Alone in the Dark
Publisher: Interplay (1994)
Long before Resident Evil
(PS1, 1996) popularized the survival horror genre there was a similar third-person, 3D adventure called Alone in the Dark. In it you investigate an old mansion while collecting items, solving puzzles, avoiding traps, and battling monsters. Sound familiar? The graphics are polygon-rendered, allowing for varying camera angles - quite a novel feature for the time. Unfortunately the 3D objects tend to be blocky, the action is slow, and you don't always get the best view. If not for the helpful "run" button the plodding pace would be unbearable
. The user interface is clumsy and confusing, with an "action" menu used to perform actions like fighting, searching, pushing, etc. The puzzles aren't bad but getting past certain monsters can be a chore. The framerate during fights is terrible, and a few of these creatures look downright silly!
I think I fought the Tasmanian Devil
at one point! Alone in the Dark is at its best when you're just exploring. There aren't many thrills to be had, but the game maintains a certain level of suspense thanks to chilling sound effects and background music. You can save your progress at any time. Alone in the Dark was a truly innovative game for its time, but I'm afraid it has not aged very well. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: 3DO (1995)
As a longtime fan of Ballblazer
(Atari XE, 1984), I instantly recognized this as a direct descendant of that head-to-head classic. Battlesport is a futuristic, soccer-style game that pits two players in hovercrafts against each other. Played on an enclosed field, the object is to grab a floating energy ball and shoot it into a central "goal" shaped like a box. So far it sounds just like Ballblazer, but Battlesport takes things to the next level
by arming each player with cannons and missiles. Destroying an opponent puts him out of commission for several seconds. The arenas are flat with scattered obstacles. Well-designed controls let you strafe via the shoulder buttons and even "hop" to avoid attacks. The action gets pretty hectic as you're being pelted with missiles while trying to transport the ball towards the goal. Sometimes it can be hard to locate
the goal in the midst of all the chaos. The CPU offers ten opponents of increasing difficulty, but they seem more intent on kicking your ass than scoring a goal. You can also challenge a friend via the split-screen, which is crazy
fun. Battlesport is replete with customization options, and you can save your progress between matches. There's no option for adjusting the length of each match, but at six minutes, it feels about right. Fast and furious, Battlesport gave my wrists a serious workout. Other games have tried to reproduce the frantic action of Ballblazer, but none have nailed the formula quite like Battlesport. © Copyright 2010 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Genki (1995)
Publisher: Interplay (1995)
Publisher: Digital Pictures (1995)
Rating: Mature (realistic violence)
Publisher: Crystal Dynamics (1993)
Crash N Burn is an excellent futuristic racing game that was bundled with the first 3DO machines. There are 30 (!) huge tracks that drop, twist, and turn like roller coasters. You can arm your vehicle with 28 (!) different weapons for some Twisted Metal-style car combat. I love the guided missiles, but the mines are a real pain because it's hard to see them coming. Still, they are often your only defense when someone is lighting you up from behind. At a framerate of 24 frames per second, it's not quite as pretty as Ridge Racer, but it's close. The tracks are intriguing in design, but there's not much to see in the post-apocalyptic background. Sections of the track are often flooded with water or mud. Too bad that water doesn't put out the fire when your car gets damaged. When things start heating up, you can pull into a pit stop for repairs. These pit stops are fast and easy, and allow you to reload your weapons as well. Each of the six distinct racers has a set of humorous (and poorly acted) videos. Racing on the 3DO doesn't get much better than this. Note: This game did not work on my Goldstar system. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
Daedalus Encounter, The
Publisher: Virgin (1995)
Publisher: Strategic Simulations (1995)
Publisher: Virgin (1993)
Dennis Miller: That's News To Me
Publisher: Laugh (1994)
