AGH Jaguar CD Review: SPACE ACE

by ReadySoft

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A coin-op laserdisc game that was released in the arcades in 1984 and animated by Don Bluth of Disney fame and his staff (who also did Dragon's Lair), Space Ace didn't quite measure up in terms of revenue. It was brought out at a time when the coin-op industry was undergoing a shake-out phase, and players were abandoning the arcades in droves. And aside from the cosmetic differences between the game and Dragon's Lair, the game didn't offer anything new with respect to interactivity (or lack thereof). Deciding which of the two is better is basically dependent upon your preference in the animation and storyline, and in my mind, Space Ace is clearly the superior of the two.

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Space Ace for the Jaguar CD has you in control of Dexter, whose aim is to rescue the incredibly sexy Kimberly from the Evil Commander Borf while at the same time trying to regain your former self (Space Ace) by destroying the Infanto Ray, defeating Borf and saving the Earth. With his Infanto Ray, Borf has turned Space Ace into a dorky little dweeb who would have no chance of capturing Kimberly heart in his wimpy state. Unlike Dragon's Lair, Space Ace has you journeying in outer space, where you'll encounter new enemies such as alien creatures and hostile spaceships.

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As was the case in Dragon's Lair, this game is "Myst-like" in its interactivity. But unlike Myst, which has nothing more than static screen after static screen, both DL and SA feature full motion video as the basis of gameplay. The animation is what you'd expect from a former Disney artist -- incredible. Of course, there's not much to do in Space Ace other than inputting the correct move (up, down, left right, and gun) at the right time. Additionally, the fire button can also transform Dexter into the giant hunk Space Ace in certain situations whenever the word "energize" appears on the screen. Timing is critical -- if not everything. Even a split-second delay in inputting the proper command will lead to one of several humorous cut-scenes depicting Dexter's demise.

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The same strenghts and weaknesses inherent in JagCD Dragon's Lair is present here. Nothing was left out in the translation, but the full motion video seems washed out and grainy. The voices and sound effects aren't as crisp as you'd expect from CD audio. And play wise, there's nothing else to be accomplished after completing it.

If I was forced to choose between Dragon's Lair and Space Ace, I'd have to go with the latter. Kimberly is far, far sexier than Daphne in my opinion, and has more of a personality to boot. Daphne is your typical dumb damsel in distress whereas Kimmie has a smartass attitude that you've gotta love.

Title Space Ace
Publisher ReadySoft
System Atari Jaguar CD
Graphics 8
Sound 8
Gameplay 7
Overall 7
Reviewer Keita Iida

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