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Games are rated relative to other games for the same system.

Lynx Reviews Q-R

Grade: C
Publisher: Telegames (1990)
Posted: 2005/1/17

screenshotI am not one to be trifled with when it comes to Qix. I played this oldie in the arcades, on my first home computer, and on several consoles over the years. I appreciate the beauty of its simplicity and understand various strategies used to beat it. There's never been another game like Qix. Playing it involves guiding a little diamond around an empty screen, sectioning off areas while avoiding a roaming, twisting set of colored lines called the "helix".

This miniature edition captures the same risk-taking gameplay as the original, but it's less exciting. The helix is more predictable and appears to be moving in slow motion. Like the arcade, you can employ a fast or slow "draw" to section areas, slow being riskier but worth more points.

Unlike the arcade game however, areas cordoned off with slow draw look the same as those made with the fast draw (they should be a different color). Qix's audio is above average. The sound of the helix brings to mind a swinging lightsaber, and melodic tunes play between stages. Good, but not quite up to arcade standards, Qix is an average title for the Lynx. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: 43926
1 player 

Grade: A-
Publisher: Telegames (1990)
Posted: 2023/3/15

screenshotYou might not expect to find a "bullet hell" shooter on an early handheld like the Lynx, but Raiden fits the bill. The first thing you notice is the screen configuration. You need to hold the system vertically to view the game as originally designed for the arcade. One hand guides your ship on the bottom as the other taps buttons on the top half. If you find that too awkward, you can always just hold the system sideways like a normal game.

As you fly over fortified areas, tanks, boats, and mammoth airships try to shoot you down. I like how your first hit on a tank will blow off its turret. This renders them harmless although they still have a way of blocking your shots. Pushing against the sites let you scroll the screen slightly left and right, expanding your viewport considerably. Sometimes I use this feature to bail myself out of perilous situations.

I was expecting modest firepower but this is some legit rapid-fire mayhem! Your thick laser beams effectively wipe the screen, and the thin "needles" cover a massive area. There are times when there are literally 100 objects moving on the screen. I was impressed the Lynx could keep up!

Well, most of the time it keeps up. The frame-rate can be very erratic, and there are times when the game slows significantly. Normally I wouldn't complain, but during these times your ship becomes a lot less responsive, making it difficult to maneuver through the crossfire. I find myself mashing the directional pad extra hard which is hell on the thumb.

Like many vertical shooters, the key is to focus on survival early on - even if it means depleting your bomb supply. Once you equip a few power-ups, the fun really begins. Now you can hang back and blow away most enemies as quickly as they appear. I think the best weapon combination are the needles combined with a pair of heat-seeking missiles.

Raiden provides unlimited continues but naturally your score is reset each time. The music adds a layer of intensity as well. Most publishers would not even attempt such a demanding game like this on a portable, but Raiden puts rapid-fire shooting chaos into the palm of your hand. © Copyright 2023 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: 74,100
1 player 

Grade: B+
Publisher: Tengen (1991)
Posted: 2006/11/27

screenshotIt took me a while to get the hang of Rampart, and at one point I was tempted to just say the hell with it. It's not the "pick up and play" experience you normally look for on a portable system, and I was not keen on cracking open that thick-ass instruction manual! Repeated plays are required to get a feel for the rules and strategy, but if you stick with it, Rampart turns out to be a fun little game with surprising depth.

Played from an overhead view, you construct a castle on the edge of a harbor, blasting wave after wave of attacking ships. The game is played in short phases, beginning with a brief construction phase. The battles are an exercise in target shooting, as you move a cursor over ships and unleash a bombardment of cannonballs. Once your ammo runs out, the action pauses so you can "rebuild" your damaged fortress.

Using simple Tetris-style shapes, you try to fill in the gaps, and it's even possible to expand its original boundaries. This rebuilding phase requires quick thinking, and it's definitely the best part of the game. Rampart offers two difficulty levels (beginner or veteran), and there's a high score screen to track your progress. If you're a Lynx fan looking for a thoughtful gaming experience, Rampart is a rock solid choice. © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.

Recommended variation: vet
Our high score: 8273
1 player 

Grade: B+
Publisher: Atari (1990)
Posted: 2021/12/4

screenshotRoadBlasters is a fun, albeit shallow racer/shooter that appeared on a variety of platforms in the late 80's/early 90's. The NES edition boasted impressive visuals and the Genesis game looked straight out of the arcades. But when it comes to sheer playability this Lynx edition takes the cake.

The graphics are stunning for a portable, and not far off from the Genesis. Your car is extremely detailed and scaling scenery conveys a convincing illusion of speed. Colorful futuristic skylines fill the top of the screen, making it feel like you have an actual destination. Is that the Tyrell Corporation building looming in the distance?

