I never got to play the original Gauntlet. I arrived on the arcade scene just as the Street Fighter 2 craze was kicking in and Gauntlet was already a memory. My first brush with multi-player action actually came in the mammoth 8-player monster, X-Men. That was my Gauntlet. Sure it was a quarter-eater, but it offered the kind of gameplay that was totally new to me and I loved it. Ever since, I've played some of the best multi-players in both the arcades and the consoles and, amazingly, never even heard of Gauntlet. It wasn't until Atari Games announced their intentions to develop the game for Midway that (although over a decade late) I learned about it and could get my hands on the fabled Gauntlet franchise.
What impressed me the most about Legends was that it has an old car comfort, but with a new car smell. Legends has all the "old-school" button-mashing, destroying-everything-on-the-screen gameplay but now it comes with flashy 64-bit graphics, loud sounds, huge bosses, and over-the-top spells and special effects. Playing Legends was like being back in those smoke-filled arcades without the being exposed to lethal amounts of second-hand smoke and drunken businessmen. I can never know exactly what it was like to play the original Gauntlet back in the day, but thanks to Legends I am able to get some idea of it. It's excellent multi-player action at its most basic and most addictive level.
Disclaimer: This review is based on the Nintendo 64 version of the game.