1-2 players, horizontal game
Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
It's a bird! It's a plane! It's...an orange furball? No, it's SUPER SKWEEK on the Lynx, an adaptation of the French computer game, and an unofficial sequel to SLIDER on the Game Gear. You control Skweek, the orange furball alluded to above, whose mission is to save 250 tile-filled levels on five islands with a motley crew of creatures and critters. The game is viewed from above, as Skweek walks along the tiles and shoots any creatures that get in his way.
Skweek's most common goal is to walk on the blue tiles to make them pink, though some levels require rescuing female Skweezettes or destroying monsters instead, and all levels feature a time limit. Making the effort harder are the many types of tiles in the game -- slippery tiles, crumbling tiles, explosive tiles, and even tiles that float above the ground. Skweek can also find or buy icons to change his shots or give other powers. The game can start from stage 1, 50, or 100, or be played in a random order, and a password saves your current score and game. Finally, two people can ComLynx together for cooperative or competitive play.
Though it looks like a puzzle game, SUPER SKWEEK shouldn't be treated as one. Some of the levels require strategic thinking, but most of the game is played with instinct and arcade-quality caution. This title's biggest asset is its wealth of features. There are literally dozens of enemies, enhancements, tiles and wall pieces to work with, and discovering how everything works will take a while. There's also a lot of randomness to the game, which makes pattern developing impossible and helps its appeal. Other options allow you to restart the current level and to adjust the diagonal movements of the joypad.
While the idea is fine, the implementation is not, as there are problems in SUPER SKWEEK that make it harder than necessary. Shooting is tricky, as only a direct hit on a monster counts, and near-misses often prove deadly. Because Skweek's movement is not confined to the "grid" of each level, you can walk into a dangerous area unintentionally. There's also an annoying bug if Skweek dies on a disappearing tile: your next life appears in the same spot, and if the tile is still gone, you die again. These problems are frustrating, though not enough to totally discredit the game.
The graphics on SUPER SKWEEK are very nice, though there's little here that any other video game can't duplicate. Colors are used incredibly well, with bright pastels and primaries used to compliment the whimsy and give the impression of lots of shades. Game text and elements are small, yet remain easily identified with lots of detail and animation. Sounds consistly of machine-generated effects, but nothing truly unusual or noteworthy. The various themes and music, however, are a notch above the standard Lynx fare.
This is an unusual game with a distinctive atmosphere that may not attract all players. While the concept is fairly novel, there are a few flaws in the implementation that hinder it somewhat. Still, if you're willing to put forth a little patience for its weaknesses, SUPER SKWEEK can produce many hours of engaging fun.
GAMEPLAY: 7 GRAPHICS: 9 SOUND: 7.5 OVERALL: 7.5