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Back in the halcylon gaming days of Pac Man and Space Invaders, Atari was king of the home console market, but they lost this crown after the great videogame crash of 1983 and have been playing catch-up ever since.
The Atari Jaguar was designed to wrest back control from Sega and Nintendo, going up against the Sega Megadrive and Super Nintendo, which despite having been out for a good few years were still going strong. The console was supposedly 64 bit, leading to a marketing slogan of "Do The Math", as its competitors at the time were only 32 bit. Many techies argue that the system was not true 64 bit at all, but two things are for sure- it was considerably more powerful than the Snes and Megadrive, and its potential was greatly wasted due to very poor third party support, aka availability of good games.
The game allowed for rudimentary polygonal 3d graphics, resulting in a slew of average 3d flight combat and racing games, including the terrible (and decidedly ugly) Club Racing, in which you control a mini remote controlled car racing about the rooms of a house, the game apparently having been programmed by people with no understanding of basic physics. There were also a number of side/top scrolling 2d shooters, which looked nice but were identical in gameplay to games that came out 15 years ago, and the odd lacklustre platform title, but nothing to really justify buying the system. There was a fairly decent FPS called Alien Trilogy- basically Doom set in the Aliens universe, but the majority of the decent games on the system were ports- Flashback, Doom, the original Wolfenstein, the original Worms for example. The Doom and Wolfenstein ports were great, (although playing them with a joypad was far from ideal), but even so, a good console needs strong games of its own to survive, and this is one of the main reasons why the Jaguar failed so badly.
It's a shame, as it definitley had potential to be a great gaming system, (and it looked really cool as well) but sadly it was not to be.
I i owned this console along with many others during the 90's atari2600 amstrad master system nes snes megadrive (anyone remember the mega cd?) and this was one of the consoles forgotton by the public it seams.
Not many people knew of played or ever saw a atari jaguar which as a gaming experience and considering its time was a good console with a few games that were absolute gems like alien vs predator theme park doom etc wasted many of my days off during the school summer holiday.
The console itself is still available to buy on ebay (something i am considering) but sadly after seeing how many of the old games i had and the prices some want do i really need to purchase it all again like i did for the megadrive for a laugh.
The computer could be noisy the controller was large and bulky (handy for the 1-9 buttons for doom guns tho) and the games were hard to source in the small towns of england as i never had access to the internet which i find makes gamers cheat to often nowadays as its common place to look online and sort out your needs whereas being young you may of memorised them or scribbled them down somewhere. Atari in todays market may of done better with more advertising and games for sale in common shops but alas its another console fallen by the wayside with a few other notable names like the dreamcast and sega saturn.
You can pick one of these retro gems up chaep enother nowadays which if your a gamer junkie like me you may enjoy or maybe you had one of these and fancied a quick read but either way its a quick lesson in why more prestigious companys like sony playstation and xbox push the advertising as much as possible.
Atari has perhaps the most two faced persona I have ever seen in a videogames company. On the one hand they were known for making some brilliant classic arcade titles and of course the Atari 2600; which was the top dog of consoles in the early 80s. On the other hand...well they made horrible conversions of Pacman and E.T, they went downhill with their further console attempts like the 5200 and 7800. To top it all off, they made this, the Atari Jaguar - perhaps one of the most blatant attempts at lying in videogames history!
Much of the controversy surrounding the console is due to Atari's claims that the console was 64-bit. This would put it on par with the Nintendo 64 in graphics potentially, and several years before it! However the developers had cheated a bit...well a lot! They actually used two 32-bit processors to make up the 64-bit credentials. It was a nice try but the public wasn't fooled for a moment.
The console is made out of cheap plastic and comes across as being cheap plastic. There's no attempt here by Atari to try and make the console seem stylish or sleek. It's safe to say that the Jaguar CD add-on didn't help matters at all, making the console look like a toilet! Look at the picture above and you'll see what I mean!
The controller is reasonably easy to use and is rather big so fits comfortably into your hands. The pad features a number 1 to 9 keypad although the point of this seems unusual. The keypad idea had been dropped mostly by 1985 so there doesn't seem to be any reason to bring the blasted concept back! Mind you this is nothing compared with the two big problems I have with the machine!
Firstly and it will comes as no surprise really - the console lacks many quality games. Most of the titles were generic 3D driving games with bland graphics (Club Drive) or fururistic shooters with bland graphics (I-War). There are only two quality titles I can really recommend for this console - Aliens vs Predator simply for the concept. You can't go wrong with shooting evil aliens can you, especially if you can play as them! The other is a cult classic - Tempest 2000 by Jeff Minter. This is an absolute blast of a videogame powered by early 90s techno beats. The music was so popular they released a soundtrack CD for the game! It's quality arcade fun that is simple yet incredibly memorable. There are hardly any other titles worth yout time though which was a definitive factor in the machine's demise.
The other factor though was that the machine must be the second most unreliable console in history after the first batch of Xbox 360s! A lot of the time, if a wire is slightly out or there's dust in the cartridge, the starting screen goes red and you have to spend ages trying to figure out what's wrong. Sometimes the console has just died and another one is needed! God help...mine has done this several times but has not died yet! The CD drive is apparently even more of a nightmare to run properly - just checdk up the Angry Videogame Nerd's episode on the subject!
