Numbers 2 to 10 of the 3DO Kid top 50 games ever.
2. Wing Commander III.
You couldn’t do this on the SNES, or for that matter the N64. To make a game as vastly wonderful, as immersive, as fun as this you need shiny disks. No, there is no getting away from it. Cartridge based systems, like the Atari Jaguar, could not do a game like this. You see, no matter how you compress, twist, stick, edge or bet, you can’t put FMV onto a 2Mbit cartridge and then squeeze in a half decent game. CD arrived – and it arrived on the 3Do on 4 CDs with Mark Hamill riding shotgun.
Again you are immersed. You’re in a world, in a time, in place where human civilisation is threatened. The planet is united against the Kilrathi . You take part in conversations. Conversations with Ginger Lynn. You take part in space battles, against vast numbers of alien space craft. You take part in movie. An interactive movie. This was the dream for an entire generation of video games consoles. And one game truly achieved it. One game managed to attain what so many before it had failed to do. Make an interactive movie worth interacting with and allow you, in 3D polygonal spaceships, to save the human race. How oculd this not be one of the greatest games ever for th 3DO?
3. Luciennes Quest.
Despite the fact this is one of the most highly sort-after 3DO games, and therefore commands silly money, it’s very engaging, it’s actually good. Game makers, by and large, are not much of story tellers. Like wise characters within games are rarely enigmatic or engaging. Leon in Resident Evil 4, Chef in Halo, that meat head in Gears of War. Why should I care if they live or die? They represent me in the game – but I don’t actually like them. They would never be my friend, they have flat soul-less personalities. I keep them alive in the games where they take on the role of me in their universe because I have no choice.
Which is bazaar. Intellectual Property is all powerful these days so you would have thought they would try harder. Whether I like someone or not in game is simply a matter of scripting and programming – how hard can it be? So - it proves that game makes are still largely infantile. Their perception much outside of killing things or solving simple puzzles is after all these years, still lamentable, and a little pathetic.
Still – Luciennes Quest is not quite like that. Lucienne, bless her little cotton socks is a likeable kid. As is Miniaga, her sidekick, and the rest of friends too for that matter. The story indeed runs hot and cold, and will never go down in history as literary classic in waiting. The graphics? Well they slap FFVI for a six, that’s a cricketing term, think nine-yards and the sound? Well – I don’t remember. The sound s forgettable then. But there is a spirit, a genuine feeling comradery in Luciennes Quest. I’ve always been a fan of the little person who could. The perso n who tried. The person with spirit and soul. Maybe I’m getting old, soft, stupid, but Lucienne is more of woman than Lara, more hero than Cloud and the nearest thing I ever got to wishing a computer person was real.
F**K it – pirate a copy of this and play it!
What is a good game? Well rounded? Engrossing? Entertaining? Fun? And a 2D platformer of all things. This is the only 2D platformer I have ever completed. Ask me if I like 2D platformers, I will tell you no. Hedgehogs and plumbers right? They are just gay. Gex managed to achieve what his Japanese inspired 16bit counterparts never could. He managed to make a platformer appeal to guy who lists women, cars, horror, sci-fi and guns as his primary gaming interests. Make of that what you will. Gex is funny, thanks to the only genuine character voice acting in a game ever. The game looks like it belongs on a 32bit system, the graphics are rich and detailed. The character is well realised. And all-in-all it’s brilliant. For the picky gamers out there, you know, the kind of loser who endlessly whinges on about controllers hurting their hands, or frame rate, or the fact they can’t complete a game without loosing a life, then they will be delighted to know save points are well positioned, the difficulty is not too hard, the levels varied – what more do you want?
5. Need for Speed.
Cars are cool. Shove carbon foot prints up your backside. Cars are cool. It is an insurmountable truth. My aim in life is not to have a carbon foot print. Indeed – I want a Carbon Sasquatch. Violent video games. Horror movies. Half naked women and last but not least, fast cars. Dear Lord – I love them all.
