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As I was thinking of a way to take advantage of our lately installed fast 
Internet connection at work, I happened  to find a real nice  ATARI dedicated 
website,ATARI TIMES at

    There, I found out about the LYNX version of world famous Alien Vs Predator
one of the so few JAG  games that  really got me  addicted. I also read about a
3D engine for the LYNX. Unfortunately, in the  meantime Moondog released UCM 22
in which I read an  article about the  same topics (damn, Eric can  you read my
mind  or something ?). Anyway I  noticed that his article  missed snapshots  as
well as essential urls so  I hope my contribution will not just  read like some
tasteless copy cat but bring more details.

    As these games or engines never saw the light of day as commercial releases
you will only be able to enjoy them as ROMs. That  implies using an emulator of
course. Here Marss gave me a hand and sent me  HANDY v0.82  which is a nice and
easy to use  emulator. Btw you  can find it at Please
note that the  latest update  works on  all WindauZ  systems, except for the XP

IMPORTANT ! You'll need a Lynxboot.img file to run the emulator ! Of course
- and as usual - such file isn't included  in the emulator archive (as if there
was still  someone  out there  willing to sue  the author of Handy) but you can
easily get your hand on it, using  any search engine and typing "lynxboot.img". 
Well I found it at the first shot :)

    Back to our business. Once you have downloaded and unpacked the emulator,
you just need to pay  a visit to ATARI TIMES and  more precisely to the LYNX
section from which you'll get links to both AVP, and the 3D  demo I'll write
about later.


    Get your emulator started and load that 257 Kb romfile. Before you start I
suggest you open the OPTIONS menu and check the "key definition". I could tell
you what keys are used but - except for  the arrow keys - this would surely be
useless to non French users :)

    There must have been a lot of hype  regarding this game development back in
1994 especially if you  remember the original AvP  on JAG and keep in mind that
its makers - Rebellion - were also responsible for this porting. Unfortunately,
surely due to ATARI's lame  marketing strategy, the game  never got any further
than this  preview. Btw I think  this is  actually more an  engine demo than an
playable demo since a lot of elements are missing.

    At first I was really amazed by the nice gfx ! They reminded me of my fave
LYNX game, Shadow of the Beast. Colors are nice chosen and there is definitely
some style into these  pictures ! It all  starts with a  title screen, shortly
followed by credits and a real nice introduction with static graphics of great
quality. Then you reach the character selection screen and that's when you see
the game is far from completed since only the marine and predator are offered.
Besides, except for a different weapon, both characters play exactly the same.

    Anyway I went for the marine and here's what went  up on my small screen.
The snapshot on the left comes from the marine game while the right one shows
the predator's part. As I said before, except for the weapons I could not see
any differences  at all but  maybe some  were to be  added later one like the
thrilling night vision of the predator !

    There you go, wandering in the predator's ship from which you will have to
collect a bomb, start it and then run as fast as possible. The game looks real
nice with zoomed walls instead  of mapping thus  allowing faster pace. I don't
know if the  emulator's speed is identical  to a real LYNX  but if it is, then
that game would have been damn fast and smooth !

    Unfortunately I did not find so  much more to  do as the  actual playground
isn't really big. There are some other marines that you can kill if you play as
the predator  but it doesn't affect  the game :( Sound fx are almost reduced to
zero as well as music.

    You can also access the following inventory by pressing an option button :

    From this screen, you will be  able to check  your life bar, ammo, change
weapon (not available in this demo) or have a look at the level map. Not much
to do in this demo, but surely essential in the finished game.

Bottom Line : as I stated earlier, this  should * NOT * be  considered as a 
playable demo since ennemies do  nothing but  walk back and forth, sound fx and 
music are almost  absent and I am not even  sure you can actually complete this 
single mission. I'd rather call  it a technical  demo that shows that AvP could 
have been ported to the LYNX and - with the mentioned  missing features - would 
have been another asskicking game ! Remember this  preview is 8 years old ! Now 
I wish there was more  than that, maybe the  game was  deeper developed ? Maybe 
the guys of SONGBIRDcould actually get the rights to AvP and release it then ? 
Yeah I know, just another nice dream :(

3D Demo   

    Unlike Moondog, I never read about other 3D engines, but anyway from what I
read most of them just sucked. Once again, I found  this engine on ATARI TIMES.
The archive you will download  features two versions of this engine, the second
one being a bit smoother and faster.

    Run one of these  tiny prg (20 kb !) and you will find yourself in a very
Wolfenstein like world, meaning  some rooms with mapped walls  while both the
ceiling and the floor are just filled with one color. Just have a look at the
following snapshots :

    Yup, it  looks  nice (sorry for  the snaps low quality). Textures seemingly
feature 8 colors but that's enough. You  can walk  around the few rooms offered
with the arrow  keys and even  press some fire button  to 'run' instead of just
walking. Speed is quite good, between 15 and 20fps, for that kind of engine. It
may even be more but I'm not sure HANDY's frame counter really works as it kept
reading 30 frames... Anyway it's fast enough especially when you start running.
Of course this engine shows no ennemies, nor sprites, therefore it's a bit hard
to say if once  completed this engine could  have maintained respectable speed.
Anyway it definitely looks nice !

    The more or less "good" news is that this  engine was released some months
ago, more precisely in July 2001, meaning that unlike AvP this project may not
be buried when you  read this. Unfortunatley no further detail was given about
possible improvment or game development. Future will tell...

         Possibly more to come next time or maybe not, who knows ?

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