3DO Reviews A-C

Alone in the Dark
Grade: D
Publisher: Interplay (1994)
Posted: 2022/11/13

screenshotResident Evil (PS1, 1995) put the survival horror genre on the map, yet some trace the roots back to Alone in the Dark. Both share the same premise of exploring a mansion full of monsters while trying to solve puzzles. Both employ 3D graphics, pre-rendered scenery, and dramatic camera angles. Both allow you to choose between two characters, a woman and a man.

The cinematic opening sequence has an old-time car rounding a curve on a country road, much like the intro to Night of the Living Dead. The mansion looks ominous from a distance. As your character walks up the path, she is watched from the perspective of "something" in a high window. That's awesome.

Upon entering the house she automatically navigates to one of the upstairs rooms. I'm glad that part is automatic, because it would have taken me a while! She walks in slow motion, pausing every few seconds as the disc whirls and sputters.

Alone in the Dark's polygon graphics have aged poorly. The guy looks like Pinocchio and the lady looks like a freaking blow-up doll! The ornately decorated house interior looks good, although surprisingly well lit considering the title! Chilling sound effects and orchestrated background music convey a sense of danger and suspense.

The tank-like controls are stiff and awkward. A is your action button, B pulls up a menu, and C lets you run. Combat is counter-intuitive. The key is to hold down the A button while pressing various directions. I could forgive the awkward controls if they weren't so delayed. Making matters worse are poor camera angles that make it hard to tell what's happening at the far end of the room. Sometimes your character or the monster you're fighting is completely out of view!

In the first room a creature breaks through a window that looks like a cross between the Tasmanian Devil and a demented chicken. I was able to gun him down with a shotgun. The zombies are creepy but short in stature. I guess eating brains will stunt your growth. Ammo is hard to come by, but you can always punch and kick. Unfortunately it takes a good 10 blows to beat something to death.

It's easy to dismiss an antiquated title like Alone in the Dark but the game has its moments. When a trapdoor opens and a zombie rises from the floor, it's alarming. You can save your progress at any time. Casual fans won't last for five minutes, but those willing to make the commitment will experience the original survival horror adventure. © Copyright 2022 The Video Game Critic.

Copy link to this review
1 player 

Alone in the Dark 2
Grade: F-
Publisher: Interplay (1995)
Posted: 2022/11/13

screenshotAlone in the Dark (Interplay, 1994) was a groundbreaking survival horror game set in a haunted mansion. This sequel really opens things up, incorporating pirate intrigue on the high seas. The intro takes forever to unfold thanks to frequent disc access, slow animation, and interminable pauses. That said, that animated clown is pretty terrifying.

The first game didn't feel optimized for the 3DO, and this one runs even worse. If the first game was dog-slow, this is downright glacial! The fact that this game is more wide-open may exacerbate the situation. I can tell this was a lazy port of the PC game because the instructions refer to the space bar! The 3DO doesn't have one of those.

The first game began slowly but Alone in the Dark 2 throws you to the wolves from the start. In the first scene you're going toe-to-toe with a machine gun-toting gangster. You're throwing punches as he's shooting you at point blank range. The control lag is outrageous. How I survived this I have no idea.

Next, while walking up a path towards a house you encounter two more armed bad guys. The manual states "the key to victory is AIM". Problem is, the side-angle camera angle makes it really hard to tell what you're AIM-ing at. In order to get them in your line of fire, you need to get in their line of fire! I could barely get off a shot as they riddled me with bullets!

Looking at an FAQ, it turns out you can push a statue in the shootout location reveal an underground passage. I don't know how a first-time player would know that, but it doesn't matter because I got gunned down every time. [Expletive] this game.

Whenever you're about to die in Alone in the Dark 2 you see the message "I feel awful... really awful!" I can relate! When I can't get past the "five minute walk-thru", that's pretty pathetic. I'm always reluctant to characterize a game as unplayable but I'd say this one meets the criteria. © Copyright 2022 The Video Game Critic.

Copy link to this review
1 players 

Battlesport
Grade: A
Publisher: 3DO (1995)
Posted: 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)
Posted: 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)
Posted: 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)
Posted: 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)
Posted: 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.

Copy link to this review
1 player 

Crash 'N Burn
Grade: A-
Publisher: Crystal Dynamics (1993)
Posted: 2022/6/20

screenshotThis pack-in game provided much false hope to early 3DO adopters. Set in 2044, Crash 'N Burn offers 30 huge tracks that twist, turn, and dip more than a rollercoaster. You can arm your vehicle with 28 different weapons for some Twisted Metal (Playstation, 1995) style car combat. Running at a steady 24 frames per second, this isn't quite as pretty as Ridge Racer (Playstation, 1995), but it's close.

There are six different drivers introduced via the obligatory trash-talking FMV. Naturally they try to be as "extreme" as possible, including a evil German mastermind, a punk with a mohawk, a bald Asian chick, and a hair band "rocker". These people are so unlikeable that your only viable option is the black soldier named "Fang" with the eye patch.

Once you get on the track the graphics are so good you're taken aback. The vehicles look incredibly sharp and detailed. It's fun to speed down steep hills, whoosh around banked turns, and careen through winding tunnels. The first-person view is effective because a reticle homes in on vehicles in firing range. You have the option of making a pitstop after every lap, and I love how the repairing and refueling is so automatic.

The combat is kind of weak. You don't really blow up competitors as much as you wear them down. You can shoot a car 20 times with no obvious effect. There's not much scenery on the tracks, so they all look the same after a while. How come when I splash through the water sections it doesn't put out my engine fire?

Crash 'N Burn isn't the mind-blowing experience it was back in the day but it's probably the strongest racing title for the system. The game still offers plenty of thrills and excitement, especially as you chug towards the finish line while practically engulfed in flames. Note: This game did not work on my Goldstar 3DO system. © Copyright 2022 The Video Game Critic.

1 player 

Crime Patrol
Grade: C
Publisher: American Laser Games (1994)
Posted: 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.

Copy link to this review
Our high score: 1200
1 or 2 players 

Cyberia
Grade: D-
Publisher: Interplay (1995)
Posted: 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 


Select new range: A-C [D-F] [G-L] [M-O] [P-R] [S] [T-Z] [Next]

[3DO index]  [Back to Top]
 

Screen shots courtesy of Video Game Museum, Moby Games