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Games are rated relative to other games for the same system.
One unique feature is how the screen scales out when the fighters are spread apart, although this gimmick really doesn't add much to the gameplay. The gorgeous backgrounds are Asian-inspired, and the fact that none of the voice dialogue has been translated is probably for the best.
I had a great time playing this game. Despite some slow-down the action and animation is first-rate. Unfortunately, the six-button controller is not supported, so you need to hold a shoulder button to activate your kicks, which works fine. Samurai Shodown is one of those game that make you wish ALL 3DO games were 2D! © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
This 3DO version of Sewer Shark is a major step up from the Sega CD game, boasting a large video screen, clearer footage, better music, and some kick-ass sound effects. You play the role of a rookie sewer jockey navigating an underground network of tubes while blasting varmints along the way. Like most early CD titles, Sewer Shark begins with the obligatory guy shouting at you for no particular reason.
Once the action gets under way you have a first-person view of zooming through the tubes while targeting creatures with a cursor. You hold in the A button to engage rapid-fire but the collision detection is a little suspect. Navigation is the hard part. A googly-eyed floating robot periodically gives you a set of directions. A directional indicator at the bottom indicates the next upcoming turn, but it might not be the correct one. The fact that there's no room for error sucks a lot of the enjoyment out of the game.
Sewer Shark would be more fun if it weren't so awkward. Trying to shoot glowing rats while keeping an eye out for the next turn gave me a case of cross-eyes! (Ummm...I got better!) Make enough progress and you're rewarded with a clip of your slob boss (ugh) and his lovely assistant (daddy like!). Sewer Shark isn't so bad. Full-motion video games like this don't tend to age well, but that's what makes them worth playing. © Copyright 2021 The Video Game Critic.
Even the fighter selection screen resembles Mortal Kombat. The paltry seven-character lineup includes a trash-talking Navy Seal ("is that all you got?!"), an out-of-shape ninja, and a chick in a three-piece suit. There's a dude in a trench coat that looks like he should be hanging out behind an adult movie theater.
A few of these "warriors" look like people off the street! My buddy Sudz refers to the guy in the jeans and leather jacket as "Discount Fonzi". "He's what happens when Henry Winkler demands $500 to star in your game, but the guy down the street will do it for a baloney sandwich!"
Paging through the manual I noticed only four actors are credited, three of them women. This confirmed my theory that several fighters were played by members of the development team. It also explains the complete lack of legitimate martial art moves!
The digitized fighters are unquestionably large, but their animation is so choppy it's like the game is flipping through four images of each fighter. The screen zooms in and out like Samurai Shodown (Neo Geo, 1993) but it doesn't help. For some reason the game runs twice as fast in two-player mode. It's frantic.
The collision detection is monumentally bad. What's the point of having a katana if it's just going to pass harmlessly through opponents? Carlos is armed with a shotgun, but despite shooting my opponent several times in the face, I still end up losing. Combine that with missing sound effects and stilted animation, and it's hard to tell what's going on!
Does Shadow have any redeeming qualities? Well, the cheesy CGI intro is okay and one of the stages features a dazzling New York skyline. The other stages however are remarkably bland, including a deserted subway and empty bar. Where the hell is everybody??
I appreciate how Shadow includes the subtitle "War of Succession", as not to confuse it with any of its wildly-successful sequels. Shadow was likely rushed out during the 2D fighter craze, and by the time everybody realized it was crap it was too late to pull the plug. It may be one of the worst fighters of all time, but it certainly is good for a laugh or two. © Copyright 2024 The Video Game Critic.
The opening mission begins over open water as you approach the pyramids of Egypt. The bright colors look terrific and the steering controls are responsive. Shock Wave doesn't burden the player with complicated navigational controls. You can aim up or down, but your ship always floats a safe distance above the surface. You'll automatically glide over mountains but you'll need to avoid crashing into structures like buildings and pyramids. Fortunately the scenery tends to be sparse.
