1-2 players, horizontal game
Shadowsoft, for the Atari Lynx
It's arguable who made the best video games in the early days of arcade gaming, but one firm commanded awe from all players: Williams. Their early games had simple rules, lots of strategy, and a take-no-prisoners challenge that only the best could master. JOUST for the Lynx is a version of the Williams classic title. The player rides a flying ostrich, engaging in combat against enemy riders. Two riders joust by colliding, and the winner is the one whose lance is higher. The arena is a cavern of platforms, which can be walked on or flown around.
A few extra wrinkles make the game more interesting. Defeated enemies turn into eggs, which hatch into more aggressive fliers if they're not retrieved in time. Later levels introduce the lava troll who snatches riders overhead, a nearly-indestructible pterodactyl, and vanishing platforms. Two players can play together with the ComLynx cable, working cooperatively or competitively. Some stages have special bonuses, such as extra points for not losing a life, or for unseating your partner first. You start with three riders, with extras at regular intervals, and once they're gone, the game ends.
This title is from Shadowsoft, the same folks who gave us their incredible Lynx version of ROBOTRON: 2084 a year ago. I don't need to say much -- if you liked JOUST in the arcade, you'll love the Lynx version! It's a perfect, flawless translation that loses absolutely none of the original's depth and excitement. What starts off as a simple exercise in dismounting opponents soon becomes organized chaos. Your character is soon assaulted by riders on all sides, with more aggressive enemies hatched and on the way, and a pterodactyl ready to assault you for taking too long.
This conversion also has a few extra features. There are ten difficulty levels, where more aggressive enemies appear sooner and hatch quicker at the harder settings. With two players, you can also play in "gladiator mode", where you configure the arena, then try to destroy your opponent completely. Throw in a high score table to track the top five players, and you've got a "must buy" Lynx game for action/arcade fans.
The sights and sounds of JOUST are just as faithful to the source. The Lynx screen resolution causes a slight loss of detail, but nothing to get upset over. The sprites are small but easily recognizable, with animation, color, and visuals copied exactly in every detail. Similarly, almost all of the sounds have been digitized or duplicated exactly. I only noticed one sound effect from the original that has not been copied, but other than that, it's all here.
JOUST is another unbelievably excellent product from Shadowsoft. Players who never played the arcade title will be captivated by its simple rules, deep strategy, and fast action, while the legions of arcade JOUST fans will be in video-gaming heaven!
GAMEPLAY: 10 GRAPHICS: 9.5 SOUND: 9.5 OVERALL: 10