The 3D Platformers That Time Forgot
Not so long ago, we wrote an article here on Rebel Gaming that showcase some of the mascots that time forgot- the heroes of (mainly) 8 and 16 bit-era games, the golden age of 2D platformers. There was another, later, boom in platformers during the PSOne/ N64 era, when Mario 64 kick-started a swathe of platformers- but this time in three dimensions. So, for the second entry in our Games That Time Forgot series, we're taking a look at some of the less well known 3d platformers.
Some of these entries may make you say “Hey! I remember that” while for some of you may be hearing about some of them for the first time. So lets clamber aboard the Rebel Gaming time machine and journey back to see The 3D Platformers That Time Forgot
Croc: Legend Of The Gobbos
Released for the original Playstation and Sega Saturn in 1997, Croc was a solid game with considerable charm. Taking control of the titular veggie reptile as he journeyed to rescue the little critters (Gobbos) that raised him, it was popular enough to receive a sequel in 1999. Made by the now defunct British studio Argonaut, it recently emerged that it started life as a rejected pitch made to Nintendo for the SNES. Using their Super FX chip which made StarFox/ Star Wing possible, it was a 3D platformer that would have featured Yoshi in the lead role and predated Mario 64 by some years. Ultimately though Nintendo and Argonaut parted ways and the diminutive crocodile's adventures would be overshadowed by a certain plumber's switch to 3d.
Starring a couple of meddling kids by the name of Ruff and Tumble who try to free the Winks- little creatures that create dreams, while avoiding HoodWinks, their pesky relatives who make Nightmares. This 1999 effort from Eurocom was quite eagerly anticipated at the time, largely thanks to the (then) beautiful world it created. Ultimately the production ran into difficulties, and the N64 version was scrapped entirely, while the Playstation version arrived to disappointing reviews.
Standing apart on this list, this quirky little Japanese oddity, featuring a robotic rabbit was one of the launch games on the original Playstation. It took platforming into three dimensions in a different way from the other games here- Jumping Flash was a first-person platformer, making it a kind of predecessor of Mirror's Edge. With colourful visuals and catchy music, it was successful enough to spawn two sequels (one released in Japan only), but that was as far as the series went. 3D platforming went in another direction and Jumping Flash sadly remains a foot-note in the genre's history.
Sheep, Dog 'N' Wolf
Based on the classic Warner Bros series of cartoons, and titled Sheep Raider in North America, this appeared on the original Playstation back in 2001. Taking control of Wile E. Coyote look-a-like Wolf, your mission was to nab as many sheep from under the Sheep Dog's nose as possible. What made it stand out from the competition (as well as recreating the cartoons with some considerable success) was the way it incorporated stealth and strategy elements to the usual platformer formula.
Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg
What is a game from Sega and Sonic Team doing here, you might ask? This 2003 outing from Sonic Team and Yuji Naka featured an egg-rolling protagonist and a load of eye-rolling egg puns. It was warmly received at the time but it's misfortune was to be on an under appreciated console: the Game Cube. One of Sega's very first third-party releases, it seemed very at home on a Nintendo console, but alas it never quite got the love it deserved. Although later ported to PC in Europe, it never got a sequel, and is well over-due a reappraisal.
Blinx: The Time Sweeper
Naoto Oshima- better known as Sonic's dad- left Sonic Team to start his own company Artoon. Blinx, the fairly charmless goggle-wearing cat was being groomed to become the Mascot for Microsoft's fledgling Xbox back in 2002, but the game was never quite the success they had hoped for. Still, Blinx did bring some innovation to the genre with a time-controlling mechanic that at the time was quite unlike anything seen before.
Developed by the legendary studio Psygnosis, later known as SCE Liverpool, (best known for creating the Wipeout series) Kingsley's Adventure was released for Playstation back in '99. It followed the adventures of an orphaned fox cub (and who doesn’t love a fox cub?) in a fantasy kingdom. With it's loveable hero toting a sword and shield combo and setting off on a quest, it combines 3d platformer elements with the feel of a simple action RPG. The end result was an enjoyable kiddie friendly romp that could almost have been labelled “My first Zelda”.
Do you have happy (or otherwise) memories of playing these games? What were your favourite 3D platformers? Sound off in the comments!