Inferiority Complex

Ah, the August Bank Holiday. A 3-day weekend that traditionally consists of a continual deluge of rain coupled with nothing but shite on TV. I feel sorry for the unenlightened fools who are weak-minded enough not to posses a Dreamcast to get them through the endless hours of alcohol abuse and staring out of the window. Sigh.

***HOWEVER***

I'm not the kind of gamer who regularly partakes in the act of badmouthing rival platforms. This is generally because it's a pathetic waste of brain power, oxygen and above all - time. Oh, and because the Dreamcast simply has no rivals anymore, it being for all it's merits, a truly defunct system. Nevertheless, in-between random bouts of stating the bleeding obvious, today I spotted something I feel I must share with you.

Now, we've mentioned the embryonic Nintendo Revolution (or Wii, as I refuse to call it) previously here at the Dreamcast Junkyard - namely in The Gagaman's superb hit-attracting Soul Calibur-with-a-fishing-rod experiment. Now I'm going to mention it again. To be totally honest, the Wii (cringe) is definatley the console I'm most looking forward to in the Next, Next, Next Generation of hardware simply because of that brilliant controller/remote thingy, and the fact that the system's overall appearance is - let's face it - cool as fuck. Cooler, infact, than Samuel L. Jackson sitting in a deck chair made of ice whilst sipping a Bud Ice and staring out over the perfect and untouched Ice Deserts of Ganymede. A first for a Nintendo system, I'm sure you'll agree. But enough waffle. Look at these shots:




They're of a game entitled 'Elebits,' that looks to me like some sort of Pikmin style affair but set in a giant house. The striking thing is that it all looks a bit Toy Commander to me (in that it...erm...features small things in a kitchen)...but with graphics THAT AREN'T AS GOOD:

That's right folks - a game on a console TWO generations after the annihilation of the Dreamcast...with INFERIOR GRAPHICS than a 1999 LAUNCH TITLE!!!!

Put that one in your pipe and smoke it!

***Disclaimer: If you are a Nintendo fan boy, please don't leave messages on here about how I'm a cunt/idiot/fuck head etc. I know this already. Thank you for your cooperation.***

The Dreamcast Rap

Running the Official Dreamcast Junkyard (tm) You Tube account, I'm always hunting for the best Dreamcast videos to fave to the collection for people to see in one place. Just recently this clip popped up of a Dreamcast rap as er...rapped to you by the guys from Mega64. If you've never heard of Mega64, you don't know what you're missing out on, so I suggest you go to their website, and download all the clips (especially the Shenmue one because, you know, it's a Dreamcast game and all). Meanwhile, here's the rap in all it's filmed-with-a-camera-in-front-of-a-telly glory, submitted by a Yoshikid619. Dawg.


Sega Lass Phishing

Being, frankly, the epicentre of the world, and not just the epicentre of all things Dreamcast related, we here at the Junkyard often find things in our inboxes that make us smile, chuckle or occasionally even guffaw. Somtimes it's a lovely email from a Nigerian gentleman asking that we kindly send him our bank account details so he may deposit $50,000,000 of his inheritance, in order to hide it from corrupt government officials. If we agree, he explains that he will reimburse us 5% of said $50,000,000. How nice - especially if it was your birthday the day before. Other emails, however, promise simply to improve the length, girth and retractibility of our cocks. Being both extremely well endowed and owner of a small fortune though, I find these emails of negligable importance.

Today though, imagine my suprise when I discovered this in my inbox:

Not quite sure what this add-on does, but I'm pretty certain it wasn't released in the PAL territories.

Oh, and kudos to DK for finding it :D

Common Themes in Dreamcast-Land

Ever since I was bought a Dreamcast for my Birthday in the November of 1999, right up until this year in which the last commercial games have been released in Japan, I have probably played close to 150 Dreamcast games in some form or another. Well, that’s only a guess, but counting all the games I’ve owned, then sold off to pay for others, and the odd ISO burning, it’s probably accurate. From all this button bashing, stick wiggling, and indeed, maraca shaking, be it fantastic games like Crazy taxi and Jet Set Radio to the mediocre ones like Redline Racer Nightmare Creatures 2, once in a while a strange phenomenon of deja vu occurs. Here I list just four that I’ve noticed quite frequently, but if anyone can jog my memory of any others that are not just common themes on all consoles, then be my guest.

San Francisco
Ah yes, the city with all those steep roads and palm trees. Firstly, we have the superb Crazy Taxi. Super Runabout, a game that plays very much like Crazy Taxi (only with more modes of transport and lousy controls) is also set there. San Francisco Rush 2049 is set in a futuristic (and somewhat void of human life) version of the place, but is still San fran none the less, and then there’s the first level in Sonic Adventure 2, which was also directly inspired by the city. I've also been reminded that the city also features (in great detail, but like Rush 2049, rather empty) in MSR.

