Publisher: Crystal Dynamics (1993)
This was one of the better fighting games spawned by the 2D fighter epidemic of the early 90s. In fact, Samurai Shodown has got to be one of the most beautiful games I've ever laid eyes on. The colors and rich and vivid, and the Street Fighter-style graphics look fantastic. There are 12 very interesting characters to choose from, and they all brandish swords or other sharp weapons. The game plays much like Street Fighter 2, with three kicks, three punches and an assortment of special moves. 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 none of the voice dialogue has been translated, which is probably for the best. I had a great time playing this game. There's some slow-down, but the action and animation is first-rate. Unfortunately, the six-button controller is not supported, and you need to hold a shoulder button to activate your kicks, which works fine. Samurai Shodown made me wish ALL 3DO games were in 2D! © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
Shadow: War of Succession
Publisher: Tribeca Digital (1994)
Shadow: War of Succession is a one-on-one fighter with digitized characters, splashing blood, flawless victories, and fatalities. Gee, I wonder what game this
ripped off?! By the time you hear a fighter shout "Your soul is mine!
", you'll realize that Shadow is a Mortal Kombat perpetrator of the worst
kind. The animation is so choppy that it looks like the game is cycling through four snapshots of each fighter. The screen zooms in and out like Samurai Shodown, but it doesn't help matters. The characters lack any legitimate martial arts moves, relying instead on pure magic. Some hurl glowing missiles shaped like claws and others can teleport all over the place. The collision detection is monumentally bad, and the special effects are pathetic
. To give you an idea of how poor the gameplay is, consider that I was able to win several matches in a row by doing nothing but continuous uppercuts. Two of the seven characters look like overdressed versions of Mileena and Sonya (of Mortal Kombat fame), but most resemble average Joes. The guy in the trench coat looks like he should be hanging out behind an adult movie theater. War of Succession contains one visually impressive stage which depicts a digitized New York City skyline at night, but the remaining stages (subway, pier, etc) are remarkably bland. I have to believe that Shadow was given the green light at the height of the 2D fighter craze, and by the time everybody realized it was crap, it was too late to pull the plug. I would give this game an F- except for the fact that the game it ripped off
was so damn good! © Copyright 2010 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Electronic Arts (1994)
Our high score: 4250
Shock Wave 2: Beyond the Gate
Publisher: Electronic Arts (1995)
Publisher: Crystal Dynamics (1995)
Whoa, this game is amazing
. Slam and Jam's characters are rendered with 2D sprites, but man, these guys are huge
. Better yet, they're fluidly animated and scale with minimal pixelation. You view the action from one end of the court at about the height of the basket. While this isn't always an ideal view (it's hard to judge depth), it works fine for the most part. Slam and Jam's gameplay seems inspired by NBA Jam, with its 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 inflicting 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). But 3DO fans looking for some arcade-style sports action can't go wrong with Slam and Jam. © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Strategic Simulations (1994)
Publisher: ReadySoft (1994)
Publisher: Electronic Arts (1995)
Rating: Teen (13+) (animated blood and gore)
Publisher: American Laser Games (1994)
Stellar 7: Draxon's Revenge
Publisher: Dynamix (1993)
Like Battlezone updated for the 90's, Stellar 7 puts you in a floating tank on colorful distant planets, blasting any polygons that move. Too bad it's saddled with a ridiculous name that makes people not
want to play it! Draxon's graphics are commendable, with clean visuals and an exceptionally smooth frame-rate. 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 powers to elevate Draxon's Revenge to "the next level", but was disappointed at how lame
most of these are. One is a cloaking device, and another lets you detect enemies with
cloaking devices. There's one that lets you ram enemies, and another that lets you drop mines (snore). Even the "super cannon" is only a marginal improvement over your default weapon. Enemy tanks are pretty tame, but the flying "skimmers" are pain in the ass because you really
need to lead your shots to nail those bastards. There are some very nice explosion effects, and crystal clear techno music really 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 is a little predictable and could use some pizzazz, but it serves its purpose as a slick arcade shooter for the 3DO. © Copyright 2007 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Media Entertainment (1995)
Rating: Guidance for 12 & under (contains violence involving inanimate objects, strong language, non-sexual nudity)
Strahl is a full-motion-video (FMV) game in the tradition of Dragon's Lair
(Readysoft, 1993). FMV games never really caught on but I still find them fascinating for some reason. The game's intro tells an incomprehensible tale of an old wizard who forces some guy to endure a series of tests to obtain eight gems. It sounds like the narrator is reading to a kindergarten class
for crying out loud. Strahl is an agile fellow thrust into a series of chaotic situations. The danger is non-stop as the ground crumbles beneath his feet and giant creatures try to swallow him whole. The stages are selectable which really
helps the replay value for a game like this. In a typical stage you slay golems with your 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. Sometimes you need to rapidly tap the B button to charge your "power meter", and that's pretty neat. If 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. 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. 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 I think it might appeal to anime fans. © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.
