In a 64-bit world ruled by the almighty Nintendo 64, it can be easy to forget about the best Atari Jaguar games that were released throughout the 1990s.
Atari are, and always will be, gaming giants, having secured legendary status during the golden age of gaming.
Coming out before the N64, the Atari Jaguar claimed to be the first 64-bit console ever made.
It competed directly with the SNES and some of the best Sega Genesis games, though sadly couldn’t hold it’s own against 16-bit plumbers and supersonic hedgehogs.
The Atari Jaguar – A Career Killer?
Why Did The Atari Jaguar Not Sell Well?
The console sold little over 100’000 units in its lifespan. Despite being a ’64-bit’ machine, it struggled to keep up with 16-bit titles of the day.
When you consider that the SNES sold over 43-million units, the jaguar was a pretty big flop.
The console hardware was buggy, and the whole production process seemed to be a bit of a shambles.
It struggled to garner a strong following, and some players just couldn’t get on board with the overly-busy Pro Controller.
The 64-bit Debacle
Atari claimed that the Jaguar was the world’s first 64-bit console, but that might have technically been a bit of a lie.
The console has two 32-bit chips inside it named Tom and Jerry…
No wonder this thing didn’t go well; weren’t Tom and Jerry always trying to kill each other?
By this reckoning of adding chips together, the Sega Genesis/Megadrive should have been the world’s first-ever 112-bit console and had no excuse for showing 2D side-scrolling graphics!
How Many Games Are Available?
There was little third-party support for this console either, making the overall available game library just 50 titles strong.
Developers didn’t want to make games for a buggy, sinking ship, and players soon lost interest when no new titles were being released.
Yet despite all this, we still love this console.
Why? For the same reason that we love the Dreamcast and the WonderSwan Crystal. They are the last console offerings of great gaming heroes; in this case, Sega and Gunpei Yokoi.
The Jaguar might have been the console that knocked Atari out of the race, but the best Atari Jaguar games will still keep this console cropping up in second-hand stores and online auction sites for years to come.
Children will be looking up at that insane controller in years to come wondering whether to play a game with it or order food on it.
In honour of this fallen console, let’s take a look at 15 of the best Atari Jaguar games ever made (discounting the other 35 for now).
15. Defender 2000
First up on our list of the best Atari Jaguar games is Defender 2000, a super-charged sequel to the original Defender game.
We’re talking more power, more guns, more space, more enemies…more everything!
Can you protect the lives of thousands of space miners while knocking back waves and waves of blood-thirsty aliens.
No one ever said that being a space pilot was going to be an easy ride, you know!
Defender 2000 has over 100 levels to play through, and the Atari Jaguar saves your progress after every 5.
Chances are you’re most likely to die in the last ten-seconds of that fifth level every single time without fail…
There’s an updated version of the classic arcade game to play through and lots of new features to explore in the main game such as power-ups that can be obtained after defeating enemies.
If you’re a big fan of space blaster titles such as Star Fox, then you’ll love Defender 2000.
Speaking of Star Fox, Cybermorph is pretty much Atari’s answer to Fox McCloud’s intrepid adventure series.
This open-world 3D adventure sees you zipping between different planets while fighting robot cretins who serve the The Pernitia Empire.
The gameplay is open world and from a third-person perspective. All you need to do is fly around zapping bad guys while trying to stay alive.
Which is easier said than done!
While the game plot tries to recreate the terrifying experiences of a galactic war, the graphics don’t exactly match up.
Still, if you prefer the space battles in Star Trek and Star Wars as opposed to the ‘on-the-ground’ combat scenes with sabers and stun-rays, then you’ll be in your element up above a pixelated planet’s surface.
This game would have gone higher in the list, but the simple fact is that it just doesn’t look as good as some of the other titles for the Jaguar, especially when you put Cybermorph side-by-side with Lylat Wars for the N64, a console of supposed comparable power.
Still, it’s a great game and worth a play if you can pick it up for a few pennies on a second hand site.
13. Power Drive Rally
Next up on our list of the best Atari Jaguar games is a top-down race with attitude!
I mean ‘top-down view’, not taking the roof down…you get the idea.
