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Steel Talons - The Atari Times

Steel Talons

Hover around with this portable helicopter sim
by Ray Warren

February 9, 2001
You lift off and make your way towards the target when suddenly an alarm goes off. You been detected by enemy radar. Quickly, you lock on target and vaporize a military base with a burst of rockets, all the while deftly avoiding return fire from enemy helicopters and tanks. If you eliminate all the targets in your assigned area in time, another mission awaits. Such is the premise for Steel Talons, a helicopter sim for the Atari Lynx.

The first thing you notice when you turn on the game is the polygons. That's right, polygons on a portable (almost a decade before the GameBoy Advance). But this is both a positive and a negative. While the solid polygons do look spectacular, the frame rate suffers horribly because of them. The slow frame rate is most noticeable when you are making sharp turns.

The in game sound effects are great. The steady beat of the helicopter blades provide subtle background sound, while the machine guns, rockets, and missiles are each well done and distinct. The locked on target alert and enemy radar alarm are also well suited. The only flaw in the sound is the virtually inaudible voice of the general that gives instructions before each mission. Text based instructions before each missions would have been a much better idea. Yet again, Steel Talons shines and stinks, all in the same category.

In my opinion, graphics is the most important category, and luckily it's Steel Talons strongest. The controls are responsive and take only a few minutes to master, while the missions are increasingly difficult but not impossible.

While I might have seemed a little hard on Steel Talons, I think it is one of the better games on the Lynx. While the slow frame rate and impossible to hear voices are drawbacks, the incredible gameplay and state-of-the-art graphics make Steel Talons a very solid game.

Nothing scarier than a mechanical eagle gunning for your throat.
The targeting will tell you where to find your prey.
"Eat sidewinder, punk!"
Steel Talons
System: Lynx
Publisher: Atari
Genre: Simulation
Graphics Score: 75%
Sound & Music Score: 70%
Gameplay Score: 100%
Control Score: %

Final Score: 80%

Reader Comments for Steel Talons

My Take by Gregory D. George on 2006-09-01 12:00:00
I'll be perfectly honest with you. I played this game for about twenty minutes before giving up due to the terrible controls and awful frame rate. If you can get past those foibles, you'll probably like this game. I just don't have the patience for things so obviously flawed. Steel Talons is to the Lynx what Checkered Flag is to the Jaguar. I love the arcade game, but I give this version a 40% overall.
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