Friday, 30 August 2013

Immercenary (3DO) - Guest Post

Just for you, NINTONDO MAN.

Immercenary 3DO title screenImmercenary 3DO title screen
I've never played this game before, but I can tell you exactly three things about it. It's for the 3DO. It's a first person shooter. And from the screenshots I've seen, it looks absolute complete and utter cack. Enjoy!

For folks who are interested in playing Immercenary at some point, I suggest you close this post immediately, if not sooner. This post is all spoilers... not plot spoilers, but game spoilers. If you've got Immercenary but haven't played it yet, play it. Don't even read the manual. Just play it.

We're receiving a transmission...
Satellite Intercept
PIC H.Q. (Houston)

I didn't know this game had an FMV intro! That's awesome! And hel-looo nurse! Wait, wait, this isn't going to be one of those adult games is it?

I can tell from the eerie synthesizers in the background that she doesn't have good news for us...

"Listen to me. For your own sake. For the children's sake. And the sake of every generation to come. Listen to me, and behold your future. What you now know as 'Virtual Reality' will, in your future, become a virtual Armageddon. Your children's children will become enslaved, and forced to fight each other to the death, unless you listen and do what I say. I know what must be done. But I am powerless to act on my own. We must have a warrior from your time. Someone outside this world we call 'Perfect'. Here is the information you need. Analyse this data and you will see everything I say is true. You must send us a warrior to destroy 'Perfect'. Analyse the data! Everything is in the data!"
I have absolutely no idea what she's talking about, but I like it. A crazy lady from the future of virtual reality wants a warrior from the present (well the past, considering 1996 was 17 years ago) to save the children's children from 'virtual Armageddon'? Alright. Destroy 'Perfect', get cyberprincess. Sign me up!

And then there's a flatline ECG beep... "Dr. Collier... what happened?"... IMMERCENARY... I'm so confused. I love it.

Day 211
Near Little Rock

Woah, they're gonna electrocute Venkman! Nooo! SOMEBODY DO SOMETHING!!

Suddenly, arcs of lightning start shooting through the hapless Ghostbuster's head. A siren fires, and some other guy starts hitting a bunch of useless switches on his console.

Come on, dude! He's got SMOKE coming out of his ears! Do something, man!

It's too late... Number Four is dead.

"Are you ready, Number Five?"

Oh, cack. That's me, isn't it.

The man leads me down some stairs... They haven't even wheeled the last guy away yet! Ah geez, his melted brain is probably all over the chair.

"This is all we got from Four." says a female assistant, handing over the single sheet of paper that represents my predecessor's entire contribution to my captors' sinister efforts.

My guy is a true hero. He walks around the room in complete silence, inspecting each piece of equipment in turn, then calmly sits down in the chair without saying a word.

Look at this cheap set! This is incredible. It's like I've tuned into The Outer Limits or something. Maybe the spooky voice from the show has stepped in to save me from shitty 3DO FPS Immercenary by overriding the signal with some 90s sci-fi anthology goodness.

I'm seeing lightning again. They should have at least turned that down a little. Hopefully these geeks will have used that single sheet of paper to determine what happened to Number Four.

"We haven't determined what happened yet."

Son of a BITCH!

"But be careful in this area. This is where we lost contact with Number Four. I think they're ready whenever you are. Good luck, Number Five."

He gestures vaguely to a bunch of coloured boxes on what I'm guessing is a map. It'll all become clear in time. I hope.

"Waveform status?"
Find out what happened to Number Four.
"Approaching synchronisation now. Waveform sync, check."
Be careful in 'this area'.
"Interference patterns?"
Destroy 'Perfect'.
"Zero-point-five milliseconds. Forward, check."
Get cyberprincess.
"Ready to link."
How hard can it be?
"Jump in three, two, one."
Aw nuts. More lightning.

