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Article #55 (79 is last):
From: ap803@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Robert Jung)
Subject: LYNX: Switchblade II
Reply-To: ap803@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Robert Jung)
Posted-By: xx004 (aa399 - Len Stys)
Date: Sat Oct 17 16:17:17 1992

  SWITCHBLADE II? Whatever happened to SWITCHBLADE I?

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

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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

  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.


  Ah well. You win some, you lose some.


   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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