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Did computers have 3rd-person 3D action games before Tomb Raider? (non-fixed camera)


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In 1996 Tomb Raider released on 3 platforms but I wanted to focus on PC since IBM compatibles and several other brands like Amiga and others have been doing 3D gaming since the 80s, so with such a large collection of 3D games I was curious if some of the old school computer gamers would know the answer to the following question:

 

Tomb Raider is often considered to be the first 3D non-fixed camera 3rd-person action game were you have control of character movement on any computer platform, for humans or humanoid/anthromorphic characters. While Mech Warrior 2 is often considered with it's external camera mode(s?) to be the first 3D 3rd-person action game giving you control of movement for grounded vehicular characters on any computer platform

 

So my question is, is this actually true? I am curious to know if there were any 3D third-person action games like the two above that existed BEFORE Tomb Raider which would mean before 1996. Before 1995 for Mech Warrior 2 for grounded vehicular action games. I figured there would have to be quite a few given how long 3D games were on computer platforms, i would guess at least 10 years before consoles caught up.

 

The only examples I could find was Hunter which released for the Atari ST I believe in 1991. It has a sizable sandbox world in 3rd person, where you can control the characters movements. I think you can control how far or close the camera is too but someone can correct me if i am remembering that wrong. There is also Fade to Black which is quite infamous, releasing in 1995 on DOS iirc.

 

What are some other examples of 3rd-person action games before 1996 (Human/Human like) 1995 (Vehicular.)?

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8 minutes ago, Flojomojo said:

My guess for first of any platform: “Alone in the Dark,” several years before Tomb Raider. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alone_in_the_Dark

I was looking for non-fixed camera angles like Tomb Raider.

 

27 minutes ago, roots.genoa said:

I was going to mention Fade to Black (1995), and there's also Alpha Waves (1990) in which it's neither a human or a vehicle though.

Yeah I mentioned FTB in the OP.

 

Although I am curious as to what the Alpha Ways thing is supposed to be. Alien?

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First in for MIDI Maze! A 3D dungeon crawler shooter with real-time chat? That could connect players on different platforms? In 1988? With a port for the Atari A8? It's criminal that this never got a commercial release for the system.

 

Okay, it had a fixed camera, but I'm going to give this a pass given the age of the architecture with which were working here.

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11 minutes ago, davidcalgary29 said:

First in for MIDI Maze! A 3D dungeon crawler shooter with real-time chat? That could connect players on different platforms? In 1988? With a port for the Atari A8? It's criminal that this never got a commercial release for the system.

 

Okay, it had a fixed camera, but I'm going to give this a pass given the age of the architecture with which were working here.

 

It's not a 3rd-person game so wouldn't count unfortunately. 

 

Had fun with it back in the day though, Friend had a few ST's and would invite us to play it in rotation with our board game stuff. 

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1 hour ago, Chinese Cake said:

What are some other examples of 3rd-person action games before 1996 (Human/Human like) 1995 (Vehicular.)?

 

Blade Force (3D0, 1995) might meet all your provisos.  Human with a helicopter backpack.

 

Eradiator (DOS, 1996) might have snuck in before Tomb Raider, though it's more of a fps with a 3rd person view option.

 

Both of those games make use of 2D sprites, though, so I don't know if that counts as fully 3D.

 

Pretty good games, though.

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Just now, MrTrust said:

Eradiator (DOS, 1996) might have snuck in before Tomb Raider, though it's more of a fps with a 3rd person view option.

 

Yeah it uses sprites, however I had fun with the game back then. I often wondered why many other FPS games didn't take it's idea. After all post 1999 most 3rd-person games not copying Tomb Raider were 3rd-person games with FPS controls anyway lol, still are now. 

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5 minutes ago, mr_me said:

Both, Stunts 4D Driving (1990) and 4D Boxing (1991) have multiple camera options including third person views.

Looking for action games with non-fixed camera as stated in the OP, like Tomb Raider, or Fade to Black, or that Hunter game.

 

I don't recall 4D boxing having a dynamic moving camera unless that was added in a later version after EA got control of the game. I remember it being fixed angles you can switch around, so wouldn't count.

 

However as far as I am aware it is the first 3D "fighting game" technically, so still a major early example in another area. I know some people will say it's not a "real fighter" but boxing is basically punching people so ha. 

