Gauntlet: Slayer Edition

Game review by
Paul Semel, Common Sense Media
Gauntlet: Slayer Edition Game Poster Image
Fun, challenging arcade adventure with fantasy violence.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Players have to work together to survive, defeat evil.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Our heroes are brave and true, but little else known about them.

Ease of Play

Simple controls; easy to learn.

Violence

Enemies dispatched with axes, arrows, magic. A lot of bloodshed but no gore, gruesome imagery thanks to game's aerial perspective.

Sex

The male warrior is shirtless and muscled.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters can drink magical potions.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Gauntlet: Slayer Edition is an action-packed downloadable adventure game where players use might and magic to kill fantasy creatures and take their gold. It's set in a fantasy realm, and players battle a variety of supernatural creatures. They even, on occasional, drink a magical potion. But because the game has an aerial perspective set high above the action, there's no gore, while the blood that's spilled looks more cartoonish than medical. The game can be played solo, but it's meant to be played cooperatively. This not only means you can play with friends, but you can also play with people you get paired up with online, some of whom may use language that isn't family-friendly.

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What's it about?

As with so many fantasy games, GAUNTLET: SLAYER EDITION has the heroes exploring a dark dungeon, in hopes of destroying evil -- and finding lots of gold. Clearly inspired by the Conan the Barbarian stories of Robert E. Howard, the game not only lets you play as a muscular warrior but also as a wizard, an undead skeleton, and other typical fantasy characters. That's good, since your enemies include mummies, monsters, and other supernatural nasties. That said, this "good must defeat evil" story decidedly takes a backseat to the game's fast-paced arcade-style action.

Is it any good?

Though not as good as the original arcade game that inspired it, this action-oriented adventure game can be fun if you're looking for something simple but challenging. Rooted in numerous fantasy tropes, the game gives you the option to play as a Conan the Barbarian-ish hero, a warrior woman who understands the importance of playing defense as well as offense, a magically powered wizard, a bow-and-arrow-loving elf, or a skeleton who's more powerful than his lack of muscles would suggest.

Regardless of whom you chose, though, the fast-paced action is fairly straightforward, as you run from one room of a dungeon to the next, battling enemies, grabbing gold, and occasionally having to solve a puzzle or find a key that will open up the next room full of gold and ghouls. This even has many of the tenets of games that were inspired by the original Gauntlet arcade game: secret rooms, rechargeable special attacks, and numerous piles of gold that someone left lying around for some reason. This isn't to say the action is flawless -- quite the contrary. Not only does the game get a bit redundant after a while, but if you sit at a reasonable distance from your television, some of the text is hard to read, while the aerial perspective is set so high that it's sometimes hard to see what's going on. These issues aside, Gauntlet: Slayer Edition is still a fun and at times challenging game, so long as you're willing to accept that, similar to some older arcade titles, the game can be somewhat shallow and repetitive.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about working together as a team. Why is it important to work well with other people?

  • Talk about the game's literary influences. What books do you think were an inspiration to the people who made this game? Do you think they read The Lord of the Rings? The stories of Conan the Barbarian? Does playing the game make you want to read those tales?

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