besides this, there are no
    beneficial items or powers of any kind in this stage, so keep
    your guard up!
    Mordred: (This is what we called him, I never saw an official
    name printed anywhere) The Gold Knight Mordred is deadly.  He's
    fast, smart, and has a knack for getting under your guard. Use
    the same method you used to defeat the Red Knight in the
    previous stage.  Shield high, sword straight until his shield
    is gone.  Then go into hyperactive and whack at him high.  With
    luck, you'll kill him.  Don't waste your time trying to break
    his sword, it will not work.
    The Gold Knight will slid back to the edge of the screen when
    you defeat him.... but beware.... The final guardian of the
    Treasure Place has one dreadful power left to use.  As you
    start to walk past him, he calls upon the dark powers and
    raises again as an animated skeleton.
    Mordred Prime: (Again, not official.  It was either this or simply
    "The Skeleton")  First off, if you're extremely lucky, you can
    defeat this dread foe before he has a chance to display his
    amazing swordsmanship on your mortal form.  As you begin walking
    toward him, get your sword high.  Keep pressing forward to
    charge him.  Just before you get to Mordred's body, start whacking
    high while continuing to charge.  With a rare spot o' luck on your
    side, you'll whack ol' bonehead right in the brainpan before he even
    gets his sword or shield ready for battle.  If Mordred's body lands
    almost offscreen (half or less visible during the "Victory!" dance)
    this will almost never work.  Likewise, if more than 3/4 of his
    body is visible, you've got next to no chance.... and Prime is very
    likely to give you a couple quick slaps and quick kill you.  The
    perfect position is just a little over half his body visible.
    Once you get the timing right, you can quick kill him every time
    when Mordred's corpse lands in this position.
    Now, lets get on with the strategy for when luck doesn't fall on
    your side ^_^  Not surprisingly, you use the same attack pattern
    you used to defeat his mortal form moments ago.  The problem is,
    Mordred Prime is even faster in undeath, more cunning, and the
    only blow that will bring him low is one directly to his skull.
    Anything else simply causes the bones to vanish, which doesn't
    enhamper his sword skills whatsoever!  And don't think you're
    going to break off his unholy sword either, that's not going
    to happen!
    Once Mordred Prime collapses into a pile of bones and slimy
    pinkish brain matter, give him one final insult by walking
    over his corpse and head for the Treasure Place!
    Congratulations!  You have proven yourself to be a true and
    great Warrior!  So what do you do now?
    Well...... depending on how the game you are playing on is set
    up, you either put your name on the board and the game ends, or
    you start over at the beginning with all your equipment from
    the previous battles intact.  The game will speed up, and some
    new traps will occasionally be thrown into the stages.
    ***(7) Some factoids and gratuitous self gratification***
    If you've ever seen the actual arcade machine (most I've found are conversions
    from old Defender machines) then you might know this..... the Gladiator's name
    is Guirnos.  If you take a look at how he prances up the stairs at the end of
    the first stage, then think about the name for a moment, you can guess what
    corruption of that name we screamed at our noble Gladiator when the button
    contacts were shot and not working properly :p
    There was a rumor (try it on your friends, it's fun!) That if you managed
    to stick your sword into the statue's mouth perfectly at the end of the
    first stage it would open up a hidden area or give you bonus points, etc.
    The statue I'm talking about is the gargoyle type thing at the bottom of
    the stairs.  It was said that if you could get the Gladiator to freeze
    perfectly with his sword stuck in the mouth during the "Clear Score" the
    bonus came into effect.
    Want to challenge yourself a bit once you've gotten so good you can play
    the game with your eyes closed?  Try to get the electric shield to come
    up in-between the last enemy of a stage and the "Clear Score".  It's not
    as easy as it sounds!
    At the end of stage 2, Keep swinging your weapon high as you walk toward
    the wall at the end of the stage.  If you freeze during the "Clear Score"
    with your weapon near fully extended, the Gladiator will merely tap the
    wall and destroy it.  Then he takes a swing at the busted wall as
    you walk through it.
    Another thing you can try is to get "Full Body Separation" at the end of
    stage 3.  Again, keep swinging your weapon high as you approach the door to
    stage 4.  If you do it right, when the Gladiator gestures with his weapon to
    open the door, you'll see a full separation of his upper torso from the lower
    with the background showing through.  Sure, it's just a graphics glitch,
    and not all that exciting, but once you're as good as we were you have to
    search for new things to challenge each other on.
    The most elusive weapon in the game is the "Gold Mace".  The only way to acquire
    the Gold Mace is to have and maintain the Red Sword in Stage 2 all the way up to
    the Black Mace Giant.  You then have to manage to kill him without losing the Red
    Sword's magical ability.  If you manage to pull this off, and pick up the Giant's
    Mace, you'll acquire the legendary Gold Mace!  It doesn't have any better hit
    ability or anything.... It's just the mace with the magical Red Sword power on it.
    It will change back into the standard mace when the Red Sword power is used
    up in battle.  Again, just something to challenge each other on when you've
    mastered the game on max difficulty setting.
    There's a really simple way to determine if the machine you are playing on is an
    original Gladiator machine or the more common Defender conversion.  If you can
    move forward while you hold your shield up or down, it's the real thing.  The
    Defender joystick didn't have contacts at the 4 diagonal points to allow you to
    do this.  The game is a bit harder without the ability to do this, but most of
    the patterns still work.  You just have to sort of do a "stop, start" stutter
    step when you need to go forward and keep your shield in high or low position.
    Got half a day or more to spare?  Try to beat my high score!  I'm not sure
    of the actual final score, but it was in the 8 million point range.  The
    only person who can challenge me that I know of is James English (who's
    high score was only a bit behind mine at last count).  We had a seesaw
    battle for the top spot on every Gladiator machine in the Tri-State area.
    If you want to try it, you'd better be ready to spend over 12 hours.  And
    I could have improved on that score quite a bit if it wasn't for the fact
    that the joint the machine was in was closing.  I had to spend over 30
    minutes killing off all my extra men on purpose to put my name on the
    board during that game ^_^  8 million is approximately 22 laps through
    the stages.
    FINGERS!!! :p
    ***(8) Some notes about playing via emulation i.e. Mame***
    ((UPDATE 1/31/01.... The information below is no longer valid, but just in case someone is ))
    ((still running an old version of the emulator...                                          ))
    Okay, if you're playing this game on Mame, there's some things you
    should know.  First off, the game doesn't appear to be *fully*
    implemented yet.  The Dip Switch settings don't seem to function.
    Therefore, you only start out with the one single man you are controlling
    instead of him and two extras as is usual.  You also only get 1 extra
    man at the first 100,000 points instead of one at every 100,000 as is
    common.  You also can't loop through the game, because it's set up to end
    after you beat the fourth stage.
    Also, at last check, sound was not yet implemented, though samples are
    available and I assume that this is in the works.
    And also note that my stance on emulation is always the same..... If you
    have the ROM, you'd better have or be looking for the original
    Cart/Machine as well.
    Now get out there and Gladiate!
    Christopher Lee Boger
    who has to thank James English and everybody else in the
    Pantry/Arcade/Laundramat crew who spent hours and hours and hours
    developing these strategies.

    View in: