Review - Demolition Man (3DO, 1994)

They're usually referred to as the "easy way to make money with little effort" genre of games. Of course I'm talking about movie and television licenses which are turned into games – if you want to call them that. Titles such as Homey the Clown, Beverly Hillbillies, and Jurassic Park Interactive are all examples of very poor games which sold a lot of copies because they were associated with a popular movie or television show. Now, the designers at Virgin Interactive have created a game based on the movie Demolition Man, which was a big hit starring Sylvester Stallone in late 1993. Is this game just another one of those "quick cash" titles, or does it contain some "interactive beef?" The jury is still out, but upon my first glimpse, it looks as if Demolition Man on 3DO will dispel the myth that all games based on movies should be classified as rubbish.

First off, this game breaks new ground in the link between Hollywood and interactive games. Stallone and Wesley Snipes both took time out of the movie's shooting schedule to film blue-screen scenes specifically for use in the game. So, in addition to footage from the actual movie, this title includes new footage of the stars acting in 3D virtual worlds.

The game's plot directly follows that of the movie, except that certain segments have been re-edited and compressed to form a tighter plot. The segments from the movie are meshed with the footage filmed for the game to create a very atmospheric setting. All of these movie cut scenes are interspersed between a number of interactive game segments.

The majority of the game segments are of "point and shoot" nature, very similar to Terminator-2 in the arcade. Although the concept is rather linear, the shooting segments are well designed with excellent gameplay and good technical achievement. The levels work well with the regular 3DO controller, but the use of the GameGun peripheral further enhances enjoyment of these shooting segments.

The other game segments include a 3D first-person shooter similar to Doom with fully texture mapped walls, ceilings and floors. The frame rate is very impressive, as you chase your arch enemy Simon Phoenix through the futuristic Los Angeles sewer system. Once you actually meet up with Phoenix, there are a number of side view fighting segments between the two of you. Although the preview version had very limited moves for each character, the animation is very fluid. What adds to the atmosphere is an excellent musical soundtrack which is a mixture of original music and the movie's orchestrated score.

The last type of game is an interactive car chase through futuristic city streets. Besides just having to race Phoenix, in order to catch up with him, you have to run over a number of "power up" pads on the pavement, which increase your fuel and car power.

For the first time I can remember, these interactive mini-games draw you into the story instead of just looking like they were tacked on at the last minute. Although my version was only 90% complete, it was very obvious that this game is going to break conventional logic that movie licenses are always a cheap attempt to cash in on someone else's success. Demolition Man looks to be a first class effort, and unlike some other movie products, not just a non-interactive "demo."