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Article #61 (79 is last):
From: aa399@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Len Stys)
Subject: LYNX: Dinolympics
Reply-To: aa399@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Len Stys)
Posted-By: xx004 (aa399 - Len Stys)
Date: Tue Jun 15 11:46:33 1993

Review by: (Robert A. Jung)

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

    While Creation versus Evolution is a constant battle in schools, it is not
a debate in video games. Cavemen and dinosaurs have long been a staple, simply
because divine intervention is not half as much fun as hairy guys and big
lizards. Joining this fray is DINOLYMPICS for the Atari Lynx, a puzzle game
known as HUMANS on other computer and game systems. Each of the 25 levels is a
collection of platforms, objects, and obstacles. The idea is to reach a goal
before time runs out. By working together and using objects, the tribesmen can
jump chasms, climb obstacles, kill dinosaurs, and other tasks. In dire
situations, the witch doctor can be summoned to exchange a tribe member for an
object. The game ends when time runs out on a level or all of the tribe is
lost, and passwords allow players to skip earlier levels.

    For some reason, a lot of people think of DINOLYMPICS (and HUMANS, I may
add) as a derivative of LEMMINGS. I don't see it, myself. Instead, this card
reminds me more of THE LOST VIKINGS, GOBLIINS, or the old GOONIES video game.
The first few stages are simple, but it soons gets to a point where finishing
a level requires careful coordination of two or more cavemen and assorted
objects. Most levels are fairly complex, including unobvious solutions and red
herrings to waste time. The simple controls allow you to select actions and
tribesmen, as well as get a large map of the entire level.

    Even so, this game requires a good dose of tolerance. Your biggest enemy
is time; most levels have just enough for you to finish it, if you know the
solution. The clock almost never stops, so a lot of time is lost in minor
acts, and making a mistake halfway through a stage might not leave enough time
to finish it. The game is also a little repetitive by design -- moving three
men and a spear across a chasm requires repeated use of jumping and throwing,
for example. These are not necessarily bad points, but depend more on each
player's individual preferences.

    The effects of DINOLYMPICS neither captivate nor repel, but are merely
sufficient. Game graphics are basic but easily identifiable, and assorted
whimsical scenes are sprinkled throughout the game. Animation and colors are
average, though there is a little gratuitous parallex scrolling. The dominant
sounds are a variety of bouncy tunes that play through each level, mixed with
some very basic sound effects. The music can be turned off before the game
starts, if desired.

    DINOLYMPICS is an acquired taste. Some folks will find the time limits and
the game's repetitive nature a bit too frustrating. On the other hand, more
patient players will give this title more time, whereupon it will grow on them
to become an appealing challenge.

                GAMEPLAY:        8.5
                GRAPHICS:        6
                SOUND:           6.5
                OVERALL:         7.5

  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.


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