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Alive 2
               Lynx Review:
         by Songbird Productions

With each successive Lynx programming exercise, Carl Forhan of Songbird
Productions seems progressively master the portable Atari machine's
hardware intricacies. Both SFX and Ponx were unique in their own right,
but were simple 2D efforts which set the stage for his latest and greatest
shooter, Remnant: Planar Wars 3D. As the name indicates, with Remnant
Forhan has eschewed 2D (which was his original intention with Planar Wars)
in favor of a snazzy 3D environment which amptly shows off the Lynx'
capabilities, especially in the area of scaling.

Gameplay wise, it's all old school. You won't find much in the way of
frills. Your foes basically consist initially of hostile alien UFOs and
stray asteroids (there are a few others in later levels, including the
vaunted "sleds"), and there are no power-ups or weapon options to choose
from. The player's goal is simply to defend his quadrant from the endless
waves of enemy ships by blasting them as they appear.

Remnant puts you in a first-person, in-the-cockpit view, looking out of a
transparent window into space. You're presented with a crosshair in the
middile of the screen, which is the indicator of where you're firing (a-la
Star Raiders.) When an enemy appears on the screen, the goal is to match
up the crosshair with the UFO or asteroid and shoot it. Kill a set number
of UFOs, and you're off on your next -- more difficult -- mission.
Subsequent stages pit you against multiple simultaneous enemies and hordes
of stray meteors which must be either dodged or shot down.

The UFOs are a handfull, to put it mildly. They definitely are not "dumb,"
and they don't all behave the same way, either. They zigzag around the
screen, making it very difficult for them to be gunned down, especially
from long range. You must also contend with enemy first as well -- there's
only so much damage you can sustain before you're an interstellar carcass.
Simply put, if you can see the cannons or plasma shots at the time they
reach you, you've been hit. The way to avoid them is to maneuver in one of
the four directions so that the shots are no longer viewable. You cannot
be sniped from the side or behind.

The gameplay might appear pretty simple and ordinary, but that's where
Remnant surprises -- and shines. There's no ending to the game; like with
most true classics, you fight to the death. Forhan has done an exceptional
job fine tuning the difficulty so that it's easy enough to get into, but
gets progressively challenging that will make gamers say, "just one more
play, I can do better!" The enemy AI is quite intelligent, and did I
mention they were quick? As only UFOs have been rumored to do, they
zigzag, change directions abruptly, fly around in circles, and swoop in
and out of your screen as if it's toying with you. Thankfully, the
animation and framerate is exceptionally smooth, so keeping track of them
will not cause an eyesore. Their shots also are a thorn on the side, as
just when you think you've honed in on the UFO, he's beat you to the
trigger and you're left to temporarily focus on dodging his shot instead.

The graphics in Remnant aren't mind-blowing, but its effects, animation
and smoothment of movement which will wow you. The UFOs, Sleds and
Asteroids are pre-drawn sprites, but the scaling effects of both of them
are not to be missed, and the rotating animation of the meteors are also a
treat for the eyes. Sound effects are quite minimal, with simple sounds of
your ship thrusting, shots being fired and of things blowing up. On the
other hand, the sound quality itself is crisp and clean, particularly the
explosions. There is no in-game music in Remnant, but the intro music
somewhat makes up for it... it's one of the best tracks ever heard on the

Bottom line: Many sci-fi 3D shooters have more frills and options, but
Remnant does its gameplay right. It's also augmented by some very nice
special effects. Classic fans will love it because the object of the game
is to get the highest score possible, giving the game a longer life than
most. A very solid 7. Thumbs up.

Alive 2