Sunday, May 07, 2017

Jug


Jug is a scrolling shoot 'em up released by one of my favourite companies, Microdeal. Set in the distant future, we are tasked to save Spiraeus, a living planet, suffering a nasty tumour, which we urgently need to eliminate. However, its autoimmune system sees you as a threat and decides to unleash its defences intent on your demise. Oh, great!!

Programmed by Paul Hunter, of Armour-Geddon fame, this is obviously no lazy conversion and certainly pushes our old STFM to the limit. Playing Jug is a strange and frantic affair, it combines elements from various other games: Blood Money, Custodian, Droid, and Return To Genesis. Your ship moves left or right but also has the ability to fly. However, this is affected by gravity, similar to Alien World, and also requires fuel top-ups... The controls work well but movements are a little slow thus making it difficult avoiding the nasties without losing precious energy.

 
Some of the eye candy is pretty ghastly whereas others are great examples of beautiful artwork.

The action is relentless with lots of baddies constantly zipping across your screen in various attack waves. However, they aren't the brightest bulbs and appear to move/shoot blindly with little AI thus offering much of a challenge - it's almost like they aren't even aware of our presence. Weaponry is an upgradeable mixed-bag: however, the plasma gun is mounted far too low to be fully effective. Replacing that with a laser cannon is lots of fun!!

The best thing about Jug isn't its humorous name (based on the ship's barrel-chested assets!!) but the visuals. These are utterly gorgeous boasting ultra smooth parallax scrolling using a cool metallic palette. Martin Kenwright has done another amazing job and you should use a real Atari ST to fully appreciate the graphics breezing across your screen. Theme music is a masterpiece, by Paul Shields. So leave the main menu be and enjoy the incredible chiptune! In comparison, the in-game sound effects are totally overshadowed, but they do their job good enough.

 
Look out for teleporters but when death comes at least it's pretty demoscene'y. Which I love!

Jug has all the ingredients to be a brilliant shoot 'em up but incorporates some weird mechanics that hogged my desire to continue playing. I would recommend any of the above-mentioned games along with Uridium, Cybernoid, or Sideways!! Hmm, I'm still on the fence with this one which has left me with lots of mixed feelings. Unsure.

Okay guys, the all-important links. Firstly, if you have a hard drive or Ultrasatan then grab this download which is so cool. Floppy disk addicts can find Jug on the Stonish website. Finally, and untested by me, here is how to get infinite energy and extra lives: press and hold down the ESC key on the title screen and use the mouse to click on the right-hand edge of the picture. This should help the game be a little more achievable!!

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