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Anyway, in video games like in every art form, the "first" one is often less important than the one who made something new famous. Super Mario 64 was not the first 3D platformer, but it was clearly more influential than Alpha Waves. That's also why a game like Tennis For Two is often considered as the first video game when it was clearly not. However it was shown in an exhibition so many people played it. You'll always find earlier experiments in labs, but if almost nobody has seen it, it's not very relevant for History.

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11 hours ago, roots.genoa said:

Anyway, in video games like in every art form, the "first" one is often less important than the one who made something new famous. Super Mario 64 was not the first 3D platformer, but it was clearly more influential than Alpha Waves. That's also why a game like Tennis For Two is often considered as the first video game when it was clearly not. However it was shown in an exhibition so many people played it. You'll always find earlier experiments in labs, but if almost nobody has seen it, it's not very relevant for History.

 

This post has little to do with the thread. This is isn't about influential or popularity, this is literally  request thread to find the games and list the 3rd-person action games with non-fixed camera before the games in the OP for knowledge and historical purposes. some of the games already listed are actuall known titles as well.

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Chinese Cake said:

 

This post has little to do with the thread. This is isn't about influential or popularity, this is literally  request thread to find the games and list the 3rd-person action games with non-fixed camera before the games in the OP for knowledge and historical purposes. some of the games already listed are actuall known titles as well.

Don't worry, it was just a comment; I get what you asked for and that's why I tried to answer the best I could first.

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3 minutes ago, roots.genoa said:

Don't worry, it was just a comment; I get what you asked for and that's why I tried to answer the best I could first.

I mean I just don't really get what the purpose of the comment was. Not saying there was anything wrong with it, Tomb Raider, and Mario, even Crash are more influential than Floating Runner or Alpha Waves, but it's still interesting to learn about the existence of Floating Runner and Alpha Waves. Especially considering what Alpha Waves was running on and what year it came out it was pretty impressive. I tried it out on the ST myself once, a friend owned it. Stock ST btw.

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5 minutes ago, Chinese Cake said:

I mean I just don't really get what the purpose of the comment was. Not saying there was anything wrong with it, Tomb Raider, and Mario, even Crash are more influential than Floating Runner or Alpha Waves, but it's still interesting to learn about the existence of Floating Runner and Alpha Waves. Especially considering what Alpha Waves was running on and what year it came out it was pretty impressive. I tried it out on the ST myself once, a friend owned it. Stock ST btw.

 

Well, to be fair, I was thinking a similar thing to what he posted.  From what I can tell, the criteria are:

 

Full 3-D; no 2D elements at all (aside from HUD)

Non-fixed camera

Third-person perspective

Humanoid character

Action game

Released before October 1996

 

You're getting to the point where a game almost has to literally be Tomb Raider in order to fit the bill.  If the purpose is to find interesting games you wouldn't otherwise know about, why are the criteria so stringent just to find a pre-Tomb Raider Tomb Raider?

 

You're definitely not going to find such a thing, and what those search filters produce will likely have little in common with TR that actually matters.

 

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24 minutes ago, MrTrust said:

 

Well, to be fair, I was thinking a similar thing to what he posted.  From what I can tell, the criteria are:

 

Full 3-D; no 2D elements at all (aside from HUD)

Non-fixed camera

Third-person perspective

Humanoid character

Action game

Released before October 1996

 

You're getting to the point where a game almost has to literally be Tomb Raider in order to fit the bill.  If the purpose is to find interesting games you wouldn't otherwise know about, why are the criteria so stringent just to find a pre-Tomb Raider Tomb Raider?

 

You're definitely not going to find such a thing, and what those search filters produce will likely have little in common with TR that actually matters.

 

 

If you read the OP, there are already other examples, such as Fade to Black, Hunter, and the view in Mech Warrior.

 

It's not really stringent criteria you're just overanalyzing the words I used in the Op and separating them but it's not actually that complicated.

 

For example, what is Mario 64, what is Crash, what is Tomb Raider? They are non-overhead third-person action games that have the camera moving in 3D space, so aren't fixed. That's all all that's being sought really. Whether the character is a human, humanish/animal, or a vehicle, as long as you have control over movement as you run around 3D space it counts. Like Fade to Black for example. There's a 1994 Tank game I just found called Tank Commander which also would apply.

