The Atari Lynx is of course an ill-fated hand held that bounced from developer Epyx to Atari and then to the discount bin as gamers never really took to it. Atari did do a great job in getting some high profile titles for their hand held though such as Batman Returns and Double Dragon (say what you will now but back in the day, DD was a big thing). The arcade classics were represented with Joust, Ms. Pac-Man and Paperboy among others which helped those that did support the platform feel a little more at home.
Here we collect a short list of the games that every Lynx owner should have in their collection and retro gamers in general should check out. These are not the best of the best for this technical reason or that one but the ones that are great at what they do- being games that are entertaining and challenging. These titles were chosen based on replay and entertainment value. Titles that will make you proud to be an Atari Lynx owner.
Dracula the Undead was an adventure title that was loosely based on the novel by Bram Stoker (a reasonable facsimile of the author opens the game with a narrative). For those that don’t know, Dracula of the Undead is an adventure title, something that the Lynx was sorely lacking, that covers familiar territory (Dracula is not new to gaming) in a unique manner. This is almost like playing the old graphic adventures from computers but with a much simpler interface that works quite well on the portable screen. You don’t have to have read Dracula to understand the game but it couldn’t hurt.
Double Dragon is one of those venerable franchises that gamers will probably know, no matter what generation they play. Most will recognize the influence of Double Dragon in other games as this was the standard bearer for the genre. The Atari Lynx version is lacking in a couple of key ways but the core game play is still quality through and through. For one, you cannot see as much of the level as in other ports and there are not as many enemies on the screen at a time (some would appreciate that fact).
Switchblade II is a side scrolling action/adventure title that has some slight Metroidvania style levels with even more interaction and challenge. While not perfect, Switchblade II presents great challenge and level exploration that is not seen on the system in any other games (and very rarely on other platforms of this time period). Multiple weapons help in dispatching the enemies and add to the challenge due to figuring out the best way to handle the current obstacles you are facing.
Crystal Mines II is similar to the classic Boulder Dash series in that you are collecting diamonds, avoiding enemies and watching out for boulders falling as gravity takes effect. The way that you dispatch enemies is similar to Dig Dug, another similar title in which enemies are forcibly dispatched from the playfield. There are a ton of levels here and tons of challenge, good thing the game is fun and challenging.
California Games is one of the original party games years before Mario Party, Crash Bash and others of that ilk were even thought of. Containing a bunch of mini games such as the half pipe, hackysack/footbag, surfing and BMX racing. The variety of competitions available lent well to playing this at parties because some players would be good at some of the games and suck at others. This also probably led to a lot of trash talk (I know it did in my group of friends).
If you own an Atari Lynx, you owe it to yourself to grab these games and experience the fun and challenge they represent. Of the titles listed here, only Double Dragon is available on other hand held platforms in some form. These are all great titles that any retro gamer should at least try, and all Atari Lynx owners should have in their collections.