3DO Reviews A-C

Alone in the Dark
Grade: D
Publisher: Interplay (1994)
Reviewed: 2001/10/29

screenshotLong 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.

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1 player 

Battlesport
Grade: A
Publisher: 3DO (1995)
Reviewed: 2010/12/7

screenshotAs 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.

1 or 2 players 

Blade Force
Grade: F-
Publisher: 3DO (1995)
Reviewed: 2021/3/10

screenshotBlade Force was ambitious for its time I suppose. Its opening CGI introduces a number of twisted villains in what appears to be a depressing, Blade Runner-esque world. The tutorial level is a pretty accurate representation of what the game has to offer. You just fly around an ugly polygon maze while shooting geometric shapes and collecting ubiquitous cubes which have little bearing on the action. You think you're controlling a bad-ass helicopter but it turns out to be some dork in a propeller contraption. Weak!

The first mission is a brutal test of endurance as you navigate a sprawling fortress looking for ammunition dumps to blow up. So where the [expletive] are they? A map (accessible via pause menu) fills in as you explore but there's too much ground to cover and it all looks the same. I just tried to destroy everything in sight but it was just exhausting.

The controls are miserable. What's pushing me all over the place? Does my weapon have some kind of delayed kick-back? Is there a giant fan off-screen? You're armed with both rapid-fire and lock-on weapons, but you need to be right up on a target to hit it. Item boxes like fuel, ammo, and weapons litter the landscape but picking them up is a colossal pain in the ass! The collision detection is abysmal and you're always clanking against some unseen obstacle. The power-ups are idiotic. Picking up a blue box causes my enemies to grow weaker? Try to figure that one out.

After an extended period of aimless flying, user-resistant controls, and the same repetitive ten-second guitar loop, severe nausea sets in. Blade Force literally made me ill! Once you take away its primitive polygon technology the fun factor is practically non-existent. And to think that in 1995 Blade Force was hailed as "one of the best games ever made". That's one review that has not aged well. © Copyright 2021 The Video Game Critic.

1 player 

Burning Soldier
Grade: B
Publisher: Genki (1995)
Reviewed: 2007/11/8

screenshotThis generic space shooter is one those bargain bin 3DO titles you expect to totally suck. Burning Soldier? Apparently this soldier missed the day of boot camp when the drill sergeant warned of the dangers of loving unclean women! Upon firing up this game, I was greeted by some dark cut-scenes and a James Earl Jones-wannabe narrator who explains, "It is 2095. Suddenly UFOs attack Mars." Wow, that's some thought-provoking stuff. Once I began playing the game however, I realized that Burning Soldier is not bad at all. In fact, for a 3DO title, it's a gem.

Borrowing heavily from Star Wars The Arcade Game (1983) and After Burner (1987), the game employs a first-person perspective, letting you aim a reticule at alien ships and incoming torpedoes. The digital pad is a touchy (you'll wish you had an analog controller), but fortunately your targets tend to congregate near the center of the screen. It's really satisfying to blow up alien ships, but you'll want to concentrate your fire on those big, red, incoming torpedoes. Besides a rapid-fire cannon, you're equipped with a special lock-on weapon you can "charge up", and I'd recommend doing just that during lulls in the action.

Burning Soldier's gameplay isn't spectacular but nifty full-motion video backgrounds sweeten the deal. The boring early stages are set in deep space, but once you return to earth, you'll be careening through desert valleys and whipping around the skyscrapers of Tokyo. The eye candy is rich, and I looked forward to seeing what each new stage had in store. Complementing the shooting action is an upbeat, synthesized soundtrack that reminded me of Sonic Adventure (Dreamcast, 1999). Burning Soldier has frequent cut-scenes which cannot be skipped, but they are mercifully brief. The game offers endless continues, but you'll need to turn on the "score" option if you want some way to gauge your progress. Easy on the eyes and easy to play, Burning Soldier is one bargain bin title that's worthy of a spot in any 3DO collection. © Copyright 2007 The Video Game Critic.

