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Monday, April 10, 2006

Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows

This was an odd weekend. The Girl and I are making are way into the homebuyer's guild and it's pretty exhausting. The roof over our head is getting sold and there is a slim chance of eviction in the next couple months. Unlikely, but we like any excuse to be paranoid. Especially if it involves browsing the web a lot and loaning huge sums of money.

Burning stress required a lot of mindless pixel violence. I had picked up Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows when I got Hunters to prove to The Girl that I wasn't planning to hide in a room, ignore her, and practice Metroid for days on end. Rather, I was planning on all that and was hoping getting a coop game would make for a sufficient ruse to cover my tracks. This weekend, we finally broke it out and gave it a serious whirl.

It's easily the prettiest incarnation of the franchise. Instead of tight maps with tons of wallled passages, there are wide paths with rich backdrops. Much of the layout feels more Golden Axe than Gauntlet. The models are well done and the particle effects add a lot of flair (flare? You get the idea). The combo system is updated to, well, a real combo system and works pretty well. Definately still a button masher in it's heart of hearts, but the game finally gets a little variation in terms of combat and you actually have to think about what you're doing sometimes.

The bad? We finished the whole game in one sitting. Maybe five hours, tops. I don't even think it was that long. And once you're done ... well ... there's not much else. Higher difficulty levels merely adjust some stats like lives and enemy damage. Before you even finish the campaign, you run out of things to buy (which is limited to new combos only). No new heroes to unlock. No bonus stage.

It's fun for a while and the coop mechanics are much more polished than earlier versions. You can jump in, on-the-fly, and even load up your saved profile while someone else keeps on playing. It's a shame it's so damn short and limited.

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Chris said...

I had no idea this was actually out! Clearly, it failed to make a splash. I'm greatly disappointed that there is no Gamecube version....

Oh well, I guess the issue of how to create a co-op experience that's easy to play, but engaging for a sufficient length deserves some serious attention.

I guess I'll pick this up when I see it cheap.

Thanks for the info!

Josh said...

No problemo. If you're really in a fix for coop, it would also make a moderately worthwhile rental.