Publisher: Telegames (1995)
This game surprised me, both in terms of graphics and gameplay. Instead of trying to be realistic, Sensible Soccer features tiny, cartoonish players. This allows you to see large chunks of the field at a time, making it easy to locate your players and pass the ball. The action is smooth and fast, giving the game a very arcade feel. The tiny players are capable of headers and slide tackles, and you can even curve your shots. The number of options is impressive, with 64 teams, league and tournament play, and even varying weather conditions. So if you're fed up with all the unreasonable soccer games out there, give Sensible Soccer a try. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Songbird Productions (1999)
After playing Skyhammer, I think I've seen the Jaguar hardware pushed to the limit. This futuristic first-person aircraft shooter takes place in a dark, Bladerunner-inspired city with towering buildings, narrow corridors, and neon ads plastered all over the place. The level of detail in the graphics is remarkable, and the city itself is enormous. The buildings and advertisements look nearly photo-realistic from a distance, and they don't look bad up close either. It's surprisingly easy to navigate your ship, and thankfully it's impossible to scrape against buildings. You can't see very far in the distance, but since the game takes place under the black of night, it doesn't even matter. In addition to its good looks, Skyhammer features some remarkably deep gameplay. You are assigned individual missions, and these are randomized somewhat to keep the action fresh. The city is divided into zones, and each mission takes place in one or more specific zones. You can fly pretty fast, so reaching a zone at the other end of the city doesn't take very long. Missions typically involve collecting items or wiping out enemies, and some are confusing and require some hunting around. Your rapid-fire cannon is awesome, but the guided missiles don't seem very accurate. Enemy aircraft spiral out of control before exploding nicely. The framerate does tend to get choppy when the action heats up. A long-range scanner plots your ship's exact position, but unfortunately it does not indicate which direction you're pointing. Docking stations are available to repair/upgrade your ship, purchase supplies, or instantly be transported to another zone. Clear robotic voice synthesis, wailing alarms, and edgy synthesized music all contribute to Skyhammer's dark, ominous atmosphere. You can save your game at docking stations, and high scores are permanently recorded. Skyhammer has quite a reputation among Jaguar fans, and it's rightly deserved. This game really shows what the Jaguar is capable of. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Songbird Productions (2000)
Soccer Kid is a side-scrolling platform game with a lot of familiar elements: Collect goodies for points, jump over spiked pits, and dispatch all sorts of odd characters. But what really distinguishes the game is the kid's soccer ball, which functions as a weapon. By himself, Soccer Kid is defenseless, but using his ball he can knock large foes clear off the screen. The object of each stage is to collect a number of cards before reaching the end. You can employ a number of tricks with the ball, providing a degree of technique lacking in most platform games, and experimenting is part of the game's charm. It's easy to kick the ball off the screen, but you can generate a new ball at any time by holding down the A button for about a second. One legitimate problem with Soccer Kid is that he runs in the center of the screen, giving you little time to react to oncoming enemies. As a result, you have to move forward cautiously. The graphics are beautiful and bursting with color, and the control has a crisp feel. Although the stages take you to various locations around the world, it's a challenge just to make it out of England. Soccer Kid is one of the better games for the Jaguar. It's available from Songbird Productions
. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: ReadySoft (1995)
As much as I liked Dragon's Lair, I despise this ill-conceived piece of garbage. The thing that made Dragon's Lair work was that your character was in an enclosed area, so his options were somewhat limited. Space Ace on the other hand takes place in wide-open outer space, where anything is possible. Consequently, the only way to learn the moves is by trial and error, and most don't even make any sense! In addition, Space Ace doesn't even provide the "flashing" clues, making the game excessively hard (they don't flash until after
your make your move - ugh!). In Dragon's Lair, you only had to make a few correct decisions to complete each room. But there are no "rooms" here, just an endless string of moves that must be executed in quick succession. When you screw up, the game takes you WAY back. In addition to the poor gameplay, the graphics look worse than Dragon's Lair. As bad as this was in the arcade, it's even worse on the Jag. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Virtual Xperience (1995)
Here's one of the few Jaguar games that Atari got right
