Samba De Amigo: Wii vs Dreamcast

As you may know, Samba De Amigo was released on the Wii last week. It's been eight years since the Dreamcast version came out and now Sega are giving the game a second chance with this remake developed by Gearbox, who you may know as the guys that ported Half Life to the Dreamcast, amongst other things. In case you're wondering why a developer who mainly works on first person shooters like Brothers in Arms are producing a new Samba De Amigo, it's because they begged Sega to do it for the love of the original game and the potential to finally be more than just a hardly known expensive game. Now that I've had the game for a couple days and have given it a good going over, how does it compare to the Dreamcast releases?

Well it's certainly not just a straight port. Gearbox hacve reworked the game from the ground up. It's all familiar but at the same time completely different. The graphics have been given a major overhaul and the presentation is far more expansive. Mind you, this should be expected when the game is a whole eight years apart from the Dreamcast one. Either way you can tell they loved what they were doing as the presentation is stunning and does the classic justice. No slapped together rubbish here. They've even included stages where you dance alongside Sonic in Green Hill Zone and Ulala from Space Channel 5, which is a lovely bit of fan service.

They've added quite a bit of new content too. There is at least 20 new songs on top of what was already available before, and every mini game from the first version and version 2000 are intact along with a couple more new ones. They even have downloadable content on the way with song packs of three for 500 Wii points (about £3/$5). So far the only songs that seem to be missing from what I can tell are all the Sega music that you could download 9for free) in the DC one, and a song called S.O.S which I was stuck on in version 2000. Maybe they'll be downloadable in the near future.

So everything appears to be great so far, but there is one area to this remake where it doesn't quite match the original: the controls. While the Wii remote and the DC maracas are both motion controlled devices, they both work entirely differently, and so Gearbox has had to adjust how the game works to play it. While the DC game worked based on the height you were holding the maracas, the Wii can not currently do that, so instead the game relays on a hard-to-describe tilt positioning type system that sadly isn't quite as accurate or as responsive. You have to completely re-wire your brain to play this new version. At first I really struggled to nail certain poses and going from one height to another quickly but after a bit of tinkering with the input settings and playing through the training parts I figured them out, unlike these guys in this video below by game Reactor who are clearly doing it wrong.

Still, it's not as good, and can sometimes be frustrating at it takes a lot more thought and perfection than the DC one did. From what I've read on forums it seems to vary from person to person: some people have nailed it and are beating superhard, while others cannot get the hang of it at all. It's definitely not as intuitive as before. personally, I've just started working on hard mode but keep getting my arse kicked with D's and E's. The Dreamcast maracas were not perfect by any means (especially in superhard where it often couldn't keep up with you), but it seems the Wii version is a lot harder to get good at. Maybe if they had waited until the Motion Plus attachment comes out next year, we could have got a more accurate and enjoyable game. Oh well, if this one sells good enough we might get a sequel that uses it.

If you mainly play the game as a party game to play with mates though, it's perfectly fine. With the Wii version it's far easier to set up, and you don't need to blow tons of money to get a two player game started. Once you get used to it Easy and Normal are just as good as the DC version, it's only when you start to handle hard upwards it suffers from problems. With the Wii version you also don't get the problem of wires flying up and smacking you in the face as you can play it with two remotes if you want to (although one remote and a nunchuck works just as fine). As for the sensation of holding two bright red maracas: you can get plastic attachments that make it feel like the DC ones again. Many look a bit shit but this pair by Speedlink look the part, and Sega will be releasing their own official maracas in a months time (why not now I don't know.)

So while the new Wii release is worth a look, it's by no means perfect just yet, mainly because as much as Gearbox tried, the Wii remote's technology is currently not quite good enough to recreate what Sega already did all those years ago. Once again proves that they were ahead of their time. Hopefully Sega will do the right thing and give us an update using motion plus in the near future, but that will only happen if people buy this one.

The Import Lucky Dip No.1

I have a new rather daft hobby when it comes to buying Dreamcast games of the Japanese import sort. Every so often on Ebay i find a Store located in japan selling a bunch of games at a starting bid of 25p or even 1p. While some of the games do hit up some decent money, a bunch go unsold and unwanted. Because they're so cheap, I bid on a bunch of Dreamcast ones the other week and got all but one of them for the starting bid, and had them shipped on the cheapest way, which actually didn't take as long to ship as expected. From this batch I got 4 games for 25p, and one for £3, after the postage it came to about £14. One of the five was a Saturn game (Dead or Alive) but the rest were DC, which tend to go for less money in general. I call it "lucky" not because i don't know what I'm getting, but more often than not they're games I've never played before, but surely these games have gotta be worth a look for that cheap?

