system Index S
Saucer Wars (CD)
Grade: D-
Publisher: Wave 1 (2019)
Reviewed: 2019/9/20

screenshotWhen I first began playing Saucer Wars the game reminded me of Subroc (Colecovision, 1983) with its large sprites and first-person view. You move a reticle around a city skyline, unleashing lasers to obliterate wobbly approaching saucers. And I mean obliterate! Your pair of lasers will annihilate anything in their vicinity, often zapping two or three saucers at once!

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.

Our high score: 14,655
1 player 

If you like this game, try: Ocean City Defender (Atari 2600)
Defender (Game Boy Advance)
Nova Blast (Colecovision)
Beamrider (Atari 2600)
Subroc (Colecovision)

Sensible Soccer
Grade: B-
Publisher: Telegames (1995)
Reviewed: 2013/8/2

screenshotHave you ever wanted to watch fleas play soccer? Sensible Soccer lets you live out this surprisingly common male fantasy. And yes, it's everything you hoped it would be. Most soccer games have the problem of a limited view, displaying only a small portion of the field at a time. In Sensible Soccer you see about half the field at any given time because the camera is pulled so far back. This makes the players look like tiny cartoon characters, and the way they quickly scamper around is comical.

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.

1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: Striker '96 (Saturn)
NASL Soccer (Intellivision)
Realsports Soccer (Atari 2600)
Ballblazer (Atari 7800)
Mega Man Soccer (Super Nintendo)

Skyhammer
Grade: B+
Publisher: Songbird Productions (1999)
Reviewed: 2004/5/17

screenshotAfter 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 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.

Our high score: 366
1 player 

If you like this game, try: Racing Aces (Sega CD)
Berzerk Voice Enhanced (Atari 2600)
Alien Trilogy (Playstation)
Ace of Aces (Atari 7800)
Commando Raid (Atari 2600)

Soccer Kid
Grade: B-
Publisher: Songbird Productions (2000)
Reviewed: 2003/11/23

screenshotSoccer 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.

1 player 

If you like this game, try: Hyper Force (Jaguar)
NASL Soccer (Intellivision)
Marko (Sega CD)
Kung Fu (NES)
Realsports Soccer (Atari 2600)

Space Ace (CD)
Grade: F
Publisher: ReadySoft (1995)
Reviewed: 2001/1/4

screenshotAs 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.
1 player 

If you like this game, try: Space Ace (Playstation 3)
Dragon's Lair (3DO)
Dragon's Lair Trilogy (Nintendo Switch)
Brain Dead 13 (CD) (Jaguar)
Dragon's Lair (Game Boy Color)

Super Burnout
Grade: A
Publisher: Virtual Xperience (1995)
Reviewed: 2008/3/8

screenshotHere'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.

Our high score: 90
1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: Road Rash (Genesis)
Road Rash (3DO)
Moto Racer Advance (Game Boy Advance)
Skiing (Atari 2600)
Victory Run (Turbografx-16)

Supercross 3D
Grade: F
Publisher: Atari (1995)
Reviewed: 2001/10/21

screenshotJust how bad can a Jaguar cartridge be? Pretty bad! I couldn't find any redeeming characteristics in this one! Supercross 3D is a motocross 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 the developer didn't attempt a split-screen mode. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
1 player 

If you like this game, try: Hot Wheels: All Out (Game Boy Advance)
Powerboat Racing (Playstation)
Crash Team Racing (Playstation)
Need For Speed III: Hot Pursuit (Playstation)
4x4 Evo (Dreamcast)

Syndicate
Grade: D-
Publisher: Ocean (1994)
Reviewed: 2006/10/10

screenshotReal 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.

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.

1 player 

If you like this game, try: Warcraft II (Playstation)
Iron Soldier 2 (CD) (Jaguar)
Escape From The Mindmaster (Atari 2600)
Maze (Fairchild Channel F)
Mouse Trap (Atari 2600)


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