“It all depends on which side of the fence you are standing” („Punktwidzeniazależyodpunktusiedzenia”: lit. “Your point of view depends on where you sit”). When I put that popular saying into an image search engine, a variety of weird things appeared. A huge chunk of them was utterly sexist and chauvinistic (not exclusively male). So, having acquired a point of reference, I started my comparison. But is it even possible to have a proper comparison without innuendos and allusions? Not according to a certain commercial for some car insurance price advisor, which teaches you that all men are: a) drivers who pay for car insurance, b) thinking with their crotch, c) such simpletons that only a half-naked actress (who sometimes has to take some common cold medicine) can persuade them to buy something. Is it me, or have we really sunk to such depths? How far is going to get in the future, e.g. at the time of our retirement? Oh, I forgot, most of us, i.e. people of my generation, thanks to ZUS, Fiskus and NFZ (polish social security institutions) won’t survive long enough to retire. So no worries.
I’m far from doing irrational comparisons, since I try to approach everything in life in equally objective manner. However, each time someone says “Jaguar XJ220”, I want to reply with “Lotus”. That’s probably what most Amiga racing games fans would have done in 1992 and would still do today.
Back in the day, it was said that “Jaguar” wasthe main competitor of “Lotus”.Each of these games had, and still has, a slew of fans and opponents.It can be witnessed nowadays just by lookingat the comment sections under various articles about the games, where fans argue about superiority of their beloved title.
In spite of my fondness for “Lotus”, “Jaguar XJ220” still has a relatively high position on my “The Best of” list, so I’ll try to review it as objectively as possible.
The game greets us with an option to select one of four available languages: German, English, Italian and French. After that we are transported behind the wheel of the titular Jaguar XJ220, the fastest serially-produced car of the early nineties. Other brands like Ferrari, Porsche, Lamborghini or Bugatti still appear in the game, but their cars are driven exclusively by your opponents. The game offers a career mode that can be played alone or in local multiplayer. Thirty-two available tracks faithfully represent the atmosphere of their real-life counterparts with effects such as rain, snow or fog that accompanies the player while racing in England, Switzerland, Japan or Egypt.
I swore not to make direct comparisons, so I’ll avoid creating the “better/worse” type of review. Known from the rival game, the track editor makes an appearance, but allows the player for a better control. Instead of an auto-generated track restricted only by a few sliders, the player can manipulate a large number of parameters, from the decorative bushes and the number of turns to the placement of the whole scenery. Another feature absent in the competing game is the economy system. By finishing races on a high enough place, the player is awarded cash, which can be used to repair the Jaguar after each race.This money is also used to pay for the flights, if the player chooses to continue their career abroad. The farther the player’s destination is, the more cash is the flight going to require.The game can be controlled by a joystick or a mouse instead of a keyboard (e.g. for the second player. This is also a new feature, which is unavailable in “Lotus”). The game also introduced the ability to save player’s progress after each race. Save files are stored on floppy disks, even if the game is launched from Whdload.
It is said that “Jaguar” surpasses its opponent in the graphics department. I think that’s because of all the well done details, which are sharp and consist of a large number of frames that help the game feel smooth. Some digitized graphics add to the attractiveness of the game. The colour scheme, on the other hand, is in my opinion too grey. The backgrounds are bleak and not diverse enough, which detracts from my final grade.
The humming of an engine, melodic soundtrack and an option to choose a song and sound effects before the race are all made well enough, but in my opinion lack the overalldynamism. The songs don’t live up to their full potential. Some claim that this soundtrack is nothing short of a masterpiece, but I’m going to expose myself to their wrath by saying that I don’t find it captivating.It is pleasant to listen to, but it doesn’t sweep me off my feet.
In my final comparison I’d like to say that “Jaguar XJ220” is a game dedicated for more advanced players. It’s more realistic and sports a better physics engine, which translates into higher difficulty level than in “Lotus”. The aforementioned ability to control the game with a mouse is quite unique when it comes to racing games, but serves its function perfectly.
Regardless, “Jaguar” is considered to be one of the best racing games for Amiga and every fan with a dose of self-respect should not only have it in their collection alongside competing titles, but also coming back to it whenever they please. So, pedal to the metal.