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Zarlor Mercenary

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Released: 1990

Genre: Shoot-’em-up

Format reviewed: Atari Lynx

Publisher: Atari

Developer: Epyx

Submitted by: Darran Jones

Despite its bountiful supply of excellent arcade conversions, shoot-em-ups are something of a rarity on Atari's excellent, yet highly underrated handheld.

While Zarlor Mercenary is a massive improvement over Gates of Zendecon, it still lacks that 'something' that all great shooters possess and as a result it should only be tracked down by diehard fans of the genre (of those just looking to complete their Lynx collections).

The biggest issue I have with Zarlor is the incredibly slow pace that everything plods along at. There's no sense of urgency to proceedings and therefore no sense of excitement. Then there's the insane difficulty to consider, which is mainly down to the way enemies often appear on screen with very little warning. Granted, many will argue that most shmups are nothing more than a memory test anyway, but at least of them feature exciting and clever attack waves.

There's no rhyme or reason to the relentless assault in Zarlor and the toughness of enemies and the overall weakness of your craft mean that it isn't long before your energy bar (something no decent shooter has ever featured) is depleted.

Zarlor Mercenary certainly isn't a complete waste of time and it's arguably the best shooter on the Lynx, but that's more to it having no real competition than it being an amazing blaster. Give it a try by all means, just don't expect anything special.