"It's dangerous to go alone! Take this!" — The Legend of Zelda
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Bubsy 3D (also known as Bubsy 3D: Furbitten Planet or Bubsy is 3D in Furbitten Planet) is a 1996 platform video game released for the PlayStation. It's the fourth Bubsy game in the series, and was the last one for over 20 years until Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back was released on October 31, 2017.
Bubsy's old enemies from the first game, the Woolies, abduct him and took him to their home planet Rayon. It's up to him to collect atoms, rocket parts, and to defeat the conjoined Woolie Queens, Poly and Ester, in order to escape. If Bubsy doesn't find all the rocket parts it malfunctions, leaving him stranded on Rayon. If he does find all the rocket parts, the rocket flies so fast it sends him to the prehistoric era.
Why It All Went Wrong
- The plot is confusing, nonsensical, and stupid. The "good" ending is arguably worse than the "bad" ending: Regardless of the ending to this game, Bubsy is still stranded away from Earth, meaning the Woolies are still free to invade it whether you beat the game 100% or not.
- Absolutely terrible and horrendous graphics and presentation. While colorful, the graphics are almost mostly nothing but texture-less polygons and the floor is mostly a checkerboard pattern, or random polygons have textures and the game seems to be done completely as if it was made in Windows 98 due to its ugly polygonal graphics.
- Speaking of the color palette, it is very bland, nauseating, and dull to look at.
- Dreadful level design, to the point one must find bugs to progress the levels in some cases. The later levels can get confusing as to where you're supposed to go even with the arrows, these are inconsistently done enough to be shown as hard to find any path or the ending point.
- Each level has two hidden collectible rockets, but it's never explained how you're supposed to get them.
- Speaking of the presentation, the in-game animations of enemies, obstacles/etc are very sluggish with the feel of moving at 8 frames or less per second. The characters look poorly designed (besides Bubsy since he's the best-looking model in the game).
- This game tries WAY too hard to be funny, with all of the level names being cat puns of other pieces of media (and some puns with the levels themselves have nothing to do with the puns in the slightest) & tons of unnecessary fourth-wall breaking from the titular Bubsy.
- Dreadful sound design; the second and third-level music consists of mostly annoying sound bites added to the first-level music, marginally high-pitched and having weirdly placed accordions in the third level. This is better shown when the music, despite some good soundtrack being found here and there, can sound pretty off-putting or poorly made as well. The noises the enemies make aren't any better.
- Speaking of unbearable voices, Bubsy's utterly unfunny, witless, and hyperactive one-liners are very annoying, and the most insufferable, downright aggravating lines of dialogue ever put to sound.
- Lani Minella is a very talented voice actress, best known for voicing many characters such as Rouge the Bat from Sonic Adventure 2 and Luke Triton from Professor Layton, but the lines she was told to say along with having her talent being completely wasted as she was giving it her all, and as a result, it made it all so hard to listen to Bubsy's harsh & squeaky tone of voice when he says literally anything.
- Very poor navigation: in order to beat the first boss of the game, you have to glide over the residue of the yellow energy balls the boss fires at you to fly higher so you can damage the boss, but you wouldn't know that without looking it up.
- The controls are extremely unresponsive: If Bubsy is running at full speed it will take him more than 2 seconds after releasing the D-pad for him to stop. You also have to turn yourself towards the direction you want to move to instead of holding the D-pad or joystick much like a tank, which is very uncomfortable, awkward, frustrating, clunky, and stiff for a 3D platformer. It also makes something as simple as getting the basic collectible item difficult. The jump controls are even worse since you might often move on the side making you miss jumps or enemy stomps, which can lead to cheap hits/deaths.
- The gliding is uncontrollable as well, and if you look carefully, you will notice that you actually fall faster than when you're not using the gliding.
- False advertising: The North American cover of the game states that it received a positive review from EGM. EGM actually gave it a negative review that was quote-mined for the cover, meaning that the developer of the game was using fake reviews to make players think that it has received another positive review.
- The camera is uncontrollable and very clunky. Every time you jump, the camera always changes to an overhead view which makes platforming harder than it already is. On top of that, whenever you get hit, the camera spins round in front of the character, causing a fair amount of disorientation.
- The Woolies don't move, but they only shoot small projectiles which are difficult to dodge because of the horrible controls. The game continues to reuse them over and over without any form of variation aside from recoloring. Even though they don't move it's still hard to jump on them due to the controls and horrible hit detection. Some of them you can't even kill as well and some of them are invisible.
- The enemies will even spawn from nowhere, causing more cheap shots on the player quite easily.
- The European version's back of the case consists only of screenshots without any description, which is what every game case is supposed to have to explain the gameplay rapidly. To add insult to injury, the American version's back of the box actually has text along with screenshots, and this version was released months before the European version.
- Since Bubsy is a cat, he has Super Drowning Skills, but because of the flat, texture-less polygon graphics, it's hard to tell what's supposed to be water. Even worse, every time you touch water, you are automatically forced to see about 20 seconds of Bubsy drowning.
- If Bubsy runs off a ledge, he does not enter a free-fall so he can land on a lower platform, instead, he instantly dies (whether if you don't die or see a death animation). This happens a lot in level 2.
- Poor soundtrack that gets annoying quick since a lot of it sounds the same and doesn't actually fit the game itself since it sounds more like clown music.
- Even though collision detection might exist in this game, enemy projectiles can still go through platforms that don't make sense.
