The Gauntlet is an interdimensional hub that pulls together realms from across time and space to act as its challenges. With the wizard Morak acting as the current unwilling warden, the Gauntlet has drawn on 3 locations to guard the shards of the sword Tyrfing. With exception to the foyer of the Gauntlet proper where a mysterious Merchant has set up shop, heroes will have to brave:
Each realm is accessed by a set of numbered doorways in the hub of the Gauntlet. The Crypts are to the north, the Caves to the west and the Temple on the eastern edge of the platform. For gameplay purposes each doorway begins a chapter consisting of a set of 3 floors. Surviving all 3 in one session will unlock the next numbered doorway for that realm. Once players have passed the challenges of all 3 chapters, the 4th and final doorway of the realm will unlock where a boss battle will take place. Defeating the boss will earn a fragment of Tyrfing and unlock the first door of the next realm to be visited. In short, a total of 12 chapters (27 floors and 3 boss battles) must be overcome to win the game.
After the rework of the game the hub was transformed into a level-select screen, following a semi-linear path. Shopping is now done in the character selection screen. Beating a "storyline" level unlocks the next one down the tree. The storyline is indicated by a brown trail between the levels, while the branching parts have a grey trail between them. The boss levels are indicated by a demonic skull icon, the randomly generated levels with a square and the scripted levels with either a sword&shield for arena levels or circle for actual levels. Each level-icon is encrusted with a gem which cracks when the level is beaten.