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 NOTICE: Free-Net users may search for a specific game review by pressing "/"
 at the end of a page followed by the game title name.
 
         Robert Jung, the maintainer of the Lynx Frequently Asked Questions
 (FAQ) list, has reviewed every game available for the Atari Lynx. (He
 generally gets his reviews out within a day or two of a game's release in
 the States). So that people could have a nice, handy reference to the Lynx.
 Kevin Dangoor bundled these reviews into one file in alphabetical order and
 made them available to every Lynx enthusiast. Unfortunately Kevin has moved
 on to better things (better than a Lynx??? ;-)) and has passed the torch on
 to yours truly. The FAQ, these reviews, and the Lynx Cheat files now reside 
 at the anonymous ftp site: ftp.mantis.co.uk in /pub/uploads. Special thanks 
 should be extended to Mathew for maintaining the ftp site and mail server. 
 
         -- Peter Hvezda
            (Internet e-mail: phvezda@wilma.pnfi.forestry.ca)
 
 P.S. You can reach Rob Jung through Internet e-mail at: rjung@netcom.com
 
 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Rating values  10 - 8   Great! A value at the regular price.
                7 - 5    Good. Buy if you're interested or if it's discounted.
                4 - 2    Poor. For die-hards only.
                1        Ick. Shoot it, please.
 
 [APB]=========================================================================
 
                                     A.P.B.
 
 1 player, horizontal game
 Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $39.95
 
 OVERVIEW:
   Meet Officer Bob. He just graduated the other day from the Police Academy,
 and is now ready to serve and protect. It's not an easy assignment; his
 sergeant is a real hothead, and the slightest mistakes will get Bob into
 trouble. Still, if Bob works hard and plays it straight,  he may someday make
 chief. But that's in the future; Bob has to go to work now -- after he gets a
 donut. Preferably chocolate.
 
   A.P.B. for the Atari Lynx is an adaptation of the cartoony arcade game of
 the same name. You play Officer Bob, who patrols the big city in his squad
 car. Every day, you must catch criminals big and small, while avoiding demerits
 for actions unbecoming an officer. If you get too many demerits, you are fired
 (rather painfully, too), though you can erase demerits by hard work. Along your
 career, you will have chances to earn extra rewards, upgrade your patrol gear,
 and maybe someday make the big catch.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
   Fans of the arcade A.P.B. will be pleased with the Lynx adaptation, as all
 of the whimsy and almost all of the original features are translated intact.
 At the start of each day, you are given a quota of traffic violators, from
 litterbugs to speeders, to arrest. On certain days, an A.P.B. (all-point
 bulletin) of an especially dangerous criminal is issued; capturing this suspect
 is worth more points. Failure to either arrest the A.P.B. or meet your quota
 will bring the sergeant's wrath, and earn more demerits.
 
   The actual patrol takes place on a vast overhead city map that scrolls in
 360 degrees. Violators submit easily and can be ticketed by pointing your
 crosshairs and sounding the siren, but the criminals will put up a fight, and
 require a chase to take down. Between arrests, you must keep your car filled
 with gas, grab donuts for more time, and look for various bonuses. Hints and
 tips will periodically scroll across the screen, giving warnings, game advice,
 or what mistake you just performed. In all, there is a total of about 30+
 levels to play, which keeps this game fresh for a long time.
 
   There are a few flaws with the game, however. First, button "B" is used as
 the accelerator; this means there is no fine speed control, and makes using the
 siren (button "A") while driving tricky. Second, the arcade bonus sequence,
 where you take a captured A.P.B. criminal and try to extract a confession, has
 been removed. Finally, the Lynx version is more sensitive to collisions than
 the arcade. If you are moving and touch another car when the siren is off, that
 counts as a demerit against you, regardless of which driver is at fault. While
 these problems are mostly minor, they do detract from the game somewhat.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
   The sights and sound of A.P.B. are very well done and entertaining. The
 graphics, while not always identical to the arcade versions, are distinctive,
 detailed, and appropriately silly. The 360-degree scrolling is very smooth, and
 even the cartoon sequences remain intact. Sounds are equally impressive; the
 music is identical to the arcade, while car honks and other sounds are
 realistically rendered. Then there are all the digitized voices, slightly
 scratchy, but very well done: cries for help, complaints from arrested
 violators, and the sergeant's incomprehensible mumbling when he congratulates
 you on a day well done.
 
 SUMMARY:
   A.P.B. on the Lynx is a decent adaptation of the original game, and offers
 a refreshing variety to video gaming. The gameplay is fair, and is enhanced
 by some very appropriate and entertaining sound and graphics. For people hooked
 on the arcade title, and players interested in a slightly silly change of pace,
 Officer Bob is waiting with a box of donuts.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        8
                 GRAPHICS:        9
                 SOUND:           9
                 OVERALL:         8.5
 
 [AWE]=========================================================================
 
                                   AWESOME GOLF
 
 1-4 players, horizontal game
 Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $29.95
 Stereo? No
 
 OVERVIEW:
     Forget those 5:00am tee-offs, with AWESOME GOLF you can now play the links
 on the Lynx. This is a fully loaded golf game, offering three courses filled
 with obstacles, and enough challenge to keep you busy. Chipper the chipmunk
 will be your caddy and scorekeeper, so pick your club, and please replace your
 divots.
 
     You can play on one of three imaginary courses, for a 9-hole or an 18-hole
 game. Up to four players can ComLynx together, practice on individual holes,
 or work on a driving range. Each hole beings with an overhead map, where you
 can aim your shot as well as scroll and zoom as desired. Fourteen clubs are
 available: three woods, eight irons, two wedges, and a putter. Finally, you
 take swing, hopefully staying on the fairway and avoiding the hazards.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     AWESOME GOLF is a straight, no-nonsense implementation of the game, with
 many features and game options. A game can feature three different wind
 levels, while the properties of terrain and the slope of the green must be
 kept in mind. Distances to the hole are always available, and each club's
 range, usage, and effect on the ball are accurately duplicated. Strokes are
 done with a power bar using three button presses: The first press starts the
 swing, the second press sets the strength, and the third press determines hook
 and slice. Finally, you can select the clothing, race and sex of your video
 duffer, though the only major effect is that women golfers tee off closer to
 the hole.
 
     There's not much else to be said -- AWESOME GOLF plays golf, and plays it
 well. As in real golf, the key to winning is a good strategy and a good
 technique. The game is helpful without being pandering; players can set
 individual handicaps, hints on clubs and aim are available to beginners, and
 the driving range reports statistics on your swing. The only gripe is with the
 multiplayer option. You must ComLynx to play against other people, though the
 game could have been designed to support multiple players on one Lynx. It's a
 trivial point, but one worth mentioning.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     Graphics on AWESOME GOLF are a combination of detailed realism and light
 humor. Shots are seen from behind your player, and the ball's flight is viewed
 from overhead, all done with quality animation, detailed backgrounds, and
 smooth scrolling and scaling. Finally, cartoon stills highlight events such as
 bogeys, penalties, and birdies. On the sound side, AWESOME GOLF is fairly
 quiet, using short chimes to indicate selections and decisions. To spice
 things up, Chipper's high-pitched voice is peppered throughout, congratulating
 good strokes, laughing at blunders, and making remarks everywhere.
 
 SUMMARY:
     Between CHECKERED FLAG and AWESOME GOLF, the Lynx is shaping up to be a
 serious video sports system. This game captures the intricacies of the sport,
 while offering enough extras to enhance its appeal, though playing with
 friends can be a hassle. If golf is your game, AWESOME GOLF should not be
 missed.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        9
                 GRAPHICS:        9
                 SOUND:           9
                 OVERALL:         9
 
 [BAS]======================================================================
 
                                 BASEBALL HEROES
 
 1-2 players, horizontal game
 Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $39.95
 Stereo? No
 
 OVERVIEW:
     With Atari finally increasing the number of sports titles for their Lynx
 game system, the only real question was how long it'd take for them to release
 a baseball title. Now there's BASEBALL HEROES, a portable video version of the
 American pastime. One or two coaches pick from four fictitious teams, each
 with 20 players (two in each position and four pitchers) rated in various
 attributes. Before a game, you select a team, assemble a squad of nine men,
 and arrange a batting order. They then take to the field, trying to score the
 most runs possible in nine innings. A single exhibition game is possible, or
 you can play a multiple-game "Final League" challenge. Between games, practice
 in batting and fielding is available with the "Home Run Derby" and "Three
 Flies Out" games.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     This is one of the more ambitious Lynx sports games out now; BASEBALL
 HEROES tries some new ideas and to push the boundaries of portable gaming, and
 partially succeeds. The ability to select your players and adjust the lineup
 is welcome, but you must decide carefully, since there's no way to change
 either once the game starts. A wide variety of views are used, according to
 the situation: behind the batter, behind the pitcher, three-quarters overhead,
 directly overhead, and from the outfield fence, giving this game a real "you
 are there" feeling.
 
     The actual gameplay is respectable: infield players cover each other, and
 dives and jumps for the ball are fully supported. Batters can swing high and
 low, inside and out, while pitchers can steer the four stock pitches for
 variety. Common baseball rules and events are supported, including beaning the
 batter and wild pitches. The computer opponent is challenging but not
 completely perfect, leaving some opportunities for crafty players to exploit.
 
     BASEBALL HEROES is not without problems, however. The worst offender is
 the fielding, which starts with an overhead view, then switches to a "behind
 the outfielder" angle on the ball's descent. This makes judging the ball's
 location difficult, and requires lots of practice to master. Also, some of
 the controls are a little quirky, such as using the same button to throw and
 jump, and the slow swing times of the batters. There's nothing that makes the
 game unplayable, but they do detract a bit.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     The graphics on BASEBALL HEROES are simply delightful. There's great use
 of animation, including little details like the umpire hunching down for each
 pitch. The batter and pitcher views feature gigantic characters that fill the
 screen, while the fielding scenes use small but manageable players running
 about. Even the player selection and lineup sequences are entertaining, with
 "trading cards" used to select and rearrange your team members, and fanciful
 logos for each team.
 
     The only music in the game comes from the title theme and a few simple
 tunes. The remaining sounds consist largely of digitized effects of caught
 balls, the crack of the bat, and the umpire's calls. Though the umpire's
 "strike!" is unrecognizable, and the crowd falls silent too quickly, the sound
 effects are fine overall.
 
 SUMMARY:
     BASEBALL HEROES is a very good translation of the sport, though not a
 perfect game. It has a few rough spots that will try some people, but for the
 most part this is a quality title and a showcase game for the Lynx.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        8
                 GRAPHICS:        9
                 SOUND:           8
                 OVERALL:         8
 
 [BAK]========================================================================
 
                                   BASKETBRAWL
 
 1-2 players, horizontal game
 Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $39.95
 Stereo? No
 
 OVERVIEW:
     For some reason, combining basketball with violence is a popular video
 game trend -- look at ARCH RIVALS, BILL LAIMBEER'S COMBAT BASKETBALL, or
 PUNKSHOT. Now there's BASKETBRAWL, a Lynx version of the Atari 7800 title,
 with a very similar theme. You pick your character from a fixed pool of
 players, each rated according to skills and health. You then play against the
 other team, trying to score more points before the six-minute clock runs out.
 
     Aside from this, anything goes. Players must fight, stab, and mutilate
 their opponents for the ball, while spectators attack anyone who get too
 close. Weapons and power-up icons appear on the field, giving temporary
 benefits such as speed or renewed health. Your ultimate goal is to beat five
 other local gangs and win the championship. A password allows you to continue
 from a later point, while two players can ComLynx together for a team-up
 against the town.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     Sadly, when BASKETBRAWL took away the rules, it also took away the fun.
 The problem is that neither the brawling nor the basketball aspects of this
 game are done well. Shooting consists of jabbing Button A and praying the ball
 goes in. Fight moves are limited, aiming attacks is difficult, and weapon
 effects have little variety. Defense is nonexistent; you can't block shots or
 passes, steal the ball, or resist enemy attacks. The basketball action is
 constantly disrupted by fights, and fight fans have to stop and score points
 to keep the game going.
 
     The overall pace is frantic and confusing. You play three times against
 each team, first with one opponent and working up to three. Two spectators
 enter the field and attack players for no reason, and a third throws knives at
 everyone. The control buttons are used to attack, kick, shoot, and throw,
 depending on who has possession. But it's difficult to tell when you have the
 ball, and you may throw it away when you were planning to attack. In the end,
 there's a lot of frenzied button-pressing but very little satisfaction.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     Sights and sounds in BASKETBRAWL do little to enhance its appeal. While
 backgrounds are sufficiently detailed, the main game graphics are simple,
 crude, and poorly animated. Throw in a very choppy side-to-side scrolling, and
 game looks like a relic from the Atari 2600. The title theme music is very
 catchy, but the other game sounds are primitive and dull.
 
 SUMMARY:
     BASKETBRAWL takes an idea loaded with potential, then removes most of the
 excitement by combining weak sports action and weak combat action. The only
 thing to do is to wait a while longer for an authentic basketball game; Lynx
 owners may be eager for sports titles, but they're not desperate.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        4
                 GRAPHICS:        4
                 SOUND:           5
                 OVERALL:         4
 
 [BAT]========================================================================
 
                                  BATMAN RETURNS
 
 1 player, horizontal game
 Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $44.95
 Stereo? No
 
 OVERVIEW:
     Yes, Bruce Wayne's back, in this Lynx license of the 1992 hot summer movie
 with Keaton, Pfeiffer, and DeVito. Catwoman and the Penguin have formed an
 alliance, and their plan is to defame Batman and place themselves in political
 power. Now Batman must save both the town and his reputation, while bringing
 in his opponents for their punishment.
 
     Closely mirroring the movie's plot, BATMAN RETURNS makes you the defender
 of Gotham City, as you run, jump, and fight through four scrolling levels.
 Your enemies are a motley crew of thugs, police, and penguins, while you fight
 back with Batarangs, acid vials, and your fists. Even with battle armor,
 Batman is a frail creature with limited health; if he takes too much damage,
 the game ends.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     As the description implies, BATMAN RETURNS is an action-arcade game in the
 traditional run/jump style. You have a limited amount of Batarangs and acid
 vials, though icons throughout the game give more equipment and health. While
 the general location of enemies is fixed, their actions and appearances are
 not, making patterns impossible.
 
     This is a hard game, as the deck is clearly stacked against the player.
 You have one life, no continues, and no passwords to defeat a seemingly
 endless number of opponents and their various attacks. Though four levels
 might not sound like much, each level is dozens of screens large, and the high
 difficulty of this game will make finishing the first stage a major
 accomplishment.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     The graphics on BATMAN RETURNS can do no wrong. Gotham City on the Lynx
 perfectly captures the unique architecture and moody atmosphere of the movie.
 The enemies are distinctive and easily identified, and Batman's acrobatic
 flips and cape-flapping jumps are among the best effects ever on a Lynx. A
 pulsating theme music plays in the background, while the majority of game
 sounds are recognizable but not noteworthy.
 
 SUMMARY:
     BATMAN RETURNS is a respectable action game, and the Lynx version would be
 equally enjoyable on any other platform. It offers solid action and a serious
 challenge wrapped up in a hot license, making a package that's guaranteed to
 sell more Lynxes.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        8
                 GRAPHICS:        9
                 SOUND:           6.5
                 OVERALL:         8
 
 [BAL]========================================================================
 
                                  BATTLEWHEELS
 
 1-6 players, horizontal game
 Beyond Games, for the Atari Lynx
 $39.95
 Stereo? Yes
 
 
 OVERVIEW:
     Even before Mel Gibson slipped behind the wheel as Mad Max, the blend of
 cars and weapons has always appealed to action fans who dream of combining
 speed and power. The newest electronic incarnation of this genre is
 BATTLEWHEELS, the first title by new Lynx developer Beyond Games. One to six
 players drive armed cars, competing against computer drones and each other to
 be the sole survivor. Most of the action takes place from a first-person
 perspective, though you can change views, check vehicle damage, and locate
 opponents on radar. A round ends when one driver remains, and the first player
 to get a specified number of kills wins the game.
 
     Various options are available both before and during a fight. Selections
 include seven levels of computer expertise, sixteen arenas, player colors and
 images, while multiplayer games also allow team formation. You can use
 pregenerated cars for quick playing, or build your own with rules for weight,
 cost, and weapons placement. In the arena, weapons and tactics range from
 paint sprayers and missile launchers to sideswipe and hit-and-run. You can
 even leave your car and fight on foot, either to escape an explosion or pick
 up prizes left behind.
 
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     The basic premise of BATTLEWHEELS demands action, and the game delivers it
 in spades. A typical round may last no more than five minutes, but each second
 is filled with fast, frantic combat. There are few opportunities to rest, and
 ensuring your survival is a full-time task. The computer is not an unbeatable
 juggernaut who overwhelms the player; rather, drones operate on their own, and
 will often attack each other as much as you. Beginners will naturally find the
 game a bit confusing due to the numerous actions available, but can soon
 overcome this with practice.
 
     Beyond Games recruited hundreds of playtesters, and it shows. Everything
 about this game screams quality and care. Controls are responsive and natural,
 allowing quick changes of weapons, views, and displays while fighting in the
 heat of battle. The driver's view includes indicators for speed and heading,
 ammunition remaining, armor and engine alerts, and direction of enemy attacks,
 all without inducing clutter. The option selection and car building phases
 are equally user-friendly, and handicapping is available to keep multiplayer
 games balanced.
 
     BATTLEWHEELS can be played on many levels. The use of prepared cars allows
 for quick games, while the custom mode allows more planning along with the
 task of managing a budget. Options are significant, and winning tactics change
 depending on the conditions chosen. Another appeal to the game is the level of
 detail and realism present. For instance, you can't leave your car if the door
 is blocked, but once outside, you can run, dive, shoot back, and commandeer
 other cars. This level of depth permeates everything, and enhances the fun.
 
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     The graphics on BATTLEWHEELS perfectly capture the spirit of the game. 
 Images are drawn appropriately, mixing gritty views with clear and concise
 displays. Sprites are distinctive and scaling is used extensively, though
 things never become too blocky. Extra touches round out the visuals, such as
 the drivers' assorted expressions and the garbage-pelting crowd at the end.
 
     While the sounds do not set any new trends on the Lynx, they are done well
 and used appropriately. A few tunes play between duels, but the roar of the
 engines and bursts of weapons fire sharply punctuate combat. Sounds and alerts
 are unique, which helps attentive players to follow the action, and stereo is
 used during the fights to convey the location of enemies.
 
 
 SUMMARY:
     Beyond Games has hit the Lynx community in a big way, as BATTLEWHEELS is a
 high-quality title that promises plenty and delivers it all. It is, quite
 frankly, the best implementation of the "Car Wars" idea I've ever seen on any
 computer or video game console. The design allows for fast play without
 compromising complexity, and the graphics and sound effects are as hot as the
 action. Whether solo or with friends, electronic road warriors should get this
 explosive card immediately!
 
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        9.5
                 GRAPHICS:        9
                 SOUND:           9
                 OVERALL:         9.5
 
 [BIL]========================================================================
 
                       BILL AND TED'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE
 
 1-2 players, horizontal game
 Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $39.95
 
 OVERVIEW:
     Who says Death doesn't bear grudges? In retaliation for getting "Melvined"
 in the second movie, the Grim Reaper has kidnapped Bill and Ted's girlfriends/
 wives/better halves, the Princess Babes. The ladies were smart, though; during
 their abduction, they scattered sheet music from the band's latest song along
 the path. Now the two guitarists from San Dimas must follow this musical trail
 through time and space, and carry out a rescue before the next Wyld Stallyns
 concert.
 
     BILL AND TED'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE on the Atari Lynx is really a
 combination action/adventure game. As either Bill or Ted, you must follow the
 time trail in your interdimensional phone booth. Each area is a maze-like
 scrolling landscape, viewed from an overhead perspective, and protected by
 roaming creatures. Your basic goal is to collect enough musical notes, which
 reveals more pages of the phone book, which enables you to travel to other
 eras. Along the way, you will find objects and meet assorted historic
 figures, who ask for favors. Help them, and they return your generosity with
 further aid. For more fun, two players can ComLynx together and go traveling
 together.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     It is the adventure portions of BILL AND TED'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE where
 the game shines. Many of the puzzles must be solved by taking an item from one
 time period and using it in another. Furthermore, time paradoxes are possible
 and must be avoided. For example, if you find a note to yourself that a later
 version of you has written, you must be sure to go and leave that note, in an
 earlier time period, later in the game, for you to find in the future (get
 it?). The puzzles are robust and challenging, and solutions rely on finding
 the right object for the right situation.
 
     Like the movies themselves, this Lynx adventure emphasizes silly fun and
 non-violence. The guys do not carry weapons, but can subdue certain enemies by
 playing the right musical instruments. Similarly, Bill and Ted can never die.
 If you are caught by a creature, you are sent back to an earlier position, no
 worse for wear. The only problem is that the game can occasionally become
 tedious. In tight spots, you may need several tries to get pass the random
 monsters. Since the game can take a long time to finish, a detailed password
 system is offered. Unlike other Lynx games, this is a true game save feature,
 encoding your current score, location, and inventory.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     The sights and sounds are serviceable, but not much more. Game graphics
 are done in a recognizable, cartoony style, with a moderate number of
 animation. There is also good use of color and detail, especially the subtle
 changes in the same lands across different eras. Sounds are not really needed,
 but the ones present are basic. Background rock music plays according to your
 current time period, but if they become irritating, you can shut them off with
 the Option 2 button.
 
 SUMMARY:
     How you feel about the Bill and Ted movies should not be a factor, as this
 game is an enjoyable package. It has a fair amount of action with lots of
 rock-solid puzzle solving, and the addition of time travel offers even more
 gaming potential. Though the sound and graphics are not extraordinary, in the
 end BILL AND TED'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE earns its name.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        8.5
                 GRAPHICS:        8
                 SOUND:           6
                 OVERALL:         8
 
 [BLO]======================================================================
 
                                    BLOCKOUT
 
 1 player, horizontal game
 Atari Corp. for the Atari Lynx
 $34.95
 
 OVERVIEW:
   Based on the original computer game by California Dreams, BLOCKOUT for
 the Atari Lynx is clearly inspired by TETRIS. As in TETRIS, the object is to
 rotate and position oddly-shaped blocks into a pit, dropping them so that
 the pieces interlock. When a level is filled, the blocks in it are removed,
 giving more space for more pieces. The longer the game lasts, the faster
 pieces fall, until there's no room left to maneuver.
 
   BLOCKOUT differs from TETRIS, though, by using all three dimensions.
 Pieces can be rotated around all three axes, the pit can be of variable
 size and depth, and the pieces can come in very strange shapes. Naturally,
 all these features add to the complexity and challenge.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
   As in the original BLOCKOUT, emphasis is placed on gameplay over frills.
 The game screen is non-nonsense, showing the pit, its contents, and the
 current piece to be placed. A level indicator color-matches the layers in
 the pit, and shows the depth of the current piece. Your score, the high
 score for the current setup, the game settings and difficulty are also
 shown. Points are scored based on the shape of the pieces and the height
 they're dropped from.
 
   BLOCKOUT is very friendly and playable, one of those games that takes
 30 seconds to learn and a long time to put down. The only hitch is in the
 controls; X and Y rotations can be done in any direction, but Z rotations
 can only be counterclockwise. Still, this is a minor nuisance, and the game
 is still fun regardless.
 
   Several options let you customize the game. The pit size and rotation
 speed of the pieces are selectable, and sounds can be toggled. Blocks can be
 either flat, simple 3D, or a manic extended collection. Finally, you can
 start playing from any of 10 speeds, though the longer you play, the faster
 it gets. A practice mode, game demo and controls screen makes learning
 painless.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
   Graphics in BLOCKOUT are appealing, though minimal. The colors and
 graphics are distinctive enough to let you know what's happening at a
 glance, and watching the wire-frame pieces rotate is nice. Except for a
 little music between games, the sound may as well be turned off.
 
 SUMMARY:
   This is a nice, addictive, no-nonsense strategy game. Without any
 patterns to memorize and several options to choose from, BLOCKOUT will keep
 its freshness for quite some time. If you thought TETRIS was too simple,
 give this title a try.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        8.5
                 GRAPHICS:        7.5
                 SOUND:           7
                 OVERALL:         8
 
 [BLU]======================================================================
 
                                  BLUE LIGHTNING
 
 1 player, horizontal game
 Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $34.95
 Stereo? No
 
 OVERVIEW:
     You just can't help yourself. Even in the midst of war, with the enemy's
 overwhelming air power, with the Air Force's best pilots gunned down like
 ducks, you just can't resist the urge to goof off whenever you take to the
 air. But now Central Command gets its revenge: the Blue Lightning, an advanced
 fighter jet, has been developed to the experimental design stage. The top
 brass needs it, but doesn't want to risk the lives of their remaining
 competent pilots. Guess who's deemed expendable enough to field-test a flying
 prototype in the heat of battle?
 
     Witty storyline aside, BLUE LIGHTNING for the Atari Lynx is a first-person
 air combat game in the AFTERBURNER tradition. The action is seen from directly
 behind your plane as it dives and banks through nine missions. Barrel rolls
 can be used to dodge enemy attacks, and a ten-second afterburner burst
 provides extra speed. The Lightning is equipped with forty missiles and an
 unlimited supply of cannon fire, which are used to attack enemy jets and
 targets. A password for each stage allows you to start at later levels, and
 the game ends when you finish the ninth mission or use up all six lives. The
 only danger comes from collisions -- crash into a tree, a canyon wall, or an
 incoming missile, and kiss another life goodbye.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     BLUE LIGHTNING strikes a perfect balance between respectable difficulty
 and reasonable gameplay. The action does not go at supersonic speeds, but
 proceeds at a brisk pace, and the result is that you never feel "cheated" from
 being destroyed by something too fast to be seen or overwhelmed with inhuman
 odds. The terrain and the placement of the enemy are somewhat random, which
 prevents the game from being solved by pattern development. The game starts
 off easy enough, but adds more threats at a gradual rate, and you're drawn
 completely into the action before long.
 