Super Street Fighter II Turbo
Publisher: Capcom (1994)
I have mixed feelings about this game. Yes, Street Fighter 2 is a classic 2D fighting game, but this version isn't as great as it could have been. The graphics, for one thing, are only slightly better than the SNES version, and don't look nearly as sharp as 3DO's Samurai Shodown. They seem somewhat fuzzy, and some colors flicker. The music sounds a little jazzier than the SNES, but the voice samples are muffled. Perhaps the biggest letdown is the fact that this game didn't support my six-button controller (I think it requires a special controller). It's still playable with a three-button controller (five including the shoulder buttons), but that "P" button does NOT cut it as a sixth button (and don't try to tell me otherwise!). The game has 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 considering the system, you'll be hard-pressed to find anything much better! © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
Super Wing Commander
Publisher: Origin (1994)
Publisher: Crystal Dynamics (1993)
Total Eclipse was probably pretty cool when it came out, but now it just looks like every other boring 3DO space game. You view the action from just behind your ship, which happens to look just like an X-Wing fighter. Eclipse offers rapid-fire shooting action over planet surfaces and inside tunnels. You're always moving in a set direction, although the stages are wide enough that you can sometimes take alternate routes. The game has a few things going for it. The scenery isn't particularly detailed (just pixelated textures), but the framerate is smooth and I like how the enemies disintegrate when shot. By flying through rings, you can collect power-ups and amass some serious firepower. But Total Eclipse is not without its problems. I couldn't get the "roll" controls to work, and sometimes you inadvertently scrape against the side of a mountain that was out of view. It's hard to judge the position of your ship in the tunnels, and the background guitar music is marginal. The action gets repetitive, and the scenery all looks the same after a while. To be honest, there's not much substance here, just some 3D graphics that looked good in 1993. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Warp (1995)
I'm glad I stumbled upon this quirky Tetris clone, because it's a standout title in an otherwise bland 3DO library. One or two players methodically stack blocks on each side of the screen, and joining four or more of the same color causes them to explode. Chain reactions often ensue. The game ends when your pile extends past the top of the screen. The formula sounds awfully familiar, but Trip'd offers a few subtle nuances. First, the squares look like slimy little creatures. Upon joining four identical shapes in a square, they merge to form a single large square. It consumes space, but destroying it (by exploding the same colored blocks elsewhere) causes extra squares to rain down on your opponent's side. This adds a nice little risk-and-reward dynamic. Trip'd has an offbeat visual style that borders on grotesque. There's a decorative monster with a pulsating brain, and when you lose, a skull with dangling eyeballs appears. Trip'd offers interesting graphics and crisp controls, but its audio is a liability, offering up some really bad circus music. The game's one-player mode is an absolute snorefest, but competing against the CPU (or better yet a human) is undeniably fun. © Copyright 2010 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: 8760
1 or 2 players
Twisted The Game Show
Publisher: Electronic Arts (1993)
When full-motion video became a thing, game companies mistakenly assumed players wanted to watch a lot of obnoxious buffoons who like to shout a lot. Twisted is the poster child for this kind of game. It's an amateurish game show with a zany host and his lady assistant who serves no useful function. The game's irritating laugh track is accompanied by old black-and-white stock footage of an audience clapping. It's a little creepy when you consider all those people have been dead for 50 years. Twisted attempts to be wacky and offbeat, but comes off as corny and embarrassing. Worst of all, it's no fun! Up to four players select between unlikeable contestants like an abrasive car salesman, a raving evangelist, or an exotic mind reader. There's also a computer generated "Fez" character, who may be related to Mr. Hankey of South Park. The actors were filmed in front of a green screen to make it look at if they're moving up a spiral shaped board. Most spaces bring up a random challenge, but the games aren't very imaginative. Expect a lot of block-sliding, memory-matching, or unscramble-the-picture puzzles. There are also trivia challenges with fun questions like "what was the first war to use napalm?" Landing on the "wheel of torture" is the absolute worst, requiring the player to line up fruit in spinning rings to escape. This part actually made me nauseous. After every game you need to sit through a series of contestant and host "reactions", each more unfunny than the last. Occasionally the game cuts to a blurry commercial of some guy goofing off. What was the budget for this? $20? Twisted is one of those games that makes you want to punch everybody in the face. © Copyright 2017 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Data East (1994)
Rating: Guidance for 12 and under (may contain violence involving inanimate ojects, property, or creatures.
Recommended variation: easy
Our high score: 29,800
Way of the Warrior
Publisher: Universal (1994)
In the early 90's there were all kinds of bad Mortal Kombat rip-offs, but Way of the Warrior is particularly embarrassing. Where do we begin? Well, first of all, the cast of fighters is absolutely vomit-inducing. There's a ninja with a pink belt, an outback hillbilly, a redneck woman, a sissy armed with fans, a black guy in a tie, and an Asian martial artist who looks like he's about 14. And that's just a sample. The graphics are remarkably photorealistic and colorful, but the animation is choppy and fighters look stiff. It's painfully evident that the developers knew absolutely nothing about martial arts. The attacks look stupid and the fights look utterly ridiculous. The controls are unresponsive and the characters hop around like fleas. The backgrounds are colorful but lack personality and fail to convey atmosphere. The audio consists of non-stop White Zombie head banging garbage that you'll be sick of by the second round. Other annoying sound effects include idiotic yells and quips from the fighters. Way of the Warrior is so bad that it's hard to comprehend. It's really more of a curiosity than a game. But perhaps the most shocking part is the fact that it was made by Naughty Dog, the same developers who later would produce the awesome Crash Bandicoot games for the Playstation. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Panasonic (1995)
I thought this game looked awfully familiar at first, and then I realized that it's somewhat of a sequel to Pebble Beach Golf, using the same game engine and menu design. The unique thing about Wicked 18 is that it contains eighteen wild "fantasy" holes. You'll see totem poles, volcanoes, and islands floating in the sky. The holes are extreme in design, with steep hills and narrow canyons. One particular hole looks like a giant pyramid. It's a cool idea, and a nice break from the plain courses found in most golf games, but the execution is weak. The graphics engine has a hard time rendering these radical landscapes. The ball often appears to travel through solid walls, and it's very difficult to tell where it lands. Wicked 18 tends to be more confusing than anything else. At least the user interface has been tightened up a bit since Pebble Beach Golf, so you don't have to deal with a caddy as much. The background music is irritating as hell - it sounds like carnival music. Compared to Pebble Beach Golf, I'd say this game takes one step forward and two steps back. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger
Publisher: Origin (1995)