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..


Caleb said...


I have heard all sorts of good things about wrestling games on the Dreamcast. Maybe you have to be a fan of those sorts of games?

D2 would be sort of hard to play without knowing what was being said.

If I remember correctly some of the puzzles require reading things.

In any case if you want to get rid of that japanese Saturn game I will take it off your hands.

fatherkrishna said...

Where oh where do you get these bargains dear Gagaman(n). I just paid £23 for Death Crimson 2 from Play asia...DOH!

Sonny Boy said...

Gagaman(n) please tell me what the (n) stands for. I always find myself wondering if it stands for: noun.

Please put me out of my misery and tell me if that's right.

Good post by the way, superb bargains!

The GagaMan(n) said...

Caleb: I'm working on building up a small Japanese Saturn collection, so no. =P

Krishna: I hunt about ebay more often than is probably healthy.

Sonny boy: It's an extra, optional N with no meaning whatsoever. Simply put, if I sign up to a website and "gagaman" is already taken I add the extra N. The last resort is "tehgagamann".

One last note: my next article will most likely be a comparison between the Dreamcast and Wii versions of Samba De Amigo, which is currently in the post.

NebachadnezzaR said...

Top post, gagaman, got to try some of those games.

Caleb, I have WWF Royal Rumble and indeed it's not bad at all, but you have to like the genre. Also, wrestling games are usually a lot more fun in multiplayer.

Tomleecee said...

Possibly quite a daft question, but do you need some kind of boot disk in order to play imported games? or do you just use an NTSC dreamcast to play them on? I only ask because your adventures in Jap gaming has intrigued me and I'm thinking of getting in on the action myself...

The GagaMan(n) said...

I use one of those cheats collection demo's from the unofficial Dreamcast magazines, it boots the games up perfectly. You can also use it on some games to bypass the "not compatible with VGA" screen. The Action replay CDX demos can run imports too, although that one doesn't seem to be compatible with everything.

Ross said...

I actually have the original enhanced version of DOA on the Xbox. Never played this one!

Caleb said...

You can also use a Utopia bootdisk to boot up different region games.

Meringues said...

D2 is a great game, I also played it first time in Japanese, the US version only has a minor change near the start but it does feature a full English translation in both text and speech.

BTW, there are 3 special limited edition releases of the Japanese version of D2, the one you have (Bliss), Eclipse and Hope, plus the standard release, worth adding to the collection ;)

The GagaMan(n) said...

Oh god, I have a huge pile of sealed Japanese games coming from Hong Kong, including Rent a Hero, Tokyo Bus Guide, Sakura Wars 3, Cool Cool Toon amongst other things, all for £3 each. Hopefully the combined postage isn't too much.