Need for speed was the first of the next generation console racers. Real cars. Real tracks. Real physics. There would be no Gran Turismo. There would be no Project Gothem Racing. No Forza. Not without a nod to Need for Speed on the 3DO.
Sigh. There is no damage. No modifications to the cars. Not even the colour. No head lamps. No Mip mapping. If you are the type of idiot who joins game forums to lament such-and-such a game not featuring an option to modify the colour of the interface, or the fact that you can’t read the brand off of the tyres then sod-off. Really. Life is going to be hard for you and I can’t be bothered to talk you through it.
For the normal people, NFS has the coolest cars, the most realistic cop chases of any video game, and of cause x-man.
Remember kids: Close only counts in horse-shoes and hand-grenades!
6. Another World (US: Out of this World.)
Another World is the work of one man. Two years work. That’s incredible if you think about it. Just pause for a second. Most gamers, people like you and I who are well aware that video games did in fact exist before the Xbox, are familiar with, even if you hated it, Another World. You remember the cinematic introduction. The charismatic story line. The elegance of the graphics. It’s an incredible feat for one man. And I really like the game. That’s why it is here.
7. Space Hulk.
It has an epic feel. Majestic. Sacred. The troops call you “Brother”, phrases like “Purge, with fire”. It’s as scary as hell. Facing down a gene-stealer, with jammed canon is scarier and more atmospheric than any comparable game of the time. Including Alien vs Predator on the Atari Jaguar. It’s strategic. When to use which weapon when and how and by whom. It’s challenging. It’s fun.
Fun + Challenging + Atmospheric + Majestic + Scary equals one of the best game on the 3DO.
Yet. Another. Shooter. Cheap thrills, easy wins. I guess that sums up Starblade fairly succinctly. It’s not fair to leave it there though. Anyone who plays Starblade for the first time has a nagging feeling the Starblade universe is bigger than what you are presented with. When it came out I remember trawling the usenet and the web, what there was of it that is, for more information. Maybe it’s in Japanese? Maybe there is some Starblade Manga or Anime? There isn’t – but I still feel there should be.
For a game that can be completed in less than 10 minutes, it’s the most immersive 10 minutes of any game ever. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: Me, us, you and I, the Starwars, the Star Trek, the Battle Star Galactica generation have all fantasised about taking part in a space battle. And that is what Starblade is.
Another game, in the true spirit of retro gaming. There is certain compulsive magic to Novastorm. I’ve had three copies. The first copy I remember walking 12 miles to get because I had no car at the time, it took me all day to get to the shop and back, I then spent all night playing it.
Your craft, the Scavenger 4, sweeps across the alien landscapes and for me it’s a magical experience. The volcanic, the ice, the under water worlds, all set to hypnotic trance music, while shooting seven-shades of doo-doo out of aliens you’ve never met or have any desire to.
Novastorm is not perfect, don’t get me wrong, it’s not a 10/10 game, it has its flaws, it’s not even a good shooter – what it is though, is the embodiment of playing 3DO games in 2007. In fact not just 3DO games, all retro video games. It’s travelling across beautiful half forgotten pre-rendered artificial alien worlds, in a forgotten game, on a forgotten console. It’s fun. Don’t listen to the losers, the people that will bewail you. Playing Novastorm on a 3DO in 2007, is like driving a V12 car to the North Pole. People not only don’t know why you are doing it but also they don’t like how you are doing it. Screw ‘em.
Sprites over –laid on a pre-rendered backdrop is considered an embarrassment, something best not romanticised about but for me in many ways Novastorm is simply beautiful. A beauty that is perhaps quintessentially in the eye of the beholder.
I know what you are thinking. Casper? According to Wikipedia the 3DO is a fifth generation console, a generation after the SNES and the Megadrive. Many of the games on the 3DO look like they belong in this earlier generation but not Casper. Casper looks like a thorough bred 32bit game in the use of visuals and the use of media. It’s rich, there is a story, the overall theme is very mature. Again – it’s a quality product. It’s fun to play and easily accessible to anyone willing to try.