by Atari

The original Blue Lightning was, you'll recall, one of the first Lynx releases and definitely one of the shining moments in the brief life of the world's first color portable. The aerial dogfight game was not only first-rate in the gameplay department, it demonstrated the capabilities of the Lynx by utilizing such features as scaling, rotation and stereo sound. Fans of the game, therefore, waited with abated breath when news broke out that Blue Lightning would be forthcoming for the Jaguar CD -- for free!

In this flight combat contest, you take to the air as part of the United Nations' Blue Lightning air squadrun that has been summoned to battle General Drako his private army and put a stop to his international network of crime and corruption. You have several different fighter planes to choose from, and you can better jets by successfully completing missions.

The first thing you'll notice about Blue Lightning is its absolutely horrid visuals. The best thing you can say about the graphics is that you'll be able to identify what you see. To compliment the eyesore-inducing visuals, Atari has ATD has treated us to some of the worst animations and framerate this side of a 2600 game by Mythicon. It's that bad. Although sprites scale and there is a hint of texture mapping on the ground, that's not enough to salvage what is otherwise a mind-numbingly poor game environment.

I'm happy to report that the gameplay is absolutely awful. It would have been a bigtime bummer if the designers had decided to break with tradition now, wouldn't it? The directional pad is used to both control your jetcraft AND aim your fire, so be prepared for countless instances where you'll be shot down as you hopelessly try to get your fighter in position to attack your enemies. Furthermore, the pathetic framerate conspires to make it that much more difficult to pull off deft maneuvers with your fighter.

Things don't get much better in the sound department. The generic heavy metal tunes are ok, but quickly because of the lack of variety. Similarly, the sound effects barely get the job done, with scattered voice samples.

Somehow, tragically, something has gone TERRIBLY wrong here. Blue Lightning for the JagCD is neither the hardware showcase that its portable wonder was, nor does it possess half the gameplay that Lynx BL offered. And if the uninspired graphics don't diffuse your enthusiasm for this game, rest assured that the gameplay will. To put it mildly, be prepared for a monumental letdown. Thank goodness it's just a pack-in and nobody has to pay for this.

Title Blue Lightning
Publisher Atari
System Atari Jaguar CD
Graphics 3
Sound 4
Gameplay 2
Overall 2
Reviewer Keita Iida

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