Kaboom. Alright, this is virtual reality. I'd know that 80s ambient synth music anywhere. I'm in a city, a pretty crappy looking city. I wonder where I'm supposed to be going?

Maybe I should find someone to talk to. Someone other than that SCREAMING BUILDING, perhaps.

Yow! YOW! I'm under attack! I'm...

Well shuckles. Bring on Number Six, because this guy's a toasted sandwich.

"...Number Five! Number Five? Can you hear me? Number Five?"

Hey, keep it down. I'm trying to be dead here.

"I need vitals, now."
"Pulse: 120. BP: 125 over 90."
"Sight patterns are stabilizing."

"You're okay. You're okay and you're lucky. You've got to keep moving in there! Cover your back."
"You have to fire the instant you get a lock! If you stop to think, it'll be too late!"
"Okay, these are your stats. Let us know when you're ready to go back in."

Oh, man... I'm not dead. I don't know whether to be happy or not.

According to these stats, I lasted seven seconds before I was shot in the back. I've got a bunch of balls ('AMMO ALGORITHMS'), or maybe I don't. No idea what it means.

In the FMV scenes the characters talk in turn, with the other frames shown using that odd visual effect. They didn't do it to make the video smoother because there's full-screen video frames too. I think it's supposed to be a comic book. It looks better in motion. I wonder why these three geeks are the only ones working against 'Perfect'. What have they been doing for the last 211 days? What was Number Four doing before he died? Who is it in cyberspace am I supposed to talk to to get my first clue?

At least I now know what the DOA bars at the top of the screen mean: Defense, Offense and Agility. And the screen also helpfully reports that because I sucked so badly, it's docking me 20% off all my stats. I'm sure that'll be a big help for when I next go back in.

Crap. I'm going back in, aren't I?

Close your eyes, Five, and think of the cyberprincess.


We're back in virtual reality. Fire the instant I get a lock. The instant.

Which button is 'fire', anyway? A is map. B is fire, and C is... fire too. I suppose I have two virtual green hands, so it makes sense to have two fire buttons. Let's go.

What's that? It's a dude made out of shards of stained glass. I'll try to talk to him... I'm getting a lock! "FIRE!", the ginger nerd girl would say, "FIRE FIRE FIRE!" My lock-on computer says he's a 'Goner' and I ain't about to argue! KASMOOSH. He shatters and leaves behind a gross swarm of flies. Is that good or bad? I'll leave it alone, I think. Damn, either I ate them or they attacked me because the whole screen distorted in a loud 'shloop' and they're gone.

He must have been what snuck up on me earlier and killed me. And he's got friends! Shooting at this one has caused a bunch more to emerge from the nearby buildings. They go down easily but not before hitting me hard. These are all Rank 256 and I'm 255 so I guess that's why it's so easy to get them. It takes quite a few hits of my blasty hands to smash a Goner, but if I hammer both the fire buttons and get my hits in first they don't stand a chance.


Come on! My ammo doesn't recharge and the Goners don't drop it! Alright, where can I find one of these red spires?

Red spire located. I can just sit here and my ammo goes up. Practical stuff.

Oh crap, Goners everywhere! I need a place to hide! There isn't many dead-ends to hide in in this place. How am I supposed to rest if there's Goners sneaking up behind me all the time? I should get inside before Mr. 254 finds me, 'cause then I'd be in real trouble.


What!? All this running slow plodding has completely knackered my Agility gauge. I walk slower and slower until I'm stuck on the spot, surrounded by Goners. It's recharging, just very slowly. If I can just make it to the phone booth maybe I can zap myself out of here, Matrix-style! Come on, Five! Move your ass!

When I get within ten feet of the phone booth, I'm yanked out of the game and sent on a mysterious fibre-optic field trip through time and space. If I'm lucky, I'll end up back at the lab, safe and sound. And if I'm not lucky...

I'll end up in another stupid virtual reality dimension full of bouncing 3D rendered skulls.

