The final part in the Gauntlet trilogy (on the Commodore 64 at least) was to be an isometric affair, owing more to Pacmania and 3D Ant Attack then the previous overhead offerings that were converted by Gremlin Graphics for U.S. Gold.
The game features some awesome graphics by both Martin Holland and Hadyn Dalton, including some incredible character selection screens. The scrolling is relatively smooth, and the game is pretty good overall.
The music is fantastic, and was created by Tim and Geoff Follin. The two tunes present are in the same league as the awesome Ghouls and Ghosts tunes that Tim produced a few years before.
The game was due for release in the Summer of 1991 after some well received reviews from the press. The game apparently suffered massive delays when the programmer fell ill and U.S. Gold couldn’t get the game off the development system and onto cassette tape.
Due to the delays, Gauntlet 3 was to be eventually released onto the Kixx label, but unfortunately this never happened either, as they could just not get the game onto tape format. Disk? Not a problem though. It strangely seemed to mirror the issues that were had with Murder!, another well known GTW title.
Martin Howarth however contacted GTW briefly many years ago and clarified that he did not suffer a breakdown of any sort (which had been originally the rumour for the game’s unreleased status). Martin confirmed that he was actually made redundant by Software Creations, and after that point, Software Creations had problems trying to master the game onto tape from Martin’s source code.
Martin didn’t move onto any other platforms after this, and sadly got left behind. After a break from programming, Martin got back into it, and now works at BarCrest. It is hoped that Martin will shed some more light about the development of the game and issues at the time in the near future.
There is also however the remarkable story that Gauntlet 3 did actually sneak out in a very short supply and only on disk. This was believed to be specially for those who were signed up to the U.S. Gold software club. A few of us luckily have a copy, including Mat Allen and the webmaster (though missing disk 2). A copy is also in the procession of someone which is still sealed, and copies still occasionally surface online for obscene amounts of money. It is likely through one of these copies that the game was cracked and leaked back in the day.
So thankfully you can all still play it, though its not friendly with all emulators, so be warned. The original disk images have also been added to the download for posterity, thanks to Jazzcat. Additionally if you want to see the game ending, then check it out at C64 endings.
A lovely finale that you can all thankfully play, but one which you will struggle to find a fully packaged release.
Contributions: Martin Holland, Martin Howarth, Ian Osbourne, Mat Allen, Quapil, Jazzcat, Andrew Fisher, Ross Sillifant, Correcthor
Martin Howarth speaks about work on Gauntlet 3…
“My son was looking on your web site early and commented on your reply, about me becoming ill this being the reason Gauntlet was never finished.
The truth being I was made redundant from Software Creations around about 94, Never moved over to the other platforms so got left behind. They then found problems Transferring the game to tape.
With regards to your questions, It was always fun working on any of my games. also spent a lot of time messing. Ask Haydyn what he did to my arm, if he can remember I still have the scar. It was always fun back then but we got the work done.
Its good to look back, I contacted Martin Holland through Friends Reunited, and was very surprised to here he’d pass away, to be honest I read your site twice. Its good to see people respected his work so much, I worked with him for about 3-4 years and found him to be a very pleasant person to work with.
What Martin could do with the C64 was amazing”
- 10/03/20 – Tidied up piece due to some terrible spelling issues and just poorly written when originally done.
- 29/12/16 – Scan added thanks to Ross Sillifant