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Here's a solid deck with a CD peripheral and consumer-friendly pricing.
All it needs is a steady supply of games.
Like the 3D0, the Jaguar got a jump on all
this next-generation gaming business way back in '93.
Jag support's been slow to grow, however. Now the once-innovative Jag is in a shooting war with
new systems from deep-pocketed competitors. Don't blame the hardware.
The price tag for the basic Jag system is primo - just $149. (heh, now it's
like $30 complete! =) Moreover, you get solid technology for your bucks.
The Jag's sleek low lines make it look like a UFO about to blast off. The
cartridge slot sits at the top rear of the unit to make room available for the
top-mounted CD peripheral. Flip the Jag around and in the back you'll see
a built-in RF with a separate connector for special AV or S-Video cords.
-----The jag gets its bite from a RISC-based multiprocessing architecture
built around a 64-bit data path. Five specialized processors handle the gameplaying chores,
including graphics, sound, and object processing. The CPU is a Motorola MC68000 processor
that clocks in at 13 mHz. The System RAM weighs in at a respectable 2 megabytes.
The Jaguar's most unusual aspect is its meaty controller, which has
succeded in dividing gameplayers into two armed camps - either you love it
or you hate it. The basic control layout - three action buttons and a
directional pad - is standard video game fare, but the pad also has a
12-button keypad. That keypad gives the controller a bulky look and feel,
but you can use it to activate special features in Jaguar games. However,
sometimes you must slide a plastic overlay onto the keypad, and that can
be bothersom during fierce action.
The Jaguar CD appeared in September. The current
retail price is $149, the same price as the Jaguar
system unit. The CD is classy-looking peripheral
with sleek lines that fit nicely with the trim styling of the
Jaguar system unit. It slides into the top of the Jag with
an almost seamless fit to create a toploading CD unit.
An in-line cartidge slot at the top rear of the CD enables
you to play carts. The CD system specs are standard stuff
overall, but the unit has some personality. It's basically a
double-speed CD-ROM drive that moves at 353
kilobyte/second data rate, but it gets its claws from built-in
Cinepak technology. This compression system will enable the
Jag to run full-screen, full-color, full-motion video with audio.
Additionally, Atari plans to beef up the system's video
capabilites with an MPEG2 full-motion-video cartridge later in
the year, which will enable the Jag to play full-length video-CD
movies. There's one other built-in feature the Jag CD has that
no other system can claim - the Virtual Light Machine (VLM).
VLM, a kind of light synthesizer, is based on technology used
to create light shows and raves (remeber them?). It produces
visual effects in tune with any music CD played by the Jag CD.
With Atari it always gets down to the question of software support - just akd any Lynx fan.
The Jaguar livrary had suffered from spotty release shedules and long waits between games. Of
course, there are outstanding Jag games such as Tempest2000, Iron Soldier, and Cannon Fodder.
But the stable includes its share of scary dogs too.
The Jaguar/CD combo certainly sports the hardware muscle and tantalizing
price tags to make a respectabe run at the newer 32-bit systems. The Jag's
vulnerability, however, lies with its software underbelly.
Watch for the games! Keep watching for the games!!
Taken from The Cutting Edge.(Presented by GamePro Magazine) by The Whizz.
32- & 64-bit Video Game Buyer's Guide, Spring 1996