Bubsy the Bobcat is the most annoying kitty in all of gamedom - simply because Accolade's tried so hard to shove their would-be mascot down gamers' throats. The original Bubsy was a weak Super Mario/Sonic rip-off with one unbelievably major flaw: the player died after taking a SINGLE hit. Bubsy II was better, with tighter level design and weapon power-ups (although one of them was a Nerf Ballzooka, providing for a very ignoble product tie-in; try to imagine Mario wielding a Super Soaker 2000). Yet the sequel still suffered from the fundamental problem of a very irritating lead character. Does Bubsy 3D have graphics and gameplay good enough to overcome Bub and his endless barrage of cat puns? Not quite.
Bubsy 3D uses the third-person, behind-the-character view as seen in Mario 64 and Tomb Raider. Only here it's combined with mundane jumping/shooting/gliding action. (For reasons never explained in any of his game incarnations, Bubsy has the flying squirrel-esque ability to glide downward after jumping.) As players explore each level, they collect atoms (instead of coins/rings/wool), jump on or shoot the assortment of alien enemies, and search for rocket parts (the game's "cool secrets" component). But the controls don't feel right - Bubsy's inertia is off, which makes the jumps more frustrating than they should be (and jumping is activity No. 1 in an action/platform game). There's just not a gameplay hook here.
If the screen shots look particularly blah, it's because Bubsy 3D's designers decided to use the Playstation's high-res graphic mode (in the game's only hint of innovation), usually reserved for title screens. The resulting polygonal worlds are detailed and cartoony, but extremely sparse, and the ugly texture maps barely help. There's also a "fogging" effect which keeps Bubsy from seeing more than a few hundred feet in front of him - which is rather noticeable only when watching someone else play. The animation is slightly stiff (except for the excellent animated vignettes that play when the game is paused!). In short, Bubsy moves nowhere near as smoothly as Lara, the heroine in Tomb Raider, or Crash Bandicoot.
The music is extremely annoying - the composer succeeded all too well at capturing the sound of a Saturday morning theme song (and the sound effects are merely average). Thank god the programmers included an option to turn off the sound bites Bubsy spews during the game; after having to endure that lispy, grating voice two or three times, the player may be tempted to kill his or her television.
Of all the 3-D action/platform games out for the Playstation, Bubsy 3D is the least fun, and it is a title that's best rented not bought.