Gauntlet (c64) – with speech?

Thanks to Obi-Wandi, we learn that there was potentially an earlier edition of Gauntlet on the C64, which featured “easily comprehensible speech synthesis”.

This was according to Happy Computer magazine and in their review of the Amstrad edition of the game.

Could any of those involved in the C64 conversion confirm this? Sadly Bob Armour does not answer any retro related enquiries, so its unlikely we will find out (he’s also most likely sitting on a copy of Murder! too). Would be interesting though to learn if the reviewers got things correct :)

Thanks to Ross Sillifant, it seems the best person to answer things will be a chap called Bill Allen. Is there an earlier edition waiting to be found??

So far it seems Tony Porter from a Conversion Capers article in Retro Gamer Magazine issue 23 (Thanks Ross!) has confirmed that the speech sounded terrible and took up too much space, so it was dropped. We can still check with Bill Allen if there is still a version somewhere with the speech included.

Here is a gallery of articles mentioning the speech, thanks to Ross for sourcing!

23 Responses to Gauntlet (c64) – with speech?

  1. You’ll notice in the C.U feature Bill’s qoute about the speech being better than Slo Flight etc is regarding the Coin-Op, NOT any planned C64 speech.

    C+VG just miss-quoted him. He does say he planned to try and fit some speech in, IF there was any memory left over.

    So there we have it, examples of UK Press miss-quoting, making things up (re:7800 version) etc.This is why it pays to go the multiple sources route.

    • It’s something where these days if we specify a fact from the press, we say that they reported it.. not that it was actually true. I suspect though in the past I have certainly taken press releases as gospel in my earlier days of GTW :)

  2. (To be said in Gauntlet Speech style-ee…)

    ‘Frank Gasking now has……..The 5-page C.U feature on Gauntlet with quotes from Allen, Armour etc talking about C64 version…to be added here’

    Just forwarded them over.

    Kinda rounds off the press coverage rather nicely i thought.

  3. Maybe Bill was over-streched/required elsewhere and Ben D. brought in to get music done for a deadline? or maybe Ben simply THE man they wanted, Bill left to handle Sound FX etc?.

    Just forwarded over the Zero scan featuring details of Sega MS conversion and THAT false claim Bob Armour was to head up Atari 7800 Gauntlet.

    Be great to have everything in 1 place here :-)

  4. Just forwarded over to Frank another (gasp :-0 ) 2 Page article on 8 Bit team behind Gauntlet.

    Details sound system etc used by Bill Allen (in charge of music and Sond FX on all 8 Bit versions), Bob Armour in charge of converting game to A8 and C64 and explains comprimises made to A8 version and what was choosen over what.

    More Gauntlet scans to follow if your lucky :-)

    • I wonder what happened, as Ben Daglish ended up doing the music. Maybe Ben was given the task after they failed to get the Speech working nicely.

  5. Dear Obi-Wandi:You are far far too kind (i’m really not worthy, lol). Frank and many others i’m sure could tell you i do tend to be like a dog with a bone, when i get my teeth into looking into possible lost games.

    Has’nt always made me popular :-).News that Jaguar CD Tomb Raider screens were fakes and Edge knew it, or..that Jeff Minter had never started on any Lynx projects, let alone Ultra Star Raiders or the on-going saga with Jaguar CD Creature Shock (never got beyond test coding routines it seems) etc etc…you can be sure i’ll exhaust all avenues open to me, including contacting multiple sources, putting up old magazine scans etc.

    Anything and everything i find, is shared here/Unseen64/Classic Console Mag/Atari Age Forum/Grumpy Old Gamers/ST Gamer Magazine etc.

    Still a few barks left in this old dog yet :-)

  6. @Grinder:I’ve tried contacting the very people who wrote magazine articles that ‘suggested’ games were either seen running at a trade show (Adam Caveman on Atari 400/800) or were headed to a platform (Claims Gremlin’s Technocop headed to Atari 7800)….and never heard a word back from either, but then given the amount of years passed…doubted they’d of been of much help, info.probably passed on from PR release or cough…’created’ to fill an article space.

  7. You could contact Heinrich Lenhardt and/or Boris Schneider-Johne as these two guys are the editors behind the review of the Amstrad-Version in the “Happy Computer”.

    Both are nice chaps and founded the the german “Spieleveteranen”-podcast. Boris ist inactive but Heinrich is still in charge.

