LYNX Retroactive: Klax

From: Robert Jung (ap803@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 04/06/92-12:49:14 AM Z

From: ap803@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Robert Jung)
Subject: LYNX Retroactive: Klax
Date: Mon Apr  6 00:49:14 1992

  Another in a series of Rob's Retroactive Lynx Reviews.

1 player, vertical game
Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
Stereo? Yes

    It's good every once in a while to see video games that don't have a
ludicrous plot tacked on to the concept -- Really, who can believe that the
paddle in ARKANOID is a trapped spaceship trying to reach home? KLAX for the
Atari Lynx is a translation of the Atari Games arcade strategy title, and
thankfully nobody gave it a background along the way.

    The base idea is simple: You operate a moving paddle at one end of an
advancing conveyor belt. Your objective is to catch colored tiles coming down
the belt, then either deposit them into a bin below or toss them back on the
conveyor for a little extra planning time. Points are awarded for making rows,
columns, and diagonals using three or more tiles. To complicate matters, each
level ends only when its goal is met: make six diagonals, or score 10,000
points, for example. Both the bin and the paddle can hold a limited number of
tiles, and tiles are dropped into oblivion if you don't catch it in time. Drop
too many tiles, and the game ends.

    KLAX in the arcade had a uniquely addictive quality about it, and the Lynx
version loses none of this appeal. Like TETRIS, the game fools you with its
simplicity: newcomers often adopt a "How hard can this be?" attitude, but are
soon enraptured by the depth and strategies possible. However, KLAX offers
more variety and a quicker pace, making it appealing to people who found
TETRIS too slow and limited. The game features 100 levels, which helps keep
the challenge high.

    With such simple rules, it's not surprising that KLAX on the Lynx misses
none of the original's features. As in the arcade, you can start the game at
levels 1, 6, or 11, and skip levels after every fifth stage. However, this
version also allows you to go to the highest stage ever reached, and offers
three levels of overall game difficulty. An unlimited number of continues is
available, and the score is cleared each time. The vertical orientation of the
Lynx is welcome here, making optimal use of screen space and allowing all of
the action to be clearly seen. The game as a whole is quick and responsive,
though the action slows down a bit when there are too many tiles on the
conveyor belt at once.

    KLAX makes full use of the Lynx's sound and graphics capabilities, and
successfully captures the bouncy atmosphere of the game. The graphics are
large and colorful, and the animations and effects of the arcade are
duplicated exactly. Even the various abstract backgrounds are present, though
some of the original scenes have been replaced with new ones specifically for
the Lynx.

    As good as the graphics are, however, what really steals the show are the
sounds and music. Crisp digitized sound effects, all from the arcade game, are
used everywhere -- the applauding crowds, the lady announcer at the start of
each wave, even the wail of a falling tile as it drops into the void.  Stereo,
heard for the first time on the Lynx, is put to great use, both during the
game to indicate the location of tiles, and in the rollicking, high-tempo,
electric guitar-loaded theme music masterpiece.

    This is an incredibly simple and totally addictive game, appealing to both
the mind and the reflexes alike, that has made a perfect transition from the
arcade. Between the friendly gameplay, elegant graphics, and stunning sound
and music, KLAX on the Lynx is highly recommended!

                GAMEPLAY:        9.5
                GRAPHICS:        10
                SOUND:           10
                OVERALL:         9.5

  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.


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