"The Gauntlet" is a series of rooms in Crateria. They appear in Super Metroid, to the upper left of the Landing Site. It contains many challenges within it, with many ways to go through them. The area is hidden by a wall of Bomb Blocks, and can therefore be fully completed as soon as the Bomb is acquired. However, it is considerably less difficult to do this with later upgrades such as the Power Bomb, Space Jump, and Screw Attack than without.
The Gauntlet's entrance is on the upper left hand side of the Landing Site in Crateria, behind a wall that is made of Bomb Blocks. This area is considerably difficult to find without knowledge of its entrance's location, as it is behind a wall that looks completely inconspicuous, except for the fact that it is more flat than other walls in the area. All doors within the area are Blue Doors, meaning that the area is fully open once the Bomb is acquired. The first room is very "wavy" on the floor and ceilings, with the crests of the waves being pillars of Bomb Blocks that must be bombed while in midair, or destroyed with Power Bombs or the Screw Attack. Between most of the pillars are Yapping Maws, on the floors, or ceiling, and a few Wavers as well. While navigating the room, there is rising and falling scalding-hot lava that will kill Samus very quickly if she lacks the proper equipment; this type of lava is the same substance seen mostly in Ridley's Lair.
The following room still contains lava, but there is a Chozo Statue holding an Energy Tank. In front of the statue are regenerating Bomb Blocks that lead behind the statue, where there is a thin wall, this time made of Fake Blocks. Behind this wall is an area similar to the first room, with Bomb Blocks, but this time with spikes on the ceiling, limiting Samus's mobility and ability to destroy the pillars without falling into the lava. Beyond this is a more technological-looking area, with spikes on the ceiling, and only a few platforms to stand on. These platforms are slightly too short to fully protect Samus from the lava. The far wall is suspicious as there are spikes facing each other, these spikes are actually disguised Bomb Blocks, and cause no damage when touched. Behind this wall is an area with another Yapping Maw on the ceiling, and a fissure in the floor that spawns Zebs.
The final room is a large shaft that is initially explored by Samus while she is enroute to Brinstar at the start of her mission. It has multiple ledges and is made of stonework, with the floor made of technological parts. A Green Space Pirate is present on each ledge for a total of five. It leads through the left to Brinstar's elevator, and through the right to the Mysterious Statue Chamber.
The upper section of the room is the last part of the Gauntlet. While initially it appears to be a dead end, a whole crevice can be cut out by shooting the wall in front of Samus, which reveals it to be made of Fake Blocks. The X-Ray Scope, or prior knowledge is required to properly navigate this area. Beneath the piles of fake blocks are two columns of Pit Blocks; Samus must jump directly in the middle in order to break both columns and start falling through them. Halfway down, there are two Missile Tanks, one on each side and behind a wall of Fake Blocks.
Each requires their side's Pit Block column to also have been destroyed. The pit blocks above and below this area reappear, allowing little room for error. Both Missile Tanks can be collected in one go, but that usually requires precise timing and jumps. If Samus fails to collect one or both of the Missile Tanks, the entire gauntlet must be circumnavigated again in order to collect them. Below the final Pit Blocks is a small enclosed area: there are Bomb Blocks in the center of the floor, and on the walls. Both walls contain a Beetom within it, and bombing the bottom blocks will take Samus to a Morph Ball passage, with Pit Blocks on the left, and Power Bomb Blocks, on the right, each leading to the lower shaft.
- Landing Site (first room, via Blue Door)
- "Fungal slope" (third room, via Blue Door)
- "Fungal hall" (third room, via Blue Door)
- "Statue Access" (third room, via Red Hatch)
- Yapping Maws (4 in first room, 1 in second)
- 3 Wavers (first room)
- Zebs spawning from a ground fissure (second room)
- 2 Beetoms (third room, upper half)
- 5 Green Space Pirates (third room)
- Energy Tank
- In the hands of a Chozo Statue in the second room.
- Missile Tanks
- On either side of the highest part of the third room. The Spring Ball or a carefully timed bipedal jump is required to collect both Tanks at the same time.
- CRATERIA AREA D (pg. 34)
- "You'll locate the elevator to Brinstar and the entrance to Tourian in this area. You can get to the upper part of Area D without many Items or much Energy, but you probably won't get through. Wait until later to go through this part."
- A. DOUBLE YOUR MISSILE PLEASURE (pg. 34)
- "If Samus has obtained the Spring Ball, she can jump up while the Morphing Ball is activated and get into position to score both Missiles. Otherwise, getting both Missiles at once is futile."
- Footnotes (pg. 34)
- "Grab the Energy Tank and wait until the lava subsides before moving on."
- "If you have the Spring Ball, you can get both Missiles when you go through here."
- "It'll take a Power Bomb to blast down through these bricks."
- C. AVOID THE LAVA TIDES (pg. 35)
- "As you go left through this corridor, you'll find columns of bricks that block your path. It would be easy enough to just Bomb through them, but there is scalding-hot lava to contend with. Use repeated Space Jumps to avoid the lava until it subsides. If you have the Screw Attack, you can break the blocks, but otherwise, you'll have to Bomb through them."
There is an unused room within Crateria in Zero Mission that may represent a scrapped version of the Gauntlet's first room. It is a corridor with two hills that crater in the middle. The room appears to be connected to the upper left of the Landing Site in the map, which is where the Gauntlet is accessed from in Super Metroid. However, there is no door to it in the in-game Landing Site, and the doors in the unused room (a Blue Door and Green Hatch) cannot be opened.
- The presence of Lower Norfair's lava in Crateria, the surface area of Zebes, suggests that the substance reached Crateria through an opening or breach created by diverging or converging of tectonic plates in a fashion similar to a volcano.