Insert Disk collects Gauntlet Seven Sorrows for the PS2.
Today’s retro game review is Gauntlet Seven Sorrows for the PS2. This retro gaming classic is the focus of part 8 of the 10 part Insert-Disk Gauntlet Mini Series Where we will take a look back at Gauntlet, Gauntlet The Deeper Dungeons, Gauntlet 2, Gauntlet: The Third Encounter, Gauntlet 3, Gauntlet 4, Gauntlet Legends, Gauntlet: Dark Legacy, Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows, Gauntlet: Slayer Edition as well as a bonus look at the Gauntlet origin story in Dandy and Dark Chambers.
Welcome to the Gauntlet retrospective part 8 of 10.
Greetings collectors and welcome to today’s retro game review. It’s part 8 of this Gauntlet Mini series. Welcome to the Gauntlet! You join us at the beginning of the last Gauntlet era today, the modern era. Today we are looking at Gauntlet: The Seven Sorrows for the Sony PlayStation 2 and Microsoft Xbox. The modern era of gauntlet begins in 2005 with yet another reboot of the franchise. The Seven Sorrows looked to improve once more on the formula of its 3D predecessors. As is now standard for the series the wizard, elf, warrior, and Valkyrie all make a welcome return. Dark Legacy had been somewhat cartoon like in stylisation. Seven Sorrows looked to bring a more mature feel to the series through a much grittier aesthetic.
I have to say, you look at the cover and do think, yes, this is something that we haven’t seen before in the series. Online multiplayer and some really decent graphics. The Atari logo now nowhere to be seen although Midway adding some continuity to the franchise. Notice now we also have a PG rating here for the UK edition. This is our Parental Guidance rating. In essence there’s going to be a bit of violence and possibly some minor bad language and dark themes. Overall the physical presentation work well. There is a clear disconnect in style from the Classic and Legends eras but then again this is perhaps a reflection of the times and the platforms it was released on.
There is a plot to the game which is really well realised by several cut scenes with some decent narration. Long ago, four immortal heroes gathered to serve the emperor. The emperor wanted their immortality. His six advisors trick him into crucifying the heroes on a great tree at the bottom of the world. Shortly after killing his six advisers too. Before his death the emperor released the heroes from the tree with a mission set for them to destroy the now twisted advisors in order to regain their powers and undo all seven sorrows. The plot actually works well for an action hack and slash, its simple yet deep enough to go further than your average back story. With the returning cast of Wizard, Warrior, Elf and Valkyrie you must set about destroying the corrupt advisers. From here the classic formula kicks in, albeit in a more aesthetically pleasing way than the last gen consoles. Fight off the hordes, mash those buttons, open chests, find keys and generally run rampant against the armies of monster. Overall this reimagining is not a bad game at all.
Reviews of Seven Sorrows tend to be quite average and I can see why. There’s nothing ground-breaking here to shout about but I do feel that the back story, the decent graphics and some new additions to the combat system do make this a decent enough title. Your character has a combat skill progression system as well as their class specific skills. This then blends nicely with a rather satisfying combo system. Now, I lean to the rather purist view of what a Gauntlet game should be. However, I was pleased to say that I was won over by Seven Sorrows where quite a few other gamers weren’t. Could you remove the Gauntlet title and market this at a generic action game. Well, yes and no. The action may be 100% generic but the format of the chests, spawners, narration and sound effects do tie this one back to the classic era in a way that games such as Gauntlet Legends failed to. My verdict on this one is to give it a go, its cheap and if nothing else a well presented button basher to invest a few hours in. The PC edition was scrapped and it was clear that this was yet another short lived revival for the franchise.
2005 had appeared to once more seal the dungeon doors on the Gauntlet franchise. Seven Sorrows never saw a sequel in the same style and the game rather came and went. Meanwhile, retro game compilations including classic Gauntlet titles did arguably better as the new generation rediscovered the magic that had first fuelled our love of the series. It wouldn’t be until almost another decade passed when in 2014 we would see Gauntlet back on our monitors again. This time though things were different. Gauntlet would turn back to its core game play roots. A team of developers known as Arrow Head Game Studios would ask the question… if Gauntlet had been made today, what would it look like?
Join me in the next episode as we look at the last entry in the modern era of Gauntlet games. Gauntlet: Slayer Edition.
The quest continues…