Games   -   AvP (Atari Jaguar, 1994)

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AvP (Atari Jaguar)
Atari Jaguar
Fox Video Games / Atari
AvP (Atari Jaguar)
AvP (Atari Jaguar)

Reviewed on Apr 17, 2006 by:   SiL

Graded 5 out of 5

The AvP for the Atari Jaguar is a first for two things: The first AvP first-person-shooter, and the first game of all three series where you could play as the title characters, not just a marine.

AvP Jag comes from the early days of FPS games, where the emphasis was on action, thrills, and scares, not characters or plots. Like the later AvP FPS games, the player can choose to be a Marine, a Predator, or an Alien, with three interlocking stories (although here the interlocking nature is played down considerably). The Marine must clean out the infested base of Aliens and Predators and escape alive: The Predator is on the hunt for the ultimate trophy, the Queenís head: And the Alien is out to free the Queen.


The biggest thing a player of the newer games may notice is a lack of wall-walking capabilities. This is because of the hardware limitations - the system simply wasnít powerful enough to accommodate it - but also because, even if they could do it, itíd be terribly redundant. With no lighting, and all the rooms being the same height, the advantage of dropping from a dark ceiling are lost.

To make up for it, however, the creators of the game came up with one of the most ingenious devices Iíve ever seen in a game: Coccooning victims. Not only is this freaking cool, but it serves as a save-point for when you die.

The Alien missions are fairly simplistic, reflecting the creatures themselves: There are no annoying key-cards, no extra weapons to pick up, nothing - itís all you, baby. This, without a doubt, also makes it the hardest of all the missions, forcing you to think before you attack, because, unlike the later games, running into a room full of marines or Predators really isnít a good idea: You will, barring some freak stroke of luck, die.


The emphasis here is on honour. If you attack an opponent while visible, you get honour points: Attack while cloaked, however, and you lose points. Honour points let you gain access to better weaponry, and when your primary weapon is a near-useless pair of wristblades (armed with these, three or four humans attacking together will easily take you down - armed with something better, theyíre toast), you really wanna make the effort to resist turning invisible.

The Predatorís weapons include the wristblade, disc, shoulder-cannon, and something I never quite figured out (possibly the speargun). You can heal yourself, just like the later games, but unlike them you can choose how much by. This comes in handy when you have a limited amount of healing ability, so the less you use, the better.

Iíd have to say the Predator campaign is probably the most enjoyable of the lot. Thereís a nice, even balance between strength, speed, and resistance, making it comparitvely easier to the other missions, but still quite hard.


Picture this:††There is a wall to your left and back, Predators moving in from the right, a horde of Aliens rushing towards you from the front, youíre out of am-munition and you have no melee weapon.

Say hello to the Marine campaign.

The Marine campaign, while probably not the hardest of the three, is without a doubt the most intense, the scariest, and the toughest. Your only available wea-pons are the shotgun, flame thrower, pulse rifle, and smart-gun, but no melee weapon to speak of. Once you run out of ammunition - and with the hideous amounts of Aliens that swarm you, you will - youíre dead meat.

Or are you?

Strangely, the human is incredibly tough and fast to boot - faster, to my surprise, than the Alien, and ob-viously the slower Predator (his long-ranged weapons more than make up for it). He can withstand quite a long beating from an Alien and an impressive on-slaught from the Predator.

The Marine mission starts off with you in a cell block. After you collect a shotgun, your goal is to kill weird bugs, intergalactic hunters, and get the hell out alive. As I said earlier, this is without a doubt the hardest campaign (the Alien wins in overall hardness). Not only is it because you have to run around looking for bloody keycards to get out to the important parts of the levels,†or because ammunition is sparse (only when you really need it), but because itís freaking creepy.

Aliens are everywhere: Youíve just dispatched two when you step through a door and BAM! Thereís another five racing towards you. Predators tend to introduce themselves through whispered quotes from the movies, then appear behind your sorry ass and blow you to kingdom come before youíve finished turning around.

Itís intense, itís creepy.

Itís awesome.


I think the gameís only real downfall is the level designs. Aboard the Predator ship, or within the Alien hive, it is very easy to get lost. The levels are no more than box mazes harkening back to the mother of all FPSís, Wolfenstein 3D, and the only way to destinguish between the areas of a map are through the textures used. In the Hive and Predator ship levels, the textures are very same-looking, making it hard to tell whether or not youíve been to a certain area - indeed, the only way to be certain is if thereís a couple of dead bodies lying around.

Otherwise, the majority of the maps - which take place on the human facility - are rather easy to navigate, with many different, destinct sections, like the mess hall, med lab, and so on. Consider the age of the game, and the limitations imposed by the system it was running on, the bulk of the level designs are really quite well done.


- Fun
- Good replay value
- Coccooning - come on, itís just plain cool!
- Atmospheric
- Intense
- Good choice of weapons
- Unique


- Dated graphics
- Buggy at times - collision detection mainly


In this oneís opinion, an extremely enjoyable game, with some fairly unique aspects that are sorely missing from later AvP games (whatever happened to the points system? HUH?!)