1-2 players, horizontal game
Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
Longtime players fondly remember the Golden Age of video games, where flashy graphics and sound didn't matter as much as a solid idea backed with good gameplay. Even though most of today's games fall into recycled formulas, every now and then there's a title that gets attention simply for daring to be different.
Such is the case with RAMPART, an adaptation of the Atari Games' arcade machine. The player is the warlord of an enclosed castle; cannons are placed behind the walls and used to repel enemy attacks. After each battle, holes in the wall must be patched with Tetris-like pieces before the next attack, else the game ends. One player can compete against a computer-controlled navy through eight levels, or two players can fight each other, with or without the computer.
Lynx RAMPART is a near-complete copy of the original. The Lynx controls are a respectable substitute for the arcade's trackball. In a one-player game, a level ends after enduring a number of attacks, and survival is the final goal. Against the computer, the difficulty starts off moderate and builds gradually, with higher stages having more ships and stranger-shaped wall pieces. A two-player game ends when one player loses, and all games have a limited number of continues. There is one difference that devoted fans will notice: On the Lynx, all ships can drop off ground forces, which makes defending your shoreline very important. This change makes the game more difficult, but not unplayable.
RAMPART in the arcade used simple but uninspired graphics, which the Lynx duplicates exactly. To compensate, this version also shows a number of elegant animated and still images between breaks in the action. There are not too many sounds, but the ones present are well done, with explosions, musical themes and dirges, and digitized voices.
RAMPART on the Lynx is a good adaptation, and is a welcome change from today's recycled arcade themes. For those who've never tried this unusual game, its original blend of action and strategy can be quite addictive, and is well recommended.
GAMEPLAY: 8.5 GRAPHICS: 9.5 SOUND: 9 OVERALL: 8.5