Jaguar Thread? Jaguar Thread. A Study in Arithmetic.

Finally got me one o‘ them Atari Jaguars a few weeks ago, after being bowled over by the ridiculously impressive work that is the Atari 50 collection. I’ve had a few 2600s over the years, but never any other Atari consoles. It came with an RF cable, and man, the Jaguar looks pretty all right over RF? (On a CRT, obviously.) But I grabbed a nice RGB cable because my brain is broken, and that's been serving me well.

Games I've gathered so far:

  • - Doom
  • - Cybermorph
  • - Tempest 2000
  • - Iron Soldier
  • - Syndicate
  • - Club Drive
  • - Checkered Flag
  • - Raiden
  • Doom is massively important of course, as the first ever non-PC port, and the source of many of the other console conversions of the 90s. I'm surprised at how pleasantly playable it is! No music during levels is a bit weird, and no strafing is a tough trade-off to make, but it's solid!

    I ended up with three controllers, one of which has a particularly stiff d-pad, so I'm going to get a rotary mod on that bad boy for Tempest. I'm not sure where to put the knob, though! I've seen it replace the d-pad, I've seen it on the side, on the bottom (???), no idea what would feel most ergonomic. If anyone's got a suggestion, I'm all ears!

    I really like Iron Soldier 3 on PS1, and I want to get a Nuon to play that port. But seeing the first two Iron Soldier games in action was one of the first things that made me interested in getting a Jag a few years back. Now I just need to track down a non-CD copy of the second one. I love me a janky first person mech game on a 90s console, I do.

    I'm also surprised at how well Syndicate translates to the Jaguar! All those extra buttons actually make perfect sense here.

    So far my biggest disappointment so far is Imagitec's ports of Raiden and Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure. Those are both games I like a lot, and having them get cut down to 30fps on the Jaguar is a huge bummer, otherwise they'd be ideal! I've gotten used to the Raiden port though, so maybe I'll give Pitfall a shot after all.

    Games I still want to get:

  • - Iron Soldier 2
  • - Towers II
  • - Wolfenstein 3D
  • - Flashback
  • I might end up grabbing copies of Rayman, Hoverstrike, i dunno maybe Zool 2 if I get desperate, Super Burnout, or AVP if I stumble across them cheap enough some day.

    Anyone else getting in on some Jaguar action lately? The homebrew scene seems . . . Small?

    >

    @“andrewelmore”#p97332 No music during levels is a bit weird, and no strafing is a tough trade-off to make, but it’s solid!

    Fun fact: this is because the Jaguar technically doesn't have an audio chip. Instead, developers would use one the CPUs to process audio because it was less of a headache than trying to manage to CPUs at once. However, [according to the Doom Wiki](https://doomwiki.org/wiki/Atari_Jaguar#Differences_between_the_Jaguar_and_PC_versions) the Jaguar port absolutely needed that extra CPU power to process collision. Combine this with all the other changes, and what results is a port the *Doom* community regards as cut back but respectable.

    @“Video Game King”#p97335 that's right, I forgot about that!

    Oh yeah - I intended to start a thread explaining what all the good games are, but I never did! I‘ll put my list in here soon, because I’ve certainly got The Goods, such as they are.

    @"Video Game King"#p97335 also quite a few developers, rather than using the 68000 to manage audio or to pass info to the 3D chip, ram the whole game on it, something Atari specifically asked them not to do. But documentation was so poor and the 68000 was so familiar that many devs did it anyway.

    >

    @“Video Game King”#p97335 Jaguar technically doesn’t have an audio chip

    Just like the N64!

    @“exodus”#p97342 this kind of owns. It also at least partially explains some of the weird arcade and mega drive conversions? or at least provides enough context for that to make some sense.

    Also I'd definitely be down to hear what you're into, since it seems the Jaguar's library outside of the CD (which is functionally unobtainable at this point) is, uh, limited!

    @“hellomrkearns”#p97348 And the N64 was also a 64-bit cartridge-based console with a disc add-on that bombed hard.

    Wait a minute...are the Jaguar and the N64 the same console?

    @“andrewelmore”#p97352 the cd is even more limited! There are real good reasons why the jaguar failed, it was a pretty bad console with not very many good games on it. But I'll write it up soon!

    >

    @“andrewelmore”#p97332 Atari 50 collection

    Also this seems like a good place to inform people that the emulator used on the collection has been made available by it's writer and is apparently the best Jaguar emulator out there.
    https://www.richwhitehouse.com/jaguar/index.php

    Lol I didn‘t even read the post enough to realize that WASN’T what this was about. I figured we were in the emulator zone.