Appearances: 6

Michael Jackson
Until Sega's last console came and went, the freaky ex-pop star had only made an appearance in one game, the Mega Drive title Moonwalker, based on his film of the same name. On the Dreamcast, however, he has popped up a few times in very unexpected places. He first popped up out of nowhere near the end of Space Channel 5, in which you save him from aliens so he can join your posse. In Space Channel 5: Part 2, he is part of your team from the very beginning, and has more of his trademark moves. He also begged Midway to add him to the line up of Ready to Rumble: Round 2, although I can’t really imagine him being all too tough in a real fight, to be honest. Finally, he had a unofficial appearance in 102 Dalmatians. Well, I think it’s him.

Appearances: 3 or 4

Fish
Yes, there have been fishing games in the past on many other formats, but thanks to Sega's rather clever Fishing controller, the Dreamcast sports quite a big collection of them. It all started with Sega Bass Fishing. followed by it's much superior follow-up Sega marine Fishing, as well a aproper, but dull as hell, sequel in the console's dying days with Sega Bass Fishing 2. While us Brit's only got one of these titles, the rest of the world not only got these 3 Sega games, but a few third-party titles as well, although these were more of the simulator breed, so they would be no interest to anyone under the age of 60 anyway. These games included Reel Fishing Wild and Fish Eyes Wild, for the record. Who wants to sit there waiting for the miserable sods to bite when you can have Mako sharks falling over each other to have a nibble of your bait in Marine Fishing? It doesn't' end there though, as Fish have popped up in two more games. Sonic Adventure featured the excruciating fishing levels starring Fat-Arse the cat, that may of been a bit mode enjoyable if you could play them with the fishing controller, and finally we have the only fish on the system that you don't have to yank out of the water to weigh, Seaman, the talking, (eventually) walking fish with a miserable boat face and additude to boot. Thought fishing was sad? Try talking to a mutant fish about Evolution and Politics! Speaking of Sonic and Fishing, look below for images of Sonic being tossed out for the fishes is Sega bass!


Appearances: 7

Bruce Lee knock-offs
This is actually a trend I’ve noticed in most popular fighting games series’, not just on Dreamcast, but I need more than three common themes in over wise this post will look rather spineless. We’re talking about the characters with the same squawky voice, same muscle-bound but skinny body, same eyebrows and sometimes even a pair of nun chucks, all of which the king of kung-fu were known for. On the Dreamcast alone we have Capcom’s Fei-Long in Super Street Fighter IIX and Street Fighter Alpha 3, Jann Lee in Tecmo’s Dead or Alive 2, Liu Kang in Mortal Kombat Gold, and Maxi in Soul Calibur. That’s not even including characters that share his same fighting techniques, just the ones that act and look a bit like him as well.

Appearances: At least 5

Note to self: never write an article in Word processor then try to copy it into Blogger. This post took so long to tinker with it should be illegal.

www.thedreamcastjunkyard.tk

From now - yes, right now! - you can also access the Dreamcast Junkyard by typing

www.thedreamcastjunkyard.tk

into your browser! Or just by clicking on the above link. The 'Yard is still being hosted by Blogger.com and as such will also retain the usual blogger URL, but I just thought it'd be easier if I got a proper domain name. As .tk was extremely cheap (read: Free), I just thought I'd claim it.

If you wanna register your own free .tk domain, check out www.dot.tk for further info. Peace out.

*Update: I removed the Hyphons!*

Money to burn...

If like me, you have the urge to tell absolutley everyone you meet about how freakin' amazing the Dreamcast is, but somehow manage to refrain from doing so in order to prevent yourself being labelled a "fucking loser," rest assured that there is now a more subtle way to show your support for The Greatest Console Ever Released (tm).

Before you wander into your local tatoo parlour with a page ripped from a magazine and demand the artist copy a 1:1 scale schematic of the Dreamcast onto your face, have a little look at this beauty:


It's a wristwatch that is modelled in the shape of a Dreamcast! When closed, it resembles a little chrome coloured console, but pop the GD-lid and inside you'll find a fully functioning analogue clock face, complete with Dreamcast logos!

You can sort of get an impression of the dimensions of the thing from the photos, and I think it's quite a cool bit of kit - but why launch it now, so long after the console's mainstream demise? Even more puzzling...why make the thing in the first place?! You don't see people walking around wearing chrome PS2s or Xboxes on their wrists...