     If there is a flaw, it's that the missions are not varied enough, as many
 of the levels involve destroying various ground targets. To compensate, most
 stages add extra rules to complicate matters -- For example, level 4 requires
 you to destroy tanks while travelling through a twisty canyon, and you cannot
 go high enough to fly over the rock walls. There are also a few minor nits:
 the aim of the guns feels a little off, and enemy missiles can go through the
 terrain, but these are easily adapted to and do not hamper the gameplay.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     One major contribution to the appeal of BLUE LIGHTNING is the game's
 graphics: There's a lot of incredibly diverse stuff moving on-screen at once.
 >From the flight crew that preps the plane to the sheer number of terrain and
 targets to see, the game graphics never feel dull. Especially impressive are
 the dancing paths of the enemy's manta-like fighters and the graceful arcs
 left by the vapor trails of the missiles. The Lynx's sprite engine is heavily
 used, with specks on the horizon growing into hills and mesas, and flat lands
 rendered with realistic disappearing perspectives.
 
     There aren't a lot of different game sounds, but each one is properly
 suited to its situation. The most persistent noise is the roar of the jet
 engines, which is punctuated by cannon fire, flying missiles, the warning beep
 of incoming attacks, and lots of explosions.
 
 SUMMARY:
     It's very refreshing to see a game that's a challenge without resorting to
 tricks or gimmicks. Success or failure in BLUE LIGHTNING is completely based
 on the player's skill, and the game is recommended for all action players.
 Though the levels could use a little more variety, the user-friendly gameplay
 and the sensational graphics make this title a blue-ribbon winner.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        9
                 GRAPHICS:        10
                 SOUND:           7
                 OVERALL:         9
 
 [CAL]======================================================================
 
                                 CALIFORNIA GAMES
 
 1-4 players, horizontal game
 Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $34.95 (free with Lynx Deluxe package)
 Stereo? No
 
 OVERVIEW:
     So you want fun in the sun without the hassles of zinc oxide, crowded
 beaches, and the risk of skin cancer? Well, the Surgeon General has certified
 CALIFORNIA GAMES for the Atari Lynx as a completely safe way to get your sand-
 coated jollies. This is an adaptation of the Epyx home computer game, and
 allows one to four players to compete in a number of "sport" contests for
 points and bragging rights.
 
     (Sidebar: The instruction manual says that CALIFORNIA GAMES only allows
 for 1 or 2 players. ComLynxing three or four players is possible, but tricky
 -- don't give up if it doesn't work initially)
 
     There are four events in CALIFORNIA GAMES. The BMX bike race is a run
 through a hilly, obstacle-infested course as fast as possible. Surfing lets
 you hit the waves, doing stunts like riding the tube or 360-degree spins
 before running out of time. Similarly, halfpipe skateboarding gives you a time
 limit to try and perform as many handplants and aerial turns as possible.
 Finally, you can play with the footbag, which consists of keeping a small
 beanbag airborne using only your feet -- style counts.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     CALIFORNIA GAMES is a card for beginning video players. The individual
 games are fun at first, but all of them are fairly easy, and most dedicated
 gamers will master them in a short period of time. This is especially
 noticeable when playing by yourself, and the game soon becomes an exercise in
 "can I beat my previous score?". More contests would have helped, as well as
 options to adjust the difficulty or a "tournament" consisting of all events.
 
     There's nothing wrong with CALIFORNIA GAMES; there's just not much to
 recommend, either. Playing with other people makes it more enjoyable -- the
 competition is head-to-head, and you must adjust your strategies for opponents
 who are trying to trip you, run you over, or crash into your latest stunt.
 This is good for some cheap laughs, but the lack of real depth in the gameplay
 keeps it from retaining any permanent appeal.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     The sound and graphics in CALIFORNIA GAMES are a good indication of what
 the Lynx is capable of. Color, hue, and animation are used well throughout,
 providing realistic-looking backgrounds and characters. The scrolling is
 smooth, and there are a few graphic treats, like the semi-transparent tube in
 Surfing, and the camera zoom in/zoom out on the Halfpipe.
 
     Sounds are also commendable, with quality music and noises everywhere.
 Each game has its own, distinctive soundtrack, and the title theme music is
 suitably bouncy. Similarly, sound effects are appropriately used, each one
 properly coordinated for the current on-screen action.
 
 SUMMARY:
     It's understandable why Atari includes CALIFORNIA GAMES in the deluxe Lynx
 packages: It's easy, varied, non-violent (have to placate worried parents,
 you know), looks and sounds well, and ComLynxable. However, with only four
 basic games available, most players will want a tougher challenge soon enough.
 If you don't already own CALIFORNIA GAMES, you may want to consider a
 different title.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        4.5
                 GRAPHICS:        8
                 SOUND:           8
                 OVERALL:         6
 
 [CHE]======================================================================
 
                                 CHECKERED FLAG
 
 1-6 players, horizontal game
 Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $39.95
 Stereo? Yes
 
 OVERVIEW:
     It's time to strap on the helmets and head for the tracks; as the name
 implies, CHECKERED FLAG presents auto racing on the Atari Lynx. The class is
 Indy racing, with the ground-hugging racers that symbolize breakneck speed.
 The usual elements are all here: cars to pass, curves to negotiate, and
 roadside obstacles to avoid, all while trying to be the first across the
 finish line. Option settings allow you to configure the game as desired, and
 up to six Lynxes can be connected for a real challenge.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     CHECKERED FLAG is an absolute joy to play! While the game offers nothing
 that hasn't been done before, it implements and integrates all of its elements
 effectively. There are no bonus items, pit stops, weapons, or auto design to
 complicate matters; rather, the emphasis is on pure driving skills at high
 speeds. Even though the promised track editor has been left out, the end
 result is an extremely fun card that captures the thrills of the sport.
 
     The action is viewed from directly behind your car. A course map, race
 information, speedometer, tachometer, and rear-view mirrors are always
 visible. Controls include acceleration, brakes, gearshift, and steering, all
 of which feel properly responsive. The computer opponents are fairly
 straightforward, though they manage to stay on the road better, and will try
 to pass you whenever possible. Hitting another car or an obstacle may result
 in a crash or a spinout, which costs speed and time. Take too many hits and
 you might even lose your mirrors.
 
     To make things even more interesting, the game offers numerous options.
 There are 18 tracks to race on, from the slightly curvy to the very difficult.
 You can drive for practice, run a single race, or go for an eight-race
 tournament, and your car can be equipped with one of three different
 transmissions. Up to ten human and computer racers can compete, and starting
 positions can be set randomly or by a qualifying lap. For an extra touch, you
 can also choose the color of your car and the gender of your driver.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     CHECKERED FLAG's images are among the best on the Lynx. From cars to
 obstacles, all of the graphics are elegant and highly detailed. The sense of
 speed is very convincing, with the Lynx's hardware scaling used to make
 everything fly by smoothly. Race information is clearly visible without being
 obstructive, and other game screens are equally attractive.
 
     There are not a lot of different sounds in the game, but they are used
 well. Engine whines alert you to change gears, tires squeal on tight turns,
 and the stereo roar of other cars remind you of pass attempts. Then there are
 the little extras, like the flagman's digitized voice announcing the start of
 the race and the musical scores between races.
 
 SUMMARY:
     This is a high-performance title that does nothing but pure video racing,
 and does it extremely well. Crammed with exciting gameplay, fast action,
 options galore, hot sound and graphics, and true multiplayer challenge,
 CHECKERED FLAG is absolutely terrific!
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        10
                 GRAPHICS:        10
                 SOUND:           8.5
                 OVERALL:         10
 
 [CHI]======================================================================
 
                                 CHIP'S CHALLENGE
 
 1 player, horizontal game
 Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $34.95
 Stereo? No
 
 OVERVIEW:
     Meet Chip. Chip is a nerd. Chip has a problem with women (natch).
 
     Meet Melinda. Melinda is a nerdette. A good-looking nerdette, though.
 
     Melinda has a problem. Melinda needs a date. Chip wants to take Melinda.
 Melinda is not impressed. Can Chip prove himself?
 
     Chip can try "The Challenge". Mazes. Blocks. Computer chips. Buttons.
 Switches. Time limits. Thieves. Keys. Doors. Traps. Force fields. Fireballs.
 Water hazards. Fire hazards. Ice hazards. Chip-eating creatures. LOTS of
 creatures.
 
     Will Chip do it?
 
     "Sure, Melinda!"
 
     See why Chip has a problem with women?
 
     Welcome to CHIP'S CHALLENGE, the brain-straining strategy game for the
 Atari Lynx. From a scrolling overhead view, you control Chip as he tries to
 survive 144 levels filled with all sorts of dangers. The object is to find
 the exit of each level and escape before time expires. Complications include
 deadly monsters and hazards, as well as a number of computer chips that must
 be found before you can reach the exit. Naturally, each level is a puzzle;
 only by properly moving blocks, pushing buttons, building bridges, and
 avoiding dangers can Chip get his date.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     CHIP'S CHALLENGE is one of the most innovative strategy games ever
 released for any system. Unlike some puzzle games, this title offers a wide
 range of tasks to perform and goals to reach, and all of the puzzles are
 carefully crafted to be uniquely challenging. The main objective is escape,
 but the subtasks needed to accomplish this varies widely, and it's impossible
 to find a universal strategy. Some levels require doing things in a certain
 sequence, or repeating one motion many times over. Others have lots of
 possibilites but only one answer, and still others require precise timing and
 fast movement. Most levels emphasize sharp thinking over arcade action, so
 players not blessed with lightning-fast reflexes will not be too intimidated.
 
     Another thing worth mentioning is the high degree of friendliness
 in this game. Chip has an unlimited number of lives, so you can redo a level
 as often as needed until you solve it. If you fail too often, the game will
 let you skip the current level if desired, and a password for each level
 allows you to start there in future games. Best of all, the first eight
 challenges are tutorials, summarizing what must be done to solve it, and
 introducing new creatures and objects at a controlled pace.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     Puzzle games generally don't need flashy sound and graphics, but CHIP'S
 CHALLENGE doesn't skimp on special effects. Game visuals are small but
 distinctive, allowing you to see a wide area while identifying everything at a
 glance. Animation is used fairly well, and the multidirectional scrolling is
 flawless. Sounds are equally well-done, with distinct effects used for
 everything that can happen. Even if something happens off-screen, the sound
 cues help you to keep track of everything happening on the current stage.
 Finally, several "electronic" soundtracks play during the game, though they
 can be turned off if needed.
 
 SUMMARY:
     The Lynx was originally designed for fast arcade-action games, but there's
 no reason why it can't expand its range. With a lot of variety, a lot of
 difficulty, a lot of originality, and a lot of ol'-fashioned craftsmanship,
 CHIP'S CHALLENGE is a quality title and recommended for players of all kinds.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        9
                 GRAPHICS:        8
                 SOUND:           8
                 OVERALL:         8.5
 
 [CRY]======================================================================
 
                                 CRYSTAL MINES II
 
 1 player, horizontal game
 Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $34.95
 Stereo? No
 
 OVERVIEW:
     What do you get when you cross DIG DUG with CHIP'S CHALLENGE? The answer
 is CRYSTAL MINES II, the latest puzzle/strategy game for the Atari Lynx, and a
 sequel to Color Dream's original puzzle game for the Nintendo Entertainment
 System. You control a mining robot whose objective is to gather precious gems
 from a series of underground caverns. You must do this while avoiding falling
 rocks, wandering monsters, radioactivity, lava, and the dwindling time limit.
 
     The robot is equipped with a digging laser and dynamite, which can be used
 to fight creatures and create caverns.  Meet the gem quota for a level, and
 you must next find the exit to travel to another, more complex cavern. Some
 caverns offer more advanced challenges, such as gravity-altering switches and
 item-changing pipes. The game offers 150 regular levels and 31 hidden levels,
 ensuring lots of challenge.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     One of the best aspect of CRYSTAL MINES II is the diversity of game
 elements, which all interact in consistently complex ways. Rocks, dirt, and
 creatures can be explosive, indestructible, or easily disposed. Temporary
 enhancements are available for use, such as a long-range laser, a map of the
 current level, or protective shielding.  Gathering more valuable gems can help
 you meet the level's quota faster; other game elements can help or hinder your
 progress, depending on how you use them.
 
     The game elements all interact in a consistent manner, and a lot of the
 time is spent learning how they interact with you and with each other. A big
 reason for this is the instruction booklet (yes, the booklets are back) -- It
 is deliberately general, teaching only the most basic elements of gameplay and
 leaving the rest for the player to explore and discover. To make this easier,
 you have an unlimited number of robots, and each level has a four-letter
 password to let you play there in future games. Even better, if you take too
 many tries to finish a level, the game will offer to skip it.
 
     Though CRYSTAL MINES II is clearly a strategy title, it places a bit more
 emphasis on good reflexes than other games of this genre. This is neither good
 nor bad; how much you will enjoy this title depends mainly on what combination
 of strategy and action you prefer. Completing a cavern relies on figuring out
 how to use the features of that level to uncover gems and equipment, stop
 pursuing enemies, and avoid robot-destroying dangers. Aside from the first few
 introductory stages, the levels are very challenging and not easily solved.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     The sights and sound of CRYSTAL MINES II are simply functional, and no
 more. The main game graphics are drawn with grid-oriented components, with
 little or no animation. On the other hand, game features with similar
 properties are drawn similarly, making it easier to predict how they will
 react. Similarly, music and sounds are all very basic. Most of the noise comes
 from the title theme, which plays throughout the game, though it can be
 toggled off with Option 2. Other game sounds are generic, though distinctive
 from each other.
 
 SUMMARY:
     CRYSTAL MINES II borrows a lot from earlier puzzle games, especially
 BOULDER DASH and CHIP'S CHALLENGE, and produces a decent challenge to both the
 mind and the reflexes. Though it won't win any awards for special effects, the
 large number of demanding levels and the wide array of game elements make
 this a respectable title for any strategy game player.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        9
                 GRAPHICS:        6
                 SOUND:           5
                 OVERALL:         7.5
 
 [DES]==========================================================================
 
                                    DESERT STRIKE
 
 1 player, horizontal game
 Telegames, for the Atari Lynx
 $39.95
 Stereo? No
 
 
 OVERVIEW:
     It is a scenario torn from the pages of recent history.  The megalomanical
 leader of a Middle Eastern country threatens his neighbors with war, conquest,
 and poison gas.  Spies and diplomats have been captured and tortured, which
 prompts the United States to respond.  As one of the Army's top helicopter
 pilots, you and your co-pilot must fly into this dangerous zone, completing a
 series of missions to right the wrongs and neutralize the threat.
 
     Thus begins DESERT STRIKE on the Atari Lynx, Telegames' adaptation of the
 strategy/action game from Electronic Arts.  There are four campaigns in all,
 each consisting of a number of missions.  From a three-quarters overhead view,
 you fly your Apache into enemy territory, destroying targets, rescuing
 innocents, and looking for supplies.  The player starts each campaign with
 three lives; if all lives are lost before the missions are completed, the
 campaign is restarted.  Passwords at the end of each campaign saves the game.
 Do you have the reflexes and military mind required to stop the madman?
 
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     DESERT STRIKE on the Lynx retains the challenge and depth of the original
 Sega Genesis game.  Unlike STEEL TALONS, this is not a simulation; the Apache
 is restrained to two dimensions, and the emphasis is on playing rather than
 flying.  Armchair pilots must manage supplies of ammunition, fuel, and armor,
 while planning attacks to outmaneuver and outshoot the enemy forces.  The
 campaigns are significantly distinctive, and each is more challenging than the
 last. The missions themselves are fairly diverse, with the placement of enemy
 forces demanding different stratagems for each.
 
     There is no way to directly set game difficulty, though the choice of a
 co-pilot/gunner has an effect on performance.  Even so, the game is more than
 reasonable, starting off at a moderate pace that slowly builds throughout the
 missions and campaigns.  Controls are simple, with the joypad used to fly, the
 A, B, and OPTION 2 buttons to fire, and PAUSE to bring up the mission status
 screen.  The only kink here is that the helicopter moves a little slower than
 desired, but most players will readily adapt after a few minutes.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     A respectable job has been done to fit the original DESERT STRIKE graphics
 on the Lynx screen.  Most items are animated and instantly recognizable,
 though the soldiers need scrutiny to distinguish friend from foe.
 Unfortunately, the desert terrain is drawn with colors that range from dull
 brown to garish orange.  They do not contrast well with the other colors and
 makes playing the game a bit straining.  Sound effects are merely functional
 and little more, consisting mostly of generic explosions and simple pops.
 Several tunes play between campaigns and between games, but there is nothing
 truly noteworthy.
 
 
 SUMMARY:
     DESERT STRIKE on the Lynx is a very faithful adaptation, offering a rich
 mix of strategy and action that ensures many hours of satisfying fun.  While
 the graphics and sounds could be refined some more, this card is still highly
 recommended for its diverse and complex gameplay.
 
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        9
                 GRAPHICS:        8
                 SOUND:           6.5
                 OVERALL:         8
 
 [DIN]========================================================================
 
                                   DINOLYMPICS
 
 1 player, horizontal game
 Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $34.95
 Stereo? No
 
 
 OVERVIEW:
     While Creation versus Evolution is a constant battle in schools, it is not
 a debate in video games. Cavemen and dinosaurs have long been a staple, simply
 because divine intervention is not half as much fun as hairy guys and big
 lizards. Joining this fray is DINOLYMPICS for the Atari Lynx, a puzzle game
 known as HUMANS on other computer and game systems. Each of the 25 levels is a
 collection of platforms, objects, and obstacles. The idea is to reach a goal
 before time runs out. By working together and using objects, the tribesmen can
 jump chasms, climb obstacles, kill dinosaurs, and other tasks. In dire
 situations, the witch doctor can be summoned to exchange a tribe member for an
 object. The game ends when time runs out on a level or all of the tribe is
 lost, and passwords allow players to skip earlier levels.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     For some reason, a lot of people think of DINOLYMPICS (and HUMANS, I may
 add) as a derivative of LEMMINGS. I don't see it, myself. Instead, this card
 reminds me more of THE LOST VIKINGS, GOBLIINS, or the old GOONIES video game.
 The first few stages are simple, but it soons gets to a point where finishing
 a level requires careful coordination of two or more cavemen and assorted
 objects. Most levels are fairly complex, including unobvious solutions and red
 herrings to waste time. The simple controls allow you to select actions and
 tribesmen, as well as get a large map of the entire level.
 
     Even so, this game requires a good dose of tolerance. Your biggest enemy
 is time; most levels have just enough for you to finish it, if you know the
 solution. The clock almost never stops, so a lot of time is lost in minor
 acts, and making a mistake halfway through a stage might not leave enough time
 to finish it. The game is also a little repetitive by design -- moving three
 men and a spear across a chasm requires repeated use of jumping and throwing,
 for example. These are not necessarily bad points, but depend more on each
 player's individual preferences.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     The effects of DINOLYMPICS neither captivate nor repel, but are merely
 sufficient. Game graphics are basic but easily identifiable, and assorted
 whimsical scenes are sprinkled throughout the game. Animation and colors are
 average, though there is a little gratuitous parallex scrolling. The dominant
 sounds are a variety of bouncy tunes that play through each level, mixed with
 some very basic sound effects. The music can be turned off before the game
 starts, if desired.
 
 SUMMARY:
     DINOLYMPICS is an acquired taste. Some folks will find the time limits and
 the game's repetitive nature a bit too frustrating. On the other hand, more
 patient players will give this title more time, whereupon it will grow on them
 to become an appealing challenge.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        8.5
                 GRAPHICS:        6
                 SOUND:           6.5
                 OVERALL:         7.5
 
 
 [DIR]======================================================================
 
                           DIRTY LARRY: RENEGADE COP
 
 1 player, horizontal game
 Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $34.95
 Stereo? No
 
 OVERVIEW:
     The story sounds familiar, almost like it came from a movie: Detective
 Larry has just gotten chewed out by the chief, then sent off to bring in Mr.
 Snuff, first lieutenant to the city's kingpin of crime. The big man doesn't
 like this, though, and sends his legions of psychopaths and gang members to
 stop the cop. Larry's got a simple answer to crime scum -- he wields his .45
 and blows it away. But can even "Dirty" Larry survive long enough to deal with
 Mr. Big once and for all?
 
     That's Larry, not Harry, but you get the idea. DIRTY LARRY: RENEGADE COP
 puts you in the shoes of a hard-boiled gumshoe who walks, jumps, and ducks
 through seven side-scrolling stages, fighting everyone in sight. Larry's fists
 are always available, but he's equally proficient with handguns, rifles, and
 grenades. You have one life to live, and once you lose it, the game ends. For
 your sake, Larry can take a number of hits, and icons found along the way will
 restore some of his health.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     There's a difference between game pace and game speed. Someone at Atari
 got the two confused, and decided to make DIRTY LARRY a high-speed title, a
 move that effectively ruins the game balance. The computerized criminals
 attack far too quickly, and Larry has no effective way to protect himself or
 dodge attacks. His only recourse, therefore, is to shoot the criminals before
 they come close, meaning that Larry's fine as long as he has ammunition. Once
 he's out, he gets trounced.
 
     Larry himself is also too fast; a typical player can fly through a scene
 in three minutes or less. The game has only seven levels, and the criminals,
 extra ammo, and health icons all appear in a fixed order. Combine all of these
 factors, and this card soon becomes a test in how well the player can memorize
 appearances and conserve bullets. A savvy player can finish this title without
 too much effort, but that same player would not care for the game's too-short
 duration.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     Weak as the game is, the graphics in DIRTY LARRY are no slouch, and put
 some other titles to shame. The sprite animation is only average, but the
 graphics feature incredible use of color and detail: shadows in the alleys,
 lights rushing by in the subway, torn wallpaper, and lots more. A few animated
 intermissions advance the plot as well. Sound effects, though, are not half as
 impressive. The title theme is above average, but actual game sounds consist
 mostly of gunfire, assorted thuds, and a few miscellaneous effects.
 
 SUMMARY:
     Conceptually, DIRTY LARRY had the ingredients to be a easy, no-nonsense
 action title. Unfortunately, the game balance got thrown out of sync, and the
 final result lies in video limbo: young players will be turned off by the
 difficulty of the game, and experienced gamers will finish it too quickly.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        5.5
                 GRAPHICS:        8.5
                 SOUND:           5.5
                 OVERALL:         5.5
 
 [DOU]========================================================================
  
                                 DOUBLE DRAGON
 
 1-2 players, horizontal game
 Telegames, for the Atari Lynx
 $39.95
 Stereo? No
 
 
 OVERVIEW:
   Running rampant through the city, a gang of vicious street thugs has
 kidnapped the lady Marion. In retribution, martial artists Billy and Jimmy Lee
 set out to rescue her, determined to fight anyone in their way. This is the
 humble premise of DOUBLE DRAGON, an arcade game that spawned two sequels, over
 a dozen home versions, a cartoon series, and countless imitators. Courtesy of
 Telegames, this classic title has now reached the Atari Lynx. Four skill
 levels are available, as well as a practice mode and the ability to play with
 or against a second player. Whether bare-fisted or armed with a variety of
 weapons, Lynx players can now take the fight to the streets.
 
 
 GAMEPLAY:
   In theory, DOUBLE DRAGON should work on two levels, appealing to gamers who
 want an action-packed fighting title and to collectors looking for a quality
 adaptation. Unfortunately, this card does neither, and the result is a mild
 disappointment. Though there's plenty of action, compared to the fighting
 games popular today, this title sports a pace that seems plodding by
 comparison. Devotees of the arcade version will notice numerous subtle, but
 fundamental differences here. These include abbreviated levels, enemies that
 take a high number of hits, and the lack of most of the original's end-level
 villains.
 
   The game is fairly difficult for a variety of reasons. You start with three
 lives, but there are no ways to get extra lives, recover health, or continue a
 game. The controls are the worst culprit. By pressing button A or B, alone or
 with the joypad, the player punches, kicks, jumps, jabs, grabs, and throws
 enemies and objects. As a result, the controls are unresponsive at times and
 behave unexpectedly at others. While the game remains playable, all of this
 adds up to create a grueling contest that players may find is more trouble
 than it's worth.
 
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
   The Lynx adaptation attempts to duplicate the graphics of the arcade, and
 partially succeeds. The cartoony characters and scenery have been retained,
 though the sprites are drawn much larger on the screen to retain the level of
 detail. The minimal animation of the original DOUBLE DRAGON has been trimmed
 further by the removal of more frames, making the game look jumpy at times.
 Sound effects have suffered the most; powerful thuds and punches have been
 reduced to tinny echoes. A number of tunes play in the background, but they
 are mostly uninteresting.
 
 
 SUMMARY:
   DOUBLE DRAGON is not a terrible game, but it is also not an especially
 captivating title, either. Tolerant players who don't mind this card's
 leisurely pace, translation liberties and quirky controls will be sufficiently
 entertained. More demanding gamers, however, should not set their expectations
 too high, lest they be disappointed.
 
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        5
                 GRAPHICS:        7
                 SOUND:           5.5
                 OVERALL:         5
 
 [DRA]======================================================================
 
                               DRACULA THE UNDEAD
 
 1 player, horizontal game
 Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $34.95
 Stereo? No
 
 OVERVIEW:
     If Bram Stoker were alive today, would he have written "Dracula" as an
 interactive novel? Atari thinks so, and their reinterpretation of the horror
 classic is DRACULA THE UNDEAD, a gothic adventure for the Lynx. You play the
 part of Jonathan Harker, who is visiting Count Dracula to conduct real estate
 business. As the story begins, Jonathan has awakened from an overnight sleep
 at Dracula's castle, ready to work. However, the Count has affairs to attend
 to, and will be gone until the evening. With a day of waiting and no Lynx to
 spend the time, Jonathan decides to explore Dracula's quaint home. In your
 travels, you will discover many unusual secrets; your goal is to escape with
 evidence proving that Dracula is a danger to mortal men and possibly destroy
 the Count himself. Of course, Castle Dracula is filled with danger, not the
 least of which is its tall, imposing owner...
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     As the plot summary attests, DRACULA THE UNDEAD is not your ordinary video
 game. If nothing else, its gets credit for diverting from the usual sword-and-
 sorcery fantasy scenario. Game control is similar to the method in computer
 adventures such as KING'S QUEST and THE ADVENTURES OF MONKEY ISLAND: each room
 is a graphic image, and you use the joypad to move Jonathan around and explore
 it. Complex actions are done by choosing verbs and nouns from a scrolling
 window to form commands like "examine drawers", "open door", or "use lamp with
 tinderbox". Room features that you can interact with are indicated by having
 its name appear on-screen when you pass by it. You can also talk to people by
 selecting your dialogue from a number of sentences.
 