    So before I talk about my list (soon!) I'll say wouldn't buy any jaguar game! I'd buy a ram cart or just emulate it.

    Ah the Jaguar. I have owned two Jags over the years and never really got too into it. I remember when it was announced. I was a big EGM fan back in the ‘90s and remember seeing scuttlebutt about the 64-BIT system coming from Atari. I was pretty excited. As a kid in the ’80s I only had a 2600 up until the release of the SNES, so I felt an affinity for the big “A”. AVP looked awesome! Around ‘95 I got my first system (used) from the game shop at the local mall. It was used in the box and I think I payed around $150 for it. That was a lot of lawn mowing money, but I was sure it would be worth it. It wasn’t worth it. Cybermorph is bad. I did enjoy AVP and Raiden though.

    The second system I got from ebay around '07 and that came with a bunch of garbage games and Tempest 2000.

    The thing that sticks out to me is just how cheap it all felt. The controller is the worst offender. Cheap feeling and stiff with buttons that just want to get caught on the housing.

    Looking forward to emulation though.

    Aside for the slew of games with excellent music, and obscure stuff…

    IMHO the hit AAA killer app for Jaguar, at least to my interest and taste, was always Rayman.

    May be nostalgia talking, as a 90's baby it was one of just a handful of games I owned for my Playstation for over a decade. The fact it exsisted on cartridge, and for the more interesting Playstation-alternatives like Saturn and Jaguar, it great!

    It's a highly playable and polished experience, IMHO. It's failings are your stereotypical failings of most European platformers. It accomplished looking like a real cartoon while you played it, and the disjointed animations rocked my child imagination.

    My perspective of the Jaguar is that of an eight year old; an objectively valid age to experience video games in the 90's. My Jaguar experience during those years is the same as the Saturn-- it's the extremely cool console whose name, spoken by a twelve year old in a whispered tone like some sort of legend, causes my young imagination to run wild. The only time I got to see these consoles were singular events, where I'd for whatever reason be at a foreign household of some member of our church for babysitting, with another child I'd considered my enemy for biting me in pre-k. In the entertainment console of the play room would be an obscure console with only one or two games, highly violent and ugly. Like mortal kombat. It's either fighting or race cars, no in between.

    This is such an aside, but while my mind is exploring this memory, the name Saturn did invoke the beige-ness at the time which totally lined up with what the saturn's color scheme truly was, in japan. I thought "what would a console named Saturn look like?... silvery Beige"

    Anyways, to me, *Rayman* stands as one of the biggest if not *the* game to have on Jaguar. Probably because that mirrors my Playstation experience. For the same reason, It would have been interesting if Mega Man 8 was released on Jaguar.

    Okay, finally time to make my “interesting games on Jaguar” post. I won‘t say “good” because that’s a different category that the Jaguar is not super equipped to compete in.

    **Cartridge games**

    https://youtube.com/watch?v=Qaq2ovbRdlM&si=EnSIkaIECMiOmarE&t=111
    Super Burnout. This is a pseudo 3D racer with good music, and a sort of day-night cycle that I found really compelling as a youth. It shows what a powerhouse the Jaguar could've been for 2D games, if only the era had been right for that. Also if you were to ask me "what a jaguar game sounds like," I would say Super Burnout. It's somewhere between high-end amiga and an early disc-based PC game.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Em6KGZ5Amd0
    Power Drive Rally. It's a top-down rally racer that's very zippy, controls fantastically, and is just generally fun to play. I love the little reflections of the clouds in the puddles!!! I feel like the shadows from the trees are particularly well done as well. It wouldn't (and didn't) impress anyone at the time but it's just all around very nicely put together. Also my stepmother complimented the look of this game once, the only time she ever did that.
    (as a side-note, maybe now that we've got an emulator there'll be some actual well-captured footage of these games)

    https://youtube.com/watch?v=2tO0HULd4eQ&si=EnSIkaIECMiOmarE&t=6303
    Alien vs Predator. Well, it's an obvious one, but this was a solid, kind of weird FPS on the jaguar, with good looking environments, spooky ambient sound design, and some neat gimmicks (and you can play as the marine, predator, or alien). It's not perfect, but it makes the list because it does the thing where, when playing as the marine, the predator will whisper quotes back at you from your dead comrades, which spooked the heck out of me as a kid.
    Also, check out the hideous filters you can use as the predator. that's some avant-garde nonsense. https://youtube.com/watch?v=2tO0HULd4eQ&si=EnSIkaIECMiOmarE&t=1500

