Top Five 3DO Games

Top Five 3DO Games

The poor old 3DO was hardly a run away success, was it? It was released during a difficult period. Change was coming, but not quite ready to be embraced by the gaming public. The fact that it cost as much as a car didn’t help matters either, of course! Consequently it doesn’t have the biggest of software libraries. With this in mind, instead of doing a genre-based Top Five for some of its games, I have little choice but to simply select the five best games on the system from all genres. Behold:

Games-Related Top Fives Disclaimer: I’ve traditionally stuck to the games I know and love so far, and these game-related top fives reflect that. One of the purposes of this blog is diversify my gaming experiences, to play games I haven’t played before, so I will do new game-related top fives in a few years to see how different they are!

5. Return Fire (1995)

Return Fire

Released somewhat belatedly as a sequel to the popular Amiga strategy shooter, Fire Power, this fiendishly addictive game was among the best the 3DO could offer for two-player thrills. The move from Fire Power’s overhead viewpoint to a slightly angled 3D perspective was slight but Return Fire looks a lot prettier, and it retained and expanded upon its prequel’s enemy-flag-capturing fun. There are four vehicles you can employ to capture your enemy’s flag – tank, jeep, helicopter, and an armoured missile launcher – and each is accompanied by it’s own classical music! There are a good few stages, or ‘maps’, to battle through here, but the game was also later supplemented by a ‘data disc’ called Maps O’ Death which contained 100 new stages too. Return Fire is good fun for the solo-gamer, and I’ve spent a lot of time playing it by myself, but it was always intended as a two-player game, and in this capacity it’s one of the most enjoyable games I’ve played.

4. Gex (1994)

Gex

Poor old Crystal Dynamics. They clearly put a lot of effort into this game but it went virtually ignored by most gamers who were presumably awaiting all the ‘next generation’ games they’d been promised. I suppose most weren’t really looking for yet another 2D platformer after the deluge the MD and SNES received, but if they’d actually played Gex, they’d have discovered a superb game. Starring Gex, a lazy, television-obsessed Gecko who gets sucked into his TV, the game consists of five TV-themed levels, each split into several stages, through which Gex must travel before he can defeat Rez (no, not the Dreamcast game) and escape. Featuring sumptuous, varied graphics, some great music (although the frequent quips uttered by Gex can soon grate), a huge game world, and a perfect difficulty curve, Gex really is one of the most enjoyable 2D platformers around. Forget the fact that there’s no FMV or polygons and give it a go!

3. The Need For Speed (1994)

Need For Speed

There’s a good chance that around 9 out of 10 gamers have played at least one of the Need For Speed games, but how many know that the series started here on the 3DO? Not only that, but many fans still consider this the best game to bear the name too! Most of the many NFS games have been unrealistic, arcade-style games, but this original was designed to be as realistic as possible right down to the vehicles sounds and dashboards, and it worked too. Rarely has a driving game made it so enjoyable to simply drive. Nevermind the racing, the admittedly superb crashes, or anything else, cruising along the coast in a Supra or Ferrari, or any of the other real cars depicted here is a hypnotic experience. The Saturn and PlayStation conversions added more courses and a two-player mode amongst other things, but never has the series matched the enjoyment of the driving in this original.

2. Star Fighter (1996)

Starfighter

The previous three games, whilst all going on to appear on other systems, all debuted on the 3DO. This game did not, but it’s by far the best version of it. Converted to the 3DO after first appearing on the Acorn Archimedes of all systems, it was subsequently ported to the Saturn and PlayStation, but both these versions are horrifying, which is a mystery considering their superior power. So, this version remains the best, and what a game it is! It was my first experience of a free-roaming, 3D game world and still one of my favourites. Set on a variety of planets, and even in space, it’s a mission-based strategic shooter which sees you up against a sizable enemy military, largely on your own! Yes, it looks a bit ropey today, but it’s a game with enormous scope and creativity, not to mention a fantastic soundtrack, which I still love to play today. Just make sure you avoid discovering the atmosphere-destroying story!

1. Star Control 2 (1994)

Star Control 2

The winnah! Could it be anything else? Anyone who knows me would be expecting this – not only is it my favourite 3DO game, but my favourite videogame of all-time! It doesn’t look like much from screenshots, nor from watching someone play it, but this epic space-exploration adventure drew me into its world, captivated me, kept me playing, like nothing else ever had, and it continues to do so. The story really is enthralling, with details revealed, clues released, little by little as you play through the game. With a huge game universe to explore featuring 25+ races, each with their own territory, mannerisms, and hours of speech, this is a game that literally lasts for years. And that’s before you’ve even tried the Super Melee, two-player battle mode! A stunning game that still enjoys a strong following, and it’s free to download now too!