Pop N' Music

One of the earliest rhythm games by Benami (known best for Dance Dance Revolution) and one of four installments on the Dreamcast alone. Currently the series is up to it's 16th installment. Yikes! The 3rd and 4th ones on the DC require the 2nd game as they are appendix discs that add more music. This however is the very first game which is completely pointless if you own the 2nd one, which I don't. Still following me?

Anyway, the game consists of bashing 9 coloured buttons in sync to the little googly eyed things that fall down from the screen to a line. A special controller was built for the Dreamcast to make it identical to the arcade game with huge plastic buttons, but I'm not going out of my way to buy one of those unless i end up loving the game. So how does it play with the standard controller? Well the nine buttons get mapped to the shoulder buttons, all four buttons and every direction on the d-pad. I couldn't get the hang of any of the configuration at all but luckily it let you create your own, so what i did is match the colours on one side with the colours of the DC buttons and put the d-pad lot in the same places. There's also options to play the game in 7 and 5 button modes too to make things easier, which is nice.

This is my current custom set up. It kind of works..

I'm slowly getting the hang of it now with my custom set up and it's not that bad of a game once you gather your bearings. I actually prefer it over the DC DDR games which were dismal, with much catchier music (though still mind-numbly cheesy) and cute cartoon graphics. I might consider picking up the superior sequel at some point, but wherever or not I'm willing to invest in the special controller is still up in the air at the moment. Now if only it was playable with the maracas or dance mat..

Giant Gram Wrestling

I've never really like Wrestling games. They always feel like they're playing by themselves and you barely have much input in what's going on. I bought this on the basis that Sega made it and it features three Virtua Fighter characters (wolf, Jeffry and Kage) for some reason. That and of course because it was 25p.

I haven't played much of it but the graphics are quite good, better than any of the WWF games on the Dreamcast and it seems to play alright at first once I figured out how to punch, kick, and defend myself from throws. How I do anything else like tagging however i have no idea, and after a few easy rounds I get my arse kicked inside out by the CPU. Maybe I should read up on it, as it isn't a terrible game by any means.

Godzilla Generations

I pretty much knew this was going to be awful but I bought it anyway to see just how awful. It's was one of many disappointments in the Dreamcast's Japanese launch lineup, and I actually remember being wowed by the screenshots in Sega Saturn magazine when it was first showed off. The actual game however looks barely anything like those shots did: in fact it looks closer to a N64 game but with a few odd building blocks sitting on a flat surface. The game has you as your selected monster (you start with Godzilla or his robot twin at first but can unlock others like the shitty Hollywood Godzilla and his butt-ugly baby son) smashing as many buildings as you can in 12 minutes per stage while trying to not get killed by the tanks and jet fighters that zap away at you.

It's extremely slow to walk around and aiming your attacks like the laser breath is almost impossible. What's more the camera angle changes constantly, presumingly to make things more cinematic, except all this does is makes it very difficult to tell which way you're going or where the tiny enemies chipping away at you are. A lot of the time the camera is more interested in getting a close dramatic shot of your monster than it is letting you see where you're going. The best thing the game offers is in fact a gallery of Godzilla movie trailers, of which you can unlock about 15 of them. Not really worth it when you have to slug your way through the dull game to get them though. Time to whip out the VMUTool to unlock everything, me thinks!

A House of the Dead Zombies' reaction to Godzilla generations, this afternoon.


This was the most costly of the 4 games I got, as I had to outbid someone a couple times to get it which ended up at about £3. Mind you, the game is 4 discs so no complaints there. Now I knew I wanted to try this out anyway after Caleb's fantastic Rummage video on it, and I was hoping that it would have just Japanese subtitles and English voice acting (like Blue Stinger and the Resident Evil series) but unfortunately that wasn't the case, and everyone was talking in moon speak. Not a big problem, though, as all the menus are in English so I can get about easy.

