system Index P-R
PGA Tour Golf
Grade: A
Publisher: Electronic Arts (1995)
Reviewed: 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)
Hot Shots Golf (Playstation)
PGA Tour 96 (Playstation)
Great American Golf 2 (Philips CD-i)
Golf (NES)

PO'ed
Grade: D
Publisher: Any Channel (1995)
Reviewed: 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)
London Blitz (Atari 2600)

PaTaank
Grade: F
Publisher: PF Magic (1994)
Reviewed: 2002/2/18


screenshotThis game is billed as "the First 3-D Pinball Thrill Ride". Let's hope it's the last, because PaTaank is an awful mess. I suppose the designers were trying to be original and innovative, but this "first-person pinball" project should have never seen the light of day. The goal is to bounce around a pixelated 3D world trying to hit specific targets, but the choppy frame rate makes it hard to tell what the hell is going on! Its three tables (carnival of love, surf, and disaster) are flashy but fairly small and uninteresting. Even when I got the hang of the game I wasn't having any fun. I'd have to chalk PaTaank up as a bad idea that was poorly executed to boot. And who was the marketing genius who came up with a name that no one can pronounce? © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
1 to 4 players 

If you like this game, try: Galactic Pinball (Virtual Boy)
Pinball Jam (Lynx)
Midnight Magic (Atari 2600)
Pro Pinball: Big Race USA (Playstation)
Pinball Hall of Fame: The Gottlieb Collection (Xbox)

Pebble Beach Golf Links
Grade: D
Publisher: Panasonic (1993)
Reviewed: 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)
Golf (Atari 2600)

Phoenix 3
Grade: C
Publisher: 3DO Studios (1995)
Reviewed: 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: Terminator (Sega CD)
Contra III The Alien Wars (Super Nintendo)
Beamrider (Colecovision)
Star Wars Trilogy: Apprentice of the Force (Game Boy Advance)
N-Sub (Sega SG-1000)

Plumbers Don't Wear Ties
Grade: F-
Publisher: Kirin Entertainment (1994)
Reviewed: 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)
Wonder Dog (Sega CD)
Haunting Ground (Playstation 2)
Super Dimension Fortress Macross, The (Japan) (Saturn)

Primal Rage
Grade: C
Publisher: Time Warner (1995)
Reviewed: 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.

Our 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)
Reviewed: 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)
Tomarc The Barbarian (Atari 2600)

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


screenshotThere's no shortage of crappy games for the 3DO. Rise of the Robots tries to be a high-tech one-on-one 2D fighter, but its flaws are so blatant you have to wonder what the designers were smoking. I will give the game credit for several nice robot designs. The main robot, ECO35-2, is basically humanoid in shape, but the other six take on wild designs like crabs, gorillas, or front loaders. They look incredibly menacing in the cut-scenes, but less so in the game itself. These cut-scenes are easily the best part of the game - they look great and contain some cool futuristic music.

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.

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1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: Samurai Shodown (3DO)
Samurai Shodown (Genesis)
Teleroboxer (Virtual Boy)
Space Hulk (Saturn)
X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse (Super Nintendo)

Road Rash
Grade: A
Publisher: Electronic Arts (1994)
Reviewed: 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)
Midnight Club (Playstation 2)


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