Power Drive Rally is a game made specifically for the Atari Jaguar and the sequel to the fan-favourite Power Drive.
As the name suggests, this game is all about taking branded cars that you know and love through a series of rally courses, tackling water, tough terrain, and sharp corners-a-plenty.
There are 34 courses to race through in Power Drive Rally, all of which can be affected by different weather conditions.
Players can compete in a variety of modes in countries such as Corsica, Kenya, Arizona, and the UK.
So if you can’t travel due to the Coronavirus, then you could at least see the world from an overhead perspective!
To say that the game was completed by a team of just four people, it’s a cracking title and a nostalgic racer that makes me think of the Micro Machines franchise.
Give it a try and let us know your thoughts!
12. The Humans/Dino Dudes
Some of you might know of this game as being ‘The Humans’, but here on the Jaguar it’s known as ‘Dino Dudes’.
If you’ve ever played Lemmings, then you’ll grasp the concept of this title in around 13.5 seconds, maybe less on a good day.
It’s basically the same concept with dim-witted neanderthals instead of green-haired blue-cloaked lemmings.
Players have to get at least one of their prehistoric charges to a designated spot at the end of a level to complete the stage.
The idea was thought up while the developer spent time working with the Lemmings team, so a lot of the play style is the same.
Players control one Dino Dude at a time, using different tools and abilities to get through a selection of ever-changing obstacles and scenarios.
Unlike Lemmings where there could be tonnes of the little blighters on screen at once, there might only be eight Dino Dudes in some stages and three in others.
It’s tough and hair-tearingly difficult in places, but it’s a cracking puzzler to feed your grey-matter.
11. Atari Karts
Every console needs a racing game to entice fans in, and this next entry in our list of the best Atari Jaguar games served as a pull for gamers who were still on the fence about Atari’s latest offering.
Atari Karts was designed to compete with Mario Kart on the SNES. The characters do look a little more defined in Atari Karts, almost 3D, and the levels are surprisingly rich with detailed backgrounds.
Unlockable characters create an incentive to become an Atari Karts master too, keeping you coming back for more
New characters can be unlocked by winning different races on the four difficulty settings. Our favourite racer has to be the octopus wearing a helmet – you would have incredible clutch control with all of those tentacles!
Critics praised this games smooth controls and music, though many saw it as cashing in on the Super Mario Kart bandwagon.
There’s no denying that it is very similar, but most early karting games are. If you’ve got a Jaguar and want some friendly multiplayer action, then kart up and get racing!
10. Zool 2
At Number 10 on our list of the best Atari Jaguar games is Zool 2, a side-scrolling sequel that sees the return of everyone’s favourite gremlin ninja.
See, today you found out that you’ve got a favourite gremlin. It’s been a productive day after all!
In Zool 2, Zool is joined by his female companion Zooz and their pet, a two headed dog called Zoon.
Zool, Zooz, and Zoon…got it.
They are trying to save the Nth dimension from the evil Krool and his right-hand man, a shapeshifter named Mental Block.
You can tell by the info above that this game is already going to be a fun and pretty zany experience (maybe Zany is Zool’s long lost cousin or his cat).
The game has a Sonic vs DuckTales feel to it, with colouruful levels, a fried egg with eyes, and lots of ‘cutsey’ enemies to defeat.
Unlike Atari Karts, game reviewers were very excited to get their hands on a copy of Zool 2. It received very positive reviews and looked at one time as though it would go on to spawn multiple sequels.
We could have been on ‘Zool 10 – The Final Zoom’ or something now!
Collect items, defeat bad guys, and save the universe; piece of cake!
9. Flashback: The Quest For Identity
Created by the same minds as Future Wars, Flashback: The Quest For Identity is a sci-fi nerds paradise.
I’m a huge fan of the cinematic qualities of this game, and so, it seems, are most of France!
Flashback is noted as being ‘the best-selling French video game’ of all time in the Guinness Book of Records.
That’s a pretty good accolade to have and yet another reason why this title deserves to be in our list of the best Atari Jaguar games of all time!
See that background below? All of the backgrounds in this game are hand drawn and rotoscoped, giving it a truly unique feel as well as a fluid one that promotes easy, stress free gameplay.
