system Index P-R
PGA Tour Golf
Grade: A
Publisher: Electronic Arts (1995)
Posted: 2002/4/11

screenshotIf 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.
1 to 4 players 

If you like this game, try: Pebble Beach Golf Links (Genesis)
PGA Tour 96 (Playstation)
Hot Shots Golf (Playstation)
Great American Golf 2 (Philips CD-i)
Golf (NES)

Grade: D
Publisher: Any Channel (1995)
Posted: 2003/12/5

screenshotReleased at a time when first person shooters were "the new thing", PO'ed carved out a 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 like frying pans, butcher knives, and drills. The frying pan may sound lame, but it's surprisingly satisfying to clunk 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 unique but doesn't work well from the first-person point of view. It's far too easy to overshoot your landing and become disoriented. The controls are slippery so 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 pixelated 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 had originality going for, but the game has aged poorly and isn't nearly as entertaining as it once was. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.

1 player 

If you like this game, try: Twisted Metal (Playstation)
Sky Diver (Atari 2600)
Twisted Metal 4 (Playstation)
Critical Depth (Playstation)
Qb (Atari 2600)

Grade: F
Publisher: PF Magic (1994)
Posted: 2024/4/14

screenshotThe first thing I noticed about Pataank was its credits screen with Rob Fulop headlining as producer. Rob was the legendary programmer who brought us the Missile Command (Atari 2600, 1982) and Night Driver (Atari 2600, 1978). Rob couldn't possibly make a bad game. Or could he?

Pataank's packaging makes some bold claims. "The first 3-D pinball thrill-ride!" "Pataank delivers the exhilaration of an amusement park ride with the challenge of an action-packed pinball game." "From a first-person point-of-view, you ARE the pinball!" Yeah we'll just see about that.

The concept seems compelling enough. You control a flying-saucer-shaped "puck", bouncing around a giant virtual pinball table. The camera follows closely, effectively putting you all up in the action. Instead of flippers, you propel the puck with the press of a button. You take aim at lanes, bumpers, and drop-targets to rack up points and unlock hidden tunnels. Up to four players are supported but you need to pass around a single controller and that stinks.

There are three themed tables: disaster, surf, and "carnival of luv". They look kind of flashy (in the epileptic sense), with old black-and-white stock footage playing on screens around the play field. I personally prefer the surf table with its beach videos and sharks that actually roar when you hit them. All the tables have the same basic layout however, and there's not much to them.

Shortly after you initially launch your puck the game abruptly freezes in order to load the table. That doesn't take me out of the moment at all. But what ultimately ruins the game is its choppy, erratic frame-rate. Not only is it hard to follow what's going on, but the control goes out the window. It's frustratingly hard to keep up with what's going on, much less hit a target.

You're sometimes instructed to hit certain targets which are hard to locate ("fortune teller available now!"). And that voice is so obnoxious. "You draaaained! Try to avoid the drain next time!" To the game's credit, you can toggle the lane lights as you would do on a real pinball machine. There's also an interesting "magneto" feature that lets you hold the puck in place.

I'd say Pataank arrived about ten years too early; the technology just wasn't ready. When playing with Sudz I warned him I hadn't played the game in about 20 years. He quickly learned why, and the fact that each player gets five balls drags things out to unsufferable lengths. We did however be sure to enter our initials in the high score screen, so they'll be there when we check back in another 20 years. © Copyright 2024 The Video Game Critic.

High score: 13,142,546
1 to 4 players 

If you like this game, try: Midnight Magic (Atari 2600)
Pinball Jam (Lynx)
Galactic Pinball (Virtual Boy)
Pinball (NES)
Bumper Bash (Atari 2600)

Panzer General
Grade: B-
Publisher: Strategic Simulations (1995)
Posted: 2022/7/25

screenshotIt took me years to muster enough courage to tackle this sophisticated war simulation. The 62-page manual not only walks you through the game's complexities but provides a few history lessons along the way. Panzer General kicks things off by presenting real black-and-white footage from the World Wars. This is one serious game!