     The actual adventure is a fairly challenging affair, though a little bit
 linear. Many times, there are several possible goals, but usually only one
 will lead to progress which advances the plot. Puzzles are not easily solved,
 and often nothing can be done without a certain item that you haven't found
 yet. Hints are few, coming from Jonathan's musings and an occasional
 narrative from Bram Stoker, and red herrings abound. It is also possible to
 finish the game without winning it, since Jonathan must make enough notes to
 build a convincing case against Dracula. The game assumes a little knowledge
 of vampire lore, but nothing too complex, while dialogue and descriptions are
 brief but appropriate.
 
     There are only two weak points with DRACULA THE UNDEAD, the first being
 the control scheme. Each room is shown from a single viewpoint, with the LCD
 screen being one of the walls, so some features are unseen, either because
 they're off-camera or part of the screen "wall". Since their names appear when
 Jonathan approaches them, it's only a minor nit, and enforces the need to
 explore rooms thoroughly. The greater flaw is the lack of a save-game feature.
 You must finish this game in one sitting; the game disables the automatic
 shut-off feature of the Lynx, but if you haven't finished this title already,
 it's best to play with an AC adaptor.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     DRACULA THE UNDEAD is drawn in shades of brown and tan, using impressive
 "brownscaled" images that look almost like digitized aged photographs. Most of
 the animation comes from Jonathan walking around, with a little gratuitous
 scaling as he moves towards and away from the player. The game is sprinkled
 with animated scenes, such as the conversations with other characters, and
 Bram Stoker flipping pages while reading the latest plot twist.
 
     Sound effects are a respectable mix of machine-generated and digitized
 effects, such as creaking doors and the howl of wolves, but they are few and
 far between. Instead, the game's most consistent sound is a moody background
 tune that plays continuously. It can be disabled with the Option 2 button if
 it proves wearisome, however.
 
 SUMMARY:
     DRACULA THE UNDEAD offers traditional adventuring fare with an unusual
 premise, with enough challenge and appeal to satisfy most adventurers. The
 inability to save a game in progress hurts, but dedicated players who are
 willing to live with this flaw are encouraged to give the Count a visit.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        7.5
                 GRAPHICS:        9
                 SOUND:           6
                 OVERALL:         7.5
 
 [ELE]======================================================================
 
                                    ELECTROCOP
 
 1 player, horizontal game
 Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $34.95
 Stereo? No
 
 OVERVIEW:
     Inspired by various science-fiction movies popular with the masses, in the
 near future the worldwide conglomerate known as Megacorp developed you, the
 Electrocop. As the only one of your kind, you have tirelessly served the
 public interest, and today you have been summoned with a crisis: The
 President's daughter has mysteriously disappeared, and is believed to be
 kidnapped.
 
     Megacorp's intelligence net says that she is being held in an abandoned
 warehouse by a new robotic creation called the Criminal Brain. Worse, the
 place has been rendered impregnable with an array of traps, weapons, and
 computer-sealed doors. Megacorp deems that only you, with your superior
 design, security countermeasures, and total loyalty can breach this fortress.
 You have one hour to search the building, survive the dangers within, and
 confront this mysterious being to find the truth behind these happenings.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     When everything is said and done, ELECTROCOP is a real-time action-
 adventure game presented in a three-dimensional view. Each level of the
 warehouse is a maze, with drones and weapons to be destroyed and exits to be
 found. You are initially equipped with a laser gun, but can find more powerful
 weapons throughout the game. Many of the passages contain computer-locked
 armored doors, which are opened when the proper security code is given.
 Computer terminals also allow you to repair wounds, fix damaged weapons,
 search for security codes, or play simple video games to pass the time.
 
     That's the entire game, and that's the problem. ELECTROCOP is fairly
 limited in its gameplay; the only real adventuring aspects are in opening
 doors and exploring the levels. There are weapons to find and enemies to
 fight, but most of them can be defeated by simply firing like mad. Worse,
 there is little randomness to the game -- the layouts of the levels and the
 combinations to the doors never change, making this title very prone to
 memorization. Most of the time with this title will be spent constantly
 mapping levels and cracking codes, and as with many adventure games, once
 ELECTROCOP is solved, there is little incentive to play it again.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     ELECTROCOP is played with a 3D perspective view, shown as a camera that
 tracks you everywhere. This result in some of the most eye-popping effects
 ever seen in a video game; you run not only left and right, but also into and
 out of the action, an effect unduplicated by any other video game. Quality
 graphics are everywhere, from the detailed, smooth-scaling graphics to the
 cinematic sequences at the start and the end of the game. The only problem is
 that your character is too large; you don't see enough to your left and right,
 producing a "tunnel vision" effect.
 
     Sounds are a little more mixed, but still impressive. Actual game sounds
 consist of explosions, weapons fire, and assorted bells and warning klaxons,
 all done nicely. What steals the show, though, is the music: there are a
 number of high-quality soundtracks, from classical to rock, all capturing the
 intense tempo of the game itself. The futuristic title theme is especially
 catchy, and runs throughout much of the game.
 
 SUMMARY:
     This card was a brilliant concept that didn't completely clicked; the race
 against the clock and the real-time exploration/combat elements are hampered
 with uninspired gameplay and little variety. ELECTROCOP's stunning visuals and
 sounds make it fun to watch, but whether you'd buy a game for its razzle-
 dazzle is a personal decision.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        6
                 GRAPHICS:        9
                 SOUND:           9
                 OVERALL:         7.5
 [EUR]=========================================================================
 
                            EUROPEAN SOCCER CHALLENGE
 
 1-2 players, horizontal game
 Telegames, for the Atari Lynx
 $39.95
 Stereo? No
 
 OVERVIEW:
     Telegames, one of the first third-party developers, returns after a
 prolonged absence with EUROPEAN SOCCER CHALLENGE, a portable version of the
 world's most popular sport. From a side-scrolling stadium seat, one or two
 players each control an 11-player team, picking from over 130 teams in 36
 European countries. Game options allow changing the control scheme, setting
 the length of matches, and entering passwords to resume earlier tournaments.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     After a string of disappointing sports games on the Lynx, I'm pleased to
 say that EUROPEAN SOCCER CHALLENGE is a playable, well designed, quality
 title. The amount of detail crammed into this card is incredible. Each country
 has a stable of two to eleven teams, each with its own name, players, and
 attributes. The team you pick does make a difference; players run, steal, and
 defend better depending on who you pick. Unfortunately, there's no way to see
 a team's abilities, so experimentation is necessary to find the better crews.
 
     The full gamut of soccer rules and actions are implemented, including
 tackles (stealing), throw-outs, and penalty flags to remove aggressive
 players. Controls are responsive, though a little complicated. A team's goalie
 is operated by the computer, who blocks and acts intelligently. User control
 goes to the player nearest the ball, and uncontrolled teammates follow a
 standard formation selected before the match. Kicking is done with the A and B
 buttons for high and low kicks. Holding down a button lets you aim and set the
 strength, allowing you to run one way and kick in another. The overall action
 is brisk, and following the game is not difficult.
 
     For comparative purposes, EUROPEAN SOCCER CHALLENGE is much more enjoyable
 than Atari's WORLD CLASS SOCCER cartridge. There are a few quibbles, though
 they are minor. Because control automatically goes to the man closest to the
 ball, there is the possibility for confusion when it enters a crowd, and
 chasing the ball carrier can be tricky. The instructions are also a bit
 confusing, and assumes the reader has a thorough understanding of how to play
 soccer. These make learning and playing the game a little more difficult than
 necessary.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     Sights and sounds on EUROPEAN SOCCER CHALLENGE are vastly schizophrenic.
 The graphics are consistently wonderful, as game screens everywhere are done
 with great use of detail and colors. Sprites are moderately small, allowing
 for a wide view of the surrounding area while still showing sufficient detail.
 The animation of players is average, but the actions depicted are numerous and
 realistic. Scrolling is fast, although sometimes a little jumpy.
 
     In stark contrast, sounds are dismally dull; aside from a short musical
 loop between games, the only noises are a shrillish whistle and the quiet thud
 of a ball being kicked. There are no fanfares, no crowds, no other sounds to
 add to the experience.
 
 SUMMARY:
     EUROPEAN SOCCER CHALLENGE is a very respectable version of the popular
 sport. The sophisticated gameplay, quality design, and crisp controls are
 complimented by some very elegant graphics. Non-soccer fans won't be swayed,
 but enthusiasts will find this title very enjoyable.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        8.5
                 GRAPHICS:        9
                 SOUND:           4.5
                 OVERALL:         8
 [FID]========================================================================
 
                      THE FIDELITY ULTIMATE CHESS CHALLENGE
 
 1-2 players, horizontal game
 Telegames, for the Atari Lynx
 $39.95
 
 OVERVIEW:
   We all knew it would happen, sooner or later. After all, even
 portable video gamers cannot live on action-arcade titles alone. Now
 filling a void, Telegames Inc. has released THE FIDELITY ULTIMATE CHESS
 CHALLENGE for the Atari Lynx. There's not much that needs to be said,
 really; this is a one- or two-player version of (Western) chess,
 following all of the standard rules for the game. If you don't know how
 to play chess, get a different game.
 
   (Quick note: Though this game seems to be packaged and distributed by
 Atari, there are enough signs that this is an independent developer's
 effort. Everything on this game is credited to Telegames Inc., so all
 praises and criticisms must fall squarely on their shoulders...)
 
 GAMEPLAY:
   What does this version of chess offer? FIDELITY CHESS (for short)
 lets one or two players play chess with a _single_ Lynx. The computer
 offers 17 levels of difficulty -- 8 levels based on search depth, 8
 levels based on analysis time, and an "ultimate" level using unlimited
 time and searching. You can ask the computer for hints, force it to make
 a move immediately, and take back moves (up to 100 full moves can be
 taken back). The board offers gold and silver pieces on a 2-D or 3-D
 board, and game sounds, messages, and other features can be toggled and
 selected during a game. Finally, the entire current chess game is logged
 in standard chess notation, and can be reviewed, along with a running
 count of the players' scores (based on pieces remaining).
 
   The most important question, naturally, is how well FIDELITY CHESS
 plays the game. Though I enjoy the game, I don't claim to be a chess
 expert; however, the Lynx appears to play a very respectable game. For a
 test, I pitted FIDELITY CHESS (on the Lynx's 65C02) versus the computer
 game BATTLE CHESS (on a 68000). Although the Lynx took longer to make
 decisions deeper into the game, it ultimately checked and mated in 23
 moves. With "ultimate" mode, FIDELITY CHESS may just be almost impossible
 to defeat. On higher levels, it can take quite some time for the computer
 to make a move. To counteract this, the Lynx's automatic shutoff feature
 is disabled.
 
   A few minor quibbles with the game. Control response is the most
 sluggish I've ever seen in a Lynx game. Specifically, response to button
 presses are not always instantaneous, for some reason. Also, while there
 is an icon-driven Setup screen to help you set options, not all features
 are available. Without reading the manual, you'd need an accident to find
 out about features such as taking back a move (press A and B
 simultaneously).
 
   There is one large flaw in FIDELITY CHESS, however: The game has no
 "board set up" feature. The manual suggests that you can set up a game by
 playing a two-player contest to the desired point, then switching to a
 one-player game; however, I find this suggestion cumbersome and
 unfriendly. Essentally, then, you must either finish a game at one
 sitting, or log all the moves to recreate (and continue) a game at a
 later time. Very dissappointing.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
   The graphics and sound on FIDELITY CHESS are functional, but nothing
 more. That's fine, though; flashy graphics and noises can be a
 distracting irritant if done improperly. The chess pieces in both 2-D and
 3-D mode are clear and distinctive (though a little large in 3-D mode, in
 my opinion). Sounds are similarly sparse; aside from a musical ditty
 played at the title page, the only noises available are the chimes that
 are played when a piece is moved, or a message is displayed.
 
 SUMMARY:
   Telegames has made a respectable entry into the Lynx game market with
 this title. As a chess game, THE FIDELITY ULTIMATE CHESS CHALLENGE fits
 the bill. It plays a strong, challenging game, though it presumes some
 knowledge of chess on your part. The lack of a board set-up option,
 however, is inexcusable; it could have been added with very little
 effort. However, if you can live with this omission, and want to play
 chess on the go, then FIDELITY CHESS is a good solution.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        7
                 GRAPHICS:        6
                 SOUND:           6
                 OVERALL:         7
 
 [GAT]=========================================================================
 
                                GATES OF ZENDOCON
 
 1 player, horizontal game
 Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $34.95
 Stereo? No
 
 OVERVIEW:
     Let's skip the story already -- there's only so many ways to set up a
 horizontal-scrolling, shoot-everything-in-sight video game, which is what
 GATES OF ZENDOCON is. Your mission is to fly your spaceship through various
 scrolling lands, firing lasers and dropping bombs to destroy everything in
 your way. There are power-up weapons, but they are few and far between, and a
 password feature lets you start the game at any selected level. The ultimate
 goal is to stay alive long enough for the final confrontation with Zendocon, a
 giant alien who looks like a disembodied brain.
 
     There are a few interesting wrinkles to this title. The game features 51
 levels, but you do not go through them linearly. Instead, each level has one
 or more "gates", and the next stage you go to depends on which gate you exit
 through. Any path you choose will eventually take you to the end, but some
 routes are longer and/or harder than others. Your ship has a temporary shield
 to repel most attacks, and you can suffer up to three hits before dying. The
 first two hits take away your shield and your laser, respectively, and those
 can be repaired at the end of a level. Finally, the game can be played in
 either "Easy" or "Hard" mode, where the action is twice as fast and the score
 is 100 times greater in "Hard" mode.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     As the first side-scrolling shoot-'em-up game for the Atari Lynx, GATES OF
 ZENDOCON is not bad. True, there's nothing that's really innovative about the
 game, but it does offer a lot of action. One big reason for this is the vast
 number of different enemies and levels in the game: You're attacking and
 attacked by everything from UFOs, columns of flame, and giant insects to
 robotic walkers, space lizards, and rolling missile launchers. Each enemy
 behaves differently, attacks differently, and have different vulnerabilities.
 Similarly, the 51 levels are set in some very diverse locations -- beneath the
 ocean, over futuristic cities, in caverns, and more.
 
     Many of the enemies appear and attack in predictable times, but there is a
 fair amount of randomness to the action. The game difficulty is fairly
 consistent, and the game as a whole is an above-average challenge. Some levels
 are easier than others, but not by too much. It's worth noting that many
 people will find that the "Easy" mode is too easy; the pace of the game is
 half as slow as the typical arcade game, and today's dedicated players will
 breeze through it without too much effort. The "Hard" mode, however, will suit
 these pros just fine.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     The graphics in GATES OF ZENDOCON are adequate, with a fair use of detail
 and color, but they don't completely feel right for the title. Many of the
 game elements look simple and cartoony, instead of the sleek and rugged
 futuristic appearance traditionally associated with these games. Sounds are
 also a mixed bag. The good news is that the game features several musical
 scores, each one uniquely appealing in its own way. On the other hand, actual
 game sounds are mostly uninspiring, consisting mostly of explosions and the
 firing of your ship's laser. Worse, the sounds of combat drown out some of the
 music, which detracts. There is also a short digitized laugh at the start of
 the game, but nothing truly noteworthy.
 
 SUMMARY:
     This game makes a strong argument for not judging a book by its cover.
 Underneath the average graphics and average sound is a well-rounded, pretty
 diverse action game just waiting to be discovered. There is very little that
 hasn't been seen before, but for players who are looking for a stereotypical
 "shoot it if it moves" title (and there are enough of those out there for any
 platform), GATES OF ZENDOCON is a good buy.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        8
                 GRAPHICS:        6.5
                 SOUND:           7
                 OVERALL:         7.5
 
 [GAU]======================================================================
 
                          GAUNTLET: THE THIRD ENCOUNTER
 
 1-4 players, vertical game
 Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $39.95
 Stereo? No
 
 OVERVIEW:
     No, you're not mistaken. GAUNTLET: THE THIRD ENCOUNTER is _not_ a Lynx
 adaptation of any of the GAUNTLET arcade games. Instead, this was originally a
 similar game developed by Epyx called TIME QUESTS AND TREASURE CHESTS. When
 Atari bought the rights to the Lynx, they gave it a quick name change in hopes
 that the GAUNTLET title would enhance its market appeal.
 
     In any event, the game pits you and up to three companions against the
 demonic hordes of an abandoned castle. Players can choose to be one of eight
 characters, each of whom is rated differently in speed, strength, fighting
 skill, and health. Your objective is to fight through a dungeon of 40
 maze-like levels, and retrieve a mysterious Star Gem of immense power. Along
 the way, you will find food, treasure, keys, magic potions and scrolls, and
 computer terminals(!) which offer information and sell supplies. You lose
 health from time and attacks, and die when it disappears. The action is seen
 from a scrolling overhead map, along with a second window that provides a
 first-person view of the action.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     One new twist to the gameplay in GAUNTLET: THE THIRD ENCOUNTER is
 inventory management. Everything your character finds is carried along until
 used, though there is a limit to how much you can tote. It's possible, for
 instance, to drop pots of gold and "build" a protective wall to shield your
 adventurers from nearby threats. The game itself is fairly difficult, as
 survival depends on both minimizing your damage and on managing your food
 supplies. There is also quite a bit of creativity and variety throughout --
 opponents include multiplying slime creatures, falling stalactites, and
 robots, and your character choices range from cowboys to pirates to nerds.
 
     Unfortunately, these points are counterbalanced by a number of criticisms.
 Since levels are presented in a fixed order, and the location of their
 contents never change, the game becomes static and predictable. The arcade
 frenzy has slowed down a bit, due to monsters who will not attack until you
 either strike first or approach close enough. Worse, if a creature touches
 your character, the monster disappears, reducing the overall difficulty.
 Progress can often be made by standing still and holding down the attack
 button, which reduces the strategy needed and increases the repetitive
 atmosphere.
 
     The orientation of the game is worth a few extra words. Used properly,
 vertically-oriented games can add to the fun, giving a taller viewing window
 into the action. Here, it feels more like a gratuitous demo of the Lynx than
 an aid to gameplay, as the display could be rearranged for a horizontal setup
 with no loss of data. Worse, the bright backgrounds used in some levels have
 been known to cause eyestrain and headaches in some players when played for
 long periods.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     The sights and sound of GAUNTLET: THE THIRD ENCOUNTER are pretty average,
 neither highly appealing nor truly repulsive. Game graphics are small but
 varied and clearly recognizable, though animation is at a minimum. Scaling is
 used in several places, but not to great effect, and the first-person-
 perspective "action window" does little to enhance the game. Sounds are also
 short and varied, consisting mainly of clips indicating the attacks used by
 the monsters and your players. A low-key background tune plays throughout the
 game as well.
 
 SUMMARY:
     This cartridge offers some good points and some bad points, coming to rest
 as an average game. Several more refinements would have been welcome, but as
 it is now, whether or not you should get GAUNTLET: THE THIRD ENCOUNTER depends
 on whether you can tolerate its weaknesses.
 
                     GAMEPLAY:        5
                     GRAPHICS:        7
                     SOUND:           6
                     OVERALL:         5.5
 
 [GOR]========================================================================
 
                                   GORDO 106
 
 1 player, horizontal game
 Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $39.95
 Stereo? No
 
 
 OVERVIEW:
     "Deep in the bowels of N. Human Inc., trapped in cage #106, Gordo, a poor,
 brutally exploited lab monkey lives a life of lonely misery. Until an
 experimental nuclear potion gives Gordo #106 the cunning intellect he needs to
 free his friends and escape..." It doesn't matter what your views are on the
 animal research debate; that introduction is simply one of the most
 heavy-handed pieces of propaganda ever to grace a video screen.
 
     Critique aside, GORDO 106 is the newest side-scrolling action game for the
 Atari Lynx. Your objective is to help the renegade monkey run, jump, and swing
 through the N. Human facilities, rescuing captured rabbits and puppies along
 the way. Scientists, hunters, and other monsters are out to stop Gordo;
 fortunately, he can throw apples to defeat his attackers, and eat bananas to
 replenish lost health. You start with six lives and can earn more, but that
 may not be enough to take Gordo to a confrontation with N. Human himself.
 
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     What can I say about this game? It sits there. Aside from its unorthodox
 plot, GORDO 106 has nothing truly noteworthy or original to attract your
 attention. Most obstacles simply move back and forth, though there are a few
 death traps scattered among them as well. Overall, the challenge is reasonable
 and the game proceeds at a fair speed. There are over eighteen stages, from
 labs to penthouse apartments and a fashion show, ensuring a variety of
 locales. There are no time limits or requirements to finish a level, allowing
 you time to explore and free more caged animals.
 
     Like many other games in this genre, memorization and experience is
 essential to survival. Some spots require blind jumps and falls, ensuring
 replay value at the sacrifice of game design. The controls can be a problem,
 since making Gordo run requires a double-tap on the joypad. This produces
 dashes at inopportune times, and presents difficulties when you need to rush
 in a small space, such as a running jump. These flaws add to the frustration
 and reduce the already-low levels of appeal in the title.
 
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     If you're looking for a title to show off the Lynx, GORDO 106 is not it.
 Graphics are a bit on the whimsical side, but generally uninspired. The
 animation and scrolling is jumpy, and overall the visuals could be done on any
 other console. Only a little bit of multilayered scrolling hints at more.
 Things are similarly lackluster in the audio department. The several
 background tunes that play are passable, but the sound effects are generic and
 dull. In any case, either the programmers did not know what the Lynx is
 capable of, or did not bother to find out.
 
 
 SUMMARY:
     If the Lynx game library was saturated with run-and-jump titles, GORDO 106
 would quickly be overshadowed by flashier, more appealing entries. As things
 stand, its biggest fans will be players who can stomach its bland flavors and
 overloaded cliches in exchange for a moderate challenge.
 
 
                 GAMEPLAY:       5
                 GRAPHICS:       6
                 SOUND:          5
                 OVERALL:        5
 
 [HAR]======================================================================
 
                                  HARD DRIVIN'
 
 1 player, horizontal game
 Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $34.95
 Stereo? No
 
 OVERVIEW:
     HARD DRIVIN' for the Lynx is an adaptation of the Atari Games arcade
 racing title. The objective is to drive your performance sports car around a
 track, while dodging traffic and trying to finish each lap as fast as
 possible. Also, the track is divided into a speed course and a stunt course,
 which allow you to go at top speeds or try to survive death-defying jump ramps
 and banked curves. Race well enough and you can challenge the last champion in
 a head-to-head duel.
 
     What makes this different, though, is that HARD DRIVIN' is a true driving
 simulator. You can drive anywhere on the field, and your car has weight,
 momentum, and inertia, just as in the real world. Turn too hard and the car
 will skid, which becomes a spinout if you don't countersteer in time. Taking a
 jump at the wrong speed will result in a fiery collision, and approaching a
 loop too slowly is certain suicide.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     HARD DRIVIN' is a straightforward game. Your sportster has four speeds
 with reverse, with either an automatic or manual transmission. The action
 takes place from within your car, complete with working instruments, while the
 track is drawn with filled 3D polygons. The speed track is mostly flat, with
 long stretches of curves, while the stunt track offers a drawbridge jump,
 banked curve, and other dangers.
 
     Surprisingly, game speed is not a problem with this game. One would expect
 that the complex mathematics of the physics and polygon graphics involved
 would slow HARD DRIVIN' to a crawl, but it doesn't. While it is not as fast as
 the home computer and Genesis versions, the speed of the action is not enough
 of a problem to affect gameplay.
 
     What does anchor HARD DRIVIN' from greatness on the Lynx are two problems,
 both unexpected. The first problem is in the "feel" of your car; it's hard to
 tell exactly where your edges are in the game's universe. Extra room is needed
 when tailing or passing another car, or else a crash occurs. Similarly, a
 healthy dose of paranoia towards road obstacles will improve survivability.
 
     The other, more critical problem is in the game's controls. Steering,
 accelerating, and braking are incredibly sensitive, to the point where
 playability is severely hampered. Anything more than a tap on the joypad will
 send you on a sharp turn, and the car's speed rises and falls faster than you
 would expect. With the manual transmission, it's even more confusing, with
 Option 1 and Option 2 used to shift gears. Players will need a lot of time and
 patience to become comfortable with the controls.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     The visuals of HARD DRIVIN', though not perfect, are simple and effective.
 The filled polygon effects are done well, while retaining enough detail, and
 help to enforce the sense of realism in the game. The instant replay scenes
 are the best part of the game, using reverse angles to accurately duplicate
 the conditions of your latest crash. Aside from a title song, the main game
 sounds are the roar of the engine and a few digitized clips.
 
