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Critical Reception: Midway's Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows

This week's Critical Reception takes a look at a new rendition of an arcade classic, the Midway San Diego developed, Midway-published Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows. The ...
This week's Critical Reception takes a look at a new rendition of an arcade classic, the Midway San Diego developed, Midway-published Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows. The title is available on the Xbox and PS2, and was the subject of apparent tumult during its development, with leads John Romero and J.E. Sawyer both leaving before the title was finished. Unfortunately and aptly named, Seven Sorrows takes a pounding on the critical front, eking an average of 54% from reviewers, according to review compilation site GameTab. High on the list of complaints is the game's repetitiveness, as GameSpot's Greg Kasavin lists in his synopsis of the game's weak spots: "Repetitive hack-and-slash action lacks punch; bland level design offers no real variety; short quest can be finished in just a few hours; the four characters all play nearly identically." Yahoo! Games' Adam Pavlacka concurs with this view, reporting a litany of negative points of a similar nature while summarizing the game's poor approach to the genre: "Repetitive levels; Generic enemies; Bland attacks; Just plain button mashing." It is only IGN's Jonathan Miller who offers a more positive take on Seven Sorrows, positing: "The four characters each have very different fighting styles, each equally enjoyable in their own way." Furthermore, Miller refutes suggestions that the action is entirely repetitive, commenting that "...the large number of combos coupled with the variety of the attack styles of the four warriors make for a deep hack and slash experience, if there is such a thing." However, even he concludes that "...while there is a certain satisfaction to be had at unleashing 50-hit combos in Seven Sorrows, many people will find the game just too shallow in this day and age." While not exactly a saving grace, reviewers did allow that, at the very least, according to Yahoo!'s Pavlacka, "...going multiplayer improves the experience somewhat, but only slightly." Again, IGN's Miller gave the most positive take, commenting: "Seven Sorrows is clearly meant to be played with friends. While the single-player mode can be repetitive, multiplayer let's [sic] you team together with friends to take out enemies in different ways ... also, there is friendly competition as you race about the screen for gold and food." With such a lukewarm reception, and the original arcade version of Gauntlet available for inexpensive co-op play via Xbox Live Arcade on the Xbox 360, it seems unlikely that Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows will find much of an audience for Midway this holiday season, unless it manages to draw a niche following of hack-n-slash or classic Gauntlet fans.

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