Critics have compared Flashback to the Prince of Persia action/adventure game, one that we recently covered in our best Sega Game Gear games.
There are seven levels to guide the game’s main character through, as well as unlimited ammunition for defeating enemies on the go.
After crashing your hoverbike on a mutant-filled planet and finding a message recorded by yourself from the future on a holocube you had no idea you owned, the adventure of a lifetime begins.
Talk about a crappy start to your day!
8. Iron Soldier
Next up on our list of the best Atari Jaguar games is Iron Soldier, a game that has an incredibly impressive front cover and graphics that make the robots look like ‘cardboard box-bots’.
I’m being overly harsh; this was the 90s after all.
But still, if the robots came out looking as good as that front image, this would have been the best game of all time.
Thank goodness that the gameplay is absolutely awesome, and I think my four-year-old self would have been insanely impressed with this title back in the day.
Everything looked great when you’re a four-year-old in the 90s…
… apart from future life prospects and the fashion for popper pants.
Iron Soldier was born from the same minds that created Cybermorph and is set in a dystopian future where fighting robots reign supreme.
Evil corporations have taken over the globe, filling it to the brim with machinery, missiles, and the like.
Not too different from 2020 then, eh?
I love the fact that this game is open world, allowing you to complete missions at your own pace in your own order. Just running around battling and fighting is enough to keep me occupied for hours.
And although the graphics look odd now, they were considered pretty ground-breaking in the early days of 3D gaming.
If you like titles such as Rogue Squadron where sometimes protecting and defending others is sometimes more important than all out attacking, then Iron Soldier will be right up your street.
7. Tempest 2000
The front cover for Tempest 2000 looks a little like the pictures of a rave my cousin showed me from the 90s.
It may even have been the same event…
Like Defender 2000, this futuristic-style tube shooter is an updated version of the original Tempest game, providing a modified and improved experience that critics went crazy for.
And the soundtrack; man did this game have some epic tunes!
Both Tempest and Defender 2000 have had the same musical minds working on them, and while the Jaguar had limited cartridge space for sounds compared to some of the other consoles that I’ve played this game on, it still managed to include some corkers!
Like Defender 2000, you can use power-ups and unlimited firepower to destroy enemies while travelling through space.
It’s an intergalactic survival game that has very much taken influence from Space Invaders, which instantly makes it a hit in my book.
With the ability to earn level skips, cool warp zones, and the super-tough Beastly mode to play through, Tempest 2000 is a game that you can play again and again without ever getting bored.
6. NBA Jam: Tournament Edition
And if you do get bored playing Tempest 2000, then you can fire up the next title on our list of the best Atari Jaguar games and take part in some big-head basketball action.
Ok, so there isn’t a big-head cheat on the game below; for some reason they all just have bonces that are disproportionately sized to their bodies.
That strange factor aside, NBA Jam: T.E is an epic game and a perfect title to kick back with when you have a mate over for a few beers.
It’s the first entry in the NBA Jam series, and back in the arcade days, this game generated $1-billion in quarters alone.
Think how heavy that would be to carry to the bank!
NBA Jam: T.E is 2-v-2 basketball and one of the first playable basket ball games ever made.
It’s also the first to use licensed players from the NBA, even if they all have weird looking heads.
I came to this game a little later in life, but now, it’s one of my all time favourites.
For someone like me who is terrible at most sports, I love the fact that there are no fouls, no violations, and very few rules to remember in this game.
Oh, and the fact that everyone can jump super high and slam dunk incredibly easily.
If life were a video game, I’d be a pro player in no time.
This vertical-scrolling shoot-’em-up ended up being one of the most loved arcade games of all time in Japan after a slow burn at the start of its life.
Now, it’s garnered a cult following amongst the retro gaming community and is a game that you need to play at least once (preferably 100 times minimum) before you die.
You play as a pilot controlling a ship called Fighting Thunder, a craft based on technology built by the very aliens that are invading earth.
And yes, you are humanity’s only hope of survival.
Fighting Thunder is one epic name for a ship, and luckily it’s capable of getting out of the various sticky situations that you will invariably find yourself in throughout the course of this game.
