Protector (Atari Jaguar) 1999

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Ice Cream Jonsey
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Protector (Atari Jaguar) 1999

Post by Ice Cream Jonsey »

Image

The Jaguar was a weird system.

It took me years to even get one working around here, the one I bought in the 90s never reliably ran a game. I am probably on borrowed time swapping cartridges as much as I do, which isn't much. I cannot think of a system that has had as much bad design as the Jaguar. Bad design for the controller, the look of console itself and so much of the sound and music and just the way it and its games present themselves.

When living in the 1990s I was not aware of a "1990s style" of presentation on television, but if you look at anything from that decade on Youtube you'll eventually see the off-center camera angles, weirdly orange palettes and shots with a giant face in the foreground and stuff going on in the background. It was a horrible aesthetic. Protector was released in 1999, but this thing is pure, uncomfortable 90s.

A Defender clone, the major failing of the game has to be the fact that the ship just stops when you stop holding the (awful) Jaguar cursor controls. The arcade version of Defender has you coast a bit and it feels more like flight. This thing, though.... I feel like video games need to give you a sense of motion if they are 2D space platformers and I don't know how anyone that ever played any of the games Protector was inspired by could miss this.

And then there is the sound.

In Defender, when a humanoid is starting to get beamed up by the alien craft, a small trill of a sound effect is played. It's bright, unique, induces panic - it's perfect.

In Protector, they just have an audio file of a guy saying, "Help me!" It is so incredibly mimesis-breaking.

The music during the attract screen may be the worst in all of gaming music. I can't think of anything more irritating. Somebody had to put a stop to this. I like to put a game on during the day and when I take a break, I scooch over and play a game for a couple of minutes. I do this with Lode Runner and Jumpman on the PCjr nearby. Or Galacticon on the Steam Deck. You can't do this with Protector because the music is SO BAD.

It's got good parts. While the graphics are very much a post Donkey Kong Country sprite thing with juuuuust too much real life detail and not enough spritely goodness, you can see what is going on. The humanoids run around the planet, which is nice. It's easier to immediately distinguish between enemy types. And Protector has an economy: if you can get cash on a level you can use it to upgrade your ship. Oh, and there are shields for your ship, which is a nice addition to the genre.

But man. I have a flash cart coming, so I guess I will try Defender 2000 next. Protector is a few tweaks away from being a really solid contender, though.
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AArdvark
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Re: Protector (Atari Jaguar) 1999

Post by AArdvark »

Those controllers look the very opposite of ergonomic. I bet there's hand cramps. Are there hand cramps after fifteen minutes?

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Ice Cream Jonsey
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Re: Protector (Atari Jaguar) 1999

Post by Ice Cream Jonsey »

AArdvark wrote: Sat Dec 16, 2023 2:14 pm Those controllers look the very opposite of ergonomic. I bet there's hand cramps. Are there hand cramps after fifteen minutes?
Haha! I guess I have not had cramping, but yes, they are so terrible. You have the entire bottom 75% of the controller set for buttons that, frankly, I can't imagine most games for this system used. The control pad is SO terrible. "Throw" is used for joysticks, so it's not "throw" distance, but the space involved in clicking left or right or whatever and when it hits the base of the gamepad is too small. Every other gamepad gives you a bit more space. The three buttons up top feel alien as well.
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Jizaboz
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Re: Protector (Atari Jaguar) 1999

Post by Jizaboz »

Hahah oh man. I just watched a YouTube video because I don't think I ever tried it on an emulator.

Maybe it's because I like weird/noisy electronic music, but I didn't find the title screen music that bad! But it all goes downhill from there. OMFG dude that music that plays WHILE you are playing the game would drive me absolutely bat shit insane! Every sound effect is fucking awful, but I did find it humorous that when your ship blow up the sound effect sounds like a fast flushing urinal.
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