GBA REVIEW: GAUNTLET / RAMPART COMBO

You're probably saying to yourself, "How can I miss with two great classics on one cartridge for one low price?" Just keep in mind the old saying: If it looks too good to be true it probably is.

There can be no argument that Gauntlet is an arcade classic. It inspired hundreds of games with it Dragon and Dungeons-style gameplay. The multi-player, co-op mode is definitely one of the greatest of all time that's allows four players to assume the identity of a wizard, elf, warrior and valkyrie as they hack and slash, and shoot their way past a variety of evil creatures collecting health and food along the way. The strategic alliances that a group of players can form are virtually infinite. Unfortunately that best element is missing from this game. Like the gaping hole left in the skyline after 9-11, this version of Gauntlet is an empty shell of its former self. With no multi-player it's like playing checkers with a crazy person's imaginary friend.

It's too bad that Gauntlet was gutted like an alien cow mutilation. It looks amazing and it sounds spectacular. I never thought I would see the day when Gauntlet could be replicated on a handheld gaming system. The colors, the corridors, the characters and the music are all there. The controls are even great but it's just too sad to play by your lonesome. I can't imagine anyone that hasn't played this game and hasn't played it with at least one other human. Maybe that one person would be able to enjoy what remains of this game. Surely there are some anti-social freaks out there that would shudder at the thought of sharing something with another person. In that case this game is for you. And that goes for Rampart as well, read on.

Rampart is basically divided into two gameplay elements. It blends action and strategy. The first part of the game consists of shooting the enemy's ships while the second part has you constructing castles out of the Tetris-like shapes. It's a fast paced game that is highly addictive but like Gauntlet it relies heavily on the multi-player mode which is not included with this version. It's still not a terrible game as a single-player but the replay value is reduced tremendously.

Like Gauntlet, Rampart looks and sounds great but there have been some gameplay changes. For instance, regardless of how many castles you build you will only receive two cannons, maximum. That takes away some of the incentive. Another bone of contention is that you can't surround tanks with walls to stop them. They continue firing and will eventually weaken the walls. What's up with that? Not to mention that it takes forever for the game to register where you placed a block for a wall. I had to shake the GBA for fear that it froze up on me because I was waiting for my move to register. As though shaking it would do any good. It's more or less a response to pacify my frustrated state of mind. Any wonder I've gone through four of them?

Even at the budget price of fifteen bucks, save your money and hunt down an arcade version of either games. At least you'll have a few hours worth of fun instead of an eternity of mediocrity.

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System: GBA
Dev: Destination
Pub: EC Interactive
Release: Sept 2005
Players: 1
Review by Fenix
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
2.0
GRAPHICS
3.5
CONTROL
3.0
MUSIC/FX
3.5
VALUE
2.0