Jaguar Reviews C-D

Cannon Fodder
Grade: B+
Publisher: Virgin (1993)
Reviewed: 2001/1/4

screenshotThis is an original and amusing little war game. It looks a bit like Warcraft, with tiny characters on a large landscape. But the game has an arcade flavor, with plenty of machine gun firing and blowing things up. Actually Cannon Fodder doesn't fit into any category. You control a four-man battalion on a series of missions, usually to kill all enemy troops and/or destroy buildings. When you aim the crosshairs and push the move button, all of your soldiers move to that spot. You can also use the crosshairs to aim their machine gun fire, even while they're moving.

This system works very well. The little soldiers look cartoonish and have large heads. When you shoot enemy troops, they scream as their little bodies splash with blood - very satisfying! You lose men as your mission progresses, but as long as you have one, you're still in business. Although the main controls are simple, accessing special weapons and supplies is confusing. You'll struggle with it and the instructions don't help at all.

The landscapes are colorful and nicely detailed, and range from jungles, to deserts, to Arctic wastelands. The sound effects are great, and so is the theme song, a soothing, funky number in no way appropriate for this game. Cannon Fodder is a nice change of pace. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.

1 players 

Checkered Flag
Grade: F
Publisher: Atari (1994)
Reviewed: 2011/12/15

screenshotEven the most ardent Jaguar defenders tend to distance themselves from this atrocity. Checkered Flag tries to be a polygon racing game in the tradition of Virtua Racer, but it fails in every regard. You get ten tracks ranging from "Deep Forest" to "Arctic Run", but the layouts are boring. The roads are totally flat and besides a few angular mountains and trees, there's little in the way of scenery. Heck, even the Sunset Strip track is little more than a winding road through a desert canyon. There are pitstop areas but absolutely nothing happens if you pull into one.

I might be able to look past the lousy graphics if the gameplay was respectable, but it's a total catastrophe! You can race up to five opponents, but the frame-rate is a herky-jerky mess. I could understand the system struggling with a split-screen, but this is a one-player game for Pete's sake! The steering controls are the worst I've ever seen. Oversteering is the order of the day, and it's all but impossible to remain in the center of the road.

The tournament mode forces you to endure ten laps per track, and it's an ordeal I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. The music is forgettable and the sound effect used for a crash sounds like someone sweeping a broom. If you're expecting Virtua Racer, Checkered Flag is nothing less than a crushing disappointment. You only need to play this for a minute to realize Atari had no semblance of quality control. © Copyright 2011 The Video Game Critic.

1 player 

Club Drive
Grade: F
Publisher: Atari (1994)
Reviewed: 2001/4/7

screenshotI thought this was a golf game! I should be so lucky. This driving game is further evidence that the Jaguar wasn't exactly a polygon game powerhouse. Club Drive lets you drive a little polygon car around four chunky environments including San Francisco, a western town, a futuristic city, and a house. The blocky graphics are crude, to put it nicely. The "cat" in the house stage looks like a box with ears (why did they even bother?).

There's not much in the way of scenery. Except for San Francisco, it doesn't appear that the designers put ANY effort into the tracks at all! Another major problem is that you can't get a decent camera view. The only views available are first-person view and the behind-your-car view. There's no high camera to help you get some perspective on things. There are three modes of play: racing, collecting the dots and tag. The one-player racing offers NO computerized opponents. Can you believe it? Who are you supposed to race? I prefer to call this mode "driving around".

The collect-the-dots mode is pure crap. So how's the two-player split screen mode? FORGET IT! The horrendous framerate and poor control are torture to endure. And speaking of torture, I should also mention something about the "music". Where did they get that god-awful, vomit-inducing noise? From a circus? You can select several tunes, and each one is just as bad as the next. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.

1 or 2 players 

Cybermorph
Grade: D
Publisher: Atari (1993)
Reviewed: 2000/10/18


screenshotThis was the pack-in game for the Jaguar, and I wasn't too impressed with it. You pilot a ship over the surfaces of several planets, collecting pods and weapons while shooting enemy aircraft and ground installations. The graphics are 3D polygons, but there's not much to see. The terrain is mainly flat with an occasional mountain. All of the objects have a low polygon count, making them look simple and blocky. I could have overlooked the graphics if the gameplay was exciting, but it's not. The controls are too touchy, making it difficult to turn with any precision. The frame rate is poor and the action gets very choppy. A bald lady in the corner of the screen is supposed to provide guidance, but she is unhelpful and tends to repeat the same phrases over and over. On a positive note, there are plenty of cool weapons you can collect and switch between. You can select the order in which you play the stages, and the music is great. It's not a terrible game, but it hasn't aged well. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: 28800
1 player 