According to Playasia.com, it costs about $130 (which is about £70 in real money). If you want one, you clearly have more money than sense, but go there now to avoid inevitable disappointment. It looks like it's only availible from 29th September, but i presume there's some kind of pre-order list.

Legless

The Dreamcast Junkyard's newest entrant arrived this morning, albeit without his arms or legs. However, fear not - I'm not about to sink billions of pounds into finally taking Royal Mail to court for ordering their posties to stand at the gate and throw parcels randomly in the general direction of the front door (although I wish someone would). No, the newest arrival hasn't had his arms and legs snapped off by Postman Shat - he simply never had any in the first place! Gasp!!

Ladies and Gents, allow me to introduce Rayman. Yes, this weekend I finally lifted my eBay embargo and purchased Rayman 2 for the varicose vein bursting price of 99p. Yep, ninety nine new pence. Lets look at what else you can get for 1p less than a pound, just to highlight the fucking awesomeness of this transaction:

  1. 9 bags of Space Raiders and 9 penny chews
  2. 2 and a half copies of The Mirror
  3. 2 cartons of Sainsbury's Basics UHT skimmed milk
  4. NOTHING from the local Pound Shop
So you see, paying 99p for Rayman 2 is possibly the best thing ever to happen to me. A reflection of the patheticness of my existence, true - but that's life.

Anyhow, back to Rayman 2.

Quite simply one of the best platformers I have ever, ever, ever played. Not as good as Mario 64 mind, but still very much in the same ball park. From the sublime visuals, to the massiveness of the quest, to the pure playability - Rayman 2 is superb. It's also rather relaxing - you get to run around, solve simple puzzles, shoot shit with balls of energy and float about using Rayman's helicopter hair. Great fun.

Frolicking in the lush meadows. Bliss.

Here we see Rayman water skiing. How much gameplay variation do you want?!

The Donkey Kong Country-esque level select screen

I vaguely recall Rayman on the Atari Jaguar and it was one of only a handfull of games that was actually worth playing on it - for those who are interested, my other games (the word 'games' is used in the loosest possible terms, you understand) consisted of Club Drive, Fever Pitch Soccer and Trevor McFur in the Crescent Galaxy...so you can probably see why Rayman sticks in the mind.

The best thing about Rayman 2 though, is that it was obviously a labour of love on Ubisoft's part. The game is literally stuffed to the rafters with detail. In the early levels, little hornets with massive noses buzz about whilst the toasdstools huddle in groups and stack themselves up to amuse themselves. Run through long grass and a cacophony of butterflies will erupt and scatter into the sky, and if you leave the joypad alone Rayman will pull faces at the camera or play basketball with his body. The graphical style of the game is totally unique on the Dreamcast, being set in a sort of cartoon world that also has some slightly sinister undertones. Like I said - one of the best games I've played on the Dreamcast thus far.

Rayman 2 was released on nearly every format around, including the N64 and PSX, and I also remember that Ubi ran a brilliant advertising campaign for the game in the US press (I admit it...it was me who bought that single copy of EGM back in 2000). It compared a fat guy in a vest called Ray to Rayman...and was smile inducing, rather than tear inducing like the rest of the typical American-style adverts that make up 98% of US mags:

This is Ray. He clearly isn't Rayman. He's got legs for a start.

Lastly, I feel a special mention must go to the manual. Every single page is full colour and it appears to have had the same amount of time spent on it - look at the illustrations and stuff accompanying the blurb:

If only all manuals were as well produced as this.

Overall?

Rayman 2 should be sought out by all platform fans - and even if you rarely give platform adventures a second look (like yours truly), break the habit and give it a spin.

Want more Rayman you nutter? Go here to view every version of every Rayman game ever released, from the 'edutainment' bullshit to the great-looking Japanese version of Rayman 2:

And on that bombshell...

Gaymue

It took an Olympian amount of effort, but it's finally happened: I've started Shenmue 2. I actually bought it months ago - before I'd even finished the first game - but it seemed like such a mammoth task, I just thought "fuck it." However, in a maelstrom of boredom earlier this week, I plucked up the courage to once again assume the identity of one Ryo Hazuki, pack my hideous luminous green 80s rucksack, and head to Hong Kong in search of answers, Goddammit.

Initial impressions are very positive. If you've never played Shenmue 2 (how it was meant to be played - on a Dreamcast (Xbox doesn't count I'm afraid)), it's much more of a spectacle than the first game ever was. The graphics appear much more vibrant, the locations are simply massive (bigger than any of Shenmue's) and the music is pretty decent - much more modern and 'dancey' than the string based tunes of the original.