Well where does that leave us now? Atari is now a name and no more - now it's part of Infogames and had a hand in the mess that was Driv3r. Considering that this is Atari's final videogames console, it's a pity that the company will probably be remembered as one that died slowly rather than tried to bow out gracefully before that occured.
I owned a jaguar from New in the 90's, but recently re-visited the Jag as I bought one second hand from Ebay as my original one was sold at a boot sale years before.
Despite what many people say, The Jaguar really is a good console. lt's such a shame it didn't do as well as other consoles of the time, and I think this was mainly to do with the lack of games that were made for the system. It didn't get the support from atari that it deserved. The One I purchased from Ebay was in near mint condition and i paid a fair price of £25, and as working versions of these machines are becoming quite rare I was prepared to pay quite a bit more.
The console hasan unusual shape and was something of a novelty when it was released. The control pad could have better designed, after around an hours playing i'd start to get cramp in both hands and the d-pad was a little stiff and noisy. When running, the console can be a little noisy and sometimes glitchy due to overheating issues but this is only after hours of play.
There were only a limited number of games released for this, my favourites being Alien vs Predator and Doom.
Although it may not stand up to todays consoles, I really enjoy playing the Jaguar and its a shame that it was let down by half hearted marketing.
Still, that makes it al themore collectible!
Yup, it's true! This is the first 64-bit gaming system ever; the Atari Jaguar. This console promised a whole new world of better graphics, cutting edge sound, and faster speed for more intense game play to prove to the world that Atari is back and better then ever. Too bad it had just under a measely 60 games released for it and this thing is basically just a poor man's Super Nintendo and Mega Drive (both 16-bit systems by the way!) anyway. See why this Jaguar was put to sleep.
The Jaguar was first introduced in 1993 for decent $249.99 Canadian (compared that to the rival 3DO's $999.99 Canadian price) and it came packaged with the 3D game Cybermorph: a really bad Star Fox clone with boring free roaming stages and no background music. The future looked bright at first with games like Doom, Alien vs. Predator, Iron Soldier and more on the way, but Atari would quickly revert back to its old ways of totally screwing up a good thing (remember the Atari 5200).
I seen it several times before. Nothing kills a gaming system faster then a lot bad press and a lot of bad games. The Jag was constantly being slammed by critics for not being a true 64-bit system and who could blame them? After seeing some rather last gen games like Raiden and Trevor McFur that are still in 2D while the 3D ones look even worse with polygon duds like Club Drive, Fight for Life, and many more. The awesome game Tempest 2000 is really the only thing that kept dark grey oval system alive in its first year. Owners would go for months without a new game released especially during the start of 1994 and it didn't help matters when the hyped Rayman was delayed several times before it was finally released in June 1995 (Just when the Sony Playstation were making news). When Donkey Kong Country was released on November of 1994 for the Super Nintendo, most people forgot about the Jaguar and just how powerful Atari hyped it up to be.
Like Sega, Atari even had a poorly supported Jaguar CD that had a massive 790 Megs of memory (I think that's big anyway). Unfortunately this Jaguar add on only had around 10 games for it including a very poor remake of the Atari Lynx classic, Blue Lightning. The Atari Jaguar CD fits right on top of the Jaguar and it lets you play music CD's and Jaguar CD's. Comes complete with a Tempest 2000 Music CD, Vid Grid graphic imager, Blue Lightning CD, and a demo disc if you got it originally. There are only a few games for this beast so it definitely isn't worth it.If you look hard enough too you'll find homebrew releases for the Jaguar like Sky Hammer and Battle Sphere (expect to pay big bucks for them though).
Jaguar Controller: The giant Jag Controller may look cool but the thing is loaded with buttons and lots of them are absolutely unnecessary. You get three red action buttons and 12 key pad ones for different options plus a standard digital cross pad if you wanted to know. The thing was just way too bulky though and younger kids may have a tough time getting a grip this big grey brick.
Bottomline: The Jaguar is a good system for game collectors thanks to some rare games out there and some retro freaks who want to play the cool upgrades of Defender, Break Out, Tempest, and more, but you can find a lot of the great Jaguar on other, more popular systems so there is little reason to get this. Rule number 1: "Don't ever play with a Jaguar" whether it's a cat or this game system, you may get hurt.
Atari Jaguar overall rating: 35/100
I got this machine when it first came out expecting something so amazing it would blow my mind.I was so wrong.It was a nasty machine big and bulky with the most awful controllers ever seen in the gaming world(you even had to put a cover on the buttons to see what they were all for for most games).The only good game was aliens vs predator but even that was so bad it sent me into a fit.
The machine was never a 64bit machine as it never once looked better than the ps1.The games for the jag were few and far between.When a game would come out,it was rubbish.The games were also way over priced with top games costing £70 back in the day.
Im so glad this machine only lasted about 3 days because it was dreadful.Im sorry mum and dad for making you spend alot of money on this when i was a kid,I will make it up to you:)