Atari 5200 Review: BEHIND JAGGI LINES

by Atari/Lucasfilem

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Behind Jaggi Lines was the working title for Rescue on Fractalus before Lucasfilm decided on the latter name, and only one known prototype of 5200 Behind Jaggi Lines is known to exist. Aside from the different name on the game's title screen, both games are identical. The Atari 8-bit computer version is a straight port from the 5200 game, and Behind Jaggi Lines was being widely distributed among pirates months before the computer version came out!

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Rescue on Fractalus (we'll refer to Behind Jaggi Lines with this title since the games are the same) is just the kind of science fiction thriller that earned the company its reputation. It's a first-person flight and battle simulation in which you embark on a mission behind enemy lines to rescue downed pilots. The player blasts toward the enemy planet from a mothership and skims low over the surface of the world looking for the stranded spacemen while avoiding treacherous ground and air-based fire. After you spot a downed flyer and zoom to his position, hauling him aboard your vessel isn't abstract and automatic. The stranded pilot runs up to the landing site and raps loudly on the hull to let you know he wants to get inside. You must then open the airlock so he can enter, and close it again to ready the ship for take-off.

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Just as Lucas's other 5200 title (Ballblazer) broke new ground in the audiovisual department, Rescue on Fractalus is every bit as much of a technological achievement for its time. The system of fractile geometry - in a real-type setting - which generates the planetary landscape was a gaming first from the company. The utilization of fractiles resulted in a landscape of mountains and valleys which in all ways function as though they had a concrete, spacial existence. A pilot can fly through a cleft between peaks, loop around and encounter the same terrain features in the same relative positions when approaching from the opposite direction.

Further adding to the realism are the vast array of meters, lights, gauges and screens in your fighter's cockpit, all well laid out on a control panel located directly beneath the main view-screen. Clearly, Lucasfilm went the extra mile to make Rescue on Fractalus not only a graphical tour-de-force, but a realistic and fun game to play. On all counts, they have succeeded.

Title Behind Jaggi Lines
Publisher Atari/Lucasfilm
System Atari 5200 SuperSystem
Graphics 9
Sound 7
Gameplay 8
Overall 8
Reviewer Keita Iida

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