American Gladiators is the Genesis version of the game based on the popular TV show of the same name. The game allows players to play as an American Gladiator, and compete in several events against other gladiators. The 16-bit version was known to be much closer to the original game show than the previously released NES version.
This version also featured a two-player mode that alternated between simultaneous and alternating play, based on the event. A new tournament mode allowed up to 16 players to each control one of the 16 gladiators (8 male and 8 females) and compete. CPU controlled players completed the roster in this mode.
Unlike the NES version, the player is not able to choose which order the events are played in. Instead, a game always features the events in the following order:
The assault event has the player running to different stations to fire weapons at the stationary gladiator at the top of the screen. The player earns one or two points for each hit on the target. The player will have to dodge enemy fire to get to the weapon stations.
The human cannonball is an event where the player swings into the stage on a rope and must time a jump in order to knock an opponent with a shield off a platform. This event give the player one attempt to knock a single opponent off his platform.
The new Atlasphere event comes from season 2 of the show, and has players inside huge rolling balls. The goal is to run over certain elevated triggers in the stage to score points faster than an opponent.
The joust event is a battle atop platforms. The player, armed with the soft ended pole weapon from the series, must battle their opponent. Instead of trying to knock the opponent off, the goal of this game is to simply make the opponent run out of stamina.
The power-ball event has the player grabbing a ball from one end of the stage and placing it into one of five containers in the arena, while avoiding 3 opponents who will steal the ball from the player. The round lasts 60 seconds and the player will earn one point for each ball in place, and a bonus point for capturing the center point.
The wall is a climbing event in which the player must climb a wall of hand and footholds quickly, while avoiding obstacles and barriers on the way up, as well as opponents coming from below. The player must survive for 30 seconds and has a 5 second lead over their opponents.
The final eliminator event has been updated as well to include elements from both season 1 and 2 of the TV show. It includes a treadmill, handbike, balance beam, gauntlet run, cargo net, zip line, and a final door choice which may contain a gladiator, which must be avoided. The player with the fastest time through the eliminator wins.