Live actors periodically appear on your display to keep you posted on your progress and objectives. The missions are very linear in design and you'll incur damage if you stray off course. There are some interesting alien vessels to blow up including two-legged walkers, spider-like crawlers, and fish-shaped fighters. Your crosshairs turn red when an enemy is in your sights, making it easy to blast them with your rapid-fire lasers or guided missiles. Unfortunately there's no effective evasive maneuver, so you can take a lot of damage while bearing down on a target.
Upon losing a ship you'll have to restart the current mission from the very beginning - even if you reached the boss! Nooooo!!! Shock Wave's animation is impressive in the early going, but the frame-rate gets choppy later on when enemies congregate together. The scenery looks good while flying over Egyptian Deserts and Peruvian mountains, but Las Vegas is disappointingly bland. Shock Wave may have been impressive in its day, but the years have reduced it to a by-the-numbers shooter. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.
You can now select the order of the missions, and in addition to flying you can man turrets and drive hovercraft. These add variety and their control schemes are easy to grasp. The explosions are more elaborate than the first game with flying chunks of debris and enemy ships that crash-land when damaged. The frame rate is smooth at first but becomes dodgy when a lot of stuff is going on. Instead of linear missions, most feature wide-open levels that force you to hunt around for your objectives with the help of a scanner. Not all missions are of the "kill everything" variety, and you'll need to watch briefing videos to determine what you're expected to do. But even then it's easy to get confused.
The game is held together by an over-engineered menu interface composed of cryptic buttons and panels. It's so hard to navigate and the so-called "help screen" is worthless. I think I need a help screen for that help screen! You need to be a dedicated gamer to enjoy this game. Shock Wave 2 expands upon the premise of the original but its bloated interface and mysterious mission objectives may prompt a lot of gamers to just say hell with it. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.
Slam and Jam's gameplay is clearly inspired by NBA Jam (SNES, 1993), with frenetic, non-stop action and lenient foul calling. There's plenty of razzle-dazzle including behind-the-back passes, tip-ins, and tremendous alley-oops. The players really elevate and hang on the rim after dunking - even pulling down the backboard a bit. Slam and Jam seems very offensive-minded at first, but once you learn to whale away on the steal and block buttons, you'll be executing turnovers left and right.
Van Earl Wright does a nice job with the voice-overs, enthusiastically shouting lines like "Drives the lane!", "Cleans the glass with authority!", and "Delivers the thunder!". Unfortunately, there's no NBA license and it's hard to root for fictional players like Jay Chisholm, Jose Peck, Adrian Blatt, and Peter Pence. Also, if you plan to play a full season be aware that this game will consume a huge chunk of your memory storage (5K bytes). Still, 3DO fans looking for some arcade-style sports action can't go wrong with Slam and Jam. © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.
Slayer's intro really gets you psyched up as you watch a mysterious figure disappear into a dark fortress as an organ plays a haunting refrain. A first-person adventure, the idea is to conquer dungeons by collecting items and hacking away at monsters. Each stage is a series of corridors and rooms with its own distinctive music and scenery. A small window at the bottom of the screen maps your immediate surroundings, but the full map is only accessible via the pause menu.
The creatures are illustrated with so much detail and texture that they appear 3D from a distance. Among the creeps you'll face are goblins, trolls, mushroom men, worms, red slime, elementals, and ghosts. Fighting monsters and collecting items is fun. Melee isn't hard once you get used to charging in and immediately pulling back. Your inventory screen depicts a body diagram that makes it easy to manage your armor and items. One peculiar aspect of the game is how you have both "hit points" and "food" meters to maintain.
Slayer was advanced for its time but the game has not aged well due to its poor controls. Your movements are jerky and inexact, making it tough to line up enemies and doorways. The right trigger is used to strafe but it's also used to look up and down, and that's problematic. Thank goodness it's impossible to fall into pits! The dungeons tend to be flat labyrinths with each room looking like the previous one. Scattered portals transport you from place to place, making it hard to maintain your bearings.
