Vid Grid (CD)

Atari Jaguar CD

from AEO Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 8

 |||   Jaguar Review: Vid Grid

 |||   by: John Hardie

/ | \  GEnie: EXPLORER.3


When Atari first announced that Vid Grid was going to be one of the

pack-ins for their new double-speed CD-ROM peripheral, I was less than

enthused and very apprehensive. The idea of re-arranging a scrambled

music video just didn't strike me as the type of game I would find

appealing. Thankfully I was wrong! When I first booted the disc, I was

treated to one of the most spectacular credit sequences I have ever

seen. The Jaguar roar and the High Voltage Lightning scene had

stunning graphics and audio. I prayed that the rest of the disc would

be of the same high quality. It wasn't, but it certainly was


After the opening bit, the game displays the Vid Grid title screen

and randomly selects and plays one of the game's songs. Press a

button to continue and the game checks for a Memory Track Cartridge

(which are shipping by the time you read this). The main game screen

appears with a variety of options for you to choose from. Aside from

the nine video boxes, there are six buttons on the lower part of the

screen. The choices are as follows:

[] Practice - Takes you to the practice screen where you can brush up

   on any puzzle combinations you might be having trouble with.

[] Help - Takes you to a screen which displays instructions on how to

   play Vid Grid (handy if your dog eats the owner's manual).

[] Options - Allows you to change button configurations and set your

   volume levels.

[] Best - Displays the best times and scores (requires Memory Track


[] Player - Allows you to add/delete player names (requires Memory

   Track cart).

[] Save - Used to save your current game and best times and scores

   (requires Memory Track cart).

The controls for Vid Grid are very simple. The joypad moves the

cursor around the screen. The A button flips the piece currently under

the cursor (only in flip games). The B button selects the piece you

want to drag, drop, or slide.

Puzzle movement determines the method you will use to solve each

puzzle. There are four different types listed below:

[] Drag and Drop - Just move your cursor over a piece and press and

   hold B. Move the piece to the spot you want to place it in and

   release B.

[] Perfection - Similar to Drag and Drop, but be careful, move a piece

   to any spot other than the one it belongs in and the entire puzzle


[] Slider - The puzzle will have one piece missing. You must slide

   pieces into the adjacent empty spot to move them. The missing piece

   of the puzzle is always the lower right corner.

[] Corners - Similar to Slider, except that the missing piece can be

   any of the four corners.

There are three types of video orientation you must deal with when

playing this game. In NORMAL mode, the video plays normally (right

side up). In UP/DOWN mode, you must solve the video while it is

playing upside down. The pieces can not be flipped right side up.  And

finally, in FLIPPED mode, the video is right side up but some of the

pieces have been flipped horizontally. Press A while the cursor is on

a piece to flip it.

There's also four different puzzle sizes to deal with, 3x3, 4x4, 5x5,

and 6x6. Progressive puzzles require you to solve the same puzzle

two, three, or four times. Each time you solve the puzzle in

progrssive, it rescrambles to a more complex puzzle. The different

combos for progressive are 3-4/ 3-4-5/ 3-4-5-6.

On the main selection screen, move your cursor to any video box.

Press A to bring up information about the video or press B to start

the game.  While the video is playing, pressing Option brings up a

screen of choices that let you solve a puzzle, replay a video, or

reset (re-scramble) a video. On the keypad, 0 toggles the music, 1

toggles the cursor, 3 increases volume, and 6 decreases the volume.

There are five levels of difficulty in the game. Each level requires

you to solve all nine videos before advancing to the next level.

Points are awarded on the basis of how hard the puzzle combination is

and at the end of each level, bonus points are awarded dep ending on

how fast you solved each of the videos.

Here's a listing of the videos with brief comments about the quality

of the sound and video:

AEROSMITH - CRYIN' - The sound on this video could be the worst out

of all the videos on this disc. There seems to be a lot of static,

almost as if my speakers were being over-driven. The video quality was

up and down. Good in some areas and bad in others.

PETER GABRIEL - SLEDGEHAMMER - Sound was good. Hardly any static.

Except for a couple of spots, the  video was very good quality.

GUNS & ROSES - NOVEMBER RAIN - The sound was marginal. A bit of

static.  The video quality wasn't the greatest at the beginning but

seemed to improve as the song went on.

JIMI HENDRIX - ARE YOU EXPERIENCED? - Hardly any static at all and

the video quality was above average. One of the better videos on this


METALLICA - ENTER SANDMAN - Sound quality was very good. Video

quality was fair. A little grainy in spots.

OZZY OSBOURNE - NO MORE TEARS - This one starts off very clear but

picks up static once the singing starts. There is a fair amount of

fuzziness in the video.

RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS - GIVE IT AWAY - A bit of static. Fairly good

video quality.

SOUNDGARDEN - SPOONMAN - Good sound and very good picture. One of the

hardest videos to descramble on the upper levels.

VAN HALEN - RIGHT NOW - Great sound quality. Except for a little

blurring on some of the small text, this one has great picture

quality.  This is the showcase video for this game.

NIRVANA - SMELLS LIKE TEEN SPIRIT - Some static. Very grainy video


Nirvana??? Where did that come from? Well, when you complete three

levels of play, you start level four with an additional bonus video.

There's been a lot of debate over the quality of the video and audio

on Vid Grid. It's gotten to the point where people are being accused

of needing hearing aids. As a reference point, I'll tell you that I

have the Jaguar hooked to my Panasonic 35" with the S-video cable.

Only the video goes to the TV. The audio goes into a Kenwood Receiver

and is fed to a pair of Bose 401 speakers.

Overall, this first attempt at a CD game is a good effort. Atari

could easily have sold Vid Grid for $49.99, but the fact that it's a

free pack-in with the CD unit negates any minor complaints. Sure they

need to improve audio and video quality, but I hope that will come up

to speed shortly.

//// Final Ratings

       Title: Vid Grid                      JagNet: No

      Design: Jasmine Multimedia           Players: Multiple

Published by: Atari Corp.  J9078E     Availability: Now

      Retail: N/A (free with CD)               Age: K-A

A Summary of ratings:

       "*" is a whole

        "+" is a half

      5 stars maximum

Graphics - ***    What can I say? Some videos are fuzzy and grainy and

                  some aren't. No consistency here.

   Audio - **     Again, some have a lot of static (Aerosmith) and some

                  have almost none (Van Halen).

 Control - *****  Nothing to it. Just point and click.

Gameplay - ***+   Challenging. The game does get hard quickly. Once you

                  figure out the slider puzzles, it seems more


 Overall - ***    I understand there's a trade-off between audio &

                  video quality but there has to be a better way.

Pts Stars  AEO Ratings

""" """""  """""""""""

 10 *****  GAMING NIRVANA!!! - You have left reality behind... for good.

  9 ****+  Unbelieveable GAME!! - Your family notices you're often absent.

  8 ****   Fantastic Game!! - You can't get enough playtime in on this.

  7 ***+   Great Game! - Something to show off to friends or 3DOers.

  6 ***    Good game - You find yourself playing this from time to time.

  5 **+    Ho-hum - If there's nothing else to do, you play this.

  4 **     Waste of time - Better to play this than play in traffic.

  3 *+     Sucks - Playing in traffic sounds like more fun.

  2 *      Sucks Badly - You'd rather face an IRS audit than play this.

  1 +      Forget it - ... but you can't; it's so badly done, it haunts you.

  0 -      Burn it - Disallow programmer from ever writing games again.

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