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Article #34 (79 is last):
From: ap803@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Robert Jung)
Subject: LYNX Retroactive: Blue Lightning
Posted-By: xx004 (aa399 - Len Stys)
Reply-To: ap803@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Robert Jung)
Date: Mon Apr  6 00:44:16 1992

 Another in a series of Rob's Retroactive Lynx Reviews.
Date: Sat, 4 Apr 92 03:33:48 GMT
Lines:       97
Apparently-To: freenet-sci-comp-atari-product-lynx-reviews@usenet.INS.CWRU.Edu

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

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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

  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.


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"You weren't chosen because you are the best pilot in the Air Force. You were
    chosen because you are the class clown and frankly, you're expendable."

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