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Article #10 (79 is last):
From: ap803@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Robert Jung)
Subject: LYNX: Warbirds
Posted-By: xx004 (aa399 - Len Stys)
Reply-To: ap803@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Robert Jung)
Edited-By: xx004 (aa399 - Len Stys)
Date: Sat May 11 08:45:14 1991

For the diligent Lynxer, it's been a slightly annoying three months. First
there was word that Atari will release 13 (16?) new Lynx games by the end of
June 1991. Then there was the release of SHANGHAI, followed by a naggingly
long wait, with temptations of other titles "coming soon". Now, there's
May 10, and WARBIRDS is here...

1-4 players, horizontal game
by Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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

          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.


  A great way to start a weekend. Now I'm left wondering if the other new
Lynx titles will be available in the following weeks ahead...


Send whatevers to | If it has pixels, I'm for it.
--------------------------------------+----------------------------Lynx me up!
       "If it moves, shoot it. If it doesn't move, shoot it anyway."

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