, The Dreamcast Junkyard: May 2007

Beta Overload

Long time readers and visitors to the 'Yard may, quite possibly, remember a post I knocked up some time ago that introduced a site called X-Cult. If not, go here now.

Had a look? Good.

Now you're up to speed, I'll crack on. Whilst perusing the net, which is something I've gotten quite good at in recent decades, I found another interesting little site that sort of does the same as X-Cult - reveals details of cancelled games for a multitude of formats...including our beloved Dreamcast. Before you groan, listen up: Unseen64 features previously...er...unseen pictures and screens of a few forgotten gems that would have been a credit to the DC had they been released, and even grabs of a few games I've never actually heard of...


Take the Bullet


Quark


Shrapnel: Urban Warfare 2025


Spiral Nightmare Type X


Jump Runner


Akolyte


Boarder Zone


Innocent Tears
Ecco 2: Sentinels of the Universe

Dark Angel


Gorka Morka

Agartha

Of course, this little collection is just the tip of the iceberg - there's even more beta action at the actual site, and that includes some rather interesting shots of an early Metropolis Street Racer and a massive Shenmue archive. Granted, explanations of the titles shown are either non existent or written in Italian (which is fine if you can read Italian...which I can't) so you have to make assumptions about how some of the games may have played by sight alone. Still, very cool, if that's yer bag.

Convalescence

Alreet, hows everyone doing? Seems like aeons ago that I was last here, but then with the mesmerizing skillz of The Gagaman, Father Krishna and Caleb all now combining, it's not the end of the world. Just the beginning, oh yes.*Evil cackle*

I'm recovering from a heavy night on the piss, that incidentally included a good kicking from several 20 stone Neanderthals (see left). However, this isn't a bad thing. Looking on the bright side of being bequeathed lips that look like a pair of inner tubes and a re-modeled (albeit slightly bent) nose, last night's UFC has given me a reason to lounge around today like a man of leisure simply in order to recouperate and reflect.

And by recouperate and reflect, I mean play Dreamcast games. But you knew that already.

But before I dive into my usual blurb about what I've been up to on the virtual field, let me first congratulate The Gagaman for his stirling efforts to keep the Dream alive. Virtua Tennis with a fishing rod? Marvellous, bloody marvellous. In a similar vein, I thought it might be possible to really shit in the Wii's cornflakes and play Tee Off with the rod too, but alas that idea was binned when I remembered that you don't actually use the analogue stick to control your player's swing. That and the fact that Tee Off doesn't recognise the rod as a controller anyway. Bah.

To be fair, I am slightly guilty of neglecting my Dreamcast promoting duties of late but hopefully this will change shortly, and the resurgence is clearly noteable in the recent purchases made by my good self that have totalled nearly TWENTY QUID in recent days. Yes, £20 on DC related software. Shocking innit?

Several months of no buying action at all, and now this:

Head Hunter
The Rt. Hon. Father Krishna MBE waxed lyrical about Jack Wade's near future adventure several posts ago, I know, but let me emphasize just how good this third person adventure really is. Want stealthy sections? want fucking amazing shootouts? want a hair raising orchestral - almost Hollywood quality - soundtrack? want mind-melting, Dreamcast-pushing graphics? want GTA-style motorbike sections that make you tear your already thinning hair out? Then go out RIGHT NOW and get hold of a copy of Head Hunter. Unlike anything else on the console, Head Hunter is, for me at least, one of the highlights of the Dreamcast's catalogue and stands out due to it's outstanding production qualities

The whole package is just so well done - from the newscast style sections that move the story along, to the cutscenes and voice acting, to the loading screens that show mock-up adverts for in game fictional products from the sinister BioTech Corp., everything about Headhunter is silky. Unfortunaltey, Head Hunter is a PAL-only release (as I'm sure we've mentioned several thousand times in the past), so if you're not from Europe you're gonna probably have a hard time getting a copy, but you'd be advised to at least try to do so. Brill. And, again, sorry for banging on about a game Father Krishna spouted about earlier...it's just, y'know, FUCKING AWESOME.

