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Atari Jaguar - On the Prowl

Atari has prepared its own welcome to the jungle with the introduction of the Atari Jaguar, a new 64-bit multimedia entertainmen system. Scheduled for regional release this holiday season in New York and San Francisco, National availability of the Jaguar will follow in January.

The Jaguar will feature a 16.7 million color palette with true 32-bit graphics, as well as 16-bit CD quality sound. The 64-bit RISC based processor can process at 55 MIPS (million instructions per second), allowing animation speeds in excess of 850 million pixels per second. This means that users can expect to see games with highly detailed fluid animation, as well as 3 dimensional rendering and texture mapping. The high-performance joypad included with the Jaguar will have three fire buttons, pause, option, and a 12-key numeric keypad with game-specific overlays. The system will be priced at around $200.

Atari also plans to release several titles for the system. These include:
* Crescent Galaxy. This life-like shooter pits players as Corporal Trevor McFur of the Circle Reserve Core. Returning from a deep-space reconnaissance mission, you and your shipmate intercept a long-range transmission informing you that you are the only hope to save the galaxy against a ruthless creature. Nine high-powered levels await to challenge gamers in this fast-paced shooter.
* Cybermorph. Players control a high-tech futuristic machine capable of altering its outer skin to improve its ability to interact with the environment. Gamers must fend off attacking aliens on an interplanetary battlefield while rescuing stranded survivors of a dying war.
* Raiden. Hoping to showcase the Jaguar's abilities, this title promises to be a faithful translation of the stand-up coin-op.
* Alien vs. Predator. Hunter, hunted, and hell. Players may choose to be the Predator, Alien, or a Marine Corporal in this first-person real-time action game.
* Tempest 2000. Based on the vector graphic arcade classic, Tempest 2000 sports an updated version of this old favorite. Manipulative abilities have been updated to include spins and twists not available in the original version. The cartridge will also include the classic edition.

And Atari doesn't plan to let the fun stop here. A CD ROM peripheral is already in the design phase. The unit is planned to play audio CDs, Karaoke discs, and CD+G discs. Using SuperMac Technologies CinePak compression techniques, the Jaguar CD ROM will be able to play up to 60 minutes of full-screen, full-color, full-motion video. Atari also plans to release an MPEG 2 cartridge that will allow users to play full length motion pictures from CD.

With specs like these, Atari hopes to take the Jaguar head to head with 3DO. And with the price difference ($200 versus approximately $700) they may well succeed. The Atari Jaguar should be available regionally beginning in October.


Originally appeared Vol 2, Iss 3 (08-10/93)

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