- and probably by accident! Super Burnout doesn't attempt to show off the system's 3D capabilities, like Club Drive. It doesn't try to cash in on the latest gaming trend, like Kasumi Ninja. It simply provides genuinely fun motorcycle racing action with big, beautiful scaling sprites - just like momma used to make! Similar to Hang-On or Outrun, Super Burnout is pure arcade bliss with its simple controls and ample eye candy. The silky smooth frame-rate makes it a pleasure to slide around curves and bound over rolling hills. The backdrops look awesome, with majestic nighttime city skylines reminiscent of Streets of Rage (Genesis, 1992). Some backgrounds even slowly transform from night to day. Too bad there's no time for sightseeing. Super Burnout is fast
- maybe too
fast. The sense of speed is effective, and you really need to be alert for upcoming curves. It's a good idea to position your bike on the black line in the road, and begin turning slightly before
you enter a curve. Riding on the edge of the track slows you down, and this often prevents you from crashing into the trees, fences, signs, and grandstands that line the road. The only part of the scenery that looks cheesy are those short gray "buildings", which look more like vending machines
! The game offers eight distinctive tracks and five types of bikes. There's a terrific championship mode for the solo player which saves the best lap times (and initials). I really like how the tracks are reasonable in length, and I'd advise setting the number of laps to two, keeping the races short and sweet. For two players there's a split-screen mode that plays remarkably well. Super Burnout's voice samples are crisp, and the music is actually very pleasant - unlike most racers with their obnoxious soundtracks. Easy to play and easy on the eyes, Super Burnout is about as much fun as you can have on the Jaguar. © Copyright 2008 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Atari (1995)
Just how bad can a Jaguar cartridge be? Pretty bad! I couldn't find any redeeming characteristics in this one! Supercross 3D is a motorcross game where you race around courses full of sharp turns, bumps, and ramps. Although the courses are set at various locations, there is no scenery except the stands. so they might as well all be indoor. The racers and courses look okay, but the animation and framerate is remarkably rough. Combine that with oversensitive controls and you get massive over-steering. Even if you get proficient at navigating the courses, the racing aspect is incredibly weak. There is little sense of speed, and collision detection is non-existent. The sound effects are muddled and sloppy. It's probably a good thing that Atari didn't attempt a split-screen mode. For a 64 bit system, the Jaguar never ceases to amaze. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Bullfrog (1994)
Real Time Strategy (RTS) titles ported from the PC rarely make good console games, and Syndicate is further proof of that. I held off on reviewing this game for a long time, mainly because it looked so boring
. And man, was I right! Using a point-and-click interface, Syndicate places you in control of four agents armed with weapons and helpful devices. Your missions involve seizing various territories in a futuristic world, which usually amounts to shooting a lot of people. Clearly designed for a keyboard and mouse, this game has the most counter-intuitive user interface I've seen in some time. Just navigating the mission briefings is a major hassle! During an actual mission, you'll not only use the entire numeric pad, but even press combinations
of buttons! The idea of controlling four agents at once must have been pretty cool in the pre-WarCraft era, but its novelty value has long since faded. What's left is a plodding strategy game that requires the patience of a saint to master. Syndicate's graphics are fairly sharp, but it's easy to lose your agents in the maze of buildings. The low-key background music is mysterious enough, but the sound effects are weak. Adding insult to injury are constant "loading" screens - a real annoyance considering this is a cartridge
! Jaguar owners desperate for something substantial may find something to like in Syndicate, but most gamers will regard it as a major snore. © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Atari (1994)
Atari had the right idea with this one: take a classic game and remake it with incredible visual effects and cool music. The result is Tempest 2000, and it's one of the best titles you can get for the Jag. Three versions of the game are included, including an enhanced version of the original game. The visuals are stunning. Flashing colors, blinding explosions, and incredible 3D effects fill the screen and often make it tough to see what the heck's going on. The excellent techno music fits the frenetic pace of the game. Gameplay is wild. Power-ups are all over the place, and the enemies just keep coming. There's even a two player mode where you and a friend can compete on a split screen. But it's hard enough to tell what's going on in the one-player mode, so the two player mode is practically unplayable. Also, the difficulty of the one-player game is a little on the easy side. The games tend to be lengthy. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Ocean (1995)