    Doom. I can't find a video of this that's not a review or a comparison lol. You all know the story, this is the version of doom that many subsequent ports were based on. It's pretty good.

    https://youtube.com/watch?v=tcJOBZM-j74&si=EnSIkaIECMiOmarE&t=73
    Skyhammer. This was unfinished and unreleased, but got a Songbird Productions release later, as most unfinished jaguar games did. Really shows what the Jaguar could do in terms of 3D. Probably the best looking 3D you'll see for the system, even though it does run at like 15 fps. As a game, it's fine. But as a piece of visual media, it's really neat. The environments are great, and the vibe is strong.

    https://youtube.com/watch?v=V35m--XQHco&si=EnSIkaIECMiOmarE&t=57
    Val d'Isère Skiing and Snowboarding. another pseudo 3D racer, except now you're skiing and snowboarding. Realistically it's not very good overall, but the SPEED is great, and it's pretty fun to play, if samey. I like the stomach-churning hills in particular. It also has some out run-like elements with a mode where you choose which part of the mountain to go down. With some hot music it would've gone a little further I think.

    https://youtube.com/watch?v=8NVLXA05Lx8&si=EnSIkaIECMiOmarE&t=602
    Tempest 2000. You might know this as the one good jaguar game. well! there's some more in my list here but yeah, this is the one you can call good without many caveats. I like the bonus stage weirdness where it just keeps saying "yes" in a higher pitched voice. I have the soundtrack for this thing too, it's another part of "what a jaguar game sounds like."

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3I_AmHr8do
    Trevor McFur in the Crescent Galaxy. So this game blows but in a way that's interesting. You may have heard me talk about this one on the podcast as the game that was rushed to become a launch title, rushed so much that they didn't have time to put music in. So it's a shooter with no music at all, just sfx. you can play whatever music you like in the background! that's what I did. As a shooter, it's passable, but the very DOS-like prerendered CG is super fun to look at and gives it a unique vibe.

    https://youtube.com/watch?v=8HN5Vi5jyMY&si=EnSIkaIECMiOmarE&t=82
    White Men Can't Jump. Again, not very good as a game, but look at that court zoom-in! Is that 3D? Is that pseudo 3D? I have no idea but I like it. The game is whatever to play, but has some elements that are real neat to look at and experience. This was also the only game that used the Jaguar's multitap. was it 5 players? I forget. I reckon maybe 5 people used it outside of the dev team.

    https://youtube.com/watch?v=wnSt4bCem1U&si=EnSIkaIECMiOmarE&t=37
    Zool 2. I think the sound is off-sync in this video. again, not great! but it's a super blazing fast processor that I think only uses the 68000 so is basically just a genesis game. This game informed what I thought of as a "euro platformer" forever, so makes the list for me - I think for a certain slice of console-playing americans this would be their intro to the genre.

    https://youtube.com/watch?v=D_PGqVbCvU4&si=EnSIkaIECMiOmarE&t=583
    Club Drive. It's barely a game!! you've got a car and you can drive through various environments, including being tiny and driving through a home. There's not much in the way of goals, and you just kinda go between nodes. But it's weird! and that's neat. Drive by a trapezoidal cat and make it meow!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Ubaam6wZBc
    I-war. it's a weird looking game, so gets points for that. it's pretty straightforward aside from how it looks, but what was super ugly then is kind of beautiful now, I feel, so I have it on the list here.

    **Jag CD games**

    https://youtube.com/watch?v=6Zhb_5ne3lA&si=EnSIkaIECMiOmarE&t=258
    Highlander. I talk about this one alllll the time. Probably if I played PC games as a kid I wouldn't talk about this at all!! Ha ha. But the bizarre whiplash from cutscenes to in-game, and the looping spooky ambient music, and the myst-like backgrounds with awful polygonal characters barely able to move around - somehow it really works for me! Play it with cheats.

    https://youtube.com/watch?v=lvUMy90em2g&si=EnSIkaIECMiOmarE&t=44
    Black ICE\White Noise. This game never came out! It was kind of a GTA-like with hacking, before GTA III. You could go into a lot of the buildings, and the whole thing was super cyberpunk (you could surf cyberspace). I do wish this thing had come out, I'm sure it would've been a bizarre mess - there are some alphas you can play, but that's about it.

    https://youtube.com/watch?v=KmkEAshOh2c&si=EnSIkaIECMiOmarE&t=277
    Hover Strike unconquered lands. Almost reaching early playstation levels of 3D if you ignore the 2D HUD taking up the bottom half of the screen. It's tough to play but I like the music, and again, weird vibe!!!

    https://youtube.com/watch?v=_I2KXpE5_lI&si=EnSIkaIECMiOmarE&t=286
    Blue Lightning. One of the least interesting games on the list, BUT I liked how far you could scroll horizontally in this pseudo 3D air combat game. I like the cliffside tunnels as well. But the music wasn't great, and it's not that fun to play, and you're endlessly shooting trucks in the mountains, but it's still got a bit of curiosity to it.

