1 player, horizontal game
Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
You are known as Hydra, though no government will admit you exist. You are a mercenary whose specialty is the transport of "sensitive" packages, using your Hydrafoil, a one-man armed speedboat. Even so, there is competition from other agents, and danger from those who don't want your cargo delivered. Only the best survive, but that's okay -- you are the best. Maybe.
This is HYDRA for the Lynx, an adaptation of the Atari Games arcade title. The action is seen from behind your boat which you pilot through nine levels of rivers and oceans. Along the way, you can get money bags for bonuses and crystals for extra fuel. There are also gun embankments, enemy crafts, and other nusances, though your Hydrafoil can fly temporarily to escape dangers. Finish a stage and you can try to win more money in a bonus stage, then buy better weapons for the next job.
HYDRA on the Lynx loses very little on the way to the Lynx. A single hit will destroy your Hydrafoil, but that's not a problem, as your survival is measured in fuel; the only way the game ends is if your gas tanks are empty. This version is slightly easier when compared to the arcade, but remains of average difficulty. Unlimited continues are available, but resets your score. There is no randomness to the location of objects, on each level, but the later levels use a large number of enemies and obstacles, coupled with a rarity of fuel, to keep the game from being finished quickly.
All of the buttons are used to fire weapons, change weapons and activate your craft's air-lifting boost. There's a minor quibble with the controls -- you press down to accelerate and up to decelerate, but it has no effect on playability. Unlike ROADBLASTERS, the steering is more gradual, makes driving and aiming with the joypad reasonable.
The digitized game elements of the arcade HYDRA are respectable on the small screen, though the colors make some items look a little muddled. Also, judging collisions requires a little experience; your first few forays will feature lots of collisions with obstacles you thought you avoided. Sounds fit the action accordingly, consisting mostly of the roar of your engines, chimes when items have been picked up, a wide variety of weapons fire, and the obligatory explosions.
It must be said that HYDRA borrows heavily from the game ROADBLASTERS, and offers little that's different or unusual. That doesn't make it any less fun or exciting, however, and this Lynx version is a decent adaptation that will be enjoyed by action players and fans of the arcade.
GAMEPLAY: 8 GRAPHICS: 7.5 SOUND: 7.5 OVERALL: 8