Mad Dog II: The Lost Gold
Publisher: American Laser Games (1994)
Mag Dog McCree needed a second game like Howard the Duck needed a movie sequel. Mad Dog II combines full-motion video (FMV) with light gun shooting, and the results are distressing. You play the role of a cowboy shooting outlaws and protecting hotties in the old west. The production values aren't bad. The stagecoaches look authentic and there are some interesting locations like gold mines and an Indian reservation. In each scene bad guys appear but are impervious to fire until they raise their weapons. The collision detection is lousy, and that's pretty much a deal-breaker in a light gun game. My best advice to unload a series of shots on each guy in the hopes you'll get lucky. Sometimes a good shot won't register, and sometimes a bad shot will. The staged video sequences are bad, but in a funny
way. I find it amusing how shot outlaws always go out of their way to throw themselves off the nearest balcony for the longest, most dramatic death sequence possible. These guys probably expected their roles would catapult them to Hollywood stardom. I guess the best thing I can say about Mad Dog 2 is it's not Mad Dog 1. There's less dialogue to sit through, less loading, and the shooting is a bit more forgiving. Still, it's often hard to tell when (or who) you're supposed to shoot. Mad Dog 2 is a modest upgrade, but if you've played the first game you know that's not exactly a ringing endorsement. © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: 4,700
1 or 2 players
Publisher: American Laser Games (1993)
Our high score: 450
1 or 2 players
Publisher: Electronic Arts (1994)
Our high score: 9,293
Publisher: Digital Pictures (1993)
Our high score: 41
Publisher: Psygnosis (1994)
Recommended variation: 5 lives
Our high score: 10,986,420
Publisher: Amazing Media (1993)
An old 3DO magazine ad suggested that playing this game would cause the ocean to pour forth from your television set, flooding your living room and leaving you with an octopus on your lap. "It's the closest you'll ever come to diving without getting wet!" Not wanting to take any chances, before playing Oceans Below I put on a wet suit, snorkel, and flippers, only to look like an ass when my in-laws stopped by unannounced. As it turns out, the "interactive experience" is more like browsing the special feature menu of a DVD. You simply navigate graphical menus with a cursor and click on fish for more information. Sure, there are some videos of people diving or conveying safety tips, but these small, grainy video clips hardly convey the "20,000 leagues under the sea" experience I had in mind. You begin by choosing one of the numerous worldwide dive locations, and are presented with a composite photograph showing a static ocean floor. Then can then scroll around the picture and click on objects, which initiate short but informative videos explaining what the heck you just clicked on. There are over 200 clips, and thankfully they tend to be short, although the picture quality should have been better. Occasionally you'll stumble across tiny pieces of "not-so-buried treasure", but it's not too exciting. I suppose you could learn something from this CD, especially if you're interested in diving, but the loading time really ruined it for me. In the end, it's just another failed 3DO experiment. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Electronic Arts (1995)
If you own a 3DO, you must own this game! It's fun and addicting, and never seems tedious like other golf games. The courses look a bit grainy, but the slopes undulate and curve realistically. The round swing meter is something EA has honed over many years of making golf games. It's always tempting to go for the extra power, but that increases your chances of a bad shot. The sound effects are excellent, and when you're putting, the commentator makes his remarks in a low, hushed voice. The game moves along at a nice clip, although there are occasional pauses for disk access. You get three real 18-hole courses and 56 pro golfers to compete against. Like the Playstation version, this stands as one of the finest golf games of all time. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Any Channel (1995)
Released at a time with first person shooters were "the new thing", PO'ed carved out its niche by being the most colorful, offbeat game of its kind. Gamers took notice of its twisted sense of humor and odd assortment of weapons including frying pans, butcher knives, and drills. The frying pan may sound like a pretty lame weapon, but it's surprisingly satisfying to clank a monster over the head with it. You play the role of an intergalactic cook whose ship has been invaded by a bizarre collection of aliens including "buttheads" (walking asses), bat-like creatures, and robots. But what really distinguishes PO'ed is its "vertical" dimension. There's plenty of platform jumping, as well the ability to hover with a jetpack. It's different, but it doesn't work well from the first-person point of view, and it's far too easy to overshoot your landing and become disoriented. The controls are slippery, and you're constantly sliding off the edges of platforms. In terms of graphics, the weapons you see in your hands look great, but the scenery looks terribly pixilated and the blocky monsters are poorly animated. The game lets you save at any time, but since it never prompts you, it's very easy to forget. PO'ed has some originality, but it's aged poorly and isn't nearly as entertaining as it once was. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: PF Magic (1994)
This game is billed as "the first 3-D Pinball Thrill Ride". Let's hope it's the last, because PaTaank is an awful mess. I suppose the designers were trying to be original and innovative, but this "first-person pinball" project should have never seen the light of day. The goal is to bounce around a pixelated 3D world trying to hit specific targets, but the choppy frame rate makes it hard to tell what the hell is going on! The three tables (carnival of love, surf, and disaster) are flashy but fairly small and uninteresting. Even when I got the hang of the game I wasn't having any fun. I'd have to chalk PaTaank up as a bad idea that was poorly executed. And who was the marketing genius who came up with that idiotic name that no one can pronounce? © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