Championship Surfer
Oh God. What the fucking hell is this shit?! I got it free with Headhunter granted, but Christ almighty - this dirge should never have been allowed to see the light of day. Well, maybe a really crap cloudy day, with thunder and brimstone and shit falling from the heavens. As you can probably tell, I don't really rate Championship Surfer. I'm all for trying a new style of game; we'd never have gotten NiGHTS if nobody ever tried new stuff...but Championship Surfer ain't NiGHTS. It's a lorry-load of decaying pig cadavers covered in puss from the ulcers of a million bed-ridden pensioners' legs. Basically, you pick your gnarly surf dude (cretin)...and do some surfing. On waves that look like they're made of Lego. Yep, Champo is yet another Dreamcast game that features water effects that Wave Race 64 laughs in the face of. How dare Krome Studios try to palm these waves off on us! Look at them!

Sorry about that. Got a bit carried away there. Of course, good graphics don't make a game (as PS3 owners will vouch), but when the graphics consist almost completely of water...surely it's a good idea to make them look something like water? Not fucking blue tack. Shit me, the water in fucking Dead or Alive 2 looks better than the wet stuff in Championship Surfer...and that's a fucking fighting game!!!

Oh, and the rest of it's just as pathetic as the waves. Just in case you were wondering.

Sonic Adventure 2
Yay! We all love Sonic, and y'know, he loves us too. Sonic Adventure 2 is the sequel to...er...Sonic Adventure and features more of the same really. You get to bomb around as Sonic, Tails, Knuckles and a few other characters collecting rings and generally kicking Robotinik's arse. Cool. One thing bothers me though. Why, if he's so good with a screw driver, doesn't Robotnik create a robot that doesn't fall to bits when a hedgehog jumps on it? Trial and fucking error my man. He's had about NINE freaking Sonic games before SA2 to figure that out, do a bit of Q&A and iron out the technical difficulties. Sheesh.

That niggle aside, SA2 is a wicked little game - a true showcase of the DC's technical capabilities. The visuals are excellent and the music, much as it pains me to say, is also rather good. A Dreamcast-ignorant mate of mine was round while I was playing Headhunter and then Sonic Adventure 2 and upon seeing the graphics being displayed couldn't believe that the DC was released 8 years ago. So that must surely go some way to explain how good these games look, even today.

But then I put Championship Surfer on and the magic was lost. DAMN THAT SHIT TO HELL!!!
I almost converted one of the ignorant and opened his mind, only to be foiled by the dystopian powers of Championship Surfer. Speaking of dystopian powers, my face hurts again so I'm off to swill down half a box of paracetamol with an 8 pack of Guinness.

And a bottle of Jack Daniels.

Oh, and don't forget to get those Fission rods out of the cupboard for a quick game of Virtua Tennis, y'hear?!

Fideo Friday! #3

This week's video I literally just found a few minutes ago and is a daft parody of the bloody brilliant RPG Skies of Arcadia, complete with a guy with a chunk off of a Dreamcast controller for an eye patch and a bloke wearing a ginger ponytail wig and what looks like a yellow bin bag fighting...pillows? If you've never played the game (what, not even that huge demo they did with the official magazine once?) this will probably go staight over your head, so play it already!



You may of also noticed I've been tinkering slightly here and there with the blog, what with my new admin abilities. The links section as been revamped and updated, along with a (soon to expand) collection of tab links. I've even taken my old Dreamcast related articles from the long-dead blog of mine Sega Freaks and have squeezed them into the archives here! Mwa ha ha.

Seven Years Too Late.

I reported a while back that, after trying out dozens of games with it, I've discovered another game that uses the motion sensors in the Fishing controller, and while Soul Calibur's fishing compatibility had been known by a select few since it's release (see the review of the game in Official Dreamcast magazine #2), as far as I know no one has never uncovered this one, and you smack yourself other the head like I did when you see what it is, especially as we could have known about this SEVEN years ago...

Yes, Virtua sodding tennis. With motion controls. In the year 2000. I kid you not.

"So what you're saying", I bet you're asking, "is that we could of been playing Wii tennis seven years ago?". In a sense, YES. Now, I was testing my way through though as many games as I could one night for a laugh to see what would maybe work, and while most didn't work at all, and others didn't work very well (most racing games will, using the reel, only let you move at 2 MPH) but then it hit me, what about Virtua Tennis? Like Soul Calibur, it's a game where all the buttons more or less do the same thing in different ways.

Lo and behold, it works like a charm. Swinging the rod in certain directions will do exactly that, and the speed of which you swing effects how hard you hit the ball. UNLIKE Wii Tennis, in which you could simply be lazy and shake the remote to hit the ball, giving the fishing rod a small shake will lob th ball (which is the B button normally). Also, UNLIKE Wii tennis you have control of your character and can move him around with the analogue stick on it. The best way to do this is to hold the rod in one hand, and keep your thumb on the stick. After a while it becomes second nature.