There's no way back. I'm stuck here. If the city is a level select hub, this must be one of the levels. I've got no choice other than to try and clear this place if I want to get back outside.

I can hear shooting, I think the Goners are having a turf war. Yikes! Some stripey dude just blitzed across the screen in front of me, firing spiky things everywhere.

Wait, SIX? How the hell did I end up facing off against Rank SIX on my second life?!

"That was close, Five. You've got to keep moving in there."

Harder than it sounds, chief! If you want me to move, give me a bigger Agility gauge dammit! And warn me about the damn 'it's-a-phone-booth-WHOOPS-it's-actually-the-final-boss' thing!

"You're on your own. We can only observe and advise."

Yeah, your observations and advice have been fantastic so far thanks!

"Well, you're set again. Here are your stats."

What's left of them. Geez.

Alright, if I get a lock, I shoot. And stay away from everything. Except red spires.

Here we are in the moody industrial part of town. Lightning everywhere.

There's a lot of wide open spaces... I'm getting the impression that I'm not supposed to be 'doing' anything here. If that phone booth was a dungeon with a boss at the end, then the city must be an overworld full of random encounters, a bit like Pokémon. I'm alright as long as I only face one Goner at a time. If I get surrounded, that's it.

You've got to be kidding me. I've never seen so many in one place! Do they guard the spires or something?

Even though I knew I didn't stand a chance with my empty Agility gauge, I hammered my fire button like crazy and took out at least five of them before they got me.

Hey guys, what's that you're looking at? I just got de-frazzled or whatever! Aren't I interesting enough for you?

Goomba and Beard-face are trying to figure out what's going on with nasty looking swarms of hissing flies that spew out of the shattered Goners. Number Four was apparently mucking around with these when his brain started dripping out of his ears. Of course, my next objective is to repeat what Number Four was doing and see if my brain fares any better.

If Dr. Beard wants to see some brutal Five-on-Goner combat...

Then that's exactly what he's gonna get.

Splat, sloop, splat, sloop. I'm getting better with these controls. I thought I was doing something wrong at first, but then I figured out that Immercenary just has unusual controls. It controls like the mechs in MechWarrior: you don't move forward or backward, you accelerate or decelerate. If you hold it down, you expend Agility to sprint. If you let go, you keep cruising based on how much Agility you have left, but it doesn't recharge. And don't think about using the shoulder buttons to strafe, they're 'step' buttons. Single steps, and you can only take about one a second.

The developers knew precision aiming with the 3DO pad isn't gonna happen, so they've given Immercenary a lock-on system. It's fussy about when it wants to activate but when you're locked your shots tend to home in on the target. I've taken to running just off to the side of each enemy and throwing my entire Offense gauge at them from a distance, hoping that by the time I swoop past the enemy I can eat their flies and razz right outta there. I must have taken down at least twenty Goners on this life.

Back in the lab, I'm given another dressing down by the geeks. I'm starting to think they're confused about everything as I am. My stats are still going down. They've also Xed out one of my precious AMMO ALGORITHMS for being so lousy.

The geeks have pulled me aside for an important discussion. They've figured out why my stats have been going down (it's because I keep dying) and what I need to do to make them go up (I need to die less).

They've been monkeying around with their magic time-travelling cyber equipment and they've come up with a sneaky plan to help me out. When an enemy shatters into its 'static field', they've rigged it so that I can absorb its power if I gobble it up fast enough. I need to splatter everything and everyone I see and slurp it all up or I'll never be strong enough to destroy Perfect.

It took them two hundred and eleven days and four previous immercenaries for them to figure this out. Thank heavens for Number Five, eh? Splatting Goners and kicking butt throughout the multiverse! Jack me back in, Morpheus: it's Gonering time!

Before I died last time, I picked up something else that looked handy...

Could this be the Immercenary equivalent of the sniper rifle? It would be great if the Boomerang refilled my Offense gauge when it returns to me too.