The minor-key electronic score sets an ominous tone, but after looping a few times it can get annoying. I have to give Slayer a lot of credit for letting the player save his progress at any time via the pause menu. And if your system's internal memory is full, it's no problem, because the game even provides a mechanism to clear out old files! Slayer shows its age in the control department, but this is still a highly-playable dungeon romp. © Copyright 2009 The Video Game Critic.
Space Ace doesn't have much of an introduction. Some dorky guy and his hot girlfriend are being attacked on an asteroid in outer space, and the action unfolds so fast you might not know what's going on. A rock will flash (if you're lucky), indicating you need to jump towards it, and you have a fraction of a second to respond. If you're too late you'll watch an animation of the blue space villain taking pleasure in your demise. You get five lives but the checkpoints are so spaced out (no pun intended) you'll often need to repeat the same sequence of moves. It's more a matter of memorization than skill, and watching the same scenes over and over is irritating. Beeps provide audio feedback, and you don't get penalized for early moves; just incorrect ones.
Space Ace still has appeal thanks to the entertaining, whimsical animation of Don Bluth. His scenes are bursting with color and the characters animated with style and humor. Unlike other CD systems of its time, the 3DO could render these scenes in their full-screen glory. Unfortunately frames of animation were lost making the game even harder to play. The audio is strong with amazing robotic voices and zapping sound effects. You'd expect the home version of an arcade game to come with a slew options such as enabling clues or adjusting the difficulty, but nope! Considering Space Ace was more of a novelty than anything else, this barebones edition may be a very tough sell. © Copyright 2019 The Video Game Critic.
The action is viewed via an overhead map, but you can take direct control of any robot at any time, causing the screen to switch to a first-person view. With this point of view, you can move around freely, shoot, or engage in hand-to-hand combat. I spent a good portion of the game playing from the map view, manipulating robots as if they were pieces on a board. Space Hulk's graphics are exceptional, showing off the 3DO's ability to render rich textures and realistic lighting. As you roam the hallways, the doors and walls look nearly photo-realistic. Unfortunately, the frame-rate is lousy, and consequently navigating the hallways is more awkward than it should be. The well-designed creatures look fearsome (especially up close), and blasting them results in a generous amount of blood sprayed over the walls.
I gave it a chance, but frankly Space Hulk is not my kind of game. I like the concept of issuing orders to the other robots and working as a team, but it's easier said than done. The game favors strategy over shooting, and there's a substantial learning curve involved. The robots move slowly, making the game seem to drag at times. I was able to complete a few of the early missions, but as the objectives grew more complex Space Hulk started to give me a headache. This game demands more brains than brawn. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.
The acting is so awful that it's almost worth watching. Apparently filmed in a rented warehouse, the acting skills are a notch below those you'd see at a neighborhood haunted house around Halloween. The gameplay really sucks. You don't have much time to react to the action on screen, but once you've been through a scene, you know exactly where the pirates will pop out. I haven't tried the light gun with this but I found the control pad to be pretty sorry. Each time you fail some old man rags on you about how you let everybody down. Hey, at least I'm not stuck in some crummy FMV game!
Topping things off, I found it disconcerting when the evil villain says "winners don't do drugs!" during the intro. Since when do we listen to the bad guys? Does this mean we should do drugs? Mixed messages like this are what put teenagers on a path to addiction, crime, and despair. Fortunately, no teenagers actually played this game, because they were too busy playing good games on their Genesis and Super Nintendo systems. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.
While tracking down alien craft using your handy radar display, you can also employ special powers using buttons that line your dashboard. I was expecting these to elevate Stellar 7's gameplay to the next level, but they proved disappointingly lame. One is a cloaking device, and another lets you detect enemies with cloaking devices. Another one lets you ram enemies, and yet another is for dropping mines. Even the "super cannon" is only a marginal improvement over your default weapon.
