Reviewed by Kubenka Pavel


Konami's Sky Jaguar was released on MSX computers in 1984, an astounding 14 years ago! A 1941-type shooter, Sky Jaguar fits into 16kB ROM cartridge, a miniscule amount by today's standards. Back then the programmers had to snugly fit the music, sound, code and graphics into this tiny package. As a result of not having much space to play with, older games had to concentrate on playability rather than graphics, a great contrast to today's games!

Here's a few pictures of the whole game: all of the backgrounds and enemies are shown. Mostly they are basic and repeat a lot, with smallish but fierce enemies (unavoidable due to the memory constraints), but there are two fortresses in game to break the levels up a bit.

Looking back today, were we really so naive to enjoy such a basic gamestyle and graphics? Not really, although the 'twitch' style of games have lost popularity in the face of 3D polygons, there are many people who appreciate a fun game no matter how old it is.. Look to Dave's Classics 20million+ hits for proof that classic and older games are still in demand.

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Start of the game, and approaching a city from the sea. Looks like the inhabitants don't like use flying over their airspace! Attacking diagonally, these first craft are easy to destroy.
Into scene two, and if you use your imagination a bit, it's the lava and earthquake area! Next in scene three, it's hundreds of attacking seagulls! Actually, it's not, it's just the sea. Sorry.
Aha! The first Fortress appears, and throws what looks like spiralling spanners at you. Next the tiny spiky things, with really fast bullets. Keep your eyes peeled (what a stupid saying that is!)
The stealth fighters can't be hit while they are shooting, so get in there quick and let rip. Must be the Egyptian level then. These planes amusingly flap their wings as they fly.
Be quick and get a 1,000 bonus by destroying them all. Last boss is the big Spanner Fortness, shooting lots of tiny spanners and bullets at once. Destroy it and...
...End of game? No way! Lots of older games insisted you go back and try harder, and Sky Jaguar is no exception! Go again, and again, and again, and again with ever increasing difficulty. I got a score bigger than 999999 and scene bigger than 99, and still the END didn't come. It looks like some sort of "Neverending story"...

What can this be? Yes, this is our hero's aircraft. Light, fast, newest technology fighter, which is going to save humanity or something like that!

In the first areas they appear alone, but later they come in many combinations
First enemy aircrafts quickly appear diagonally. In later scenes they begin to shoot small bullets around them. Nip under them and shoot them - easy!
These small ones come down very slow. What is fast though, are the bullets from them. Quickly flying from left to right and back again and again (and shooting, of course), will get 'em!
Rotating "dumbbells" fly in spirals. After they near the centre of the screen, they fall down. They also shoot. The 'Left - Right' method will help here too!
Rotating aircrafts slowly appear... When your plane is directly under them, they zoom in trying to hit you. Use left - right method and shoot them before they crash.
These enemies basically are playing ping-pong in the middle of a shootemup. Kill both sides to stop this un-shmup-like behaviour!
Aircraft in chains, that's what attacking you here. Shoot quickly, and if you destroy the whole chain, you get bonus of 1000 points!
Indestructable balls. But, they stop, open, and begin shooting... and if you are quick, get a shot in then and kill em!
Rotating aircrafts in chains. If five crafts coem in fast, you need only to do one thing: shoot them as fast as you can. There's a bonus here too!
Indestructable stealth fighters make an impregnable wall with their bullets. Watch out for the cannons having a rest, and quickly blast them out of the sky.
Aircrafts waving with their wings?! Hmmm.
These rockets are hard nuts. They travel down slowly, then shoot bullets and divide, which zoom in to destroy you. You must employ som clever manoeuvering and quick shooting to get past them.
"Cat heads" fly half way down the screen, then disappear for a moment and suddenly re-appear. But watch out, they are always there! try not to crash into them!

Being such an early title, the concept of powerups was just a little twinkle in the game designers eyes...
If this image appears on screen, get it! It will double and then speed up your shot!
If you save this little parachutist, you will get bonus of 1000 points.
What can this mean ...? Yes, you got 1000 points bonus. If you get a score 10000, 50000, 110000 and so on, you will get a new life.


shmups!   © 1997 - 2007  Malcolm Laurie