The Atari Jaguar is a console that tried to push the boundaries of gaming in the early ’90s, but the only boundaries it really pushed, were those in marketing. Atari launched its Jaguar campaign, promoting the system as a 64-bit console. Whilst partially true, when comparing it in the same way to other current consoles, it was simply a 32-bit system.
Despite this posturing, the Atari Jaguar actually has quite a number of impressive games. We explore the best Atari Jaguar games, showcasing some great exclusive games as well as many excellent ports the Jaguar received.
Alien vs. Predator
Welcome to the Atari Jaguar’s epic showdown of intergalactic proportions: Alien vs Predator!
Released in 1994, this thrilling first-person shooter allows take the role of an acid-drooling slimy Alien, don the dreadlocks of a Predator, or embrace your inner commando as a Colonial Marine – the choice is yours!
The game’s premise revolves around the confrontation between the three species. Each character possesses its own set of abilities, weapons, and individual goals, resulting in huge replay value. The Colonial Marine is equipped with a pulse rifle and a motion tracker, the Predator boasts a cloaking device and wrist-blades, and the Alien relies on its claws, sharp teeth, and tail for combat.
Alien vs Predator received praise for its innovative gameplay, graphics, and atmospheric design, making it one of the most successful and memorable and best Atari Jaguar games.
Cannon Fodder, the game that taught us war has never been so much fun!
Developed by Sensible Software, this Atari Jaguar gem from 1995 is an excellent port of the home computer original and takes the concept of a lighthearted military operation to a whole new level.
Cannon Fodder revolves around guiding a small squad of soldiers, through a series of missions across diverse landscapes, such as jungles, deserts, and snowfields. You are tasked with controlling troops in real time, using a point-and-click mechanic to move and attack enemies.
Cannon Fodder is more than just a war game, it’s a comedic ode to the absurdity of battle, where you can delight in watching your miniature army wreak havoc on foes.
Doom is the demon-slaying game that EVERYBODY wanted back in the early 90s. Whereas everything has a Doom port made for it these days, back then, if you were not a PC owner, you were often left wanting.
Developed by id Software and released in 1994, this pixel-packed party of pandemonium thrusts you into the boots of a lone space marine who’s got a bone to pick with hordes of demonic interlopers.
Doom involves navigating a series of interconnected levels, each filled with a variety of demonic enemies, hidden secrets, and valuable power-ups until you reach the exit. You are equipped with a diverse arsenal of weapons, ranging from a basic shotgun to the powerful BFG 9000, to combat the hordes of hellish creatures.
So, buckle up and embrace the mayhem of Doom, where you’ll laugh in the face of demonic danger and save humanity one exploding imp at a time.
Released in 1995 by Bullfrog, this cyberpunk strategy game puts you in charge of a devious corporation with a penchant for world domination.
Syndicate consists of completing a series of missions across a global map. Objectives range from assassinations and kidnappings to defending assets and infiltrating rival corporations.
You control your agents in real-time, strategically planning and executing each mission to achieve your objectives. Syndicate’s isometric perspective provides an engaging view of the action, allowing you to oversee the city’s play area and keep tabs on what is going on around you.
Whilst not pushing the hardware limits of the Jaguar, Syndicate is a great game on whatever system you play it on and the Atari Jaguar version is no exception.
Developed by Llamasoft and released in 1994 and immediately became one of the best Atari Jaguar games to grab. This blast from the past is the love child of the arcade classic Tempest and a techno dance party, resulting in a sensory overload you won’t want to miss.
In Tempest 2000, you take control of a spacecraft called the Claw, which navigates the edges of a three-dimensional geometric web. You need to eliminate waves of enemies that traverse the web toward you while avoiding obstacles and hazards.
You collect power-ups such as particle lasers, jumps, and AI Droids that assist in clearing enemies from the web. The game also introduces new enemy types and additional levels with more complex web configurations, adding depth and challenge to the gameplay.
With its funky visuals, infectious beats, and addictive, one more try arcade qualities, this Atari Jaguar classic will have you spinning, shooting, and giggling through the cosmos in no time.
“Where did you learn to fly?”
You’ll be hearing that a lot in Cybermorph, one of the Atari Jaguar’s launch titles in 1993 by Attention to Detail. Cybermorph showcased the Atari Jaguar’s 3D graphics capabilities to good effect.
