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Article #25 (79 is last):
From: ap803@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Robert Jung)
Subject: LYNX: Hard Drivin'
Posted-By: xx004 (aa399 - Len Stys)
Reply-To: ap803@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Robert Jung)
Date: Sat Nov 16 20:37:06 1991

  Okay, that's one. Now what about S.T.U.N. RUNNER and NFL FOOTBALL?

1 player, horizontal game
Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
Stereo? No

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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

  Rating values  10 - 8   Great! This game can't get much better.
                  7 - 5   Good. Average game, could be improved.
                  4 - 2   Poor. For devotees only.
                      1   Ick. Shoot it.


  So close, and yet so far.


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

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