Oncoming traffic scales smoothly into machine gun range, and unlike other versions of the game this one isn't a pushover. You fire a single stream of rapid-fire bullets and need to properly angle your car to strike vehicles in other lanes. Keep your distance, because if you shoot an enemy that's too close you're both going up in flames.

Occasionally you'll acquire an auxiliary weapon dropped in from a helicopter, and while fun to use, they aren't always effective. Why can't my roof cannon take out those pesky cannons on the side of the road? Only the "cruise missiles" are reliably effective, instantly vaporizing every vehicle in sight.

As the cherry on top, this version of Roadblasters features voice synthesis! You'll hear a lady on your radio announce warnings like "Danger - mines ahead". This game goes beyond the call of duty. If I could only own one version of Roadblasters I think this would be it. © Copyright 2021 The Video Game Critic.

Recommended variation: med
Our high score: 70,380
1 player 

Robo Squash
Grade: D-
Publisher: Atari (1990)
Posted: 2008/6/11

screenshotWhile original in concept and nicely programmed, Robo Squash comes up well short on the VGC fun-o-meter. The game is played like Pong from a first-person point of view. You move a see-through rectangle around the screen, deflecting a red ball towards a CPU-controlled "paddle" (for lack of a better term) in the distance.

The ball moves very smoothly and your paddle is responsive, but the digital control is far from precise. The center of the playing field has a layer of breakable blocks and power-ups. Power-ups might expand your paddle or allow you to aim, but don't get too excited about the "fireball", which is only used to create explosions to obstruct your opponent's view.

Speaking of obstructions, the splotches of missed balls on your end really make the action hard to see. Robo Squash could be mildly entertaining if two players hook up their Lynx systems, but playing the CPU is a dull and lengthy ordeal. A full game can last up to sixteen rounds, with each taking the better part of ten minutes! I'm sorry, but portable games really need to be short.

The ball is supposed to pick up speed as each round progresses, but it's barely noticeable. The title screen plays a catchy tune, but during the game there's not much audio. Robo Squash might have been fun had it been faster and shorter, but we'll never know for sure. © Copyright 2008 The Video Game Critic.

1 or 2 players 

Robotron 2084
Grade: A
Publisher: Shadowsoft (1991)
Posted: 2019/12/26

screenshotRobotron 2084 was an intense dual-joystick rapid-fire arcade shooter from the early 80's. It also happens to be an accurate portrayal of what life will be like in 2084. You begin each frantic wave in the center of a screen with converging robots trying to kill you (because that's what they do). You fire like crazy trying to carve out an escape path, picking up clueless wandering humans along the way for bonus points.

My expectations for this Lynx version were low. Wouldn't the dozens of moving objects and flying projectiles bring the system to its knees? Not at all. If there's any slowness it wasn't obvious. Even more impressive is how the developers handled the control requirements. Your guy fires automatically and the two buttons are used to rotate your aim in eight directions. It works like a freaking charm.

This game is super addictive. I can't put it in without playing at least a dozen times. My single complaint is the excessive effects used to materialize your dude in the center, making it hard to see what's in the immediate vicinity at the start of each wave. Still, Robotron 2084 is a perfect example of adapting a classic to a portable without sacrificing the fun. © Copyright 2019 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: 57,575
1 player 

Grade: A
Publisher: Tecmo (1990)
Posted: 2013/4/10

screenshotIf you own a Lynx system, you really owe it to yourself to play Rygar. This portable platformer is first class all the way. The main character is a beefy medieval warrior armed with a huge spiked yo-yo. He needs it because every thing in the world wants him dead including bats, rhinos, ants, dragons, mysterious men in hoods, and the cable company.

You can throw your weapon high or low, and it's highly effective. Most creatures die after one hit, and that's good because there's usually not much time to react when they appear on the screen.

The sprites really push the limits of the system and the lush scenery is very easy on the eyes. The majestic waterfalls reminded me of those in Sonic the Hedgehog (Genesis, 1991). Rygar's gameplay is simple, and that's part of its charm. You can pounce on enemies to stun them, but sometimes you bounce high off the screen and wonder where the hell he went.

The soundtrack offers a lively little tune with a catchy bass line, but some of the high-pitched sound effects are a little abrasive. At the end of each stage you'll enter a tomb where bonus points are tabulated. Attractive, easy-to-play, and fun, Rygar may be the most enjoyable title I've played on my Lynx. © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: 77,750
1 player 

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Screen shots courtesy of Atari Age, YouTube, Old-Computers.com