Gameplay is split between two modes; in the "obstacle" mode, Guaranos walks forward, and the player must use the sword and shield to defend him from bats, fireballs, arrows, shuriken, and other flying hazards. The "obstacle" mode is broken up by a "fight" mode, in which Guaranos must fight against another, similarly-armored knight. In both modes, an un-defended hit to Guaranos knocks off part of his armor (his helmet for a high hit, his breastplate for a medium hit, and his leggings for a low hit), and a subsequent hit to the same area kills him.
Your warrior "Guaranos" can generate a temporary force field during the obstacle course phases (when weapons and bats fly at him) by rapidly moving the shield up and down. This can only be done once per level. During the combat phases, Guaranos can become invincible (flashing golden) for a short time. To do this, you must gather 4 swords in the obstacle course phase by striking them and then bending to pick them up from the floor. This will turn your sword red. Then, during the combat phase, strike the opponent's shield several times. After the invinciblity has ended, Guaranos' armor will be repaired also. This can only be done once per level.
On the third level during the obstacle course, Guaranos can jump up onto the railing behind him and avoid all the flying weapons. To do this, press and hold the shield up when there is a break in the railing.
Shurikens thrown during the obstacle course (level 1) are worth bonus points if they are struck just after they appear, as opposed to when they circle back towards Guaranos.
Most enemy warriors will stop fighting and "jump for joy" when they remove your chest plate. You can defeat a difficult enemy by letting him remove your chestplate, and then strike him twice in the same spot while he's dancing.
The third green axe knight on the third level will often freeze up (cease moving) after some time. If you are having trouble beating him, stay out of range and strike at his weapon and shield until this happens. You may then attack without the knight attacking or defending.
Some enemies swords may be broken, rendering them helpless. Simply strike the weapons about 25 times to break them. The following enemies weapons can be broken.. (Stage 1) Solon, Irene (Stage 2) Zaid, White Armored Giant
You can pick up the mace of the White Armored Giant in stage 2. The mace has a much stronger attack than the sword, but cannot break other weapons.
The game is also notable because the main character's sprite is half the height of the screen, which is much larger than the sprites in most arcade games released at the time.
Gladiator consists of 4 Stages. The first level is the 'Underground Chamber', 2nd is the 'Brick Corridor', 3rd is the 'Roof Top' stage, and the 4th stage is called the 'Mysterious 4-D World'. Your reward for completing the game is to enter the "Treasure Place".
In the Second stage your first fight is with Zaid. Zaid is armed with a sword and Spiked Shield. You fight Zaid 3 times before facing Zenon. Zenon fights with a stronger weapon; a Mace. He also has a spiked shield. The final battle for the 2nd stage is with the "Amazon Archer"; a projectile opponent that shoots arrows.
For the Third stage your first opponent is the "Green Knight". The "Green Knight" fights with a standard Shield and the stronger Axe. You fight him 3 times before facing the "Red Knight". This opponent fights with a shield and Mace. The final opponent for the 3rd Stage is Agathon. He fights with 2 extending swords. But only one is used for attacking while the other is used to guard. For a shield -this cannot be broken. But the sword he uses is the easiest weapon to break in the game (provided you have the sword only). If you have any other weapon (i.e. the 'mace') you cannot break it and will have to move in close for the kill.
The fourth and final stage you are met by the Gold Knight 'Gaius'. He has a nearly unbreakable sword (although it is possible to break it) and a standard shield. After defeating his mortal form he arises as a skeleton armed with the same sword but this time bearing a spiked shield.
Character Descriptions from the game are as follows:
Solon: A Sword Man. A Blockhead Fencer! (Stage 1)
Irene: Woman Soldier. A Mighty Lady. (Stage 1)
Zaid: A Club Giant. A Big Good for Nothing Fellow. (Stage 2)
Agathon: Two Swords Man. A Clumsy Fighter. (Stage 3)
The following Characters have been named from Flyers and the Operators Manual.
Zenon (Stage 2), and Gaius (Stage 4). Also in the Operators manual there is a character named "Princess Maitreya" but there is no 'Princess' to save in the game. However, there does appear to be a 'statue' of a woman in the "Treasure Place" at the end of the game. This could be her. Character names such as "Red Demon", "Amazon Archer", "Green Knight" and "Red Knight" are only TITLES and their true names are not verified.
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