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Super 3D Noah's Ark

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Super 3D Noah's Ark
Super Noah's ARK 3D Super Nintendo.jpg
A game where the biblical Noah puts animals to "sleep".
Protagonist(s): Noah
Genre(s): First-person shooter
Platform(s): Super Nintendo Entertainment System
MS-DOS
Release: 1994
Engine: Wolfenstein 3D engine
Developer(s): Wisdom Tree
Publisher(s): Wisdom Tree
Country: United States


Super 3D Noah's Ark (or sometimes Super Noah's Ark 3D) is an MS-DOS game and unlicensed Super Nintendo game. It was developed by Wisdom Tree using the source code for Wolfenstein 3D, licensed from id Software.

Development

The game that would eventually become Super 3D Noah's Ark was originally conceived as a licensed game based on the movie Hellraiser, a movie that Wisdom Tree founder Dan Lawton was a great fan of. Wisdom Tree acquired the game rights to Hellraiser for $50,000, along with a license to use the Wolfenstein 3D game engine from id Software, believing that the fast, violent action of Wolfenstein would be a good match for the mood of the film. Development initially began on the Nintendo Entertainment System, with Wisdom Tree intending to ship the game on a special cartridge that came equipped with a co-processor that could increase the system's RAM and processing speed several times over.

Eventually the Hellraiser game concept was abandoned due to several issues: the hardware of the NES was found unsuitable because of its low color palette and the addition of a co-processor would have made the cartridge far too expensive for consumers. According to Vance Kozik of Wisdom Tree, little progress was made on the NES incarnation of the game, which he described as "a barely up-and-running demo." The platform for Hellraiser was then switched to the PC, and the developers were able to make more progress on this version. However, by the time the first prototype was finished, Doom had been released, and Wisdom Tree felt that Hellraiser would not be able to compete. In addition, the management at Wisdom Tree decided that developing and publishing a horror-themed game would clash with their religious, family-friendly image. With these factors in mind, Wisdom Tree decided to let their Hellraiser license expire, transfer development to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, and redesign the game with a Christian theme, eventually coming up with a game about Noah's Ark.

It was rumored that id Software gave Wisdom Tree a discount on the engine license because Id was angered that Nintendo required the SNES port of Wolfenstein 3D to be censored (though in actuality, Wisdom Tree legally licensed the game engine). Like most of Wisdom Tree's unlicensed games, Super Noah's Ark 3D was sold mainly in Christian bookstores. In actuality, Wisdom Tree offered id Software very lucrative terms for the Wolfenstein 3D game engine, which id regarded as having already outlived its usefulness, and id staff have stated that they never had any problems with Nintendo in the first place

Due to the advanced copy-protection of the Super Nintendo, Super Noah's Ark 3D used a bypass method similar to a Game Genie. In order to play the game, gamers would have to insert an officially licensed game on top of Super Noah's Ark 3D in order to bypass the lockout code and play the game. When the game was re-released by Piko interactive, it didn't need a lock-on system in order to play the game.

Bad Qualities

  1. Instead of engaging Nazis and other villains in combat, you play as the biblical character Noah who must use sleep-inducing food on angry animals, and despite being aimed for children, the game's plot still sounds ridiculous even by kids' standards.
  2. Speaking of which, the idea of Noah using slings to shoot feed, cantaloupes and melons right into the animals' mouths(?) to put them to "sleep" is a really dumb excuse.
  3. A large number of enemies in the game are goats, but according to the Bible, Noah only puts two of every unclean and 14 of every clean animal on the Ark. This is attributed to the fact that the most common enemies in Wolfenstein 3D are the guards and SS troopers, which were changed to goats and sheep in this game.
  4. While the Nazi enemies shoot at the player, Wisdom Tree only swapped the graphics of the enemies without making any programming changes, having to explain the animals shooting at Noah by saying they actually "spit" on him instead.
  5. The console port suffers from the same limitations the SNES port of Wolfenstein 3D has, thus many of the issues from that port, most notably the blocky graphics, are also present.
  6. Difficulty Spike: Despite it being a children's game, the game gets a lot more difficult in the fourth episode and beyond, as enemies can take off a huge chunk of your health if they surprise you at short distances.
  7. There are only two secret levels and they're both terrible.
    • 3-5 is designed like a maze making it confusing as to where you're meant to go without looking at the map constantly and enemies are placed in areas to catch you off guard. The worst of this is when the level makes you fight bulls that are placed in random areas.
    • 6-7 is without question the worst level in the game due to having multiple copies of the Camel boss being scattered around the level, and one room contains two copies of the Kangaroo boss.

Good Qualities

  1. Additional changes to the DOS version include textured floors and ceiling to the environment, which does make the game feel appealing.
  2. Super 3D Noah's Ark is classified as a "TC" (Total Conversion), therefore, it completely replaces all of Id Software's assets like graphics and music. That, by itself, is a huge accomplishment. In addition, all Noah's levels are redesigned and offer entire new environments for players to explore, only having the plot as a lame excuse to set the story in biblical settings.
  3. Very nice level design, much on pair with Wolf 3-D's levels along with decent graphics to a certain extent, making use of the full feature set the Wolfenstein 3D engine is capable of.
  4. There are more weapons which offers some variety instead of just bullets.
  5. Unlike in Wolfenstein 3-D, you keep all your weapons and ammo between episodes. This makes the later levels a bit more forgiving, as you aren't forced to start every episode with the Small Feed Launcher, and struggle to stay alive while you try to find the better weapons all over again.

Reception

AVGN Enraged.jpg "What were they thinking?"
The Shit Scale
Games that are debatably bad High level of shit contamination The very high category The severe zone Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Major code red
👆
This game/console belongs to the "High Level of Shit Contamination" category of the AVGN's Shit Scale.

Super 3D Noah's Ark has received mixed reviews with some admiring the cuteness of the game with others criticizing how illogical the idea of a FPS game based on Noah's Ark is.

Trivia

  • The game was originally going to be an NES game based on the movie Hellraiser and would use extra hardware. Because of this, however, the cartridges would be more expensive to ship, and would possibly hurt their Christian company image status, thus the game was scrapped and turned to Super Noah's Ark 3D.
  • The game has gained a cult following in recent years and in June 2015, the game was released on Steam, even becoming playable in the source port ECWolf.

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