Bombs and weapon power-ups can be obtained to make mincemeat of the opposition (or pulled jackfruit if you’re Vegan), and the vibrant colours used in the backgrounds look pretty swish across the games eight stages.
Grab a friend and try the multiplayer mode out too – BRING THE FIGHTING THUNDER!
4. Alien Vs Predator
What could be better than a game where you can play as three different characters with three storylines?
Maybe making one of those characters an alien trophy hunter and one an Internecivus Raptus life-form intent on killing everything in its wake?
Yeah, that would make it better!
Set in the Golgotha Training Base of the United States, Alien Vs Predator sees you playing as Alien, Predator, or Colonial Marine Lance J. Lewis, working through separate campaigns to achieve a storyline-specific goal.
The alien is working to kick Predator ass while saving the alien queen from a Predator Ship.
The Predator wants to reach the Alien Queen and claim her skull as some sort of weird trophy.
And the Colonial Marine just wants to get the hell out of the way of the other two while keeping his life intact.
Talk about getting stuck in the middle of an intergalactic domestic!
Alien Vs Predator was one of the most popular games for the Atari Jaguar back in the day. Critics went crazy for it, and it was soon included as a ‘pack-in’ title to go alongside the console in Japan.
Those 2D digital sprites might not be up to the level we saw on the PS5 pricing live stream, but they make for a killer game in all senses of the word.
Next up on our list of the best Atari Jaguar games is a character that you all know and love, even if you can’t understand how his limbs and arms manage to move…
Rayman bridges the gap between young and older gamers. It’s a colourful, beautifully thought out game that is timeless.
And thanks to the Rayman Redemption fan remake, more and more people will be experiencing the wacky world of our armless hero!
Rayman has always managed to hold his own alongside Mario and Sonic, and the levels on his self-named game are brightly coloured, richly textured, and filled with interesting elements that help the play to become immersed in the adventure.
See; I can write seriously when I want to.
Rayman must free all of the Electoons as he travels through six different worlds.
Think a side-scolling Spyro-esque game and you’ve got the picture.
If you’re a fan of stomping enemies and loved playing some of the best Master System games such as Castle of Illusion, then you’ll be head over heels for Rayman!
(Rayman’s head would probably fall to his heels if you gave him a good nudge).
Nothing is quite as good for de-stressing after a tiresome day of being shouted at in the office than destroying demons in Doom.
Ok, so I don’t ever have that scenario working as a writer, but I still enjoy dispelling life’s tensions by pumping hellish ghouls full of lead!
Doom is set both on a moon floating around Mars and in the bowels of Hell.
I’d say that they’re one and the same when it comes down to it, but adding ‘outer space’ to any game makes it seem cooler.
You play as ‘Doomguy’, a name that the retro gaming community have given this unknown space marine as he singlehandedly takes on hordes of monsters, terrors, ghouls, and ugly demons.
Although it’s technically classed as a 2.5D game, Doom and the next title in our list of the best Atari Jaguar games helped to push the First-Person-Shooter market back in the 90s.
It’s possible that we might not have franchises such as Call of Duty or Fortnite without them!
1. Wolfenstein 3D
Ever wanted to step back in time and infiltrate a Nazi base, kicking ass and stopping a corrupt power from taking over the globe?
Wolfenstein 3D deservedly takes top place in our list of the best Atari Jaguar games, the numero uno grandaddy of shooting games and one of the most influential titles of all time!
Many still consider this game, the third title in the Wolfenstein series, to be the best shooting game ever made, paving the way for future titles that we know and love today.
Wolfenstein 3D sees the player taking an an American spy of Polish origin through a series of hell-raising missions to destroy Hitler and his Nazi cronies.
Whereas the first two Wolfenstein games were stealthy side-scrollers with minimal chance of you losing your wits when you skulked around a 2D non-existent corner, Wolfenstein 3D is an ‘edge-of-your-seat kind of game.
I’d drop a brick if I saw that big guy running towards me!
Like the lord of the rings, the game is divided into trilogies. There are two three-part stories to work through.
One of the levels is simply called ‘Die, Führer, Die!’…
… I don’t think this guy is messing around; he means business!