So, that’s my personal 3DO Top Five. It was hard to leave out some other great games such as Road Rash and Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo (the best versions of both games in my opinion), but the games I did select are not only superb, but also mostly not so well-known. If you agree or disagree with the list, let me know!

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Simon Lethbridge

Hello. :) I'm a 38 year old nerd from England, and I like lots of stuff, including retro video games, movies, sci-fi, and anime. This is the place where I will blabber on about them! At the very least, it will give me an excuse to try games/films that I keep putting off. Hope you like reading it! :)

8 thoughts on “Top Five 3DO Games

  • September 23, 2010 at 3:40 PM
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    The lack of Road Rash makes me sad 🙁 As well as being an amazing game, it's one where the FMV clips actually add to the experience. Also can't beat the opening video with crazy bikers and Sound Garden blasting out. Awesome.

    SSFIIT is also very cool but the 6-button pad I have is crap. Playable with the normal FZ-1 controller but still…

    Will agree with Star Fighter though. I only have the 3DO Magazine demo disc of the game but it's great fun. Will have to track down the full version at some point.

  • September 24, 2010 at 4:17 AM
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    Yeah I know, RR and SSFIIT would've been numbers 6 and 7, I like them both a lot. RR actually got me into Sound Garden! Madden on the 3DO is really good too, actually.

    If you play the full version of Star Fighter (which I recommend as it rules!), steer clear of the PS1 and Saturn versions, they're awful 🙁

  • September 24, 2010 at 2:58 PM
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    Was the Sound Garden track on RR called Kickstand? Or where there others too? I remember that one from the PC demo. What a tune! The whole Superunknown album was bloody brilliant.

    Nice article – as ever – but Gex? Are you shitting me? Who cares how good the game is when it's wrapped up in the most ball-crushingly obnoxious generation X bullshit that 90's focus groups ever churned out? You can do better… 😉

    No surprises about number one, but that number two is intriguing. I would love to get my hands on an Archimedes. They're the machines we used in high school so there are a lot of fond memories (especially of Zarch!)

  • September 24, 2010 at 3:09 PM
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    I can't remember how many Sound Garden songs RR used to be honest, but Kickstand remains my favourite to this day.

    Haha, sorry mate, but I really like Gex. It has decent power-ups, multiple routes, and it's satisfying to play. It does have its annoying points though, I agree.

    We had Archimedes towards the end of my time at school too but I never got to use one. I think they were for the 6th form students only or something like that!

  • October 1, 2010 at 12:12 PM
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    The Sound Garden track in RR was 'Rusty Cage' wasn't it? That's the one that plays with the intro FMV anyway. Love that song and it really suits the game.

  • October 2, 2010 at 1:47 PM
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    actually some of those look pretty good. Especially like the look of Return Fire. The 3DO – better than the Cdi!

  • November 22, 2010 at 1:13 PM
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    The list is almost there but the lack of Space Hulk in the top 3 is mystifying. Frankly, it and Wing Commander III should be in there kicking Gex and Need For Speed to the curb, where they belong.
    –Astilius

  • April 13, 2011 at 3:49 PM
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    I’m going to challenge this list. IMHO the top 5 would have to be (in no specific order):

    Immercenary: This game personifies the 90’s image of “cyberpunk” and “VR” and was a really well done FPS to boot. Cheesy story. A game to own the system for.

    Road Rash: Like Need for Speed, this was also the first of the series. I’ve got back and played it again recently and it still blows away every subsequent release. The game really does capture the spirit of the areas you’re racing through and is incredibly immersive in later levels which become almost a twitch exercise to win.

    Star Fighter: destructible landscape and just all around solid game. It’s a real shame that the later ports to other platforms were so absolutely terrible.

    Space Hulk: This best example of a tactical RTS/FPS game ever. Scary as all hell and super intense game play. Why has this game never been remade on a modern platform? One of the great mysteries of life.

    The Horde: Possibly the one of the most fun games I ever played on the system. Kirk Cameron’s best acting role hands down and once you master the quad cow/knight configuration the real game kicks in. This game even shines above some of the most brutal slowdown on a console I’ve ever seen. Play it through to the end, it’s worth it.

    With special honorable mention to: Killing Time, Iron Angel of the Apocalypse, Psychic Detective, Zhadnost and everything by Crystal Dynamics.

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