1-2 players, horizontal game
Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
Stereo? No


Video gambling games are hard to promote. On the one hand, an accurate simulation lets players experience high-rolling thrills without using real money. On the other hand, if there are no real winnings, why bother? Other questions about how much strategy can be developed or transferred for games like Roulette or Craps are left to professional gamblers.

LYNX CASINO doesn't resolve this paradox, but it does offer a risk-free alternative to Atlantic City or Reno. This title is a collection of five familliar casino games: Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, Slot Machines, and Video Draw Poker. You start off with $1000, though the cashier can give you two loans of $500 each; when your money's all gone, the game ends. You can also ComLynx with a friend for a mini-electronic junket.


The best thing about LYNX CASINO is that it faithfully captures the experience of casino gambling. Not only are authentic rules, odds, and payoffs used, but each game allows of the same options that its real-life counterpart offers. For instance, Craps supports everything from the usual Pass/No Pass to Hard Way and Horn Bets, while Roulette uses a Double Zero wheel and allows numerous number combinations, and Blackjack is played with six decks. The only major discrepency is that you're always the dice shooter on Craps.

The user interface changes with each game, but is generally consistent. Statistics are kept for each game session, allowing pros to analyze their playing skills. As a result, LYNX CASINO can be played on two levels: casual players can have fun just placing bets, while self-proclaimed experts can exercise existing gambling strategies or trying to develop new ones. While this card may not make you rich, it can be treated almost as a simulation, and the only regret I have is that more games weren't included.


Graphics in LYNX CASINO are decent overall, with a touch of cartoon whimsy. You guide your on-screen personna among the games and roaming bystanders, while still images show scenes of other gamblers and the staff. Most of your time is spent at the tables and machines, which are well drawn with good use of color and detail. Sound effects are not so interesting; a variety of background tunes play during the game, though they can be turned off if desired. Other than that, game sounds are few, brief, and fairly simple.


There's not much that needs to be said: LYNX CASINO is a well-done, no-nonsense video version of the Vegas experience. If you want to refine your Craps strategem or just want to blow some imaginary money, this game will easily fit the bill.

GAMEPLAY:        8
GRAPHICS:        7
SOUND:           5
OVERALL:         7