Format- Atari Lynx
Genre- Racing style shooter thing
Another Lynx game that looks better than it plays. This is getting tiresome. I didn’t have high hopes for Hydra admittedly, but still.
The game doesn’t start well. The cartridge has a very boring label, and the main menu screen has a ditty in the background that seems to be trying to make your head explode by reaching the highest pitch possible. Listen to it and you’ll know what I mean.
Getting into the actual game, you have three maps to choose from – easy, medium and hard. I choose easy, and i’m greeted by a screen of a boat on a river.
The boat is fuelled, i’m ready to go, I press A to accelerate, and…nothing. B? Nothing. Up? Nothing. Hmmm.
Finally, I choose down and the boat judders into life. Down. You press down on the d-pad to accelerate. Up is slow down. Genius.
I can kind of get what the developer was trying to do – up to tip the boat back to slow down – but in reality it doesn’t really work, especially with a d-pad as rubbishy as the one the Lynx possesses. It’s very difficult to accelerate and have a decent level of control at the same time.
The driving bit of the game itself is simple though, or so it seems. You clip along the river at a decent pace, shooting bad guys and collecting weird sparkly orbs. Suddenly, you find yourself running out of gas. Where are the gas pick ups?
There are some items floating above the river, but I had no idea how to get them. Inevitably, it’s soon game over. You can take hits from enemies and restart where you died, but if you get an empty fuel tank, it’s all over for you.
So I end up looking through the instruction manual – something I loathe to do – and find out jump is the option 2 button. The one at the bottom right of the system.
Although you can just about reach it, it makes an awkward control system even more of a fudge. And it’s not a slab of sweet fudge either, but a bitter, out of date rotting mess of fudge. In such an action orientated title such as this, these muddled controls are near unforgivable.
So eventually I get a grasp of the controls (as well as I can), and the game improves a little. It does look very nice indeed, with 3D caverns and reasonably detailed enemies.
But in the end, it’s just all just works to cover up for the over complicated controls. If only the developers had worked as hard on making the game suited to the Lynx’s control scheme as much as they had on the portable’s graphical capabilities, Hydra could have been a winner.