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DATE: 1994

3D Atlas by Electronic Arts is the first interactive geographical atlas on a console, and it comes on the 3DO!

Geography has always been one of my favorite courses in school along with mathematics. Why is that? Well, it is a very pleasant way to travel and know more about other people and cultures without actually going there. You save time and money, but you don't get all the excitement real traveling provides you with. However, both ways allow you to discover new landscapes, beliefs, people and animals by yourself or with pictures in a book. You learn about traditions, past and present stories, all the things that put together make a country different from another. This is what geography is all about.

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3D Atlas has three types of maps: physical, political and environmental. From the globe, you can use your d-pad to zoom in or out on a particular area with 9 zoom levels and rotate the globe in every direction you wish. All maps are based on satellite views and can be showed in three dimensions in which you can zoom and move your point of view. The find option lets you select items like countries, moutains, oceans, rivers, organizations, etc.. and show it on the map. Each country comes with one picture that shows some of its characteristics (architecture, races, vegetation, etc...). 3D Atlas's statistics are impressive. They cover a large number of subjects ranging from agriculture to energy, people to transportation, etc... with 3 different ways to show the figures: on the globe's map, in a ranked list or in a chart.

Most atlases have maps and figures, the best ones add extra pictures, but none of them include full motion animations and videos. 3D Atlas has it all with reports about the ozone layer, the water ressources, the greenhouse effect, the pollution, etc... and information about the variety of biomes on our planet (Desert, Taiga, Rain Forest, etc...), the planet itself with explanations about biosphere, geosphere, etc... and much more.

3D Atlas has also a game that allows up to four players to compete together. The goal is to be the first player to achieve a trip around the globe. Each player must answer questions worth 1,000 miles when answered correctly. When the player have enough miles to travel, the program will give possible destinations that the player may choose. It is a good way to have fun and learn at the same time.


3D Atlas is the kind of program I would have liked to find on a PC. The music is great, the commentaries are well done, the videos are explicit and look just like TV! You will miss a great title if you do not buy it!


Overall: ****

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