12 Best Atari Jaguar Games, Including Jaguar CD

The Atari Jaguar was a short-lived, cartridge-based, 64-Bit video game console, that was released in 1993. Many old-school gamers regard it as one of the worst video game consoles ever made. I don’t agree with that statement. However, I don’t believe the Atari Jaguar lived up to its potential being labeled as a 64-Bit console. My dad bought me and my brother a Jaguar/CD combo for Christmas when we were kids. We played the heck out of it for about two years. The Jaguar CD attachment system ended up breaking so my dad ended up selling the working base system for a Nintendo 64 lol. In its short time frame, the Jaguar did release a lot of pretty good exclusive games and a few worthy ports. Even though nothing spectacular was released for the console, some of these games awkwardly hold a special place in my nostalgic gaming heart. So this is my list of the 12 best Atari Jaguar & CD Games ever made, along with an honorable mentions list of games I believe are worth playing.
NOTE: This list mainly focuses on console exclusives or impressive ports.

12. Brutal Sports Football

#12 Brutal Sports Football
– See It On Amazon
Brutal Sports Football is definitely an overlooked gem on the Jaguar. Sure the graphics are not up to 64-Bit standards, but this game plays so well. It’s a Simple two button affair, you can pass or throw the ball when on offense and tackle or punch when on defense. There is no play calling in Brutal Sports Football, and you have to throw the ball in the goal instead of running inside the touchdown area. It’s kind of like a Rugby/American Football hybrid style of play. Simply two teams of Vikings are placed on a Football field full of traps and deadly items that can be picked up. There is no rules, so the back and forth action can become intense as both teams try to score goals. The controls feel surprisingly smooth and tight. Brutal Sports Football is a console exclusive for the Jaguar and a great port of the original MS-Dos version, with improved music (can become repetitive after a while), colors and sound.
– Gameplay Video

11. Ultra Vortek

#11 Ultra Vortek
Ultra Vortek is by far the best exclusive fighting game on the Atari Jaguar. It’s a generic Mortal Kombat rip off, but a pretty decent game overall. What I liked most about Ultra Vortek was how unique everything felt. The backgrounds, music, characters, and gameplay are all memorable. The characters and atmosphere are pretty diverse from each other, with a mix of extraterrestrial, demonic and post-apocalyptic themes. The music makes this feel like the Heavy Metal version of Mortal Kombat, with nice varied guitar tunes that fit the games overall vibe well. The gameplay is pretty basic, similar to Mortal Kombat 2, but at least it’s fast and the controls are responsive. Characters each have there own moves and Annihilation’s (AKA: fatalities). If you want to experience a decent 2D exclusive fighter on the Jaguar, this is a must play.
– Gameplay Video

10. Super Burnout

#10 Super Burnout
– See It On Amazon
Super Burnout is Jaguar’s exclusive arcade-style motorcycle racer, inspired by SEGA’s popular racer Hang-On. I actually enjoyed this game more than Hang-on. I Loved the 2D graphics, speed, sound, and tracks. Trying to complete all eight tracks is challenging to do in championship mode. The trial and error will keep hardcore fans of this genre coming back to try to master these tracks. Record mode lets you play against the time on empty tracks. The highlight of this game was the versus mode, two players split screen against your bro or friend on the weekend was a nice way to pass time back in the day. This game did not deliver on the 64-Bit graphical promise, but for being a classic arcade style racer, it’s pretty impressive.
– Gameplay Video

9. Blue Lightning (Jaguar CD)

#9 Blue Lightning
– See It On Amazon
I remember some SEGA fanboys comparing Jaguar CD’s exclusive airplane fighter game Blue Lighting to SEGA’s After Burner, saying it was a sucky ripoff, even though they never played it. Blue Lightning actually has a slower pace, and more technical gameplay then After Burner. The game featured cool aircrafts to choose from, a rocking soundtrack, and challenging levels to play through. There is a lot of trial and error in Blue Lightning. You will have to learn how to attack and avoid enemies in the air and on the ground efficiently, also obstacles such as mountains or buildings pose problems in certain levels. I always thought this game was fun, but I personally could never beat this game. The levels are very challenging, and after you use all your lives it’s game over. No holding your hand game saves here. I remember my older brother beating this game after weeks of playing it on and off. He was so happy, lol.
– Gameplay Video

