Zarlor Mercenary

Review by John DeLuna
Here's another game that was destined for stardom. Only to be sabatoged by the Lynx's demise. Zarlor Mercenary is the finest example of a vertical shooter *ever* released on a portable system. The graphics, sound, and gameplay go beyond anything seen before, or since. ZM begins with virtually no story, taking you right to select screen. Which is fine, considering ZM is based heavily on action. And there's *lots* of action. Anyway, you have four characters to choose from, each with their own unique weapons. After that, it's into the fire. ZM 's enemies look and move just like any other shooter. And frankly, they could have gotten real boring, real quick. But the shear number of enemies, and the variety keep things fresh. In fact, every level in ZM has at least two or three enemies unique to the level. Not counting the bosses waiting at the end. ZM has everything that console shooters have, tons of weapons, tons of enemies, and huge bosses. And when you realize all this is coming from a Lynx, you've got something.

GRAPHICS: Tremendous stuff. Overall the best of any Lynx game. The constant vertical-scrolling comes off flawlessly. Nothing is blurred or distorted. The enemies are distinct, and their projectiles are easy to see. The bosses typically take up half the screen, and the use of scaling is perfectly done. This looks like an above-average 16-bit game. *****

SOUND: The sound in ZM is not it's strongest point. But it's still better than I expected. No background music, except for the opening theme. At least that's you think at first. But there's actually some background tunes in most levels. It's just distorted by all the sound effects coming from enemy ships as well as your own. Making ZM's sound a little cluttered. ***

CONTROL: Solid in every aspect. Your ship control is tight and *very* responsive. You can stop on a dime. But even with that nifty control, you often get "snuffed out" by sheer number of on-screen enemies. There times when dodging is just impossible, which makes you want to blame the controls. When, in fact, it's the programmers fault. ***1/2

OPTIONS: Not many outside of weaponry. The biggest choice you make is your initial choice of character. Each has a weapon unique to them, include a laser, and homing missiles. At the end of each level you enter a "shop" where you can buy the usual power-ups, like speed boosters and bombs. ***

REPLAY: This would have been a four or five star, but ZM is a *little* on the tough side. The fist two levels are easy enough. But everything after that is a nightmare. Almost to the point of turning you off. But ZM is such a great game, and so fun to play, it's only a matter of time before your playing again. ***1/2

Well...Zarlor Mercenary is a great game. That's really the gist of it. If you like shooters, this game is *definately* for you. And if your a Lynx owner, this game is worth it just because it shows off the Lynx's muscle. Zarlor Mercenary is must play for all.

Reviewer's Score: 9 / 10