It's been quite a while since I've posted here hasn't it? That'll be because last week was give-us-all-your-coursework week at Uni, but now I have some time off, which = quality time with what is currently the most modern console in my household (since I sold my GameCube, and haven't got a Wii yet), along with the new bits I have brought back for it from my trip to New York over the last week of 2006.
So how did I even find any Dreamcast stuff anyhow? Pure luck, actually. Th 1st day we woke up in New York, after pissing about with the hotel who had lost our suite, we popped down to Greenwich Village, our favorite area of the city. Unlike the Rolex selling tramps and bright lights of Times Square, this lower down area is not only a lot quieter, but has a lot of great unique shops tucked away. After popping into an small Irish bar for a proper Breakfast, walking down one road I spotted a sign about an import retro shop, with a little map of where it had moved to. For those who may be interested, the address is 202 East 6th Street.
Anyway, we finally found the shop, which was rather small but very well packed with potentially thousands of games stacked up to the ceiling, and an old Mario statue standing out front, that some Japanese family were having heir photo taken with. The first thing you see as you walk in is NINTENDO WII ONLY ONE IN STOCK BIG FAT BUNDLE $500, but as soon as you went around one of it's many corners you came across a wall with about 5 shelfs of hundreds of American Dreamcast games. Yikes! On closer inspection, about half were 2nd hand and half were sealed, but a lot of them were multiple copies of the same game. For example, they must of had at least 50 copies of Coaster Works. Basically, most of it was junk. I did however fish out 3 games I did want which were cheap: Atari Anniversary Edition for $15 (about $8), Illbleed sealed for $10 (£6), and Floigan Bros for just $8 (about a £4).
They also had a shelf of DC games behind glass that were all gooduns, like Typing of the Dead and Outrigger, but were all $25, which is roughly more than I could get them on Ebay anyway. Lastly, there was a glass cabinet full of Japanese games, including one shelf for Dreamcast ones, which were mostly games you can get cheap anyway, like Sega Rally 2, or games that were pretty darn expensive, such as Under Defeat for $90! Ouch. I at least got one thing from this cabinet, and that was Puyo Puyo Sun for my Saturn for $20 (£12), because I wanted to try out that import cart I have had for years.
The shop had a lot of stuff I wanted (including just about every good Neo Geo Pocket game ever), but they were far too over priced with a lot of their games, obviously basing them on the highest prices they go for on Ebay.
One last Dreamcast thing I did actually pick up was a fighting controller for $15. It's third party, but the only time I had seen a controller like this for the DC was one released in Japan by ASCII, which sells for a lotta money. This one is pretty much the same thing, but a lot cheaper. Score!
For starters, it is laid out just like the arcade stick, with the shoulder buttons replaced with the Z and C buttons at the front. This makes the controller very useful for six button fighters like Street Fighter III,. hence the name. It also makes it look a lot like the controllers for Sega's earlier systems, especially thanks to the shape and size of it. Example below (sadly I don't have a six-button Mega Drive pad to compare with, but it's good enough):
Also notice how the VMU sticks out of it. It has one slot, so what about if you want rumble? It's built in! Oh yes. And if you don't want to use the rumble there's a switch to turn it off, if you like. There is also a turbo and clear button, although I haven't tried these out yet. The plastic feels a bit cheap, and the d-pad isn't on par with the arcade stick for fighting games, Also, games that use the analogue stick only won't work with it. It's still a good alternative if you can find one, and also quite nice for playing emulators. Reconfig the controls on Smash Pack and you could have the excat same layout as on the original Mega Drive controller!
Speaking of arcade controllers, I now have two of 'em. I didn't drag this 2nd back from America, however, but it was the first thing I saw in the window of GameStation as I visited it not long after arriving back home, and it was boxed for a measly £13. The one I've had since 2000 didn't have a box and cost me £30, but even that's cheaper than you'd have to pay for one online, because they're so heavy the postage goes through the roof. This new one isn't in as nice condition as mine, but at least it hasn't rusted up at all like mine. Here's a photo of the two sitting together in harmony:
Elaborating on the games I brought back, Atari Anniversary is a complication of about 13 of their old arcade games, all with plenty of options and features, and a bunch of artwork and interviews to round it all off. It's a very nicely made collection, with all the games perfectly recreated. Tempest is additive as hell, too.
Illbleed is a unique take on the survival horror genre in which you are in a horror theme park where you win money for not dying, which isn't easy as they throw just about everything they can at you, from mad chainsaw men to a huge, vampire Sonic that vomits rings. I'm NOT kidding. The game has you keeping track of all six of your senses (yes, you do see dead people), pumping yourself with pain killers, popping to the hospital now and hen and even listening to a cassette of whales to calm your character down from everything that's out to make you jump. It's pretty hard stuff, and features voice acting that rivals that of the first Resident Evil, but it looks great for it's age and is yet another reason why the Dreamcast is the most "dare-to-be-different" console of the last generation. Well worth a go, I've posted a video to give you an idea of it's awesomeness. You know, there was a plan for this to be remade for the Box, along with Blue Stinger, but they got canceled, so there both still Dreamcast exclusives! HA!
Oh, and that purple haired girl in the trailer? You play her wearing nothing but mud near the end of the game. ZOMG NAKED CHEAT. Again, I'm not kidding.
Floigan Bros, as Tomleecee has previously pointed out, is absolutely fantastic. Even now, this is probably the most cartoon like in game graphics ever produced. You can cel shade all you like, but if you really want that classical Looney Tune look in your game, make it bouncy, which this is in spades. In a medium where everyone is striving for realism, it's takes real innovation to do the opposite and take game visuals into a direction that has rarely been done in 3D without resorting to pre-rendered footage (as great as those cut scenes in Stupid Invaders looked, it wasn't ingame). Gameplay wise there is a lot to take in, and Moige is always craving for attention. I swear I've played that high five game with him too many times to count now. It still is, however, a must buy.
Remember that tutorial mode that Tom mentioned? Well, thanks to the game running at 50HZ (which is a first for a NTSC game), I've recorded it and plopped it on YouTube for you to see in all it's cartoon glory!
With those three new American games added, my collection of imports is looking rather healthy now, and almost filling a whole row on me shelf! I can fit 15 PAL games in a row on there, but 30 NTSC, because of tthe thinner, regular CD cases. Lovely.