The action takes place on a hexagonal map where you deploy troops, tanks, and bombers to your strategic advantage. The maps highlight targets of interest to keep you pointed in the right direction. For each turn you move each unit within its specified range, and then perform additional actions like attacking, digging in, or providing supplies. It's like an ultra-realistic version of Advance Wars (Game Boy Advance, 2001).

Before you tackle a global campaign you may want to settle for an easy ten-turn Poland scenario. This game has more layers than an onion. There are just so many contributing factors to take into account including terrain and weather. Each time you play you'll pick up on some new technique or strategy.

One aspect of the game that hasn't aged well is the user interface. I guess they didn't really know much about good design back in 1995. Suffice to say it took me a while to become proficient with navigating the menus and toggling the map views. I still struggle with it.

It's hard to tell one side from the other in this game, as one appears to be rendered in tan and the other light gray. During battles each unit is shown on one side of the screen, but it's not always clear which side is "you". The attack animations look great, especially of planes getting shot down. Some of the infantry scenes are pretty graphic with troops getting blown up or set on fire. Still, you may become weary of watching the same animations over and over.

It shows its age but Panzer General remains solid at its core. Heroic music plays throughout and it's satisfying when you take over a town and have the enemy on the run. With so many scenarios, campaigns, and skill levels, the replay value is practically unlimited. Casual players will encounter tough sledding but strategy buffs willing to invest the time will find this rewarding. © Copyright 2022 The Video Game Critic.

1 player 

If you like this game, try: Advance Wars (Game Boy Advance)
Military Madness (Turbografx-16)
Advance Wars 2 (Game Boy Advance)
Desert Commander (NES)
War Room (Colecovision)

Pebble Beach Golf Links
Grade: D
Publisher: Panasonic (1993)
Posted: 2002/4/11

screenshotWhat 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 horribly pixelated trees. I knew I was in trouble at the sight of the first hole's grainy video "fly by". The digitized golfers look great but there are no pros to be found. Gameplay borders on tedious; it takes forever to set up a friggin' shot! Besides going through the normal process of selecting your club and aim, 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 or 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.
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1 to 4 players 

If you like this game, try: Pebble Beach Golf Links (Genesis)
Wicked 18 (3DO)
PGA Tour Golf (3DO)
Golf (NES)
Great American Golf 2 (Philips CD-i)

Phoenix 3
Grade: C
Publisher: 3DO Studios (1995)
Posted: 2003/12/5

screenshotBefore you gamers get too excited about Phoenix 3, I think you should know this is not a sequel to the popular bird-shooting arcade game of the early 80s. No, Phoenix 3 is half platform shooter and half first-person space shooter. While neither part is great, the package as a whole may be worth checking out.

After a cheesy "live action" video introduction the game begins with some basic 2D platform action in a post-apocalyptic world. You control a large, digitized man who controls quite well. He can walk while squatting, shoot from ladders, fire in eight directions, hang onto ledges, and pull himself up. The scenery isn't much to look at, but the Alien-inspired enemies look slimy enough. It's fun to mow down these creeps with your rapid-fire gun and watch blood and internal organs fly. The accompanying sound of splattering guts makes the mayhem all the more satisfying. The audio is superb, with crisp, digitized sound effects and an adrenaline-pumping musical score. Despite the high-quality presentation the gameplay feels unpolished. The controls for climbing down are confusing, and you're often forced to make "blind leaps" - only to land on a bed of spikes. Shooting diagonally is a problem and the hit detection is suspect.

As a nice change of pace you'll also get to participate in some first-person dog fighting action in space. These stages also look nice, with a finely detailed heads-up display and 3D alien ships. It reminded me of Colony Wars for the Playstation. Unfortunately, you need to rely completely on your guided torpedoes to eliminate your enemies, because the twin cannons are worthless. The explosions look terrific, but the lack of variety makes this part feel repetitive. Phoenix 3 is not a great game by any stretch but it has its moments. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.

