system Index S-Z
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)
Soccer (Bally Astrocade)

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: Berzerk Voice Enhanced (Atari 2600)
Racing Aces (Sega CD)
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)

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)

Tempest 2000
Grade: A
Publisher: Atari (1994)
Reviewed: 2016/2/10

screenshotrotaryThis critically-acclaimed shooter is so good you wonder why Atari didn't leverage it to sell more Jaguar consoles. Tempest 2000 is based on a 1981 arcade game featuring color vector graphics, a rotary controller, and frenetic 3D gameplay. The idea was to move a claw-shaped cannon around the upper edge of a 3D object, firing downward at spider-like aliens that creep up the sides. Tempest 2000 is a spectacular update, retaining the classic gameplay while incorporating awesome power-ups, psychedelic eye-candy, and an electrifying soundtrack.

This is truly a feast for the senses. Each stage assumes the form of a unique geometric shape, and it seems as if there's no end to their creativity. Basic circles and triangles give way to spirals and objects that wrap around on themselves. My friends refer to one of the stages as the intergalactic vagina. As you unleash your rapid-fire bursts the screen explodes with mesmerizing particle effects and blinding bonuses. The explosions are thunderous and the pulsating techno soundtrack is so good it was released on CD! When you're about to be overtaken you can hit your super zapper button or use "jump" to propel yourself outward far enough to blast the converging invaders.

The standard Jaguar controller doesn't do this game justice so I picked up a custom rotary controller, and boy does it ever make a difference! You configure it via a hidden menu accessed by pressing pause on both controllers. I find it peculiar that Atari included this awesome feature but never provided any hardware support. The rotary controller feels so good and offers such a high degree of precision my friends argue it makes the game too easy. Tempest 2000 dispenses power-ups, bonuses, and free lives liberally, dramatically extending the length of each game. Fortunately it's possible to skip ahead to the more difficult advanced stages.

Secondary modes include "traditional" which is not so much the original Tempest as it is Tempest 2000 without the bells and whistles. It's actually a lot more challenging without the rampant bonuses and power-ups. Tempest Plus mode offers the best of both worlds, combining reasonable difficulty with just enough razzle dazzle. High scores are saved but only for Tempest 2000. The two-player "duel mode" is nothing to write home about, but there's no question Tempest 2000 is an amazing game that's aged extremely well. . © Copyright 2016 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: SDZ 447,247
1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: Tempest X3 (Playstation)
Tempest 4000 (Playstation 4)
Track & Field (Atari 2600)
Alien Invaders - Plus! (Odyssey 2)
Congo Bongo (Intellivision)

Theme Park
Grade: B
Publisher: Ocean (1995)
Reviewed: 2002/2/20

screenshotThe 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.

1 player 

If you like this game, try: Jurassic Park III: Park Builder (Game Boy Advance)
Food Fight (Atari 7800)
Jurassic Park Operation Genesis (Xbox)
Coaster Works (Dreamcast)
Splashdown Rides Gone Wild (Playstation 2)

Towers II
Grade: B
Publisher: Telegames (1996)
Reviewed: 2011/11/25

screenshotTowers 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 sound 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.

1 player 

If you like this game, try: DeathKeep (3DO)
Dungeon (Atari 2600)
Fast Food (Atari 2600)
Swords and Serpents (Intellivision)
Ghoul School (NES)

Trevor McFur In The Crescent Galaxy
Grade: C
Publisher: Atari (1993)
Reviewed: 2006/10/10

screenshotApparently Trevor McFur has become the honorary scapegoat of the Jaguar console and its dismal fate. People just love to trash this game but it's about par for the Jaguar library. This side-scrolling space shooter tries to emulate Thunder Force 3 (Genesis, 1991) but doesn't come close. The first alarms go off during the ridiculous intro screens featuring military officers with cat heads! Boy, does that look bad. 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.

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Our high score: 82500
1 player 

If you like this game, try: Darius Plus (Japan) (Turbografx-16)
Planet Smashers (Atari 7800)
Invaders From Hyperspace (Odyssey 2)
Victory (Colecovision)
Zanac (NES)

Troy Aikman Football
Grade: F
Publisher: Williams (1994)
Reviewed: 2006/11/1

screenshotWhen 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!

The 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.

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1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: Walter Payton Football (Sega Master System)
Touchdown Football (Atari 7800)
NFL Fever 2003 (Xbox)
NFL '95 (Genesis)
Kasumi Ninja (Jaguar)

Ultra Vortek
Grade: B+
Publisher: Atari (1995)
Reviewed: 2006/12/1

screenshotYes, 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.