    • I suspect though they’ve probably forgotten completely about details that specific unfortunately. You should see the bemused comments I get back from some of the writers from the likes of Zzap/Commodore Format when I asked them about the likes of review copies of Murder! or Daffy Duck :)

      • I unterstand. But especially Boris is well known for his very good memory and is open minded to the retro community.

  8. Behold the answers we seek:

    Tony Porter:

    ‘None of the Z80 or C64 versions retained speech.I’m afraid to say that while it was’nt beyond those machines in principal, in practice it sounded awful and took up a huge amount of room-it just was’nt practical.Latter the Master system and Atari ST versions were able to keep the sounds, but these were much more capable machines’

    SOURCE:Conversion Capers:Gauntlet/Retro Gamer Magazine issue 23.

    Case closed?.

    • Dear Ross, this gets more exciting with every post you make, truly excellent work and thank you for your kind words!

      It’s interesting how, as a RetroGamer subscriber of many years, I’ve forgotten about this key piece of evidence that Gremlin had indeed dabbled in the merits of speech synthesis. Great, circumspect research Ross, you clearly don’t leave a single pixel unturned; note how pre-release hype turned actually “awful” speech samples into “easily comprehensible” ones during the 1980ies.

      Now I agree with Frank that this should whet our appetites even more: what dungeon (or cardboard box languishing in an attic) harbours the (hopefully uncorruputed) disks with the “awful” sounding, speech-enabled ZX and C64 demos?

      To quote a famous wizard from a game involving a gauntlet: “Obi-Wandi needs speech…badly.”

  9. Just dug out and emailed over to Frank the 2-page interview/feature C+VG did with ST coders of Gauntlet, as they talk of how the original planned 45K of sampled speech etc had to be reduced to 20K, thought it’d make a nice pages already up.

  10. Many thanks for the kind words Obi-Wandi+Frank, it’s team-work at it’s best here :-).

    I’ve been sat on those C+VG scans (and actual physical pages) for years, but was’nt sure wether to mention it, as C+VG been very ‘off’ on claims before (ie Gremlins plans for the 7800) and UK Press had been happy to make up claims regarding what likes of Bob Armour, Jogn Croudy etc were doing next, info just plucked out of thin air or made up it seems.

    The C+VG scans do at least give us a new name to try and track down and put questions to.

    Without Obi-Wandi’s superb find though, none of this would have started.

  11. Great work, Ross, thank you very much! It appears you have uncovered the source Boris Schneider and Heinrich Lenhardt quoted in their Happy Computer review of Gauntlet’s Amstrad/CPC version.

    It does seem plausible that Gremlin tested a level or two with speech inserted at some point. Perhaps Atari Games would in the end only allow the arcade game’s speech samples to be used in the Atari ST conversion of Gauntlet, so that their 16-bit machine would get a landmark, pixel-perfect Gauntlet version. Having the C64 warbling happily away for many months before the ST version’s release would’ve thoroughly diminished the sensation of hearing the arcade audio on the 16-bitter.

    Gauntlet would indeed play a key role in promoting the ST’s “arcade-grade” qualities alongside Metrocross, Xevious and Road Runner.

  12. Just forwarded over the 3-page ‘feature’ on Home conversions of Gauntlet and yes, there IS talk of speech:

    ‘…but it will have the speech, better than Solo Flight or Kennedy Approach’.

    So clearly it seemed to of been planned.

    No point chasing Bob Armour about it either, Bill Allen was ‘The Sounds Man’ so it’s he who’d have the answers.

    • Thanks Ross! Added the scans, great to see there could be something more to find for sure. Will try and find Bill!

  13. :-) I believe we’ve ‘chatted’ about this over email before Frank, but C+VG’s feature on the Gauntlet team (Armour etc) years back, did i seem to recal talk of hope to include at least some speech from the coin-op, IF they had the memory avaiable on the C64 version.

    So either the press miss-quoted (not uncommon) or perhaps got wind of an early few levels complete-type version which did have speech, but it was cut for final version.

    Pity Bob’s not keen on replies these days though.Still, what he has shared previousily has been nice info, which included likes of Zero/ACE etc getting it wrong that he was working on 7800 Gauntlet, so it would’nt be the 1st time his name has been linked to a rather confused Gauntlet claim.

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