Contraband

Hello there me hearties! Captain Gessler here! 3 parts gut, one part sea dog - but all man. Grrr.

It's been a good few weeks, but today has witnessed the arrival of a new shipment of contraband in the Dreamcast Junkyard. Before you all start getting giddy, it's not the usual type of contraband - you know, Rum, Tobacco, Silk and other such luxury items. No, I'm talking about GAMES my friends!

GAMES!

But what are they? Come and have a look inside my bulging sack...

Tadaa!

For the modest sum of ten gineas (pounds) I have managed to procure the services of four games, each with their own strengths but mostly fraught with ricketts:

  • Toy Commander
  • Dragons' Blood
  • Record of Lodoss War
  • Star Wars: Demolition
In reverse order, here are my views on each:

Star Wars: Demolition
Hmmm. A bit of a missed opportunity this. It's made by Luxoflux - the dude and dudettes behind the Vigilante 8 games, and it's quite apparent from the off that it's a basic whoring of the V8 engine (that's Vigilante 8 - not Chevrolet), only with slightly tidied up vehicle models. Basically, you careen around various Star Wars themed enclosed arenas (Hoth, Mos Eisley etc) and shoot other characters who are whizzing about in equally Star Wars-y vehicles like AT-STs and shit. Like I said, it's basically Vigilante 8 with Star Wars tacked on, and the graphics are really quite nice...but it plays like a drowned mongrel. The 'vehicles' float about with no real aim and the weapons on offer are totally uninspired - as are the majority of the levels. The Hoth one is quite cool, with AT-ATs plodding about but it begs the question - why didn't they just make a proper shoot 'em up, Shadows of the Empire-stylee instead? Rating: 5/10

It could have been so much better...

AT-STs on the Death Star surface? Do me a favour...

Record of Lodoss War
Not content with having one of the oddest names in the universe, Record of Lodoss War is also lumbered with being a complete miss-mash of game styles. Is it an RPG? Is it a really rubbish isometric scrolling beat 'em up? I'm not sure, but for all it's sins...I have to admit to really liking it. The intro scenes are a tad on the pathetic side (although never approaching the sheer horror of Soul Fighter's intro) and the graphics are quite similar to what you'd expect to see if you tried to draw a scene from Lord of the Rings on an Etch-A-Sketch, but it does hold a mysterious charm and has a story that is so contrived you can't help but be sucked in by it. Even the conversations with NPCs are shit - but it just begs to be played so you can see what happens next in the story. In layman's terms, it's the bastard lovechild of Dark Saviour and Crusader: No Remorse, but sadly doesn't feature a crow called Kaiser. DAMMIT. Rating: 7/10

Tentacles!

Pentacles!

Dragons' Blood
This was released to zero fanfare - I remember because it simply appeared out of thin air on the shelves of EB one lovely summer day in 2000. Known as Draconus: Cult of the Wyrm (what?!) in the US, Dragon's Blood is a 3D adventure game where you prance across misty fields and through castles and the like, slaying a whole bargain-bin full of cliched orcs, ogres, spiders, goblins and centaurs with either a sword, a boot or a bit of magic. You can play as either Cynric or Aeowyn (typical male/female warriors) although each adventre is pretty similar. The variation in the stages is quite good, as are the visuals as a whole, but it gets quite difficult as you progress and the amount of misting in the open areas approaches Turok levels in places. Also, in the later missions (as the architecture gets rather grandiose) the ugly face of horrific slowdown is reared - although we're not talking Shenmue Harbour, peeps. A decent adventure game overall. Rating: 6.5/10

Would you fuck with this geezer?

Hell Yeah! etc.


Toy Commander
Hell Fire! This is the kind of thing you expect on the Dreamcast. Sure, it was a launch title - but let's be honest - it's gotta be one of the best launch titles ever. I'd be amazed if there's anyone out there who doesn't own Toy Commander, but if you don't - get it. It sort of reminds me of Club Drive on the Jaguar (the house levels), only about a billion times better. You, as the title suggests, play a commander who has...er..command over a number of different toy war machines (tanks, planes, trucks, choppers etc) and must wage war against the despot toys who hold various areas of the house in their respective iron (plastic?) grips. Missions can be completed in any order and range from destroying enemy toy subs in a flooded kitchen; to rescuing scattered toy soldiers from the top bunk in a child's bedroom. After all the missions in a particular room have been completed, you get to battle against the 'boss' of the area, who usually tends to be a big motherfucker of a toy with plenty of missiles and other nasty means of killing you tucked in his pockets. The graphics are simply amazing - better than many second and third generation DC titles and are packed with colour and detail, whilst the gameplay is well balanced and a lot of fun. Toy Commander is one game you should really seek out. Rating: 9/10

5 past 9? Waaay past my bedtime...

Lovely carpet. Shame about the wallpaper.

Well, that's about enough excitement for me for one night. I need something really boring, dull, unimaginative, labourious and repetitive to help get me off to sleep. Where's that video of England's World Cup campaign got to...

9 comments:

The GagaMan(n) said...

You paid £2.50 for Toy Commander? The Gamestation in Balsidon is flogging off copies of that game for 99p, with the Bog off deal on it as well! I personally find the game far too fiddly to continue playing it (trying to shoot teeny tiny objects on a massive level is not much fun). I liked the demos they did though.

I still need to get around to posting about what games I got recently.

Pink Rabbt said...

OMG toy commander rocked and still does! i always prayed for a sequal and ended up with toy racer :(

Tomleecee said...

Toy racer is an insult. Actually, that reminds me - when I got Toy Commander I got it home and the shop staff had put toy racer in the box! I had to go all the way back to the shop to change it. Grrrr...

gnome said...

Money is of no importance, when you have none....

So... I just want to say this was another excellently writen post, and a presentation of 4 games I'd never heard of.

Tomleecee said...

Cheers Gnome!

gnome said...

(Gnome cheers back)

The GagaMan(n) said...

I just noticed something, you mencioned Lodoss before!
http://the-dreamcast-junkyard.blogspot.com/2006/03/tom-cruise-please-die.html

Tomleecee said...

Yeah, I remember that for some reason. Although I hadnt played it back then so I ricind my previous comments. It's quite a decent game if you give it time - obviously, we're not talking neverwinter nights quality - but still, for two squid it can't be sniffed at. Especially when you can actually name the characters you enlist into your squad. For instance, I had the pleasure of naming my gnome blacksmith pal 'Bellend.'Lots of fun I'm sure you'll agree!

The GagaMan(n) said...

Oh and you do know that Toy Racer's RRP was only a fiver to start with? So you moreor less got what you paid for with it back when it came out.