Steel Talons

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a game by Tengen, and Panoramic
Genres: Action, Flying, Shooting Games, Simulation
Platforms: Sega GenesisGenesis, SNESSNES, Lynx
Editor Rating: 6.5/10, based on 3 reviews
User Rating: 7.0/10 - 2 votes
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See also: Mechs Games, Helicopter Games

Because the Lynx's superb graphics and scaling capabilities have already distinguished themselves in flight games (Blue Lightning and Warbirds), expectations were high when Atari announced that Steel Talons, the arcade megahit, was about to fly onto the Lynx. Good news! All expectations were not only met, but surpassed! Both an excellent flight simulator and a top gun arcade shooter, this cart is hot!

A Whirlybird of Prey

Steel Talons displays a great-looking, third-person, behind-the-helicopter perspective and polygon-filled graphics that are similar to its arcade predecessor's. Naturally, the arcade machine's complex foot, joystick, and handle controls have been nicely streamlined for the Lynx. At your fingertips are the controls for speed and altitude, plus an impressive arsenal of machine guns, auto-locking missiles, and auto-locking rockets.

A feature new in the Lynx version is an invaluable overhead map and radar that can be instantly displayed. The map identifies enemies and tracks your position in relation to all your targets. Counters indicate how many enemy targets must be eliminated to complete the mission, your supply of ammunition, and the number of rockets and missiles onboard. The map will become your most valuable "weapon," and you'll find yourself referring to it more often than the main screen!

Steel Talons presents 12 increasingly difficult missions, which take place on terrains ranging from deserts to dense forests. Each mission differs in the number and types of targets and enemies, the ceiling limit, the time of day, and the mission time limit. Neutralize all the targets within the time limit, and you advance to the next mission. Take too long, and you must re-fly the mission until you get it right!

An assortment of enemies and targets pepper each playing field. Enemy camps, supply depots, and slow moving jeeps and cargo trucks are sitting ducks. Heavily armored tanks, antiaircraft strongholds, fighter jets, and enemy choppers are much more deadly. Fortunately, you have an enemy radar alarm, and your chopper can sustain a load of hits. You can also reload and receive repairs if you make it back to your home base.

On Target!

The only "drawback" to this otherwise excellent game is that it's a one-player cart. A multi-player version would be the ultimate. (Are you listening, Atari?) The graphics are clearly rendered, and the animation and scaling effects are impressive. Added touches, such as flying through cloud banks and enemy choppers zipping past your face, add to the effectiveness of the simulation. The sound effects are kept to a minimum with no music soundtrack, which is appropriate since this game emphasizes flight simulation more than standard shooters. The best news is that Steel Talons is extremely challenging. You get to keep flying until you get it right!


  • Save time by planning your attack in either a clockwise or a counterclockwise pattern.
  • You can save time by flying offscreen to the right, which makes you reappear on the left of the screen, This also applies to the top and the bottom of the screen.
  • To keep on course, use your onscreen compass and landmarks, such as roads, mountains, and buildings,
  • Slow down to make extremely sharp turns.
  • Don't fire missiles until the target flashes red.
  • Clear away all enemies near your home base before you land.

Download Steel Talons


System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
  • Game modes: Single game mode

Player controls:

  • Up, Down, Left, Right - Arrow keys
  • Start - Enter (Pause, Menu select, Skip intro, Inventory)
  • "A" Gamepad button - Ctrl (usually Jump or Change weapon)
  • "B" button - Space (Jump, Fire, Menu select)
  • "C" button - Left Shift (Item select)

Use the F12 key to toggle mouse capture / release when using the mouse as a controller.


System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
  • Pentium II (or equivalent) 266MHz (500MHz recommended), RAM: 64MB (128MB recommended), DirectX v8.0a or later must be installed

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

Steel Talons is one of the hottest commodities at any arcade! Bring all of the action home on your Lynx! Control one of the most powerful choppers in the fleet on a mission to investigate enemy activity. You have an assortment of missiles and guns to use at your disposal if any activity gets a bit suspicious. The polygon graphics look like they are lifted right from the arcade. Check out Steel Talons for the Lynx!

People say:


Steel Talons is another attempt by a home system to replicate the look and feel of arcade hardware well beyond its capabilities. Rated against the coin-op, this game pales by comparison, but on its own the graphic and game play combination presented here are O.K., although not as visually expressive as the arcade.


While nothing on any system can ever capture the feel of the arcade game, Atari has done a marvelous job in recreating the concept of the coin-op. The game play is decent and very controllable although the scaling needed to make this a hit is beyond the capabilities of the system. Still, a game that should be tried!


Steel talons is a cool alternative to the typical portable game. The scaling and rotation isn't as smooth as expected but the effect of flying is still well done. The game play is choppy and gets repetitive rather easily. However, I like the fact that Atari is doing more with the Lynx's abilities. Nice try!


For a portable system, the Lynx is certainly going places! Steel Talons doesn't have the scaling or smooth animation found in great simulators, but it is an excellent indication of where portable gaming is headed! Steel Talons needs a little work to become great, but I'm sure future versions will be awesome.

The Navy has the top guns, but the Air Force has its Steel Talons - the best of the best chopper pilots! With only ten percent of all trainees succeeding, they had better be good! See if you have what it takes to survive twelve levels of air-to-air or ground-to-air combat! Take to the sky flying a $15 million gunship. With the hefty price tag comes more than enough high-tech missiles and guns as well as precision targeting and sensory equipment. Find your enemies and destroy them from long distances with laser-guided missiles. At the end of each mission, you'll receive a rating and performance breakdown leading into the next stage of combat. Get ready for one awesome assault of aerial arsenals!

Snapshots and Media

Atari Lynx Screenshots

Sega Genesis/Mega Drive Screenshots

SNES/Super Nintendo/Super Famicom Screenshots