1 player 

If you like this game, try: Beamrider (Colecovision)
Contra III The Alien Wars (Super Nintendo)
Terminator (Sega CD)
Tunnel Runner (Atari 2600)
Star Wars Trilogy: Apprentice of the Force (Game Boy Advance)

Plumbers Don't Wear Ties
Grade: F-
Publisher: Kirin Entertainment (1994)
Posted: 2015/7/16

screenshotIf you're willing to stretch the definition of "video game" far enough, Plumbers Don't Wear Ties might just qualify as the worst ever! This "interactive romantic comedy" challenges you to fix up a plumber with a trashy blonde named Jane. During the bizarre intro sequence Jane appears in various states of undress imploring you to play this awful game. It's not encouraging that she's standing in front of a wrinkled bed sheet and the audio is awful.

Full-motion video (FMV) technology was never held in high regard, and Plumbers can't even get that part right. Instead of actual video the game presents still pictures with voiceovers. The opening scene depicts a phone call between the plumber and his mother, and sitting through this sequence pushes the limits of human endurance. Not only does every joke fall flat, but you're forced to watch the dude lounge half-naked in bed for ten minutes. After a while you start to wonder if this is the kind of video game you actually interact with.

When Jane encounters the plumber in a parking lot you're finally prompted to select a course of action, but the choices make no sense and neither does the mayhem that ensues. Every scene is full of pointless dialogue and circular discussions. Did someone actually write a script, or did they just test that "1000 monkeys at 1000 typewriters" theory?

Periodically there's a loud buzz and some obnoxious guy in a loud suit yells at you for no reason. There's no way to fast-forward a scene, but accidentally hitting the right bumper will restart the current scene (ugh). And this game is so mean-spirited! The boss interviewing Jane berates her, propositions her, and then attacks her! The fact that this disturbing sequence is played for laughs is mind-boggling.

The game lies too. The warnings of "gratuitous nudity" are ridiculous considering how heavily censored the visuals are. Even when Jane is in lingerie she's completely obscured by wacky computer graphics. The game is short but not short enough. My friends couldn't tolerate it for more than a few minutes, and begged me to shut it off. Bad games are a dime a dozen, but Plumbers Don't Wear Ties is the stuff of legend. © Copyright 2015 The Video Game Critic.

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1 player 

If you like this game, try: Voyeur (Philips CD-i)
Escape From The Mindmaster (Atari 2600)
I Saw Black Clouds (Playstation 4)
Wonder Dog (Sega CD)
Haunting Ground (Playstation 2)

Primal Rage
Grade: C
Publisher: Time Warner (1995)
Posted: 2013/11/11

screenshotOn paper Primal Rage may be the greatest video game of all time. With gigantic, motion-captured dinosaurs and apes fighting for dominion over a post-apocalyptic world, it's the ultimate conflict. In 1995 I drooled over mind-blowing screenshots of Primal Rage in GamePro magazine. Then, I played it. The fact that the game looks so damned good makes its mediocre gameplay all the more glaring. The creatures look amazing in their pre-battle poses, but their attacks are choppy and the collision detection is questionable. Between the stilted animation, kicked-up dust, and gratuitous blood, it can be hard to tell what the heck is going on.

This 3DO edition includes the original arcade intro, featuring wonderful illustrations of giant creatures laying waste to human civilization (I can't wait for the future!). This version also incorporates full-motion video sequences, but I wish they hadn't bothered. The rudimentary creature models look far worse than those in the actual game, and the narrator sounds like she's reading to a kindergarten class ("now she comes... to defeat all others... who oppose her reign"). Fortunately it's possible to disable these wretched cinematics via the options menu.

The game itself looks pretty sweet. The creatures look razor sharp and the awesome backdrops include extra details like flying pterodactyls. The battles are intense because attacks inflict substantial damage. The continue screen shows worshipping natives including one that looks like Dana Plato waving to get your attention. Additional play modes include tug-of-war and endurance modes. There are statistical screens that display information like average round times and character usage (but not high scores, oddly enough). It doesn't really matter, since none of the stuff is saved when you turn off the system. Even so, this 3DO Primal Rage may be the best home version outside of the Saturn edition. © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.