 

I think you're making it seem there's more requirements than what was said. For example, i never said no 2D elements at all, it's just those seem to be the games that usually are in third person with you being able to control movement in a 3D space. but if such a 2D game existed it would count, or a hybrid. 

 

Technically your mention of Eradicator just manages to counts you can move in a 3D space, maybe not as freely, but I never said it doesn't count, just that yeah it uses sprites. It's not ideal compared to other early computer games like Hunter or Tank Commander but it's an interesting take on 3rd-person action that I'm surprised more FPS games didn't use that mechanic, especially the rpgs. 

 

 

 

 

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Midwinter and its sequel are others like Hunter.  They made a big deal about it being a fully 3d environment, but I don't think you can shift the camera to 3rd person.  Midwinter (1989) - MobyGames.  It seems like there were other games that offered the dolly cam that were seen as a technical achievement. 

 

Another one, this time from the 8-bit era, that won't meet your criteria but takes a step in that direction is The Sentinel.  https://www.lemon64.com/games/details.php?ID=2260 

 

I'll keep thinking about it.

 

 

 

 

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42 minutes ago, Chinese Cake said:

It's not really stringent criteria you're just overanalyzing the words I used in the Op and separating them but it's not actually that complicated.

 

Okay, are those not all the criteria, though?  I listed them vertically to make it easier to view all the conditions a game would have to satisfy.  Not sure how that is overanalyzing.

 

54 minutes ago, Chinese Cake said:

Technically your mention of Eradicator just manages to counts you can move in a 3D space, maybe not as freely, but I never said it doesn't count...

 

Well, you didn't say that it did, either, and since you've had some objection to almost every suggestion so far, I don't I can be blamed for reading your "Yeah it uses sprites" remark as disqualifying.

 

1 hour ago, Chinese Cake said:

Whether the character is a human, humanish/animal, or a vehicle, as long as you have control over movement as you run around 3D space it counts. Like Fade to Black for example. There's a 1994 Tank game I just found called Tank Commander which also would apply.

 

Okay, so Bug! would count, then?  It released on PC two months before TR and was on Sega Saturn well before that.  You're really going to be wringing out the towel on this one.

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23 minutes ago, MrTrust said:

Well, you didn't say that it did, either, and since you've had some objection to almost every suggestion so far,

 

This is a misrepresentation of what happened in the thread. 

 

The first suggestion that wasn't in the OP wasn't even a 3rd-person game.

 

You made the next one bringing up Eradicator and another title. the one after you ignored the thread title suggesting a non-action game, although if the flying camera is real for the boxing game 9assuming it's continuous) he may have one there. 

 

After that is you arguing about the criteria. 

 

And here we are. 

 

23 minutes ago, MrTrust said:

 

Okay, so Bug! would count, then?  It released on PC two months before TR and was on Sega Saturn well before that.  You're really going to be wringing out the towel on this one.

 

Bug doesn't give you control of movement (as noted in OP), you move along paths. Considering your previous suggestions, I find your memtnion of it odd, also i think Bug was 9. Anyway, it's not complicated criteria, I'm sure some people will find 3D action games of that type. We already got Hunter, and possibly 4D boxing if i can find this flying camera. 

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1 hour ago, wongojack said:

Midwinter and its sequel are others like Hunter.  They made a big deal about it being a fully 3d environment, but I don't think you can shift the camera to 3rd person.  Midwinter (1989) - MobyGames.  It seems like there were other games that offered the dolly cam that were seen as a technical achievement. 

 

Another one, this time from the 8-bit era, that won't meet your criteria but takes a step in that direction is The Sentinel.  https://www.lemon64.com/games/details.php?ID=2260 

 

I'll keep thinking about it.

 

Yeah, I played both Midwinters and they unfortunately do not have a 3rd person camera.

 

The Sentinel is definitely in the right region. Didn't know it was on the C64, i thought it was St and Amiga only, interesting. 

 

 

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26 minutes ago, MrTrust said:

 

Define "control of movement" then, please.

 

You have control of your movement...

 

All the examples so far including Eradicator, one of your suggestions allows this (to an extent), BUG! does not. You are restricted to paths and have no movement in 3D space. Even Crash Bandicoots sidescrolling portions have control of movement since there's depth to those platforms and you can even go into the background. But in BUG you can't unless there's a path allowing you to do so. 

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