A disadvantage other Wii tennis however is comfort. While the Wii remote is a tiny, light, comfortable little thing with no wire, the Fishing controller is bigger, about twice as heavy, and not very compatible to grip (of course, I'm just going by the unofficial "fisson" controller I own so I'm not sure if the official Sega model is any better), so if you thought Wii tennis wore you out, this will bring some REAL PAIN to your wrist, especially as the game is less forgiving than Nintendo's counterpart. The thing also has a wire, so you wanna make sure that thing doesn't fly up and smack you in the face while playing.

So here's a quick summary:

Wii Tennis: Forgiving sensitivity, so can be played without to much welly.
Virtua Tennis: Unforgiving sensitivity,makes you really swing that rod hard.

Wii Tennis: Character movement? We do that shit for you!
Virtua Tennis: You have a thumb stick don't you? Get to work!

Wii Tennis: Create custom character in the Mii Channel to play in-game, or play a generic Mii made by the CPU.
Virtua Tennis: Create custom character in the World Circuit mode to play in-game, or play as real-life pros (and Tim Henman).

Wii Tennis: Train your custom character up in mini games.
Virtua Tennis: Train your custom character up in mini games, championship tournaments, and buy new gear for him/her.

Wii Tennis: Deliberately simple graphics that do their job..
Virtua Tennis: Realistic characters and beautiful backdrops that still hold up well today.

It's pretty amazing just how much in common with the Wii Tennis game this has considering it was sitting there as a un-noticed feature since 2000. I sometimes wonder if Sega put in features like this and the Dance mat compatibility in Space Channel 5 on purpose, but kept these secrets to themselves for some twisted reason, and that they are probably burying their heads in shame for not taking these motion controls further after seeing the success Nintendo have had so far with them. Nintendo have, in a sense, taken the best elements of some of our favorite novel controllers: the gyro sensing of the fishing controller, the pointing features of a light gun (sort of), and the 3D-space recognition of those maracas. There are so many "what ifs" about the Dreamcast it keeps me awake at night sometimes (well, not really).

(Note: I'm guessing Virtua Tennis 2 can use the fishing controller too, but like so many copies of Virtua Striker 2 before it, it has mysteriously stopped working. It's not too scratched up or anything, it's just died. Unlike Virtua Striker though, this game as isn't easy to find cheap ;_;)

So why do you think I held off a few weeks to tell you this? Well, coursework aside, this video below is why. It's the first proper Video Feature for the Dreamcast Junkyard Video site! As Caleb has proved, hiding off screen and not making a peep is a boring way of showing of a game with motion controls, so for he first time, here is your hairy , spotty hunch-backed presenter the Gagaman (optional extra n), showing you how it's done! There's also a bonus piece of game play from another game using the fishing controller at the end. Sorry it's so long!


Speaking of Virtua Tennis with motion controls, take a look at these rather ridiculous optional Sixaxis controls for Virtua Tennis 3 on the Playstation 3. If you thought swinging about like a tennis racket looked daft, I can't even begin to imagine how deranged playing the game like this would be..


The American Dreamcaster Champions "The Undead Console!"




Well Yee Haw! Kick it to the kerb homies! Hot diggity dawg and bless my cotton socks!
(Or whatever it is that our colonial cousins from across the pond say when they get excited...)
Yes folks, the Dreamcast Junkyard is set to become an international phenomenon, as the legendary Caleb (he of Dreamcast loving blog extrordinnaire the Hunyak), has decided to add his not inconsiderable muscle to the great Tomleecee's, 128 Bit Sega Mafia!

We've already got one media wizard on the team in the shape of the Gagaman(n), and now we've just secured another! Expect some great Dreamcast film projects coming up in the future, along with some obscure pieces of Dreamcast trivia and memoribilia, and some killer game reviews!

Caleb's work over at the Hunyak and The Saturn Junkyard has already proved to be of great merit, and I for one am excited about how his fresh insight and input, will give us more regular posts and interesting content. Here's to a new chapter in the history of the great Dreamcast Junkyard...

Dreamcast Collections To Die For Vol 1...

This is Gary's collection and I must say that I'd kill/die for it... Ooooh Lush!

Nuff said... LOL! : P


)

WOW! Just imagine if that was your stash!

Dreamcasting@btinternet.com... You know it makes sense...


(And we didn't even show you the Treamcasts...)

