Format reviewed: MSX I/II
Submitted by: Mat Corne
Sky Jaguar is a conversion of a little-known Konami arcade game whose only home port was to the MSX. Clearly influenced by Xevious, this vertical shooter sees you fly your spacecraft over a variety of landscapes and offers a selection of air and ground based enemies to be dispatched including a couple of large bases. The games features some rudimentary power-ups including a double shot, which I reckon must be one of the earliest examples of such things in scrolling shmups.
With some nicely designed backgrounds (especially the ‘grand canyon’ style stages) and a reasonable difficulty curve, this would have been quite an impressive offering for it’s era but for one thing – the scrolling, if you can call it that, is absolutely diabolical! Highlighting an issue with the MSX that competitors such as the C64 didn’t have, it seems there is no hardware scrolling, meaning that action games such as this shift the screen along by blocks at a time – in this case, around an inch of the screen is shifted with each ‘scroll’ which is incredibly jerky and quite distracting. That said, the game itself does compensate somewhat by being both challenging and addictive with high score chasing being the main reason to replay. Sky Jaguar is by no means a classic, but is worth a look if you’re interested in the evolution of Konami shoot em ups.