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Article #79 (79 is last):
From: aa852@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Barry W. Cantin)
Subject: LYNX: Raiden
Reply-To: aa852@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Barry W. Cantin)
Posted-By: xx004 (Atari SIG)
Date: Tue Aug  5 11:35:48 1997

Review: Raiden 
by Robert A. Jung

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

Okay, kids, pop quiz time! What is the proper response for when alien
invaders attack Earth?

     (A) Cower under the bed like a frightened toddler.
     (B) Attempt to negotiate a peace with the aliens.
     (C) Amass all of Earth's defenses for a counterattack.
     (D) Put the entire planet's hope for survival in a single daring
         pilot/soldier/trooper, let him fly in the face of
         thousand-to-one odds, and hope he can kick alien tail all by

If you answered (D), then congratulations! You're ready for Raiden for
the Atari Lynx, a portable adaptation of the Fabtek arcade game. From a
scrolling overhead view, you fly the Raiden jet fighter into the face of
the alien invaders, destroying all the air and ground targets you can
see. Along the way, you'll find various power-up icons, which you can
grab to change and/or enhance your weaponry. You have three ships to
start, the game ends when they're all gone, and you can continue up to
five times. What else do you need to know, hotshot?

Released in an era saturated with fighting games and driving games, the
arcade Raiden succeeded by providing no-nonsense, nostalgic shooter
action. There were no secret moves and no whiplash speeds; a sharp eye,
good reflexes, and some old-fashioned machismo was all anyone needed to
master the game. On the surface, Raiden on the Lynx is a wonderful
adaptation. The simplicity of the rules and the overall game layout are
translated intact, and a casual glance will give veterans a sense of deja vu.
Unfortunately, there are a few small changes that significantly affect
the Lynx version of Raiden. The most severe difference is the size of
the game graphics; though the sprites have been shrunken down to fit on
the Lynx screen, they're not small enough.  Just having two enemies on
the screen is a significant amount of space, and you often end up with
almost no room to maneuver. Given the pokey speed of the ship --
ironically, an accurate aspect of the original -- it's not hard to fly
into a situation where you're quickly pinned and killed.

Other subtle game changes work against the player. Slight changes to the
flight paths of the enemies have turned some into near-kamikaze maniacs.
The power-up icons take much longer to cycle through their different
weapon types, forcing you to either grab weapons wantonly, or wait
longer before enhancing your ship. The strength of some enemies have
also been changed, so tougher "grunt" ships are now paired with pushover
bosses. Without any sort of adjustable difficulty levels, these small
changes end up turning Raiden into a very difficult game.

Aside from the above-mentioned larger game sprites, Raiden has some of
the most wonderful graphics for a Lynx arcade adaptation. Even with a
much lower screen resolution and color palette than the original, the
graphics are clean, nicely animated, and easily identifiable -- fans of
the arcade game will have no problems recognizing the big-screen sprites
with their Lynx counterparts. The view scrolls at a leisurely pace,
though the game does slow down a tad when there are too many objects
simultaneously on the screen.

Sound effects, on the other hand, are entirely forgettable. The only
music in the game is a brief, looping tune at the title page, and in-
game sounds consist of a handful of generic explosions, weapons, and
beeps. There's nothing irritating, fortunately, but it's clear that no
effort was made to enhance the audio aesthetics.

Raiden on the Lynx is an admirably ambitious effort to duplicate the
arcade game. Unfortunately, it falls a bit short, with several subtle
game changes that snowball into a steep difficulty curve. While the
bland sound effects are compensated by clean, faithful graphics, Raiden
is a game best suited for experienced players with a high pain

GAMEPLAY:        7
GRAPHICS:        9
SOUND:           5
OVERALL:         7

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.                         
Barry Cantin            

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