Gauntlet II

Published by: Mindscape
Developed by: Tengen
Genre: Action
Released: 1990

Gauntlet II (NES)

Gauntlet 2 is the arcade sequel to the original action dungeon crawler Gauntlet. The sequel is also designed by Ed Logg and developed/published by Atari. The game is the first to feature what became known as the Gauntlet theme, which resembles a simplified Baroque fugue. Though the game was best known for its computer ports, it was also ported to the NES.

The top down maze gameplay is similar to the original title and the four characters – Thor, the warrior, Merlin, the wizard, Thyra, the valkyrie, and Questor, the elf - return. However, this time around the players are not forced to choose different characters; instead, the players are able to choose the same character, each differentiated by a different color. 

The game features new stages which can be encountered in different ways by allowing the stages to be rotated 90 degrees and re-used.

New features include the "It" curse, shot power-ups, acid puddles, and dragons.  

The "It" curse is shown as an enemy that tries to make contact with a character. The character touched becomes infected and acts as a magnet for all monsters in the stage. The player can remove the curse by passing it to another player through contact, or by exiting the level.

The shot power-up allows the player to ricochet their shots off of walls, and acid puddles cause severe damage when crossed. The dragon is a new enemy that takes up multiple spaces on the map and acts as a boss character.

New level elements were also added which included "all walls are invisible" stages, "magic walls" which change into monsters or items when hit, "stun tiles" which stunned the player, and exits which flash from functioning to non-accessible. 

The game is made up of 100 levels. The first five levels are always the same, but following that the level order is randomized.

Certain rules can also be randomly shown in each level which include player shots hurt others, player shots stun others, dummy exits, all walls are invisible, and the exit will move.

There are also clues provided in certain stages to help the player enter a secret room. These include don't get hit, don't be fooled, don't be greedy, stay invulnerable, watch what you shoot, don't hurt friends, be pushy, go on a diet, try transportability, and save super shots.

A port of the Gauntlet II arcade game was available as a PS3 download on the PSN, but was removed later on.

This game is followed by Gauntlet 3: The Final Quest, which was available for several computer platforms, but never ported to home consoles. The next console port was Gauntlet 4 for the Sega Genesis.

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