On second thoughts, where's that drawing board got to...
Oh well. That's another plan in the dog's bowl, but we've only licked the tip of this particular sugar coated iceberg, my friends. Before I continue with the intended diatribe though, I must firstly offer some explanation as to the recent drought of posts here at the epicentre of trans-dimensional Dreamcast related horizonal events - The Dreamcast Junkyard. You see, I recently moved to an area of Manchester called Burnage - a chav ridden suburb most famously known as the childhood home of those delightful Oasis frontmen, the Gallagher brothers. As such, I feel my affectionate moniker for it - The Cradle of Filth - is much deserved. Furthermore, the 'internet(?!)' doesn't seem to exist in said urban prairie so I'm restricted to using the highly monitored net connection at work to deposit the contents of my cerebral cortex into the 'Yard.
And whilst I can't post pictures (this will be completed at a later date using a highly complex system of...erm...someone else's PC - and hopefully by the time you read this it will have been done), the fact that most of my work colleagues are technophobic middle-aged toothless sea hags that share a solitary single eye, means that I can disguise my blogging activity as a harmless Outlook Express email to the Chief Exec with the subject line: Suck my 'Internet Code of Conduct'-breaking COCK, Oedipal Muthafucker!!!
You see, the 'Yard is more than a mere blog: It's a way of life.
Yesterday I discovered that women have more than 3 uses. Just as I always thought my DC was powered by miniscule Eddie Izzard type creatures (see post below...somewhere), I was brought up in the traditional Northern way to believe that women were only good for:
- Being sent to the shop for woodbines and corn dog (corned beef)
- "Make my fucking Tea (a meal, preferably on the table when I get home from work), Bitch"
- "Spread your legs, Bitch (followed by optional slap/punch/garroting)"
Apparently though, this simply isnt the case. No - yesterday the greasy, spotty, smelly twats that work behind the counter at a Gamestation in an un-named provincial township not too far from here will have had the shock of their Kerrang-reading lives when a woman, yes a REAL woman - entered their dingy emporium...and purchased FOUR DREAMCAST GAMES!!!!
Do not adjust your monitor, oh hallowed and respected reader - your vampiric eyes do not deceive you: A woman went into a branch of Gamestation and bought 4 Dreamcast games.
Now, this isn't copy and pasted from a chapter of some obscure HP Lovecraft tome. No, it happened in real life, yesterday afternoon. But before you leap from your chair and reach for that flashing red telephone that has a direct link to the oval office: Women have not suddenly become intelligent.
No, said woman was infact my sister (ergo the above bullet points don't apply) and she wasn't acting alone. She didn't suddenly stop reading OK! Magazine, grow a brain cell and embrace the awesomeness of the Dreamcast. If you'd closely inspected her, you'd have probably been on the recieving end of a bottle of pepper spray, but after your vision had returned, you would have been able to see that she actually had a mobile telephonic device strapped to her head. A sinister, barely audible voice could probably have been heard blurting out commands too, pushing aside images of Max Factor, Eastenders and Coronation Street, and replacing them with images of a blue swirl, incessantly spinning in the darkness like some kind of arcane and undying catherine wheel of oblivion: It was ME!
Like a modern day SEGA sponsored Dr Claw, I commanded my sibling to enter the shop and immediatley ring me when and if she located a Dreamcast section. I knew when my phone vibrated exitedly on my desk that she'd fulfilled stage one of her mission. Then, from deep within the bowels of my hideout (erm...work), and cleverly manipulating her putty-like brain to put the cost of the call on her bill (YES!), I instructed her to read to me the title of every blue-spined Ark of Wonder she could see. Alas, the choice was rather limited but I managed, via remote use of her limbs (and money) to aquire the following selection:
The other underwater game on the Dreamcast after Ecco, Deep Fighter is like a mixture of said dolpin simulator and the superb space 'em up, Star Lancer...only not nearly as good as either. Infact, I'd readily use the phrase "considerably less than the sum of it's parts."
Deep Fighter spans 2 GDs, which initially makes you think it's probably going to a massive quest, but in reality it's probably to accomodate the sheer amount of FMV that's packed in to the story: basically, you play a recent graduate of the 'Academy,' Moray 2, and must carry out various missions for Admiral Lynn (who's a bloke, btw) in your little submarine thing. The overall aim of Deep Fighter is to repell the attacks of various sub-aqua ne'er do wells from your bases so that the scientists can rebuild a mothership that will help you escape the Waterworld-esque planet on which you're stranded. The graphics are actually quite good, and the underwater environment features some nice ambient lighting effects and a cool night/day transition, but there is no real-time lighting from your sub's lights (a shame) and the models used for enemies are quite basic. Also, whilst it all moves very smoothly, it's quite slow and the fogging is on a par with Turok on the N64. Furthermore, the game takes aaaaaages to get going proper and the disjointed way in which new objectives are added to your mission can be slightly annoying at times - especially when you havn't got a fucking clue where you're meant to be going or what you're meant to do when you get to your destination.
At this point, I'd also like to explain that Deep Fighter has one of the most confusing map screens I've ever seen; indeed, playing Panzer General is less complicated than trying to locate stuff on this map. However, once you get past these minor issues and get a few missions in, Deep Fighter becomes an accomplished little shooter - but hardly a must have title. As an added bit of trivia, Deep Fighter also features a character called Deav who you may recognise - He's played by a pre-Little Britain David Walliams. Indeed, the manual says of Deav:
"Deav is a brooding, focused individual. Although an excellent pilot he has always been somewhat overshadowed by Razz"
Poor Deav - he's moved from the shadow of Razz, straight into the shadow of Matt Lucas.
