Sunday, September 2, 2012

Cover to Cover: Jaguar EGM Promo (pp. 12-13)

We're finally getting back to our current cover-to-cover series, with a few more pages from a circa-1994 Atari Jaguar promo insert packaged with Electronic Gaming Monthly magazine.  We're into the latter pages of the 16-page insert, with some of the older and less-promotable titles from the Jaguar's small catalog.

Page 12 features one port, a semi-sequel and a couple of Jaguar exclusives:

Zool 2 is another U.K. platformer, with the alien ninja Zool leaping around a colorful, literally candy-colored world sponsored by the Chupa-Chups company; it's a competent action game with decent music, but was another 16-bit port that failed to take much advantage of the Jaguar's advanced hardware.  Bubsy in Fractured Furry Tales brought Acclaim's entrant in the furry mascot sweepstakes to the Jaguar; the game featured all-new levels but failed to make a positive impression.  Cybermorph was the Jaguar's original pack-in game -- it made good use of Gouraud-shaded polygons and the battle/collecting gameplay was interesting enough to be worth playing, but it was already looking dated as texture mapping was starting to become the standard on PCs and the upcoming Playstation and Saturn.  Val d'Isere Skiing and Snowboarding -- licensed based on the ski resort, not an individual skier -- remains a personal favorite of mine.  The smooth-scaling sprites and subtly graded blue-white coloration of the track looked good and played at top speed, making for an exhilarating downhill run.

Page 13 rallies with a few new but arguably niche titles, including one that never made it to market:

Battlemorph was the worthy sequel to Cybermorph, upping the ante with more complex geography, spot texture-mapping and the benefits of CD-ROM capacity.  Blue Lightning brought the popular Lynx air-combat game to the Jaguar as one of the pack-in titles shipped with the Jaguar CD; this version wasn't as impressively smooth as the handheld edition, and didn't do much to promote the capabilities of the new CD platform.  Space War 2000 was an attempt to update the classic player-versus-player space battle, one of the very first computer games in the mainframe era, but it was never completed or commercially released.  Brutal Sports Football was another Amiga port, a fairly early Jaguar cartridge with loose rules and clunky animation; it was fun in small does, but it was never really a substitute for a proper football title.

We'll wrap up this up next weekend if all goes as planned.

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