Monday 17 May 2021

Atari Lynx Collection 2 Review (Evercade)

Atari games have proved popular on the Evercade and when it became apparent that games for its Lynx hand held would be coming to the system we couldn’t help but raise a smile. The Lynx is an often overlooked system that contains a ton of great games with the only real drawback being it eats through batteries at an alarming rate.

This second collection contains eight games (the first collection contains more than double this), but the majority of them are among the most iconic games available on the system and at the current price point this represents a much more cost effective way of getting hold of some of the hard to obtain ones.

The weakest game here is Zarlor Mercenary which doesn’t really hold up anymore. It’s a vertically scrolling shooter but it moves far too slowly and the collision detection in dubious at best. There are only a handful of stages but the difficulty has been thrown through the roof to compensate for this. The fact you have a health bar is also a bad sign as it shows the developers knew you’d be taking hits you couldn’t avoid.

Much more fun is side scrolling shooter Gates of Zendocon. The action is much more consistent than with Zarlor Mercenary and most stages have multiple exits meaning you can take numerous routes through the game. Each level is graphically different as well and there is good variation of enemy types meaning you should have enough interest to stick with until the end. It’s still a bit slow but the creative nature of it makes this entirely forgivable.

You also get a solid racing game in Checkered Flag and a more than adequate conversion of arcade game Electro Cop. Both games use a faux 3D style with Checkered Flag having a decent enough display distance to see what’s coming and Electro Cop allowing players to run into and out of the screen as they explore ever deeper into tunnel-like complexes while blasting enemies and accessing computers. While not spectacular, that are both solid additions.

It’s the other games here though that will likely be the main draw for those looking to experience some of the Atari Lynx magic. California Games is obviously a much loved classic and remains both as fun and infuriating as it always has across its limited number of events. It’s never been a game we particular loved but for those that do you won’t be disappointed with this version.

Todd’s Adventures in Slimeworld is another of the ‘main event’ games on show and is a great platform maze game where you set up your rule set and then have to make it through to an extraction point. The camera takes a bit of getting used to due to the duck button also moving the camera down. Once you get it though there are a ton of different modes here to play around with and it will potentially be one you return to often to test your skills against.

Another Lynx classic is Blue Lightning. It’s kind of the Lynx version of After Burner but missions often have more complexity to them and require specific targets to be eliminated before you can move on. Later levels are tough but the save state system helps to alleviate much of the frustration that gamers would have felt playing it on the original hardware. We really enjoyed this and it was nice to finally be able to officially play a game we’d been aware of for years but never managed to get hold of.

The best game on show though is of the course the now legendary Chip's Challenge. It’s a pretty much perfect top down puzzle game where you need to make your way around an enclosed level hitting switches and collecting chips. Once this is done you can exit and move on. There are so many different takes on the puzzles with new elements and enemies added constantly. There are also an absolute ton of levels to get through so it’s not going to be a game that you finish quickly. It’s a classic and a game that everyone should play.

Overall, the second Lynx collection is an essential pick up for retro game fans. There may be less games than on the first collection but what’s here are among some of the best and most iconic tiles that the system had. Bar getting hold of a working Lynx and several hundred batteries this is by far the best way to play them today.

Overall -

California Games              3/5

Todd in Slime World        4/5

Electro Cop                         3/5

Gates of Zendocon          3/5

Zarlor Mercenary             2/5

Blue Lightning                    4/5

Chip's Challenge                5/5

Checkered Flag                  3/5

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