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Games are rated relative to other games for the same system.

3DO Reviews T-Z

Total Eclipse
Grade: D
Publisher: Crystal Dynamics (1993)
Posted: 2002/9/15

screenshotTotal Eclipse was probably pretty cool when it came out, but now it just looks like every other run-of-the-mill 3DO space shooter. You view the action from just behind your ship which looks 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.

Total Eclipse has a few things going for it. The scenery isn't particularly detailed (mainly 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" to work and sometimes you inadvertently scrape against the side of an off-screen mountain. 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. There's not much substance here, just some 3D graphics that looked good in 1993. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.

1 player 

Grade: B+
Publisher: Warp (1995)
Posted: 2010/3/12

screenshotI'm glad I stumbled upon this quirky Tetris clone, because it's a standout title in the 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 has interesting graphics and crisp controls, but its audio serves up some really bad circus music. The game's one-player mode is a 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
Grade: F

screenshotWhen full-motion video was new, game companies apparently thought players wanted to be shouted at by obnoxious buffoons. 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. Landing on most spaces result in a random challenge, but the minigames 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 each minigame you have to sit through a series of contestant and host "reactions", each more unfunny than the last. Occasionally the game cuts to a goofy, blurry "commercial". What was the budget for this garbage? $20? Twisted is one of those games that makes you want to punch everybody in the face. © Copyright 2017 The Video Game Critic.

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1 to 4 players 

Grade: C
Publisher: Data East (1994)
Posted: 2014/11/19
Rating: Guidance for 12 and under (may contain violence involving inanimate ojects, property, or creatures.

screenshotThe first time I played Virtuoso I thought it might be the greatest game ever. You play the role of a fictitious rock star blasting aliens on Mars with dual pistols! This third-person shooter boasts some truly amazing digitized monsters. Your leather-clad headbanger sports long blonde hair and you only see his face when he backs up to a wall. Shooting spiders, robots, and wasps is cool, especially since they explode into meaty chunks.

Virtuoso does a lot of things right. Holding in the fire button lets you unleash rapid-fire bullets and ammo is unlimited. Other controls let you strafe, rotate 180 degrees, and even unleash smart bombs. There are three stages and I was pleasantly surprised to discover they are selectable! Mars is a hellish environment not unlike Doom, and its Robocop-style robots look positively badass. Haunted House sounds exciting but I could never even get out of its hedge maze. The marine stage is even tougher and you'll be lucky to make it off the beach with giant crabs nipping at your heels and kamikaze sea gulls smacking you in the face.

As you play the game its flaws begin to pile up. Fog which limits your view and when a swarm of enemies appear the framerate goes straight to hell. Turning is easy in open spaces but clumsy in narrow passageways. That's because your guy tends to automatically "hug" the wall, sending the camera out of whack. Your "radar" display is only available part of the time and enemies have a tendency to attack from behind. The soundtrack consists of generic head-banging guitar tracks that sound like they were recorded in somebody's garage. That said, Virtuoso is a fascinating slice of 90's culture that's fun to play for high score. © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.

Recommended variation: easy
Our high score: 29,800
1 player 

Way of the Warrior
Grade: F
Publisher: Universal (1994)
Posted: 2002/4/11

screenshotIn 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. The graphics are photorealistic and colorful, but the animation is choppy and fighters are stiff.

It's painfully evident that the developers knew absolutely nothing about martial arts. The attacks look dumb and the fights look utterly ridiculous. The controls are unresponsive and the characters tend to 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. Annoying sound effects include idiotic yells and repetitive 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.

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1 or 2 players 

Who Shot Johnny Rock?
Grade: D-
Publisher: American Laser Games (1994)
Posted: 2023/4/24

screenshotI would have loved to have been a fly on the wall of 3DO's marketing department. Their system targeted affluent gamers, offering cutting-edge technology at an exorbitant price ($700). So what kind of games did they produce for this amazing, futuristic machine? Pixelated spaghetti westerns? Old-timey movies? Cheesy game shows? It doesn't add up.

