CRASH Smash

COMBAT LYNX

Producer: Durell
Memory required: 48K
Retail price: £7.95
Language: machine code

Combat Lynx is more of a simulation than a shoot em up, but it can certainly be played like a shoot em up (it has some ferocious battles) or as a game of stealthy strategy. It is also a fairly complicated program to get the hang of initially and comes complete with detailed instructions on the large inlay.

The Combat Lynx is a powerful, heavily armed helicopter, which you control in a game with 4 skill levels. As it says in the inlay, the most skilled players will be able to protect their bases with mines, support their forward bases under attack with air cover and fresh troops, and also intercept and destroy enemy vehicles (land and air) while in flight between bases. A game could last for five seconds or five hours depending on the dexterity and tactical skill of the player.

Depending on the chosen skill level there are between three and six bases which you must support with fresh troops and air cover. Base zero has an endless supply of fuel and weapons and can instantly revitalise injured troops brought in from other bases. The first task is to arm the helicopter. The screen shows plans of the Lynx in three dimensions, front, side and top. Below are the prompts which show you what is being selected, how much of it and its weight. This includes able-bodied soldiers, injured soldiers, weapons and fuel. The load is carefully calculated and shown against the maximum weight possible, and planning is required since you must be able to take on the necessary weight of fuel for the trip. Weapons include strafing rockets, cannon and machine gun pods, all of which just fire in the direction the helicopter points in; and then there are the HOT weapons which are wire guided anti-tank weapons; heat seeking anti-aircraft missiles which can be fired without aiming; and finally the mines, which can be deposited around base perimeters.

Screenshot

The LYNX takes avoiding action as an enemy jet comes in to attack

The playing screen is split up into four prime areas; a main display window in which you can see the lynx flying over the landscape and the positions of enemy vehicles, bases, etc.; a height above ground indicator: message text display; and the instrument panel which shows engine temperature, speed of flight and fuel, weapon status and selection, navigation co-ordinates in the form of a compass and map grid reference, missile launch warning and finally the score line. Switching to map alters the main display from the 3D view to the very large map area. This indicates contour heights, shows enemy positions and friendly bases, Lynx’s present position and is broken into grids for ease of reference. The objects shown on the map are last intelligence report positions — they may move and can be seen moving on an update basis. When flying, the joystick/keyboard may be used to alter the altitude and direction of the helicopter, whilst in map mode the joystick controls the scrolling of the map. It can be speeded up to scan reference blocks, block by block by using direction and fire button together. In map mode all the other instruments function and can be seen.

The message screen flashes when there is a communication for you. This may be along the lines of a request for transport, reinforcements or air cover. This screen can also be used to discover the locations of the other bases.

The landscape view is in 3D using white contour lines on a green ground to create the effect. Trees and houses are also clearly seen in white as well as enemy vehicles (in black) and base markers. In effect Combat Lynx uses a four-camera position display, so on making a right angled turn the screen blacks out momentarily to be replaced by the new view angle. The helicopter can fly both forwards and backwards at speed and may be landed on flat ground with care.

Weapons are fired first by selecting the weapon system you wish to fire. Guided weapons may simply be fired; aimed weapons must be fired after selecting cursor control, whereupon a black cross sight will appear to show where the weapon is aimed. Only one weapon system at a time may be used without reselection.

The skill levels reflect the number of bases you have to support, the number of enemy vehicles and flying craft up against you and the accuracy of their missiles.

CRITICISM

COMMENTS

Control keys: Cursors, but additionally there are a large amount of multi-use keys for control.
Joystick: cursor
Keyboard play: very responsive, and the other keys needed are kept to a minimum during flight or fight
Use of colour: very good, although kept simple on maps and view, just a few small attribute problems
Graphics: excellent and highly novel 3D
Sound: not very much for speed of graphics
Skill levels: 4
Lives: 3
General rating: excellent, challenging on a wide range of play options and represents excellent value for money.

Use of computer80%
Graphics88%
Playability90%
Getting started91%
Addictive qualities89%
Value for money91%
Overall88%

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