Anywhere I roam
Where I lay my head is home
Carved upon my stone
My body lie, but still I roam
Wherever I may roam
"Wherever I may roam" - Metallica
J O U R N A L Y N X
VOLUME 2 ISSUE 1
The thrilling Submagazine for Lynx Owners
by Richard Karsmakers
Welcome back to this first issue of the new year. Last year,
releases for our dear little Lynx have been a bit rare, with an
enormous gap after the first couple of games, that were available
in January 1990, and the later ones. But the last months of 1990
have witnessed the start of quite some new titles being
Will the Lynx yet show some battle for existence? Maybe, this
is a sign of Atari having started a new offensive or something,
since they also recently lowered the price of the Lynx. Although
the 'twenty' titles they promised to be available in 1990 are
too late, they are surely getting there now. Overall quality
seems to be very good indeed.
Let's hope that the "Lynx II" (which I wrote about in the
previous "JournaLYNX" issue, and which is a "Gameboy" style
version of the machine - read more about it below) will be
available soon, and let's hope that especially its battery
consumption has been lowered (maybe by allowing the user to
switch off the backlighting of the LCD display). A price has
already been announced for it: $99. Let's hope this will actually
Anyway, the Lynx surely still has to be reckoned with - even
though the "Gameboy" outsells it...
The underdog position
It seems like Atari is the eternal underdog, no matter how much
fanatic Atari freaks tell you it's not so.
It started off with the 8-bit Atari XL series. In England, they
were outsold by the Sinclair Spectrum, whereas on the continent
the Commodore 64 beat it. There was a large Atari user base,
though, and these users had a different mentality from the
Luckily, when the ST got launched, the mentality did't change
even though the only competing machine (the Commodore Amiga) was
clearly the underdog. The ST thrived. People were enthusiastic,
and soon everything was known about the machine.
One would almost have started to think that Atari would no
longer be the eternal underdog, yet by the end of 1990 Amiga
sales had boosted significantly and the ST is probably an
underdog now as we speak.
An underdog again.
But do we care?
Hell we don't!
Anyway, the Lynx is yet another Atari underdog. Even though it's
principally better than the Gameboy (apart from a couple of
technical specs, the ST is also better than the Amiga), some way
or another it doesn't sell as well as it should.
The reason behind this is the fact that the Lynx is made by
Atari and not by Sega or Nintendo. These two latter companies
have money like water, and Atari's $1,000,000 spent on
advertisements are peanuts against the billions of dollars
Nintendo and Sega spend yearly on trivial things such as
Atari simply doesn't have the dough, and penetrating a new
market is difficult if that's the case.
So what should we do against this?
Buy a Lynx and a Gameboy, especially once a $99 Lynx will be
But let us not philosophise to much. It's review time!
A bit of a letdown, this game, if you ask me. The expectations
were highest of all, as it was rumoured to be a 1:1 arcade
version, with digital speech and the whole shebang.
"Roadblasters" is actually a repetitive shoot-'em-up "Outrun"
lookalike. Although it is technically very well done (although
the digital speech is of bad quality), it is just not a game you
come back to play and play. Action is, as stated above,
repetitive. Some of the enemies are unfairly difficult and you
die loads of times, each time losing your extra weapons.
It's smooth, it's fast. I may be a bad player but the repetitive
action stays (I came quite a long way with the continues until I
actually lost interest).
This game is identical to the standard "Pacman" games like we
all know them from 8-bit times. The playability has not lost
anything in the conversion process, but it hasn't gained
anything, either. The graphics are typical 8-bit, and so is the
"Ms. Pacman" may be quite nice, or even nostalgic, but it surely
ain't worth getting a Lynx for - nor is it worth shelling out the
80 German marks it costs.
Not all too good.
It would hardly be fair to judge this game as I have played with
it only for a couple of minutes and then decided I didn't like
it. The colours are too primary, the action is too repetitive and
the sound effects were even a bit irritating.
It's a well known plot: You have to walk through some kind of
complex and kill all aliens. If you have done so, you get through
to the next complex. It's horizontal, and you have to shoot while
shaking off certain aliens that attach themselves to you and
drain your energy.
Not my cuppa tea. Maybe yours. Check before you buy.
The game with the best sound so far on the Lynx, without the
shadow of a doubt, is "Klax". This is a straight port from the
arcade version, and it hasn't lost anything along the way. The
graphics are identical, the sound is identical (and VERY, VERY
good), and the playability is identical as well (including the
built-in hints and 'tutorial').
Everybody knows "Klax", of course. If you don't: You have to
stack as many same-coloured stones on rows - either vertical,
horizontal or diagonal, and the rows have to be as long as
possible. The learning curve is quite steep and the playability
is very good.
This is a really brilliant game.
After "Gates of Zendocon", "Zarlor Mercenary" is the first
shoot-'em-up on the Lynx. This time, it's purely vertical, and
this time it's for up to four 4 players.
First impression of this game: It's bloody difficult. If you
play it on your own, there is no way to destroy everything that
is coming towards you, and I therefore think this game has been
designed too much with the multi-player modes in thought. Very
nice if you have a couple of friends with Lynxes, but otherwise
The graphics are of good quality, and it's nice to note that all
shapes have a shadow on the ground as well. It's an OK game,
generally, though not very original nor altogether all too
Quite a difficult game, this one.
Imagine a cube, with you on one side in it and your opponent on
the other. You have a bat that you can see through, and so does
your opponent. Now you have to play 'tennis' in 3D, making sure
that the ball doesn't get missed (missing it causes a big splash
to occur, which obscures sight in a terrible way). Between the
two of you, there are bonus objects and balls you have to hit.
