AGH Lynx Review:

by Atari

Fans looking for a faithful translation of the coin-op megahit need look no further. In fact, this portable version may have the upper hand with the new features that have been implemented. The graphics also take full advantage of the Lynx's color capabilities, the controls are tight, action is fast and furious, and the fun of blasting zillions of slimey, goopy aliens has never been more addictive than on Atari's handheld system.

Just like in the arcade original, your planet is under attack by the dreaded Xenos - a race of nightmare creatures intent upon consuming the entire human race. It's your task, along with three other friends (via the Comlynx cable), to eradicate the Xenos once and for all. You get a choice of nine different characters, and once your characters has been eliminated, you can continue as another character until all of them have met their fate. You begin your quest armed with only a simple phaser gun, but you'll run into more powerful weapons such as the Lightening Rifle and the Poofer Gun as you explore each level. Other items are scattered throughout each of the stations and will give you extra health and other bonuses. In order to move onto the next station, you have three options. The first method is to stay alive as long as possible until the Xenos completely overrun the station. You'll automatically transport back to your ship just before the station explodes. This is the least desirable of the methods since you won't receive any bonus points for your efforts. Another way is to completely wipe out all the Xenos in the station. This method is the most difficult but you'll be rewarded with bonus points galore. The third and final method is to find the self destruct mechanism aboard certain stations and destroy them. You'll automatically return to the ship before it detonates, and receive bonus points for each Xeno destroyed before the station blew up.

Despite being a hunt-and-kill game at its core, there's enough variety here to keep you playing for awhile. Xenos lurk behind every corner, but each kind of Xeno varies in personality and power. Beware especially of Festor, the largest Xeno creature, who pops up when you least expect it and paralyzes you with its telekinetic gaze. He also launches Xeno pods that can bowl you over and hatch new Xenos. It's imperative that you eliminate Fester as soon as possible, or else you can forget about clearing the station by killing all Xenos.

The Lynx version of Xenophobe differentiates itself from - and improves upon - its coin-op cousin in several ways. The multiplayer feature allows you either too play cooperatively, or a player can take the role of a Xeno and hunt down his friends. The cooperative mode tends to be somewhat frustrating since all Comlynxed players must share from the same pool of characters with the result being that each player has fewer lives. Gameplay wise, there are additional bonus items and powerups that add to the variety of the game, most prominently among them being a jetpack that allows you to temporarily fly and avoid danger.

The audiovisual effects in Xenophobe are top-notch. The scenery is colorful and each character is drawn in great detail, and the terrific animation is most likely a factor in the game's tight controls as well. Sound effects are convincing and in stereo. As was the case in Aliens vs. Predator for the Jaguar, however, there really isn't any background music. You can argue, however, that the lack of tunes aides in giving you sharper senses. And you'll need to muster as much of your sixth sense as possible to survive in this exemplary alien thriller.

Title Xenophobe
Publisher Atari
System Atari Lynx
Graphics 8
Sound 7
Gameplay 8
Overall 8
Reviewer Keita Iida

Go to previous page