Elemental Challenge – Day Three: 3D Platformers



Alright enough chit chat. This is the Elemental Challenge Day Three and that can only mean 3D platformers. Early 3D had… somewhat of a rough start but it was a fledgling technological trend that needed to find its footing quickly for the fifth generation of home consoles. The easiest way to plow ahead while relying on the success of the past was clearly to adapt the then-popular 2D platformer genre to three-dimensional play. The results weren’t always spectacular what with camera issues and not every franchise being successful in their transfer from 2D to 3D (*cough hack* Sonic *cough*). I assert that late 16-bit games have aged a LOT better than early 3D ones but 3D platformers eventually came into their own and there are some really fantastic games that came out of the step forward after all.

These are just some of our favorites…


FF3-NES-Summoner2.png The Green Screen Mage

Getting four people going on Super Mario 3D World is by far one of my favorite things. All of the different levels and different powers make the game so much fun. The four players can lead to some good team work, though often it just leads to shenanigans.



blackmage The Black Humor Mage

Super Mario Sunshine is my favorite 3D platformer by far. The FLUDD item is a jet-pack and hose that allows to clean up the Island of Delfino. Everything about the gameplay is so fluid (pun intended) and the visuals and music are so bright and cherry. It’s just a fun game. And very challenging too. Definitely one of the best GameCube games.



mystic_knight1 The Midnight Mystic Mage (Sublime Reviews)

Super Mario 64. Yes, Mario games will most definitely be taking a few spots on my list and with good reason. This was quite literally a step into another dimension for us as kids. There were certainly other 3 dimensional games before it but this was freaking Mario man!! Again as in the 2D Platformer category it is just a No Contest, and that is saying a lot coming from a 90’s kid in the hay day of 3D Playformers. (Honorable Mentions – Donkey Kong 64, Banjo Kazooie, Infamous)

spoonybardmageright.jpg The Spoony Bard Mage (Nerd Speaker)

Although my instinct is to choose a 3D Mario game, I’m going to go with Metroid Prime. Never before (and never since) had fairly complex 2D game mechanics including platforming been translated so perfectly into 3D, and all in first-person.



FF3-NES-Geomancer1 The Five More Minutes Mage (Retro Redress)

I really enjoyed Super Mario Galaxy. Whether it was the slight exploration aspect, the interesting take on battling enemies, or the tough bosses, I really thought that Super Mario Galaxy was really cool. 



finalfourteenthmage.png The Final Fourteenth Mage (Cilla vs. Games)

Rayman Origins – I grew up with a PlayStation One and a fondness for Rayman 2: The Great Escape. So it may come as no surprise that I was incredibly eager to play Rayman Origins. What a great decision that turned out to be as Origins was a terrific experience. It’s a game that demands perfection through its fast paced speed runs and musical levels. I did end up earning the platinum trophy and as a result I’ll forever have Dragon Soup etched into my brain.



HandheldMage1 The Hopeful Handheld Mage (Retro Redress)

Super Mario Sunshine. I feel like I’m alienating everyone with my answers! I’ve played Mario 64 and have a Virtual Console copy, but I’ve never played it enough to love it. Sunshine on the other hand was a tentative GameCube purchase that I  did fall in love with. An underrated game that gets people’s backs up because of a gimmick and a game I’d love to play again.



 The Rage Mage

Hey. Look me in the eye. You know what my favorite 3D platformer is: Conker’s Bad Fur Day. Conker is a rat I can identify with. It might’ve had clashing adultishness, sloppy cockney accents, furries, and a giant singing poo, but at least it didn’t have broken camera issues… Epic Mickey.



rmage2.jpg The Well-Red Mage

I really only think of a few games when I think of 3D plats, compared to the 2D category from yesterday in which I can think of a googley-exillion. Sticking to my guns I’m going to go with Mega Man Legends (aka Rockman Dash), even over the likes of Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Galaxy, both of which contended for top spot in my heart. Mega Man Legends was one of those games that really captured my imagination and my affection. I loved the interesting new take on Mega Man as sci-fantasy Indiana Jones treasure hunter in a Kevin Costner Water World universe, distancing itself from both the classic and X series of games. There was a lot more to love, too, with the voice acting, customization, and new characters. This game hasn’t held up nearly as well as I would’ve liked it to, revisiting it again as an adult, but it’s still one of my favorite versions of Mega Man. I mean, I lost it when I saw MegaMan Volnutt in Mega Man’s special on the Super Smash Bros. Wii U. I should also mention that the amazing Bound counts as a 3D platformer, and it’s among my favorites.



