Gauntlet (computer game)

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Gauntlet Logo.svg
Studio Atari Games
Publisher Atari Games
Senior Developer Ed Logg (design)
genre Hack and Slay / Adventure
Game mode up to 4 players at the same time
control 8-way joystick ; 2 buttons
casing Standard (special)
Arcade system Atari System I = Main CPU : 68010 (@ 7.15909 MHz),
Sound CPU:
6502 (@ 1.789772 MHz)
Sound Chips: YM2151, Pokey , TMS5220
monitor Raster resolution 336 × 240 (4: 3 horizontal) Color palette: 1024
Age rating
USK released from 6
PEGI recommended from 3 years
information based on Dungeons & Dragons
Gauntlet arcade machine

Gauntlet ( German gauntlet , gauntlet ) is an arcade game that was developed by Atari Games in 1985 . It is the first action role-playing game ( hack and slay ) in which four players could compete at the same time. It was very successful and there were implementations for all major home computers .


The game takes place from a bird's eye view and can be played alone or up to three other players on one device. The aim is to kill ghosts and monsters in a huge number of large and sometimes intricate dungeons , collect treasures (chests) and find the exit to the next level. There are four predefined game figures to choose from, between which the player or players can choose, whereby no figure can be chosen twice:

  • Thor, Warrior (fighter, red)
  • Merlin, Wizard (magician, yellow)
  • Thyra, Valkyrie (Valkyrie, blue)
  • Questor, Elf (archer, green)

The player starts with 2,000 health points ( Health ), which decrease with every game second. They decrease faster if the player is touched or hit by ghosts or monsters; the fastest the player loses his health when touched by death. The health points are increased again by consuming food, beverages and potions. They can also be increased by adding any number of coins at any point in the game (when the machine appears: 1 DM = 2,000 health). A level is “cleaned up” when all nests and monster generators, from which new ghosts and monsters constantly emerge, have been destroyed. Not all monsters have to be killed in order to exit the level. The exits are small, black squares labeled EXIT. There are also exits that skip multiple levels.

In the multiplayer mode, the players can or must coordinate ( co-op mode ), as scrolling the screen is only possible together. Gates must also be opened with a key, and there is food and potions that the players must agree on how to distribute. With the magic potions, many monsters can be killed in one fell swoop, depending on the character of the character. By inserting coins at any point in the game, additional players, a maximum of three, can join the game. If one of the players loses all health points, his character dies, but the other players can continue to play.


  • Fantastic voice output with narrator for the time
  • Transporters that move players to another location within the level
  • Nests and generators in which new ghosts and monsters are constantly being formed
  • Level with more keys than the player can carry
  • If you wait 30 seconds in the game, all doors open.
  • If you wait three minutes on the spot in the game, the walls turn into exits (in later revisions of the game).
  • Dead ends and vans to get to other rooms
  • After a while, the players can injure each other.
  • poisoned food
  • "Potions" (magic potions that give a limited special ability)


  • Ghosts
  • Grunts
  • Demons
  • Stone thrower (lobber)
  • Sorcerer (become invisible)
  • Death (black / purple), can only be destroyed with a magic potion or by giving up 200 life points (by touch)
  • The evil magician Garm


History of origin

The game was designed by Ed Logg in collaboration with Roger Zeigler. Logg had been urged for years by his son, among other things, to develop a game in the style of the role-playing game rules Dungeons & Dragons . The final trigger came from Logg's own gaming experience with the game Dandy for the Atari 800 . However, for a long time Logg and Zeigler could not agree on the final design of the machine. Development began in 1983, the year of the video game crash . The complexity of the game in connection with the layoffs at Atari , which culminated in the separation of the company into the arcade division Atari Games and the home computer / console division Atari Corporation , meant that development was initially discontinued, Zeigler fired and Logg one assigned to another project. It was not until 1985 that Logg, with the support of a relatively large team of an engineer, a programmer, four artists, a technician and three audio engineers, was able to resume and finish the work.

Arcade hardware

"Control panel" from Gauntlet
  • Special cabinet (housing)
  • 336 × 240 pixels
  • 8-way joysticks, 2 buttons (4 joysticks, arranged in a semicircle)
  • Speech output (TMS-5220C)
  • CPU: 68010, R6502 for sound
  • Atari System I hardware, like Marble Madness

There is also a PlayChoice 10 version with simpler graphics.

Levels / info

The game was u. a. implemented for the C64 . There were over 1024 levels on additional disks or cassettes. A competition was announced by the manufacturer US Gold, whereby fans could create additional levels.

In 2007 Gauntlet II was released for the PlayStation 3 with original sound and graphics . The game can be purchased from the PlayStation Store as a paid download.


Gauntlet was an extremely successful arcade game, even though it was rather simple in design. Ultimately, it was all about clearing each level of ghosts and monsters and reaching the exit to the next level. The game was designed as an "endless game"; As the game progressed, the levels were sometimes only repeated the wrong way round or through a different positioning of nests, generators and food.

The machine was a thorn in the side of some arcade owners. Although it initially attracted a lot of visitors and generated high income due to the possibility of constant throwing in money, it was then quickly blocked by Gauntlet professionals who played for hours for only one D-Mark. Since, unlike other games, there was no end, unlimited play was theoretically possible as long as the health did not run out. In later revisions, the amount of hidden food was therefore successively reduced.


title Platform / s Publication date
Gauntlet II Amiga , Amstrad CPC , Atari ST , Commodore 64 , DOS , Game Boy , NES , ZX Spectrum 1987-1990
Gauntlet III: The Final Quest Amiga , Amstrad CPC , Atari ST , Commodore 64 , ZX Spectrum 1991
Gauntlet: The Third Encounter Atari Lynx 1991
Gauntlet IV Sega Mega Drive 1993
Gauntlet Legends Dreamcast , Nintendo 64 , PlayStation 1998, 2000
Gauntlet: Dark Legacy Game Boy Advance , GameCube , PlayStation 2 , Xbox 2001, 2002
Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows PlayStation 2 , Xbox 2005
Gauntlet Windows , Linux , PlayStation 4 (as Gauntlet: Slayer Edition ) 2014, 2015

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Dennis Scimeca: The Making Of Gauntlet - A Classic Arcade Game That Atari Never Saw Coming . G4TV. March 8, 2012. Retrieved November 2, 2014.