In Cybermorph, you assume the role of a pilot controlling the T-Griffon, an advanced spacecraft with the ability to transform its shape to adapt to various situations.
You need to recover lost pods containing valuable resources, which are scattered across multiple planets throughout the galaxy.
You’ll fly through alien landscapes, dodging obstacles that appear to have been designed by extraterrestrial interior decorators on a tight budget. Your helpful AI companion, Skylar, will offer tips and guidance, all while reminding you that, yes, you really did crash into that wall again!
NBA Jam: Tournament Edition
Already one of the best 2 player arcade games, you’ll be breaking virtual backboards and executing no-look passes that’ll make even the Harlem Globetrotters jealous with NBA Jam: Tournament Edition on the Jaguar. Released in 1996, this pixel-packed basketball bonanza is part of the well-loved NBA Jam series and lets you live out your hoop dreams without breaking a sweat.
Choose from over 100 NBA stars to create the ideal team and compete in a variety of game modes, including Exhibition, Tournament, and Head-to-Head. NBA James TE features authentic NBA team logos, player stats, and attributes, providing an engaging and realistic basketball gaming experience.
NBA Tournament Edition is fast-paced and action-packed, focusing on high-scoring, high-flying, and over-the-top basketball moves. You can perform gravity-defying dunks, execute dazzling passes, and sink long-range three-pointers with ease.
So, lace up your virtual high-tops and hit the court with NBA Tournament Edition.
Developed by Delphine Software and released in 1995, Flashback followed the adventures of Conrad B. Hart, a man with more memory issues than a faulty USB stick.
The game’s narrative revolves around Conrad as he traverses various environments, including a jungle planet, a bustling city, and an alien spacecraft.
Guided by a holographic message he recorded before losing his memory, Conrad must piece together his past while thwarting the plans of shape-shifting aliens attempting to infiltrate and control human society.
Flashback blends platforming, shooting, and puzzle-solving elements. You control Conrad as he navigates through detailed, hand-drawn levels, using his agility to jump, climb, and evade obstacles.
With its captivating story and undeniable charm, this Atari Jaguar classic will keep you gripped!
Developed by Ubisoft and released in 1995, Rayman has you traversing a vibrant world filled with zany creatures and more color than a crayon factory explosion.
Rayman is more known for its PlayStation version, but the Jaguar does an absolutely cracking job at bringing the limbless hero to Atari fans.
The game’s narrative centers around Rayman’s journey through six diverse and imaginative worlds, each filled with a variety of fantastical creatures and environments.
Rayman combines traditional platforming elements with unique character abilities and puzzle-solving. Rayman can run, jump, and use his telescopic fists to attack enemies from a distance.
With its quirky characters, vibrant visuals, and timeless platform mechanics, Rayman deserves it’s place in the best Atari Jaguar games.
The Jaguar received many Amiga conversions but were even more conversions of classic Amiga games going to be enough to help change its fortunes?
Developed by Digital Illusions and released in 1995, Pinball Fantasies brought the high-energy, ball-flipping action of arcade pinball machines right into your living room (minus the sticky floors and questionable carpet patterns).
In Pinball Fantasies, you are presented with four distinct pinball tables, each with its own unique theme and design. The tables include Party Land, a carnival-themed table; Speed Devils, a high-speed racing table; Billion Dollar Gameshow, inspired by television game shows; and Stones ‘N Bones, a haunted house-themed table.
Pinball Fantasies delivers realistic ball physics and detailed graphics that contribute to an authentic pinball experience all whilst topping that high score your friend just racked up!
The Atari Jaguar really was not the success that Atari had hoped for and ultimately was the reason Atari left the home console market, but as you can see from the best Atari Jaguar games above, it did genuinely have some decent games, albeit many were slightly enhanced ports of 16-bit home computer games such as Syndicate and Cannon Fodder.
But when the Jaguar was good, it was very good, Alien vs. Predator and Rayman showed that competing with the PlayStation was a possibility in certain situations.
But the writing was on the wall for the Atari Jaguar, and when the Jaguar CD was announced looking like a toilet lid plonked on top of the Jaguar, perhaps the writing was already on the wall!