All the powerups in the game are spheres by the way, because rendering shiny spheres on top of tiled floors is all that computers from the nineties were good for. (Well, that and Klax.)

I'm appearing in a completely different place each time. It might be worth drawing a map, but it's probably not worth it if everywhere's the same anyway.

How do I change weapons, anyway? I'll check my menu! This is the first time I've survived long enough to think about using it. Huh, all three of the face buttons are reconfigurable. I've got a bunch of other items, too. I used to have more but either I accidentally fired them off or they were revoked when I died. I've got a Chaff, an Annaballs (a wot?), my Map (hooray!) and my default weapon: the trusty 'Default'.

There's not a lot of Goners in somewhat-Autumnal-suburban-town-land. They're never there when you want them...

... and they're bloody everywhere when you don't! Would it be too much to ask for you to appear when I've got a full Agility gauge? Even if I kill you, your swarm disappears before I can run myself back up to speed!

This time, I'm trying to sneak around corners and only take out Goners if I'm sure they're on their own. I can see Goners on my map at long range but the Boomerang isn't helping as much as I thought it world. It doesn't seem to have any special effects whatsoever! It's just a slightly more damaging version of Default that uses up my precious Offense power quicker. I can only fire off two of them before I'm out of juice.

I spend a good fifteen minutes in the system, but no matter how many Goners I take down it's not doing much good. This last jump netted me a single -1 to my Agility... Maybe I just need to learn to survive longer. Or learn to recover my health somehow.

More Goners, more goners.

If you double tap and then hold the map button, you get a full map of the city. Like everything else so far, I found that out entirely by accident. I don't know what's outside the city but unlike Reboot it's probably tingling electric death rather than high adventure.

The virtual city is comprised of a number of districts, each with its own background music. There's unique buildings all over the place but they're all so weird it's hard to build a mental image of it all. Road signs, but no roads and no vehicles. Buildings with doors stuck half way up their side. It's easier to gauge where you are by the general colour and form of what you're seeing rather than recognising any one landmark. No idea what the red buildings are. Boss dungeons, perhaps? Red means danger, so let's leave them alone.

Back in the upper left, I'm ambushed by a gingerbread man!

Oh crap! He's 'Picasso', the Rank 254! Fire everything! Everything! Arghglhglhgkhgklg.

Hey glasses girl, what's up? I was just killed by a biscuit.

"Just between you and me, I never thought you could do this."

Thanks for that.

Those gingerbread men are a real pain in the arse. They circle around you at extremely close range, and they're flat so from the side they're practically invisible.

I've found where they keep the yellow healing spires. They even show up on the map too if you're looking really carefully. I've been unlucky with spires as the Goners are smart enough to use them too, and a Goner standing on a healing spire is nigh indestructible. By the time you've shattered him you'll have used up all your energy and probably broken your pad too. You might as well run and hide instead.

The storms seem to be happening regularly. I can't use any of my special weapons when they're active, and all the Goners seem to run away and vanish. I'll take shelter near a healing spire and let my Defense and Agility rechar-BLAH, I'M DEAD. What happened that time!? If I didn't know better I'd say that the damn healing spire was what killed me! I should have taken my own advice: stay away from everything.

I'm doing terrible, but at least dude-man is still my bro. Thanks, guy.

I think I've got infinite lives as long as I've got the patience to keep trying. Every death knocks a chunk off my stats, so I'm getting further and further away from being able to attempt a boss dungeon. It'd be useful if I knew which one of those red buildings was the easiest and what kind of stats I needed to have a fair chance of beating it.

On the next run, the storm's already cleared and I find a powerup that looks like a plaster. The description says it lets me instantly return to the 'OOAsys'? Or is that DOAsys? (Ohhh, 'The Oasis', but it's got D.O.A. in it! And 'sys' because it's computery! Ahhh ha ha. Good one, Doc.) If it's what I think it is, it's an emergency return-to-lab-as-quick-as-god-damned-possible button. Sounds like a plan to me! I need to find as many of these as possible. If I can kill a bunch of Goners and make it back to the lab WITHOUT dying/being derezzed/algorithm crashing, then maybe my stats will finally begin to rise.

