Total Recall

When I first got my Jaguar CD unit, the subject of saving my progress in any CD-based games I subsequently purchased was the furthest thing from my mind. I never thought I'd ever own a Jaguar CD, so the finer details were an irrelevance at the time - the mere fact that I was in possession of the add-on was good enough for me. After the initial glow of wonder had worn off though, it quickly became apparent that there was no built in storage capacity in the Jaguar CD, and every time I turned a game off my progress was wiped from existence. This isn't really a problem with titles like Vid Grid or Blue Lightning as they're good for a quick blast every now and then regardless of whether you can save your progress...but games like Battlemorph and Myst are pretty much redundant without some way of saving your adventure's status. I did a little bit of research and discovered the existence of the Memory Track - a memory module designed specifically for the Jaguar CD. I also discovered just how rare and expensive the things were, and once again resigned myself to never owning one and being destined to forever play the first few missions of a CD game before turning off.

This all changed recently, however. I was minding my own business on Facebook when a friend shared an image of a load of boxed Jaguar games that retro-gaming retailer Level Up Games had just acquired. I quickly glanced at the image and was about to just scroll past it (I already had 99% of the games pictured) when up in the corner I noticed something oddly familiar - a boxed Memory Track! I quickly messaged Level Up about the item and asked how much they were selling it for. The answer came back: £35. Now, this may sound like a lot of money for what is essentially just a memory card, but these things can fetch double that on eBay and the like, so I bit the bullet and decided the time was right for me to own one. I paid the fee and a few days later, the Memory Track dropped through the letter box:

As you would imagine, the Memory Track doesn't really do a lot other than save your progress in compatible games. Contrary to this though, the back of the box lists the following 'exciting' things you can do with your new purchase:
  • Store high scores - break your own record
  • Store game progress to a specific point or level - pick up where you left off
  • Store specific character configurations - save the characters you created
  • Store particular levels or worlds - use them later
The third point there is a little puzzling - I can't think of any Jaguar CD games that allow you to create your own characters. Maybe the leftovers from a title that was planned for the system and then dropped?

I was a little perplexed that there is no obvious way to access a menu through the Jaguar CD - indeed the system doesn't even acknowledge the presence of the Memory Track until it prompts you to save your progress in whichever game it is that you're playing. Out of curiosity, I took the CD unit off the top of my Jag and put the Memory Track directly into the base system...and was confronted by this:

So there you have it. The Memory Track is a functional and pretty essential piece of kit if you have a Jaguar CD. I do like that it is styled after t regular game cartridge, but this was probably just down to ease of manufacture. I'm still a little bemused at the lack of at least a small amount of internal memory in the Jaguar CD unit itself...but I'm happy with the purchase and even happier that I can now save my progress in my CD games.

Thanks again to Level Up Games for the fast postage and great customer service. Be sure to check them out on Facebook.

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