Official Gamer's Guide

I think it's fair to say that pretty much every console accumulates spin-off literature of some form or another. Magazines, cheat books, FAQs...the list goes on, and the Jaguar is no different it seems. Up until about a week ago, I'd never heard of such a tome, but it appears that there was indeed a 'companion' booklet released: The Atari Jaguar Official Gamer's Guide. I should really amend that description - calling this thing a mere 'booklet' is a bit of a mistruth - it's freaking huge! (check out the comparison pic below with the Iron Soldier box for a true representation of scale).

The Guide (not to be confused with a similarly named book published by Megadodo Publications) weighs in at an impressive 246 pages, and as it says on the front cover, contains guides and solutions to 18 of the Jag's most popular games. And these are (in no particular order other than the order in which they appear in the Guide) as follows:

Alien Vs Predator
Brutal Sports Football
Cannon Fodder
Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story
Hover Strike
Iron Soldier
Kasumi Ninja
Tempest 2000
Theme Park
Trevor McFur
Wolfenstein 3D
Zool 2

The book gives a brief intro for each game, including the control layout - which is great if most of the games you own are cartridges without the books or boxes, and some of the games featured also have the overlays reproduced so you have a visual aid as to what all the key pad buttons do (very helpful if, again, you don't have any of the button overlays).

There's also a section at the back which has cheat codes for other games not covered in the main 'guides' bit, and also a 'cheat' for the Jaguar console that I was completely unaware of...but will detail here on Do The Math in it's own page...!

The Guide's introduction blurb gives this description of the Jaguar console:

"Atari Jaguar features a 64-bit architecture, making it the world's most powerful game system. Jaguar is more than twice as fast as 32-bit platforms. Jaguar games feature high-speed animation, realistic 3D graphics, CD-quality sound, striking color images. The Jaguar itself is a sleek, high-tech system that uses an advanced game controller with a customizable 12-button keypad."

Not sure whether 'high speed animation' is even a thing, let alone something to boast about...but top marks for at least trying to promote the machine!

The rest of this section explains why the Jag is the Best Thing Ever™ with various oddly-titled sections about Warping, Blitter and Programmable Object Processors (?). Other parts of the book contain interviews with Jaguar game developers (including Andrew Whittaker of AvP fame; and Jeff Minter - who is a very nice bloke (I met him at Play Expo 2013 - did I mention that?)), and the very back pages feature a rather amusing article on Atari's online presence, and gives helpful advice on how to go about getting onto the Information Super-Highway (tip - try setting your communications software for half duplex at either 300, 1200, 2400 or 9600 baud, Jag fans!).

The Atari Jaguar Official Gamer's Guide is a great book, not just as an oddity for collectors, but for those who may not have all the books and overlays for their games. It is well written and features lots of screenshots, clear instructions and some genuinely humorous writing. I only paid £4.95 for it (in brand new condition from an eBay seller who probably found a shipping container full, judging by the quantity they have for sale!), and I think it was money well spent.

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