High score: 143,910
1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: Primal Rage (Saturn)
Primal Rage (CD) (Jaguar)
Primal Rage (Genesis)
Primal Rage (Playstation)
Primal Rage (Game Gear)

Psychic Detective
Grade: D+
Publisher: Electronic Arts (1995)
Posted: 2013/11/11

screenshotPart of me wishes full-motion video games had flourished because they're a heck of a lot of fun to review. I didn't expect Psychic Detective to be scary per se, but its imagery is pretty dark and twisted. The scenes look like they were filmed on location in Albania or some other eastern European country. The main character is a psychic played by a young Jim Carrey (or someone who looks just like him) who is taught by some hot Russian chick how to creep into people's minds. The villain is played by Sir Ben Kingsley (or someone who looks exactly like him).

Gameplay is similar to other "voyeur" style games except instead of switching between cameras you actually switch between different character's points of view. At a party you can "hop" between people to gain insight on their thoughts and actions. As new characters enter the scene their faces appear in circles along the edge of the screen, which you are free to select. I love the "fly on the wall" concept, but it's hard to wrap your mind around what's happening. Instead of feeling like an actor in the story, it feels like you're on some crazy psychedelic trip. Five minutes in my friend Scott summed up the game perfectly by asking, "am I playing yet?" On rare occasions you're given the opportunity to perform actions like "follow the girl" or "slap the girl". Yeah, this is not the most politically correct title, but if it makes you feel any better, she immediately apologizes after you hit her.

It's evident that "morphing" was the latest craze when this game was made because during flashbacks everything looks distorted. In terms of acting, I really enjoyed some of the perfectly awful performances. That Russian chick was definitely not hired for her "acting"; she couldn't deliver a line to save her life. "Are you sure [awkward pause to remember line] ...he's alright?"

Repeated plays reveal different scenes and dialogue, adding some replay value. Swapping between the three discs gets annoying though. The 40-minute story concludes with an abstract board game where you try to match up objects with people. Based on your performance you'll watch one of 14 endings. The problem is, I felt like Psychic Detective was playing me more than I was playing it. © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.

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1 player 

If you like this game, try: Mansion of Hidden Souls (Sega CD)
Wirehead (Sega CD)
Clock Tower 2 (Playstation)
Rogue Trip (Playstation)
Night Book (Playstation 4)

Grade: F
Publisher: Gametek (1994)
Posted: 2002/8/3

screenshotIf I could grade Quarantine on innovation alone, it would receive my highest accolades. It's a fully 3D, drive-anywhere game with elements of car combat and taxi driving. Pretty ambitious stuff for 1994, but in terms of gameplay Quarantine absolutely sucks. You're a taxi driver in an imprisoned city full of armed lunatics. The cheesy video intro makes you realize just how low-budget these 3DO games were.

I've heard this game compared to Crazy Taxi (Dreamcast), but I think that's giving it way too much credit. Quarantine actually resembles a very rough version of Twisted Metal (Playstation). The city is huge, but the pixelated facades are nothing to look at, and the people are little more than cardboard cutouts. You feel boxed in.

Driving passengers to their destinations while mowing down thugs sounds like great fun, but the execution falters. Your view is first person only, which is part of the problem. The controls are awful, especially when trying to turn the car around. Mindless, pixelated vehicles ram you from out of nowhere, causing you to lose your passengers. There's plenty of gratuitous blood when you run over or shoot people, but those huge red splotches look ridiculous. You constantly need to consult a slow-loading map screen just to see where you're heading. You can upgrade weapons and repair your car, but when the basic gameplay falters this bad, fluff like that falls to the wayside.

Perhaps the most telling sign about Quarantine was the fact that it actually made me ill. I don't know if it was the lousy frame rate, terrible graphics, frustrating control, or the burrito I had eaten earlier, but I actually became nauseated and had to stop playing. I did enjoy a few of the selectable background tunes, featuring some vintage early 90's alternative rock, but no soundtrack could save this game. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.