The idea behind this simulation game is intriguing. You build and run your own theme park, with rides, food stands, rest rooms, and employees. It plays like most "sim" games, but what's really surprising is the level of depth and detail in Theme Park. Not only do you control the placement of every bush or tree, you even control your food inventory and the price of each item. You can fund research, sell stocks, and negotiate with suppliers. While this level of detail will please some players, it's sure to turn off many others. A helpful tutorial gets you started on the basics of laying out your park. You have a ton of options, but the interface is confusing, and I became frustrated just trying to figure out how to open the park! Once you get going, your park comes alive, and it's fun to watch tiny people buy food and enjoy the rides. The graphics are attractive and fun. Theme Park has a serious learning curve, but players who are looking for a thoughtful strategy game will find it rewarding. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Telegames (1996)
Towers II is "a genuine RPG for the Jaguar", and if you don't believe me, just read the box! This first-person dungeon crawler is a D&D-style adventure along the lines of Slayer and Deathkeep (both on the 3DO). You'll explore multi-leveled dungeons while collecting items, casting spells, and engaging in swordplay. Don't let the pixelated graphics deter you from giving this game a fair chance. The controls are well designed. The fact that you can slide around corners makes it easy to navigate hallways, and you'll break into a trot if you continuously push in one direction. Manipulating items is fun, and I love that "body diagram" that lets you outfit your character from head to toe. The first level of the dungeon is pretty tame. In fact, it appears to have a food court
and some of the cleanest medieval restrooms I've seen. I felt bad about killing the janitors (guys carrying mops), but I needed their keys! Eventually you'll face more fearsome enemies like knights, wizards, purple ninjas, and floating eyeballs. During a melee it looks a little like you two are dancing
, but those giant red pixels provide warm affirmation that a proper bludgeoning is taking place. Towers II makes excellent use of the keypad button, so it's a shame there's no overlay. It's handy to call up a map at the press of a button, but I really
wish your position was indicated by an arrow instead of a dot. Towers II is not as polished as it could be. The "stairs" look awful, and if you don't set up a spell correctly, you'll get a confounding message like "I can't remember any words". The scenery is repetitive, but one key to avoid getting stuck is to keep an eye out for secret doors. These are often indicated by sounds cues such as thumping and scratching noises. The game's stereo sound is surprisingly effective and the music is appropriately menacing. Best of all, you can save your progress at any time. Heck, a lot of modern
games don't let you do that! Towers II is the real deal. I was skeptical at first, but after sinking many hours into this I can vouch for this captivating adventure. © Copyright 2011 The Video Game Critic.
Trevor McFur In The Crescent Galaxy
Publisher: Atari (1993)
Apparently Trevor McFur has become the honorary scapegoat of the Jaguar console and its dismal fate. People just love to trash this game, but compared to the rest of the Jaguar library, it's about par for the course. This side-scrolling space shooter tries to emulate Thunder Force 3 (Genesis, 1991), but can't even come close. The first alarms go off during the ridiculous intro screens featuring military officers with cat heads! Boy, does that look dumb
. You can select one of several planets to begin, but in order to reach the planet, you must first endure a tediously long space stage, blasting generic asteroids, blobs, and assorted geometric shapes. Trevor McFur's graphics are sharp but totally unimaginative, and the stiff bosses look more like floating statues. The audio is abysmal, with muffled explosions and a lot of "bubble popping" sound effects. Worse yet, there's no
background music whatsoever, making this feel more like an unfinished project than a real game. Your oversized ship is armed with default missile and bomb weapons. Your main cannon can be powered up, but losing a ship means you're back to the default pea shooter. Special weapons are collected from pods, and these are clearly the highlight of the game. The innovative "magnet" sucks everything into it as it flies across the screen, and the "tracer" is a homing missile that feverishly bounces between enemies. The "beam" is a high-intensity laser that obliterates everything it touches, and it's satisfying to "sweep" the screen with it. Other special items include smart bombs, shields, and the ability to call in another ship for help. Trevor McFur is no cakewalk, so apply your special weapons liberally. Just be sure to save one for the boss, because those things take forever
to wear down. Trevor McFur is perfectly acceptable if you're looking for an uninspired shooter with no soul. But if you're looking for a really
good shooter, go buy yourself a Genesis! © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.