Who Shot Johnny Rock is a full-motion video light-gun shooter in the style of a 1940's gangster movie. Between its laughable "dramatic" scenes you engage in shootouts against stereotypical mob figures that pour out of the woodwork. If you're not quick on the trigger, you get shot and lose money (to pay the doctor apparently). When you're out of dough the game is over.

The video is surprisingly fuzzy and grainy. Consequentially the bad guys you're supposed to shoot appear very indistinct. Some are little more than flickering pixels in the darkness! Shooting an innocent is like getting shot yourself, but it's so hard to resist the urge to shoot everything that moves!

You have the option of using a normal controller or light gun. I tried the controller but there's no way you're going to drag that cursor across the screen in time to hit anything. The surprisingly-accurate light gun is the way to go, but you still need to anticipate exactly where your targets will appear. Fortunately you are not penalized for shooting early. Is it fun to shoot one of these no-good bastards, causing the video to pause as his "death scene" is loaded? Yeah, kind of.

This 3DO version has a few helpful features. You can select your next location, which may be an office, casino, warehouse, garage, or other seedy establishment. You can continue as many times as you want and it properly resets your score each time. Upon resuming you pick up right where you left off, so it's not hard to make progress.

This is far better than the Sega CD version, but that's not saying much. By 3DO standards it's better than Mad Dog McCree (American Laser Games, 1993) but not as good as Crime Patrol (American Laser Games, 1994). Who Shot Johnny Rock is one of those novelty titles best enjoyed with a light gun in one hand and a stiff drink in the other. © Copyright 2023 The Video Game Critic.

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1 or 2 players 

Wicked 18
Grade: D
Publisher: Panasonic (1995)
Posted: 2002/4/11

screenshotI thought this game looked awfully familiar, and then I realized that it's a sequel to Pebble Beach Golf, using the same game engine and menu design. What's unique about Wicked 18 is how it contains eighteen "fantasy" holes. These wild creations incorporate totem poles, volcanoes, and islands floating in the sky. The holes are extremely challenging, 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 that annoying caddy as much. The background music is irritating as hell - it sounds like carnival music. Compared to Pebble Beach Golf, I'd say Wicked 18 is one step forward and two steps back. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.

1 to 4 players 

Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger
Grade: A-
Publisher: Origin (1995)
Posted: 2011/1/20

screenshotWing Commander must have been a big deal back in the day because this third iteration boasts some tremendous production values. The game comes spread over three CDs, each loaded with a generous helping of live-action video. I realize video is frowned upon in many gaming circles, but the clips in Wing Commander 3 (WC3) are actually very compelling thanks to an all-star cast. Many of the characters are played by recognizable actors, with Mark Hamill (of Luke Skywalker fame) leading the way.

Even without the theatrics this is a superb first-person space shooter that nicely builds on the foundation of the previous games. Its frame-rate is dramatically smoother, the action is faster, and the controls are more responsive. Your weapons are much more effective, leading to shorter but more intense battles. It's fun to gang up on enemy ships, and when you take down a massive capital ship the explosion effects are pretty awesome. Between missions you'll converse with other people on the ship, and there's plenty of gossip and drama. Apparently some don't appreciate the fact that you've chosen a wingman of the same species as the enemy (a cat-like version of Chewbacca).

Super Wing Commander III is a strong 3DO title but it can't quite shed its PC roots. I found myself constantly peeking at the quick reference sheet containing over 30 button combinations. It's hard to remember special commands like releasing a decoy (R+C), toggling your cockpit view (pause+B), or engaging autopilot (L+B). Direct communication commands have also been incorporated into the scheme, complicating matters further. During one early mission my wingman Hobbes was shouting, "I am ready to engage!" and I'm screaming, "Attack! Attack you stupid [expletive] bastard!!"

There's no pause function so it's hard to locate the proper command in the heat of battle. Still, Wing Commander 3 is enjoyable once you finally get comfortable with the controls. On the downside, the game crashed on me once (memory allocation error), and the video clips become a bit monotonous after a while ("That's some pretty slick flying sir!"). It had to be shoehorned into the 3DO, but Wing Commander III is still an engaging science fiction epic. © Copyright 2011 The Video Game Critic.

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1 player 

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Screen shots courtesy of Video Game Museum, Moby Games, Time Extension