Holy Nintendo dominance! That’s a lotta Mario! Momma Mia! Anyway, we’ve done the obvious with Day Two: 2D and Day Three: 3D, and considering there’s no clear genre for 4D, what could possibly be next? Prepare your bladder for imminent release… and wait until tomorrow. See you there!characters4

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39 replies »

  1. Boo SM sunshine!!!! I cannot abide!!!
    However big props to SM64, Banjo Kazooie & Tooie, also really wanna play Yoshi’s Woolly World!!! Still haven’t played SM Galaxy or 2 yet… *Looks at pile, Sighing wistfully* but still appreciate the joy that they are!!
    & finally: Mad Love to Rage as nobody else love’s Conker’s 64! Endin still P’s me off, but funny & quality game! (Almighty Poo!)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Super Mario Galaxy! For me that was the Mario game that inspired me to go back and get all 120 stars in the other 3D Mario platformers. I played all the way through Galaxy and got every star as both Mario and Luigi. Excellent games, definitely what I think of when I think 3D Platformer.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. i love super mario 3d world, such fun for the entire family. Althought metroid prime is still one of my favs. I can’t recall a first person platformer that played this well before, and even until today

    Liked by 1 person

    • First person platformers seem like they would be tough to nail down and get just right. Metroid Prime seems like the best example of this, though. Such an enjoyable trilogy. Can’t wait for MP4!


  4. I would suggest Super Mario Galaxy. While I am more familiar and have enjoyed Super Mario 64, I thought this game was a little better. The use of planets was extremely 3D, with the ability to run in all directions and having to navigate between objects suspended in space. I liked the different levels and thought some of the themes were interesting. I also liked the design of the game, with the contrast of light planets and dark space creating a dream-like atmosphere and the colourful black holes creating a sense of omnipresent danger. I also felt the power-ups were good, particularly the Bee Mario and Ice Mario. It was also interesting that, among the save Princess Toadstool and defeat King Koopa story, there was a side story concerning Rosalina. Some of the other suggestions were also interesting, Metroid Prime seems unusual as it is much more serious than the other games and I did not expect Conker’s Bad Fur Day.
    It seems different to turn Mega Man into a more grounded action hero (rather than a science-fiction warrior), how is the Mega Man gameplay translated into 3D for Mega Man Legends?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Galaxy is a hugely innovative game and very memorable. I can’t wait for Odyssey because it seems like a return to form with Mario in 3D. To answer your question, Mega Man can now shoot and target in all directions but some of the strafing and dodging gameplay seems very much off and clumsy to me now. I liked the game a lot back in the day but when I come back to it now it’s for nostalgia.


  5. Super Mario 3D World is an excellent game. I have no idea why many dismiss it as a below-average Mario title. It’s one of the best, actually!

    Anyway, when it comes to 3-D platformers, my favorite is Super Mario Galaxy 2. It’s just an epic masterpiece of insane fun. Its prequel and Banjo-Tooie come right behind it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. We’ll have to wait a bit for quantum (4D) gaming. I wonder what that’ll be like?

    Anyway, I’d say my favorite 3D platforming game is Super Mario Galaxy 2. It gets dismissed as a token sequel in some circles, which is too bad because it’s so much more than that. It took what worked about the original and gave them upgrades. I know I got a huge sense of accomplishment when I beat the Grandmaster Galaxy without taking a hit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Quantum gaming should be games that aren’t a huge waste of time. That’d be a great improvement over a lot of the DOA clones and fish chum coming out. I never finished SMG2, so I’ll have to revisit it someday. I do plan to go back and replay the first Galaxy this year, at some point.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I have to give the nod to Super Mario 64. It had a lot of item hunting without getting monotonous at all. It had great mechanics, putting the 2D Bump n’ Jump gameplay into a 3D space very well. Over the course of the N64’s life there were a lot of 3D platformers, but none of them managed to be as memorable as Mario’s first foray into the 3D space. Plus it was a true, go anywhere 3D world. Whereas the Galaxy games are more linear, and 3D World’s stages while a blast, aren’t quite the vast lands of Mario’s first 3D platforming adventure. Sunshine may have had better visuals, and an intriguing new gadget. (Seriously it’s a much better game than people give it credit for), but SM64 feels much more pure. And if you’re one of those who never played it because “N64 controller hur dur.” Get the DS version which adds even more content to an already great game. The Game Pak can finally buy a beer, and it’s still the king of the 3D space. Super Mario 64.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I can only imagine where 4D gaming will take us…