Defender 2000
Grade: C+
Publisher: Atari (1995)
Reviewed: 2000/11/19

screenshotAtari tried to do for Defender what they did for Tempest, but the results are uneven. There are three versions of the game on this cartridge: original, plus, and 2000. The first version is a nice surprise. It looks like the arcade, but actually plays better! The graphics are smoother, the control is more responsive, and the explosions are better. It's also easier than the arcade and more fun overall. Things go downhill from here though. The second version adds some wild psychedelic graphics, as well as some unwanted features including "helper ships" and warp gates. Your ship is too big, making it easy to bump into things. The third version, Defender 2000, looks great but plays horribly. The scenery looks realistic, and the people even scream with digitized voices. But now the screen scrolls up and down, and your ship is huge! It moves way too fast and you can't slow down without turning around. It's a mess. At least the original Defender sound effects were incorporated into the pumping techno soundtrack. Overall, Defender 2000 takes one step forward and two steps back. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
Recommended variation: 2000
Our high score: 39632
1 or 2 players 

Doom
Grade: C
Publisher: Atari (1994)
Reviewed: 2011/12/15

screenshotIf I was overly critical in my original review of this game, it was due to my perception of Doom as being a very basic first-person shooter. I failed to realize that Doom was actually quite demanding for the consoles of its time. After playing several versions of the game I have finally calibrated my expectations properly. This is a respectable port. At the very least you have to give this version credit for making use of the entire screen, as opposed to other versions (3DO, 32X) which crop the display with an ugly border.

Despite some modest slow-down the frame-rate remains decent throughout (unlike the 3DO edition). The game only supports the three-button controller, so you'll need to use the C button to strafe. It's not optimal but the game is certainly playable once you get the hang of it. If you've played other versions of Doom you'll immediately notice the lack of music. While some may consider it superfluous, I always felt that the moody soundtrack added to the intensity.

The sound effects also come across as a little flat compared to other versions. One advantage the Jaguar edition has over the others is its two-player modes (coop and death match). They require you to hook two Jaguars together (a pretty rare occurrence) but from what I hear it actually works pretty well. There are better versions of Doom out there, but this one certainly gets the job done. © Copyright 2011 The Video Game Critic.

1 or 2 players 

Dragon's Lair (CD)
Grade: B-
Publisher: ReadySoft (1995)
Reviewed: 2000/10/18

screenshotI remember when this laserdisc-based game hit the arcades in the early 80's. An extra monitor was hung over the cabinet so people could gawk at the wonderful cartoon graphics. The premise was that Dirk the Daring had to save the fair princess from an evil dragon. Making his way through a castle, he had to avoid traps and battle monsters. I couldn't take my eyes off Don Bluth's amazing animation. Each room held a different surprise.

Unfortunately, the gameplay never lived up to the graphics. The joystick and sword button affected the action, but you never really felt in control. This version of Dragon's Lair is the best I've seen for a console. The graphics, which are easily the best aspect of the game, fill the entire TV screen and are only slightly pixelated. Even if you don't like the gameplay, you have to appreciate the entertaining full motion video. The cinematic sound is also excellent.

Control is relatively good - by Dragon's Lair standards. Whenever you make a move an audible tone lets you know if you've made a correct or incorrect choice. Granted, you'll have to discover most of the correct moves through trial and error. The worst thing about this game is that it's completely linear; the rooms always appear in the same order. A little randomization would have gone a long way to enhance the replay value. As it is, you'll probably not want to play it for a long time after you finish it. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.

1 player 

Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story
Grade: F
Publisher: Atari (1994)
Reviewed: 2006/12/1

screenshotMuch like a punch to the groin from Bruce Lee himself, this game is unbearable. Imagine a one-on-one fighter with a single character to choose from! Dragon's clean, semi-cartoonish visuals are clearly inspired by Street Fighter 2, but far less interesting and totally static. The bland locations include a dance hall, kitchen, alley, and gym.

Dragon may be the most unplayable fighting game ever produced. There are plenty of moves, but the control scheme is incomprehensible. First off, I don't remember Bruce having a "bitch slap" move. The "option" button is supposed to toggle between fast and hard punches, but it doesn't appear to have any effect. Different fighting "modes" are available should you build up enough "Chi", but even playing on the "cupcake" skill level, I could never attain nearly enough.

The fighting action is horrid, with too many evasive maneuvers that have the fighters kart-wheeling and flipping over each other. Even worse are the weak attacks that just barely chip away at your opponent's life meter. The rounds go on for an eternity, and the default number of rounds is - get this - best of nine! The story mode takes you through scenes from the film, but if you want to battle a friend, both of you are forced to play as Bruce Lee. Dragon is such a sham that it inspired my friend Scott to coin the phrase, "Life's too short for Jaguar fighting games." © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.

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1 or 2 players 


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Screen shots courtesy of Atari Age, Rotten Tomatoes, Songbird Productions, NerdBacon.com