The balls earn points, and the bonus objects allow you to shoot,
or foretell where the ball's going to hit, etc.
A pretty straightforward game, that is quite a bit of fun to
play. Although I can't definitely judge (as I haven't gone far -
it's quite difficult, remember?) it seems it but dull on long
Of the new Lynx releases, I find myself playing "Rygar" most.
It's a beat-'em-up where you find yourself walking through a
horizontally scrolling playfield filled with minor obstacles and
monsters. Sometimes, it also scrolls vertically. The principle if
well known, of course, and "Rygar" is one of the better of the
kind. The graphics keep on changing and this really makes the
game more appealing. You will find a new ingredient on virtually
every level and that's the stuff that tends to get people back
The sound effects and music are below average. The graphics are
good and gameplay well designed.
Some games should be converted to the Lynx and some shouldn't.
"Bubble Bobble" is one that should and "Shanghai" is one that
shouldn't. Unfortunately, the Gods of software have been
merciless: They didn't give us "Bubble Bobble" but did supply us
"Shanghai" is a well known board game, where you have to match
tiles together. The principle is already known from various
systems including the ST. It's a very well designed game, and
it's a whole lot of fun to play, too, especially with two people
in 'match' mode.
Unfortunately, the screen of the Lynx is a lot too small for the
complex figures and enormous amounts of stones that have to be
visible in a game the likes of "Shanghai". I found it virtually
impossible to play, as the tiles are only partly drawn which
makes them very hard to match. This is just the kind of game that
one should not try to convert. Sorry. Good concept but the wrong
I shall be frank: I haven't even seen this game. But as it is
out (a review appeared in "Zero") I suspect I should cover it
What the heck, actually. There is not much to say. It got an 8.5
rating there, and...well...it's chess (the first chess on a hand-
held, so "Zero" stated - though "Chessmaster 2000" is available
on the Gameboy already).
In "Rampage" you play the role of a baddie that has to destroy
buildings in dozens of cities (levels). You can be one of four
mutant beasties that have escaped from some kind of laboratory
where they apparently got the wrong steroids.
You have to climb the buildings and smash them with your fists,
making them crumble together. Unfortunately, there's some people
walking around that want to prevent you from doing so: Lotsa
soldiers, to be more precise. They can either blow the building
you're destroying, or come at ya in helicopters, shooting. They
can also be seen hanging from windows, shooting.
Of course, there's bonus objects as well. Innocent civilians,
for example, can be grabbed from their windows and taken for
breakfast. Yum yum.
The concept is as old as God-knows-what, but it's good. I played
the ST version a lot as well. The Lynx version can be played with
up to 4 people at the same time, and I suppose that can be a
whole lot of fun even though I couldn't try it myself. It's quite
difficult, but very playable (and enjoyable).
In the previous issue of "JournaLYNX", I summed up quite a lot
of Lynx titles that were 'for sale' at a French company called
"Micro Mania". I would like to bet my life that these are not
available at the time they send their advertisements to print,
but at least they seem to have a hot lead somewhere as they seem
to foretell the future with regard to Lynx releases very
Their latest titles 'for sale' include: "Warbirds"* (a WWI
flight sim-like thing), "Vindicators", "World Class Soccer",
"Tournament Cyberball 2072", "720 degrees", "Ninja Gaiden"*, "NFL
Superbowl Football"*, "Grid Runner", "Turbo Sub", "Scrapyard
Dog"*, "Baseball", "Iron Sports Hockey", "Checkered Flag"*,
"Pinball Shuffle", "Block Out"*, "All Star Basketball",
"Pacland"*, "STUN Runner"*, "Lynx Casino"*, "Xybots"*, "A.P.B."*
(a racing game) and "Viking Child"*. The rumours around "Hard
Drivin'" have been lifted, too: This game will be released on the
Lynx. "Paperboy" is already sold but I just didn't see it myself
yet (I only saw it in the shops). Other games due out are
"Leaderboard" and "Basketbrawl".
The CES Show in Las Vegas (January this year) showed some of the
above titles as well (the ones I marked with an asterisk have
been seen on screenshots). There, Atari also showed the Lynx
Lynx II - Part Two
I already mentioned the forthcoming release of the Lynx II in
the previous issue of "JournaLYNX". But at the CES, an actual
prototype was shown that looked, to say the least, very slick.
The Lynx II is not as small as the Gameboy, but smaller than it
was before. It is about three times as wide as the length of its
screen, and about twice as high as a screen's height. The
function buttons, joypad and fire buttons have remained the same
with the addition of an extra button to the left of the screen.
This particular button is labelled 'backlight', and functions to
turn the backlight on the display on or off.
Let's hope it will also need four instead of six batteries...
But at least someone at Atari is keeping eyes and ears open to
feedback - which can for example not particularly be said about
the TOS developers...
And so we have come to the end of this particular issue of the
thrilling submagazine for Lynx owners...
No we haven't!!
I actually stumbled across a cheat for "California Games" and
one for "Ms.Pacman" in the British mag "Zero" (July issue), that
I would not like to withhold from you. I have not been able to
check it myself as I sold my old (and busted) Lynx and I am at
the moment still waiting for the new one.
Well. The cheats then.
"For a surprise, try this: Lose two of your lives, then just
stay on your board, wait for the time to run down to about three,
and steer yourself off the bottom of the screen to lose your last
"Need more lives? You can swipe five of the devils by pressing
PAUSE, OPTION 1, B, B, A, A, OPTION 1, UNPAUSE. If, on the other
hand, you fancy the idea of commandeering a superfast Ms. Pacman,
try this: PAUSE, OPTION 1, A, OPTION 1, UNPAUSE."
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.