 SUMMARY:
     Converting the complexities of the arcade HARD DRIVIN' is a difficult
 task; what makes the Lynx version especially disappointing is that its
 shortfalls could have been prevented. The sensations of the arcade are
 duplicated well, but unweildly controls reduce this title to only a moderate
 game. While the Lynx version is still playable, only the most dedicated HARD
 DRIVIN' enthusiasts will derive the most pleasure from it.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        6
                 GRAPHICS:        8.5
                 SOUND:           6
                 OVERALL:         6
 
 [HOC]=======================================================================
 
                                     HOCKEY
 
 1-2 players, horizontal & vertical game
 Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $39.95
 Stereo? No
 
 OVERVIEW:
     It's a cold fact that the current Lynx library is short in sports titles.
 This trend is fading, however, first with AWESOME GOLF and CHECKERED FLAG, and
 now with HOCKEY for the Lynx. As the title indicates, this is a portable
 version of the winter sport, and an unofficial translation of MARIO LEMIEUX
 HOCKEY on the Sega Genesis. The action is seen from a mid-court arena seat, as
 one or two players lead a team of five skaters and a goalie, trying to score
 as many points as possible over three periods. All of the familliar elements
 of hockey are here: face-offs, tiebreaker shootouts, two-minute penalties, and
 the obligatory fistfights.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     Lynx HOCKEY contains enough statistics and options to satisfy most
 players. Periods can be 5 or 10 minutes long, the computer opponent can be set
 to easy or normal play, and rules, penalties, and fights can be toggled on or
 off. There's a league of 22 teams, with each team rated in abilities like
 skating speed, defense, and goalie skills. The default settings are modelled
 after the 1991 NHL, but you can rearrange or randomize the league, and an
 eight-letter password keeps track of the new ratings. If you're not in the
 mood for a long game, you can practice the fighting and shoot-out sequences.
 
     The actual hockey contest is a one-game bout, with no provisions for
 season play or a tournament. While you control one player, the computer
 handles the rest of the team reasonably well. Player selection (with OPTION 1)
 and puck-passing (with button B) are managable, but shooting for the goal is
 quirky. To shoot, button A is tapped once or twice and aimed with the control
 pad, a system that's more complicated than it sounds. Scoring is possible, but
 you'll need some time to get the hang of the system.
 
     Gameplay is brisk, though you might briefly lose track of the puck in a
 crowd. The computer opposition plays very well even on the easy setting, and
 tends to rush your goalie for a quick score. When enabled, fights can occur
 fairly often, but you can choose not to enter them. Common hockey penalties
 are supported, such as offsides and the two-line pass, but the loser of a
 fight is punished, which is inaccurate. Several screens of game stats are
 available any time, covering trivia like "number of successful checks" and "%
 of time on offense". The shoot-out sequence at the end of a tied game is worth
 mentioning: the Lynx is held vertically as each team takes four shots at the
 opponent's goal.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     The graphics of HOCKEY are reasonable. The best scenes are before the game
 starts, with player poses and digitized scenes shown while selecting teams and
 options. The rink holds small but recognizable players, a referee, and an even
 smaller but workable puck, along with game scores and clocks. The scrolling is
 a little jumpy and could have been better, and the near-digitized fights are
 detracted with cartoon-like special effects.
 
     In contrast, sounds offer little worth mentioning. Aside from a stirring
 title theme, music consists of short, simplish renditions of the American and
 Canadian National Anthems, and assorted rally tunes. The game is often quiet,
 with bland effects, simple sirens and whistles, and an unnatural silence from
 the crowd.
 
 SUMMARY:
     HOCKEY on the Lynx is a good, but not great, video version of the sport.
 A few minor flaws, like the quirky shooting controls and the lackluster sound
 effects, keep it from doing better. Still, for Lynx sports fans who can bear
 its weak points, this card is a good buy.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        7
                 GRAPHICS:        7
                 SOUND:           5.5
                 OVERALL:         7
 
 [HYD]========================================================================
 
                                      HYDRA
 
 1 player, horizontal game
 Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $39.95
 Stereo? No
 
 OVERVIEW:
     You are known as Hydra, though no government will admit you exist. You are
 a mercenary whose specialty is the transport of "sensitive" packages, using
 your Hydrafoil, a one-man armed speedboat. Even so, there is competition from
 other agents, and danger from those who don't want your cargo delivered. Only
 the best survive, but that's okay -- you are the best. Maybe.
 
     This is HYDRA for the Lynx, an adaptation of the Atari Games arcade title.
 The action is seen from behind your boat which you pilot through nine levels
 of rivers and oceans. Along the way, you can get money bags for bonuses and
 crystals for extra fuel. There are also gun embankments, enemy crafts, and
 other nusances, though your Hydrafoil can fly temporarily to escape dangers.
 Finish a stage and you can try to win more money in a bonus stage, then buy
 better weapons for the next job.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     HYDRA on the Lynx loses very little on the way to the Lynx. A single hit
 will destroy your Hydrafoil, but that's not a problem, as your survival is
 measured in fuel; the only way the game ends is if your gas tanks are empty.
 This version is slightly easier when compared to the arcade, but remains of
 average difficulty. Unlimited continues are available, but resets your score.
 There is no randomness to the location of objects, on each level, but the
 later levels use a large number of enemies and obstacles, coupled with a
 rarity of fuel, to keep the game from being finished quickly.
 
     All of the buttons are used to fire weapons, change weapons and activate
 your craft's air-lifting boost. There's a minor quibble with the controls --
 you press down to accelerate and up to decelerate, but it has no effect on
 playability. Unlike ROADBLASTERS, the steering is more gradual, makes driving
 and aiming with the joypad reasonable.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     The digitized game elements of the arcade HYDRA are respectable on the
 small screen, though the colors make some items look a little muddled. Also,
 judging collisions requires a little experience; your first few forays will
 feature lots of collisions with obstacles you thought you avoided. Sounds fit
 the action accordingly, consisting mostly of the roar of your engines, chimes
 when items have been picked up, a wide variety of weapons fire, and the
 obligatory explosions.
 
 SUMMARY:
     It must be said that HYDRA borrows heavily from the game ROADBLASTERS, and
 offers little that's different or unusual. That doesn't make it any less fun
 or exciting, however, and this Lynx version is a decent adaptation that will
 be enjoyed by action players and fans of the arcade.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        8
                 GRAPHICS:        7.5
                 SOUND:           7.5
                 OVERALL:         8
 
 [ISH]========================================================================
 
                           ISHIDO: THE WAY OF STONES
 
 1-? players, horizontal game
 Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $39.95
 Stereo? No
 
 OVERVIEW:
     Once again, the Lynx travels to the Orient to get inspiration for a
 strategy game. This time it is ISHIDO: THE WAY OF STONES, a conversion of a
 home computer title. You are given a set of 72 tiles, each marked with a
 specific color and figure. The stones are presented one at a time, and you
 place them on a board with 90 slots, next to other matching pieces. The more
 matches made, the better your score. If you play good enough, the Oracle may
 appear and impar some of its wisdom.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     ISHIDO's rules are simple, yet not immediately obvious. The basic idea of
 matching tiles is enhanced with restrictions on the types of matches possible.
 But in return for learning the rules, ISHIDO offers a deeply complex and
 challenging experience. Tiles are matched by color and figure, with the
 elusive four-match being the best play (match two by color and another two by
 figure). The game is "won" by making the highest score possible, but you will
 quickly find other goals to achieve, such as using all the tiles or scoring
 four-matches around the starting board.
 
     ISHIDO also offers several variants and options. Scoring can be either the
 "ancient" method, where only four-matches have value, or the "modern" way,
 where all matches score. Games can be played solitare, alternating with a
 computer or human opponent, or as a tournament against any number of players.
 During the game, you may take back moves, ask for legal moves, and view the
 stones remaining. Other options allow you to select the tile set to use, and
 set a time limit for moves.
 
     An interesting extra is the Oracle of the Stones. Make a four-match, and
 the Oracle will offer a piece of "ancient wisdom". These are excerpts of
 insightful thinking, similar to the writings of the I Ching, and the player is
 asked to apply them to his innermost questions. In the end, it is harmless
 fun, though you can turn the Oracle off if it proves distracting.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     The graphics and sound in ISHIDO are total contrasts. Visually, the game
 is stunning, with beautiful imagery everywhere from the opening fireworks to
 the glimmer of a four-match. Sounds are also appealing, but are at a minimum;
 the primary game sound is the click made as each tile is placed.
 
 SUMMARY:
     ISHIDO: THE WAY OF STONES is proof that a game does not need many rules to
 be sophisticated. The concept is simple, yet each new move offers a wealth of
 possibilities to be explored, making this a perfect entry for the
 deep-thinking strategist.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        8
                 GRAPHICS:        10
                 SOUND:           7
                 OVERALL:         8
 
 [JIM]=========================================================================
                             JIMMY CONNORS' TENNIS
 
 1-4 players, horizontal game
 Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $39.95
 Stereo? No
 
 
 OVERVIEW:
     The Lynx library of sports games continues to grow, and the latest
 offering in this area is JIMMY CONNORS' TENNIS. Set at the Bella Country Club,
 home of the Jimmy Connors' Invitational Tennis Tournament, this card by
 Handmade Software lets one to four players get on the courts. Game options
 include singles and doubles games, court surface, four skill levels, and
 friendly or tournament play. At the top of the tournament ladder is Connors
 himself, waiting for a chance to challenge you.
 
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     There's a rule of thumb that talented professionals never need to promote
 themselves -- people will find the highly skilled for themselves. JIMMY
 CONNORS' TENNIS is analogous to this; it doesn't need flashy effects or catchy
 gimmicks, but instead presents a robust, high-quality sports game.  While
 individual matches can be played for fun, the heart of the game is the
 tournament ladder, available for one or two players. You advance through a
 list of 24 players/teams by challenging and defeating the other entrants. A
 password feature between matches allows tournaments-in-progress to be saved
 between sessions.
 
     The actual tennis game is a grueling challenge, requiring time and
 practice to fully master the game. Where to stand, when to swing, what swing
 to use, and where to aim all must be decided in seconds, and beginners will
 require quite a bit of patience at first. To help, the easier levels display
 squares to show where to stand in order to return the ball. The computer
 opponents are worthy opponents, gradually building in difficulty as you
 advance, and it is easy to lose several weeks, if not months, refining your
 game in hopes of winning the Invitational.
 
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     Sights and sounds on JIMMY CONNORS' TENNIS uphold the high standards for
 quality from Handmade Software. The game is viewed from behind your side of
 the court, and the ball's height and position is easily tracked. Players are
 drawn with great use of color, and while the animation is clean, they run with
 an awkward sideways shuffle.
 
     Thankfully, the game is often quiet, as tennis should be; the most common
 sounds are the realistic thuds of the ball as it bounces off the ground or is
 hit on a swing. Loveliest of all are the digitized voices, crystal clear and
 among the best for the Lynx to date. The judge announces each score and fault,
 and Connors himself starts the game and offers blunt comments after matches.
 
 
 SUMMARY:
     As with AWESOME GOLF, Handmade Software has delivered a solid, no-nonsense
 portable version of the sport in JIMMY CONNORS' TENNIS. It is difficult
 without being frustrating, and sports buffs will gladly spend lots of time
 improving their skills. Challenging action, detailed graphics and crisp voices
 and sounds make this card a welcome addition to the Lynx.
 
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        8
                 GRAPHICS:        9
                 SOUND:           9.5
                 OVERALL:         8
 
 [JOU]=======================================================================
 
                                      JOUST
 
 1-2 players, horizontal game
 Shadowsoft, for the Atari Lynx
 $39.95
 Stereo? No
 
 OVERVIEW:
     It's arguable who made the best video games in the early days of arcade
 gaming, but one firm commanded awe from all players: Williams. Their early
 games had simple rules, lots of strategy, and a take-no-prisoners challenge
 that only the best could master. JOUST for the Lynx is a version of the
 Williams classic title. The player rides a flying ostrich, engaging in combat
 against enemy riders. Two riders joust by colliding, and the winner is the one
 whose lance is higher. The arena is a cavern of platforms, which can be walked
 on or flown around.
 
     A few extra wrinkles make the game more interesting. Defeated enemies turn
 into eggs, which hatch into more aggressive fliers if they're not retrieved in
 time. Later levels introduce the lava troll who snatches riders overhead, a
 nearly-indestructible pterodactyl, and vanishing platforms. Two players can
 play together with the ComLynx cable, working cooperatively or competitively.
 Some stages have special bonuses, such as extra points for not losing a life,
 or for unseating your partner first. You start with three riders, with extras
 at regular intervals, and once they're gone, the game ends.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     This title is from Shadowsoft, the same folks who gave us their incredible
 Lynx version of ROBOTRON: 2084 a year ago. I don't need to say much -- if you
 liked JOUST in the arcade, you'll love the Lynx version! It's a perfect,
 flawless translation that loses absolutely none of the original's depth and
 excitement. What starts off as a simple exercise in dismounting opponents soon
 becomes organized chaos. Your character is soon assaulted by riders on all
 sides, with more aggressive enemies hatched and on the way, and a pterodactyl
 ready to assault you for taking too long.
 
     This conversion also has a few extra features. There are ten difficulty
 levels, where more aggressive enemies appear sooner and hatch quicker at the
 harder settings. With two players, you can also play in "gladiator mode",
 where you configure the arena, then try to destroy your opponent completely.
 Throw in a high score table to track the top five players, and you've got a
 "must buy" Lynx game for action/arcade fans.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     The sights and sounds of JOUST are just as faithful to the source. The
 Lynx screen resolution causes a slight loss of detail, but nothing to get
 upset over. The sprites are small but easily recognizable, with animation,
 color, and visuals copied exactly in every detail. Similarly, almost all of
 the sounds have been digitized or duplicated exactly. I only noticed one sound
 effect from the original that has not been copied, but other than that, it's
 all here.
 
 SUMMARY:
     JOUST is another unbelievably excellent product from Shadowsoft. Players
 who never played the arcade title will be captivated by its simple rules, deep
 strategy, and fast action, while the legions of arcade JOUST fans will be in
 video-gaming heaven!
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        10
                 GRAPHICS:        9.5
                 SOUND:           9.5
                 OVERALL:         10
 
 [KLA]=========================================================================
 
                                       KLAX
 
 1 player, vertical game
 Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $39.95
 Stereo? Yes
 
 OVERVIEW:
     It's good every once in a while to see video games that don't have a
 ludicrous plot tacked on to the concept -- Really, who can believe that the
 paddle in ARKANOID is a trapped spaceship trying to reach home? KLAX for the
 Atari Lynx is a translation of the Atari Games arcade strategy title, and
 thankfully nobody gave it a background along the way.
 
     The base idea is simple: You operate a moving paddle at one end of an
 advancing conveyor belt. Your objective is to catch colored tiles coming down
 the belt, then either deposit them into a bin below or toss them back on the
 conveyor for a little extra planning time. Points are awarded for making rows,
 columns, and diagonals using three or more tiles. To complicate matters, each
 level ends only when its goal is met: make six diagonals, or score 10,000
 points, for example. Both the bin and the paddle can hold a limited number of
 tiles, and tiles are dropped into oblivion if you don't catch it in time. Drop
 too many tiles, and the game ends.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     KLAX in the arcade had a uniquely addictive quality about it, and the Lynx
 version loses none of this appeal. Like TETRIS, the game fools you with its
 simplicity: newcomers often adopt a "How hard can this be?" attitude, but are
 soon enraptured by the depth and strategies possible. However, KLAX offers
 more variety and a quicker pace, making it appealing to people who found
 TETRIS too slow and limited. The game features 100 levels, which helps keep
 the challenge high.
 
     With such simple rules, it's not surprising that KLAX on the Lynx misses
 none of the original's features. As in the arcade, you can start the game at
 levels 1, 6, or 11, and skip levels after every fifth stage. However, this
 version also allows you to go to the highest stage ever reached, and offers
 three levels of overall game difficulty. An unlimited number of continues is
 available, and the score is cleared each time. The vertical orientation of the
 Lynx is welcome here, making optimal use of screen space and allowing all of
 the action to be clearly seen. The game as a whole is quick and responsive,
 though the action slows down a bit when there are too many tiles on the
 conveyor belt at once.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     KLAX makes full use of the Lynx's sound and graphics capabilities, and
 successfully captures the bouncy atmosphere of the game. The graphics are
 large and colorful, and the animations and effects of the arcade are
 duplicated exactly. Even the various abstract backgrounds are present, though
 some of the original scenes have been replaced with new ones specifically for
 the Lynx.
 
     As good as the graphics are, however, what really steals the show are the
 sounds and music. Crisp digitized sound effects, all from the arcade game, are
 used everywhere -- the applauding crowds, the lady announcer at the start of
 each wave, even the wail of a falling tile as it drops into the void.  Stereo,
 heard for the first time on the Lynx, is put to great use, both during the
 game to indicate the location of tiles, and in the rollicking, high-tempo,
 electric guitar-loaded theme music masterpiece.
 
 SUMMARY:
     This is an incredibly simple and totally addictive game, appealing to both
 the mind and the reflexes alike, that has made a perfect transition from the
 arcade. Between the friendly gameplay, elegant graphics, and stunning sound
 and music, KLAX on the Lynx is highly recommended!
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        9.5
                 GRAPHICS:        10
                 SOUND:           10
                 OVERALL:         9.5
 [KUN]======================================================================
 
                                    KUNG FOOD
 
 1 player, horizontal game
 Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $34.95
 Stereo? No
 
 OVERVIEW:
     Okay, how's this: For some crazy reason, your boss at the video-game
 company wants to put the unstable mutagen Rynoleum into the next batch of
 games. Acting on your conscience, you steal the toxic waste, haul it home, and
 put it for safekeeping in the freezer. Unfortunately, you've been contaminated
 into a six-inch-tall, naked, green version of yourself. Worse, your groceries
 have gained sentience, and are now planning to take over the world! Can you
 fight through your leftovers, cure yourself, and stop this plan cold?
 
     That's KUNG FOOD for the Lynx, the video game with a plot that's an
 instant finalist in the "Goofiest Idea of 1992" award. You play the samaritan
 in the refrigerator who kicks, jumps, and punches through five levels of
 killer groceries and other hazards to save the day. You start with three
 lives, and can take a limited number of hits, but the vegetables still
 outnumber you. There are no continues, but power-up icons along the way will
 help even the odds. Sure, it's silly, but it's no weirder than ninja-trained
 terrapins, right?
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     There's no surprise here -- KUNG FOOD is your generic "beat everything in
 sight" video game. You walk left to right, up and down, and after a few steps
 encounter a pack of hopping peas, potato men, or ice demons that have to be
 destroyed before you can go any farther. You take hits pretty easily, and
 there's not much warning that you've been hit, so watching the health gauge is
 very important.
 
     There are a number of small quirks that may bother some players, however.
 Controls are a little awkward; button A and the control pad activate punches
 and kicks, which is tolerable, but it's impossible to turn quickly in the heat
 of battle. Actually hitting an opponent requires a fair amount of precision,
 and, depending on where you're standing, it's possible to be hit by an enemy
 who you can't hurt. Working around these limits isn't difficult, but veterans
 of video street battles will be caught flat-footed at first.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     The graphics on KUNG FOOD are among the most elaborate ever on a Lynx
 title. There's great use of color, detail, and animation, and some fairly
 elaborate opening and closing sequences, which mesh together with a consistent
 level of high quality. Game sounds are pretty good and match the action
 appropriately, but the background music and title theme are repetitive and
 grating. Fortunately, pressing OPTION 2 lets you turn the music off while
 keeping the sound effects.
 
 SUMMARY:
     Take away the story, and KUNG FOOD comes across as a very average fighting
 game that breaks no new ground. The game's controls and minor quirks may
 irritate some players, but fight fans with Lynxes should look past the
 silliness and give the title a try.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        6
                 GRAPHICS:        8.5
                 SOUND:           5.5
                 OVERALL:         6.5
 
 [LEM]=========================================================================
                                     LEMMINGS
 
 1 player, horizontal game
 Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $34.95
 Stereo? No
 
 
 OVERVIEW:
     Just for the record, real lemmings do not mindlessly jump off cliffs to
 their doom. This is a myth first staged in a Walt Disney nature film, and has
 now become a popular misconception. Nonetheless, Psygnosis released a famous
 computer puzzle game on this idea, and now LEMMINGS has reached the Atari
 Lynx. The premise is simple: You have a flock of green-haired lemmings that
 you must guide to an exit. The little critters walk forward mindlessly,
 regardless of obstacles and dangers in their way. By giving them skills like
 digging, climbing, and floating, you can help them avoid disaster. There are
 120 stages all together, and a password is provided for each.
 
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     Gladly, LEMMINGS on the Lynx loses none of its appeal nor challenge in the
 conversion from the original. You select an ability, point the cursor on a
 lemming, then click to change his behavior. On the Lynx, two screens are used
 -- one for the side-scrolling map, and another for the menu of the lemmings'
 skills. The cursor moves a little slow, but it's not a problem, since it can
 still be moved while the game is paused, and allows for accurate positioning.
 Other options are to adjust the flow of lemmings, speed up the lemmings, and
 to restart the level.
 
     There are 30 levels for each of the four difficulty settings. Naturally,
 the earliest stages are very easy, to get beginners up to speed, but the
 difficulty builds at a steady pace. Those who have conquered LEMMINGS on the
 home computers will find that this conversion uses the same levels, the same
 names, and the same passwords. While this means there is nothing new for the
 masters, it also means us novices can transplant our lemming-rescue skills
 easily. Purists will be upset to hear that the two-player competition from the
 original is gone, but most folks should not mind.
 
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     As with the game itself, the sights and sounds of the original LEMMINGS
 are transplanted almost identically on the Lynx. The lemmings themselves are a
 pleasant surprise; though only a few pixels tall, they remain very expressive
 and animated. Backgrounds are detailed, important information is always
 visible, and there's a little gratuitous scaling as well. In the audio
 department, the cries and sound effects from the source are nicely digitized,
 and a wide variety of background tunes play throughout the game.  Owners of
 the new Lynxes which support stereo headphones will notice one oddity, though
 -- the music is played in both ears, but the sound effects come only through
 the right speaker.
 
 
 SUMMARY:
     The popularity and charm of LEMMINGS remains intact on the Lynx, and is
 still enjoyable even after all this time. With cute graphics and fun sounds
 to spice up the appeal, this game satisfies all but the most finicky players,
 while begging for an adaptation of the sequel.
 
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        9
                 GRAPHICS:        9
                 SOUND:           8.5
                 OVERALL:         9
 
 [LYN]========================================================================
 
                                   LYNX CASINO
 
 1-2 players, horizontal game
 Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $39.95
 Stereo? No
 
 OVERVIEW:
     Video gambling games are hard to promote. On the one hand, an accurate
 simulation lets players experience high-rolling thrills without using real
 money. On the other hand, if there are no real winnings, why bother? Other
 questions about how much strategy can be developed or transferred for games
 like Roulette or Craps are left to professional gamblers.
 
     LYNX CASINO doesn't resolve this paradox, but it does offer a risk-free
 alternative to Atlantic City or Reno. This title is a collection of five
 familliar casino games: Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, Slot Machines, and Video
 Draw Poker. You start off with $1000, though the cashier can give you two
 loans of $500 each; when your money's all gone, the game ends. You can also
 ComLynx with a friend for a mini-electronic junket.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     The best thing about LYNX CASINO is that it faithfully captures the
 experience of casino gambling. Not only are authentic rules, odds, and payoffs
 used, but each game allows of the same options that its real-life counterpart
 offers. For instance, Craps supports everything from the usual Pass/No Pass to
 Hard Way and Horn Bets, while Roulette uses a Double Zero wheel and allows
 numerous number combinations, and Blackjack is played with six decks. The only
 major discrepency is that you're always the dice shooter on Craps.
 
     The user interface changes with each game, but is generally consistent.
 Statistics are kept for each game session, allowing pros to analyze their
 playing skills. As a result, LYNX CASINO can be played on two levels: casual
 players can have fun just placing bets, while self-proclaimed experts can
 exercise existing gambling strategies or trying to develop new ones. While
 this card may not make you rich, it can be treated almost as a simulation, and
 the only regret I have is that more games weren't included.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     Graphics in LYNX CASINO are decent overall, with a touch of cartoon
 whimsy. You guide your on-screen personna among the games and roaming
 bystanders, while still images show scenes of other gamblers and the staff.
 Most of your time is spent at the tables and machines, which are well drawn
 with good use of color and detail. Sound effects are not so interesting; a
 variety of background tunes play during the game, though they can be turned
 off if desired. Other than that, game sounds are few, brief, and fairly
 simple.
 
 SUMMARY:
     There's not much that needs to be said: LYNX CASINO is a well-done,
 no-nonsense video version of the Vegas experience. If you want to refine your
 Craps strategem or just want to blow some imaginary money, this game will
 easily fit the bill.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        8
                 GRAPHICS:        7
                 SOUND:           5
                 OVERALL:         7
 
 [MBV]==========================================================================
 
                              MALIBU BIKINI VOLLEYBALL
 
 1-4 players, horizontal game
 Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $39.95
 Stereo? No
 
 
 OVERVIEW:
     Having covered the mainstream sports (with varying degrees of success) for
 the Lynx game library, Atari now turns to the unconventional sports for their
 latest game.  This is MALIBU BIKINI VOLLEYBALL, written by Handmade Software,
 which brings sand, surf, and scantily-clad members of both genders together
 for some two-on-two fun.  You can serve, spike, and dive either in a three-
 round elimination tournament, or a single game with four difficulty levels.
 Options allow you to change the ball speed, turn indicator boxes and winds on
 or off, and set the score and time limits.
 
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     A good sports game must balance two contrasting points: to simplify the
 skills needed to play well, yet still keeping the game challenging.  On this
 count, MALIBU BIKINI VOLLEYBALL is only partially successful, as the efforts
 to make it playable blunts the edge somewhat.  The game locks you into a fixed
 pattern -- ball goes over the net, one player sets it, the second player sets
 it, the first player returns.  While professional volleyball players often use
 such a cycle, having it forced on you is a bit irritating.  There is also
 little control over your aim or strength, which reduces the game to basic
 moving and button-pushing.
 
     Despite these flaws, there are still a number of interesting points. There
 is enough unpredictability throughout to keep your attention, and the timing
 needed to hit the ball is tricky.  The fixed cycle of ball- hitting applies to
 both teams, making for brief lulls where you can catch a breath.  This gives
 the game an easygoing rhythm that some players will find relaxing.  While this
 card will not appeal to everyone, neither can it be dismissed outright.
 
