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Ultra Vortek


1995 Beyond Games

Atari Jaguar


The Atari Jaguar is not known for it's good fighting games, but that is not from lack of trying. Of the six or so fighting games for the system Ultra Vortek is probably the most polished, but that's not really saying much. The game is somewhat original compared to the other Mortal Kombat clones from this era.

The game takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where the discovery of a strange ancient artifact called the Ultra Vortek has caused the downfall of humanity. The survivors have organized themselves into various gangs of cyborgs, mutants, etc, and all have to beat each other up to get thier hands on said power object. This is done in traditional one-on-one fighter style, where each gets the usual assortment of specials, uppercuts, and fatalities.

Lets meet our fighters:


Skullcrusher is some kind of freakish skeleton cyborg  thing nicknamed "the Minister of Pain." He has hold and charge type moves.


Buzzsaw is a robot and Skullcrusher's boss. He attacks with (you guessed it) buzzsaws.


Dreadloc is a Rastafarian who attacks with rings of smoke and goes "Aye mon!" Not making this up.


Grok is this guy's name. Why? Becasue he's made of Rock! HA HA HA!


Lucius is the resident kung-fu guy in the game, but I don't know what's up with those pants. Expecting a flood there buddy?


Mercury is made of, um... mercurcy. When you hit him instead of bleeding little blobs of mercury come out. And they have eyes in them. Again, not making this up.


Since this is a fighting game from the 90s there has to be at least one attractive female fighter. In this case she's called Volcana, and she throws lava at you. They score points for not making her Chinese.


Guardian is the final boss. An extremely lame final boss. Quite possibly the lamest final boss ever. Spend more than five minutes thinking this crap up next time guys.


Graphics are actually pretty good, with very well done backgrounds and decent animation for the main characters. The backgrounds have a lot of detail but look a little flat, they could use some parallax here and there. They do a good job of avoiding the household-object-digitized-and-thrown-in-the-scenery-look that other games like this have. The characters themselves could use a little more imagination. Some of them like Skullcrusher and Buzzsaw are actually somewhat original, but some of the others are just a wee bit derivative. We got a guy made out of rocks, what should we call him? Grok? And what's up with that Jamacian? Can we get a little bit more racist here? And the final boss.... damn man.... looks like something I drew on my trapper keeper in 8th grade. On top of all this the game is just too dang easy. On the normal difficulty level I was able to beat it on my first try.

Where the game fails though is in it's sound. The effects sound like generic cartoon noises, sometimes a little too goofy for the dark tone. Skullcrusher's voice when he does the fly-up-and-bang-you-on-the-head-move sounds like something El Kabong would scream. The sound effect when Mercury gets hit is a comedic "splooik!" like pudding or mud being thrown against a wall. Most of the voices just don't fit the characters well, and the music leaves a lot to be desired too.

Sadly Jaguar owners don't really have much to choose from when it comes to good fightin' on their 64 bit console. This game is possibly the best availble, which isn't saying much. It is worth it to track down for Jag collectors (as the Rom isn't flawlessly emulated as of yet, most noteably no music is present,) but don't expect any lasting value.

The good stuff: Good graphics, decent game play, not completely lame.

The bad: Uninspired characters, awful sound effects.

The ugly: One fatality allows you to turn your enemy into poop. A "poopality." Once again, not making this up.

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