    **Games I haven't tried but am curious about**

    https://youtube.com/watch?v=awsYwI3cpxA&si=EnSIkaIECMiOmarE&t=340
    Atari Karts. It's too expensive now, otherwise I'd have it. it's a kart racer with nice music! feels very flat, but has decent speed, some powerups, etc. Like most jaguar games it also gives you that "flopped out there at the last minute" vibe, so it may not be any fun.

    https://youtube.com/watch?v=5DWvwYH_q2o&si=EnSIkaIECMiOmarE&t=1121
    Towers II. Sorry for the high pitched squeal on the video. This is a doom-perspective first person RPG, very ambitious, generally a mess, looks weird as heck.

    https://youtube.com/watch?v=eUXdmrM9FMY&si=EnSIkaIECMiOmarE&t=196
    Zero 5. sometimes a rail shooter, sometimes a free-flyer, it's pretty simplistic but actually moves at a good clip and seems okay? The 3D really holds together with no warping, and it makes you wonder what else might've been possible.

    Any question about any other games, lemme know! I've played a lot of them. weeeeeee

    @“exodus”#p97867 Yeah man, that‘s the stuff. Man, I’ve been trying not to buy a Jaguar game drive now that the next batch of pre-orders are open, but the fact that they‘re supporting Jag CD now makes it real darn tempting. It sure is two hundred and twenty five united states dollars, though. That’s a tough one. Though it would be basically the only way I‘ll get to play Towers II and Iron Soldier 2. It would be an easier pill to swallow if I could just sell the carts I’ve already bought, but unfortunately the brain worms simply will not allow it.

    also this isn't related but congrats on the Hyper Gunsport launch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    >

    @“exodus”#p97867 what was super ugly then is kind of beautiful now

    It's definitely an aesthetic I want to critically analyze at some point. There's something strangely appropriate about the Jaguar approximating the Atari 2600's almost-representational, "fill in the gaps with your imagination" visual aesthetic, even if the former was an accidental result of Atari punching way above their technological weight with the system.

    @“Video Game King”#p97988 and the latter was almost the inverse, them not being able to realize the potential of the machine. Either way, it was still an accident!

    I didn’t know Rayman was advertised as a Jag exclusive!

    https://youtu.be/jP64LhUexTU

    So BigPEmu is an amazing emulator, but diving into the Jag library I am glad it is the one system I never dove into. Tempest 2000 is a flat out treasure and everything else feel like not even a bad SNES game, but (lord forgive me) and Amiga game. Checkered Flag almost got me, but the jumpy framerate sinks it. I haven‘t figured out the CD games yet, but yeah against its competitors, the 32X at least has some of Sega’s greatest hits and Knuckles Chaotix, and the 3DO has experimental EA stuff.

    @“robinhoodie”#p103131 I really gotta try it out myself.

    https://twitter.com/necrosofty/status/1622767729811021824?t=2f2qrIZa8X5fkQa_kjt8oQ&s=19

    https://twitter.com/frankcifaldi/status/1622690917693157376?t=osfbg9X62Zd1f4Npge4uIw&s=19

    also,[ check out that library](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atari_Jaguar_CD). 13 games.
    [upl-image-preview url=https://i.imgur.com/1i6o5co.png]

    @“exodus”#p97867 having never played a jaguar game, really, except when the new gen consoles were all lined up at circuit city so I could play gex and jumping flash and get blown away by cd roms…I‘m so surprised at how mid 90s euro Amiga with a splash of msdos the jaguar is! I was way into tracker music in the 90s and got kinda slightly deep into that demoscene vibe back then, and I’m kinda blown away at how much music in the clips you posted are DEFINITELY mod/s3m/xm files. there‘s such a specific 8 bit gnarl and stepped tuning to the samples with no external effects that really really jumps out at me. I guess it makes sense that it’d be a western platform vs anything Sega or Nintendo or Hudson at the time but I guess I never followed that line of thought all the way into europe. kinda seems like everything about the jaguar is like, hobbyists suddenly hit the big time in a real weird and interesting way