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Demolition Man (3DO)

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Demolition Man was made in 1994 by Virgin Interactive Entertainment for the 3DO. The game tightly follows the movie of the same name. The two main actors Wesley Snipes and Sylvester Stallone were digitized and quite some additional footage was shot in front of green screen.

The story of Demolition Man is about the police officer John Spartan in his fight against the criminal Simon Phoenix. John arrests Simon, but in the process lots of damage is caused and dead hostages are found in the rubbles of the scene. John and Simon are sent into a cryogenic penitentiary. 36 Years later Simon escapes into a world which doesn't know much of violence or weapons anymore. The people of the future decide to unfreeze John in order to help them stopping Simon.

The game consists of segments of different play styles. There are light gun levels, first person shooter levels, fighting levels, and a driving level. I will focus mainly to the light gun levels but nevertheless I will briefly show the other kinds.

There are 9 light gun levels, although to call them levels is a bit generous as many of these are just less than a minute short. In the following description I am just counting the light gun levels. The first few levels take place when John raids an occupied factory in order to arrest Simon for the first time. John starts at the roof top. In the second level John carries on and finally fights a zeppelin. The third level is still on the roofs. John has to fight a helicopter at the end of this scene if the player doesn't destroy it while enemies are popping out from cover. In the forth level John has finally managed to enter the building. The fifth level is still located in the factory. After some cut scenes the game takes place 36 years later in a museum where Simon steals weapons. To fight him John has to shoot various objects. In the seventh level John has to drop a lamp onto Simon. The next level takes place in the abandoned underground of the future city which is the home of a criminal society. The final level takes the player to the cryoprison where Simon unfreezes fellow criminals to support him.

The number of available shots depends on the chosen difficulty. When playing the game on easy mode the player has an infinite magazine. The player reloads upon shooting on an empty magazine.

Sadly I can't say much positive about the other play style segments. The fighting segments don't feel like a fighting game at all and are very slow and stiff. Dodging or blocking a punch will yield a powerful counter attack. The first person shooter segments look really nice and the controls are quite ok if a bit floaty. The player may even strafe. My problem here is that the levels are convoluted dull mazes, which is a missed opportunity in my opinion. The player has to find an exit door in these levels, but this is really hard to do as for the poor level design. Often it's a decent strategy to follow Simon who will eventually walk into the exit himself. The driving stage looks alright, but is hindered by poor hit detection.

Just a limited number of lives and continues are available, which makes the game more difficult. The game makes up for it with a hidden debug menu, which grants access to every level and even bonus FPS levels. Furthermore a sound test and a blood cheat is available.

I assume Demolition Man predates the additional 3DO video expansion hardware. Whether this is the case or not, the lack of support yields in quite limited video quality compared to similar games like Thunder in Paradise for the CD-i. Similar to Thunder in Paradise John shows lots of nineties attitude and insults the player on various occasions. The light gun segments remind me very much of the 1995 game Blood Bath at Red Falls by Underworld software played with an Act-Labs USB gun. That is because the enemies are made of digitized full motion video footage and because the crosshair is always present on the screen and just moves upon shooting. I think it is somewhat bizarre that Virgin chose to do so. Another lazy yet better approach would have been to show the cursor just about half a second when shooting, in order to show where the gun is facing at and then hide it again like Ed Hunter did later in 1999.

Personally I don't like the game. The light gun segments are enjoyable but those are few and far between. Furthermore as already mentioned they are pretty short. In my opinion the remaining parts of the game are not well designed and not much fun. A word of warning: The American Laser Games Gamegun pistol seems incompatible to the Bang & Olufsen MX series of televisions even if the screen's filter glass is removed.

The game's packaging copies the movie cover. I think it looks pleasing.