Gladiator is not just a type of person that fights for mass entertainment, not just the name of a movie that won five awards at the 2001 Oscars, but also the name of an arcade game release by Taito in 1986 in the US and Europe. It can also be found as a bootleg under the name "Golden Castle", and in Japan under the name "Ougon No Siro".
The game is an early example of the beat-em-up genre, in which you control the valiant armoured warrior "Guaranos". You battle a series of computer-controlled enemies in one-on-one contests interspersed with side-scrolling "obstacle course" stages in which you dodge flying knives and so forth. The controls use three buttons to make high, middle, and low attacks with your sword, while the joystick allows you to position your shield at one of these three positions.
There are a number of secrets in the game.
* During an obstacle course stage, rapidly moving the joystick up and down (to move the shield up and down) generates a temporary force field. This can only be done once per level.
* During a combat stage Guaranos can gain temporary invulnerability. To do this block at least four knives with the shield during the previous obstacle course stage and pick the knives up off the ground. This makes your sword red during the next combat stage. Hit your opponent's shield several times in a row to gain the invulnerability (you will start to flash golden).
* The game seems to have a bug with the green axe knight on the third level. After while it freezes and stops defending itself, allowing you to kill it easily.
The most striking feature of the game is the crappy graphics. Despite using standard resolution, the background and sprite figures seem overly pixelated. Also the sprites are poorly animated.
Additionally, like most early beat-em-up games, the controls are kludgey and frustrating. Yet despite this, like most early beat-em-up games, Gladiator has an strange "must beat this game" type of attraction.