Fideo Friday! #2

This week we have 'The Real Shenmue', a video posted by AndriaSang in which we get to see the real Yokosuka! You know, the little town you walked around in Shenmue? Yes, two guys actually flew all the way there just to see how much like the game it was. Some would call that sad, I would call it dedication to the undead console (well, actually, this was filmed in 2001, at which point it wasn't dead at all yet but er...shut up!)! Unfortunately, there is no arcade featuring the Hang On cabinet, and no capsule machines full of Sega toys, but you do get to see the harbour where you cold look for sailors FOR REAL, and also Dobutia Street which even has Tom's stand (which is closed)! Of course the game was set in 1986 (although that doesn't explain how Ryo had a Sega Saturn in his house) so a few things have changed since then, but still, wonder if the old git hat always tells you he's very busy, then sits down to feed the pigeons is still alive and well?

Dreamcast Love On The Eve Of The Wii...


Well it’s about time I put ‘pen to paper’ (so to speak), and make sure I don’t find myself sacked off from the Dreamcast Junkyard team for lack of effort, in the wake of the Gagaman(n)’s recent Herculean posting odyssey...

Much has happened since my last epistle. Man Utd. saw off Man City in an embarrassing 1-0 Derby defeat at the City Of Manchester Stadium, which I had the misfortune to watch in an Australian Bar in Barcelona. It was full of Reds and there was a bigger cheer when City missed their penalty, than when United scored theirs.


Man Utd of course went on to win the Premiership, whilst City managed to clock up their first record in many years... fewest goals scored at home in one season. DOH!
This has ultimately lead to the sacking of Stuart ‘Psycho’ Pearce, whilst Fergie and his boys strolled triumphantly around Old Trafford last Sunday. BAH!
I have solved one Man United mystery that had always puzzled me though… Apparently the letters "A.I.G" on the United shirt stand for "Almost In Greece…" :)



But I digress… It’s at dark times like this, that one seeks solace in the little box of wonders that is the Dreamcast. I’ve been feeling super-love for my Dreamcast recently, since I committed to buying a Wii. (I’m getting it tomorrow, May 16th , for my almost top secret 40th birthday….But DOn’t tell anyone, I DOn’t want a fuss.)

It’s as if I need to prove my love for my DC, as if I’ve been caught by my significant other, with a pert young super-model on my arm. I need the Dreamcast to know it’ll always be ‘the one’, even if there’s another in my life…

So here’s a quick round up of some of the games I’ve been playing over the last few months, in a sort of "micro-review medley" type thing…


Last Hope: This fiendishly difficult side scrolling 'Shump' (I’ve become a bit of a shump fan of late…) comes to us courtesy of Germany’s NG:Dev team and is a 2007 release. That fact in itself, is one which fills me with a rosy glow, knowing that there are still brand new Dreamcast releases coming out. Then my rosy glow dissipates into icy water flushing through my bowels, as I remember that the announcement of the cessation of GD Roms, that could put pay to Dreamcast development forever…


Still the game is fantastic. Originally and (very costly) developed for the Neo Geo, the game was ported to the Dreamcast and released this January. The graphics are fabulous and the gameplay somewhat hypnotic. As your ship glides smoothly into the oncoming landscape, you must blast away at alien foes whilst, attempting to fly through power-ups and avoid the oncoming mines and missiles pitted against you. I’ve only managed to get as far as the first boss, but I’ve enjoyed it so far. One of the most enjoyable aspects of the game is its musical score, (available as a limited edition CD release bundled with a special game pack). The music is like ambient-trancey Kraftwerk and builds as your ship progresses through the game. Quite beautiful really. Oh and its region free. Games TM Magazine reviewed it recently and gave it an 80% score and I’ll agree… 8/10 Why not buy it here?


In total contrast to this frenetic kill-fest is Virtua Athlete 2K. This decathlon based sorts sim is a more serious update of Sega Sport’s ‘Athlete Kings’ which appeared on the Saturn. The gameplay involves a lot of speedy button mashing and split second timing as you power your athlete through a variety of track and field events. This is not a game to be played on your own, but is an ideal party game for up to four players. It must be good, as it has even enticed the two biggest Gingers to pick up and play. The ideal game for non-gamers and a great laugh after a couple of drinks! For the fun factor alone, 9/10. For a more considered review look here…



Moving on to Silent Scope, the best Light Gun game that never was… This arcade port was made for the Light Gun, but due to the legacy of the Columbine shootings, it was only released to be compatible with the standard controller. A shame, because this really is a great shooter! As the name suggests, the scope is the key, allowing you to ‘nail far away targets with pinpoint accuracy’ (according to the back of the box…)