8. Power Drive Rally

#8 Power Drive Rally
– See It On Amazon
Power Drive is a great top-down view exclusive rally racer on the Jaguar. The game is simple looking from the outside, but once I started playing it, I realized that the developers put in a lot effort in making the tracks, gameplay, and atmosphere as good as they could. The announcer calling your car turns does a spot on job, and the music is pretty good in most of the levels. The game levels feature areas from around the world. I loved the environment changes from area to area, including desert, snow, night and more. The tracks start off easy, however, later tracks become pretty challenging, but they never feel unfair. As you defeat levels, money is earned by placing in good time brackets. Money can be spent to buy upgrades for your selected car. Overall this is a very addicting top-down racer, that provides many hours of fun gameplay.
– Gameplay Video

7. Wolfenstein 3D

#7 Wolfenstein 3D
– See It On Amazon
The Atari Jaguar arguably had the best console port of Wolfenstein 3D back in the day. Graphically it was a big upgrade over the PC version (way less pixelated and better colors). ID Software even improved the guns, level designs and enemy animations for the Jaguar version, making the experience much more enjoyable than the original PC version. Playing as BJ Blazkowicz you are on a quest to take down Nazi’s and Hitler, who are conducting unjust science experiments on humans. The maze levels are fun to play through, with many secret areas to uncover. Before Doom, there was Wolfenstein 3D. It’s not as good, but still a great classic first-person shooter worth playing.
– Gameplay Video

6. Dragon’s Lair & Space Ace (Jaguar CD)

#6 Dargons Lair & Space Ace
– See It On Amazon
To this day, Dragon’s Lair and Space Ace are two of my favorite Full motion video games. It’s nice that Jaguar CD had pretty good ports of the games compared to most console versions. The 3DO version was the only version that had a slightly clearer video image at the time. Dragons Lair is knights a themed game, where you are on a quest to save the princess and slay the dragon. In Space Ace, you play as Dexter who can energize up to become the much stronger Ace. Dexter is on a quest to save his sister Kimberly and defeat the evil Borf. Dragon’s Lair is a bit longer and better out the two. You basically play through a video cartoon. You will have to participate in quick time events using the D-Pad and the attack button on the controller. Every time you press something wrong or are too slow, your character will die, showing a video of his death. If you manage to become good at these games, it’s really fun to watch for spectators. Because it looks like a solid running cartoon when no deaths are involved.
– Gameplay Video

5. Iron Soldier 1 & 2

#5 Iron Soldier
– See It On Amazon
Iron Soldier 1 & 2 were both great exclusive 3D mech games that showcased the 3D power (which was never too good) of the Atari Jaguar. I enjoyed Iron Soldier 1 more because it’s not nearly as difficult as Iron Soldier 2. Most of the missions are pretty straightforward. Destroy all enemies (tanks, helicopters, other mechs) & bases or recover certain weapons. The gameplay is fun and addicting, it was like being in a 40-foot tank. You can use a variety of different firing weapons along with a punching attack. Locating enemies on your map and approaching with the right weapons takes a little time to learn. Finding new and better weapons is helpful for later levels. This is a Jaguar classic and a must-own for collectors or someone who wants to play a good Jaguar exclusive.
– Gameplay Video

4. Battlemorph (Jaguar CD)

#4 Battlemorph
Battlemorph is by far the best Jaguar CD game. It’s the highest quality exclusive published by Atari for the Jaguar CD. The game featured an awesome galactic story, level design, airplane, missions, and gameplay. The intros and Irish voice commentator before each level always put a smile on my face. I loved how the airplane could transform into a fighter submarine when it goes underwater. The flying controls worked so well also, maneuvering, shooting and locking on targets was never a problem. The first six worlds are training grounds on how to play, but after that, the action will pick up substantially. Most missions involve destroying enemies & bases or finding keys to open doors. You can gain a lot of helpful upgrades in each level, making your airplane pretty powerful. For newcomers, it’s best to play through it on easy first. If you own a Jag CD, this is a must pick up.
– Gameplay Video

3. Rayman

#3 Rayman
– See It On Amazon
If you love colorful 2D platforming games, then you have to love Rayman. The Jaguar port was fantastic also. Pretty much just as good as the PlayStation 1 and Sega Saturn versions. between the consoles, graphics and gameplay were about the same. I remember the flying Mosquito areas I enjoyed better on the Jaguar version because you were able to shoot out of the Mosquito’s beak. On PS1 and Saturn, you had to use your fist :). Rayman is on a quest to free caged Electoons and defeat the evil Mr. Dark. The game has awesome progression and levels. Rayman starts with no powers but eventually earns powers from the fairy Betilla. She grants him the ability to hit, double jump, hover and more. This is by far the best platforming game on the Jaguar!
– Gameplay Video