WEEOOOWEEOOOWEEOOOWEEOOOWEEOOOWEEOOO... Number Five's cyber avatar flies through the air and out of the city! I'm not sure we needed the ambulance siren sound, but whatever.

Phew, my stats are fully filled... but this isn't the lab! I'm surrounded by Goners! OPEN FIRE!

Oh, apparently I can't fire in the DOAsys. In fact I can talk to the characters in here. I can ask about 'Perfect', 'Perfect 1' and all the weapons and bosses. Every character has something unique to say. Wow, that's a shock. When did this become an adventure game?

Hey Goner, what's up? Sorry about trying to kill all of you to increase my power but you guys started it. So tell me, because I don't think anybody's actually told us directly, "What is 'Perfect'?"

"That's what we were all asking ourselves when we first heard about it. It was new and exciting: the chance go to where no-one had ever gone before, inside someone else's head. The only problem was... the head we all went into wasn't screwed on straight. It doesn't cost much to get in, but the cost of staying is your freedom, and the cost of leaving is your life."

"At first it was just a video game - video game. That was before they started the EEG - EEG - hookups. Now it's... IT'S THE WHOLE WORLD! I can barely remember what my wife - my wife - looks like! Or what I did before I was here! here! here! Do you have any idea what it's like to never sleep - never sleep, never close your eyes?! YOU GO CRAZY!"

All the characters you meet in the DOAsys have a slightly different idea of what Perfect is and how they came to be stuck inside it, which is neat.

At some point in the future a company named Perfect Inc. created the ultimate virtual reality multiplayer video game 'Perfect'. Within the virtual world of Perfect, there exists nothing but the city called 'The Garden'. Whatever Perfect was originally designed to do, now there is no purpose but to continually fight one another. All of the inhabitants of The Garden are ranked according to their ability, with the highest ranked player known as "PERFECT 1". And who is Perfect 1?

"Perfect 1 is a murderer! Can you save us from him!?"

The final boss, of course. Another character adds:

"I think it's the end of the world. Too many people are trapped inside for the system to support. People are dying now. Not here, but outside, in the hard world."

Perfect 1 gets to choose the rules that govern Perfect, and he chose to prevent people from logging out of Perfect because he's a git. I'm assuming that the normal function of Perfect is to kick players back into the real world when they lose all their HP but now everybody's consciousness is stuck in Perfect. And Perfect is broken.

Instead of relying on the folks in the real world in charge of Perfect, Cyberprincess somehow sent a warning backwards through time (she's psychic...?) to the geeks, who decided the best thing to do is follow her advice to the letter and build a device that would allow a warrior from the present to interact with the virtual reality of the future. The geeks didn't, for example, think of using the freaking THIRTY YEARS ADVANCE WARNING that the cyberprincess gave them to maybe prevent the assimilation of the human race into a video game. Or maybe she thought of that already.

To save the future of the children's children and destroy Perfect, I first need to become Perfect 1. To become Perfect 1, I need to find and kill everybody up to and including him. All two hundred and fifty four of them. You know, I think I can do that. All I need is a hell of a lot more of these emergency escape powerups. I'm a little concerned about what's happening to the guys behind the Goners I'm splatting left, right and center, but if it were important I'm sure the geeks would have told me.

Whoaaa! Get a load of this guy!

HEY! Aren't you the guy who killed me when I stumbled into the phone booth dimension? That was seriously bogus!

He's the Rank 6 boss Riberto. He's fine with talking to me here in the DOAsys. This must be his day off. Unlike the Goners and the Picassoes, this guy is an evasive bastard. He seems to worship Perfect 1 and he's not giving me a straight answer to anything. He did mention he's weak to 'STUNYA' so I'll keep that in mind. Odd thing to bring up, but maybe he's secretly working against Perfect 1 and wants me to off him?