1 player 

If you like this game, try: Twisted Metal (Playstation)
Twisted Metal Small Brawl (Playstation)
Vigilante 8 (Playstation)
Crazy Taxi 3: High Roller (Xbox)
Doom (Saturn)

Return Fire
Grade: C
Publisher: 3DO (1994)
Posted: 2006/2/13

screenshotHonored 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 middle-of-the-road 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 adds a subtle twist.

I played Return Fire when it first came out back in the 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. © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.

1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: Return Fire (Playstation)
Flag Capture (Atari 2600)
Tanks But No Tanks (Atari 2600)
Mech Assault (Xbox)
Armor Ambush (Atari 2600)

Rise of the Robots
Grade: F
Publisher: Accolade (1995)
Posted: 2024/2/10

screenshotThere's no shortage of crappy games for the 3DO, and Rise of the Robots is one shining example. Be careful while skipping through the ubiquitous "splash" screens, as one provides the option for selecting a soundtrack, including one composed by Brian May of Queen. Otherwise you get some generic electronic music from "Fuzz Logic/Clown Factory". Wow, that sounds creepy!

May's theatrical rock really jazzes up the grainy intro showing ships flying around a futuristic city. The default electronic music isn't bad either, sounding more futuristic and perhaps more fitting. As rudimentary as they are, I find the pre-rendered 90's-era, CGI clips fascinating to watch.

The main character is a shiny blue cyborg by the name of ECO35-2. Rolls right off the tongue doesn't it? I hope you like him, because he's your only option in one-player mode. Worse yet, in two player mode the first player can only be this guy! What the heck is that all about??

Each battle is introduced with a cut-scene of your guy running down hallways to reach his next opponent. That boy can haul ass! Your five robot opponents assume wild designs like crabs, gorillas, or front loaders. Is that gorilla smoking a cigar? They look incredibly menacing when introduced in the cut-scenes, but less so in the game itself.

Since the standard 3DO controller only has three buttons, the shoulder button functions as a "shift", providing three additional attacks. I own a six-button 3DO controller but it didn't even work with this game. Despite boasting multiple soundtracks, the actual fights take place in near silence. The scenery is spartan as well, with most matches taking place in generic warehouses.

The animation is fluid but your fighter doesn't have many moves. The three punches and three kicks (light, medium, hard) look exactly the same! The controls are sluggish and trying to pull off special moves is futile. It's hardly an issue though, as the shallow fighting engine doesn't demand much technique.

The collision detection is so awful that more often than not you punch through your opponent. You can often defeat them with non-stop low kicks, which doesn't say much for the AI. I do like how defeated robots crumble in a heap, lying twitching on the floor.

After defeating a series of increasingly strong opponents I noticed the "threat level" dropped back to "minimal". Then I realized the enemies were starting to repeat. What is the point? There's not even a score. The only thing more incomprehensible than Rise of the Robots is the fact that it got a sequel! © Copyright 2024 The Video Game Critic.

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1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: Ocean City Defender (Atari 2600)
Mazin Saga (Genesis)
Super Street Fighter II Turbo (3DO)
Teleroboxer (Virtual Boy)
Primal Rage (CD) (Jaguar)

Road Rash
Grade: A
Publisher: Electronic Arts (1994)
Posted: 2001/9/22

screenshotThis outstanding title was probably the pinnacle of the critically-acclaimed 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 scenery that's constantly changing. 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 nearly identical to the Genesis version. After riding up alongside an opponent you can kick, punch, or smack them 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. "Big Game" mode allows you to earn money, purchase bikes, and progress through five levels. Each level has the same basic set of tracks, except they get longer and tougher. If you're a Road Rash fan you owe it to yourself to experience this awesome game. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.

1 player 

If you like this game, try: Road Rash 2 (Genesis)
Punch-Out!! (NES)
Road Rash 64 (Nintendo 64)
Road Rash Jailbreak (Game Boy Advance)
Super Off Road: The Baja (Super Nintendo)

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