After being disappointed with Atari Lynx Collection 1, I figured I'd give its follow-up a try and it's thankfully a much better compilation.
Before getting to the good stuff, let's discuss a couple of truly perplexing games. First, Electrocop is an action game where you explore elaborate stages while defeating enemies. It features a somewhat 3D feel in that you can run forward and back to enter rooms but this makes trying to hit enemies a huge pain because you have to line yourself up with them. Plus, its poor frame rate and convoluted graphics make running around disorienting. Next, Todd's Adventures in Slime World seems like it could be a good game if you have the patience to let it grow on you but it also features a very annoying camera that often feels like it has a mind of its own. Using your gear in order to progress past tricky scenarios can be rewarding yet in the end, it's one 2D adventure game that's definitely an acquired taste.
List of games in Atari Lynx Collection 2
- Blue Lightning
- California Games
- Checkered Flag
- Chip's Challenge
- Gates of Zendocon
- Todd's Adventures in Slime World
- Zarlor Mercenary
Shoot 'em ups
Thankfully, Atari Lynx Collection 2 includes 2 entertaining shoot 'em ups. Gates of Zendocon is a simple yet challenging horizontal shmup where you blast at hordes of enemies with a simultaneous bomb attack which reminded me of Gradius and it's a lot of fun. Meanwhile, Zarlor Mercenary is a vertically-scrolling arcade shooter where you earn cash to purchase upgrades and you can destroy buildings which is awesome. The stages are a bit too wide but it's still a very good shmup nonetheless and the bosses are quite satisfying to defeat.
Fun with vehicles
Flying around in a fighter jet while shooting down enemies is usually a fun experience and Blue Lightning is perhaps the best portable retro title that I've played in this genre. It feels a lot like After Burner and firing your gun and missiles is gratifying stuff. That being said, moving the plane results in some drastic sprite shifts that don't really match the speed at which you're tilting which feels awkward. Still a good game, though. Anyway, Checkered Flag is a solid albeit average racer which has you drive Formula One style cars. It plays similarly to Namco's arcade classic Pole Position although it has more accessible gameplay which is nice except the racing itself can get boring. 🏎️
Puzzles and mini-games
Lastly, here are a couple of odds and ends. I remember playing California Games for NES with friends when I was a kid and this Lynx version is pretty frustrating to control. In fact, the only mini-game in it that's remotely intuitive is Foot Bag. All of the other sports will have you scratching your head only for you to eventually figure them out or give up. Either way, they're not fun so why bother? On the plus side, Chip's Challenge is the highlight of this collection. It features a ton of puzzle-filled stages where you push blocks, gather keys, unlock doors, and the ultimate goal is to collect all of the computer chips which unlocks the level exit. It's a true hidden gem. 💎
Atari Lynx Collection 2 may not have as many games as its predecessor but the quality of them is generally far superior. That being said, it's still not a must-have cartridge as it only includes a handful of above average offerings.
- + Chip's Challenge offers oodles of enjoyable stage-based practical puzzles
- + Includes a couple of fun shoot 'em ups
- + Blue Lightning is an alright shooter
- - Electrocop and Slime World can be annoying due to their clunky gameplay
- - Most California Games are unintuitive
- - Checkered Flag is an average racer