- The engine used for the game caused some really bad depth perception, as enemies tend to be further away than they seem, and can mess up your jumps as a result.
- Very few bosses, as there are only four bosses in this entire game, two of which are in the same level.
- When you finish a level you always get to see clips of Bubsy dying, which feels pretty weird for a level completion screen.
- Speaking of those cutscenes, the CGI animation looks like FMVs from any bowling alley.
- The title screen looks very weird due to the fact that Bubsy's face is uncanny looking, depicting a big smile with visible teeth and creepy-looking eyes that would remind some people of the Joker from Batman. Also, the start game button is put in two places.
- The animations when you stay still, some death animations or the cutscenes are interesting and are mostly, pretty funny because they're based on either cartoonish skits done in a way of Warner Bros.' comedic possibilities from their classic cartoons with Bubsy getting hurt from his buffoonery as an element of outlandish, enjoyable entertainment (especially one of them being used as a meme no-less) or Bubsy doing interesting activities that are worth observing (e.g Bubsy messing around with the TV settings as a highlight).
- Although badly executed, you can use collectibles to shoot them at enemies, which is a unique idea.
- The soundtrack, while poor, is surprisingly good and catchy, some tracks make you want to dance.
- You have the option to shut Bubsy up in the options menu by disabling Bubsy's dialog, and because of this option, it makes him less annoying and insufferable.
- Surprisingly, the game impressed Sony, which would make them buy Bend studio, and from then they'd go on to make great games like the Syphon Filter series, Resistance: Retribution, Uncharted: Golden Abyss and Days Gone. Showing how this game was remarkable as it led to improvement with video game programming for future titles.
At release, critics gave mixed reviews for Bubsy 3D, as at the time very few 3D platforming games were published, with only two other games, Crash Bandicoot and Super Mario 64 being released in 1996.
Despite having many negative reviews, Bubsy 3D actually had a few good reviews with its release. Absolute PlayStation gave it a score of a 67%. DieHard, GameFan, and Next Generation, however, reviewed the game quite favorably as well. Contrary to popular belief, PSExtreme is a real magazine, and it did actually give the game a 93%, along with their "Gold X Award" as an approval to play the game (and is even listed on the EXcavate rating list from PSExtreme). However, due to the unpopularity of the magazine in general, a mistaken rumor suggested that the magazine and the award were fake, and Accolade simply used them as a way to promote the game.
However, retrospectively, Bubsy 3D was critically panned by critics and fans alike, and it is now considered as one of the worst games of all time. In fact, it has been said that even most Bubsy fans hate this game.
Many critics called this a Mario rip-off as Super Mario 64 was released earlier in the same year, and say this game is worse than the movie Plan 9 from Outer Space and Battlefield Earth. Bubsy 3D's reception was so negative that Accolade went out of business shortly after its release in 2000.
The lead developer had said that the game was supposed to be an early 3D game, but no one accepted that excuse because other far superior 3D games came out before Bubsy 3D. Because of that, he tried to blame this game's failure on Super Mario 64.
When SomeCallMeJohnny and Nitro Rad reviewed the game, they both stated that it would've been passable had it come out before Super Mario changed the industry back in 1985.
Despite what was said on the cover, EGM stated they never said anything positive about the game and actually gave it a 3.25 out of 10. The quote was taken completely out of context from a preview article and twisted to make it sound positive. Said quote didn't even come from the review itself.
In his second wish list episode, The AVGN said the game felt unfinished and by that, he meant "it was barely started at all."
Surprisingly, the game found a rather interesting selling point which several YouTube game reviewers mentioned: It's so bad that it needs to be played to be believed. Caddicarus commented that it's a good thing that the game exists, as it serves as a good "How not to make a video game" example.
YouTube game reviewer The Retro Replay has "Bubsy 3D" as the lowest possible score in his rating system, and is his most hated video game. Once he stated, "The only thing worse than getting the Bubsy 3D rating, is actually being Bubsy 3D".
DX has declared it the worst video game of all time.
- Coincidentally, the North American version was released on the Halloween of 1996, or October 31, 1996, exactly twenty-one years before the next Bubsy game.
- On the back of the box, they advertise having life pickups, which is a standard feature in most games.
- The game was originally going to be released for the Sega 32X, but due to the unsuccessful European release of the 32X, Accolade held back the rights, until the game would be released on a more stable platform.
- A Sega Saturn version of the game named Bubsy III, was planned but was canceled due to the game's poor reception. It was going to be based on the original 32X version.
- On the back of the UK version of this game's cover, there are no advertisements, just pictures, implying they even knew how bad it was.
- It spawned the death scene meme where Bubsy explodes, showing how memorable Bubsy 3D's death animations were.
- There was a scrapped Japanese release in the game, as in the files, there is an unused copyright screen for a Japanese release of the game.
- There is also an unused death animation with Bubsy falling through the ground and waving a white flag with an ! mark on the flag. At some point during development, fall damage might have been planned at some point.
- Christopher Reese, the lead programmer of the game, actually admitted that the game was a disaster (especially after he saw Super Mario 64) and that he would have preferred to start over from scratch if Accolade had let him.
- The reason why the game looks bland was because they tried to do HD textures while other games on the PS1 had blocky textures only to find out that HD textures ate up a lot of memory which the PS1 didn't have.
- Published under the Telstar Fun and Games label.