Sample This!

(Video removed)

While Crystal Dynamics had games planned for the 3DO console, they released a demo disc containing 8 options:

  • Gex (trailer only)
  • Off-World Interceptor
  • Samurai Showdown
  • Total Eclipse
  • Star Control II
  • The Horde
  • Cyberclash (trailer only)
  • Pataank

After the disc is inserted, the Crystal Dynamic trailer is played, showing a decent amount of SC2 footage along with the other games.  When the menu loaded, I heard Chauncey (Kirk Cameron) from The Horde say “I have no home, sire.  I was raised by a kind herd of wild cows”, followed by the techno music from the Cyberclash trailer.

In the demo, only Super Melee is playable.  Both sides are only set to one team called “Demo Team”.  The team consists of a Ur-Quan Dreadnought, Thraddash Torch, Chmmr Avatar and Yehat Terminator.  The teams cannot be changed, or renamed.  When selecting a ship, the C button can be pressed to play a video that briefly describes it.

The second game by Toys for Bob that is on this disc is The Horde.  It was made for DOS, Sega Saturn and the 3DO.  The DOS version does not have full motion video; it is replaced by still images from the video.  This is also one of the oldest games I have seen they are credited as “Toys for Bob”.  TFB’s name appears again in the intro video to the full version.

There is something that makes this demo stand out from the others:  The player can save and load, which is interesting since I can’t think of any console game demos that allow saving, especially for this generation of consoles.  I admit that I haven’t played through The Horde much to explain it deeply; I’ve only played this demo and watched some gameplay videos on YouTube.  Kirk Cameron plays the main character Chauncey.  He saved the king from choking to death.  In return, he gives him a farm in the Shimto Plains and his mighty sword, the Grimthwacker.

The game does have a resemblance to Harvest Moon in the sense that the player must make profit from the land.  However, the player has no direct control over plants and is not required to sow seeds.  In each phase, the player must use whatever money they have to arrange traps, fences and bait to protect the land and ensure that the villagers do not get eaten.  As the player progresses, the player can purchase new items and pay taxes.  Chauncey is not a skilled fighter; the sword he wields is incredibly large and he spins in a circle whenever he attacks; he becomes dizzy and vulnerable to attack if he spins too much.  Maybe I’ll look into The Horde some more if the opportunity pops up.

I also found a very interesting easter egg on this disc.  If no buttons are pressed at the menu, the Crystal Dynamics trailer will automatically play and go back to the menu.  If the player presses the start button (or the play button as it’s labeled), it will briefly show the credits for the demo disc and a group picture.

There are two names that catch my attention.  The first one is Alex Ness under “Testers”.  This is when he started at Crystal Dynamics.  He has also tested the Japanese version of Star Control II.  I wrote about it before and it’s definitely worth reading.  Alex is now Producer at TFB.  His hard work, sense of humor and his down-to-earth writing style has brought great joy to the company and to all of us whenever he writes anything for us to read.

The second name that caught my attention is Steve Henifin.  He is credited under “Sound”.  He is currently working at Silicon Knights as a music composer. Some of their games include Eternal Darkness, Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes and Too Human.   Silicon Knights is a Canadian video game developer.  They are also working on an unannounced project.

Unfortunately, I’m not able to quickly recognize anyone in the photo below.  If you see anyone you know, please let me know. :D

So that’s what Sample This is like.  I wanted to concentrate more on TFB’s content.  The credits were an unexpected surprise; I was just trying to skip the video when the credits popped up.  I saw Alex’s name and I just had to take a screenshot of it.  It’s definitely a great addition to anyone’s video game collection.  Has anyone played The Horde before or recognize anyone in the photo or credits above?

The Horde intro
Star Kosotororu II

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