Verdict: Decent Enough
If I remember rightly, Power Stone was part of the Dreamcast's highly impressive launch line up, but honestly, it could be released now and you'd still think it looked stunning. That's because it is, chums. Developed by one of the Dreamcast's premier supporters, Capcom, Power Stone - for the 7 people on Earth who've never played it - is a fully 3D, one-on-one scrapper where, rather than battle on a boring old square platform in the middle of the desert or a lake; you get to smash each other's faces in whilst jumping around fully interactive areas, complete with furniture, street lights, bins etc.
Most of the stuff featured in the environments can be used as a weapon (eg, pick up a table and chuck it at your opponent) or smashed up to reveal weapons like swords and flame throwers. The title derives from the way 'power stones' occasionally appear dotted around the level and if you manage to collect 3, your character mutates into an uber-version of themselves - usually complete with 12-ft thick armour and a whole pound-shop's worth of plastic weaponry sellotaped on. In this enhanced mode, you are given a licence to kick as much buttock as is humanly possible before the effect of the power stones wears off and you shink back to your original Dr David Banner style proportions.
Visually, Power Stone sparkles - the whole affair is right out of the top of the wardrobe, let alone the drawers. The presentation is amazingly colourful and polished: even the character select screen looks great! The actual game doesn't let the side down either, as the character models and environments have been lovingly crafted and even when there's loads happening onscreen the action never slows down. Also of note if the superb animation of the characters - there are loads of little things they do but you probably won't notice due to the amount of pyrotechnics assaulting your optic nerve. Things like rolling over tables and the little sommersaults they do when jumping...it's a class act.
The characters at your disposal are a typical bunch of steretypes (big and slow/fast and weak), but the locales on offer throw up a few suprises: Londo (London), Mahdad (Baghdad)...and Manches (Manchester) all feature!
Verdict: Gordon Bennet!
The official game of the computer generated movie released a few years ago. I must admit to never having seen the movie, but Dinosaur is quite a rare title these days so that's why I got it. Just covering my ass there, folks. Anyway - the game.
There was no book in the case when I got my hands on Dinosaur so I'm not entirely sure what the premise of the story is, but it opens with some fairly impressive and self explanatory footage from the film, and so I managed to deduce that you play as a group of young Dinosaurs who must attempt to get home to their part of the Jungle (a bit of a Land Before Time rip-off methinks). Rather than a simple platformer, Dinosaur takes the form of a sort of team based top-down puzzle game. You can switch between which of the prehistoric pals you play as by clicking the right trigger and make the whole gang follow the character you're controlling by clicking both triggers together. Dinosaur 1 - 0 Rainbow Six.
The characters all have different attributes in that one is a flying thing, one is a dinosaur (soft arse herbivor, btw) and a one is a monkey-type job (I think). And that's all I can really say about Dinosaur...because I couldn't get past the first screen! No matter what I tried with the different characters, I couldn't get any of them out of the 'paddock' bit at the very start of the first level - invisible walls blocking my progress at every turn. I tried for about half an hour, pressing every button, trying every combination of characters...even walking around the invisible walls whilst hammering the buttons. Nothing. And all this was accompanied by the loudest disk-accessing noise I've ever heard. The graphics (what I could see of them) are pretty good - super sharp and hi-res, and the music is of typical Disney high quality...but due to the fact I couldn't actually get into the game proper...I'm unable to give a valid and proper account of the proceedings, hence:
Verdict: The 9/11 Report
Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation
Im pretty sure there's potential for a lawsuit with this game. It's called 'The Last Revelation,' but last time I checked, there were 86 more Tomb Raider games after this one. Anyhow, The Last Revelation is Lara Croft's first outing on the Dreamcast and a return to her Sega roots after Sony forced Eidos to ignore the Saturn by threatening to put flaming paper bags filled with shit on their doorstep, knock on the door and run off.
The Last Revelation follows on from the previous games in the series in that it's a 3D Indiana Jones type romp through various ruined cities and temples (but strangely, no tombs), where badly animated wolves with square bodies attempt to eat your face. These wolves and other foes can be dispatched with a few well placed bullets from your twin pistols, which leaves you free to get on with your quest of finding a big lever to pull. And that's Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation down to a tee. Run around, jump up a ledge, shoot some stuff, pull a lever, swim through some tunnels, jump up a ledge, pull a lever, shoot some stuff...ad nauseum. In an effort to add some spice to the game, the opening level sees you play as a 16-year-old Lara, complete with Ruud Van Nistelrooy's facial features, but in reality this section adds nothing new to the series - it's just plain old Tomb Raider with a shorter version of Croft to control.
You see, The Last Revelation hardly looks like it's running on 128-bit hardware. The framerate is inconsistent, the character models are basic, the level design is tedium incarnate and the scenery pop up - even when you're inside a building (!) - is fucking pathetic. TLR is a slap-dash conversion that makes no use of the extra power of the DC. It's still entertaining in it's own way, and the framerate is nowhere near as choppy as Shadowman's, but it's still lacklustre. Oh, and it apparently features music by 'Oakenfold.' A must-buy game then. Or not.
Verdict: Sloppier than diahorrea mixed with day-old Weetabix
So there it is. If you've actually read all that - hats off to you. I wouldn't have bothered personally, but it's all about personal choice...
...or is it?
Oh, and don't forget: It's the PAL Dreamcast's seventh birthday on Saturday. I've already put the balloons up and set out the paper plates and plastic cups. All I need now are some friends to eat this Aldi battenburg with.
Oh well, Sonic plushie, it's just me and you again. Sniff.