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Retro Game of the Day! Zarlor Mercenary

Retro Game of the Day is a daily look back at some of the games we loved - and some that we didn't - during the formative years. Today's entry is Zarlor Mercenary for the handheld Atari Lynx.
Retro Game of the Day! Zarlor Mercenary
 
 

Zarlor Mercenary for the Atari Lynx, developed by Epyx and released in 1990.

 

Now this is why I love writing on this website. Covering these games which aren't really so obscure that no-one has heard of them, but honestly I think I've hardly had a conversation in my life with more than a single other person who has ever played this game.

 

Off the bat feeling like it would be a top-down follow up to the original Lynx blaster Gates of Zendocon (really, wonder why anyone would ever get that idea?) Zarlor was completely different than that side-scrolling episode. ZM was a top-down affair, and honestly due to the hardware it ran on it would probably rank as one of the true "bullet hells" before that was even really a subgenre. Shortly into this game your screen would be absolutely flooded with enemies and firepower...

 

The game took some flack for it's tiny-sized characters, dreadfully-plodding speed, and somewhat slidey controls, but that didn't matter. The game was just absolutely and uniquely fun. I don't think I'd ever seen a 4P simultaneous shooter before, which was genious, and the weapon-upgrade system (buy or sell parts in-between levels) was a nice touch. You could find what worked and truly customize your game experience, depending on the situation; that was pretty unheard-of rare in arcade shooters like this at the time.

 

Zarlor Mercenary was a special little game which did a lot of things right, but unfortunately it was one of those titles which sort of fell on deaf ears (a strangely-named, plain-looking game on an obscure console). Still it was one of my favorite Lynx games, and quite a uniquely-presented shooter which still holds its own today.

 

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