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     The graphics and sound in MALIBU BIKINI VOLLEYBALL, while not truly
 outstanding, are very good for the Lynx.  Sprites are small but recognizable,
 though the females are a little too "healthy".  Colors are largely tans and
 browns, with splashes of primaries to add some flair.  There are also some
 nice background extras, such as head-turning crowds and wandering beachgoers.
 The few sound effects are merely passable thuds and whistles, and are eclipsed
 by the crisp, clear digitized voices.  What really dominates are the ten
 background tunes, all respectably done in a variety of styles.  Pressing
 OPTION 2 brings up a "CD player", allowing you to change the order and options
 the tunes are played with.
 
 
 SUMMARY:
     MALIBU BIKINI VOLLEYBALL is not a very demanding game, but is, like a good
 day at the beach, a leisurely way to spend some time.  Gamers looking for a
 more punishing regiment should look elsewhere, but those who want a kinder,
 gentler sport will find this title pleasing.
 
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        6
                 GRAPHICS:        8
                 SOUND:           8
                 OVERALL:         7
 
 [MSP]========================================================================
 
                                  MS. PAC-MAN
 
 for the Atari Lynx
 1 player, horizontal game
 $39.95
 
 OVERVIEW:
   Unless you've been living in a cave for the last 20 years, chances are good
 you know of Pac-Man. The original yellow-balled maze muncher became _the_
 symbol for video gaming, and spawned a flock of sequels and me-too titles.
 The official sequel by Bally/Midway/Namco was MS. PAC-MAN, and now you
 too can plug this game into your Atari Lynx.
 
   The game is simple: You control Ms. Pac-Man, a feminine yellow ball with
 a mouth, through a maze. Your objective is to eat all the dots in the maze
 and go to other mazes. Four ghosts chase you through the maze -- one touch
 and you die. Run out of lives, and the game ends. Certain dots are
 "energizers", which temporarily turn the ghosts blue and vulnerable for you
 to eat them. At times, bonus foods hop through the maze, and eating them
 gives even more points.
 
   The Lynx version features two sets of mazes. You can play with either the
 original arcade four mazes, or with an alternate set of 21(!) wider mazes.
 On the alternate mazes, a lightning bolt will occassionally hop through the
 maze. Get the bolt, and you can push a button (A or B) for 15 seconds of
 high speed. The bolt goes away if you die, finish the level, or use it.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
   To be honest, MS. PAC-MAN is a simple game, and it's not surprising to see
 it arrive on the Lynx intact. Scoring is the same, controls are the same,
 and (as far as I can tell) the ghosts even behave the same. The alternate
 set of 21 mazes helps keep this game interesting, especially to jaded maze
 runners who mastered the original. I myself don't mind a _little_ Pac-mania
 (though I think it went too far, in the end), and am happy for a maze game on
 the Lynx.
 
   (I'm personally bummed that the two-player-simultaneous gameplay
 rumored a few months ago is not present. Oh well)
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
   MS. PAC-MAN is set up as a horizontal game on the Lynx, with the maze
 scrunched to keep the entire maze on the screen at once. As a result, the
 graphics suffer a bit. The game graphics, from Ms. P to the ghosts to the
 fruits, are very small. Details (such as the ghosts' eyes) are missing,
 though the game is not affected any. The only place to see big ghosts and
 Pac-people are in the intermission cartoons, which are kept intact from the
 arcade.
 
   Sounds on this game are decent, though not outstanding. Music bits (the
 opening tune and intermission bridges) remain identical, cheery and light.
 The game sounds are average, neither irritating nor exceptional.
 
 SUMMARY:
   A decent adaptation overall, and a good game in its own right. I suspect
 whether or not you'll buy this depends on how willing you are to have a
 Pac-Maze-game on the Lynx. If you are interested, the Lynx version will
 not do you wrong.
 
         GAMEPLAY:        9
         GRAPHICS:        7
         SOUND:           6
         OVERALL:         7.5
 
 [NFL]=========================================================================
 
                                  NFL FOOTBALL
 
 1-2 players, vertical game
 Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $39.95
 Stereo? No
 
 OVERVIEW:
     There's no surprises here; NFL FOOTBALL for the Atari Lynx is a portable
 version of the American pigskin sport. This is the sport where two teams of
 eleven guys each try to carry an oddly-shaped brown ball down a hundred-yard
 field into the opposing team's end zone. As a licensed game, all of the real
 football teams and logos of the NFL are used, letting players fulfill their
 fantasies of managing their hometown favorites. For even more realism, the
 card features offensive plays designed by a real NFL coordinator, and game
 strategies can be altered in real time as needed. The action takes place from
 an overhead perspective, which zooms in and out of the action.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     Ugh.
 
     NFL FOOTBALL had such promise, but falls far short. This game has so many
 defects in its implementation that you wonder if anyone bothered to play it
 before its release. The good news is that, on offense, almost two dozen plays
 are available, and each play can be improvised as needed (pass the ball on a
 running play, for instance). A game lasts for four 15-minute quarters, and
 two players can compete head-to-head with the ComLynx cable.
 
     Everything else goes downhill from there. On offense, passes are done by
 holding down the "B" button, moving a crosshair to an open receiver, then
 releasing the button to throw -- all performed while the opposition rush for
 the tackle. Running plays are easy to perform, but they yield little yardage
 and become essentally useless. When you have the ball, any touch from an
 opponent brings you down, with no chances to spin or break free. The selection
 of defensive plays is pitiful, with only six general defenses available, and
 there is no easy way to change the defensive player you are controlling.
 
     Two-player games are inherently more challenging because the computer
 opponent is pathethic. The Lynx has no head for strategy, and you can use the
 same play repeatedly with no effect. The computer makes up for its stupidity
 by making its players run faster than your team; if all your defenders are
 behind the ball carrier, it's a guaranteed touchdown. Each session is a
 one-game bout, with no provisions for league play, and there is no difference
 between teams other than their logos and uniform colors. There are no fouls,
 no way to block punts, and many more shortfalls, too numerous to list.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     The graphics on NFL FOOTBALL are clean and identifiable, yet fail to
 excite or inspire. The Lynx's hardware scaling is wasted; the screen zooms in
 at the end of a play and zooms out to a high overhead shot for kickoffs, but
 most of the game is viewed from a static halfway height. It's possible to be
 in control of an off-screen player, though it shouldn't have to be. Screen
 clips highlight cheering crowds and the referee's calls, but they are simply
 animated there's not many of them.
 
     Sounds are a little better, but not by much. Aside from a title theme, the
 game is quiet most of the time, with most of the sounds consisting of a
 whistle and the shlup-shlup-shlup of running feet. The digitized voices of the
 referee calls are a bit muddled, while the crowd that cheers after each score
 is a simple "white noise" effect.
 
 SUMMARY:
     It doesn't help if football games on other portable game systems are no
 more sophisticated than NFL FOOTBALL. The bottom line is that this game is a
 futile exercise in boredom, and is certainly not fun to play nor worth the
 price asked for it.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        4.5
                 GRAPHICS:        5
                 SOUND:           5.5
                 OVERALL:         4.5
 
 [NIN]========================================================================
 
                                  NINJA GAIDEN
 
 1 player, horizontal game
 Atari Corp. for the Atari Lynx
 $39.95
 
 OVERVIEW:
   Adapted from the arcade game (and not the Nintendo adventure series),
 NINJA GAIDEN represents the second Tecmo arcade conversion for the Atari
 Lynx. The storyline is irrelevant; you play a lone ninja, who must defeat
 all of the assorted criminals and villians in a scrolling city landscape.
 Your only weapons are your fists, feet, and the occassional sword, while
 the villians have more weapons and much more numbers.
 
   As the landscape scrolls by, you can walk and jump all over the terrain.
 Enemies will come from offscreen, and you must fight them to the death.
 Several attacks are possible, such as swinging from overhanging poles,
 backwards jumps over walls, and flipping the opposition. Some obstacles
 along the way can be broken, by throwing someone into it, and will often
 reveal benefits such as extra health, lives, or a sword. For extra
 pressure, you must finish each level before an on-screen clock runs down.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
   The biggest gripe against Tecmo's earlier Lynx title, RYGAR, was that it
 was a scaled-down version of the arcade original. Sadly, NINJA GAIDEN
 offers no improvement at all, and some would call its curtailing even
 worse. Only about half of the different types of villians are present,
 though there is some variety to their attacks. The game makes up for this
 deficency by bringing out even more enemies than the arcade version did.
 The challenge thus comes in simply surviving a swarming attack, rather than
 reacting to a wide variety of opponents.
 
   NINJA GAIDEN is challenging, though not exceedingly so. You start the
 game with four lives, and each life can take up to five blows before
 dying. When you finally die, you may continue the game up to two times with
 a score of zero. The biggest problem, though, is that the game is too
 short; only four levels from the arcade original are present, which will
 not be enough for many action fans.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
   The highest point of NINJA GAIDEN comes in the game graphics. Though
 they are only about average for a Lynx game (reminescent of RAMPAGE to a
 degree), the visuals are almost a direct lift from the arcade version. The
 smooth animation and distinctive appearances are translated intact. Game
 sounds are limited to the thuds and crashes of combat, though that is a
 fault of the original game instead. A background soundtrack adds a little
 spice to the action.
 
 SUMMARY:
   NINJA GAIDEN is not a bad game; it's just not a good game, either. More
 sophisticated games have been done before on the Lynx, which makes this all
 the more depressing. However, it is not a total pushover, which saves it
 to a degree. For the arcade purist, NINJA GAIDEN is a dissappointment, but
 for the Lynx player looking for an action game, it's worth a try.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        7
                 GRAPHICS:        8
                 SOUND:           7
                 OVERALL:         7
 
 [NG3]==========================================================================
 
                  NINJA GAIDEN III: THE ANCIENT SHIP OF DOOM
 
 1 player, horizontal game
 Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $49.95
 Stereo? No
 
 
 OVERVIEW:
     Ryu Hayabusa, the last survivor of the Dragon Ninja clan, is also the
 ultimate weapon of the United States government.  Working through CIA liaison
 Irene Lew, he has faithfully completed assignments too difficult and too
 sensitive for regular agents, anonymously saving the world several times
 already.  Now, while on an undercover mission, Irene is brutally murdered, and
 witnesses identify Ryu as her killer.  On the run, Ryu must retrace Irene's
 footsteps, find who has framed him, learn the secrets that she died for,
 extract his revenge, and clear his name.
 
     Thus begins NINJA GAIDEN III: THE ANCIENT SHIP OF DOOM.  Tecmo gained fame
 in the late '80s with their NINJA GAIDEN action games for the Nintendo system,
 and the Lynx card is an adaptation of the final title in that series.  The
 player must run, jump, climb, and slash his way through a variety of traps and
 enemies, including bioengineered beasts and enemy ninjas. Though armed with
 his sword, Ryu can also invoke a variety of magic attacks if he has enough
 power, and orbs along the way provide further aid.  Starting from a secret
 laboratory, the trail winds through diverse scrolling locales such as a
 tropical jungle and deep underground, before ending in a showdown with the
 ancient evil behind it all. The player has five continues and three lives,
 each capable of taking a number of hits, but there is no option to save or
 restore games.
 
     (For purists, NINJA GAIDEN is also available for the Lynx, but it is an
 adaptation of the arcade game and not the first title in the Nintendo series. 
 NINJA GAIDEN II is not available on the Lynx)
 
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     While previous Lynx adaptations of Tecmo titles -- RYGAR and NINJA GAIDEN
 -- were curtailed to varying degrees, NINJA GAIDEN III suffers none of those
 deficiencies.  This card is a total adaptation of the Nintendo cartridge, from
 the layout of levels to the placement of enemies and obstacles, and players of
 the original will get a strong sense of deja vu.
 
     As with many other action/platform titles, there is no randomness to the
 game, and patterns can be developed over time.  What elevates this game from
 others in the genre is that it is demanding without being unreasonable.  The
 layouts of the levels work with the large variety of enemy characters to keep
 the game fresh.  Enemy attacks and a time limit keep the player moving yet
 punishes mindless thrashing; this means that speed, precision, and planning
 are needed in equal amounts, which makes for a satisfying challenge.
 Fortunately, the smooth, responsive controls are never a problem.
 
     If there is one flaw with this title, it's the difficulty.  The first
 stage is easy enough, but after that the curve turns sharply uphill, and the
 five continues can go by fairly quickly.  There is no way to adjust the skill
 level, and the lack of a game save/continue simply makes it more grueling.  To
 be fair, though, these same shortcomings were also present in the original
 Nintendo cartridge.  In the end, while the game is difficult, it is not
 impossible, and never totally discourages the player.
 
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     A sincere attempt was made to directly translate the original NINJA GAIDEN
 III graphics, but the lower resolution of the Lynx screen hamper it somewhat. 
 More subtle details are missing; at times Ryu and his adversaries look like
 blobs, and recognizing the different powered orbs will require some work.  The
 scrolling is smooth, but some backgrounds are cluttered and hide objects too
 easily.  The graphics are better in the cinematic interludes that tell the
 story before and during the game, though the dialogue has not improved any.
 
     The sounds suffer more.  Most of the game noises come from Ryu's attacks,
 but they are fairly simple and indistinct, and the music during the
 intermissions are innocuous at best. The various background tunes have been
 mangled to an extreme, with the higher-pitched notes drowning out the rest;
 what were exciting rhythms on the Nintendo come out shrill and painful on the
 Lynx.  They can be turned off by pressing Option 2, but the resulting near-
 silence feels awkward.
 
 
 SUMMARY:
     NINJA GAIDEN III is both a commendable adaptation of the original Tecmo
 cartridge and a rousing challenge.  Though the graphics and sound are not the
 best on the Lynx, the solid gameplay makes up for these deficiencies, making
 this an intense title that action gamers should seriously consider adding to
 their collections.
 
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        8.5
                 GRAPHICS:        7
                 SOUND:           5
                 OVERALL:         7.5
 
 [PAC]======================================================================
 
                                    PAC-LAND
 
 1 or 2 players, Horizontal game
 Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $34.95
 
 OVERVIEW:
   Anyone remember Hanna-Barberra's PAC-MAN cartoon from the early '80s?
 Yes, folks, before Nintendo's CAPTAIN N hit the airwaves, the world's most
 famous video game star had his own television show. The adventures of Mr.,
 Mrs., and Junior Pac-Man failed with the Neilsons, but not before they
 inspired Namco's arcade PAC-LAND video game, now available for the Atari
 Lynx.
 
   Despite the presence of "pac-" in the name, PAC-LAND has nothing to do
 with mazes and dots. Rather, Pac-Man is on a mission of charity, who must
 take a lost fairy back to her home. So he puts her under his hat, then
 proceeds to run and jump across the towns, forests, hills and deserts of
 Pac-Land. The way is dangerous, with rickety bridges, quicksand, and deep
 chasms to cross, not to mention the ever-present ghosts. However, if Pac-Man
 looks hard enough, he can find tools, powers and secret warps to help him
 complete the job.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
   Despite the silly storyline and cute graphics, PAC-LAND is not an easy
 game. There are five "trips" to be completed, spread over 20 levels; you
 can choose which trip to start at, which lets pros skip the easy parts.
 Each trip consists of several levels to return the fairy, then a level of
 guiding Pac-Man home. Along the way, Pac-Man must dodge the ghosts, who
 chase him in cars, busses, airplanes, and pogo sticks. There are also
 swimming pools to be jumped, floating ledges to ride, and darkened houses to
 explore, each with their own tricks and dangers. For extra pressure, each
 level must be completed within a given time limit.
 
   Pac-Man is not completely helpless, naturally. If Pac-Man walks across
 certain areas, hidden fruit will appear, which he can eat for points. There
 are also energizer pellets, which enable our hero to temporarily chase the
 ghosts. In addition, there are goodies such as helmets, invulnerability, and
 warps to higher levels hidden in the game, and assorted known and unknown
 point bonuses to try for (can you get the 7,000-plus-point bonus at the end
 of each level?).
 
   While PAC-LAND is an engrossing "run and jump" game, it's not as complex
 as other titles in this genre. The different levels offer a bit of variety,
 but each level does not take long to complete. The ghosts are fairly easy to
 avoid with a little careful dodging; to compensate, their appearances are
 randomized, which prevents patterns from being developed.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
   The graphics on PAC-LAND are cute and cartoony, appropriately enough.
 Pac-Man looks friendly and animated, while the ghosts are silly and amusing.
 Other items are drawn with bright colors and simple designs. Finally, there
 is some multi-plane scrolling both behind and in front of the action;
 however, the positions of Pac-Man and the ghosts are always clearly shown.
 Game sounds are similarly simple but amusing. The background music is taken
 from the original cartoon show, though some people may find it irritating.
 Other sounds come from the ghosts on the prowl and various game actions, but
 are simply average.
 
 SUMMARY:
   PAC-LAND is a simple but challenging action game. The cute atmosphere
 masks lots of surprises to uncover, and the game requires attention to beat.
 There are a few shortcomings, but they are there because the card is
 accurate to the arcade original. Veteran video jumpers may breeze through
 this title, but for other players, a trip to PAC-LAND is worth considering.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        7
                 GRAPHICS:        7
                 SOUND:           7
                 OVERALL:         7
 
 [PAP]=================================================================
 
                                   PAPERBOY
 
 for 1 player
 by Atari Corp.
 $39.95
 
 OVERVIEW:
   In Norman Rockwell's America, purehearted young men got their start in
 the financial world by delivering newspapers or selling fruit. In PAPERBOY
 for the Atari Lynx (an adaptation of the Atari Games/Tengen arcade title),
 you play such a young man, out to deliver a week's worth of papers on either
 Easy Street, Middle Road, or Hard Way.
 
   You start off with a bike, ten papers, and two blocks of customers. As
 you ride up the street, your objective is to deliver papers to your customers
 with a well-placed toss. Aim carefully -- breaking windows is a fast way to
 lose a customer. Between customers, throw papers haphazardly to destroy
 other people's property(!) or hit people(!!) for bonus points(!!!). At the
 end of the run, you can run an obstacle course and show off your bike-riding
 and paper-throwing prowlness.
 
   It's not all peaches and cream, though. Crashing your bike into an
 obstacle (incoming traffic, pedestrians, animals, etc.) will lose you a
 paperboy. Lose all your customers, or all your boys, and the game ends.
 Survive an entire week and you may actually keep your job.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
   A decent adaptation of the arcade game. Minute game details from the
 arcade original are preserved intact, such as the "hidden targets" (the
 catburglar, the birdbath --> periscope, etc.). Scoring and gameplay are
 identical enough that veterans of the original will feel right at home.
 
   There are a few nitpicky points that detract, though. For one thing,
 while you can slow down/speed up the bike, you cannot STOP. For another,
 the Lynx version seems a little bit easier than the original. Making
 mailbox "bullseyes", dodging obstacles, and generally staying alive are
 easier to do. You do get to pick three different streets of varying
 difficulty, though there's no way to refine the game further.
 
   One minor "cute touch" -- the Lynx version maintains a seperate high
 score table for each street. Get a score in the top five for the street,
 and you get to enter your name. No score-saving mechanism, however.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
   A mixed bag. Graphics are clearly distinguishable (breakdancers from
 drunks, trash cans from tombstones), but left me with a sense of "could
 have been done better". Every extra graphic nicety was counterbalanced by
 a weak point, leaving an overall OK graphics impression.
 
   Similary, the sounds are indifferential. The background music is a pale
 shadow of the original, but the other game sounds are appropriate and
 helpful (especially the musical riffs when you deliver a paper). The volume
 of the sounds vary widely, though -- you strain to hear a delivery riff
 and have your concentration broken by a (relatively) loud "car horn", for
 instance -- again leaving an overall balanced impression.
 
 SUMMARY:
   Not a bad game, though not one of the Lynx's best. It's not a fast-paced
 breakneck-speed game, so people looking for relaxation should be interested.
 If you can overlook average-quality graphics and sound, and did not
 dominate the arcade version, this is worth trying out.
 
         GAMEPLAY:       7.5
         GRAPHICS:       6
         SOUND:          6
         OVERALL:        7
 
 [PIN]======================================================================
 
                                  PINBALL JAM
 
 1 player, horizontal game
 Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $39.95
 Stereo? No
 
 OVERVIEW:
     As much as I like video games and pinball, I never cared much for video
 pinball games. The problem is that either the playfield is an unrealistic
 collection of screen-sized subfields slapped together (ALIEN CRUSH, DINOLAND,
 DRAGON'S FURY), or the programmers put in "video features", like bosses and
 marble eaters (HIGH SPEED and PINBOT for the Nintendo Entertainment System).
 In either case, the fundamentals of pinball end up being compromised.
 
     Now Atari Corp. has released PINBALL JAM for their Lynx portable video
 game system. This game card contains two real Williams/Bally pinball titles,
 "Elvira and the Party Monsters" and "Police Force". Elvira has you shooting
 targets and ramps for pizzas, punch, and water rides with the campy Mistress
 of the Dark. "Police Force" requires you to defend the Law of the Jungle
 against the Drug Rat, the Loan Shark, and other animal villains. The action is
 viewed from directly overhead, with the screen scrolling up and down to track
 the ball.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     PINBALL JAM consists of a lot of plusses mixed with a few minuses. The
 best thing is its high level of realism and adherence to the originals' rules
 and scoring. Game physics are convincing for the most part, down to the
 frustrating ramp shots that don't quite succeed, but the marble is a little
 more elastic than it should be. On the other hand, this is still not a total
 replacement for real pinball. Pressing the OPTION 1 button shakes the board,
 and tilts are possible, but slap saves and other complex moves are not.
 Still, for the time being, this is the closest that pinball purists can get in
 a video game system.
 
     A few other changes have been made to accomodate the transition to a video
 screen. The scrolling screen follows the ball, so aiming for targets at the
 top of the playfield becomes harder. During multiball, the lower ball is shown
 and an arrow points to the location of the other. Free game specials are now
 extra balls, and end-of-game matches are gone. Each pinball can be played in
 easy or hard mode; "easy" gives five balls per game, while "hard" offers three
 balls and clears all lit targets after a drain. Only one player can play at a
 time, but a high score table tracks the top three scores for each machine.
 
     Of the two titles, Elvira is a tougher challenge and requires good playing
 to get high scores. Police Force is suited for beginners, and offers many easy
 chances to get high scores. One minor risk is that players who are unfamilliar
 with the originals will start off handicapped. The manual documents shots and
 target combinations, but nowhere are they labelled or illustrated. As a
 result, new players have to discover where the Pizza Passage, the Hot Sheet,
 and other targets are before they can play effectively.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     Graphically, PINBALL JAM literally tries to duplicate the look of the
 arcade. The screen closely resembles the real games, containing everything
 from playfield art and flashing arrows to transparent slides and wire ramps.
 The effect isn't perfect, however, and the limits of the Lynx screen display
 are clear. Some areas are colored too brightly, and some other spots are too
 cluttered. The screen scrolls well most of the time, but when the balls get
 extremely fast, the scrolling becomes somewhat jumpy in order to keep pace.
 
     The primary game sounds come from computerized approximations of bumpers,
 flippers, and other obstacles at work, which are okay by themselves. Each pin
 also has a selection of digitized voices from the arcade, though they are
 slightly scratchy and rearranged a little with the original game actions. The
 best sounds, though, are the number of background tunes play throughout,
 setting the pace and keeping things lively.
 
 SUMMARY:
     PINBALL JAM is a fun game, though it cannot satisfy the die-hards who want
 the complete pinball experience. But for those of us who can accept some minor
 compromises for realistic pinball action on the go, this card is a perfect way
 to spend many spare hours.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        8
                 GRAPHICS:        7
                 SOUND:           8.5
                 OVERALL:         8
 
 [PIT]========================================================================
                                  PIT-FIGHTER
 
 1-2 playes, horizontal game
 Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $37.95
 Stereo? No
 
 OVERVIEW:
     It is a sport not covered by any network, not sponsored by any groups, not
 sanctioned by any leagues. It is pit-fighting, played in dark basements and
 seedy barrooms, where bloodthirsty crowds watch and wager on total strangers
 in no-holds-barred combat. Now, you stand, ready to start your career in this
 brutal contest; can you show your superiority in the face of overwhelming
 odds, or will you be crushed beneath the heels of your opponents?
 
     For those not in the know, PIT-FIGHER for the Lynx is an adaptation of the
 Atari Games arcade title. As Buzz the wrestler, Ty the kickboxer, or Kato the
 karate expert, one or two players battle through twelve stages, earing big
 bucks for defeating your opponents. Use your unarmed skills to kick and punch
 to the top, or pick up barrels, knives, and other weapons for an extra assist.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     PIT-FIGHTER is reportedly the first four megabit (512K) Lynx game card
 ever made. Frankly, I don't see it; there is nothing to justify it over other
 Lynx games already on the market. It's not that the game is unplayable;
 rather, this is a fairly accurate adaptation of the original, and
 unfortunately includes the same flaws as the source. Fighting is fairly
 repetitive, and requires little of the strategy found in the various street
 fighting games currently in vogue. Responses to actions are a little slow,
 leaving you vulnerable in the fast pace of the fight.
 
     The different fighters each have their own speeds and fighting abilities,
 but the opponents all attack with the same tactic -- rush in and pound you
 without pause. The joypad and buttons are used in combinations to perform
 assorted moves, but a lot of progress can be made by simply kicking
 repeatedly. In short, the game soon becomes a mildly annoying exercise in fast
 button pressing, and only fans of the original will have enough interest to
 return for more.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     The sights on PIT-FIGHTER are a mixed bag. Most of the digitized graphics
 of the arcade have been translated rather well; colors are used well, and the
 sprites and images are reasonably clean and attractive. On the downside,
 animation is jumpy and simple. Scaling is used at a minimum, but is nothing
 spectacular or worth noting.
 