Troy Aikman Football
Publisher: Williams (1994)
When you consider this was the one true football title available for the system, you have to feel bad for Jaguar sports fans. Initially I had high hopes for this - and super low expectations. The main menu offers a wide range of settings, including playing surfaces, weather conditions, difficulty levels, and quarter length. You can even customize your own season. On the field, the game looks pretty good - until the players start moving! Their animation is so jerky and erratic that you can't even tell what's going on half of the time! You'll appear to have a clear path to the end zone, and suddenly some tackler will magically appear wrapped around your waist! Completing passes requires pure luck, and ludicrous instant replays reinforce the fact that this game is a visual mess. It's absolutely shameful how the box describes the animation as "super smooth". Frankly, Troy Aikman Football has no redeeming qualities at all. The game's single original feature, the ability to adjust player salaries (during the game no less) is utterly idiotic. Atari's poorly written manuals are usually good for a laugh, and this one is no exception. Check out the homoerotic drawing on page 34 - is that guy making his "O" face?? I recently played Troy Aikman Football with my friend Scott, and if not for the fact that we were laughing our asses off, it would have been a complete waste of time. © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Atari (1995)
Yes, it's a blatant Mortal Kombat rip-off, but there's still plenty to like about Ultra Vortek. The digitized graphics look sharp, the controls are very good, and the occult theme is nice. The character selection screen is the highlight of the entire game, showcasing a huge demon holding the selected fighters in his hands. Impressively animated and photo-realistic, he's got
to be worth at least
a letter grade. There are seven characters to choose from, including a flame-wielding chick, a Rastafarian, a skeleton, a robot, a white dude named Lucious, a rock creature, and a liquid metal monster. Each fighter has a handful of moves and a pair of fatalities. While the control is generally good, the animation is a bit choppy and the characters could be better balanced. You'll come to discover that certain moves, like Lucious' standing kick, are practically unblockable. The single player mode pits you against each fighter, followed by their "shadows", and finally a satanic boss. There's no score, but Ultra Vortek does record your name in its record book upon finishing it. The stages feature fantasy environments, and a few of them look amazing. I also love that huge eyeball that follows your movements from the top of the screen. Unlike its graphics, Ultra Vortek's audio is not up to par. The grinding guitar is monotonous, and some of the digitized voice clips sound like the guy in high school who could talk while burping. The scrolling storyline text is sometimes good for a laugh, like the intro that tells of an "Incan temple located in South America" (as opposed to?). If you finish the game with Lucious, you learn how he spent his remaining years fighting for human rights and world peace. BOR-ING!!
In the final analysis, it may not be as playable or fun as Mortal Kombat, but at least Ultra Vortek makes an effort. Jaguar owners looking for a respectable fighter should start here. © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.
