Gauntlet preview: dungeon party

80s dungeon crawling classic Gauntlet is coming back this summer with a new game developed by Arrowhead, best known for their work on Magicka. Like the original, the update features four characters: the Elf, the Valkyrie, the Wizard, and the Warrior. The group must set out to clear dungeons from evil monsters, from skeletons to fire-spitting demons to death itself. Along the way, they'll use their various weapons to solve puzzles and break open objects to collect loot, which they can use to resurrect themselves once their life has run out.

Someone isn't too thrilled with your visit

During our hands-on demo, the team had to work together to make its way through a locked portion of the dungeon, fending off a horde of enemies while collecting the necessary item to activate a switch. Only with two coordinating switches activated could a bigger door be opened, leading to the next level. Of course, each of the four characters has strengths and weaknesses. The Elf is rather weak when it comes to melee combat, but can strike well from a distance. The Wizard doesn't do much in terms of brute strength, but can unleash a number of spells to hit enemies quickly. As for the Valkyrie and Warrior, they're excellent when it comes to melee-based combat, but obviously don't have distance attacks. All of these characters have special techniques that can be used sporadically, like the Elf's rebound shots and the Warrior's quick spinning attack, which can clear out an area effectively. These take time to recharge, but they're worth using when you're trying to protect your allies. Just remember: don't shoot the food. It's just as vulnerable here as it was in the original Atari games. Fans of the original will be familiar with Arrowhead's update. Like in Magicka, the game balances co-op and competitive play, requiring workmanship to defeat the enemy forces, while encouraging roughhousing when fighting for food. For the demo, friendly fire was turned off, but the producer informed us that the final game would have the option to turn it on--something that's likely to lead to some unintentionally hilarious moments. Along with the atmospheric lighting and level design, the update also adds boss battles that will test your team to its limits. At the conclusion of the demo, a large mummy-like figure arose from his throne, yelling out vigorously before the screen faded to black. While Gauntlet would be a good fit for consoles, it's currently a PC-only release. By keeping true to its original design, the Gauntlet demo was an entertaining good-hearted dungeon crawl. Well, good-hearted until someone shoots the steak dinner.