     Game sounds, on the other hand, are universally bland. Actual fighting
 effects are an assortment of some plain and uninspired thuds and punches.
 Several fast-paced hard rock music loops provide background music throughout
 the game. They repeat quickly, and can prove irritating after a while. It is
 possible to turn them off before the game starts, but then the game is eerily
 silent.
 
 SUMMARY:
     PIT-FIGHTER for the Lynx, while not a horrid game, does not offer much to
 recommend it, either. Die-hard fans of the original will be content with this
 portable version, but for most players, the appeal of this title will not be
 so clear-cut.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        5
                 GRAPHICS:        7
                 SOUND:           4
                 OVERALL:         5
 
 [POW]========================================================================
                                  POWER FACTOR
 
 1 player, horizontal game
 Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $34.95
 Stereo? No
 
 
 OVERVIEW:
     POWER FACTOR for the Atari Lynx puts a new plot on the traditional
 side-scrolling action game. In a virtual reality chamber on a leisure moon
 arcade, you play the heroic Redd Ace and try to duplicate his historic
 victory over the Sinledo Techmods' invasion. You run, jump, and shoot through
 11 side-scrolling levels of the enemy base, looking for six parts of a bomb
 to destroy it all.
 
     You start with three lives, a flight pack, and a Very Large Gun. Items
 scattered through the game enhance your weapon, give extra lives, and add fuel
 to your pack. A statistics screen summarizes your mission progress, and
 computer terminals in the base provide maps, object locations, clues and
 information. There are no continues, so losing means a long wait in line
 before you can try the simulator again.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     Take away the slightly novel storyline, and POWER FACTOR comes off as a
 fairly simple, fast-paced action game. Basic strategy is to grab all the items
 on a level, find the exit, and shoot everything you can. The game is very
 linear, consisting of surviving a level, defeating the end boss, and going to
 the next. However, there are some subtle touches of sophistication. You can't
 win without finding all six parts of the bomb, and some of the weapons you
 find are better suited for specific obstacles. There are three difficulty
 levels, though even the easiest level is a decent challenge.
 
     At its core, this is a fun, if not particular original, action contest.
 The only real hitch comes in the controls. In an attempt to give the player a
 lot of options, the control pad is overloaded with functions. For example,
 pressing left and right moves Redd, while tapping left and right selects
 weapons. This makes weapon selection difficult in tight situations, small
 movements tricky, and detracts from otherwise seamless controls.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     The graphics on POWER FACTOR are highly detailed, with a touch of whimsy.
 Redd Ace and the Sinledo aliens are drawn with a cartoonish look, making the
 station's deathtraps, backgrounds, and other items appear soberly realistic
 by comparison. Scrolling and animation is particularly fast and smooth. Sound
 effects are also nice, but not as diverse as the graphics; sounds consist
 mostly of explosions and firearms of all sorts, mixed with other minor
 effects. There's also a very nice piece of rock music, but for some reason it
 only plays after the game ends.
 
 SUMMARY:
     POWER FACTOR tries to become a slick, action-packed run-jump-shoot game,
 and almost succeeds. The controls are a minor irritant, though the action,
 sights, and sounds almost make up for it. For the player looking for cheap
 thrills who can handle one flaw in an otherwise fine package, this is a decent
 title.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        6.5
                 GRAPHICS:        9
                 SOUND:           7.5
                 OVERALL:         7
 [QIX]========================================================================
 
                                      QIX
 
 1-2 players, horizontal game
 Telegames, Inc.
 $39.95
 Stereo? No
 
 OVERVIEW:
     Telegames, the first developer of third-party Lynx games, strikes the
 market again with QIX. This is an adaptation of the Taito arcade game from the
 early 80s, named after the Qix, a swirling helix of colored lines. The
 player's goal is to draw boxes on the playing field, restricting the movement
 of the Qix, while avoiding contact with the Sparx, Fuse, and the Qix itself.
 Each level has a percentage threshold, and the level ends when you have
 claimed the limit, with bonuses rewarded to extra territory. Higher levels
 offer more Qixes, Fuses, and Super Sparx to outsmart.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     The original QIX was a simple game by today's standards, so it is not
 surprising to find that the Lynx version plays exactly the same. The Qix
 dances around the field, and you lose a life if it touches your drawing lines.
 Points are awarded for drawing boxes, with more points given for daring to
 draw slowly. There are 256 levels, each with its own combination of game
 elements, and a password to avoid the earlier levels. Two players can compete
 by alternating turns, while built-in instructions and a Practice Mode help
 beginners learn the game.
 
     There are a few problems, however. The arcade game used separate buttons
 for slow and fast drawing, but this version uses only one, which is awkward.
 More annoying are the sensitive controls; a wayward diagonal can cause the
 marker to jam, leaving you vulnerable. Finally, the Qix is proportionally
 larger on the Lynx, making the game slightly harder. None of these flaws are
 crippling, but they do diminish the game.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     The simple graphics of the Taito QIX have been renovated slightly for the
 Lynx. Each level uses a different pattern to fill in claimed space, and the
 other visuals have been duplicated here. Sound effects are fairly simple,
 consisting mainly of the buzzing of the Qix and two short tunes, though the
 title page uses a nice, short digitized rock riff.
 
 SUMMARY:
     QIX on the Lynx is a steady translation, offering no more and no less
 than the original. Whether it will appeal to today's players is questionable,
 but longtime devotees and people who like unusual games will probably enjoy
 this title.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        7
                 GRAPHICS:        8
                 SOUND:           6.5
                 OVERALL:         7
 [RAM]=======================================================================
 
                                     RAMPAGE
 
 1-4 players, horizontal game
 for the Atari Lynx
 $34.95
 
 OVERVIEW:
   "Better living through chemistry"? Not for four employees at MegaVitamin
 Pharmaceuticals, who -- through a mixup in the company cafeteria -- ingested
 a contaminated sample of Megavitamins. Within 24 hours, Larry, George, Ralph,
 and Lizzie had transmorgrified into giant animals, wrecking havoc and major
 property damage throughout the United States. Worse, a rumor is now around
 that an unnamed lab technician can develop an antidote for the disease, but
 is hiding this information to extract extortion from the government...
 
   RAMPAGE for the Atari Lynx is a conversion of the Bally/Midway game from
 a few years back. You play one of four monsters (one more than the original),
 who travel from city to city, smashing skyscrapers, pounding cars, breaking
 bridges, and eating fruits/humans/vegetables/humans/meat/HUMANS. You and
 your friends can collectively wreck havoc, or clobber each other, depending
 on your inclination. As you jump and climb your way through the city, the
 screen scrolls to show you the action immediately around your monster.
 
   Along the way, you encounter the evil forces of the United States Army,
 who throw soldiers, tanks, helicopters, and bombs at your 60-foot-tall self.
 You can smash them, too, but they are many and you are few, so you've got to
 keep yourself alive while tearing the town apart. Destroy all the buildings
 in a city and you move to the next, thus effectively roaming the country. If
 you survive long enough, you may be able to find the mysterious lab
 technician who can restore you to your former self.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
   This game is fun. Aside from the sheer silliness of the concept, RAMPAGE
 is very easy to play, with uncomplicated controls, simple rules, and a
 sense of difficulty that feels right. There is a lot of stuff to eat and
 destroy, such as passing trolleys, damsels in distress, neon signs, bridges,
 and cars. The Army will be able to wear you down through sheer numbers, but
 if you play it safe and snatch all the food you can get, you'll be able to
 hold out for a while. If you're lucky, you can find and drink potions,
 which will render you invulnerable (and invisible to other players) for one
 level.
 
   Players familliar with the arcade game will be glad to know that the Lynx
 version is very close to the original, and offers more. After your monster
 loses all its health, it turns back to human and slinks out of the picture --
 until you activate another life. Run out of lives, and you're out of the game.
 If you're playing with friends, you can continue the game with a new life
 indefinetely -- until you get past level 40. After that, all deaths are final.
 Your monstrous abilities to destroy are all translated intact, and the levels,
 though presented on a scrolling screen, are about the same size as the arcade.
 Unlike the original, though, there seems to be no difference in the abilities
 of the different monsters. Watch out for crumbling buildings, and don't jump
 too hard on the bridges.
 
   If you survive long enough, you will ultimately find a lab scientist who can
 cook up an antidote to revert you to normal. Though I can't confirm it, I
 think this will take _quite_ a while to accomplish. The scientist is rumored to
 be in Sunnyvale, and level 40 doesn't even take you halfway around the
 country; you start in the state of Washington, and it seems like you travel
 counterclockwise throughout the United States. Level 40 only gets you to
 Tennesee. I hear that this game offers around 100+ levels (the manual doesn't
 say), and it seems quite possible.
 
   As mentioned before, the action takes place on a scrolling screen, so it's
 possible to be attacked by someone you can't see. This doesn't matter, though,
 as the game, overall, is slightly easier than the original. It's not a breeze,
 though, as you will eventually get worn down by a lack of food and an
 abundance of military might (the lack of continues past level 40 doesn't
 help, either).
 
   A side note: Normally, I don't discuss manuals in these reviews, but this
 time I'm making an exception. There's a lot of things that you can do in
 this game, but are breezed over or completely ignored by the manual. For
 instance, you can grab a dynamite pack and hurl it away before it explodes.
 Or grab and HOLD ON to a civilian for points. I don't know whether the
 omissions were intentional or not, but it's a good idea to TRY EVERYTHING --
 you may turn up a surprise or two.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
   The game graphics in RAMPAGE are similar, but not identical to, the
 arcade original. There's nothing wrong with that; game elements are clearly
 recognizable, and rendered in the same cartoony, tongue-in-cheek mentality
 that arcade fans will recognize. Especially delightful are the little "cute
 touches". Punch an electrical applicance and get shocked, eat an undigestible
 object and cough up, swallow some dynamite and breathe fire -- there's a lot
 of visual humor in this game. Between cities, the newspaper headlines present
 the city, the level, and offers bad jokes (there's monster humor, cow puns,
 and subliminal ads for Atari, to name a few).
 
   The sounds in this game are appropriate, but not special. Sound effects
 match the game action, as it should. During the game, bouncy/cheery
 background music plays, sounding similar to the tunes found in CHIP'S
 CHALLENGE. Fortunately, if it bothers you (I think it's for the wrong game,
 myself), you can turn the tunes off and keep the sound F/X.
 
 SUMMARY:
   RAMPAGE for the Lynx reminds me of XENOPHOBE for the Lynx: A lighthearted,
 silly game that's lots of fun for lots of players (the more the merrier).
 Though it's not hard to play, I feel that there's going to be lots of hours
 invested in this card before someone finishes it. If you like the arcade
 original, like multiplayer cooperative/competitive games, or are looking for
 a casually-paced challenge, RAMPAGE is the way to go.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        9.5
                 GRAPHICS:        8.5
                 SOUND:           7
                 OVERALL:         9
 [RAP]=========================================================================
 
                                    RAMPART
 
 1-2 players, horizontal game
 Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $29.95
 Stereo? No
 
 OVERVIEW:
     Longtime players fondly remember the Golden Age of video games, where
 flashy graphics and sound didn't matter as much as a solid idea backed with
 good gameplay. Even though most of today's games fall into recycled formulas,
 every now and then there's a title that gets attention simply for daring to be
 different.
 
     Such is the case with RAMPART, an adaptation of the Atari Games' arcade
 machine. The player is the warlord of an enclosed castle; cannons are placed
 behind the walls and used to repel enemy attacks. After each battle, holes in
 the wall must be patched with Tetris-like pieces before the next attack, else
 the game ends. One player can compete against a computer-controlled navy
 through eight levels, or two players can fight each other, with or without
 the computer.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     Lynx RAMPART is a near-complete copy of the original. The Lynx controls
 are a respectable substitute for the arcade's trackball. In a one-player game,
 a level ends after enduring a number of attacks, and survival is the final
 goal. Against the computer, the difficulty starts off moderate and builds
 gradually, with higher stages having more ships and stranger-shaped wall
 pieces. A two-player game ends when one player loses, and all games have a
 limited number of continues. There is one difference that devoted fans will
 notice: On the Lynx, all ships can drop off ground forces, which makes
 defending your shoreline very important. This change makes the game more
 difficult, but not unplayable.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     RAMPART in the arcade used simple but uninspired graphics, which the Lynx
 duplicates exactly. To compensate, this version also shows a number of elegant
 animated and still images between breaks in the action. There are not too
 many sounds, but the ones present are well done, with explosions, musical
 themes and dirges, and digitized voices.
 
 SUMMARY:
     RAMPART on the Lynx is a good adaptation, and is a welcome change from
 today's recycled arcade themes. For those who've never tried this unusual
 game, its original blend of action and strategy can be quite addictive, and is
 well recommended.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        8.5
                 GRAPHICS:        9.5
                 SOUND:           9
                 OVERALL:         8.5
 [ROA]======================================================================
 
                                  ROADBLASTERS
 
 for one player
 by Atari Corp. for the Atari Lynx
 $39.95
 
 OVEVIEW:
   We don't really need a storyline for this game, and the one that comes
 with the manual is a bit on the cheesy side, so let's skip it. ROADBLASTERS
 is an adaptation of the arcade hit by Atari Games/Tengen, which also had
 the dubious distinction of being one of the earliest video game/toy tie-ins
 (Play the game, buy the Matchbox cars). People who are familliar with the
 arcade game can skip the next two paragraphs; this Lynx adaptation has it
 *ALL*.
 
   The game, in a nutshell, is SPY HUNTER crossed with POLE POSITION, thrown
 into the 21st century. This is a concept that long-time Los Angeles residents
 (like myself) will appreciate: You drive a high-performance sports car
 through 50 crowded, twisting races. Other cars in your path are out to stop
 your commute, so either pass 'em or shoot 'em. Complicating the matter are
 third-party obstacles: roadside obstacles and cannons, immobile mines in the
 road, and roving spikers. Contact with any obstacle destroys your car.
 
   To be fair, you have a few tricks on your side. Your only major concern
 in this game is fuel -- run out of gas, and the game ends. There is no
 time limit, and collisions are only annoying because they slow you down.
 Furthermore, at various points in the race, a jet will fly by and air-drop
 "power-ups" for your car. These range from the high-speed Nitro injector
 to the all-destructive Cruise Missile (my favorite).
 
 GAMEPLAY:
   As I wrote above, people familliar with the arcade game will be right at
 home with this one. Just like the Lynx version of KLAX, this adaptation
 features *ALL* of the gameplay from the arcade, intact. Indestructable blue
 limos, high-turbine motorcyclists, level warps, power-up weapons, the bonus
 multiplier...The only things missing from the arcade to this card are the
 coin slots, the high score table, and the free T-shirt contest. If you
 lose a run, you can continue (up to four times) if you want.
 
   The game is really fast and challenging, and it's hard to find anything
 wrong with the game. The game promises to be a no-holds-barred, high-speed,
 action-packed thriller, and it delivers. My only gripe comes with the
 controls; as with most home video driving games, steering with a
 joypad/joystick is not as accurate as using a steering wheel/control yolk.
 This is doubly annoying in ROADBLASTERS, because you need precision steering
 to both dodge obstacles and shoot well. With a little bit of practice,
 though, you will get used to the controls, and *REALLY* enjoy the game.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
   One reason this Lynx adaptation is so close to the arcade comes from the
 audios and visuals. Visually, everything looks either identical or VERY
 close to their arcade counterparts. The graphics are well-detailed,
 distinctive, and very colorful. The Lynx's graphics hardware are put to
 great use -- the smooth scaling and fast scrolling work together to make this
 one of the slickest, fastest, and most exciting driving games for ANY home
 video game system currently available. This game shows off the Lynx at its
 best.
 
   Sounds are, similarly, a little short of perfection when compared to the
 arcade. The opening title tune, digitized voices, and game sounds are all
 from the arcade (I love the whine of the motorcycles when you pass them).
 However, the digitized voices have a bit of static to them (especially
 dissappointing when you realize how clean the voices on KLAX are), and the
 music is louder than the rest of the sounds, causing an annoying imbalance
 as you play. All in all, though, the game sounds fit the game accurately.
 
 SUMMARY:
   This is a mind-blowing *AWESOME* adaptation. I'd recommend it to most
 video-game players -- fans of driving games, fans of shooting games, fans
 of action games, and fans of the arcade original. It's a challenging,
 well-balanced arcade/action game, faithful to the original, worthy of the
 Lynx and offering lots of hours of fun.
 
   This goes right up there with BLUE LIGHTNING as one of the best Lynx games
 around. Grab yourself a copy, but don't be surprised if they dissappear FAST.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        9.5
                 GRAPHICS:        9.0
                 SOUND:           8.5
                 OVERALL:         9.0
 [ROB]=========================================================================
 
                                   ROBO-SQUASH
 
 for 1 or 2 players
 by Atari Games
 $34.95
 
 OVERVIEW:
   It's the 31st century, and after 200 years of peace, there is a conflict.
 The two political parties of the universe are arguing over a successor to
 the recently-deceased President of the World. Instead of settling the
 dispute through barbaric warfare or elections, both parties have sent a
 representative to play the zero-gravity game of Robo-Squash. The winning
 player will win the Presidency for his party. Guss what? You're one of the
 players.
 
   The Robo-Squash game consists of 16 rounds. For each round, you sit at
 one end of a zero-gravity corridor. At the other end is your opponent, and
 in the middle are spinning bricks and some icons. A ball is batted back and
 forth between the players, picking up speed and knocking out obstacles as
 it goes. A round ends when one player fails to return the ball three times,
 or one player hits the roving mecha-spider that appears when all obstacles
 are knocked out.
 
   The game is complicated by a few twists: First, missing a ball leaves a
 big red splotch on your end of the arena. This is more than a nuisance,
 it blocks your view of the ball and makes it harder to see incoming shots.
 Second, hitting the icons in the middle of the arena gives you (if you can
 catch it) power-ups: a ball grabber, a larger paddle, a fireball launcher,
 or a ball spotter are available.
 
   Before each of the 16 rounds, a player picks a ball in a 4-by-4 grid to
 play for. Winning a round wins the ball for the player, and at the end of
 all the rounds, bonuses are awarded for getting grid entries in 2, 3, or
 4-in-a-rows.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
   ROBO-SQUASH is a nice, well-balanced "sports game" (okay, sport-like).
 The general concept reminds me of PONG, BREAKOUT, SHUFFLEPUCK CAFE, and
 ARKANOID. The game and controls are easy enough to learn, and the addition
 of power-ups, vision-blocking, and fighting for grid positions make it more
 interesting. The game has four difficulty levels, which affect the top speed
 the ball can get and the intellect of the coputer opponent.
 
   ROBO-SQUASH can be played either against the computer or another player.
 The computer opponent is good, but not unbeatable -- like video tennis
 games, alternating volleys to extreme ends of the arena can trip it up.
 Human opponents, though, are another matter; use strategic shots (to set
 up vision-blocking splotches) or fireballs (exploding bricks obscure the
 view temporarily) to distract your opponent.
 
   One minor annoyance: You can angle the return of the ball by hitting it
 on the edge of the padde OPPOSITE from where you want to go (make it go
 down by hitting it with the top edge, for instance). Once you understand
 it, ball control is easy -- but until then, it's a mystery. The manual
 is of little help here.
 
 GRAPHICS/GAMEPLAY:
   From an original name of "3D Barrage", ROBO-SQUASH makes good use of the
 Lynx's scaing capabilites. The 3D effects of the game are very well done;
 the ball's size changes and the use of two ball shadows make it clear
 where the ball is, and the obscuring blotches are a neat idea. The rest of
 the graphics are functional, though the power-up icons are a bit cute (a
 dragon's head for the fireball launcher, for instance).
 
   Sounds are passable but not notworthy, repeating the trend in PAPERBOY
 and XENOPHOBE. The actual gameplay is mostly silent, with only the sound
 of the bouncing ball and smashed bricks punctuating. The only real music
 comes in the opening title tune, and while it's nice, it's not enough.
 
 SUMMARY:
   A good, slightly above-average game. Playing it by yourself is fine, since
 the difficulty levels let you tune the computer to your skills. I suspect,
 though, that playing it with another person would be more fun. Best for
 players who are looking for a sports-type game for the Lynx (at least
 until TOURNAMENT CYBERBALL comes out).
 
         GAMEPLAY:       7 to 8 (depending on difficulty/number of players)
         GRAPHICS:       7
         SOUND:          6
         OVERALL:        7
 [ROO]======================================================================
 
                               ROBOTRON: 2084
 
 1 player, horizontal game
 Shadowsoft Inc.
 $34.95
 Stereo? Yes
 
 OVERVIEW:
     Shadowsoft, a newcomer to the Lynx development scene, takes video gamers
 back in time with their first release. The destination is 1984, where Williams
 Electronics' ROBOTRON: 2084 is taking arcades by storm. In a plot reminescent
 of the movie Terminator, you play a laser-firing mutant who must save the last
 humans of Earth from extermination by the mechanical Robotrons. Destroy all
 the Robotrons, and you travel to the next stage, with even more dangers.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     Williams' video games were respected as true challenges, with no mercy
 for the weak, and Shadowsoft's version is no exception. ROBOTRON on the Lynx
 is just as fast and tough, with absolutely nothing missing nor abridged. The
 action is viewed from overhead, and you must navagate around each level,
 saving humans while keeping yourself alive. The difficulty can be set to one
 of five levels, though even the easiest is a challenge.
 
     Anyone familliar with the original ROBOTRON will know that the controls
 will present a problem. In the arcade, two joysticks were used, allowing you
 to move and fire independently. In response, Shadowsoft has provided three
 different control schemes, using different methods of aiming and firing. This
 is an acceptable substitute, and each player will find a setting that works
 for himself.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     ROBOTRON's faithfulness goes down to the smallest detail, as the sights
 and sounds of the arcade machine are duplicated exactly. Game elements are
 distinctive enough, though their may be some confusion in the heat of the
 battle. All other visuals are copied as well, right down to the storytelling
 attract mode. Similarly, the sounds of the original have been rendered
 exactly, down to the last zap and explosion. Most of the game is played in
 mono, though the moody title tune and the effect when you die are done in a
 subtle stereo.
 
 SUMMARY:
     ROBOTRON on the Lynx loses none of the intensity of the classic title.
 Though the controls are a minor sticking point, they can be worked with,
 leaving this a game of intense non-stop shooting action. If Shadowsoft's
 future works are as good as this, Lynx owners are in for a lot of fun.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        8.5
                 GRAPHICS:        8
                 SOUND:           8.5
                 OVERALL:         8.5
 [RYG]=======================================================================
 
                                     RYGAR
 
 by Atari Corp.
 for 1 player, horizontal game
 $39.95
 
 OVERVIEW:
   It has been over 10,000 years since the demonic hordes of the underworld
 drove our people away from the fertle farmlands and forced us into hiding
 on the desolate slopes. Now, however, the predictions of the ancient sages
 has come true. You are Rygar the Reclaimer, born of the mystic birthmark,
 who has the power and the skill to weild the warrior's shield, destroy the
 demons, and bring our people home. 
 
   Okay, so the storyline is nothing original. RYGAR for the Lynx is an
 adaptation of the Tecmo arcade game, where you play the barbarian hero out
 to battle monsters and beasts across the land. You run from left to right
 across a scrolling screen, fighting monsters and grabbing artifacts along
 the way. Your weapon is your armored shield, which, when thrown at the
 monsters, returns to your hand. If there are too many creatures to be
 destroyed, you can stun them for a few seconds by jumping on them.
 
   The artifacts you find along the way will either give you additional points
 or extra fighting powers. You must be careful in your travels, however.
 Touching a non-stunned creature, or falling off the path, spells instant death
 for Rygar. Run out of lives, and the game ends. You face opponents such as
 headless zombies, flying griffons, and giant rolling worms across 23 levels.
 Clear all the levels, and you will return peace to the land.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
   Okay, how's it play? As an arcade adaptation, RYGAR is almost -- but not
 completely -- identical to the arcade version. Veterans of the original
 will notice a few differences in the gameplay. For instance, you can't
 throw your shield in a protective arc, and throwing the shield upwards is
 possible only if you have a "star" artifact. There are other minor differences
 as well, but this is an adequate adaptation for the most part.
 
   On the plus side, the controls are easy to use, and the game difficulty is
 not set too high. The game is mostly patternized, with a few random elements
 in terms of what artifacts appear. You start off with three lives, and get
 extra Rygars at certain point intervals (the first three are at 50,000,
 100,000, and 175,000 points). When you die, there is no "continue" feature,
 and no "skip levels" feature, so this is largely an endurance contest.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
   The graphics on RYGAR are identical to the arcade version. Both Rygar and
 the demons are clearly distinctive, detailed, and animated identically to the
 arcade. The landscape is done in two-level multilayered scrolling, with nice
 details and some background animation. While it's not MICKEY MOUSE AND THE
 CASTLE OF ILLUSION, it is sufficently well done.
 
   Sounds are a bit weaker, however. The game effects are appropriate and
 adequate, though the bells that signal the presence/taking of artifacts can
 get irritating. The background music is reminescent of the arcade tunes -- a
 low rythmic drum beat during gameplay and a musical interlude between levels
 -- but suffers from either being too low-volumed or too high-pitched.
 Fortunately, you can turn off the music by pressing Option 2 before starting
 the game.
 