So far so good - I've had my bag stolen, kicked some ass to get it back, been humiliated in an arm wrestling contest, met a fit bird on a motorbike, and got a small dingy room in a back street 'guest house.' My only bugbear is that I've had all my money nicked, so must shuffle around the harbour and surrounding districts grovelling at shops for a part time job...just to pay the fucking $38-a-night rent on the shit hole room I call home. It's just a tad to close to reality for my liking...

I wonder if it's possible to get ridiculously pissed in an attempt to forget about my woes, then collapse in a heap contemplating suicide when the money's all gone. Hmmm.

Anyhow, this post was intended to bring something more interesting to light: Ryo's sexual preference. Before you leave in disgust, uttering "freak" under your garlic breath - hear me out. We all know the jokes about Ryo running around Dobuita searching for sailors (whilst constantly rejecting Nozomi's blatant attempts to get a shag) in Shenmue 1. Come on, laugh it out.

But check this out:

Here is the front of the cardboard sleeve of the PAL version of Shenmue 2. Very artsy I'm sure you'll agree. Note Joy sticking her tits out (the bird on the left), and the lovely waterfall on the right. All well and good. Apart from the title font, which is a bit shit:

Now, here is the cover of the actual CD case that goes inside the cardboard sleeve. Notice anything strange? Well, for starters the two women have been given the elbow...and note the position of Ryo and the dude in the bandana...

They've been mirrored - and even stranger - look at the position of Ryo's hand (helpfully outlined in red, just in case you don't know what a 'hand' is):

The guy's belt is even positioned so it looks like it's being pulled down by Ryo's wandering hand!
You can just about make it out in the above picture (my mega-budget camera, as previously divulged, is about as useful as a salmonella infested Cadbury's chocolate fireguard), but if you're one of the 7 people on Earth who own this game, go on - have a look!

Sega - you've been sussed! Ryo bats for the other team! Not that the Dreamcast Junkyard cares of course, being the multi-cultural, multi-faith, multi-racial, multi-er-sexuality set up that we are...(***lawsuit threat level reduced from Critical to Moderate***)

Sega Vs Vee. The rally games.

Sorry about the complete lack of posting in the last few weeks. I have had ideas for posts but:
a) Didn't have time.
b) Wasn't sure how to go about said articles.
c) Couldn't be arsed.

But that's all behind us now, as here I am in a desperate bid to update you on my DC gaming experiences of the last few weeks. One of these includes the purchise of V-Rally 2: Expert Edition. I did pick this up at a boot sale for a quid, but the disc was so scrathed up it wouldn't even play, and just made nasty clicking noises in my Dreamcast. It was soon removed and thorwn in the bin. I won't be having poorly kept games hurting my little baby. There, there, sweetie, it's all right now, I got you another copy at the Balsidon Gamestation for the usual 2 for a fiver deal (along with F355 Challenge, because there wasn't much else there I didn't have, and hell, I normally get £3 each back for these things at Bootsales anyhow).

Back to V-Rally 2, then. Now, as much as I like Sega Rally 2, it was far from perfect. The PAL version ran only in 50HZ and at half the frame rate of the NTSC versions, and for a game that really doesn't have much to memorize, it sure takes up a lot of blocks on a VMU. Now V-Rally 2 ay not be perfect either, but it does manage to do a lot of things right and more or less wipes the floor with Sega's title, as much as I hate to say it.

For starters, Sega Rally 2 had a few tracks, but in comparison that's nothing on what V-Rally 2 gives you. Across about 10 countries there are over 80 tracks to get to know in this game, and a lot of modes to play them in too. There is also a lot more cars to pick from, with plenty more to unlock. As for the controls, they work well but this game doesn't play toowell with the Racing Controller. Also, your car tips over far too often. At times it doesn't even feel like your car is on the ground as it appears to hover about the track and rolling over at every little bump, almost as if you're driving a fat cat on wheels over jelly. Still, it's not too bad, once you get used to it.

But the real highlight and selling point of the game for me has been the track creator. 80+ tracks or not, there's nothing like being able to save your own designs, and the constrution kit is very simple. Also, each track you save only takes up 4 blocks on a VMU, so you could in theory make a whole games worth. This is where I've been playing hours and hours of the game, trying to produce the most roller-coaster like tracks I possibly can. The first level I saved doesn't have many turns, but is slew with hills that throw the hapless car into the air. I also put one together with loads and loads of shrap turns, and one that goes in one long line going down hill, again with the odd make-the-car-fly moment. I've even recorded footage of some replays from my designs to show you below. Great fun.



In conclusion, V-Rally 2 is well worth picking up, just like all of Infogrames other Dreamcast racing titles Le Mans 24, Wacky races and Loone Tunes Space Race.

