Sunday, May 07, 2017

Jug



When in the hands of talent...

Jug is a scrolling shooter by one of my favourite companies, Microdeal. It's set in the distant future and we are tasked to save Spiraeus, a living planet. That's suffering from a nasty tumour that urgently needs to be eliminated. However, an autoimmune system thinks you're a threat so unleashes its defences intent on your demise!!

Yeah, I know. This sounds really silly but stick with me because Jug was programmed by Paul Hunter (Armour-Geddon) and is no lazy Amiga port. In fact, quite the opposite and certainly pushes our old STFM to the limit.

Playing Jug is a strange and frantic affair, as it combines elements from games like Blood MoneyDroid, and Return To Genesis. Sometimes combinations like this fail and somethings they work! Check out this screenshot...


Some eye candy is pretty ghastly whereas others are great examples of beautiful pixel art.


One smooth shooter

Our 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. The action is relentless with lots of baddies constantly zipping across your screen in various attack waves; it's frantic hell and never seems to stop. Great!!

However, they aren't the brightest bulbs and appear to move/shoot blindly with little AI thus 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!!

Playing Jug is never dull and always fun. It will take some practice because of the map layout which I found a little bemusing at first. The enemies increase gameplay to a crazy pace and this makes the whole journey exciting and a thrill to beat. Or at least try to - this is a tough game that will eat away the hours.


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


Aesthetics

The best thing about Jug isn't its humorous name (based on the ship's barrel-chested assets!!) but its visuals which are gorgeous by Martin Kenwright. It boasts ultra-smooth parallax scrolling using a cool metallic palette so 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, to enjoy the incredible chiptune! In comparison, the in-game sound effects are totally overshadowed, but they do their job good enough.


Arghh, not again? Is it me? Am I actually this bad at games? How could this be? O_o


The CryptO'pinion?

Jug has all the ingredients to be a brilliant shoot 'em up but incorporates some weird mechanics that hogged my desire to continue. I would recommend any of the above-mentioned games along with Uridium, Cybernoid, or Sideways!! The gameplay difficulty is a little overwhelming and the map layout is quite confusing too.

A great game but I'm also on the fence as it's left me with mixed feelings. Plus the need to use a trainer, which is wrong. Right? What do you guys think I should do? Let me know in the comments below...


- DOWNLOADS -

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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