Snoopy would be pleased
By Derek PatenaudeFebruary 14, 2005
Nice bi-plane coming out of the screen!
Sometimes the bad guys are hiding in the clouds...
...and other times they're sneaking up behind you!
There are several customizations.
I remember playing this game for the first
time with my friends, and all I could think of (and my friends agreed)
is how did the tiny Lynx manage to pull off a polygon/scaled sprite
flight simulator that rivaled or surpassed its larger scale
counterparts. While the single player has some shortcomings, the
multiplayer option makes this definitely one of the shooters to own if
you have an Atari Lynx.
Warbirds is a circa World War I flight simulator that allows you
to pilot a biplane against up to three computer controlled opponents on
the single player mode and up to four players when comlynxed. There are
a ton of options that are easily laid out for you to customize your
battles, from your supply of ammo, ability to take damage, collisions
and mission choice. Do you think biplanes are too slow for you? Put the
game into arcade mode and strap on a faster engine with better steering.
If there is one minor complaint about the options presented is that
there is no story mode where the battles could be put into a context and
give you a goal for the game. Such an option would have probably made
the single player experience a much more rewarding one.
That being said, once you enter the world of Warbirds you will be
amazed at the graphical content. The background consists of a
polygon-based countryside that scrolls across at a fairly good framerate
(far superior to the sluggish Steel Talons). A sprite-based
cockpit frames the screen and your opponents and clouds around you
consist of some wonderfully drawn scaled sprites. The resolution does
decrease as you close in on a target or cloud but this does not hamper
the impressive effect that the game leaves on the player whatsoever.
There is no in game musical theme, nor does it feel like their should
be. What is there, is a competent set of sound effects for the
rat-a-tatting of the machine guns, whir of the engine and propeller as
you descend climb or idle, and the echo of one of your prey (or
yourself) as the plane drops to the ground. The intro musical theme is
well done and you are treated to some very nice digitized photos after
the end of your battles.
But how does she fly you may ask? And the answer would have to be,
spectacularly. Whether you are playing simulator or arcade mode, the
plane seems to have the right amount of give and resistance whether you
are trying to pull a sharp turn, nose dive, or loop de loop. There are
little framerate issues and leaves the game with an extremely polished
feel to the controls. You are also able to look all around your plane by
holding on to the B button and choosing the appropriate direction to
scan around the plane for targets. This is a simple to use, wonderful in
execution and adds significantly to gameplay. You can almost picture
looking over your left shoulder seeing an opponent trying to get around
you or watching an opponent trying to loop over your head. The only
weapon is a machine gun and although sometimes it is hard to detect
whether or not you are hitting a target there’s an audio cue that does
There also lots of subtle nuances which make the game special, such as
the ability to cut your engine and glide, and the ability to look at the
gauges in your cockpit. The range of enemy AI is quite good and provides
enough challenge for the rookie and those who want to master the
intricacies of shooting down WWI flying aces such as the Red Baron.
Since there is no real story mode the real way to get the most out of
this title is to find a friend and duke it out with one another. The
multiplayer is loads of fun and can add a lot more length to an already
quality cart. The strength of Warbirds is its spectacular scaling
graphics, and it easy to pick up but harder to master gameplay, these
pluses and the multiplayer more than outweigh the tile’s lack of story
mode and make it one of the highly recommended titles that can really
show off what the Lynx can do.