Wires

WAHEY!! Fuck me, it's been a while ain't it?! Well, just over a week actually - but that's long enough for anyone to go without a Dreamcast related verbal pebbledashing from the net's premier Dreamcast related media whore (left): The Dreamcast Junkyard.

So what's been happenin' in our collective absence?!

Happily, you'll all be pleased to know that I havn't been watching any more Will Smith films. Oh no - after the abomination that was Hitch (which incidentally, I only watched about two thirds of (the very threshold of saving one's masculinity when watching a 'chick-flick' or 'rom-com,' by the way...the Rule of Two Thirds is what I like to call it)), I have vowed never to watch another movie with a softly smiling male on the front of the box. Or Will Smith. Two birds/one stone - lemon squeezy.

Sadly though, even though I now posess the skills to a) pay the bills (thanks for that one, Wordsworth); and b) avoid SHIT films like a Mediaeval nobleman might try to avoid the plague infested village imbecile who is running throughout the castle naked and screaming; I do not posses the skills to avoid SHIT Xbox games.

For, you see weary reader, last week I was blessed with the purile stupidity to purchase Operation Flashpoint. What a steaming pile of gusset that is. That's the last time I buy ANY game on the merit of a sticker boasting "92% BUY IT NOW!!!!! - Xbox Fuckhead Magazine." Anyway, after nearly losing my retinas from 'playing' said bag of crap, I embarked on a quest to do something I've not done for a long time: trade a game! Yes, I was so infuriated by the lacklustre nature of Operation Slagpoint, I traded it for...you guessed it:

MOTHER-HUMPING DREAMCAST GAMES, BEHATCHES!!!

And these, in a Launch Party stylee, are they:

Y2K Willenium Soldier: Expendable
Playing like Robotron on acid, Millenium Soldier: Expendable is a top down no-brainer shoot 'em up best played with two pads plugged in, and with a few cans of your favourite alcoholic beverage being washed past your tonsils. Quite simply, it's brilliant. Some reviews that you may read floating about the net are less than favourable - indeed some verge on the scandalous, stating that Expendable is unplayable/rubbish/too easy/too hard (delete as applicable). I could go on, but won't, for fear of regurgitating my recent meal of fish heads and coal. I will though, say this: if you want frantic old-skool shooting, button bashing, fucking hur-uge explosions, mental amounts of stuff to blast, power-ups popping out of crates, and more strafing than is probably healthy...get a load of this: IT ROCKS!

And to all those people who think it's rubbish: Lighten the fuck up, man. It's meant to be a no-brainer, and Expendable pulls it off effortlessly.

Bombs? Trains? Guns? A bit risque in today's climate of fear

Not entirely sure what's going on here. Looks nice though.

What you can't tell from these shots is that your man runs like he's just shat himself. Ho ho!

Trickstyle
Ooh! A 'cool' game! Set in a future where everyone wears neon lycra and listens to banging techno choons, Trickstyle is a game about riding around on floating skateboards. Now, everyone knows Marty McFly invented hoverboards, but Trickstyle does a fairly good job of emulating his efforts (although sadly, Biff Tannon is nowhere to be seen). It's really quite a simple racer-cum-stunt 'em up, where you pick a 'trendy' youf character, and race around some futuristic cityscapes all the time trying to do a some 'rad' tricks and hopefully cross the finish line in first place. There are a few problems with Trickstyle, but lets look at the positives first. For starters, it was one of the more original launch titles for the Dreamcast, so kudos for that; and it was also the DC's answer to WipEout (sort of), what with it's soundtrack and styling. However, the graphics are a bit choppy (although still rather impressive), the training 'missions' are a fucking nightmare, and it's one of the most annoyingly difficult games on the DC. But these things aside, pretty solid stuff. One question remains though: Who the frig is Kurtis Mantronik?

Weeeeeeee, look at me!...(spew)

They really couldn't have got much closer to ripping off Wolverine without a Marvel shaped lawsuit landing on the desk

Reminds me of that old Milky Way advert this..."the red car and the blue car had a race..."

Fuck it. Can't think of anything to write about this shot.

After playing those two for a while, I feel like I've slipped off the couch and through a carpet based temporal rift back to 1999. Never mind though. At least the Dreamcast is back on the shelves, Steve Coogan is still funny and Big Brother hasn't been invented yet...which is ALWAYS a bonus.

On that note, my wireless keyboard has started playing up so I'm not writing anything else: if I have to keep pressing every key twice, I'm going to end up performing a Shaun Michaels Sharpshooter on the fucking thing. The moral? Stick to WIRES, people.

Wii crowd, take heed...