1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: Kasumi Ninja (Jaguar)
Bio Freaks (Nintendo 64)
Ultimate Mortal Kombat (Nintendo DS)
Mortal Kombat 2 (Super Nintendo)
Mortal Kombat 4 (Playstation)

Val d'Isere Skiing and Snowboarding
Grade: C+
Publisher: Atari (1994)
Reviewed: 2015/1/31

screenshotVal d'Isere Skiing and Snowboarding has a lot going for it. The game effectively conveys the illusion of gliding down powdery, undulating slopes with gorgeous digitized mountain backdrops. Various modes let you ride freely, compete in events, or challenge a friend via split-screen. You have the option of skis or snowboard but frankly there's not much difference. Once you hit the slopes the action is silky smooth. As you hug turns and bound over hills, the sensation of raw speed is exhilarating. I love the sound of crunching snow and the pleasant soundtrack that manages to be high energy yet non-abrasive.

You'll encounter obstacles like trees, skiers, snowplows, snowmobiles, and rock piles. Keep an eye out for the chick in the blue bathing suit (good eye, Scott)! If only this game played as well as it looks. One side effect of the speed is your inability to react fast enough to turns. Your skier automatically turns slightly on his own, which is kind of weird. If you actively lean into each turn you'll find yourself way off the course, which isn't particularly well-defined to begin with. Three huge yellow arrows flash whether you're off by a foot or a mile. Making minor, fine-tuned adjustments is key.

You jump by pressing up on the directional pad, causing my friend Scott to wonder why he was jumping around like a lunatic. Jump really should have been assigned to a button, considering how easy it is to trigger by accident. Certain obstacles look ideal for jumping (like fences) yet always cause you to wipe out. The competition modes aren't too exciting (weave back and forth between gates), but the split-screen works well and the "freeride" mode is downright addictive.

As you race between checkpoints, you gradually unlock branching trails, with progress saved via battery. What pisses me off to no end is beating the clock yet missing the "finish" gate, disqualifying my whole run! Some gates are placed on turns, so you don't even see them until it's too late. While aggravating at times, Val d'Isere Skiing and Snowboarding is still a bright, inviting title that's hard to resist on a cold winter day. © Copyright 2015 The Video Game Critic.

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Recommended variation: downhill
Our high score: 1:00.54
Save mechanism: Battery
1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: Winter Extreme Skiing and Snowboarding (Super Nintendo)
Skiing (Atari 2600)
Mountain Madness: Super Pro Skiing (Intellivision)
Ski Run (Europe) (Atari 2600)
Big Mountain 2000 (Nintendo 64)

Vid Grid (CD)
Grade: C-
Publisher: Atari (1995)
Reviewed: 2000/10/18

screenshotThis 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.

1 player 

If you like this game, try: Jigsaw (Philips CD-i)
Xplora 1: Peter Gabriel's Secret World (Philips CD-i)
Guitar Hero: Van Halen (Xbox 360)
Meteos (Nintendo DS)
Tetris Plus (Playstation)

White Men Can't Jump
Grade: F-
Publisher: Atari (1995)
Reviewed: 2003/6/1

screenshotHere 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 pixelated 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 Men Can't Jump. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.

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1 to 4 players 

If you like this game, try: NBA Jam T.E. (Playstation)
NBA Live 96 (Super Nintendo)
Barkley Shut Up and Jam (Genesis)
NBA Jam Tournament Edition (Jaguar)
Rap Jam Volume 1 (Super Nintendo)

Wolfenstein 3D
Grade: B+
Publisher: Atari (1994)
Reviewed: 2011/11/25

screenshotAs 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.

1 player 

If you like this game, try: Doom (Sega 32X)
Venture (Intellivision)
Final Doom (Playstation)
Doom (Saturn)
Room of Doom (Atari 2600)

World Tour Racing (CD)
Grade: C+
Publisher: Telegames (1996)
Reviewed: 2002/8/27

screenshotWhile 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.

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1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: Sega Rally Championship (Saturn)
Flag Capture (Atari 2600)
Virtua Racing (Saturn)
Hard Drivin' (Genesis)
Checkered Flag (Jaguar)

Zool 2
Grade: A-
Publisher: Atari (1995)
Reviewed: 2001/4/7

screenshotZool 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.

1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: Sonic Mega Collection Plus (Playstation 2)
Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure (Neo Geo Pocket)
Sonic Mega Collection (GameCube)
Sonic Chaos (Sega Master System)
Spelunker (NES)

Grade: B
Publisher: Viacom (1995)
Reviewed: 2004/5/17

screenshotI 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.

Our high score: 24900
1 player 

If you like this game, try: Tetris and Dr. Mario (Super Nintendo)
Bust A Move 2 (Playstation)
Tetrisphere (Nintendo 64)
Panic Bomber (Virtual Boy)
Space Invaders (Super Nintendo)

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