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Joust - The Atari Times


Portable version of the arcade classic
by Dan Loosen

May 24, 2004
Another great arcade classic comes on the road with the Lynx, and this may be the best port of the arcade game ever!  The game melds everything that a Joust fan could want, and even includes a great two-player ComLynx feature.  Jump aboard your ostrich steed and head for the skies!  Are you ready for the intensity of Joust?

I most certainly am!  Joust is easily one of the best arcade ports for the Lynx, joining the ranks of KLAX and Robotron 2084.  The control is perfect, and you always feel like you have control of your bird.  Control is as responsive as you would expect when you are controlling a giant bird.  It takes a little while to turn, and flapping must be done rapidly to rise.  Once you get used to the way that Joust controls, you couldn't ask for more in the control scheme.

So how does Joust play?  That's what it all comes down to, and the answer is Joust is about as perfect as you could ask for.  The levels are challenging, yet not impossible and the enemy AI is as good as the arcade.  There are many ways to go about completing a level, and this adds a lot of strategy to this game.  Will you start at the top and work your way down, or will you start at the bottom and work your way up?  Will you make sure that the eggs that the enemies turn into when you hop on them fall on a ledge so you can get the bonus points but risk them returning on a faster steed, or will you drop the eggs into the lava below?  The choice is up to you, and that decision will affect how you play each level.

Sound is spot on perfect for the arcade game and is done to perfection.  From the flapping of the wings to the noise that the game makes when you hit a buzzard rider at the same height, you'll love it all.  It doesn't have any music, but hey, it is just an arcade game and it doesn't suffer because of that omission.

Unfortunately Joust, like Robotron 2084, suffers from a few things that arise due to the problem of making a straight-up port of an arcade game to a console.  Namely, the game gets hard fast, and unless you are really skilled, you will get stuck on certain levels.  I don't think that Joust needs a continue feature, but I do believe that Joust could have benefited greatly from an option menu that would have allowed the user to select whether or not certain things would happen.  Specifically, the pterodactyl [????] that enters the game after a few levels is extremely hard to avoid or destroy, and having the option just to eliminate his presence would have made this into an incredible game for everyone.

Overall, the final review of Joust is that it is the best version of this game not in the arcades period.  The graphics are spot-on, and the arcade intensity is amazing. Unfortunately, this intensity is why this title suffers a little in the final score -- the arcade action is too difficult for the average player, and after playing it for a while, many will get fed up with being destroyed over and over by the pterodactyl.  If you are a fan of arcade action however, this is a must-have Lynx title for you.

Ah, we all know what that means...
Be sure to avoid Pterry.
Collect the eggs!
Go Lava Troll!
System: Lynx
Publisher: Telegames
Genre: Action
Graphics Score: 95%
Sound & Music Score: 95%
Gameplay Score: 90%
Control Score: 95%

Final Score: 95%

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