Your cannon overheats if you hold the button in, but after a half-second breather you'll be good as new. Any lingering saucers will unleash glowing shots that batter your shields. When hit, white noise blankets the screen for dramatic effect. Subsequent stages include a sunny desert landscape and a moving space grid reminiscent of Beamrider (Intellivision, 1982).
Each stage is about four minutes long, but the action is so repetitive it feels like an eternity! Why didn't they just make it that you had to shoot down a certain number of saucers? And instead of generic backdrops why not use digitized city skylines? The saucers are easy to hit because they are huge and tend to bunch up. Occasionally one will attempt to abduct a human, giving the game a mild Defender (Colecovision, 1983) vibe, but it's just a minor distraction.
I felt as if I could play this game indefinitely until the fourth stage. At that point the challenge suddenly jumps, with saucers darting all over the place. I enjoyed the ominous music that plays over the title screen but the best aspect of the game may be its "literature" which consists of a glossy manual and a fun comic. It's always good to play something new on my Jaguar, but Saucer Wars doesn't manage to get interesting until it's way too late. © Copyright 2019 The Video Game Critic.
Make sure you choose teams with distinctive colored uniforms so you don't confuse the players. The controls are simple, but it is possible to bend your shots. The action unfolds at a breakneck pace, and the contests are short and sweet. The ball moves from one end of the field to the other like a freakin' foosball game! And it's even crazier against the CPU. One second you're thinking you're making a pass, and in an instant your opponent intercepts, kicks it up the field, and shoots at the goal. Don't blink!
The number of options is impressive, with 64 teams, league and tournament play, and even varying weather conditions. Too bad there's no option to slow things down! Sensible Soccer may not be the most appropriate title, but I find its whimsical arcade style refreshing. © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.
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 frame rate 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.
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. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.
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.
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.
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Screen shots courtesy of Atari Age, Rotten Tomatoes, NerdBacon.com