Gauntlet (NES)

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North American licensed box art.

Gauntlet for the NES is a game similar to the original arcade game. It is a fantasy dungeon crawlers and shooters developed by Atari and published by Tengen for the NES in 1987 with a PlayChoice-10 version released in 1988. Unlike the arcade game which plays forever, the NES port has a rudimentary story and ending.


I own this game, but I have not beaten it. I've played nearly every level in the game, but I've never uncovered all the secret codes.


  • Overall: 4/10
  • Best Version: NES


  • The game competently takes everything that was good with the arcade version and brings it over to the NES, but creates an actual victory condition.
  • Being able to choose a character from a group of different choices is always nice in any game.
  • The various permanent power up potions are a great idea.
  • Giving each world its own look and feel was a nice design choice.
  • Basing a player's level on the amount of treasure they've collected is an interesting touch that actually makes it worthwhile to grab, unlike many games where score is unimportant.


  • In general the game gets pretty dull long before you near the ending. Many of the levels feel the same, in fact, many of them are the same, just with a different tileset.
  • Death is an obnoxious enemy. While he is sometimes cleverly kept at bay by walls and doors that you try to avoid, there are many instances where he's entirely unavoidable.
  • The illusionary walls are a over done.
  • Reflective shot is a burden to get when you're only allowed one weapon out at a time.
  • The locked chests are a good idea, but putting bad items in them like poison and death is a kick in the teeth.


  • Finding the entrance to each of the secret rooms and finding the secret exit in time is very difficult. To beat the game without cheating or hints, you're essentially forced to shoot every single wall from every map adjacent to a question mark map until you find the entrance. Then, once inside, you must find the hidden secret block and the exit within the time allotment to get the code. If you fail on any of these three things you lose any chance of finishing the game, and might as well restart. This is terrible design, and the game never should have shipped like this.

Box Art