Gauntlet, Sega Master System

The Sega Master System conversion of Atari‘s classic arcade game Gauntlet is surprisingly good. For starters: it’s got the fastest fire rate of any of the home versions available, and it plays with a high intensity. This does, however, make the game especially challenging because the health of your heroes does tend to go down rather quickly.

Gauntlet on the Master System also has the cool digitised speech from the arcade game, plus a self-playing attract mode, neither of which I was expected and was pleasantly surprised by. Something else I liked about this conversion was that your character doesn’t have to be positioned centrally to a generator to shoot it (which they do in most of the other home conversions); you can shoot just the edge of a generator and it will still count. Which indicates that the collision detection is more accurate in this version. And shooting diagonally seems to be easier in this, so firing overall is more accurate and effective. The character’s movement speed is quite high, though, so if you’re trying to walk carefully you have to press the direction pad with precision.

As I mentioned above, this version of Gauntlet is quite challenging and if you’re brazen about your movement and careless about your health loss (as I was on my first few games of this), then you won’t get very far. Thankfully this version of the game does have continues, otherwise it would be difficult to make it past the first ten levels.

One tip that I will give for this version of Gauntlet is: be very careful about the food you shoot. Don’t shoot it! The food you find along the way is vital for your survival and shooting food will limit how far you can go in the game. Collecting food as you progress should give you enough health to survive the punishing levels. It’s been placed strategically, so use it.

Overall, Gauntlet on the Sega Master System is a fine conversion. Maybe even the best 8-bit conversion out there. It caters for one or two players and was first published by US Gold in 1990.

Final note: I did notice that this game was made by two of the team who created the Gremlin Graphics conversions for US Gold (Tony Porter and Kevin Bulmer), although Gremlin is not credited as developer. Tengen is. So my guess is that Tengen contracted Porter and Bulmer to work on this conversion a number of years after they’d finished the Gremlin ports. Which would make sense since they obviously knew the game inside-out and could probably do the fastest/best job of converting it.

More: Gauntlet on Wikipedia

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.