1 player 

Casper
Grade: B
Publisher: Interplay (1995)
Reviewed: 2005/10/1

screenshotOkay, I was terribly harsh in my initial review of this game, but as I often say to my wife, "I can explain!" It turns out that certain 3DO games run better on some systems than others. When I first reviewed this game a few years back, I played it on my Goldstar system, which thrashed and stuttered the whole way through. As you can imagine, the sporadic controls and fragmented music really tainted the experience. However, now that I've had a chance to play it on my Panasonic FZ-10, I can see Casper for what it really is - an engaging, easy-to-play adventure.

Despite its quirks, Casper is certainly more enjoyable than most of the 3DO titles I've inflicted upon myself. I will admit that the premise is somewhat disturbing. Casper is actually a dead kid trying to resurrect himself! And while the cartoon version of the Casper character looked "friendly" enough, this 3D incarnation looks somewhat creepy. Still, Interplay infused the subject matter with enough with whimsical style and good-natured humor to make it palatable to most gamers (including kids). Gameplay involves exploring a huge mansion, collecting items, pigging out on food, assembling jigsaw puzzles, and avoiding unfriendly ghosts. As it turns out, ghosts love to eat broccoli and tuna fish sandwiches! Who knew?

The game isn't the most logical in the world, so the ability to suspend disbelief is pre-requisite. For example, Casper can transform with a mist to navigate the ventilation system, but can't penetrate a barred door! One puzzle requires you to drop a lead weigh on a sparkly area to trigger a switch. That's hardly intuitive, but most of the game's puzzles are simple enough to hold your attention. Eventually, you'll open up so much of the mansion that it becomes confusing to navigate. A map screen would have been helpful. Still, the game is addictive, and I like how you can save you progress at any time. In terms of presentation, Casper rates extremely high. The house has a decrepit but elegant look, evocative of Disney's Haunted Mansion. The lavish orchestrated musical score tows the line between playful and ominous. This is a game that eventually grew on me. If your 3DO can handle it, Casper is a pleasant diversion. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.

1 player 

Corpse Killer
Grade: D-
Publisher: Digital Pictures (1995)
Reviewed: 2012/10/13
Rating: Mature (realistic violence)

screenshotCorpse Killer can be described as a light gun game that doesn't work particularly well with one type of controller. As luck would have it, that particular type of controller would be a light gun. In the Sega CD and 32X versions of Corpse Killer the gun controls are deplorable, and the instruction book for this game doesn't even mention a gun! It's ironic when you consider that this 3DO version offers the best light gun support. Unfortunately, light guns for the 3DO are hard to come by.

Corpse Killer employs full motion-video (FMV) with real actors. Each stage pans across tropical scenery as fake-looking zombies appear from out of nowhere and float towards you. If you don't shoot them in time, you take damage. The light gun controls are surprisingly accurate, although to be honest guiding a crosshair around with a normal controller is probably just as good. There seem to be fewer enemies than the Sega CD version, but they move quicker here. In fact, some projectiles (skulls, knives) seem nearly impossible to avoid, and there are precious few opportunities to replenish your health. Oh well, at least the shooting stages don't exhibit the technical glitches that marred the 32X version.

The video area takes up most of the screen, allowing you to enjoy the cheesy cut-scenes in their full glory. Vincent Shiavelli is perfect as the mad scientist, and your Rastafarian guide Winston is believable enough. The stereotypical blonde reporter is a real hottie but her acting is unintentionally hilarious. Corpse Killer will never be mistaken for good, but if there's a place in your heart for FMV games, you'll appreciate this for its entertainment value. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.

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1 player 

Crash N Burn
Grade: A
Publisher: Crystal Dynamics (1993)
Reviewed: 2001/10/29

screenshotCrash 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.

Running 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.

