AGH Lynx Review:

by Atari

Hard Drivin' Pic 1
Let's get one thing out of the way first: Those of you expecting a complete and perfectly faithful translation of Atari Games' arcade hit are 1) unrealistic and 2) will be disappointed. The coin-op original offered sharp polygon graphics, smooth driving action and killer, in-your-pants (literally) rumble affects that made an otherwise ho-hum racer into a decent, if not thrilling, arcade experience. Surprisingly, the Lynx port serves up much of the good things that were found in the original, but crashes in several key elements, rendering this version no more than an average driving game even when judged on its own merits.

Graphics have been simplified, but is nonetheless effective. The already sparse playfield of the arcade version becomes even more barren, no doubt in order to maintain a decent frame rate. It's still realistic enough, however, that you won't really notice the reduction of obstacles and objects in front of you. The nifty replay scenes that follow each crash has been preserved on the small screen, using cool angles to replicate your accident.

Hard Drivin' Pic 2
The most problematic area of Lynx Hard Drivin' lies in its controls, or lack thereof. Steering and acceleration/braking of your vehicle is both sluggish and too sensitive at the same time. How can that be? Each input of your fingers is met with a slight delay, so you have to press your desired movement in advance. Once you do, hang on tight! A slight tap of the accelerator rockets your vehicle, often during sharp curves and putting you out of control. Similarly, even a small turn in any direction will have your car going off in a very sharp angle. Counter-balancing the abrupt movements of your car will be an exercise in frustration.

For those of you who can overlook its fault with the controls, you'll find that Hard Drivin' offers a modest version of the coin-op experience, with most of the thrills and spills found in the original. Unfortunately, other racing games on the system (S.T.U.N. Runner and Checkered Flag come immediately to mind) are far more satisfying and should be higher on your buy list.

Title Hard Drivin'
Publisher Atari
System Atari Lynx
Graphics 7
Sound 6
Gameplay 5
Overall 5
Reviewer Keita Iida

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