Val d'Isere Skiing and Snowboarding
Publisher: Atari (1994)
I have one piece of advice for video game collectors: Never get your hopes up about a Jaguar game, because they almost always let you down. Val d'Isere has the ingredients for a great game, but Atari really should have gotten someone to play-test this thing. The inviting visuals feature smoothly undulating hills and beautiful digitized mountain backdrops that make you feel like you're at a ski resort. I love the sound effects of gliding over crisp snow, and the energetic soundtrack is exceptionally good. What else could you want? Well, some decent controls would be nice! The digital pad is too touchy to let you turn with any precision. While the sensation of speed is excellent, the game tends to move too
fast. It's sometimes impossible to avoid an upcoming obstacle - especially when it's obscured by a hill. Not only is it difficult to remain within the gates during the slalom events, but in the downhill
competition as well! When the course turns, your skier also turns slightly, making it tough to judge how much you
need to adjust. It's extremely easy to go off of the track since it's not clearly marked. It would be nice if you could jump by pressing a button instead of pushing up on the directional pad. My friend Scott couldn't figure out why his skier was jumping around like a lunatic. The best part of Val d'Isere is its arcade-style "free ride" mode, which lets you whiz down the mountain without having to worry about any gates at all. Even so, you'll still need to avoid obstacles like trees, snowplows, rocks, and other skiers. That chick in the blue bathing suit sure is distracting! Much like a racing game, you'll need to finish the course in a certain amount of time, and doing so opens up a new section of the mountain. Missing the "finish gate" will disqualify your entire run, and that always pisses me off to no end. Unfortunately, none of the game's modes let you race directly against an opponent, CPU or otherwise. I can't really pronounce Val d'lsere, but I won't hold that against it, because by Jaguar standards this is a respectable game. © Copyright 2008 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Atari (1995)
This game wins points for being original. The object is to descramble music videos by sliding blocks of moving video pieces around the screen. I was pleasantly surprised to see the high-profile artists and quality videos chosen for this game. You get Cryin' (Aerosmith), No More Tears (Ozzy Osbourne), Give It Away (Red Hot Chili Peppers), November Rain (Guns N Roses), Right Now (Van Halen), Spoonman (Soundgarden), Enter Sandman (Metallica), Are You Experienced (Jimi Hendrix), and the best music video of all, Peter Gabriel's Sledge Hammer. All of these songs and videos are fine selections, but the inclusion of the Jimi Hendrix tune is curious. I guess Atari wanted to show a little diversity. But before you get too excited you should know that the video quality is nowhere near television quality. Some of the videos look better than others, but there tends to be heavy pixelation in all of them. You'd think that you would at least get CD quality sound (since it IS a CD game), but sadly you'd be wrong. The sound is good enough for this game, but it wouldn't pass anywhere else. So how does this thing play? Well, it's pretty fun at first, when you're dealing with easy 3x3 puzzles. But as the difficulty increases, this game loses its appeal. Videos with strobe light effects like Enter Sandman are tough enough to watch unscrambled. Trying to solve a 5x5 puzzle of it is headache-inducing. And for any replay value at all, you need the memory track so you don't have to replay all the early puzzles each time you play. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
White Men Can't Jump
Publisher: Atari (1995)
Here it is folks - quite possibly the worst video game ever
! Sure, the Jaguar system has more than its share of dogs, but this two-on-two half-court basketball game is particularly embarrassing. And the only thing it has in common with the movie is the name. Using semi-digitized characters that scale poorly, it's next to impossible to tell what's going on at any given time. The ugly pixilated players, combined with some of the choppiest animation ever seen in a video game, turn the screen into a complete mess. Unresponsive controls and cheap AI make you want to pull your hair out. White Men Can't Jump is supposed to have a "street" vibe, but you'd never know by the weak "rap" music and idiotic voice clips ("Rockin!"). The players are a bunch of fictional street ball characters including some tiny white girls (who can dunk of course). Ball physics is non-existent, and I think I saw one girl do an acrobatic dunk with no running start from behind the three-point line. The flat, blocky backgrounds wouldn't even cut the mustard on an NES game. Adding insult to injury, this is one of only two Jaguar games to support the multitap (the other being NBA Jam TE), and I could barely get the thing to work! I've played thousands of video games in my time, but I can't remember the last time I enjoyed a game LESS than White Man Can't Jump. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Atari (1994)
As the precursor to Doom, Wolfenstein 3D was a ground-breaking PC hit that ushered in the first-person shooting genre. It puts you in the role of a soldier infiltrating Nazi strongholds with the ultimate goal of killing Hitler. The controls are perfectly responsive and frame-rate is silky-smooth. You can quickly move from room to room, and one might argue that the action moves too
fast. The strafe controls aren't ideal (you need to hold in C) but since the rooms tend to be wide open, it's not a major issue. The graphics are refreshingly clean and well defined. The stages are flat and sparse, but that just lets you focus on your shooting. I love how enemy soldiers spin around and spew blood as you pump them with lead. Your firepower includes machine guns, chain guns, flamethrowers, and rocket launchers. Not only will you want to clear out all the enemies and treasure in each level, but there are hidden secrets to uncover as well. Three save slots are available, and there are five skill levels to choose from. The option to turn off the music would have been great if it didn't mute the sound effects as well
. Still, this is a pleasant surprise. Especially compared to the shoddy version of Doom for the Jaguar, Wolfenstein 3D plays like a dream. © Copyright 2011 The Video Game Critic.
