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The most anticipated, and belated, Jaguar game finally shows itself at the World of Atari 98.

Publisher ScatoLOGIC
Developer 4Play
Platform Jaguar
Genre Strategy/Shooter

August 25, 1998

One of the most anticipated moments at last weekend's World of Atari show in Las Vegas was the unveiling of 4Play's Battlesphere. After a colorful speech by company founders Scott LeGrand and Stephanie Wukovitz, attendees were shuffled over to the demonstration area where four Jaguars came alive with refreshing images of the long awaited multi-player deathfest.

The game plays like the classic Star Raiders, only retrofitted with a 90s flare. The graphics move quickly and smoothly, achieving effects equal to those found on a PlayStation or Nintendo 64. Out of respect to the original Star Raiders, enemy missiles are modelled after the classic masterpiece. The opponent AI is dead on and easily adjustable, ranging from an easy mode of play to Minter mode (A tip of the hat to the creator of Tempest 2000).

Every button on the keypad is used, but essentially breaks down to three rows of the same control options, so mastering the controls is fairly simple. Multiplayer mode is fantastic, and proved more stable than Jaguar's problematic Doom, which was notorious for syncing problems.

The music by Stephanie Wukovitz is excellent, surpassing every stereotypical limitation of the cartridge format. LeGrand explains the sound as "John Williams meets Danny Elfman meets Techno." The sound effects are another highlight, paying homage wherever possible to the classic Star Raiders by actually incorporating the same sound effects.

In the end, the wait was worth it. It's too bad that the game will not receive the large audience it deserves. When asked if it would be ported to another system, Scott leGrand was optimistic. "We'd love to," he said. "Anyone interested in funding it?"

Given the quality of the game, that shouldn't be a problem.

Battlesphere is definitely one of the best Jaguar games, sharing top honors with Tempest 2000. The only problem with the game may be finding a copy.