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Checkered Flag - The Atari Times

Checkered Flag

This is why we have quality control
by Brendan Onfrichuk

November 14, 2006
Before I got my Jaguar not to long ago I got the games first. I came across a collection of games at Value Village and they were so cheap I had to get them even though I didn't have a console. I even liked the selection of games I had. Because I was an Atarian I knew what all the games were and what kind of gameplay each had. I was glad to have games in each genre: fighting, shooting, simulation and even racing. I couldn't wait to play Checkered Flag because I love games like Pole Position and Virtua Racing, how could Rebellion screw up something that should be so easy as it has been done many times before? I'll tell you...


When you first start the game you are greeted with an options/menu screen where you can change the racing conditions and your car's tires, transmission etc. Checkered Flag's gameplay is like most other racing games, you simply drive around a course and pass the other cars. You can choose a first or several third person views but the most effective is the default. All of the other views make racing more difficult. Be sure to choose automatic transmission, manual is simply impossible because of your car's ultra fast acceleration. Your fast acceleration is also to blame for the 25,709 crashes you are going to experience every game. The opposing racers seem to go only one gear slower than you, and since they seem to be on a rail you have almost no chance of beating them until you have mastered every corner on the track from trial and error. This is most likely why it is set to have 10 laps by default. The game could have used a great deal more in programming to even out the gameplay but the static framerate makes all of these problems worse.


This is where the game is a winner. The game has lots of sharp polygons for every single object making everything recognizable. The good draw distance makes the scenery look great and the 10 different courses have lots of differences making them all distinguishable. Unfortunately the game features no texture mapping at all. Even though the game has a very clean appearance it seems a little bit unfinished without any texturing. But this is definitely pushing the Jaguar's polygon drawing abilities well, even if not smoothly.


It seems to me that most Jaguar games are completely free of music. This is really starting to get frustrating. You don't advertise a console for CD-quality music when there isn't any. And the complete lack of music is made worse by the average sound. Simple acceleration sounds along with hearing the same crashing sound effect many times makes this a bit of a chore to the ears. But you wont really have any problem with it because it will be the rest of the game that will draw your attention away from the sound.


These controls are more painful than giving birth to a baby sideways, just ask a woman to confirm this. The Jaguar's controller is pretty awesome in my opinion and is more than suited to what should be a very simple control. Steering is not good enough when it comes to the tight corners in the courses and the brake brings you to almost a complete halt unless you're on your top gear making power slides impossible. This is the part that kicks Checkered Flag right in the balls.


Don't play this game.

Hey, the Lynx game on the Jaguar!
Is it supposed to be this bad?
Hey, at least the game is configurable...
Checkered Flag
System: Jaguar
Publisher: Atari
Genre: Driving
Graphics Score: 80%
Sound & Music Score: 60%
Gameplay Score: 40%
Control Score: 15%

Final Score: 20%

Reader Comments for Checkered Flag

Mediocre game by LS650 on 2006-11-14 15:50:54
As you say, the big flaw to this game are the controls. The graphics were actually pretty decent for a home console back in 1994; having played Virtual Racing, I'd say there are on a par.... but the steering input is awful. I really like racing games, but this one is crippled by the terrible controls.
Checkerd Flag...Awful, by Pete on 2006-11-15 11:19:17
Checkerd Flag had 1 problem and 1 Problem only...the control is worse than awful. The fans of this game defend the control by this(It is a new type of more realistic control instead of pointing in the direction you want to go you are suppose to tap slowly in that direction, if you do this the car will make the 90 Degree turns you want rather than the 360 you recieve from Controlling the game the way every other racing game of all time had controled). If their was at least a option of normal control or crap control then the game would jump from a rating of 20% to at least a 80-90%. Their being no music was just standard 1st generation games for the Jag only Dino Dudes and Raiden had in game music for the 1st 6 games released. I always thought my Jag was messed up because Cybermorph and Trevor McFur had no music in game (a standard feature thrown in all games from NES days on but Atari must of felt that gamers had tired of this standard feature so they took this out of the game)
Awful, indeed, but no mus by kikujiro on 2006-11-15 12:08:19
I´ve got the same opimion about this game; looks nice but doesn´t bring any fun. But why do you havo no sound? My cartrige HAS ingame-music; no big deal but quite ok. I also had these 6 special games at first and was frustrated being no music in cybermorph, Crescent Galaxy, Doom ect. so background-music was the only positive aspect of Checkerd Flag for me.
I hate this game by Brent Motor Jones on 2007-01-07 14:06:04
Their is only one use for this game and it is a dust protector for my system. I realy wish that e-bayers would not throw this and cybermorph into every lot purchase avaliable because I now own 3 copies of a game I hate
I must be wierd by Nathan on 2007-03-28 00:14:22
Beielve it or not, if your spend some time with this game (I know it's hard to do LOL), you can eventually get the hang of the controls. And for any one that's actually driven a racing car, you don't just automatically turn the wheel really fast. In real life, you end up flipping the car. So it is sort of realistic even if it's just an excuse. :)
Actually, I like this game by Xenon on 2007-08-13 19:35:15
I have read a lot of bad reviews except some few reviews which don't try to destroy all the challenge this game has. Actually, in two or three plays, you can be able to control well the car, and win more than a race. I think this game is totally underrated and yes, controls are not "accelerator and hard turns", but are not the terrible things some people say. I am a fan of Virtua Racing (I have the MD, 32X and Saturn versions) and I think this game is a real and good Virtua Racing-like game.
Good concept game by Fsporsche on 2008-10-01 09:00:35
I like this game and it was one of my first to purchase for the Jaguar. The graphics, music and gameplay is good. The only problem I have with this is the controls, too hard to keep the car on the road and you end up crashing more than staying on the road. Its 3-d world looks nice with colorful and detailed graphics. I specially like the snow and penguins while your driving, it has alot of potential this game and I was very surprised Rebellion never polished up the controls...This could of been a better 3-D rendering racing game than Sega Saturns Virtua Racer. I always thought that Rebellion would fix the issues and put out a sequal to checkered flag...
Checkered Flag by Gary on 2009-01-07 12:09:58
When I first played this game, I hated it. I thought the graphics were awful, the control pitiful, and the game worthless. I have since changed my opinion.With practice, you can get the hang of the controls. The graphics, when compared to my 3do Road Rash and Need for Speed are still not great, however, taking into consideration this is a 1994 game, the graphics are actually not too bad. Overall, I like this game, and it has become one of my favorite racing games.
16 bit Graphics by Randy Johnson on 2014-07-22 20:52:13
I own this game. It doesn't suck but it's not my favorite Jaguar game either. It has 16 bit graphics. Atari claimed that the Jaguar is 64 bit but this game proves it isn't.
Can't do this on Genesis or SNES by Gregory D. George on 2014-07-23 22:33:10
Neither the SNES or Genesis could do this game without a special chip (both Starfox and Virtua Racing used a chip.) For the Jaguar to do polygons is pretty good. The problem with this game is the lousy control.
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