2. Alien vs Predator

#2 Alien vs Predator
– See It On Amazon
I remember when me and my brother first got Alien vs Predator exclusive for the Atari Jaguar and how much we played it. We played it almost all night, lol. It was the best first-person shooter on consoles for a short period of time. In Alien vs Predator, you can play as three different characters including the Marine, Alien, and Predator. All characters have there own campaign and story to play through. They all also have there own attacks or weapons. I personally loved playing as the marine, probably because his campaign was the easiest and I could use an awesome shotgun to blast aliens and predators with. The maze-like level design is not perfect, but still fun to explore as long as you don’t get lost. If you want to experience a 3D exclusive FPS for the Jaguar, this is your only option, luckily it’s a great game.
– Gameplay Video

1. Tempest 2000

#1 Tempest 2000
– See It On Amazon
Tempest 2000 was an amazing exclusive for the Atari Jaguar. Anyone who loved Atari’s classic Tempest arcade game was in heaven when they played this. I actually think Tempest 2000 for Jaguar is the best version of Tempest ever created from a gameplay perspective. Graphically the Tempest 2000 (renamed Tempest X3) port was better on Saturn and PS1 though. Tempest 2000 is galactic on-rails space shooter, where speed and accuracy makes a big difference. Blast all enemy spaceships as fast as you can, while avoiding enemy fire and collisions. The varied and robust level boards, sound effects, graphical effects, music, and insanely fast gameplay, made this game so addicting. If you choose to check out only one Jaguar game, make sure it’s Tempest 2000.
– Gameplay Video

* Honorable Mentions *

The Other Jaguar games that are fun, great ports or worth playing!

Cybermorph – This is the inferior first game to Battlemorph. It’s pretty good, but Battlemorph is much better in every way.
Cannon Fodder – A great war based real-time strategy game, that features a top-down view. You control a group of soldiers armed with machine guns. Besides MS-Dos and Amiga versions,I believe Jaguar had the best home console version.
Zool 2 – A challenging platforming game that featured a ninja gremlin. You must collect a certain number of candies before the game lets you progress to the next level. Overall it was a great port of the MS-Dos version, fun, and a console exclusive.
Pinball Fantasies – An awesome MS-Dos port with added music, color, and sound effects. This is a great pinball game.
Doom – The classic 3D demon killing the first-person shooter that most classic gamers love. The original PC and PlayStation version of Doom were better in every way, but this Jaguar port still tore apart the 3DO, SNES and 32X versions to threads. 😀
Vid Grid (Jaguar CD) – A neat little music tile tech demo game that came free with the Jaguar CD. A rock music video would play broken up in mixed square blocks. The object of the game was to put video blocks together before the video was done playing.
Val d’Isère Skiing and Snowboarding – A good exclusive downhill Ski/snowboarding game loaded with a lot of jumps and obstacles.
Hover Strike – Play as a futuristic hover tank blasting enemies and bases in a 3D area. A lot of Jaguar gamers loved this game. I could never get into it, maybe I was just bad at it? I do remember it utilizing Jaguars number pad on the controller.
Raiden – One of the best classic shoot ’em up games ever made. This was actually really close to the PlayStation version besides the inferior sound and color, but  Jaguars version did feature an exclusive and awesome looking in-game hub.
International Sensible Soccer – A simple but fun soccer game with aged graphics. Besides the sound Jaguars version was the best.
Kasumi Ninja – A cheesy inferior Mortal Kombat rip off that everyone hated (including my brother) that I loved as a kid (but I don’t love it much anymore). The characters, blood, and finish moves are pretty cool. The gameplay, however, is a bit clunky and feels even more outdated than Mortal Kombat 1.
Atari Karts – Slim on content and it lacked character charm compared to Super Nintendo’s Super Mario Kart. Atari Kart was a pretty good karting game though.
Checkered Flag – A 3D exclusive racing game that a lot of gamers say sucks, but most are comparing it to SEGA’s superior Virtua Racing. I actually thought Checkered Flag was ok, as long as I didn’t compare the two together because Virtua Racing was a masterpiece on the SEGA 32X :).

NOTE: If you want to play Atari Jaguar games free using your Windows or Linux PC, please check out my Jaguar emulation setup guide here.

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Chris D.
Level Smack founder. I am a long time webmaster. I have been playing video games all my life since the NES days. I am a video games fanatic and a self-proclaimed video games historian. I hope to bring unique & helpful articles as often as I can. We are seeking writers for, Please Contact Us.