LYNX: Tournament Cyberball

From: Robert Jung (ap803@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 12/07/91-04:10:29 AM Z

From: ap803@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Robert Jung)
Subject: LYNX: Tournament Cyberball
Date: Sat Dec  7 04:10:29 1991

  Okay, let's see what we have in the box...

1-4 players, horizontal game
Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
Stereo? No

    As mankind moved into the 21st century, the task of keeping people
entertained started to become a problem. The sports and games of yesteryear
seemed boring and tame as the new generation wanted more action and danger.
Since murder remains illegal, the solution fell to robots, who could offer the
violence that the audience demanded while preserving human lives.

    Welcome to the era of TOURNAMENT CYBERBALL, the explosive sequel to the
CYBERBALL arcade game from Atari Games. This is a futuristic sports game with
very close ties to American football. Two teams of robots play on a 100-yard
field, trying to move a ball into the opponents' end zone. The ball heats up
over time, so the offensive team must carry the ball far enough to cool it
down, else face an explosion that destroys nearby players. Cheap mass-produced
replacements are available, but smart coaches save their winnings to buy the
better model players.

    On the surface, TOURNAMENT CYBERBALL appears to be a decent adaptation.
Up to four players can play, either against each other or versus one of four
computer coaches. The defense has a fixed selection of moves, while the
offensive choices are picked by the game from a larger pool, according to the
situation. On the field, each player controls a robot, and are responsible for
making the passes and blitzes needed. During the game, you earn money for
specific scoring actions, such as interceptions and scoring. The game lasts
for six periods, with opportunities to buy enhanced players throughout the

    Scratch the surface, however, and the problems appear. There is no
apparent difference in abilities between the teams, and the team-unique plays
from the original are gone. Robots cannot be damaged, though an explosion will
destroy the ball carrier. Handoffs are unpredictable, reducing the value of
running plays, and while passes are effective, it's difficult to intercept the
computer's throws. Opportunities for enhanced players appear throughout the
game, but reduce the number of plays available until you accept. The pace of
the game is a little too fast; more time to decide and choose plays would be
welcome, and plays start as soon as all players are in position. These and
other flaws reduce a great idea into a frustrating experience.

    The graphics in TOURNAMENT CYBERBALL are passable, though little more.
The robots are distinctive, but are otherwise nondiscrept, and appear a bit
too small. The three-quarters perspective scrolling and the play selection
screens are done well, but are nothing to shout about. Sound effects are of a
similar nature, either using similar versions of the arcade sounds and music,
or omitting them all together. On the plus side, some of the digitized voices
have been preserved, though hearing "Three... six... hike!" on every play
becomes irritating after a while.

    TOURNAMENT CYBERBALL on the Lynx could have been a quality conversion;
other Lynx titles have shown the potential of the system. This game seems to
have been written by someone with little familliarity with the original, and
the shortcomings show through. In the final analysis, the many fans of
TOURNAMENT CYBERBALL should skip this conversion and stick to the arcade
machine instead.

                GAMEPLAY:        5.5
                GRAPHICS:        7
                SOUND:           7
                OVERALL:         6

  Rating values  10 - 8   Great! This game can't get much better.
                  7 - 5   Good. Average game, could be improved.
                  4 - 2   Poor. For devotees only.
                      1   Ick. Shoot it.


  It really pains me to write this, but the truth must be told. Where is Greg
Omi when you really need him?


   Send whatevers to    |    If it has pixels, I'm for it.
--------------------------------------+------------------------------Lynx up!
       "If it moves, shoot it. If it doesn't move, shoot it anyway."

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