Developer(s) – Eidetic
Publisher(s) – Accolade & Telstar
Designer – Michael Berlyn
ELSPA – 7
One of the earliest launch titles released for the original PlayStation back in 1996, Bubsy 3D was a failure of exceptional portions; commercially and critically. It was destined for disaster from the start, as the development had in fact no prior experience with either 3D art rendering or video game control adaptation. As a result, it came to be remembered as one of the worst video games ever developed; and for more good reason than even this.
Graphics – 0/10
Aside from having the frame rate of a children’s pop-up book, causing the game to play out unintentionally longer than it ought to have done, the scenery and style of the game were poorly handled, and the conceptual design is either nonsensical or nonexistent. On top of that, the game is also infested with glitches, and most often, the background scenery is largely unfinished in more or less every single level in the game.
Gameplay – 0/10
One of the earliest 3D platformers to have come to be throughout the fifth generation of gaming, most critics have called it a blatant and cheap rip-off of Super Mario 64, and to me, it’s impossible to argue with that. The objective involves nothing exciting other than to simply take the player character from point A to point B; unlike in even other early 3D platformers, which had secondary objectives that needed to be undertaken in order to advance, and extracurricular activities along the way. This game, however, has nothing like that. The underwater levels provide a vague change of pace, but by that time, most players will have turned the PlayStation off.
Controls – 0/10
The issues that this game had in terms of controls would go on to affect the quality of many other early PlayStation games, such as Croc: Legend of the Gobbos, Blasto, and even the original Tomb Raider. But it’s in this game where this issue is as its most prominent and annoying. Due largely to the lack of an analog stick at this point, players had to rely on using the D-pad to move characters across 3D environments, and it failed to work for a number of reasons, such as camera angles, etc. But because of this game’s unforgiving frame rate, it can take seconds for players to even change direction properly.
Lifespan – 0/10
In all, Bubsy 3D clocks in at about 3 hours, but the average gamer will most probably end up playing it for less than 3 minutes when they find out just how loathsome it really is. This was about the average lifespan of a video game at this point, which wouldn’t have made it stand out to any kind of degree anyway.
Storyline – 0/10
The story involves a bobcat named Bubsy, who is captured by an alien race, and subsequently escapes to save his home planet. Chances were even at the time that this game was never going to provide any kind of redeeming value in terms of story, as this aspect was just starting to find prevalence in other genres of gaming other than RPGs at the time, but something particularly annoying the developers tried to do was to provide a pretty weak comedic element by having Bubsy spout out various different phrases during gameplay, which after a while, can become unfathomably irritating. Mercifully, the developers added a facility to turn the voice on or off at the player’s will.
Originality – 0/10
As I mentioned the game remains fresh in the memory of all who played it as being one of the worst, making it stand out for all the wrong reasons. The majority of gamers and critics have gone on to label E.T for the Atari 2600 as being the worst game of all time, but it’s my belief that there are far worse games out there; including this atrocity. I find it criminal that Howard Scott Warshaw has gotten so much bad press for his work on E.T under some particularly biased circumstances when Michael Berlyn simply decided to make a video game despite his lack of knowledge of, or prior research into the medium and has not received criticism on the same level. He did want to improve on the game having seen Super Mario 64, but by this time, Accolade was pressing them to get the game out; the lesson to be learned for developers who may be reading this review is to do your research beforehand.
In summation, I put more effort into writing this review than the entire development team put into making Bubsy 3D. It’s simply one of the worst video games ever made and should be avoided at all costs.