And speaking of being stuck in Perfect... I don't see a way out of this place. Check the menu and I've got a new option: Return To Lab. Alright! Made it back to the lab alive! How do you like that, geeks?

They didn't care. Anyway, ignore those losers for a moment and check this out. Plus one, baby. I've never been so proud to get just one point in a game before.

According to the stats screen, I took down over forty Goners before I escaped. If it takes forty Goners to get a single stat, and I want to get my three stats up to 100... I'm going to be playing Immercenary for a real long time.

I'm going to try and deliberately track down 254 because I'm sure he's the only way I'm going to start to get some serious stats. I've found another emergency escape, so if things go bad I just need to hit A (hopefully not accidentally) and I'll be whisked away to safety. Now where in Perfect could he be?

The Garden is a pretty damned huge city. There's no loading between areas; it's all one continuous zone loaded from the disc in real-time. Occasionally, the 3DO will burp and certain textures will show up as wireframe grids instead. I think it's even doing that deliberately to show how unstable Perfect has become.

Hey! I've finally found 254! You led me on a merry chase but I've got you now, you bastard! GET A LOCK. OPEN FIRE.

Kaboom! It look pretty much my entire offense bar but that Picasso is naught but dust now. Slurp up his power and I am now 254. TWO FIVE FOUR. Only another two hundred and fifty three baddies to go! I'm your on your ass now, Perfect 1.

Back at the DOAsys, another weirdo has shown up...

This guy is Chance, Rank 4.

He seems pleasant and calm enough unlike that weird springy dude. Maybe there's a way to talk him around? Not right now it seems, he's full of riddles and rubbish. You might recognise him from earlier...

Way back when, in the intro, we actually saw the person behind Chance's avatar. Just like everybody else in the future (that we know of), he's an ordinary guy jacked into Perfect through the EEG hookup. Why is he being a nasty old boss? Has he been stuck in Perfect so long he doesn't even remember who he is? Or does he just not care any more?

Creepy stuff.

The guys in the DOAsys tell me that the bosses are ranked 11 to 2 and you can challenge them at any time if you can find them. It's way more vicious than Pokémon. There's no patronising sub-boss waiting to give you a pat on the back if you 'miraculously' defeat his hamster. If you want to save the world, you're going to have to eliminate the eleven most overpowered, cheaty cyber-freaks the system can throw at you.

Back in the lab, the geeks aren't even speaking to me any more. I'm lucky if I get a short clip of the ginger geek looking up from her cup of tea. They've totally lost their faith in me.

At least that one guy is still on my side...

Ah come on! Not you too!

The enemies are still appearing and disappearing in waves. I can wander around for ages, stopping and starting as my ridiculously tiny Agility bar gets used up, and still not find anything worth shooting at. Once again in the industrial zone, I see a new symbol appear on my map... little do I know that the little blue flashing letter T represents a Tork, a Rank 130 enemy with a health bar easily five times as large as mine. Dead. Again.

"Your DOA levels are getting dangerously low!"
"You cant take many more hits like that! You've got to find a way to do better!"

Some concern, at last! What does it take to get the geeks to show that much compassion? Well... sort-of compassion.

I'm down to my last point of Defense! If I lose this, I'll be joining Number Four in the melted brain society. If they knew he was about to die, why did they keep using him when they had reserves? Why didn't Number Four say anything? Ah, that's why they hire mute cyber-warriors, of course.

If this is my last life, I'm going to check my inventory before I set out and see if I've got anything useful left. In fact, I'd started out with a whole bunch of things and I didn't even know it. I'd either fired them accidentally or I'd lost them when I died. I've got two last secret weapons: 'Ashflay' and 'Annaballs'.

With nothing to lose, I go all out and eat every booster I've found.