    Mine is definitely Banjo Kazooie. It’s one of the games responsible for getting me hooked on gaming as a kid. I was in love as soon as I made Banjo punch a googly-eyed carrot 🙂 The NPCs were quirky and made funny noises, the environments were fun to explore, and it even had David Wise music!

    Honorable mentions: Super Mario 64 and Jak II

    Liked by 3 people

    • 4D gaming is fine by me so long as it’s no smell-o-vision. If the fourth dimension is indeed time then maybe they could come up with a game you can play that wouldn’t be a colossal waste of time! That’s be a marked improvement over some games on the market today… Anyways! Confession time: I’ve never played Banjo Kazooie.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I had to think long and hard about this one, because Hard Corps: Uprising is -the- example I always point to on how to make a beautiful video game that combines sprites with 3D environments. (Fortunately, I won’t gush about that right now in the case there’s a ‘run and gun’ day down the line!) I’ve always liked ‘2.5’D. It was the perfect way to bring a franchise into 3D without having to deal with awkward cameras and scaling issues. I was also a pretty big Kirby fan growing up, so it’s no surprise that my favorite 3D platformer would be Kirby 64. I never actually owned it up until the Wii’s virtual console, so every rental was a race to the finish- which wasn’t exactly easy with that gruesome boss rush waiting for you after the main game!

    The double power combinations were my favorite bit about that one in particular, especially since there were a ton of them. It’s hard not to like a hero with a lightsaber, a giant flaming sword, and exploding shurikens. It’s even harder to not remember the sillier combinations, like turning into a fridge to attack enemies with food, or setting yourself on fire with friction burn. The 3D environments were gorgeous to me and was what convinced me that 3D games made from 2D characters were and could be totally awesome, and I couldn’t -wait- for Metroid 64!

    …Well we know how that turned out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I enjoy 2.5D too but I actually forgot to include it on this list. We really could’ve stretched this out for 50 days or more it seems. There are tons of interesting genres! I do need to check out Hard Corps: Uprising now. The wife and I were also debating if Kirby 64 was really a 3D platformer or not. Splitting hairs over genres is something I’m glad we’ve thus far avoided with this Challenge but… it’s coming. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I think I am going to have to go with Super Mario Galaxy 2 this time, although honestly any of the 3D Mario games would probably work here.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I would have to say that my favorite 3D platformer is Little Big Planet. This first installment of the series stole my heart, and has multiple hours of fun memories playing with friends and family attached. It almost tied with Yoshi’s Wooly World until I thought about the sheer number of hours I logged running around with a parade of other little Sackboys collecting prize bubbles and dragging each other off cliffs. I’ve probably finished the game five times, each experience involving playing it with a different group of people.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I’m torn between a few. In more recent times, i’d say Sonic Generations. The speed, the simple controls and the decent sized levels felt cool to me. Funnily enough, I don’t view Sonic’s 3D outing as a complete failure in general. Some of them seemed a tad glitchy and unfinished to me (Sonic 2006, Sonic Adventure), but I did enjoy Sonic Adventure 2, Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Heroes. Again, not eprfect, but fun. If Sonic Forces is half the game that Generations is, i’ll be a happy lil’ hedgehogaholic.

    Heading back to the time when 3D platformers were new though, I rather enjoyed Crash Bandicoot, Spyro and Croc: Legend of the Gobbos (which I believe spawned out of a prototype for a 3D Yoshi game). To me, those were the three giants of the era.

    Liked by 2 people

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