Enemy tanks are pretty tame but those flying "skimmers" are a real pain in the ass because you have to lead your shots to nail those bastards. There are some very nice explosion effects and the clear techno music helps you get into a groove. The instruction manual recommends that you "keep moving", and that's probably the best advice I've ever heard in my entire life. Otherwise you're a sitting duck. Once your tank is destroyed, you can record your high score to a top-10 ranking chart. Stellar 7: Draxon's Revenge could use some pizzazz, but it serves its purpose as a slick arcade shooter for the 3DO. © Copyright 2007 The Video Game Critic.
Strahl is the name of our agile hero thrust into a series of chaotic situations. The danger is non-stop as the ground crumbles beneath his feet and giant creatures attempt to swallow him whole. The stages are selectable which really helps the replay value for a game like this. A typical stage has you slaying golems with a sword while leaping between falling rocks. The full-screen animation is on par with old Japanese cartoons like Speed Racer but not quite up to Dragon's Lair standards.
As you watch the action unfold arrows prompt you to quickly dart in a certain direction or swing your sword. You can't always tell what's going on but the non-stop action is always exciting. You'll battle giant snakes, animated statues, a white dragon, and a huge marshmallow man. Sometimes you need to rapidly tap the B button to charge your "power meter". When you die you'll need to restart the stage, but since they're only a few minutes long, it's no big deal. After a while you start to memorize the moves but your lives and continues are limited. There's no score but there are eight stages and 45 (!) different endings based on your performance. Strahl is better than your garden variety FMV title, and it should especially appeal to anime fans. © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.
Perhaps the biggest letdown is the fact that this game didn't support my six-button controller. I think a special controller is required? It's still playable with a three-button controller (five including the shoulder buttons), but that "P" button doesn't cut it as a sixth button. The game offers three speed settings: Level one is like slow-motion (ugh), and level three is insanely fast (forget it), but level two is just about right.
The biggest surprise is the inclusion of additional moves I never saw on the SNES. I was really surprised to see Zangief's glove, Dhalsim's upward flame, and Blanka's jump-spin. This is the kind of stuff that makes Street Fighter fans feel giddy as a schoolgirl. Street Fighter 2 on the 3DO is somewhat of an underachiever, but you'll be hard-pressed to find anything much better on this system. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
Each mission is preceded by an elaborate flight preparation sequence which shows your pilot being fitted with armor and transported to his ship via a series of automated contraptions. It's fun to watch! After launch you'll experience a brand of space shooting that feels like an evolution of Star Raiders (Atari 2600, 1982). Your cockpit view is loaded with gauges and screen displays, and your hand can be seen gripping the flight stick at the bottom of the screen. The dogfighting action is fun thanks to red brackets that highlight enemy ships and blue brackets that indicate allies. A handy arrow in the center of the screen directs you to the nearest enemy if they happen to be out of view.
I like the idea of fighting alien ships as a team, and you can even convey orders to your wingman like "form up" or "attack my target". It's exciting to hear both your allies and enemies over your radio ("I shall eat your heart!") The ships are nicely rendered with large, scaling digitized sprites. You're armed with both guns and missiles, but they tend to be fairly weak and their sound effects muted. It's not uncommon to have your weapon systems knocked out early, forcing you to limp through the remainder of your mission.
Destroying an enemy is satisfying thanks to a brilliant explosion followed by chunks of pixelated wreckage. Unfortunately, when battles get intense the frame-rate tends to stutter badly, even pausing momentarily. During lulls in the action a handy autopilot feature lets you effectively fast-forward to the next encounter. The game was clearly designed for a keyboard and not a seven-button controller, so I'm glad the back of the disk case contains a quick-reference guide for the button combinations. Between missions you can view your rankings and save your progress. Super Wing Commander is a little rough around the edges, but I enjoyed its brand of space combat a lot more than I thought I would. © Copyright 2011 The Video Game Critic.