My O and A gauges fill up to almost the entire length of the screen. My new-found hyper Agility lets me run at ridiculous speeds without ever having to stop for rest, and my enhanced Offense allows me to throw dozens of Default blasts at anything that comes into my sight. Ashflay and Annaballs are single use boosts that give you an instant 33% to Offense and Agility respectively. Super Nashwan Power!

Knowing it's not gonna last forever, and that hunting down the Picassoes is the only way out of this mess, I head to the densest concentration of buildings I can find and wait for one to appear. As soon as I see him, I run straight at him, hammering all three fire buttons. My Defense hasn't changed; one hit is all that it would take to kill me. I fired first. He's dead. I eat him. Next.

Soon, another Picasso appears. I rush him too, and he's dead. 250. Several Picassoes start appearing on the outer edges of my map. I somehow manage to get the first attack in each time, moving way too fast to be caught in the inevitable counter-attack from the converging Goner swarms. I still have plenty of Offense and Agility left. I approach an opening to an open area, hoping to lock onto distant Picassoes and shift into a sprint before their returned fire reaches me. They're dead too.

Lightning crashes all around me. There's no point returning to the spires now anyway: I've got no health bar to recharge. The Goners and Picassoes are drawn to them like flies though. High powered Boomerang shots and a volley of Default fired into the crowd clear a path for me. The confused Goners shoot each other as I dart through the spire's electrified area and collect all the static fields.

My luck doesn't last, and I'm soon surrounded by a dozen Goners from nowhere. Damn. Screwed. I hit Start, looking for any weapon that'll help me. At some point, and I have no idea when, I found another emergency escape. I practise the motions on the pad a few times before unpausing, then launch myself back to the DOAsys moments before the Goner firing squad's shots hit their mark.


"Status is nominal. It could be worse."
"Vitals are strong. Recovering."
"Take a quick look. Then let's get you back in there."

Is that a nod... of approval?

Mother of God.

Have I somehow finally figured out how to play Immercenary?

I keep playing. I learn how to use the stupid tank controls to dodge Goner ambushes. I keep playing. I keep playing until the 3DO starts packing up. I wait. Then I play again. And again. And again. Every stat point I possess becomes hard-fought; earned through daring and skill. Every powerup coveted and saved until the exact right time. And then, when I've got DOA bars above 25% and the geeks give me the all-clear, I go back and kick that stupid springy freakazoid right in the balls for being an asshole.

Every time I play, there's yet more things I hadn't figured out. Incredible things. Ridiculous things. Such as how to get to the DOAsys without using an emergency escape, or how to safely return to the lab at any time to save the game and not lose stats. All of this crap is in the manual of course, but it's more fun without it.

If you know what's going on in Immercenary, it's honestly a bit of a let down and kind of easy. There's nothing in The Garden to look at, no secrets to speak of. The enemies seem more annoying than intelligent, and the controls make combat a special kind of terrible. It's very similar to The Terminator except Immercenary doesn't have vehicles. The only place you can visit is the DOAsys and since going there fully heals you, there's no reason not to stick around and do nothing but safely grind until the game tells you to stop. There's no urgency to the music and the sound is basic. You can't feel the situation escalating as you become more powerful and more cyber-heroic. Rank 255 is the same as Rank 200, 100 or 50. The characters don't say anything new and there's no new music.

If your game involves fighting in virtual reality, mastering bizarre weapons and controls, smashing your way through waves of increasingly powerful enemies, for the sake of the future of the children's children and it doesn't sound like the theme to the TV show Seven Days (external link), you're doing it very wrong.

Like every 3DO game, Immercenary is from another planet entirely; one enamored with 90s made-for-TV science fiction movies and obsessed with 'Virtual Reality' in all its original hideous kitschy glory. I bet you're dying to know what the deal is with this guy:

And this one:

It's silly, it's ugly, it's difficult, it's uncontrollable and it sucks, but there's only one way to find out for sure...

