REMNANT: PLANAR WARS 3D
by Songbird Productions
Gameplay wise, it's all old school. You won't find much in the way of frills. Your foes basically consist initially of hostile alien UFOs and stray asteroids (there are a few others in later levels, including the vaunted "sleds"), and there are no power-ups or weapon options to choose from. The player's goal is simply to defend his quadrant from the endless waves of enemy ships by blasting them as they appear.
Remnant puts you in a first-person, in-the-cockpit view, looking out of a transparent window into space. You're presented with a crosshair in the middile of the screen, which is the indicator of where you're firing (a-la Star Raiders.) When an enemy appears on the screen, the goal is to match up the crosshair with the UFO or asteroid and shoot it. Kill a set number of UFOs, and you're off on your next -- more difficult -- mission. Subsequent stages pit you against multiple simultaneous enemies and hordes of stray meteors which must be either dodged or shot down.
The UFOs are a handfull, to put it mildly. They definitely are not "dumb," and they don't all behave the same way, either. They zigzag around the screen, making it very difficult for them to be gunned down, especially from long range. You must also contend with enemy first as well -- there's only so much damage you can sustain before you're an interstellar carcass. Simply put, if you can see the cannons or plasma shots at the time they reach you, you've been hit. The way to avoid them is to maneuver in one of the four directions so that the shots are no longer viewable. You cannot be sniped from the side or behind.
The gameplay might appear pretty simple and ordinary, but that's where Remnant surprises -- and shines. There's no ending to the game; like with most true classics, you fight to the death. Forhan has done an exceptional job fine tuning the difficulty so that it's easy enough to get into, but gets progressively challenging that will make gamers say, "just one more play, I can do better!" The enemy AI is quite intelligent, and did I mention they were quick? As only UFOs have been rumored to do, they zigzag, change directions abruptly, fly around in circles, and swoop in and out of your screen as if it's toying with you. Thankfully, the animation and framerate is exceptionally smooth, so keeping track of them will not cause an eyesore. Their shots also are a thorn on the side, as just when you think you've honed in on the UFO, he's beat you to the trigger and you're left to temporarily focus on dodging his shot instead.
The graphics in Remnant aren't mind-blowing, but its effects, animation and smoothment of movement which will wow you. The UFOs, Sleds and Asteroids are pre-drawn sprites, but the scaling effects of both of them are not to be missed, and the rotating animation of the meteors are also a treat for the eyes. Sound effects are quite minimal, with simple sounds of your ship thrusting, shots being fired and of things blowing up. On the other hand, the sound quality itself is crisp and clean, particularly the explosions. There is no in-game music in Remnant, but the intro music somewhat makes up for it... it's one of the best tracks ever heard on the Lynx.
Bottom line: Many sci-fi 3D shooters have more frills and options, but Remnant does its gameplay right. It's also augmented by some very nice special effects. Classic fans will love it because the object of the game is to get the highest score possible, giving the game a longer life than most. A very solid 7. Thumbs up.
To get your copy of Remnant, or other Lynx games by Songbird, pay a visit to the Songbird Productions website.