1 player, horizontal game
Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
"Deep in the bowels of N. Human Inc., trapped in cage #106, Gordo, a poor, brutally exploited lab monkey lives a life of lonely misery. Until an experimental nuclear potion gives Gordo #106 the cunning intellect he needs to free his friends and escape..." It doesn't matter what your views are on the animal research debate; that introduction is simply one of the most heavy-handed pieces of propaganda ever to grace a video screen.
Critique aside, GORDO 106 is the newest side-scrolling action game for the Atari Lynx. Your objective is to help the renegade monkey run, jump, and swing through the N. Human facilities, rescuing captured rabbits and puppies along the way. Scientists, hunters, and other monsters are out to stop Gordo; fortunately, he can throw apples to defeat his attackers, and eat bananas to replenish lost health. You start with six lives and can earn more, but that may not be enough to take Gordo to a confrontation with N. Human himself.
What can I say about this game? It sits there. Aside from its unorthodox plot, GORDO 106 has nothing truly noteworthy or original to attract your attention. Most obstacles simply move back and forth, though there are a few death traps scattered among them as well. Overall, the challenge is reasonable and the game proceeds at a fair speed. There are over eighteen stages, from labs to penthouse apartments and a fashion show, ensuring a variety of locales. There are no time limits or requirements to finish a level, allowing you time to explore and free more caged animals.
Like many other games in this genre, memorization and experience is essential to survival. Some spots require blind jumps and falls, ensuring replay value at the sacrifice of game design. The controls can be a problem, since making Gordo run requires a double-tap on the joypad. This produces dashes at inopportune times, and presents difficulties when you need to rush in a small space, such as a running jump. These flaws add to the frustration and reduce the already-low levels of appeal in the title.
If you're looking for a title to show off the Lynx, GORDO 106 is not it. Graphics are a bit on the whimsical side, but generally uninspired. The animation and scrolling is jumpy, and overall the visuals could be done on any other console. Only a little bit of multilayered scrolling hints at more. Things are similarly lackluster in the audio department. The several background tunes that play are passable, but the sound effects are generic and dull. In any case, either the programmers did not know what the Lynx is capable of, or did not bother to find out.
If the Lynx game library was saturated with run-and-jump titles, GORDO 106 would quickly be overshadowed by flashier, more appealing entries. As things stand, its biggest fans will be players who can stomach its bland flavors and overloaded cliches in exchange for a moderate challenge.
GAMEPLAY: 5 GRAPHICS: 6 SOUND: 5 OVERALL: 5