You're going to have to play Immercenary.

Hey, thanks for reading my post! I don't know when I'll next be back but I will absolutely read all your awesome comments if you put them in this nifty box down here. Bye folks!


  1. Oh my god yessss this is just what the doctor ordered!!! I even have a slight sick urge to actually play it now if there's stuff like


    in there for no apparent reason but the apparently awful controls would probably cut off any enjoyment of the weird stuff. Thanks again mecha-neko for slogging through to the good stuff so myself and the other readers of this fine website don't have to!!

  2. My God, man...Why? Just.. Why.. Damn you, 3DO! If there's any justice left on this earth... Mecha-neko wins the prize. And a good, long rest...

  3. mecha-neko: I see that you have weak spot for very obscure FPS games, so would you give try to MARS 3D? It is almost unknown super rare Taiwanese rip-off Doom. It didnt get officially released in Taiwan, nor outside, it was very little spread bootleg. You can get it from here: But you need special version of ykhwong's DOSBox build 20130506 to run it. It is bit glitched, but neverthless it should offer "golden treasure" of hilarious material to work with. (Dont worry about chinese language, it is FPS game so story really doesnt matter.)You can also check it from this video:

  4. You know that the makers of this game ahd really high hopes for this one. A single player MMO on a console that at the time was thought to be somethign different. Nowadays a relic of its time, but still relics can be useful to understand how we got where we now are and speculate in hindsight where could have gone.

    Also, I love the Photoshop flare on the fan.

    You can read about the making of Immercenary at Gamasutra:
    HG101 also has some nice stills from the set at the bottom:

  5. It's bad FMV games like this that really killed the 3DO.

    To be fair, the 3DO did have some good games, such as Gex, Wolfenstein 3D, MegaRace, Johnny Bazookatone, Quarrantine, The Need for Speed, Wing Commander 3, and most importantly, Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo.

    1. Naw, it was the price tag. It's only because of bad FMV games like this that anybody's -heard- of the 3DO. I can't imagine having a couple of imaginative, unique exclusive titles like Immercenary hurt the system much at all.

  6. Frighteningly this game is now almost a quarter of a century old. According to Gamasutra most of the characters were played by the developers, who probably had a lot of fun dressing up in cardboard costumes and playing with spray paint.

    Were the developers British? The tilted angles and slick editing look like Network 7 or one of those yoof TV shows from the late 1980s. It's the kind of thing Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel might have produced if their career hadn't been wiped out by Super Mario Brothers a couple of years earlier.

    Immercenary is one of those games I first read about years ago, and it's haunted me ever since. It appears to be one of a handful of 3DO games that did 3D reasonably well (along with Starfighter) but I'm disappointed to learn from Youtube that it doesn't have a clanging industrial techno soundtrack by Front Line Assembly, because it fits that aesthetic perfectly. That kind of Mondo 2000 vision of a near-future that was ridiculous at the time and bore no relationship with the actual future.

    The Paint Shop Pro filters and arbitrary textures make it look a bit like an early fan-made Doom level, but at the same time the sparseness and low-detail polygons look a bit like Second Life. If it had been developed a few years later for the PC I can imagine the company trying to make it a 3D dial-up-internet multiplayer RPG, and it might be remembered more fondly. Or they might have tried to make it with VRML, who knows.

    In my experience whenever a new medium comes along there's a period when people are wowed by the medium itself - it doesn't matter if the content is no good. A couple of years ago it was a badge of honour if your YouTube channel had 4K video, even if it was just timelapse shots of clouds. FMV never moved beyond that state, it went straight from novelty to joke.

    This game in particular and the 3DO in general predated the trend a few years ago whereby ailing websites would "pivot to video", and then they would go bust and lay everybody off because video is hard and expensive. The 3DO and all the other pre-PlayStation CDROM-based consoles were built on the same mistake, but a quarter of a century ago. You'd think people would learn.


Semi-Random Game Box