AGH Lynx Review:

by Atari

It's amazing how some of the Lynx developers have managed to offer pint-sized yet uncannily accurate versions of ultra-hot coin-ops during the same time period. Xenophobe, Rampart and Klax are examples of stellar arcade-to-portable translations. But as awesome as those were in recreating the thrills of the big screen (or should we say, monitor), S.T.U.N. Runner takes the prize because the arcade sensation was far and away the most advanced from a technological standpoint... and therefore the most challenging to port.

A plot is pointless and is really unneeded in this type of contest, but I'll tell it to you anyways: It's the year 2492, and you take on S.T.U.N. Running, the ultimate sport. You take control of S.T.U.N. vehicles at speeds over 900 MPH through a series of challenging courses filled with deadly obstacles and death-dealing road hogs. You guide your crimson craft from a first-person, behind-the-vehicle perspective on a fast-paced, rollercoaster-type ride. The objective is simple: finish each course within the alloted time or you lose.

Your goal might appear simple, until you start to encounter the other cars that try to take you out and slow you down. But the toughest foes are the fighter jets that try to pummel you with bombs from above. You're also armed with weapons, but firing accurately while at the same time keeping your vehicle on the course is an arduous task, and it'll slow you down at best. Therefore, don't waste unnecessary time trying to take out every opponent around you.

The smarter - and absolutely essential - way to survive and thrive is to take advantage of the Speed Boosters. Running over a Power Boost pad launches your craft to turbo levels and makes it momentarily invincible to boot. Also, store Shockwaves by running over Shockwave markers or grabbing a specific number of Stars. Your vehicle packs unlimited laser fire, but Shockwaves destroy all enemies on the course.

This cart's awesome graphics deserve special mention. The Lynx unleashes its graphics gusto as it recreates to perfection most of the colors and details of arcade S.T.U.N. Runner. The 3-D scrolling effects are extremely smooth and dynamic, especially when you break the sound barrier.

All in all, S.T.U.N. Runner is a shining example of what a Lynx can do and what its competitors cannot hope to accomplish. Show your Gameboy or Game Gear-owning friend this game and they'll see graphics and scrolling capabilities that they can only dream of. And the translation is remarkably faithful. All the sights and sounds are there, each of the tracks are replicated to a tee, and even the terrific bonus levels managed to make its way onto this cart.

Obviously, it's not pixel-perfect (actually, the arcade version uses shaded polygons while the Lynx edition sticks with scaled sprites), but it's about as good as it gets on an 8-bit portable. Fans of this game won't be disappointed.

Title S.T.U.N. Runner
Publisher Atari
System Atari Lynx
Graphics 10
Sound 9
Gameplay 9
Overall 9
Reviewer Keita Iida

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