You play as a former special operative in the British Anti-Terrorism force (very adept at killing innocent Brazilians no doubt…) currently residing in Chicago. Your foes include the quite wankily titled: Cobra The Iron Man, Hornet The Sniper, Tom & Jerry ( the genetically spliced mutated Killing Machine), Scorpion The Butcher and… Wait for it… Monica The Armoured Secretary… No shit! Un-fucking-believable!
What tosspot came up with these characters? I don’t bloody know… This game is excellent arcade style shooting fun, but I’m only going to give it 7/10 because it screams out to be played with a gun… So there! Wanna know more? Look here…


Head Hunter: The moment I started to play this game I knew it would become a lifelong favourite, up there with the likes of Shenmue 1 & 2 and Resident Evil: Code Veronica… Graphically lush and with fabulous gameplay, this game is something of a futuristic bounty hunter odyssey, set in a bleak, corporate, fascist America. (A little like today's USA then...)



Spanning two discs and with a brilliant storyline (interspersed with fake video news bulletins and product commercials), this game has been likened to Metal Gear Solid due to it’s stealth missions. However, it’s fusion of motorbike riding and assassination had me thinking of the Vice City franchise and the untapped potential of the Dreamcast…



The character you play is Jack Wade, a cross between Dirty Harry and Snake Plisken. He’s quite literally “cool as fuck”! Having lost his memory it’s your job to train him up again using the L.E.I.L.A virtual training facility, gain experience in riding your bike and regain your bounty hunter license and then go out an kick motherfuckin' ass in the criminal underworld…

It’s an utterly fabulous game, but can be a little frustrating when it comes to bike riding, as the streets are cluttered with other vehicles which you inevitably hit… this then causes your experience points to drop, which is a killer when its taken you so long to build them up… I’m not the first one to notice this, have a look here… Overall Score? It would have got a 10/10 but due to the bike crashy thing, it only gets a 9/10. Still very definitely recommended…


Resident Evil: Code Veronica- This is an excellent game, but one with which I definitely have a love-hate relationship with, that has oft been chronicled on my other blogs. Like Marmite or Shenmue, you’ll either love it or hate it. At times I felt both emotions about the game… I played right through the whole thing and then left it unfinished with about 40 minutes to an hour (if that) of gameplay to go. I ended up watching its conclusion on Youtube, I just couldn’t be arsed any more. ( I also bought RE:CV Survivors Guide and Light Gun for the PS2, enabling me to whizz through the stages of the game AND shoot Zombies in House Of the Dead Style… Which is nice...



You see the problem with this horror survival classic, is that failure to pick up items at the start of the game, can impact on your ability to succeed, way into the second disc (even with a walkthrough). Still fabulously plotted, stunning graphics and some great gameplay make this one of my all time Dreamcast favourites… 8/10! Intrigued? Look here… and here… (and I know the video is from the PS2 port, but it shows the graphic spleandour of the original and goes very nicely with the music!)




As well as these games I’ve also been playing some classic Dreamcast lovelies, oft discussed on this hallowed forum… Soul Calibur, Powerstone, Crazy Taxi, SWWS (Euro Edition) and Jet Set Radio. This is because I’ve sneaked a Dreamcast into the traditionally console free ‘little living room’, where we have a 60HZ TV, and I’m currently enjoying the improved graphics and smoother frame rates (or whatever it is that a 60HZ TV does for your DC). It’s made me think of investing in a new scart lead or even a VGA adaptor…



Finally to offset a disastrously poor purchase of three Japanese games from Play Asia, (I’m no Gagaman(n) when it comes to making wise choices…), I was delighted to receive my own copy of Half Life from the wonderful Gary from Dreamcasting@btinternet.com This legendary piece of un-published vapour ware was first brought to the DCJY’s attention by the great Tomleecee a while back. To own my own copy however is a sublime experience. The quality of the packaging is just amazing, coming in a PAL Dreamcast case, with glossy front and back cover, printed disc and even a glossy covered manual, replete with cheats! I cannot recommend Gary’s work highly enough! Check him out and BUY STUFF… Like a Dr. Feelgood of Dreamcasting, he can get you what you need… Have a look here


Well that’s me for now! I’m off to enjoy my last evening of being 39 and anticipating a new Wii flavoured chapter of my gaming life….

Goodnight dear children… wherever you are…