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Article #50 (79 is last):
From: ap803@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Robert Jung)
Subject: LYNX: Steel Talons
Posted-By: xx004 (aa399 - Len Stys)
Reply-To: ap803@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Robert Jung)
Date: Sun Aug 30 09:30:33 1992

  So there I am, out running a boring errand when I decided to bop into the
store and see what's new. Who'd have guessed I would end up making a most
surprising purchase?

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

    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?

    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.

    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.

    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

  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.


  Now if you'll excuse me, I've got some bogies to hunt down...


   Send whatevers to    |      If it has pixels, I'm for it.
--------------------------------------+------------------------------Lynx up!
"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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