I defiantly like what I've seen so far: the graphics are pretty darn impressive, up there even with Shenmue when it comes to the characters. The combat works nicely and I can see myself far more patience with this than a Resident Evil game what with the unlimited ammo etc. If I can pick myself up a copy of the American version I'd probably replace this with that, but for now this will do me nicely. If anything I love the front cover of the box: it's hard to tell in the photo but it's sort of semi-transparent like the Cosmic Smash one. Well worth it.

Look at the lovely case art!

One thing I've learned from buying from Japanese based Ebay stores is just how much more well looked after second hand games are over there compared to here. They even put each game in a resealable seal that makes the game look brand new, and none of the games I got were scratched at all. rarely do I find PAL Dreamcast games anymore that are in as good condition as this, the cases are usually always broken and the discs repeatedly sat on, and that's even if they have the right game in the case at all! I did get Aerowings 2 and Toy Commander last week for £3 the pair this weekend which were almost mint though, so i can't complain too much.

Just today I managed to grab another three games for a total of £8 (excluding whatever the potage will be) that I have never played before: Treasure Strike (which was £6 of that £8), some anime looking golf game and something called Pita Pies...which was only 1p. We'll see if these were small money well spent or not another day..

Extremely Angry Dreamcast Fan Hates Simon J and Wants Dreamcast 2. Plus More Dreamcast 2 Videos!

I was hesitant to do a post about this video. It has a ton of misspellings and sub-par editing. Plus the first part does drag on a bit.

Yet the honest feelings of disillusionment and disappointment with Sega really show through. I really don't think that Simon knew what the hell he was getting himself into when he made those remarks about "fanatics" who like the Dreamcast.

Here is some more. A shame really. A bit more editing and it might have fooled more people.

The new Sega "TeraDrive" Dreamcast 2.

I predict a ton of videos like this leading up to 9/9/09.

(I may even make some myself.)

I don't think that most of these people really think that there will be a Dreamcast 2. They are just having some fun.

DCJY Rummage: Rainbow Cotton

I promised I'd try to keep bringing you Rummage videos, and here we are with another new one. Now I have discovered a way to record footage of 60HZ games I will start doing videos of lesser known import titles like this one: Rainbow Cotton, a Japanese only release in which you fly about as a red-head witch hunting for candy with the aid of a bunch of busty fairies.

It's a game that could have been great but is sadly let down a bit but some control flaws. It also perfectly demonstrates how terrible I am at playing at it, as you only get to see three levels and I die a lot. Oh well! Speaking of imports, I today received Mobile Suit Gundam: Federation vs. Zeon DX and it is brilliant, another one of those hidden gems there is next to nothing about on this here Internet. Once I've played it more you'll hear more about it.

Play Value looks at the Dreamcast

Not too bad. I disagreed with some points they made. Others were acceptable.

Powerstone was a 2 player game though. It was Powerstone 2 that was 4 player.

In the end I STILL think it was the rampant price slashing during the Dreamcast launch that really screwed stuff up. $250 vs $199? The same amount of people would have bought the Dreamcast for $50 more.

Celebrate the Dreamcast's Birthday!

9 years old today.

Honestly, I did not get the Dreamcast on 9-9-99 but I remember the ads. I do remember playing Soul Calibur with some of my swim teammates during heavy training months. That was the first time I ever saw a Dreamcast and I was enthralled.

In fact I would go on to buy that very same Dreamcast system later on and it would be my very first console system.

The best thing about gaming with the Dreamcast is that I have yet to experience much of what the system has to offer.

Do to the fact that I started my console collection in college I have never had the time to beat many of my favorite Dreamcast games.

Games I have beaten include all of the Resident Evil games, Sword of the Berserk, D2 and many of the fighting games.

Some of the notable games I have not gotten through are House of the Dead 2 (got to the very end a number of times), PSO, Skies of Arcadia, Jet Grind Radio and EGG.

So even though Sega has no official plans to go back into the console business there are plenty of games that I have yet to fully experience.

However, it seems like some fans are looking forward to next year. 9/9/09? I might have to make a video about this.

Retronauts podcast: Dreamcast Special

1up's Retronauts 49th episode of their podcast is a 2 Hour epic focusing (mainly, from about 40 minutes in) on the Dreamcast. Tycho from penny Arcade makes a quest appearance and it's a much listen. Go download it here.