American Gladiators for the NES was released by Incredible Technologies in 1991 and published by GameTek. It is an exclusive North American release for the system.
American Gladiators is based on the the competition television program of the same name, which ran from 1989 to 1996.
The series’ main purpose is to match a cast of amateur athletes against each other. The show feature a variety of agility and strength events. There were also a group of costumed athletes, the titular gladiator and people who were hired by the show itself, that try to prevent them to get to the top.
During the height of its popularity, GameTek got the right of the television series and produced a video game that goes by the same name. The game was created for the NES, Super NES, Sega Genesis, Amiga, Atari ST and MS-DOS.
You play as an unnamed male gladiator, that must go through 5 physical games in order to get higher in the rank. You play these games four times in a row, getting more and more difficult. Then, a sixth physical game serve as the final level of the game and is played only once.
In Joust, you jump over the platform, trying to not fall to your doom. Once you get close to one of the four gladiators, the platform rise up and the goal is to fight against him and push him out of the platform in order to continue. Once the fourth gladiator is defeated, you win this physical game.
Human Cannonball is a variation of the Joust game. Instead of fighting the gladiator directly, you must leap over him at a precise moment. If you fail, either you fall to your down or the gladiator counter it. After you leap on four gladiators, you win.
In the Wall, you need to go through a wall full of handholds and footholds and climb to the top. They are made obstacles, as well as a group of female gladiators that will try to stop you. You win the game once you get at the end of the obstacles course.
In Assault. You run through a vertically scrolling area, fighting against an armed gladiator that can shoot projectiles at you. You must avoid obstacles and grab power up to attack him. After three hits, or sixth in later difficulty level, you will defeat him and win this challenge.
The last regular physical game is Powerball. In this game, you run through a vertically scrolling arena, trying to grab power balls and place them in the designated five holes of the arena. Although simple, three gladiators roam the arena trying to prevent you to do a perfect session.
After clearing the four levels (each with a set of these 5 physical games), you play the final physical game named Eliminator. In this, you need to go around beams, jumps around platforms and deals with floating treadmill while avoiding medicine ball. Precise jumping is needed to avoid falling down the arena. There is also a section where you must use a handbook device. After clearing this physical game, you have beaten the game.
American Gladiators playthrough
The playthrough use the only version of American Gladiators that exist, which is the USA version. The goal is to clear all four increasingly difficult level as well as the final physical game without getting hit or fail once.
A secondary objective was to get the power up in the Joust and Human Cannonball event and get the extra life you can get in each session of Powerball. Scoring high is important, but was not a priority since it is impossible to overflow the score in it even if you lose all player’s life to gain extra points.