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After playing (and enjoying) Software Toolworks other early 3DO release, Oceans Below, my hopes were high for 'The Animals'. Presented by San Diego zoos, this title seemed sure to at least match the quality of the former if not surpass it, due to it’s very popular subject matter. After all, doesn’t everybody love zoos? (this title includes some boastful statistics proving that, yes they do indeed ) Nevertheless, after spending time with this title, I left disappointed. Why?
After sitting through a very long load time I was rewarded to a brief (but cool) music track, complete with animal noises in the background. Once the actual game began, up pops the main menu ... presented in a hand drawn cartoonish look it appears very childish (looks like it was colored with crayons), and it is not done particularly well. Your animated insect like guide “Ping” serves as your cursor, which is a big annoyance. This is not so much for his looks (although he too is not done particularly well either), but because he is so slow. And this is a title that is already too slow, with very long load times that are common throughout. Not a good way to get into the heart of this title.
And what is the heart of this title? Well, like ‘Oceans‘, some of the time is spent viewing full motion video clips. But there is not enough of them for my taste, and what was included is too short. The narrator also sounds rather distant. Static pictures are the norm as well, but these are accompanied by very little music, and worse, no speech! Reading text also features very prominently in this title, but with no narration or background music to spice it up it is very dull. You’d much rather reach for a real book.
This title had a lot of potential, but it was put together in such a poor and unattractive package that ultimately I couldn’t bring myself to play it through. For me, this speaks a lot to it’s enjoyment, as I will play almost any 3DO title through to completion. Animals is simply a product that was under developed. It lacks polish. Perhaps it was thought that the San Diego zoo licence would be enough, but we all know what can, and does happen to licensed games.
Edutainment software is already a tough enough sell. Why make it more difficult with this release? This was one of the launch window titles that gave 3DO a bad rep in it‘s infancy (should have stayed on the Sega cd) One for collectors only, I wouldn’t have recommended this title back in ‘93 never mind now.
Last edited by Trev on Thu Feb 16, 2012 7:24 am, edited 1 time in total.