The original Raiden, developed by Seibu Kaihatsu and published by Tecmo, came out in arcades in 1990. This handheld conversion wasn’t released until 1997 – well after Atari had discontinued the Lynx. And even then the game was only available by direct order, and through a few select retailers. It’s still available to buy now, at the time of writing.
I’m not 100% sure who developed Raiden on the Lynx. The title screen of the version I played said Fabtek Inc., but some reports say that BlueSky Software developed it. If anyone can confirm (and I mean confirm, not guess) who developed it, please comment below.
Raiden on the Lynx is arguably the best shooter on the system, although it is somewhat difficult due to the small screen and lack of room to manoeuvre. It’s a vertical screen shoot ’em up with smooth scrolling, power-ups, and set attack waves. By “set” I mean that – apart from random movement/bullets of enemies – every attack wave occurs at the same point in every game.
The “Raiden Supersonic Attack Fighter” can pick-up power-ups and increase its firepower, but of course you’ll lose that extra firepower if you die. The ship also has a limited number of smart bombs that will take out everything caught in the explosion it creates. You can shoot and disable certain targets, like the tanks, which are ground-based hostiles and thus: you won’t crash into them if you move into them. All airborne hostiles are collision risks, as well as often spewing bullets, and at the end of each level there’s a boss fight.
I’ve seen some articles about Atari Lynx Raiden saying that the game is “too easy”, because maximum firepower is available early in the first level. While it’s true that these power-ups are available early on, hanging on to them is another thing entirely, and I certainly didn’t find it too easy. The opposite in fact, and I’m not a shoot ’em up noob.
Raiden on the Lynx does also apparently support simultaneous two-player multiplayer via a ComLynx cable, although each player will need a cartridge inserted to get it working.
One final thing about Lynx Raiden: the ROM version found floating around online seems to be a pre-release CES prototype, and is not the final game. In fact: it crashes when it’s ‘game over’… Since the game is still commercially available there is zero chance of finding a ROM of the finished game online. So don’t bother looking. If you want the final game, buy it from Telegames (although it is quite expensive). The link to buy it can be found above.
More: Raiden on Wikipedia