Steel Talons, Atari Lynx

Steel Talons is a helicopter action game that was converted to the Atari Lynx from the 1991 arcade game of the same name.

This conversion was developed by NuFX, Inc. and first came out in 1992.

Although Steel Talons is a fairly basic game it does show off the fact that the Atari Lynx was a versatile machine and could handle basic, smooth 3D graphics. Well, “smooth” as in about ten frames a second… It even has some rudimentary digitised speech.

The idea is to fly around the landscape, destroying enemy positions with either your front-mounted cannon, or your missiles, within a time limit, and to the avoid crashing into the many hills and mountains that are found on the way. You can increase speed by pushing forward, and increase altitude by holding down the A button and pushing up. Pressing B fires the cannon. The Option 1 button shows the map and info screen (if not locked-on) or the current enemy (if you are locked-on), and pressing Option 2 fires a missile. Which of course you have a limited supply of.

There are campaign 12 missions in total, some of which take place at night. Also included is a training mode, and also a head-to-head mode against CPU-controlled drones.

Although the frame rate is pretty low (by today’s standards) it was more than enough, and quite impressive, for a colour handheld console in 1992.

Steel Talons on the Atari Lynx is still quite playable, although the pop-up of the various hills and mountains is a bit disconcerting at times. That said: I had fun playing this game. The key to acing missions is to go fast, and with a bit of practise it is entirely possible to beat them.

More: Steel Talons on Wikipedia

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