The background story of the game is as follows:
Sumner, a good wizard, has held watch over the eight realms for countless ages. Once, while he was away from his tower, his younger brother Garm who was an evil mage, stole twelve of Sumner's thirteen runestones. It was his desire to summon a demon and to control it in an attempt to surpass his brother. Growing impatient, Garm in his overconfidence, decided that he would be powerful enough to control the demon with the the twelve runestones he had gathered.
He opened a portal to the Underworld. Skorne emerged from the open portal, and crushed Garm, imprisoning his soul in the Underworld. The demon then went on to scatter the runestones across the eight realms, and to send his armies and generals to ruin and subdue them.
Sumner arrived home to his tower and was horrified to find Skorne there, wrecking havoc in his beloved realms.
He used every ounce of his remaining powers to seal off every portal to the realms, and proceeded to do battle with the demon. Skorne was unable to defeat the mighty wizard, and fled for his life into the Desecrated Temple, shattering it's stained glass entrance so that he could not be followed. Sumner had just exhausted his vast powers in driving Skorne out of his tower, and he did not have the strength to save the realms on his own.
The game begins with a group of heroes being summoned from across the eight realms by Sumner, so that they might help him save the realms from Skorne. It is up to the player(s) to defeat Skorne's guardians, and recover the shards that will restore the entrance to the Desecrated Temple. After Defeating Skorne, and driving him into the Underworld, the player(s) must gather all the runestones in order to enter the Underworld themselves, and destroy Skorne once and for all. Once this feat is accomplished, Sumner informs the heroes that Garm has taken advantage of Skorne's defeat. He has somehow managed to absorb the dying demon's dark powers, adding them to his own, and making him more powerful than Skorne ever was. It is now up to the player to defeat the evil demon mage, and restore peace and order to the realms. This leads Sumner to declare them the "Heroes of the Realms".
Gauntlet is a combat-driven arcade RPG. Thus, there is much focus on fighting in the game. Combat takes place in the form of simple melee attacks, ranged attacks, the use of elemental magic potions, and special "turbo" attacks. Characters all have a unique turbo attack, though their basic combat is almost the same, mechanically speaking. Turbo attacks can only be used when the turbo meter has at least one bar (yellow), which creates an area effect attack. When the turbo meter is full (red) the character can perform a more powerful turbo attack, which is a massive and unstoppable projectile.
Magic potions can either be used as a radial attack, a shield that damages enemies, or thrown like a bomb so that they explode, killing enemies.
Items in Gauntlet: Dark Legacy are temporary bonus items, and they come in a very wide variety, and are noted as follows:
- Anti-Death Halo - Places a halo above the player's head, shielding them from the harmful effects of Death's attacks. Death will flee from the player character, but if they get close to him, the effects of his attacks are reversed. Red Death will add 100 health to a player, instead of removing it, and Black Death will give you experience allowing you to gain one, or even two levels at times.
- Elemental Amulets - Amulets add extra power to a character's basic attacks. They come in several different types: Fire, light, acid, and lightning.
- Elemental Breath - Magic Breaths replace character's regular attacks with a magical "breath" akin to a dragon breathing fire. These come in fire, lightning, and acid varieties.
- Gas Mask - The Gas Mask allows a player to pass safely through clouds of poison gas unharmed.
- Growth - The hero grows in both size and strength. The hero does a lot more damage, but is also easier to hit.
- Invisibility - The hero becomes temporarily invisible, allowing them to move undetected among armies of enemies. This allows for the player to avoid enemies completely, or to attack your foes without retribution.
- Invulnerability - The hero becomes completely immune to all forms of attack for a short time.
- Levitation - Allows the hero to float over spikes and other floor-based traps, as well as smaller enemies.
- Multi-Way Shot - Players can additionally pick up this little item, causing their regular attacks to fire three, or even five missiles, rather than one. They're known as either 3-way, or 5-way shots.
- Phoenix Familiar - A glowing golden bird appears over the hero's right shoulder. The bird attacks in unison with the player, spitting fireballs at foes.
- Pojo - The hero transforms into a small white chicken that spits fireballs similar to the Phoenix Familiar, and spews fire breath for their turbo attack.
- Rapid Fire - Doubles the attack rate of the hero's ranged attacks and can be stacked with amulets and multi-way shots.
- Reflective Shield - Creates a shield that deflects any ranged attack back to it's source.
- Reflective Shot - Causes the hero's ranged attack to bounce off of walls and other objects.
- Shields - These magical shield pick-ups cause a wall of either fire, or electricity to form in front of the player. This will allow players to charge through hordes of enemies, causing harm to those that it touches.
- Shrink - Shrinks all enemies, greatly lowering their defense. This has no useful effect on Death.
- Speed - Increases player's attack and movement speed, and can stack with any other item.
- Super Shot - Changes the players ranged attack into a giant golden arrow that destroys whatever it hits. There are only a few shots available though.
- Thunder Hammer - Player's weapon is replaced by a giant hammer, and all attacks with cause the hero to slam the ground causing massive area-effect damage.
- Time Stop - Completely freezes every opponent on the screen, allowing the heroes to move freely, avoiding or destroying enemies as desired.
- Turbo Boost - Immediately fills the hero's Turbo Meter to the max.
- X-Ray - Allows the character to see the contents of treasure chests before opening them. This can be particularly useful in avoiding unsavory contents.
Keys, Food and Gold
- Gold is used to buy either items or upgrades to your attributes.
- Keys are used to unlock gates and chests so as to obtain items or gain access to new areas.
- Food is an instant-use health pick-up. Fruit restores some health, while meat restores more.
Items of Legend
The Items of Legend are nine hidden items with the ability to give the player an advantage against a specific boss.
The Items of Legend:
The characters from Gauntlet: Legends make a comeback in Dark Legacy, in addition to four more starting characters, and thirteen new characters total. Each character is from one of the eight realms. before, each character has a specific specialty.
- Archer - Forest Realm. Her specialty is Speed.
- Dwarf - Ice Domain. His specialty is Strength.
- Jester - Dream World. His specialty is Speed.
- Knight - Sky Dominion. His specialty is Armor.
- Sorceress - Forsaken Province. Her specialty is Magic.
- Valkyrie - Castle Stronghold. Her specialty is Armor.
- Warrior - Mountain Kingdom. His specialty is Strength.
- Wizard - Desert Lands. His specialty is Magic.
- Falconess - Armor (Unlocked by completing the Dungeon of Torment bonus level.)
- Hyena - Speed (Unlocked by completing the Haunted House bonus level.)
- Jackal - Magic (Unlocked by completing the Temple of Magi bonus level.)
- Medusa - Magic (Unlocked by completing the Ghost Town bonus level.)
- Minotaur - Strength (Unlocked by completing the Dappet Peak bonus level.)
- Ogre - Strength (Unlocked by completing the Arctic Docks bonus level.)
- Sumner - Magic (Unlocked by completing the Battlefield Trenches bonus level. Sumner is the most powerful character in the game, starting with all of his stats maxed out.)
- Tigress - Speed (Unlocked by completing the Ancient Tree bonus level.)
- Unicorn - Armor (Unlocked by completing the Toxic Spire bonus level.)
There are total of eleven boss battles in the game. Here is a list in the order of the worlds they appear in: