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. It's available from Songbird Productions.
. © 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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Screen shots courtesy of Atari Age