Panasonic 3DO FZ-1 Console
I bought the 3DO console as a bit of curio because I am a collector (27 consoles and counting). I chose the FZ-1 over the FZ-10 because it looks awesome, and has a motorised front loading tray compared to the flip top loading FZ-10. Another reason for buying the 3DO was the history. The 3DO founded by EA (electronic arts) bod Trip Hawkins, and the hardware was farmed out to companies LG and Panasonic to produce. It was launched in '93 when CD consoles were in their infancy, people were still using audio cassettes, and a CD based console could be hooked up to existing audio equipment and used as a music centre. The 3DO's CD competitors would have been, the Phillips CDi, the Mega CD, and the PC Engine CD (first to use CD, and not officially imported here in the U.K.) The 3DO retailed for silly money, with no decent launch titles, and flopped badly. But enough about the history, what is the console like? Well the 3DO doesn't feel or operate as nicely as it looks in the pictures, the plastics and buttons on the machine feel cheap and nasty. Not the glossy, high quality feel of a Mk1 Mega CD. The machine only has ONE controller port, with controllers needing to be 'daisy chained' together for two player fun. The controller itself is stiff and clunky in operation, with a bizarre button layout, 'X' and 'stop' instead of select, and 'play/pause' and 'Y' instead of start. There are only three buttons on the main face of the controller, with shoulder buttons at the top. This at a time when SNES and Megadrive were incorporating four and six button joy-pads, especially nice for games like 'Street Fighter'. Speaking of 'Street Fighter' the 3DO has a very nice port of this game, it was said at the time to be the best version, but playing it now reveals that it is only 'good' as that horrible controller makes it hit and miss when pulling off 'ha do kens' and flaming uppercuts. Also the screen is very small for PAL players, and the video grainy through RCA (yellow red and white) cables. The 3DO has a S-VHS (super video) port, though my modern LCD TV doesn't, and I couldn't get any S-VHS to SCART cable to give me a picture. The 3D0 is only capable of composite video, heck! even the Master System and Megadrive output RGB scart! The survival of a console is all on the back of killer apps, SNES had Super Mario World, Megadrive had 'Sonic' but I can count the number of 'GOOD' 3D0 games on my fingers. If you can find one cheap enough then buy one, maybe make a small library of the good games. If so, here they are : Super Street Fighter II Turbo. Samurai Shodown. Casper. Gex. Flashback. Road Rash. Return Fire. Mostly all available on PS1 as superior versions. P.S. Don't even consider 'Doom' on the 3D0, it will make you weep at how blocky, small windowed, jerky and unplayable it is.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Pick one up cheap as they're still entertaining, Maybe for retro fans only.
| Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
I couldn't afford one of these on launch so I had to wait a while before ownership. At the time it's main competitor was the sega mega cd. I had to get one for games like 'Road Rash' and 'Need for Speed' as I like racing games and the much increased graphical color palette on the 3do made these games look more realistic.
However, hampered by poor 3rd party development the console very soon floundered. Too expensive and not quite the 'powerhouse' that was so hyped by EA's 'Trip Hawkins'.
The console gets an average review for 2 main reasons. 1. There are a handful of addictive and good classic games on it but a lot of the others are pure trash! 2. The console hasn't stood the test of time well visually.
Most of us have moved to LCD/LED/PLASMA tv's now and while this looked good on a CRT it really shows itself up on the new sets. I think the console's screen resolution was only 640x480 so when you pump it through a HDMI tv and maximize the picture size things get patchier and blockier than they were before.
Another daft design was no allowance for a crisp RGB signal so you were left high and dry with tacky video composite and S-Video connections that had little difference from one another. The unit seems strong in terms of build quality but the pad has only 3 buttons and 2 shoulder ones so quite dated.
For retro nostalgia reasons I own one because of the above and following games:
Samurai Shodown - Great Beat em up and an almost perfect arcade conversion.
Wing Commander 3 Heart of the Tiger - Immerse into a great sci fi space war with quality FMV and actors.
Starblade - Awesome arcade port and the choice of a 3do texture enhanced version also!
Not a huge library but some gems in there worth owning.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful.