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Review by: Chris Harding
Published: July 28, 1998
About thirteen years ago I was living in Slidell, Louisiana. I was a freshman in high school, played on the football team, and had a part-time job at Arby’s. When I wasn’t at school, playing football, or working at Arby’s, my best friend Harvey and I could be found at the Mini-Mart, up the street from our neighborhood. I would tell my parents I was going over to Harvey’s house; he’d say he was coming over to mine…and instead we’d ride our bikes to the Mini-Mart. We’d spend about two hours every weeknight at the Mini-Mart, and all day Saturday, popping quarter after quarter into a video game called Gauntlet.
The Mini-Mart was the only place in town that charged a quarter for playing Gauntlet; most places charged fifty cents. I played with the warrior, Harvey was the Valkyrie, and together we could conquer Gauntlet on five bucks. We were the best Gauntlet players east of the Mississippi, or at least we thought so. Much to our disappointment, by the end of the school year the Mini-Mart replaced Gauntlet with Kung-Fu Fighters, and our reign of dominance and my addiction to arcade games came to an end. I haven’t visited an arcade in a long time, and it’s been years since I’ve seen a Gauntlet machine. Computers and home video game systems are upon us, and so the days of booming arcades are almost over.
Last winter, when I first heard that Monolith Productions was doing a PC Gauntlet-style game, I was disenchanted with the idea. Having been such a huge fan of the original coin-op, I was afraid that anything less than an exact replica would be a disappointment. As news trickled in regarding its development, I decided to shun myself from any information about the game, in the hopes that I could remain objective. Two weeks ago a package arrived from Monolith — inside, a copy of Get Medieval!. The moment of truth had arrived.
The setting for Get Medieval! takes place on the outskirts of Dirindale. The city lay in ruins, and a castle once belonging to King Aaron of Arrivus, former ruler of the realm, has been sacked by a host of evil creatures and one big bad dragon. The king has offered fame, fortune, and power to anyone who can rid the castle of evil and destroy the dragon. There are four characters who have come to Dirindale in the hopes of gaining the throne: the Archer Eryc, The Barbarian Zared, the Sorceress Levina, and the Warrior Kellina.
The game’s premise is to take one of these four heroes (in single-player mode) through 32 twisting, monster-filled levels, kill the dragon, save the princess, yadda yadda yadda. Get Medieval!’s gameplay is a mirrored image of that in the aforementioned Gauntlet. For those of you unfamiliar with the old classic, you control your hero from an overhead perspective. Each character is equipped with a weapon that is used for both up-close and ranged attacks.
This isn’t a game that will win any awards for its deep plot lines and character development, but that’s okay because it doesn’t want to. Get Medieval! is a game about action, action, and more action. There are many treasures, potions, power-ups, magic scrolls, and artifacts that will aide your quest. There are also numerous traps, locked doors, and evil creatures hell bent on preventing your progress through the castle. Enemies have set up shop, literally, and each has established lairs, or spawners, all throughout the castle; enemies will constantly reproduce from these lairs until they are destroyed. The strong presence of foul creatures has made the air within the castle toxic, so your health will slowly deteriorate over time, requiring you to constantly find health potions, much like the need for food in Gauntlet. Each level exit is guarded by an enemy boss; you will find these encounters very entertaining but also very difficult.
Get Medieval!, like Gauntlet, is also intended to be played multiplayer, and up to four players can play over LAN or the Internet. The game environment doesn’t change a bit as players are added, but resource management amongst players can create interesting scenarios. As I mentioned earlier, the gameplay mirrors that in Gauntlet almost to perfection.
There are, however, a few differences. The biggest difference is the addition of humor to Get Medieval!. From the introduction to the final battle, the game manages to throw in its twisted humor; although tacky at times, it is well suited for the environment. Although Gauntlet offered four different characters, their differences were not as distinct as they are here. The other differences have to do with the advancements in graphics and sound that you’d expect from a title released fourteen years after its originator. Is there enough here to warrant revisiting an old classic? Read on.
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