I like Dennis Miller and his distinctive sense of humor. He was perfect as the news anchor on Saturday Night Live, and added much-needed spice to the Monday Night Football commentary, but the laughs on this disk are few and far between. This multimedia experiment is an attempt to recreate the magic of his SNL Weekend Update notoriety, but it falls flat. It's not a game at all, although it claims to be interactive. You can choose which category of jokes to watch, including politics, entertainment, and sports. Yes, Dennis uses plenty of sarcasm and obscure references, but there are no graphics or pictures for him to play off of, so he might as well be doing stand-up. Without a live audience, the jokes just don't seem as funny, and the video clips cut off the jokes before he can follow-up or start cracking up (like he used to do on SNL). At times, Dennis appears to be reading off a cue card, and most of the jokes (circa 1994) are now outdated. Despite the "interactive" controls, your best bet is to put this thing on "shuffle" and sit back and watch. I watched for quite a while before the jokes started to repeat. I would guess that there's between 30 and 45 minutes worth of jokes on this disk. But it didn't make me laugh - I just smiled a few times. It's yet another 3DO multimedia experiment that fell apart. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Id Software (1995)
Of all the versions I've played of Doom (and I've played most of them) this 3DO edition has got to be the sorriest. The first thing I noticed was how the screen was severely cropped, despite the fact the screenshots on the box provide no indication of this! That goes beyond false advertising - it's a boldface lie!
The lack of full screen support is bad enough, but the 3DO even struggles to render the action on the small screen!
My friend Scott exclaimed, "I'm already
seeing slow-down, and there aren't even any monsters yet!"
The textures look alright, but the uneven frame-rate is enough to make you queasy
. When ambushed by a band of imps, the game practically comes to a stand-still
. Intermittent disc accesses throughout add additional hiccups. I expected the 3DO to excel in the control department, considering its controllers have shoulder buttons to facilitate strafing. Sadly, the controls feel mushy and unresponsive. Certain levels feature high-octane music, but those blazing guitar riffs are entirely too fast and upbeat. What is this, an 80's rock video? Doom on the 3DO is a lost cause. I find it interesting that a console billed as the "ultimate multi-media player" couldn't even handle the premiere first-person shooter of its time. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Readysoft (1993)
You either love or hate this full motion video arcade game. I remember when I first saw Dragon's Lair in an arcade in 1983. Nobody could play it, but I couldn't take my eyes off the gorgeous animated graphics. It's basically an interactive cartoon where you need to make the right movements at exact times. Don Bluth's animation is sensational, and the audio track is also impressive. This 3DO version provides the cleanest video I've seen on a console system, but unfortunately, this is also a very difficult version. The game provides little or no room for error, no audio feedback, and few clues as to what you should do next. As a result, it's mainly a matter of trial and error, which can be frustrating to say the least. In addition, the rooms are in a fixed order, and using continues requires you to repeat some of the areas you have already been through. Only die-hard fans will want to bother with this. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
Escape From Monster Manor
Publisher: Electronic Arts (1993)
I've always enjoyed Haunted House games, so I found Monster Manor very appealing despite the fact that it's really a Doom clone. Your mission is to collect pieces of a Talisman scattered through an old house. This house is HUGE, with each floor consisting of an endless series of corridors and rooms. The rooms contain a few spooky items like coffins, statues, and hanging bodies, but for the most part they are wide open and all start looking the same after a while. You'll constantly need to consult your map to figure out where to go next. The semi-transparent ghosts are nicely rendered, but they could have been scarier (they were modeled in clay). Control is responsive; your movement is fast and smooth, and the shoulder buttons provide a handy strafe function. But the best aspect of Monster Manor is the audio. The background music is incredibly eerie, and the gristly sound effects will send chills down your spine. You often get the impression that something terrible is waiting for you in the next room! One thing I didn't like was how fast your life and ammo drains - you constantly need to replenish yourself. And while in some areas there's so much life and ammo you're tripping over them, there are other areas where they're painfully rare. And boy did I get tired of picking up all those gems and coins, which apparently only affect your score. Despite its flaws, Monster Manor is a pretty exciting game, and I don't think you can get it on any other console. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.