Gordo 106, Atari Lynx

This original Atari Lynx platform game features an escaped lab monkey, called Gordo 106, who is on a mission to free other animals from the cages of the ‘evil’ scientists, and to ultimately make his way to freedom outside the laboratory.

Gordo 106 reportedly had a fairly troubled development process and came out towards the end of the Lynx‘s life, so wasn’t a big-seller (unfortunately leading to Tenth Planet Software, the developer’s demise).

In spite of that, Gordo 106 looks good and plays okay too. Well, I say “okay”, but the truth is: it is quite frustrating, with frequent deaths and annoying underground (dungeon) sections, when you fall into a pit in the ground. The underground sections appear to be random (in that: you randomly get one of a small number of dungeon sections, some of which are very unforgiving), and the aim is to get to the end and get back into the lab, where you can resume your mission. You’ll be tearing your hair out every time you fall into a hole, so the idea is to not fall in to any!

When you find an animal locked in a cage you push up to unlock it and free whatever’s inside. The more cages you unlock, the more points you get. As far as I can tell there are no penalties for missing any cages, other than lost points. The ultimate aim is to reach the exit at the end of each stage.

Thankfully Gordo has a health bar, and isn’t killed in one hit, although if you walk into any patrolling people, or sniffer dogs, or other meanies, it’ll deplete very quickly. You can top-up your health bar by collecting bananas. Gordo can also throw apples to knock people out of the game, or punch them if they’re up close. And as well as being able to jump, Gordo can run so that he can jump further. He can also swing from objects hanging from the ceiling.

One thing that’s not quite right about this game is that the patrolling people move very strangely. They’re jerky and poorly animated, but well-drawn and characterful (in a stylised, cartoony way). The scrolling is a touch jerky too. The whole game seems a bit rough around the edges, which is no surprise considering its messy development history.

While Gordo 106 is not really what I would call a ‘fantabulous’ game, it shouldn’t really be forgotten either. The premise of the game is sound; graphically everything is well-drawn and nicely-coloured, and the fact that it’s a Lynx exclusive holds some weight (a SNES version was apparently in development but was never released). The music isn’t too bad either.

Overall, Gordo 106 is a janky game that is sure to frustrate. If you can’t be bothered to play it, but want to see what it’s like, you could always watch a YouTube video of it being played. For some people, that may be enough.

More: Gordo 106 on Wikipedia

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