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Trevor McFur in the Crescent Galaxy (Jaguar) artwork

Trevor McFur in the Crescent Galaxy (Jaguar) review


"When the Atari Jaguar was first released in November 1993, there were a measly two games available at launch: the pack-in of Cybermorph, and also a 2D shooter called "Trevor McFur in the Crescent Galaxy". Trevor McFur is a game in the style of most horizontal-scrolling shooters such as Gradius, R-Type, or the arcade classic Scramble. As the background slowly scrolls past (and as is typical, from right to left), you maneuver a fighter-craft with the D-pad. You can use the controller buttons to fi..."



When the Atari Jaguar was first released in November 1993, there were a measly two games available at launch: the pack-in of Cybermorph, and also a 2D shooter called "Trevor McFur in the Crescent Galaxy". Trevor McFur is a game in the style of most horizontal-scrolling shooters such as Gradius, R-Type, or the arcade classic Scramble. As the background slowly scrolls past (and as is typical, from right to left), you maneuver a fighter-craft with the D-pad. You can use the controller buttons to fire a variety of weapons at the various bad guys onscreen.

To begin, you choose one of four possible missions, one for each of the moons of the planet Cosmolite. You can select these missions in any order, but you must conquer all four before you can tackle Cosmolite and the final boss, Odd-It.

Each moon has four 'stages'. First you fly though space high above the moon, dodging or blasting through dangerous asteroids and attacking satellites. As you travel along you can easily collect a wide variety of power-ups. These weapons are far more powerful than your fighter's rather wimpy guns, and prove very useful. At the end of this first stage you encounter a 'boss' ship, which tends to be very strong, and is quite difficult to defeat. After you beat this boss, you next zoom over the surface of the moon. Again you fight various attackers until you reach a second, even tougher boss. When (or if) you defeat the second boss, you've 'liberated' the moon, and then return to the main menu map to choose another mission.

To be honest, Trevor McFur's game play is, well, average at best. If you've played any type of 2D scroller, then you know what to expect: you need to keep tapping the fire button as fast as possible while dodging up or down to avoid the oncoming barrage of alien fighters, asteroids, or monsters. It's all very typical, but one feature that stands out is the variety of power-ups. There are about ten different weapons that you can find, and some of them are quite unusual. My personal favorite is the 'magnet': when you use this, a gigantic horseshoe magnet flies out from your fighter from left to right. As it zips across the screen, its magnetic pull sucks all onscreen enemy objects into it, destroying them in the process! I have to say, though, that overall these initial space stages are relatively easy, especially if you use the power-up weapons you can catch.

Crushing those evil end-bosses is another story. They tend to have very powerful shields (indicated by a bar graph onscreen) and seem to take frigging forever to defeat. It's important not to use all your power-ups before you reach the boss, because without using any extra firepower it will take dozens and dozens of shots to destroy the boss - and in the meantime, that boss is crazily firing missiles at you!

I found that moving your fighter up or down was a bit slow; you really have to keep an eye on what's flying at you and plan your moves ahead of time. I think this is one Jaguar game that would benefit strongly from using an arcade joystick-style controller.

Your space-fighter, the enemies, and the various bosses are large, colorful pre-rendered sprites. Although these characters are built-up with only a few frames of animation, I think they look reasonably attractive. The "outer space" background graphics look impressive; obviously some gifted artists were involved in painting up the beautiful bitmapped pictures. Unfortunately, while these 2D 'space' bitmaps look fantastic, the admittedly pretty planetary levels look static and fake. Trevor McFur's programmers put in some scrolling foreground objects, but they don't really help improve the flat appearance of the background images. Still, when compared to the 2D shooters available on other systems back in late 1993, Trevor McFur looks terrific.

Many critics have complained about the lack of background music during the game’s action. I've never understood this criticism; if you want background music doesn't it make more sense to just put your favorite music CD on your stereo and play that in the background? And when you consider that the background music on 90% of all games isn't worth listening to, I'd say this is just not a valid complaint.

On the other hand, good sound effects can add a hell of a lot to a game. Sadly, the sound effects in Trevor McFur are adequate but unexciting; they're the typical assortment of bleeps and bloops. There's nothing bad about them, but they don't catch your attention either.

One thing I’ve noticed is that the developers are listed as Flare2, the same company that developed the unique chipset used in the Jaguar. I have a very strong suspicion that Trevor McFur originally began strictly as a technical demo of what the Jaguar was capable of graphics-wise. As the Jaguar was being rushed to market to meet the Christmas deadline, I suspect that Atari decided to package Trevor as a game so they’d have some software on the shelves to sell. I don’t know that that’s true, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it were.

Something else that I really like to see in a game and that is absent from Trevor McFur is the ability to record the initials of the best players. Trevor McFur does record top scores, but for some reason (the developers' lack of time?) there is no way to enter your initials or name to personalize your score. Too bad!

So overall, what do I think of Trevor McFur? Hmm. It’s actually not bad; frankly, after all the negative comments I’ve read over the years I expected a lot worse. It has some charm and it’s a decent, though run-of-the-mill, 2D shooter. If Trevor McFur had been released for a 16-bit system such as the Genesis or the Super Nintendo, it would likely have won some acceptance, but thanks to Atari’s “Do the Math” 64-bits hype, it was ridiculed and mocked: where are the other 48-bits?

My score: a slightly above average 6/10.

Rating: 6/10

LS650's avatar
Community review by LS650 (May 24, 2007)

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