World Tour Racing (CD)
Publisher: Telegames (1996)
While it doesn't stack up particularly well against Virtua Racing, World Tour is a fairly decent Jaguar racer. It's certainly a huge improvement over the pathetic Checkered Flag
. Still, the graphics are very pixelated, and even the bitmapped backgrounds look blurry. Although spread over a dozen countries, the long, flat tracks all tend to look the same. I did like the fact that most had long straight-aways where you could build up some speed. The polygon cars look fine, and the frame rate keeps up with the action fairly well, even in the split screen mode. Three different views are available, but only the medium one is any good. The first person view doesn't provide a good vantage point, and the high view is too distant. A rotating map helps you prepare for upcoming turns, and responsive controls let you execute power slides with ease. While it's fun to weave your way to the front of the pack, the collision detection between the cars is pretty erratic, so you'd be wise to keep your distance. Playing modes include single race, arcade, and a championship mode that provides a password save. World Tour Racing is a decent game, but only when taken in small doses. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Gremlin (1995)
Zool 2 is a blatant Sonic the Hedgehog rip-off. And thank God! The Jag really needed a good platform game! Zool looks a lot like Marvin the Martian, and he can shoot, jump, climb, and perform special moves. The graphics are sharp, imaginative, colorful, and completely surreal. Most are too bizarre to describe, and they all contain secret areas. The well-orchestrated music matches the whimsical theme. The object is to collect 99% of the tokens that litter each level, and a number on the screen keeps you posted on your progress. Being able to shoot your enemies is a nice touch. The only thing that really bothered me about this game was the jumping, which can be initiated by pushing the joypad diagonally up. It seems like I sometimes jump when I don't want to, and sometimes when I want to, I can't. Besides that, the controls are responsive, and the framerate is smooth, although there is definitely some slowdown at times. I really like this game. It's addictive, fast action, and genuinely fun. You even have the option to play as a female Zool, which changes the dynamics of the game. This is one of the best Jaguar titles. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Viacom (1995)
I fondly recall the hilarious magazine ads for this game in the mid-90s that "scientifically" explained how Zoop would systematically drive a person mad. Zoop is one of those "puzzle" style games with so-so graphics but intriguing gameplay. I avoided Zoop for a long time, but not because of those ads. No, it was Zoop's complicated screen shots that scared me off, filled with all kinds of crazy symbols. Well, I finally summoned the courage to try it, and I'm glad I did. It's not nearly as hard as it looks. You simply move a triangle around the middle area of the screen while shooting at shapes that approach from all sides. When you shoot a shape that's the same color as you, it disappears. When you shoot a shape that's NOT your color, your triangle changes to that color. Zoop is fast and fun, and there is subtle strategy involved. The graphics get flashier as you progress, and relaxing lounge music plays in the background. High scores are saved to cartridge. Compared to classic puzzlers like Tetris or Bust-A-Move, Zoop is only mildly addictive, but if you're looking for a puzzle game for your Jaguar, this is your best bet. And no, it didn't even drive me insane. Now if you'll excuse me, it's time for me to apply my lipstick and paint the walls with peanut butter, because the "voices" told me to. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.
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Screen shots courtesy of Atari Age, Rotten Tomatoes, Songbird Productions