Pebble Beach Golf Links
Publisher: Panasonic (1993)
What a disappointment! With the 3DO's extensive video capabilities, I was expecting some sweet-looking digitized courses, but instead I get a bunch of angular polygon holes with terribly pixelated trees. I knew I was in trouble when I saw the grainy video "fly by" of the first hole. The large digitized golfers look great, but there are no pros to be found. The gameplay borders on tedious; it takes forever to set up a friggin' shot! Besides going through the normal process of selecting your club and aiming, you have to mess with setting your "stance" and deal with a dorky-looking caddy in a jumpsuit. I wish they had included some options to expedite the process, but there are precious few options available, and none during the actual game! At least the swing meter works pretty well, and the game is certainly a challenge. Another problem is the audio - or lack of it! There are hardly any sound effects, and no commentary at all. Last, but not least, there's only ONE course. Pebble Beach Golf simply isn't up to par compared with other golf games. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: 3DO Studios (1995)
Plumbers Don't Wear Ties
Publisher: Kirin Entertainment (1994)
Publisher: Time Warner (1995)
Our high score: 143,910
1 or 2 players
Publisher: Electronic Arts (1995)
Publisher: Gametek (1994)
Publisher: 3DO (1994)
Honored by a certain game magazine as the "game of the year" in 1995, Return Fire was as overrated
back then as it is today! Okay, it's not a bad
game, but once you get past the fancy window dressing, you're left with a very mediocre shooter. Designed with two-player head-to-head action in mind, the game utilizes a vertical split screen, isometric view. Since each side only offers a window into a larger playing area, an overhead "scanner" is also displayed. The object is simple - capture your opponent's flag and return it to your base. You have a fleet of tanks, helicopters, jeeps, and armored vehicles available in your underground base, but you can only control one at a time, which severely
limits your options. When one of your vehicles is destroyed, either by ground fire or by your opponent, you're returned to your base to select a replacement. Only the jeeps can transport flags, which provides an interesting twist. I played Return Fire when it first came out back in mid-90's, and again recently with a group of friends. In both cases, it was an under-whelming experience. Still, I can understand why people were excited about Return Fire back in the day. The game's slick presentation, scaling cameras, and satisfying explosions were certainly impressive for its time. Add in surround sound, an orchestrated soundtrack, and vintage video clips, and it's almost
enough to make you overlook its tepid gameplay. But not in 2006! © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.
Rise of the Robots
Publisher: Accolade (1995)
One thing's for sure - there's no shortage of crappy games for the 3DO. Rise of the Robots tries to be a high-tech, one-on-one 2D fighter, but its flaws are so blatant you have to wonder what the designers were smoking. I will give the game credit for some nice robot designs. The main robot character, ECO35-2, is basically humanoid in shape, but the other six robots take on wild designs like crabs, gorillas, or front loaders. They look incredibly menacing in the cut-scenes, but less so in the game itself. These cut-scenes are easily the best part of the game - they look great and contain some cool futuristic music. The one-player mode challenges you to take ECO35-2 through a series of individual battles, which is interesting until your opponents start repeating, at which time the game becomes boring. As you would expect, there is a two-player mode, but player one can only be
ECO35-2. What the heck is THAT all about?? There are three punches and three kicks (light, medium, hard), but they all look exactly the same! The controls are sluggish, and trying to pull off special moves is futile. That's not much of an issue though, because the weak fighting engine doesn't demand much technique anyway. There are no interesting backgrounds to view during the fights, and no music either! Rise of the Robots is painfully shallow compared to classic fighters like Street Fighter II or Mortal Kombat. Even if you like this kind of thing, Rise of the Robots won't do much time in your 3DO. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Electronic Arts (1994)
This outstanding game was probably the pinnacle of the Road Rash series. Gorgeous graphics, rocking music, and loads of options complement the same exciting gameplay made famous on the Genesis. The production quality is great, with high octane music and stylish video cut scenes. The five tracks all feature beautiful, constantly changing scenery. In the city areas, you drive down building-lined streets teeming with traffic and pedestrians, something that was never possible on the Genesis. Most of the objects look digitized, and the framerate keeps up pretty well as you careen down city streets at breakneck speeds. The gameplay is almost identical to the Genesis version; you can kick, punch, or smack your opponents with a club or chain. You can even beat up on the police and ride over pedestrians. Some of the advanced bikes feature a "nitro" speed burst. The video scenes showing gangs of bikers are entertaining and the music is fantastic, featuring Soundgarden, Hammerbox, and Paw, to name a few. The "Big Game" mode allows you to earn money, purchase bikes, and progress through five levels. The set of tracks in each level are the same, except they get longer and tougher. I've always been a big Road Rash fan, and I was very impressed with this. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.