A review by

Well, one of the last games to be released for the Jaguar is here. This game has been anticipated to a greater or lesser extent by the Jaguar Fandom for several months. While its not a perfect game by any stretch of the imagination, it is a good shooter nonetheless, and something completely unique on our beloved Jaguar...

Graphics: 7

  1. The starfield is very cool. It's smooth and gives a good feel of flying through space. Overall, this enhances gameplay, IMHO...

  2. Explosions are pretty cool as well. Now while they're nothing like IS or IS2's explosions, nor anything I've seen in Battlesphere, the explosions in Zero 5 have a nice pixel shatter effect, similar to T2K. Unfortunately, the pixel shatter can get in the way at times (I'll explain later...).

  1. Better use of color is needed in Zero 5. As best I can tell, 256-color mode is used. This leaves stark contrasts between polygon shading at some points, and just looks a little boring overall.

  2. Although having nothing to do whatsoever with the game itself, I thought the Zero 5 opening logo was pretty poor. It looked like something from the 16-bit era. With the use of low-color, flat-shaded polygons throughout the game, you'd think there'd be storage space for a nice, rendered logo... Hell, the one I made looks better...

Music/Sound FX: 9

First, the music. It is excellent! Nice industrial techno stuff. It's not as in-your-face as is T2K's music, but perfect for a shooter. Sometimes I turn the sound FX down while playing so I can listen to the music. And for a cartridge, the music is very clear - nothing like the static-laden stuff of D2K! (Sorry, Yak...)

Now the sound effects. Sound FX are nothing to stand up and scream about, but they're not bad. Explosion sound FX are cool though with a nice bass foundation. There is use of voices in the game too - primarily at the beginning of missions, but occasionally during missions as well. While the person doing the voice-over has little personality leading to somewhat boring voice sound FX they are, like the music, very crisp and clear. Overall, very well done.

One last nice thing: in the Options menu, there is a slide-bar for treble/bass balance - not something usually found in video games. Cool. My advice - crank up that bass!

Gameplay: 5

  1. This game is friggin' hard! It moves so fast, especially in the Trench levels, that its hard to accomplish much. In the Trench levels, the pixel shatter from exploding walls obscures your vision, preventing you from seeing the next obstacle until you slam into it. You basically can just close your eyes and "...use the Force, Luke..."
  2. Sometimes it's difficult to tell if enemies are behind or in front of you given the game's camera perspective. Even though you can shoot the enemy shots to avoid taking damage, it's hard to tell what direction the shots are coming from, and you get hit anyway. And since you only have one ship, the game usually ends rather quickly.
  3. Button firing SUCKS! I simply cannot fathom the inner workings of the programmers' minds for making us all continually press the fire button as fast as possible for the entire length of the game! The omission of an auto-fire option or power-up (or even cheat... we can only dream...) is nothing more than criminal and sadistic! Whoever chose to omit this feature in Zero 5 should literally be shot! Unbelievable... The fact that you have to shift controller positions so you can rest a finger and shoot with another absolutely destroys the gameplay value of Zero 5, IMHO!

Control: 6

Fun Factor: 8



Zero 5 is a fun shooter with decent eye candy, great tunes, and nice gameplay variety. However, what keeps Zero 5 from reaching the "GREAT" game status can best be summed up in three points:

  1. Extreme difficulty, regardless of setting chosen.

  2. Omission of crucial elements (i.e., auto-fire, customization of power-up buttons).

  3. Cheap hits due to restricted camera perspective and poor correlation between game and control speeds.

Had those three issues been resolved, Zero 5 could have been considered one of the best titles on the Jaguar. Since these issues remain, however, Zero 5 should be considered a good game. Nothing more. It is worth owning, IMHO, especially if you like shooters or are a collector. If you don't fit one of these categories, though, you'd better have a friend who has it so you can try it first...


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