When someone hears the name Gauntlet, they expect a fun enduring 200+ level game. Gauntlet was one of the most popular multiplayer arcade role-playing game's of all time, and is still in all kinds of locations (movie theatres, pizza parlors and the like). Epyx's Gauntlet: The Third Encounter is not that game by any means -- although it may be a limitation of being a portable game -- it only boasts 40 pretty short levels and limited play. When ever an enemy touches you it disappears instantly making for quite an easy experience, just stand still and press fire and you will beat any level in no time. When Atari bought the rights for the Lynx they needed to have a hard hitting title, and Time Quest and Treasure Chests seemed to be close enough to slap the Gauntlet name on it.
Being one of the first Lynx titles, it offers quite a few unique features and capabilities, such as ComLynx -- where three other players can hook into the same game with their Lynx to play multiplayer. It also shows off the Lynx's 3D capabilities with the Zoom Window, which will show enemies and items close to you in a 3D view, allowing you to see more detailed monsters. Another unique aspect of this game is the 90 degree viewing angle, requiring you to turn your lynx on its side in order to play, giving the game a more arcade feel. But with all these cool features comes consequences, such as very limited viewing on the small portable screen.
Characters come in a wide variety, such as the original Wizard and Valkyrie. New characters consist of Samurai, Gunfighter, Pirate, Android, Punk Rocker, and ... Nerd! Each character has their own strengths and weaknesses in terms of speed and ammo (even the nerd). While playing through the levels you will encounter Spiders, Ghosts, Scorpions, and even Huge Frogs (oh my). They all pretty much act and die in the same manor and cause little to no damage to your character. In the case that you need to heal you will have to collect food, which will be required even if you avoid all contact with enemies as your life will naturally decrease as time runs out.
Just as the NES Metal Gear 2: Snakes Revenge has nothing to do with the MSX2 Metal Gear 2, Gauntlet III: Third Encounter has nothing to do with its counterpart on the PC. Once you get bored of the same repetitive action and finish off the game, you will quickly realize that this game has no replay value what so ever. A random monster generator or anything random exists in this game. Everything is the same as the first time you went through it, and will all ways be that way. RPG's before this have had the monster generator capabilities, so there is no excuse why this game is way to easy.