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Article #16 (16 is last):
From: aa778@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Fred Horvat)
Newsgroups: freenet.sci.comp.atari.product.jaguar.reviews
Subject: JAGUAR: Air Cars
Reply-To: aa778@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Fred Horvat)
Posted-By: xx004 (Atari SIG)
Edited-By: xx004 (Atari SIG)
Date: Fri Sep  5 11:37:44 1997


                       Air Cars Mini Review
                         By Fred Horvat

    As most of you have heard by now ICD has released a limited
number of Midnight Entertainment Group, Inc's 1995 game "Air
Cars" for the Atari Jaguar.  The game comes on cartridge with a 
professional label on the cartridge.  Documentation is in English 
and about 20 pages thick.  It is printed on heavy stock glossy 
paper in black and white.  The manual is very complete showing a 
game play screen shot, enemies, weapons, power ups, and explaining 
all of them.  No overlay is included, but an image of one is on the 
back cover.   There is no box for the game but it comes shrink 
wrapped in a normal Jaguar game box insert with the cartridge label 
facing out acting as cover art.   Well here is a mini review of the 
game with about 2 hours of playing time so far.

Story Line :

Story takes place in the future after a nuclear holocaust.  Briefly 
a plot has been discovered of an organization to take over the 
world.  They have developed advanced weapons one of them being a 
nuclear powered Air Car.  Your spies have stolen plans and have 
built an Air Car.  Your mission is to destroy the 28 known enemy 
bases with the Air Car.

Support for Pro Controller :

Yes, no mention is made in the manual but the top buttons make mine 
laying and smoke screen use very easy in the heat of battle.

Multiplayer / Network Capable :

Yes, and great to say up to 8 players with Catboxes or 2 with 
Jaglinks.  I tried 2 player with the Jaglink and I'm very happy to 
report that it never dropped once during 30 minutes of play.  So 
all the network errors in Doom are due to buggy code in Doom and 
not hardware related.  Each player is a different color to help
identify a good guy from bad guy on the radar and on the screen.

Game Play :

Involved is the best word to describe it.    Midnight Entertainment 
Group has put a great deal of thought into this game.  On the 
surface it appears to be a run of the mill shoot'em up type game.  
Granted that's what your mission is, but from what I found out 
immediately was that you need to plan your attacks carefully and 
that you have to concern yourself with weapon selection, radar, 
immediate power ups, saved power ups, and working every single 
button on the controller keypad.  Your mission is to destroy all 
main targets at each base (level) and leave through a teleporter to 
reach the next level.  There are 3 difficulty setting for the game.  

Controlling your Air Car takes practice.  Your Air Car speeds up 
and slows down at the same rate of speed unless you have a brake 
power up.  So approaching enemies and buildings you need to start 
slowing down almost before you see them.  Otherwise you will ram 
them and take some damage.  Turning the craft you have two options, 
one of them is normal turning which is slow and can take a large 
radius at speed or banked turning which turns your craft at roughly 
45 degree angle for sharp turning abilities.  You toggle between 
them with the "Option" key on the controller.  I found in my 
limited playing time with the game the normal setting worked for me 
best.  It was just easier to see objects upright when trying to 
fight and shoot them.  With practice I may get the hang of the 
banked setting.  When engaging enemies you have 2 weapons active at 
a time.  You are defaulted a Shotgun and Auto Cannon.  These are 
not the most powerful available but do enough damage with well 
placed shots to live with.  If you have other weapons available you 
can toggle them by either pressing the "1" or "3" buttons to place 
them on the left or right side of your craft.  To fire weapons 
press "A" for the right and "B" for the left.  To get more powerful 
weapons you must destroy enemies and their weapons become available 
to you, but you have to get them in under 5 seconds after 
destroying an enemy or they are gone.  Weapons range from the 
weaker shotgun to the destructive tank cannon.  Mines and smoke 
grenades are available to help screen yourself and slow down or 
destroy enemies chasing you.  Enemies can be stationary gun 
placements, slow and big tanks, to small and fast vehicles.  After 
certain levels there are Bosses to contend with.  I've not 
progressed far enough in 2 hours to meat one yet.  The device you 
rely on the most is your radar.  Simply put without it your lost.  
It gives you tremendous amount of information.  Every enemy, 
building, power up, or another player is a different color and some 
of them flash on the radar meaning something different.  In the 
manual each color is explained.  When an enemy toasts you the view 
changes into a 360 degree rotating camera view from overheard.  
This gives you a look of the surrounding terrain and who blasted 
you.

Graphics : 

>From first glance sub par for a 64 bit system.  Nothing is overly 
detailed pretty much looks like a 8 or 16 bit graphics.  Objects 
appear very plain looking or somewhat blocky.  But not to make 
excuses for Midnight Entertainment Group, but this game takes place 
in the future after a nuclear holocaust.  So how pretty would the 
landscape be then?  The graphical atmosphere presented is pretty 
gloomy.  You don't get to see to far in the distance, is it from 
fog or fall out?  I don't know, but that's why your radar is so 
important.

Sound :

Thunderous explains it best!  I played it through headphones on my 
Catbox and explosions are awesome.  This is the best sounding Jag 
game.  If hooked up to the stereo your house will really rock on 
the foundation.  But the best part is that you have true 3D sound.  
For those unfamiliar with this new buzzword it means that you have 
true 360 degree sound.  You know exactly where enemies are via 
sound alone.  With  headphones I could tell if I was getting shot 
from behind, left, or my right.   It really adds to the playability 
of the game.   There is no music during game play, just intro 
music.

Overall :

    I'm quite pleased with the game.  It's a very involved game.  
Don't let the graphics fool you.  It may be simple looking but this 
is not a simple game.  You won't blow through this one quickly.  
Add to the fact that you and up to 7 others (if you can find them) 
can 
play one hell of a seek and destroy mission.  Each player can take 
a certain area of the base and destroy it.  Only problem I saw when 
attacking a base together is that you can easily mistake your 
partner as the enemy and toast em.

-- 
Novell DOS 7.0 - IBM OS/2 Warp 4.0           Fred Horvat
Win95 - MagiC 5.0                            Free-Net Atari Portfolio Sigop
Compuserve ID : 104020.3022@compuserve.com   Atari Classic/LYNX/Jaguar gamer


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