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Games are rated relative to other games for the same system.

Jaguar Reviews O-Q

Pinball Fantasies
Grade: B-
Publisher: 21st Century Entertainment (1995)
Posted: 2000/11/19

screenshotIt's tough to be critical of a game that simulates pinball so well. The action is fast and smooth, and the physics is very realistic. There are four big tables to choose from, all loaded with targets, lights, tunnels, etc. You control the plunger, the flippers, and even have the ability to tilt. The tables smoothly scroll up and down as the ball moves.

If there's anything to criticize about this game, it's the table selection. The first one, "Party Time", has a circus/clown theme that really turned me off. I have always been afraid of clowns, and looking at their creepy faces and hearing their laughter isn't my idea of fun. The next table is a little better; it has a racing theme. That's OK, but I've never been a racing fan. The third table has a millionaire game show theme, which I found to be extremely uninteresting.

Which brings me to the last table, Stones and Bones, which has a decidedly Halloween theme. I loved everything about this table from the monster illustrations to the creepy sound effects and music. This is only the one I need! There's no accounting for taste, but Pinball Fantasies does deliver some solid pinball action. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.

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Recommended variation: stones and bones
Our high score: 3,364,270
1 or 2 players 

Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure
Grade: C-
Publisher: Atari (1995)
Posted: 2017/9/22

screenshotWhen the Atari Jaguar was getting games that looked suspiciously like their 16-bit counterparts, it called into question the system's 64-bit qualifications. Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure was one of those games. This is a sharp-looking 2D platformer hampered by poor level design. The dense jungle scenery looks terrific but it's hard to tell where you can or can't go.

Zany animations give our hero personality but at the cost of delayed movement. You'll throw stones to defeat creatures like panthers and warthogs, but the battles are awkward. Creatures tend to linger offscreen, and by the time you see them they're right on top of you. The default button configuration doesn't feel right. The leftmost button is jump?! The box claims this edition contains "enhanced gameplay not found in other versions". I'll just have to take their word for it because this game plays the same as the others.

It does have a save feature, so that's something, plus a hefty, 73-page instruction booklet! Instead of printing different instructions per region, Atari opted to print one booklet in several languages. Did they really think this would save them money? Despite its obvious shortcomings, Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure is playable enough once you get a feel for it. Truth be told this is probably the least mediocre version I've played. © Copyright 2017 The Video Game Critic.

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Our high score: 60,948
1 player 

Power Drive Rally
Grade: B+
Publisher: Time-Warner Interactive (1994)
Posted: 2011/12/15

screenshotThe Jaguar tends to struggle with 3D games, so it's refreshing to play a "back-to-the-basics" 2D title like this one. Power Drive Rally is an excellent racer that renders the action via a slightly tilted overhead view. Not only does this let you enjoy some beautiful scenery, but it also gives your automobile the appearance of depth. The cars actually look a lot like toys, and it feels like you're steering a remote-controlled car.

The single-player mode takes you through a schedule of events that include rally races, timed challenges, and "skill tests" which are similar to driving tests. You can repair your car between races with your cash winnings, and you'll upgrade to a better vehicle once you earn enough. The scenic locations include Sweden, France, Italy, Arizona, and Kenya. The colorful tracks look exceptional and are loaded with subtle details like reflective water puddles. Weather conditions change often, and it's fun to race in a thunderstorm in England or a snowstorm in Finland.

The well-tuned controls let you navigate the windy courses with ease. I love how you can effortlessly execute power slides around hairpin turns. You can't see too far ahead at any given time, but voice and arrow prompts keep you posted on upcoming turns. My main complaint is how you only race one other car, and he frequently exhibits "rubber band AI".

The game is pretty tough thanks to demanding time limits and steep reentry fees. I found the desert tracks particularly hard to navigate because the roads aren't well defined. The electronic music is pretty good and the sound effects are also up to snuff. Three save slots are available, and the best times are recorded for all tracks. You can play a friend, but you'll need to take turns. Power Drive Rally is addictive. It may not scream "64-bit", but it is fun. © Copyright 2011 The Video Game Critic.

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1 or 2 players 

Primal Rage (CD)
Grade: C+
Publisher: Time-Warner Interactive (1994)
Posted: 2013/8/16

screenshotFollowing the footsteps of Mortal Kombat, Primal Rage upped the ante by pitting dinosaurs and giant apes against each other in a post-apocalyptic future. If you think hard about the premise, it actually makes a lot of sense. Nope, it doesn't. Not at all. Primal Rage was originally an Atari arcade game, so you'd expect this home edition to be the definitive version. I have to admit this is pretty good.

This is almost a carbon copy of the 3DO version, offering the same fast action and sharp graphics. I noticed that the two T-Rex dinosaurs (Sauron and Diablo) are different sizes, which is faithful to the arcade. The fighting action is somewhat weak compared to Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter II, partly because the moves are limited. The animation and collision detection could be better, but I like the up-tempo pace of the battles.

The clarity of the audio is remarkable, boasting some of the best vomit sounds I've ever heard! The loud beep that plays as the timer winds down is pretty annoying though. Primal Rage is far more playable with a six-button controller. Otherwise you need to resort to using the "option" button (ugh). Like the 3DO, you get extra modes like tug-of-war and endurance, which the box describes as "grueling" and "long lasting". Wow, that really makes me not want to play them!

Additional bells and whistles include a cool intro (check out the bikini chick), a statistics screen, animated creatures on the "versus" screens, and animated natives on the continue screens. The load times are minimal. The Jaguar didn't have many good fighting games, but if you enjoyed Primal Rage in the arcades, rest assured this is a solid port. © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: 147,000
1 or 2 players 

Protector SE
Grade: A
Publisher: Songbird Productions (2002)
Posted: 2003/8/6

screenshotA late Jaguar release from Songbird, this Defender clone is so freakin' good that it's sick! Sick I tell you! This makes Atari's Defender 2000 look like a steaming pile of dung by comparison. Protector is probably the best Jaguar game I've ever played. The crisp, colorful graphics are nothing less than spectacular - you'll be hard-pressed to find a better-looking 2D game period. Amazing metallic UFOs blow up with exceptionally satisfying explosions.

The action moves extremely fast, but the framerate never falters in the midst of the intense action. The planet surface changes each five waves, and the backgrounds look sharp. The audio is also superb, combining voice samples with a catchy, thumping soundtrack. But gameplay is what really matters, and Protector delivers. The rapid-fire shooting is phenomenal, and the quickness of your ship makes it much easier to nab falling humanoids.

Extra features like a shield button, power-ups, and the ability to purchase items between waves add new life to the old formula. My only beef with this new "Special Edition" is that the difficulty select has been removed, but at least you can choose your starting wave. Protector is a blast to play, and any self-respecting Jaguar owner should have this bad boy in their collection. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: STP 81000
1 or 2 players 

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Screen shots courtesy of Atari Age, Rotten Tomatoes, NerdBacon.com, Moby Games