 SUMMARY:
   RYGAR for the Lynx is a "typical" game, neither extremely outstanding nor
 truly dissappointing. While fans of the arcade game will find slight
 differences, it's close enough to be familliar (especially since the only
 other adaptation was a vastly different game for the Nintendo). Though
 there are only 23 levels, the lack of a level skip and game continues means
 this is an average-difficulty endurance contest which will take some time
 to finish.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        8
                 GRAPHICS:        8.5
                 SOUND:           6.5
                 OVERALL:         7.5
 [STU]=========================================================================
 
                                S.T.U.N. RUNNER
 
 1 player, horizontal game
 Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $34.95
 Stereo? No
 
 OVERVIEW:
     Take the New York subway system, throw in a hovercraft cruising at 900
 MPH, and you have S.T.U.N. RUNNER, the latest Atari Games' arcade sensation
 adapted for the Lynx. The game starts off simple enough: just drive your
 S.T.U.N. sled up, down, and around a twisting course of tunnels and walkways,
 trying to finish it in the brief amount of time given. Complicating the matter
 are the other cars in the passages, trying to ram and slow you down, as well
 as passing jets trying to bomb your craft. While firing back, you must keep an
 eye on the track, for reckless driving will slow you down, which can cost you
 the race. There are over 20 levels, each with its own variety of twists,
 branches, jumps, and obstacles.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     S.T.U.N. RUNNER on the Lynx is both a thrilling action game and another
 shining translation. In terms of action, the gameplay is fast and furious,
 requiring you to negotiate the twisting track, deal with opponents, and go for
 bonuses all at the same time. Enemies may be dodged or destroyed, though you
 can unleash a road-clearing Shockwave if things get too thick. The only time
 you really get to relax is while examining the map between races.
 
     As a conversion, S.T.U.N. RUNNER offers all of the game features found in
 the original. Each of the arcade courses have been faithfully duplicated, with
 the same combination of narrow tunnels, jump ramps, and other track features.
 Similarly, the opposing vehicles are as varied and tenacious as ever, blocking
 your path in the most annoying ways. Finally, challenge stages are scatted
 throughout the game for extra points.
 
     There are a few imperfections, but they are very minor. The steering
 controls are a little sensitive, and beginning players will tend to oversteer.
 The problem is not critical, however, and players will adapt to them in a
 short time. The Lynx version is also harder than the arcade game: turning
 improperly into a curve will slow down your craft significantly. Coupled with
 the tight time limits on each track, this can cost you the race.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     S.T.U.N. RUNNER on the Lynx exploits the graphics engine completely.
 While the original game drew everything with filled polygons, this version
 duplicates it with scaled sprites. The end result is not as refined, but the
 action is incredibly fast -- you really get the sensation of flying at
 supersonic speeds. Distinctive-looking enemies, sharp backgrounds, and
 intermissions round out the sensational effects.
 
     Sounds are also very good, with a constant barrage of blasts, screeches,
 and explosions pulling you into the action. Even better, sound effects and
 voices are digitized from the original game, giving strategies, tips, and
 encouragement throughout.
 
 SUMMARY:
     This game is a high-quality production from beginning to end, retaining
 all of the action, thrills, and speed of the original game. The Lynx's
 abilities are exploited to the fullest, making this version of S.T.U.N.
 RUNNER a fully-loaded action extravaganza and the best adaptation now
 available for any machine.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        9
                 GRAPHICS:        9.5
                 SOUND:           9
                 OVERALL:         9
 [SCR]=======================================================================
 
                                  SCRAPYARD DOG
 
 1 player, horizontal game
 Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $34.95
 
 OVERVIEW:
     Louie is back for the first time. No, that's not a contradiction; the
 big-nosed junkman from the Atari 7800 game SCRAPYARD DOG returns in this new
 adaptation for the Atari Lynx. As before, Louie's pet dog Scraps has been
 kidnapped by Mr. Big, and it's up to him to rescue his pet pal by running,
 ducking, and jumping through 24 stages.
 
     Along the way, Louie will face Mr. Big's animal gangsters, such as rat
 mobsters and rock-dropping birds. He can fight back by lobbing tin cans, or
 try to sidestep the problem all together. He can also find money, play in
 hidden bonus sequences, and go shopping. However, a timer counts down each
 level, so Louie can't dawndle too long.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     SCRAPYARD DOG offers solid game action in an easy-to-learn package. The
 controls are simple and logical, and Louie himself responds sharply to your
 moves. The action takes place on a side view, horizontally scrolling
 playfield, though some scenes scroll vertically as well. Game dangers are
 clearly visible, which prevents you from getting killed by a blindsided
 attack. Players comfortable with Bonk or Mario will be right at home with
 Louie.
 
     Though the mechanics are very familiar, SCRAPYARD DOG keeps things
 intersting by good use of variety throughout the game. The trip starts off at
 the scrapyard, but winds through, above, and below the rest of the town. With
 vehicles to drive, places to explore, and villians to foil, the player is
 kept pretty busy.  Things never get too hectic, though, and overall the game
 runs at a leisurely clip. As with other games in this genre, there are very
 few random elements, so patterns can be developed over time.
 
     The most interesting parts of the game are the numerous secret bonuses and
 diversions. There are stores along the path where Louie can buy useful items,
 such as weapons or protection. Also, hidden throughout the landscape are
 various bonus scenes. For instance, by hopping on the right keys of a giant
 organ, or winning a shell game, Louie can pick up more money and benefits.
 There are also other bonuses, both hidden and overt, sprinkled throughout the
 game for the player to find.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     The graphics in SCRAPYARD DOG are simple and entertaining. Game elements
 are easily identifiable and drawn in primary colors with a minimum of detail.
 There are also extra touches that add to the fun, such as an animated opening
 cartoon, and Mr. Big's taunting notes throughout the game. Sounds are pretty
 basic, offering appropriate but generic noises with a musical tune thrown in.
 
 SUMMARY:
     Despite the cute graphics and the simple plot, this title offers good
 clean fun for players of all ages. The numerous hidden surprises and the
 variety throughout only add to the game's appeal, making SCRAPYARD DOG a
 well-recommended title.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:       8.5
                 GRAPHICS:       9
                    SOUND:       7
                  OVERALL:       8.5
 [SHA]======================================================================
 
                               SHADOW OF THE BEAST
 
 1 player, horizontal game
 Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $39.95
 Stereo? No
 
 OVERVIEW:
     The Beast is back! SHADOW OF THE BEAST for the Lynx is -- no surprise -- a
 conversion of the popular Psygnosis computer game. You play an inhuman demon,
 stripped of your human identity by the dreaded Beast Lord, and who has just
 now learned of your lost heritage. Now driven by rage and revenge, you must
 run, jump, and fight through a number of multidirectional scrolling stages to
 destroy the fiend and rest your soul. Along the way, you will unravel puzzles
 and hunt for tools and weapons, but an army of minions and many traps stand in
 your way.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     The original version of BEAST was notorious for being incredibly
 difficult, and this version is just as hard; it is one of the toughest Lynx
 games you can buy today. You have only one life, and your lifeblood is quickly
 whittled away by relentless attacks and sheer drops. The game offers three
 continues, but there is no way to save a game or to skip earlier stages. The
 game is immensely large, with dozens and dozens of places to explore, and
 players are advised to allocate lots of free time for this title. Simple
 controls allow you to jump, attack, and select weapons, though you cannot
 instantly change directions.
 
     What elevates SHADOW OF THE BEAST from being another rehash of DONKEY KONG
 is its adventuring aspects. While there are platforms to jump and enemies to
 destroy, blindly going forward will get you nowhere. Instead, the only way to
 make progress is to thoroughly explore each area. The adventuring aspects of
 this game are simple and very linear. Each problem has one path to the proper
 solution, and deviations from that are harder or simply impossible. Also, some
 areas require prior knowledge, which you can get only by experience from
 earlier games. To be fair, this game pulls no sudden surprises; when you die,
 for instance, you know exactly what mistakes led to your demise.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     The graphics on BEAST are some of the best ever seen on a Lynx. Fantastic
 use of color and detail makes for realistic characters and backgrounds, topped
 off with fine, multilayered parallex scrolling. Your on-screen personna runs,
 turns, and jumps with fluid, lifelike animation, and many of the game's
 antagonists are equally well done. The game sounds are slightly above average,
 though they do not come too often. Much better, though, are the many
 background tunes running throughout the game, all of which are terrific,
 atmospheric, and haunting. You can press Option 2 to turn them off, but you
 won't want to...
 
 SUMMARY:
     SHADOW OF THE BEAST hits the Lynx without losing any of the relentless
 challenge from the original. It is an audio-video feast, but the game's high
 difficulty level and gameplay may turn off some players. Still, if you relish
 a serious, take-no-prisoners video game, this title is just the ticket.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        7
                 GRAPHICS:        9
                 SOUND:           8.5
                 OVERALL:         7.5
 [SHN]========================================================================
 
                                    SHANGHAI
 
 1-2 players, horizontal game
 Atari Corp. for the Atari Lynx
 $39.95
 
 OVERVIEW:
   In 1986, before TETRIS, a company called Activision (now known also as
 Mediagenic) took the ageless Chinese game of Mah Jongg and twisted it into
 a computer puzzle challenge for the 20th century. This game became an instant
 hit, largely due to its simplicity: Players remove matching pairs of tiles
 from an organized heap, trying to remove as many tiles as possible.
 
   Now the game returns, in color, portable, and expanded, on the Atari Lynx.
 As in the original SHANGHAI, you are presented with 144 Mah Jongg tiles
 arranged in an organized, three-dimensional heap. By selecting matching pairs
 of "free" tiles (tiles not blocked by other tiles to the left or right), you
 whittle down the pile, and ultimately -- if your strategy is wise -- clear
 the heap. The Lynx version is expanded from the original with alternate board
 sets and two-player options, while retaining all the features of the original.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
   SHANGHAI is like TETRIS, KLAX, or a Rubik's Cube: it looks so easy to solve,
 but actually beating the challenge is another matter. Players who are familliar
 with SHANGHAI elsewhere will have no problem with the Lynx version, as the
 original gameplay has been kept completely intact. You move an arrow around
 the screen with the joypad, pressing the "A" button to select tiles, and the
 "B" button to deselect them. During the game, pressing Option 1 will provide
 you with extra features -- previous best scores for this board, changing the
 way tiles are displayed, restarting the game, or a starting-tile hint. Scoring
 is done by both the number of tiles you have removed, as well as the amount of
 time you take to finish the game (an on-screen clock is provided).
 
   As mentioned before, the Lynx version has been expanded from the original.
 Before the game starts, you can choose to play on one of seven tile
 configurations: Dragon (the original), Hawk, Butterfly, Fish, Bear, Spider,
 and Turtle. With two Lynxes ComLynxed, you can play either Alternating
 Competitive, Simultaneous Competitive, or Cooperative. The game even offers
 built-in instructions, for on-the-spot teaching.
 
   A special word goes out to the instruction manual. In this age of short and
 sparse game instructions, the SHANGHAI manual goes beyond the call of duty,
 presenting not only the fundamentals of gameplay, but some historical
 background into the Chinese Mah Jongg game, the origin of the tile symbols,
 and some very helpful strategies. There's even a slightly-silly storyline,
 for people who must have a tale for everything.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
   One major reason why SHANGHAI on the Lynx is so playable are the graphics.
 All of the tiles are clearly recognizable at all times, both in their symbols
 and their height on the board. Tiles can be displayed either as a number and
 a symbol (e.g., a "3" and a bamboo), or as the actual Mah Jongg tile image
 (e.g., three bamboo sticks). To further help identify the tiles, a magnified
 picture of the tile under your pointer is displayed (if the tile is "free"
 for removal), thus eliminating all ambiguity. Other game graphics are equally
 functional without being intrusive.
 
   Sounds are not really needed for this game, but the Lynx version provides
 them anyway. Tiles are selected with a resounding click, and a buzzer alerts
 you when you have made an illegal move. Option 2 selects from one of four
 background tunes, as well as total silence.
 
 SUMMARY:
   This is an excellent version of SHANGHAI, preserving all of the charm of
 the original game while throwing in enough twists to make it stand on its
 own. For fans of the original who want to play on the go, and for players
 interested in an engrossing, always-challenging puzzle for the Lynx, SHANGHAI
 is recommended without any reservations.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        10
                 GRAPHICS:        10
                 SOUND:           9
                 OVERALL:         10
 [STE]=================================================================
 
                                  STEEL TALONS
 
 1 player, horizontal game
 Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $34.95
 Stereo? No
 
 OVERVIEW:
     Once again, the Lynx dares to go where other portable game systems fear to
 tread, with an adaptation of STEEL TALONS, the arcade helicopter flight
 simulator. Your objective is to fly a military chopper through twelve filled-
 polygon missions, blowing away enemy armaments and camps while staying alive.
 Each of your four helicopters can take a small number of hits, and the battle
 computer and instruments provide lots of information, but in the end it takes
 skill and strategy to win. Are you up to the challenge?
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     Confession time -- when I heard that STEEL TALONS was being adapted for
 the Lynx, I shuddered in fear. After all, the last attempt at a polygon
 simulator was the very disappointing HARD DRIVIN'. If the Lynx couldn't handle
 a car, how much worse would a helicopter simulation be? Surprise! STEEL TALONS
 is a LOT of fun to play, and represents the cutting edge of Lynx software
 technology. John Sanderson and NuFX have learned a lot from their earlier
 effort, and this title is to be commended.
 
     Three features from the arcade game have been removed from the Lynx: The
 ability to play two players simultaneously, the use of fuel limits, and the
 option to completely simulate an Apache helicopter's control set (the arcade
 default used simplified controls to make flying easier). Otherwise, everything
 else is preserved. You have control of your speed, altitude, and heading, and
 instruments show everything from structural integrity to ammo remaining to the
 location of you and your targets. The game can be seen either from behind your
 chopper, or from the cockpit for double points. The instruction manual is a
 little sparse on details, leaving players more about the game to discover.
 
     The steering yolk, pedals, and stick of the original STEEL TALONS have
 been streamlined; all of the Lynx's buttons are used, alone and combined, to
 give you total control. Learning the scheme takes about ten minutes, but it's
 a worthy investment. Unlike HARD DRIVIN', everything is properly responsive
 and the controls are reasonable. One quirk that may confuse some players is
 that "flight" controls are not used; pressing up takes you higher, not lower.
 This shouldn't bother most players, however.
 
     Overall, the game is fairly hard and challenging, and careless players
 will be quickly decimated. Missions are progressively difficult, ranging from
 a training run to night hunting to weaving through tall canyons. Each mission
 is timed, and finishing a mission fast enough earns bonuses. You have a set
 number of machine gun rounds, rockets, and guided missiles, with the battle
 computer finding targets and helping your aim. You'll soon completely lose
 yourself in the action, strafing targets and destroying tanks effortlessly.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     The graphics and sound on STEEL TALONS will please most players. The game
 action is rendered with filled-polygon graphics, drawing enemies and hills
 along with trees, clouds, and rivers. The screen is updated at about four
 frames a second; while it's not as fast as a dedicated machine, it's more than
 sufficient and doesn't hurt the game at all. Instruments are visible without
 obscuring the view; other graphics, like the terrain maps and the high score
 table, are drawn very nicely.
 
     There are not a wide variety of sounds, but the ones that are present are
 used appropriately. The drumming of your chopper's blades fill the skies,
 mixed with the rattle of the machine guns and the hiss of missiles. Klaxons
 and chimes warn of radar lock and enemy hits, all punctuated with assorted
 explosions. Finally, there's a somewhat garbled voice giving you tips before
 each mission, and some nicely-done musical tunes sprinkled throughout.
 
 SUMMARY:
     Purists who wanted nothing short of a total, unabridged translation will
 be disappointed. For everyone else, though, STEEL TALONS on the Lynx is a joy
 to play, a very pleasant surprise, and a Herculean effort to be saluted. If
 the idea of realistic air combat action stirs your blood, buy this game and
 take off!
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        9.5
                 GRAPHICS:        9.5
                 SOUND:           8.5
                 OVERALL:         9.5
 [SUP]========================================================================
 
                                  SUPER SKWEEK
 
 1-2 players, horizontal game
 Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $34.95
 Stereo? No
 
 OVERVIEW:
     It's a bird! It's a plane! It's...an orange furball? No, it's SUPER SKWEEK
 on the Lynx, an adaptation of the French computer game, and an unofficial
 sequel to SLIDER on the Game Gear. You control Skweek, the orange furball
 alluded to above, whose mission is to save 250 tile-filled levels on five
 islands with a motley crew of creatures and critters. The game is viewed from
 above, as Skweek walks along the tiles and shoots any creatures that get in
 his way.
 
     Skweek's most common goal is to walk on the blue tiles to make them pink,
 though some levels require rescuing female Skweezettes or destroying monsters
 instead, and all levels feature a time limit. Making the effort harder are the
 many types of tiles in the game -- slippery tiles, crumbling tiles, explosive
 tiles, and even tiles that float above the ground. Skweek can also find or buy
 icons to change his shots or give other powers. The game can start from stage
 1, 50, or 100, or be played in a random order, and a password saves your
 current score and game. Finally, two people can ComLynx together for
 cooperative or competitive play.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     Though it looks like a puzzle game, SUPER SKWEEK shouldn't be treated as
 one. Some of the levels require strategic thinking, but most of the game is
 played with instinct and arcade-quality caution. This title's biggest asset is
 its wealth of features. There are literally dozens of enemies, enhancements,
 tiles and wall pieces to work with, and discovering how everything works will
 take a while. There's also a lot of randomness to the game, which makes
 pattern developing impossible and helps its appeal. Other options allow you to
 restart the current level and to adjust the diagonal movements of the joypad.
 
     While the idea is fine, the implementation is not, as there are problems
 in SUPER SKWEEK that make it harder than necessary. Shooting is tricky, as
 only a direct hit on a monster counts, and near-misses often prove deadly.
 Because Skweek's movement is not confined to the "grid" of each level, you can
 walk into a dangerous area unintentionally. There's also an annoying bug if
 Skweek dies on a disappearing tile: your next life appears in the same spot,
 and if the tile is still gone, you die again. These problems are frustrating,
 though not enough to totally discredit the game.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     The graphics on SUPER SKWEEK are very nice, though there's little here
 that any other video game can't duplicate. Colors are used incredibly well,
 with bright pastels and primaries used to compliment the whimsy and give the
 impression of lots of shades. Game text and elements are small, yet remain
 easily identified with lots of detail and animation. Sounds consistly of
 machine-generated effects, but nothing truly unusual or noteworthy. The
 various themes and music, however, are a notch above the standard Lynx fare.
 
 SUMMARY:
     This is an unusual game with a distinctive atmosphere that may not attract
 all players. While the concept is fairly novel, there are a few flaws in the
 implementation that hinder it somewhat. Still, if you're willing to put forth
 a little patience for its weaknesses, SUPER SKWEEK can produce many hours of
 engaging fun.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        7
                 GRAPHICS:        9
                 SOUND:           7.5
                 OVERALL:         7.5
 [SWI]======================================================================
 
                                SWITCHBLADE II
 
 1 player, horizontal game
 Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $39.95
 Stereo? No
 
 OVERVIEW:
     In the far future, the evil ninja lord Havok reined over the land, until
 Hiro the immortal defeated his robot army and banished the fiend. Now Havok
 and his forces have returned, stronger than ever, and Hiro has returned to
 fight once again. Armed with lethal metal-slicing blades and an array of
 weapons, you must guide Hiro across the scrolling landscape, destroying all
 enemies in your path and bring down Havok once again.
 
     If you haven't fallen asleep from that threadbare plot, then here are more
 details for this Lynx adaptation of the Gremlin game. Hiro starts with three
 lives, though each life can take several hits before dying. Money, health, and
 points can be found along the way, while extra lives and advanced weaponry can
 be bought in the shops located in the game. There are six levels in all, each
 divided into several substages and capped with the obligatory boss villain.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     The video game market is filled from floor to ceiling with hundreds of
 these scrolling, kill-everything titles, some very good and some very
 mediocre. SWITCHBLADE II leans towards the latter, with fairly bland gameplay
 that feels flavorless and leaves you hollow. On the surface, there is nothing
 at fault with this game, as it follows all of the formulas: Controls are
 simple and responsive, the story and gameplay are tried and true, and there's
 a wealth of enemies, weapons, and scenery. Just go in and clobber anything
 that moves, right?
 
     On the other hand, this game lacks a soul, a sense of adventure and
 excitement. There's very little challenge, with enemies patrolling mindlessly
 or attacking in ones and twos, and no time limit or other form of pressure.
 Young players may find this game tricky, but experienced players will easily
 stomp over the forces of evil. Many other games offer the same basic action,
 only better, or faster, or more difficult, but SWITCHBLADE II quickly becomes
 an exercise in boredom. There's no solid reason to dislike this title, but it
 offers little incentive to like it, either.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     The graphics and sound of SWITCHBLADE II do not do anything to enhance its
 appeal. The graphics are small and passable, with a good variety to reflect
 the different types of terrains and enemies.  Unfortunately, they fail to get
 the player excited, and the animation is extremely simple.  Similarly, aside
 from a stirring title theme, the game is mostly quiet, except for the tapping
 of Hiro's feet and assorted explosions. Remaining sound effects are uninspired
 and quickly forgotten.
 
 SUMMARY:
     SWITCHBLADE II is yet another side-scrolling kill-everything action game
 that will quickly get lost in the crowd, as it commits the cardinal sin of
 boring the player. People who dislike this game genre will not be swayed by
 SWITCHBLADE II, and action gamers can easily find other, similar titles that
 are more enticing.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        5
                 GRAPHICS:        5.5
                 SOUND:           5
                 OVERALL:         5
 [TOD]========================================================================
 
                       TODD'S ADVENTURES IN SLIME WORLD
 
 1-8 players, horizontal game
 Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $34.95
 Stereo? No
 
 OVERVIEW:
     Okay, let's get the novelty out of the way: TODD'S ADVENTURES IN SLIME
 WORLD is the first eight-player video game ever created. That aside, you play
 the role of Todd the explorer, who's trapped inside a planet made of
 disgusting green slime. There are six scenarios, and most of them requires you
 to climb, jump, slide, and fly to the exit, while grabbing as much treasure as
 possible on the way (when playing with friends, one scenario has you hunting
 the other players to be the last one alive).
 
     Todd starts off with a water pistol and a computer-generated map. As Todd
 explores Slime World, he will find valuable slime gems and assorted tools such
 as shields, jet packs, or megabombs. Todd will also get coated in the gunk,
 whether it's from dripping ceilings or attacks from numerous creatures. The
 creatures can be dispatched with the water gun, but too much slime is fatal,
 so you must keep Todd clean. Even then, the trip is very dangerous; an
 unlimited number of lives are available, and pausing the game gives a
 six-character password to let you continue at a later date. A built-in
 tutorial makes learning easier.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     This game is HUGE. Most of the caverns used in the scenarios are hundreds
 of screens large, and require literally hours to reach the exit. You'll often
 look at the computer map, think you're near the end, explore a bit further,
 then find a larger expanse of uncharted territory ahead. There's quite a lot
 to look at, also: waterfalls of slime, rubbery slime to bounce on, slippery
 slime, giant pools of slimy water. SLIME WORLD's creatures will fly, hop, and
 jump all over, hoping to either coat you in the ooze, eat you alive, or simply
 stick to your face. The six different levels are somewhat distinctive; some
 emphasize arcade-type action, while others require careful exploring and
 thinking.
 
     As large and varied as it is, SLIME WORLD's weakest point is the lack of
 repeatability. It's biggest attraction is the appeal of exploring the unknown.
 Once you eventually finish a scenario, there is little motivation to try it
 again, as the layout and contents never change; a randomly-generated level
 would have helped immensely. While the "hunt the other players" mission is
 very enjoyable, the other levels feature little direct interaction, and do not
 benefit greatly when ComLynxed. Exploring Slime World is fun, but it's after
 the exploration ends that the fun wanes.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     SLIME WORLD's slime effect is convincing and impressive, with glistening,
 unidentifiable clumps throughout, all oozing and pulsating in real time. Todd
 himself is highly animated, and can be clearly seen throwing bombs, using
 equipment, and performing whatever else you want. Creatures and other objects
 are also done well, though not nearly as animated as Todd. In a multiplayer
 game, your character has blonde hair while other players are brunettes.
 
     Sounds are interesting, though ultimately not as exciting. Aside from the
 title theme, game music consists of repeating clips, ranging from short tunes
 to near-random beeps, that change periodically. Sound effects are a bit better,
 though a crowd of slime creatures in tight quarters can quickly produce a
 jarring kalidescope of noise.
 
 SUMMARY:
     TODD'S ADVENTURES IN SLIME WORLD will appeal mostly to players who enjoy
 the idea of exploring every nook and cranny of its vast, gooey terrain. For
 others, however, the appeal is not as distinct; depending on personal
 preferences and the availability of friends, the value of this card will vary
 significantly.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        7
                 GRAPHICS:        8.5
                 SOUND:           6
                 OVERALL:         7
 [TOK]======================================================================
 
                                      TOKI
 
 1 player, horizontal game
 Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $34.95
 Stereo? No
 
 OVERVIEW:
     So there's Toki the caveman, out spending time with his girlfriend,
 talking about whatever it is cavepeople chat about. Who comes to spoil the
 party but the local Evil High Priest Vookimedlo, who kidnaps his gal and uses
 magic to devolve Toki into a chimp. Strangely enough, Toki the chimpanzee can
 shoot fireballs from his mouth, and decides to use his primitive machismo to
 rescue his date. Hey, if an Italian plumber can rescue damsels in distress,
 why can't an ape give it a try?
 
     That's TOKI for the Atari Lynx, an adaptation of the little-seen arcade
 video game from Fabtek. You must guide Toki through eight multidirectional
 scrolling stages of caverns, moats, and whatnot, battling Vookimedlo's traps
 and flunkies. Toki can defeat enemies by hitting them with his fireballs, or
 by repeatedly jumping on them.  Along the way, you will find items that
 temporarily enhance Toki's abilities, like higher jumping or more powerful
 fireballs. A life is lost if Toki is hit by an enemy, caught by a trap, or
 runs out of time; an extra life is awarded if enough coins are collected.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     The most supportive statement that can be made for TOKI on the Lynx is
 that it's a very faithful adaptation. Almost none of the gameplay has been
 abridged or altered; people who have played this in the arcade will be in
 familliar territory. The problem is that the original was not that spectacular
 to begin with. Aside from the slightly novel plot, there is very little here
 that hasn't been done before.
 
