Run The Gauntlet
Copyright/Publisher: Ocean, Music By: Jonathan Dunn,
Release Year: 1989, Number Of Players: 1 to 4
Martin Shaw hasn't really come a long way since his days as Doyle in The Professionals, has he?
In the 70s, starring in shows where he gets blown up and stuff like that; in the 80s, starring
in shows where other people get blown up and things like that.
And if you haven't seen it, that's exactly what happens in the telly show on which
Run The Gauntlet is based. The show goes like this. You, as head of one of four international
teams, must run the gauntlet of a range of physically and mentally exhausting trials.
These tests consist of a lot of jumping into high-powered land and water vehicles - hovercraft,
jet-bikes, Supercats (you know, those big truck things with the six tractor wheels, like they used
to have on Blake's Seven).
Not that you can get away with simply steering round a course under petrol-power. Nope - yoo've
gotta use your legs too, 'cos the ultimate killer in this physical ability contest is The Wall.
This has you running through mud and all sorts of other wet, sticky, smelly, nasty things and
then, just when you think you can't waggle the joystick another step, gets you to scale a 20-odd
foot rope wall all the way to the top!
Isn't Martin Shaw soooo hard! Running around with a microphone, while those poor people run
themselves into a cardiac arrest on the course! There hasn't been oodles of time spent on
graphical niceties in Run The Gauntlet.
That's not to say that they're no good. Nosiree - it's just that they're very... erm...
workmanlike, which I suppose reflects the game's style. All the different sprites move around
in quite a realistic way - I particularly liked the spray coming out of the back of the boats.
Action is fast and hectic, with the opposition forever on your back, spurring you on. It's also
HARD! Especially The Hill, which is a real joystick smasher! If you like your action mean, nippy
and well 'aard, get Run The Gauntlet - it's even got Martin Shaw on the title screen!!!
I've always fancied a ride on a moon-buggy. All that bumping around and getting sprayed with loads
of mud - whoarr! Yeah well, you don't get any mud in this version but you do get loads of
gameplay. Once you've got used to the control methof you can go really wild roaring round
the tracks and the water courses.
Admittedly, the graphics aren't that great but the animation, especially on the jeeps, is
pretty smooth. In fact, apart from the wall section (I can't really get excited about a load
of joystick waggle), the whole thing reminds me of the sort of game you play with your toy cars
or boats on courses in the sandpit when you're a kid.
It may not look all that good from the outside but it's really great when you're the one
in the charge.
This is great on the telly, because it's got so much action - and that same fast pace has
transferred well to the computer version. Run The Gauntlet works because there's a lot of
different things to do - hovercraft races, jet-skiing, bombing about in moonbuggies and racing
along muddy tracks - you begin to feel knackered just playing it!
Cosmetically, the game is on the average side, with sprites ranging from big and chunky to
small and dainty, but they're all animated well. There are some nice tunes which make up for the
low-key effects but I didn't like the multiload that much - you're constantly having to rewind
and forward the cassette to find the section you need. Other than that, Run The Gauntlet (on
both 64 and Amiga versions) is find by me.