Acorn User

Combat Lynx

Author: Bill Margetts
Publisher: Durell
Machine: BBC/Electron

Published in Acorn User #038

According to the instructions, this game can be played either as a shoot-'em-up arcade game or as a strategy game. Your job is to fly a Lynx helicopter, which is kept extremely busy ferrying men between the four bases under your control. These are the wounded from bases two, three and four who have to be taken back to base one for 'rejuvenation' and then returned to the base you feel to be under the greatest threat from the enemy.

As well as providing air cover for your troops, the Lynx is used to deploy mines which will blow up the tanks threatening your bases.

Although the graphics scroll very smoothly in general they were a disappointment. The view of the countryside does not change perspective as you gain height and this made it flat and uninteresting. Also the viewing screen is less than one third of the total screen - the rest is taken up with gauges and displays.

Combat Lynx

I found the controls very complex. Also there is no change keys option, although you can use some joysticks.

However, flying is simple compared to firing the weapons. The Lynx has a variety of ways of zapping the opposition - rockets, machine guns, cannon, anti-tank missiles, anti-aircraft missiles and mines. The easiest to use are the anti-aircraft missiles which don't need aiming; you just fire and hope that the heat-seeking mechanism works. Mostly it does.

The view of the battlezone is from the rear of the helicopter, unless you are flying east or west, when you see the Lynx from the side. The change is sudden and, unless you are watching the compass, completely unexpected. With so many games now giving a realistic view of the action I found this disappointing.

Combat Lynx

Another badly designed feature is the 'ticker tape' display of the north and east co-ordinate positions of the other bases. This is shown as 'Base No. 1 is at co-ordinates 5004N 4993E' which takes eleven seconds just to read on a five-character display - there just isn't time to read this with so much else going in.

Also available is a map of the battlefield, which uses block graphics to display your bases, ground heights, houses, enemy vehicles, etc, which is not very useful.

Generally a disappointment - although the idea is good, the execution is too complex to make it a fully satisfying game.

Bill Margetts