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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 grows tiresome. 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. It's hardly an issue though, as the shallow fighting engine doesn't demand much technique. There are no interesting backgrounds during fights and no music either! Even if you love this style of game Rise of the Robots won't be spending much time in your 3DO. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
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.
Screen shots courtesy of Video Game Museum