You may remember that right at the start of this blog, when the Dreamcast Junkyard was a wee nipper, I posted that I had acquired a mouse and keyboard combo from a jolly chap who went by the name of Mr E. Bay. Well, if my memory serves me that post was published waaay back on the 19th of December 2005 - nearly 3 months ago. Christ, doesn't time fly when your playing Dreamcast games and living just above the poverty line? Anyhow, it's taken me till now to actually try these things out properly with the games I have that are compatible. So, the question remains - Does using a keyboard and a mouse really make that much of a difference when playing said games?
Soldier of Fortune
If you've read my review of Soldier of Fortune, you'll know that I'm not necessarily it's biggest fan. Indeed, I'm currently masterminding a plan to hunt down and destroy every copy in circulation via means of a 10,000 strong army of invincible time travelling robots...much like the one that supplies Xzibit's voice. However, I digress. Saying that though, with a mouse and keyboard set up, Soldier of Fortune is very smooth to play. Still doesn't detract from the overall skankiness of this rushed PC conversion, but hey.
Game: 2/10, Control: 8/10
Hidden & Dangerous
Another slightly below par (shouldn't that be above par?) PC conversion - Hidden & Dangerous really comes into it's own with the keyboard and mouse. All of the complex team based commands are readily availible via the keyboard, and controlling your line of sight is made mcuh easier with a mouse. Good stuff.
Game: 6/10, Control: 8/10
Now this is what I'm talking about. I recind my comments about Unreal Tourney being a bit crap in a recent post - with the joypad it is a little sluggish - but slam in a mouse and keyboard and you're cooking on gas. Wow - i didn't think it would make so much difference! Being able to quickly and simply swing the view through 360 degrees makes for some really great and tense firefights and is so much more intuitive that using the cumbersome joypad control. Top marks.
Game: (pre mouse) 5/10 (post mouse) 7/10, Control: 9/10
I also tried the set up with some games that, even though don't
have the icon on the back of the box, made sense that they may be compatible - these were Rainbow Six, Slave Zero, Worms Armageddon and Red Dog. Alas they were having none of it. Not even Soul Calibur works, a game famous for being compatible with the fishing rod! Pah.
There is a downside to all this though. While the mouse and keyboard is good if your console is on a desk - and lets be honest, who's is? (unless you're hooked up to a monitor via VGA) - it's pretty awkward trying to get stuff for it to sit on. As you can see from my pic, I had to arrange a sort of orchestra of chairs to play in any reasonable state of semi-comfort. Furthermore - because you have to use 3 ports (mouse, keyboard, joypad with VMU plugged in), any chance of split screen is out of the window...although you'd need to be playing in the Banquet Hall at the Palace of Versailles to have enough room for you, the controls and a some mates.
Finally - on this evidence alone, Quake 3 Arena WILL be making an appearance in the next 24 hours. Verdict to come.