I decided I wanted to play the Lynx version of the great game for a while now. I have enjoyed the Arcade/SNES/Amiga versions of this classic title for some time. I hold the SNES version in very high regard and assumed initially that the Lynx version would be a cut down 'Game Gear' esque type game. Imagine my surprise then, when having booted up the game I get a great rousing intro tune and a slickly presented intro with a strong medieval feel. As I pressed the buttons and selected my difficulty, starting castle location and cannon emplacements I found out theres quite a bit to this conversion of a great, addictive game.Excellent Stuff
So my first round with the game was quite a pleasant surprise. Some really well drawn and rich graphics which capture the spirit of the arcade original beautifully. The colours really popping on the Lynx's humble screen. Vibrant greens from the land, and deep, rich blues from the sea. The boats animate on a par with the arcade original(That is to say fairly averagely) and the control system is somewhat simplistic (Cursor movement controlled with the D-pad... Straightforward really... lol...) but very acceptable and workable.
I found that my first round was over very quickly because I had not worked out the speed of the cursor when moving and the layout of the area I was protecting. The fighting phase of the game was very well done, capturing the feel of the arcade superbly. The sampled speech snippets are very well done and made me feel like I was enjoying the original game. Ready. Aim, Fire and that sorta thing. My initial frustrations were with the between-level rebuilding phase. The graphics switch to a blocky Tetris-like square grid and then random wall pieces are given to you to place down and rebuild your castle's defences with, maybe even attempting to surround another castle and get the opportunity put more cannons in a wider area for mass destruction. The turning of the pieces are handled by the action buttons. The controls are slightly slower than what I am used to and seem a touch sluggish. This may be to taste rather than an actual hardware/programming issue so although frustrated by my lack of progress I forgave the game and pressed on.
I must mention at this point the beautiful static pictures depicting the progress of your campaign which appear in between the building and fighting phases.. Guards rebuilding. Cannon's firing. That kinda thing. It just injects a little something into the game and gives it that bit more atmosphere. An atmosphere that was not overly apparent in the Arcade version. The overall presentation and game path is very much arcade inspired so this plays very quickly and initially comes across as having limited depth. Arguably this is an arcade conversion so naturally there will be some shallowness to the gameplay. This, in my mind, gives the game a certain addicitiveness as the concept is basically very straightforward and the two phases are basically condensed versions of the things we used to do as young boys (Build castles with various material/boxes/whatever, have pretend wars, knock them down again, then rebuild with a view to making them even stronger and bigger than before...) so long lasting appeal is assured to some extent. HIgh score chasing increases the lastability of the game as well. Finding like minded people to enjoy this game can be difficult but its worth taking turns with a friend and racking up an impressive high score table. My only gripe on this front is that you cannot keep your scores saved. This is a crying shame and adds a level of annoyance and frustration, especially when you score big and bag; what you believe to be; an unbeatable score. If you score well you can put your name on the high score table, three initials and then its just rinse and repeat, this time wanting to do better. The addictive quality of the arcade original is present and correct. The spirit of the game is intact. The static pictures adding to proceedings well.Summary & Verdict
I am happy to report that on the whole I enjoyed my experiences with Lynx Rampart. Its an inspired conversion which gives the player a real handheld treat. It utilises some of the strengths of the Lynx well and it also captures the spirit of the arcade on many levels. I find certain things frustrating and feel that the controls are not perfect but any means. If you are a avid player of Rampart this will certain be irritating but not entirely off putting, especially when you see the graphics move and the speech kick in. The lack of high score saving is a total bummer and has frustrated me many a time.
If you can pick this game up fairly cheaply then I would say take the risk. The qualities and subtle nuiances in gameplay are not immediately apparent but are worth sticking with. The graphics are impressive and the sound, althought sparse is more than adequate and in some cases are very well done.
I had fun with this game and think that lot of people would enjoy what this great game has to offer on the Lynx.Scores
Since this is my first review i'll explain my scoring methodology. I rate the game based on four primary categories. They are:
- Graphics: Are colours used well? Are the characters well animated? Is the conversion graphically accurate? Any flair above and beyond the stage design document. Presentation also plays a part. Is everything easy on the eye?
- Sound: Good use of sound? Atmospheric? Maybe the sound is pants and does not immerse you? Good technical knowledge to get the best sonically on the Lynx?
- Playability: Is the game easy to pick up and play? Are there any controller quirks? Any spikes in difficulty? Any issues reducing or diminishing your ability to enjoy the game. Anything improving it?
- Lastability: Long lasting? Good value for money? Plenty of feaures or game modes? Difficulty? Options? Variations?
I give a mark out of 100 for each of the four categories. I summarise the reasons for the mark then go for a final score. The final score is not a mean average although the starting point is an average. I rate average as 50 and not 70% I mark strictly because i have a lot of games and so they have to be really truly worthy of my attention
So now onto my verdict.Graphics: 92%
Capturing the spirit of the arcade version with great use of the Lynx's colour palette and great static shots between rounds. All the flaws and animation quirks of the arcade game are also reproduced. Which, depending your thoughts, hinder or help the game. I wanted an accurate, hand held version of Rampart so for me this has never been a issue. Very impressive.Sound: 80%
Very sparse use of sound in-game with only beep, blips and bops singifying anything of significance but fantastic speech and great music. Not very accurate sounding to the original but very much classic Lynx noises coming from the speaker here.Playability 89%
Captures the quirks and fun of the original well however to me a touch slugglish in control. Easy to pick up and play, later levels providng more excitement as it becomes hard to rebuild and stop the ships from dropping off their troops. The stakes get high very quickly on this game in later levels. The earlier levels are fun and give you something to aim for.Lastability 71%
Disappointing lack of high score saving. Two difficulty levels and random selection of land mass to lay your castle defenses down onto. Gameplay flow and option selection are all done at arcade level so this affects lastability are there are no obvious improvements or additions to the gameplay. The static pages that have been added give you something to gawp at for a bit between levels hence why I gave Lynx Rampart an extra 1% for lastability lol.Overall: 85%
This game is very well done but some annoying little issues have stopped it a attaining 90%+ score. All in all a worthy addition to any Lynx collection and an addictive game in its own right. Arcade games don't usually last a long time and this is reflectant in Lynx Rampart also. If you want a pick up and play game then enjoy Lynx Rampart with a big smile on your face. Basically regardless of your tastes in games you could do far worse then not give this title a go. If you like depth to your gaming than you'll find yourself feeling shortchanged. For me personally being able to play Rampart on the move is what impresses me the most at this present time.
Happy days and hope you get as much out of Lynx Rampart as I do.Borrow/Buy/Avoid?
Edited by dudeydude, Sat May 5, 2012 6:24 PM.