     This is not to say that TOKI is a bad game; as yet-another-run-and-jump,
 its redeeming points elevate it a bit above its competition. There is a good
 amount of variety; the enemies you have to face are very diverse, and the
 different stages are much more than a change in window dressing. Also, the
 game sets a very irreverant tone; for instance, two of the tools helping
 Toki's quest are football helmets and teeter-totters loaded with weights. 
 Finally, the game itself is of fair difficulty; you start with four lives,
 and can continue up to two times, but the typical player will need all the
 help he can find. 
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     The graphics and sound of TOKI capture the game's lighthearted attitude
 very well. There is good use of color and a lot of detail and animation in the
 graphics. However, some of the game elements are fairly small, requiring a bit
 of effort to spot them. This can be fatal with some of the more detailed
 backgrounds, as a small incoming projectile could slip past your sight.
 
     Sounds are better, making good use of music, computer-generated effects,
 and digitized clips. Each level is accompanied by an unobtrusive background
 soundtrack, and the individual sound effects are distinctive. The digitized
 bits are often the most enjoyable, such as Toki's death yelp and the
 cartoon-inspired "boing!" noises.
 
 SUMMARY:
     TOKI is, in the final analysis, a great adaptation of an average game,
 duplicating the original's sights, sounds, and action faithfully. If you
 aren't interested in run-and-jump contests, there is little here to change
 your opinion. However, if you're in the market for a new arcade-action game,
 TOKI is a worthy candidate.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        6.5
                 GRAPHICS:        7.5
                 SOUND:           9
                 OVERALL:         7
 [TOU]======================================================================
 
                               TOURNAMENT CYBERBALL
 
 1-4 players, horizontal game
 Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $39.95
 Stereo? No
 
 OVERVIEW:
     As mankind moved into the 21st century, the task of keeping people
 entertained started to become a problem. The sports and games of yesteryear
 seemed boring and tame as the new generation wanted more action and danger.
 Since murder remains illegal, the solution fell to robots, who could offer the
 violence that the audience demanded while preserving human lives.
 
     Welcome to the era of TOURNAMENT CYBERBALL, the explosive sequel to the
 CYBERBALL arcade game from Atari Games. This is a futuristic sports game with
 very close ties to American football. Two teams of robots play on a 100-yard
 field, trying to move a ball into the opponents' end zone. The ball heats up
 over time, so the offensive team must carry the ball far enough to cool it
 down, else face an explosion that destroys nearby players. Cheap mass-produced
 replacements are available, but smart coaches save their winnings to buy the
 better model players.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     On the surface, TOURNAMENT CYBERBALL appears to be a decent adaptation.
 Up to four players can play, either against each other or versus one of four
 computer coaches. The defense has a fixed selection of moves, while the
 offensive choices are picked by the game from a larger pool, according to the
 situation. On the field, each player controls a robot, and are responsible for
 making the passes and blitzes needed. During the game, you earn money for
 specific scoring actions, such as interceptions and scoring. The game lasts
 for six periods, with opportunities to buy enhanced players throughout the
 game.
 
     Scratch the surface, however, and the problems appear. There is no
 apparent difference in abilities between the teams, and the team-unique plays
 from the original are gone. Robots cannot be damaged, though an explosion will
 destroy the ball carrier. Handoffs are unpredictable, reducing the value of
 running plays, and while passes are effective, it's difficult to intercept the
 computer's throws. Opportunities for enhanced players appear throughout the
 game, but reduce the number of plays available until you accept. The pace of
 the game is a little too fast; more time to decide and choose plays would be
 welcome, and plays start as soon as all players are in position. These and
 other flaws reduce a great idea into a frustrating experience.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     The graphics in TOURNAMENT CYBERBALL are passable, though little more.
 The robots are distinctive, but are otherwise nondiscrept, and appear a bit
 too small. The three-quarters perspective scrolling and the play selection
 screens are done well, but are nothing to shout about. Sound effects are of a
 similar nature, either using similar versions of the arcade sounds and music,
 or omitting them all together. On the plus side, some of the digitized voices
 have been preserved, though hearing "Three... six... hike!" on every play
 becomes irritating after a while.
 
 SUMMARY:
     TOURNAMENT CYBERBALL on the Lynx could have been a quality conversion;
 other Lynx titles have shown the potential of the system. This game seems to
 have been written by someone with little familliarity with the original, and
 the shortcomings show through. In the final analysis, the many fans of
 TOURNAMENT CYBERBALL should skip this conversion and stick to the arcade
 machine instead.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        5.5
                 GRAPHICS:        7
                 SOUND:           7
                 OVERALL:         6
 [TUR]=======================================================================
 
                                   TURBO SUB
 
 1-2 players, horizontal game
 Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $34.95
 
 OVERVIEW:
     Let's get this straight: Earth is under attack (again) by alien invaders
 (again). All attempts to repel the invaders have failed (again), but a single
 brave hero may (again) restore peace to the planet (again).  Guess who gets
 this honor (again)? Yes, you (again).
 
     TURBO SUB for the Atari Lynx is a first-person nonstop firefight. The
 enemy has taken over the skies and seas of the Earth, and it's up to you to
 destroy the invaders and save the day. You pilot the Turbo Sub, a high-speed
 flying and diving aquatic arsenal. Your foes use everything from amphibious
 warships to robotic creatures and flying stone heads. Each level (there are
 reportedly seventeen) starts off with an aerial attack, though you can dive to
 escape if the situation gets too thick. After the air attack, you head
 underwater, with more enemies to fight, obstacles to dodge, and gems to
 gather. Survive the round, and the sub enters a supply cavern, where you use
 gathered gems to buy additional supplies and weapons.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     TURBO SUB is what I call a "ten second" game; it takes ten seconds to
 learn it, and another ten seconds to get into the thick of things. Your
 primary objective consists of blasting everything. Staying alive means dodging
 enemy fire, collisions, debris, and underwater obstacles.  The sub's main
 weapon is an unlimited supply of electro-plasma bursts; there is also a
 limited supply of megabombs, which can destroy all visible enemies at once.
 Between rounds, you can buy extra ships, extra fuel, and better weapon systems
 for use on the next level. Two players can ComLynx together, but the only
 purpose is to see who can out-shoot the other.
 
     There is little else that needs to be said. The game idea demands fast,
 frantic action, and TURBO SUB delivers it in spades. The initial levels
 consist of small groups of one and two aliens, but quickly progress into more
 opponents wielding more firepower. The game starts with eleven subs, and they
 will go quickly if you're not careful.  In the end, though, TURBO SUB strikes
 a balance between being difficult without being hopelessly overwhelming. The
 downside of this game is that there is little variety; as with other games of
 this type, victory will come to players with the fastest reflexes and the
 strongest thumbs.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     As expected, the Lynx's sprite hardware makes TURBO SUB's 3D effects
 smooth and effortless. The graphics themselves are a mix, from realistically
 detailed to bright and simple, and end up attractive and engaging. There is
 very little for sound, however.  The only music comes from a bouncy little
 tune at the title page, and actual game sounds are mostly explosions and
 weapons fire.
 
 SUMMARY:
     What TURBO SUB lacks in originality and variety, it makes up with
 blistering excitement. If you've got an appetite for uncomplicated massive
 destruction at Mach 3, TURBO SUB is the way to go!
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        8
                 GRAPHICS:        8
                 SOUND:           6
                 OVERALL:         7.5
 [VIK]=========================================================================
 
                                  VIKING CHILD
 
 1 player, horizontal game
 Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $34.95
 Stereo? No
 
 OVERVIEW:
     Can't a guy fulfill his destiny in peace? Brian the Viking child was just
 sitting at home when the Norse god Loki appeared (between stints in GHOULS AND
 GHOSTS, natch). Worried about the prophesy that Brian will grow up into a
 mighty Viking leader, Loki has kidnapped Brian's family, spirited them across
 the land, and dared the young boy to rescue them. If Brian can survive the
 rescue of his family, he may get to fulfill this destiny someday.
 
     This is the premise of VIKING CHID, an action-adventure game for the Atari
 Lynx, adapted from the European computer title. You play the part of Brian,
 who must explore many stages of the side-view scrolling landscape in search of
 your family. A family member has been hidden throughout the land, guarded by
 both Loki's forces and a bit of deception. Only by agility and intelligence
 can you complete this quest.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     When you boil the game down, VIKING CHILD is essentially a run-and-jump
 quest game with a few adventure-gaming touches. Brian loses health over time
 and in fights with monsters, while each victory earns money and points. Though
 the trip is very linear, there is a lot of terrain to explore, and houses,
 castles, and caves contain shops selling weapons and magic. Finally, you can't
 exit a level without first uncovering and defeating the level's chieftain
 monster, who is hidden from immediate view.
 
     In the end, the combination of action and adventure is only partially
 successful, which hampers the appeal. As an action game, VIKING CHILD is a bit
 slow; Brian walks and jumps at a modest rate, while monsters run and jump all
 over the place. There are numerous fights, but they consist mainly of poking
 creatures with a dagger or throwing weapons against them. And while there is
 much to see, this game offers none of the sophistication of real role-playing
 games. In its favor, VIKING CHILD is a tough game, with time limits and
 Loki's forces combining to whittle down your health.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     The graphics on VIKING CHILD are done fairly well. The adventure itself
 makes good use of earth-tone colors and detail.  Brian and the creatures are
 drawn small enough to give a good view of the surrounding area, without losing
 much detail. There are also some elegant static screens and lots of cute
 touches throughout. Sounds, in contrast, are an absolute minimum. There are
 some nice scores, but the few primary game sounds are simply basic.
 
 SUMMARY:
     While VIKING CHILD is a pleasant diversion, it is missing the refinements
 needed for greatness. The biggest appeal is in exploring the land and just
 trying to survive, but it should not be mistaken for an adventure game.
 Still, if you're looking for something that's a little more than the typical
 run-and-jump title, VIKING CHILD is worth a try.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        7
                 GRAPHICS:        8
                 SOUND:           6
                 OVERALL:         7
 [WAR]=======================================================================
 
                                   WARBIRDS
 
 1-4 players, horizontal game
 by Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $34.95
 
 OVERVIEW:
   Modern air combat is hardly as glamorous as it appears in the movie
 theatres (or video games, for that matter). Modern radar and weapons
 systems seek and destroy a target well before the pilot even sees his
 enemy, and today's "dogfights" end in the blink of an eye. Not since the
 days of the early 20th century have air combat involved pilots flying close
 enough to salute each other before the kill.
 
   This is the world of WARBIRDS, the new aerial combat game for the Atari
 Lynx, and the first true flight simulator for any home video game system
 currently available. Other flying games currently available only give the
 illusion of flight -- While you can move around the screen, you have no
 real control over where you go. WARBIRDS, on the other hand, puts you in
 complete control of a World War I biplane. You can fly over a barn, loop
 around, then strafe it from another direction. You determine all of the
 plane's maneuvers, and can turn, roll, dive, and climb any way you want.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
   So what are you doing here? Up to four pilots (including yourself) can
 occupy the airspace over the lush green countryside. No matter how many
 are present, your objective is the same -- destroy them all. Your only
 weapon is a front-mounted machine gun, and your only defense are your
 skills and the occassional cloudbank. "Scoring" consists of how many
 planes you can shoot down before you yourself are killed, over a series
 of missions. If you run out of ammunition, you must find, land, and reload
 your guns, during which you are vulnerable to enemy attacks.
 
   Several game options are available. These include how much damage a
 plane can take, whether collisions are fatal, how much ammunition is
 present, and where your airplane starts. In a multiplayer game, everyone
 can choose their own settings, providing a handicapping feature between
 players of different skills. In a single-player game, six "missions" are
 available; however, the only difference is the number of enemy planes, and
 whether they're amateur or professional pilots.
 
   As a simulator, WARBIRDS is filled with features not found on any other
 video game. Your plane has instruments for airspeed, altitude, direction,
 oil pressure, and ammo rounds remaining; all are important in their own way.
 The physical effects of stalling, high-speed dives, and even the inertia
 from the rotating engine are duplicated convincingly. Because WARBIRDS is
 a simulator with no fancy weapons, success or failure is fully dependent
 on your own flying and hunting skills. This realism cuts both ways,
 however -- biplanes were not known for their speed, and players accustomed
 to the high speeds of today's arcade games may find WARBIRDS boring. There
 is an "arcade" option, which gives your plane a faster "jet" engine, which
 may satisfy your need for speed.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
   The graphics on WARBIRDS are a mixed bag from good to great. The opening
 title page is attractive, with biplanes and credits flying by the player.
 The actual combat scenes are done with a combination of filled polygons
 (for hills and barns) and scaled sprites (clouds, planes, flying bullets,
 smoking engines). Digitized pictures are shown at the end of a fight,
 indicating your success or failure. Overall, it's slightly above average
 for the Lynx's abilities.
 
   Sounds are essentally basic and effective. The game uses several music
 scores before and after flights. Actual combat is filled with the noises
 of your engine (unless you turn it off), the rattle of gunfire, and several
 sound effects indicating when you're hit, when your shots hit, and when a
 plane has been downed.
 
 SUMMARY:
   WARBIRDS is designed and written by Robert Zdybel, a newcomer to Lynx
 game design; He dedicates the game to his father, and it's a worthy piece
 of gaming to be proud of. It's a game that's simple in concept and fun to
 play. Throw in true simulator realism, a variety of options, and the
 ability for four-player competition, and the sum is greater than its parts.
 For the video gamer looking for realistic aerial action, WARBIRDS leaves
 eveything else behind.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        9.5
                 GRAPHICS:        8
                 SOUND:           8
                 OVERALL:         9
 [WOR]========================================================================
 
                               WORLD CLASS SOCCER
 
 1-2 players, horizontal game
 Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $29.95
 Stereo? No
 
 OVERVIEW:
     In Atari's moves to fill the Lynx game library with sports titles, the
 latest entry is WORLD CLASS SOCCER. As the title indicates, this is a portable
 version of the worldwide ball-kicking sport for one or two players. Two teams
 from around the world face off for a one-game bout, trying to score the most
 goals in the time given. Basic soccer rules and penalties apply, including
 throw-ins, corner kicks, and fouls. Game options allow setting the length of
 the game, from 10 to 90 minutes, the field conditions, and the computer
 difficulty level.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     WORLD CLASS SOCCER has the makings of a quality title; unfortunately, its
 good points are outweighed by numerous quirks in the gameplay. On the plus
 side, ball control is fairly effortless, with automatic dribbling and easy
 passing and kicking controls. On defense, you can steal the ball either by
 kicking or a sliding "tackle", and you have full control of the goalie as well
 and all squad members. The field scrolls from side to side, while the screen
 zooms in and out of the action as needed.
 
     While the game ideas are sound, the actual result is lacking and hurts the
 playability. Control automatically goes to the man closest to the ball, which
 causes quick control changes it enters a crowd. There is an option to manually
 change the active player, but it doesn't work at all. The zooming screen tends
 to focus closely on the ball, creating tunnel vision; long passes are
 impossible to coordinate, and you may be controlling a player or goalie who's
 off-screen, impairing your defense further. Players can choose teams from a
 hundred countries, but the only difference is the flag used. These and other
 problems make following the game very difficult and frustrating. Playing well
 is possible, but requires a lot of practice.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     Like the game itself, the graphics on WORLD CLASS SOCCER are a mix of good
 and bad points. Images and sprites are respectably drawn and animated, and
 look well even when the screen is scaled to its smallest point. On the down
 side, the scaling is too slow to effectively show where the active player is,
 and the scrolling is often very jumpy to keep pace with the ball. Sounds are
 even less inspiring, composed mostly of a bouncing soccer ball mixed with
 periodic whistle blows and a simplistic crowd cheer.
 
 SUMMARY:
     This game has the ingredients for a quality soccer game, but assembles
 them into a disappointing ensemble that could have been better. While the
 hard-to-follow game action can be overcome with perseverance, only devoted
 soccer fans will care to invest the time that WORLD CLASS SOCCER requires for
 mastery.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        5
                 GRAPHICS:        7
                 SOUND:           4
                 OVERALL:         5
 [XEN]========================================================================
 
                                    XENOPHOBE
 
 for the Atari Lynx
 Licensed by Bally/Midway
 for 1-4 players
 $34.95
 
 It's some time in the undisclosed future, and a human colony in a far-off
 planet lives in isolation. Their tranquility is interrupted when their
 orbiting space stations are overrun with Xenos -- bug-eyed monsters very
 reminescent of what Sigorney Weaver fought off in ALIENS.
 
 If the Xenos get accustomed to human atmospheres on the space stations,
 they will eagerly attack the humans on the planet below. As a result, you
 (and up to three other friends) are called upon to kill the Xenos and
 save the day.
 
 Okay, storyline's over. For those of you who are not familliar with the
 original Bally arcade game, Xenophobe has you maneuvering a hero through
 23 space stations, killing (almost) anything that moves. You pick a persona
 from one of nine human and semi-human characters (different looks, same
 skills), then crawl, walk, jump and fall your way through the stations,
 getting weapons and artifacts, fighting the numerous alien critters.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
 
 There's not too much variety in this game. You get to grab treasures,
 explore rooms, and operate machinery, but the bulk of the game is killing the
 Xenos. There are 23 space stations of different sizes, hence 23 levels, and
 the manual hints at a "final confrontation" at the end of the game. Each
 level can end in one of three ways, from the high-scoring "destroy all
 monsters" (wasn't that a Godzilla movie of the '60s?) to the wimpy (and
 low-scoring) "escape with your life". Your hero stays alive as long as
 he has enough health points (lost when attacked by aliens or explosives);
 when he dies, you can pick another to continue the fight.
 
 People familliar with the original arcade game will find that the Lynx
 version has been expanded a bit. The stations seem much bigger, with a bit
 more exploration than before. There are new artifacts, like the flying
 jetpack and the health-restoring vitamins, to help you survive. The Xenos
 remain the same: crawling critters, rolling rollerbabies, hypnotic Festors,
 and more, all of them creeping all over the place...
 
 Early reviews of Xenophobe report that the game was too easy. Nah. In
 single-player games, you only get to play up to four characters before the
 game ends. In multi-player games, you play as long as undead heroes remain;
 when the pool of eight are gone, you all lose. With 23 levels of varying
 sizes, this game looks like it will take a while to master.
 
 A few other goodies worth noting: In multiplayer games, one player can
 choose to be an alien spitting Snotterpillar, and hunt his friends.
 Compared to the arcade version, the Lynx Xenophobe is easier to control,
 thanks to all the buttons being used. Finally, like SLIME WORLD, Xenophobe
 makes it easy to Comlynx everyone up: Just wait at the main title page,
 until the correct number of players is displayed.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
 
 Graphics are adequate. Nothing spectacular, yet not dissapointing. Like
 the arcade, Xenophobe graphics look more "cutesy" than scary, with heroes
 looking like caricatures, Xenos looking cartooney, and assorted goofy
 touches here and there.
 
 Sounds are also adequate but not outstanding. The opening title music is
 completely forgettable, and aside from a musical tune between levels, the
 only game sounds are the noises of battle. You want audio entertainment,
 go elsewhere.
 
 Overall, An average-decent game, good for players who don't want complicated
 gameplay to get in the way. Best recommended for fans of the original
 Xenophobe arcade game, quick-action gamers, or multiplayer game fans.
  
         Gameplay:       7.5
         Graphics:       6.5
         Sound:          6
         Overall:        7
 [XYB]=========================================================================
 
                                       XYBOTS
 1-2 players, horizontal game
 Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
 $39.95
 Stereo? No
 
 OVERVIEW:
     Daleks, Replicants, Terminators, Robotrons, Xybots -- the robots are at it
 again. EarthBase 26-B9, a remote station in the Federation's intelligence
 network, has been completely overrun by the alien Xybots in a surprise attack.
 Recovery of this base is of the highest priority; since you are the closest
 agent available, you must infiltrate the station, battle the Xybot forces, and
 stop the Master Xybots from taking over. NOW!
 
     Storyline aside, XYBOTS is a Lynx adaptation of the Atari Games' arcade
 title. One or two players must travel through the station's levels, as seen
 from a first-person 3D view. As you wander through the maze, you can grab
 coins, keys, and weapon enhancements, all while fighting the various Xybot
 forces. Your battlesuit will protect you, but it loses energy through time and
 from attacks; if it runs out, you are captured and the game ends. Reach the
 exit, and you have an opportunity to buy more equipment before going even
 deeper, featuring trick walls, transporters, and even more dangers.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
     Though a few recent Lynx games have been disappointing, XYBOTS is happily
 not continuing the trend. This is a respectable version of the game, with all
 the features of the original. The enemy comes in many different forms, using
 various defenses while firing on your position. Your gun fires unlimited
 shots, and an energy-draining zap can temporarily freeze the Xybots. The main
 action is seen from directly behind your fighter, and a second screen showing
 the level layout and status information is available. Every tenth level or so
 is a fight with a Master Xybot, but the main game remains maze-running and
 robot-blasting. Temporary enhancements such as robot locators and extra
 firepower are available, but financial frugality will help you survive later.
 
     The game is not perfect, however, since the Lynx version is a little easier
 than the coin-op. The Xybots are not too bright, and often spend time waiting
 until you are in range before attacking. They are still dangerous, but you
 will rarely have to worry about being overwhelmed. You also start with 35
 coins, enough to stay well-armed for three or four levels. As a result, the
 game may seem to start off slow for more experienced players, but Warp Exits
 allow travel to the higher stages quicker. Overall, XYBOTS on the Lynx remains
 formidable, but don't be too surprised at the initial progress you make.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
     With XYBOTS, the Lynx once again pulls off game graphics that look almost
 completely identical to the arcade. The station mazes are spartan, drawn with
 identical wall panels, but enemy Xybots and other game items are well-animated
 and detailed. Other visual extras such as the teleporter and the transition
 between stages have been duplicated exactly. The only shortcoming is that
 rotating your view is done with a 90-degree "snap", which can be a little
 disorienting.
 
     Sounds are also very faithful, with the few blasts and explosions of the
 original copied closely. The mechanical Xybot voices have been removed, but
 in their place are several quality techno-rock background tunes. Though
 enjoyable, they can be turned off from the title page if desired.
 
 SUMMARY:
     XYBOTS on the Lynx is a solid translation, presenting an acceptable
 version of the game on the go. While the difficulty has been scaled back
 slightly, there is still more than enough of a challenge to keep the typical
 player back for more.
 
                 GAMEPLAY:        8
                 GRAPHICS:        9
                 SOUND:           8
                 OVERALL:         8
 [ZAR]======================================================================
 
                               ZARLOR MERCENARY
 
 for the Atari Lynx
 1-4 players, horizontal game
 $34.95
 
 OVERVIEW:
   Ah, life in the space lane. You are one of the most hated and most revered
 people in the galaxy -- a mercenary. If someone's got the bucks, you've got
 the guns, for whatever the cause.
 
   Your current case is for the Zarlors, who are at war with the Mendicants
 over some financial dealings or other. The Zarlors have decided to cripple,
 but not kill, the Mendicants with a set of six tactical strikes. They jingled
 their Zarbits, so you signed up for the deal. The Zarlors don't think you
 can survive all six attacks. You'll show them...
 
   That's the game in a nutshell. ZARLOR MERCENARY is a horizontally-based,
 vertical-scrolling space shoot-em-up, an original title from Epyx for Atari,
 by the creator of CHIP'S CHALLENGE (talk about diverse). The screen scrolls
 from top to bottom at a fixed rate, and you (and up to three other friends)
 move around the screen, shooting everything that dots the landscape. The
 screen moves horizontally with you, giving you even more targets to blast.
 
   Everything you destroy is worth Zarbits, that funny plastic money from the
 Zarlors. The more you shoot, the bigger your profits, and the more money
 you have means the more hardware you can buy from the Mercenary Merchant. You
 start off with three ships, and can get more through the game -- either
 that, or buy them.
 
 GAMEPLAY:
   Shooter fans will rejoice, because ZARLOR MERCENARY has all the staples
 of these games -- power-ups, bosses, targets, targets, and more targets.
 Everything that can be shot is worth something, and there is a *LOT* to
 shoot at. There are only six levels, but each level is fairly large (about
 five minutes to get through), and the enemies are numerous enough and
 fire enough to punch through any defenses you have. There are a lot of
 enemies/targets too, in a wide variety, such as patternized fighter squadrons,
 unconcerned walkers, mercenary-seeking drones, and unarmored civilians
 (grin). If anything, the game may be too difficult for fewer players, though
 your mileage may vary.
 
   You start off as one of several "characters", each of whom has a different
 power-up weapon to start with. What you don't have you can get, either by
 shopping between rounds or picking up floating globes on the level. If things
 get tight, you can also sell your weapons back (at a loss, natch), or trade
 Zarbits with your co-mercenaries between levels. There are a lot of power-ups
 in a wide range of uses, enough to satisfy most video warriors. The gameplay
 and controls are straightforward enough for any gamer; true video warriors
 will pick up the game in 10 seconds, if not sooner.
 
 GRAPHICS/SOUND:
   The graphics on this game are _INCREDIBLE_! The game itself is shown in a
 three-quarters psuedo-3D view, with accompanying shadows everywhere to
 reenforce the effect. Targets and background graphics are crammed with nice
 features and detailed touches, from blinking lights and transparent windows
 to ditches dug by mechano-bots that stop when you destroy them (the bots, I
 mean). Someone went through a lot of loving care to make the graphics stand
 out, and it shows.
 
   Sounds are slightly above average, though not up to the standards set
 by the graphics. A slightly-repetitive tune plays throughout the game, but
 you can turn it off with the Option 2 button if it bothers you. Most of the
 other game sounds are from weapons fire, explosions, and the occassional
 off-screen special effect. All are done well, though not outstandingly so.
 
 SUMMARY:
   A great no-nonsense action game, perfect for people who love the "shoot it
 if it exists" philosophy. The game itselt is not easy, and the addition of
 four-player teamups and cash payments/transfers/power-ups ensure quite a bit
 of variety to the game. Though there are only six levels, they are quite
 varied, and should offer many challenging hours to the average player.
 
         GAMEPLAY:        9
         GRAPHICS:        10
         SOUND:           7.5
         OVERALL:         9
 ================================================================================
 
 
 


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