3DO Games

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Matt James

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The 3DO was an exciting system that was hugely hyped but ultimately failed. The 3DO as a system and concept was always going to be a gamble. Systems were not produced by the 3DO company, instead licenced electronics manufacturers produced their own versions of the hardware. This resulted in higher console costs to the consumer but made it a potentially attractive proposition to the manufacturers.

Ultimately the system failed due to not only this concept but also being released slightly in advance of the all-conquering Sony PlayStation. However, the 3DO certainly played its part in video gaming history by introducing slick 3D games and FMV to the console gamer.

1. Road & Track Presents: The Need For Speed – 1994

Road & Track Presents: The Need For Speed is probably one of the more well-known 3DO titles, The Need For Speed is my first mention as it is one that still is the most memorable for me. Having spawned stacks of sequels, the original Need For Speed game is its most classic form.

With arcade-like elements, this game plays more semi-realistically with its weighty feeling physics and handling bespoke to each car in the game.

Throw in competitive racing and the presence of the police and hilariously bad cut scenes, it’s the perfect way to remember the 3DO.

3DO – Road & Track Presents: The Need For Speed

The Need For Speed features an excellent in-car view and really cutting edge for the time 3D graphics, in some ways, it feels like an evolution from the likes of Road Rash, Need For Speed has much more refined physics and depth.

Only let down by its having 3 different track environments to play in, there’s not a whole lot of life to the game, but it was a great advert of what the 3DO was capable of.

2. Road Rash – 1994

Whilst we’re on the subject of 3DO racers, let’s get Road Rash out of the way. Road Rash 3DO is, without a doubt, one of the must have 3DO games.

Road Rash on the 3DO could be considered the perfect version (if you discount the PS1 conversion which is smoother).

3DO – Road Rash

Time was already running out for the 3DO with the PlayStation on the horizon, but Road Rash demonstrated that there was life in the flawed console yet.

With an excellent licences soundtrack featuring the likes of Soundgarden, Road Rash on the 3DO is one of the finest ways to race, fight and evade the police.

Oh, and it’s packed with more classic 3DO FMV cutscenes!

3. Alone In The Dark – 1994

Alone In The Dark is a bit of a pioneer in the 3D survival horror genre, paving the way for such classics as Resident Evil & Silent Hill.

Although a bit primitive in its look now, Alone In The Dark spooked players back in 1994 with its creepy 3D environments and its tense audio, all made possible by the 3DO’s superior hardware.

3DO – Alone In The Dark

You play Edward Carnby, a private detective investigating strange paranormal goings on. It is quite slow-paced, probably more a limitation of the early 3D engine it is running on, but strangely adds to the tense atmosphere the game exudes.

Be prepared for lots of exploring and reading, but it’s definitely worth checking out, purely for posterity in the genre.

4. Syndicate – 1995

Syndicate is a later game on the 3DO and is really just a straight port of the Amiga version of the game, but benefits from improved CD audio. But, that said, Syndicate is a classic game whatever platform it’s on.

Syndicate is essentially an RTS / action game where you take command of a team of cyborgs working your way through the game, taking over enemy territories.

3DO – Syndicate

There are some really cool elements to the game including managing tax levels of your owned territories to assist with R&D funding and arming your squad up to the eyeballs with the latest and biggest arsenal of weapons.

A basic-looking isometric game by the 3DO’s standards, but one which enjoyable way beyond the graphics offered.

5. Way Of The Warrior – 1994

Way Of The Warrior is a cult classic on the 3DO. It is a 2D fighter with digitised graphics like Mortal Kombat. It even includes fatalities, but the whole thing just comes across as even more tongue in cheek than the gory Mortal Kombat.

Similar to many 2D fighters of the time, Way Of The Warrior does things in its own quirky style. The characters are nice and big and the digitisation is actually of good quality.

It’s hard to put into words, but there’s just something about the game which appeals. Maybe it’s the whole ‘so bad, it’s a good thing!

3DO – Way Of The Warrior

Backing up the story behind the game and how it was done on a small budget, it is known that friends of the development company were recruited to be captured as the game’s characters, instead of using paid actors/martial artists. All for the better if you ask me!

6. Cannon Fodder – 1994

Very much in the same way Syndicate is a slightly polished 16-bit port, Cannon Fodder follows suit. But then again, can you really mess up a port of an already excellent game – sometimes….But fortunately, not this time!

Cannon Fodder on the 3DO is more of the same overhead management of small characters as you’ll find with many Sensible Software games. Simply point and click to move your team and take out your enemies.

3DO – Cannon Fodder

The 3DO version of Cannon Fodder benefits from an FMV intro and slightly jazzed-up graphics in the colour department, which makes the game look a little bit more refined that the standard Amiga version.

That said, the Amiga wins out due to its mouse controls, but a very fine 3DO game nonetheless. You can never go wrong with Cannon Fodder.

7. Return Fire – 1995

A lesser known games is Return Fire. With a simple premise of capture the flag, Return Fire has a range of vehicles at your disposal to help you achieve your mission.

You can utilise a range of vehicles such as a Tank, HRSV Multiple Rocket Launching System, a Jeep and a Helicopter, all with their own characteristics and rather brilliantly, their own soundtrack!

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3DO – Return Fire

Notable for its CD-based classical music soundtrack Return Fire blends a kind of classic 16-bit gaming experience with a modernised 3D playfield and an awesome soundtrack. An absolute belter of a game with friends too.

A simple game really well executed, and a must-have on the 3DO.

8. Wolfenstein 3D – 1995

Wolfenstein 3D has been a classic FPS brand of shooter since 1992, and the 3DO benefitted from its own release in 1995.

Although possibly considered past its prime in 1995, Wolfenstein 3D made its way to the 3DO with an excellent port which could possibly be considered the definitive version at the time with its smooth gameplay and improved soundtrack and audio.

3DO – Wolfenstein 3D

Nothing is particularly unique in terms of gameplay, but it opened up the door for people who had not experienced one of the pioneering FPS games. Again, very much for posterity, it’s worth a look.

9. Wing Commander III: Heart Of The Tiger – 1995

Whilst the original Wing Commander game on the 3DO is excellent, Wing Commander III is the game that really raised eyebrows at the time.

With a comprehensive 2 hours plus of full motion video of the story contained within the game, its cast included a range of talent, including the legendary Mark Hamil playing Colonel Christopher ‘Maverick’ Blair.

3DO – Wing Commander III

Exploiting all that there was to be utilised about the 3DO, Wing Commander III sets players on an exhilarating space adventure, with excellent flight simulation and fighting mechanics all tied together with movie sensibilities and storytelling.

It is unusual to have a game so heavy on FMV to be considered a great game, but Wing Commander III pulls it off brilliantly.

10. Super Street Fighter II Turbo – 1994

Almost no system was missed when it came to Street Fighter II, heck, there were even 8-bit Street Fighter II ports!

But the 3DO was different, it is a hugely capable beast in terms of power compared to these modest systems. This is why Super Street Fighter II Turbo unsurprisingly became a must-have title on the 3DO.

Super Street Fighter II Turbo introduces a range of new characters, stages and a move combo system, this version of the game was the biggest evolution in the SFII series to date.

3DO – Super Street Fighter II Turbo

Not quite arcade perfect, but oh so close for the time, Super Street Fighter II Turbo is highly regarded as a port, especially so for its excellent reworked soundtrack.

The 3DO version really was one of the best ways to play the game back in 1994.

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