1 player 

Crime Patrol
Grade: C
Publisher: American Laser Games (1994)
Reviewed: 2019/2/17

screenshotI love old games that used real video footage. They have the effect of sending you back through time, enjoying the places, fashion, and pop culture of a bygone era. Crime Patrol is a first-person light gun shooter that puts you in the role of a cop who must shoot or be shot. Your partner is a cocky female who starts every mission by yelling "let's kick some butt!"

As you creep through an electronics store robbers leap out from behind the huge displays. It reminds me of the old Circuit City in my old neighborhood, except for the all the shooting. The gameplay boils down to just watching video and shooting at the next thug when he draws his gun. You actually have a pretty small window of opportunity and you need to be on target. The collision detection is erratic so to compensate I'd recommend unloading several shots in the general vicinity. You have unlimited ammo and sometimes close is good enough. If your aim is true you're treated to a video of the bad guy throwing himself through the nearest window. Even more funny is when I shoot a guy in the face and he grabs his chest! If you miss you're dead, and you get three lives. Try not to hit the innocent civilians, usually in the form of attractive women.

Crime Patrol can be played by aiming a cursor with a normal controller. It's clumsy but since the bad guys tend to pop out in the same places you can anticiate them. Using a light gun is a lot more fun. I was surprised how responsive and accurate the gun is considering I didn't even calibrate it. The game includes a nice selection of stage locations including an airport, garage, and bank. There's even a strip club with exotic dancers, and the prospect of reaching that stage should give you some incentive. Crime Patrol may be medicre as a game but it's still a fascinating and often funny step back in time. © Copyright 2019 The Video Game Critic.

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Our high score: 1200
1 or 2 players 

Cyberia
Grade: D-
Publisher: Interplay (1995)
Reviewed: 2021/5/26

screenshotInterplay must have had a high opinion of themselves in 1995, considering you'll spend a major chunk of Cyberia's load process watching an animated clip of their logo. This game was Interplay's attempt to ride the FMV "wave" which ended up being more like a ripple. Before starting I was presented with a message alerting me I'd need to free up 600 bytes of memory to save my progress. 600 bytes? This review is longer than that!

You're given a mission brief by some reanimated Teddy Roosevelt dude about nano-technology shenanigans going on in Siberia (with an S). I wish they used live actors for these scenes; CGI characters are so stiff and boring. The action begins like a Bond film as you arrive by speedboat at some secret facility sticking out of the ocean. Once inside the interior is so dark you can barely even see!

Eventually you encounter a lady in a hallway, and one wrong move gets you shot dead. Cyberia is all trial-and-error. The box boasts of "digitally captured motion" technology, but while smooth, the character animation is in slow motion. The disc grinds and sputters through every cut-scene, as if it needs every last bit of CPU power to pump out the cutting-edge visuals.

Next you find yourself manning a cannon, taking aim at the silhouettes of planes, helicopters, and satellites. The explosions look nice, but it requires as much skill as shooting fish in a barrel. After that the woman says "that was amazing. Kiss me." Pretty bizarre - especially since she looks like a cheap blow-up doll you'd buy your buddy as a gag gift! Cyberia's next challenge is the obligatory disarm-the-bomb puzzle. I will admit the game has a very slick auto-save feature that lets you continue from any point in your quest.

My journey ended at a stage where you pilot a jet to Siberia. Actually you're just aiming-and-shooting while gliding over soft, pre-rendered visuals of ships on the open ocean. The aiming controls are so clumsy it takes a while just to locate the cursor on the screen! Completing this mission entails destroying a fuel tank on an aircraft carrier, and after about 25 attempts I gave up. The Death Star exhaust port has nothing on this thing. It's too bad because Cyberia had enough variety and weirdness to make me want to see what comes next. © Copyright 2021 The Video Game Critic.

1 player 


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Screen shots courtesy of Video Game Museum, Moby Games