The 3DO was the brainchild of Trip Hawkins. Hawkins was able to, somehow, bring together a conglomerate that would make other conglomerates declare that it was huge. See, Hawkins was also the founder of one of the largest third party developers in the world, Electronic Arts. Maybe you know them for a game franchise called Madden Football. This pedigree helped him negotiate some amazing agreements with companies.
As time progressed the 3DO evolved from the “Opera” stages to become the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer. There were many games released for the 3DO, quite a few in fact (over 300 in under three years). This is probably because there was no “real” quality control operation in place. Tthe cost to produce games was reportedly cheap, about $3 per disc produced. This is allegedly the cost of being a licensee as well. There were plenty of games for the 3DO though. Here I have compiled a list of the ten best, console exclusive, games every retrogaming fan should play.
Long before You Don’t Know Jack and its party fun antics there were titles like Zhadnost the People’s Party. There was another, similar title, called Twisted: The Game Show as well. Sure these titles were not exactly like YDKJ but the fun was still there. Full motion videos of people acting out scenes and actions abound, some funnier than others. You are only going to get to play these if you own a 3DO folks.
Second, Icebreaker, an action strategy title released by Panasonic (see a trend forming here?). Thrashed, and loved by just as many, gaming magazines of the time Icebreaker sort of straddled the fence of entertainment. For me, it was quite interesting, a different pace and challenging. The levels require you to remove all of the pyramids on the level, both stationary and mobile ones. It is tougher than it sounds. Icebreaker was also released on personal computers.
Cyclone Studios certainly took a chance with Captain Quazar as nothing else on the 3DO compared. Had Captain Quazar been released sooner then maybe the 3DO would have been viewed differently by gamers. The action is taken on via an overhead ¾ angled view. There is satire, fun and various antics that are simply too wild to discuss here. Suffice to say, Captain Quazar is worth playing if you have the hardware to do it. This one also saw a release on PC’s.
Jurassic Park Interactive is a collection of mini games based around the movie Jurassic Park. The games are all over the place. Minigames include driving a Jeep in an effort to escape a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Another level has you fumbling around a claustrophobic building in first person mode trying to survive to everything in between. Ultimately your goal is to find all the park guests and bring them to safety. Sorry, PC gamers, this one is completely exclusive to the 3DO.
Way of the Warrior got a lot of gruff from a certain gaming publication from back in the day. WotW is not as bad as they tried to make it out to be. The music was provided by White Zombie - thanks Rev Rob for the correct music used. Then there are the graphics, Way of the Warrior was quite the show-off game for 3DO owners. There were some problems with the controllers, depending on which one you were using as not all 3DO controllers were made equal. Not the best fighting game but it beats out anything Atari was able to produce on the Jaguar and is only bested on the 3DO by Super Street Fighter II Turbo. If you don’t own a 3DO you won’t be playing Way of the Warrior as it is an exclusive all around (no PC release).
Lucienne’s Quest is a strategy role playing game that allows turn based control over your characters positioning in battle-unlike straight up role playing games such as the Final Fantasy series.. Lucienne’s Quest has been hailed as the most complete nearly perfectly balanced RPG in history. The pacing of the battles is spot on, the story telling is great and the graphics are great. Lucienne’s Quest was “the” game that defined Panasonic’s dedication to the 3DO- too bad it was too little too late to save the platform. If you can read Japanese then you can always try the Sega Saturn version, otherwise you are going to have to rock a 3DO to play this one.
Killing Time is a first person shooter in the style of Doom but there is so much more here. Don't bother with the 3DO Doom game, it is rough. This game featured ghosts that furthered the story in meaningful full motion video clips that played right in the level, not in a cutscene (which was interesting and unique, even today). Oh, and you got to shoot ducks. There is a PC version but it is quite different than the 3DO version, and not as good if you ask me.
When you think of Sherlock Holmes you think of tough to crack detective cases and that trademark smartness. The Case of the Serrated Scalpel is was the first game in “The Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes” and the only one to hit the 3DO. Separating this adventure from the 16-Bit fare were full motion video clips by actors dressed like the characters acting out “talking” scenes throughout the adventure and some great musical scores. This one is also available on computers, with the sequel “The Case of the Rose Tattoo”.
Star Control II has to be on this list somewhere (they are not in any particular order) that is just a fact. For anyone that has played this game (original, re-release, update, whatever) it is either the best game they have played or it is some weird space romp that they “don’t get”. The 3DO version comes with full voices and orchestral sounds (the remakes usually ripoff this versions audio). The story is complicated and intriguing, especially for anyone that is a fan of space operas. More than worth your time. If you don’t own a 3DO you can pretty much get the same experience, now thanks to homebrew developers, on most platforms such as the PlayStation Portable to Windows computers and Android phones to name a few.
Last but not least is we have The Incredible Machine. For those that have played Amazing Alex on mobile devices and thought “man this is great” will probably want to check this title out, it is a console exclusive (it also saw release on PC’s). The idea is like a grown up version of Amazing Alex with a lot more stuff to get in trouble with and more interesting level design.
There you go folks, 10 exclusive 3DO games that should be necessary playing for any retrogaming fan to become a card carrying member. Some are off the wall like Twisted and Zhadnost while others are more mainstream such as Way of the Warrior though all are interesting in their own ways. In the future I will take a look at other platforms such as the original PlayStation, Sega CD, and more.
What were your favorite 3DO games?3DO Games on Ebay
This article was originally published on Retro Gaming Magazine, a gaming website I own.