, The Dreamcast Junkyard: April 2008

Forbidden Kingdom movie features the Dreamcast


There is a Dreamcast in the new movie "Forbidden Kingdom". Apparently there are a number of video game references in the movie.


"the best reference is also the most subtle. In the first five minutes of the movie, after Jason wakes up from his dream, you can see a Dreamcast on the left hand corner of the screen underneath his TV."


(Quote from Siliconera)




Jackie Chan, Jet Li and the Dreamcast?


Ticket Bought.

Nice Dreamcast Vid...

Says it all really... I like this dude (remember when he was bigging up MDK2?) Imagine you'd never heard of the Dreamcast. If I had this guy as my guide, I'd buy one. Then I'd get down on one knee and pledge my allegiance to him. I'd cater to his every whim and lay down my life for him.

Alright, maybe not his every whim, but most of them. All those except for the sexual ones.
OK, if I'm completely honest, maybe the odd one or two, but I'd definitely buy a Dreamcast.
But I would grow a moustache for him. (If he asked...) LOL! Enjoy...

Law56kers NXdoom Collection - Homebrew Collection

Do you like the Dreamcast?

Do you like Doom?

Do you wish there was a way you could play well over 100 modifications of Doom on your Dreamcast?

Well the future is now.



Law56kers has released a HUGE 2 disk collection of practically every Doom modification that will work on the Dreamcast with Nxdoom. All you need is the original Ultimate Doom and Doom 2 .wad files.

http://www.dcemu.co.uk/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=106657

So, if you happen to want to shoot some Nazis in Outerspace...




Or go insane with Doom cranked up with Doom 2 Extreme.





Or if you happen to feel like going nuts on some Nintendo characters...Nobody is gonna judge you...





This collection is pretty sweet for anyone who is a fan of Doom. I know I am going to have some fun just going through the lists and seeing what each of the mods looks like. Half Life Doom? Zombie Doom? Duke Nuken Doom? Star Wars Doom? Half the fun is just seeing what the insane Doom modders community have put together.

Big thanks to Law56kers for putting this collection together.

Help, Download, and Discussion Topic:
http://dcemulation.org/phpBB/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=96980&p=992988#p992988

Jet Set Radioooo!!!


Jet Set Radio, my very first game for the Dreamcast, and even after playing literally hundreds of them, I think it's still my favourite game for the system. It was just so awesome and unique for its time... Hell, it's still awesome and unique today! It represented Sega at its peak of quality and creativity, and like many other great Sega franchises it only had one sequel. You know, because unlike other companies (*cough*Nintendo*cough*), and with the exception of a certain blue hedgehog, Sega is not known for mercilessly milking its franchises to death... (how many different sports did Mario practised already?).


Unfortunately that sequel has been out of my reach for years, since, like many sequels original programmed for the Dreamcast, it ended up being released for the Xbox after Sega officially killed its little white box of awesome. But hey, that's why god invented retro compatibility! Today, thanks to my beloved Xbox 360, I'm finally able to play that hallowed title and man, isn't it fucking great!

The core of the game stays the same. You're still a kid in rollerblades trying to cover a city in graffiti, while avoiding corrupt police officers and clashing with other gangs. What changed is the way you do all this. In the original game you had missions. You enter a zone, have to cover it in graffiti within the given time limit, and you only leave after successfully completing your objective. Now that's all gone. Your garage is no longer just a menu, it's a fully 3D "mini-level" which serves as a hub to reach the city areas, and you can freely go in an out of those areas without any time limit or other constraints. You are free to enter an area, calmly explore it, paint a few tags, even save your game in special spots, and go out without any penalty. Some might argue that this takes away that thrill of being against the clock in the original, but for me this is just great because now you can play at your own rythm, with no stress.


The way the police acts is also different. In the original they would come after you painted a certain number of graffiti, chasing you mercilessly (which in later levels forces us to carefully select which graffiti to paint first, because it's really hard to paint larger ones with tanks behind your tail). Now they only appear at certain spots and when they do, you just have to knock them down and paint their backs for them to run away. Once again, for some people this means no chase=no fun. For me this means no fucking police trying to kill me while I'm busy painting walls, and that's good.

There is one change I don't like, though. In the original, in order to paint the medium and large graffiti you had to move the analog stick according to the directions shown on-screen, kind of simulating the movement of our character, waving its arms in the air while painting the walls. Now you just need to hold down the trigger and move along the area you want to paint, which honestly feels like an unnecessary change and it takes away some of the fun of doing the graffiti.


Graphics wise, the cell-shading of the original game was so freaking awesome that it would be impossible to do much better with the sequel. This is true, but still there are some nice improvements, like gorgeous lighting effects or way bigger areas. Sometimes it looks like they overdid it, though, with areas so full of NPC's the game actually slows down. About this I don't know if it's the game's fault, or it's just the 360 emulator (just because a Xbox game is playable on the 360 it doesn't mean that it'll run flawlessly), but still it's a little annoying. On the plus side of things, as the name implies this game is set after the events of the first one, so be prepared to meet redrawn models of your favourite characters and even some updated versions of well-known areas from the first game. Professor K looks a little too futuristic, though...



But JSR is not only known for great graphics and gameplay, it also had a freaking awesome soundtrack that, to this day, it's still my favourite licensed game soundtrack (the 2nd place belongs to Need for Speed: Underground, great soundtrack that one had...). Featuring a psychedelic mix of rock, hip-hop and techno, it fitted the game perfectly and was even enjoyable by itself. Well, I'm proud to say that JSRF's soundtrack is equally impressive! Once again it's a great mix of various genres, it fits the game perfectly and you'll get so hooked to it you'll immediately consider buying the cd to listen to it while away from the game.


(this review sucks, but at least you can watch more gameplay footage)

Overall, as expected this game is not as ground breaking as the first one, and it's not the perfect sequel either, but it's a really great game and it's well worth the title Jet Set Radio. Fans of the original game owe to themselves to try this one out, for even if this game represents the start of Sega's demise as a respected software-house, it still has some of that magic from the Dreamcast era, something hard to find these days, unfortunately. Also, knowing that so many Sega games are left without follow-ups, we have to be thankful for the mere fact that this one exists.

Some more Dreamcast goodness.

This should help get you out of the depression brought on by Gamestation's retro betrayal.

Not only do we have remakes on other systems to look forward to, (as Gagaman(n) just mentioned) we also have the hardware modding community hard at work making awesome Dreamcast stuff!

Look at what this person made!









And no your eyes do not deceive you! if you look carefully at the first video part of this contraption is running off a normal Dreamcast!!!! Only the controllers and AV connectors seem to be modified!

I was really considering making a Dreamcast cabinet before this... Now I know I gotta go for a custom Dual Screen!

Chin up, the Dreamcast continues to live on through other consoles!

After hearing that horrible rumour about Gamestation destroying most of their retro stock to make more room for modern games, you may need some cheering up, so here's my crack at it: while you won't be able to buy Dreamcast games in any UK chains anymore (excluding the odd second hand shop you may be lucky enough to live close to), Dreamcast games seem to keep invading the current generation of consoles.


Most recently we've had REZ HD and Ikaruga on Xbox Live Arcade, giving HD gamers the chance to play two of the greatest shooters the Dreamcast ever conceived, and news has been released that Namco plan to release the original Dreamcast Soul Calibur on Live Arcade in anticipation for the upcoming forth installment. Have they really made that many already? It only feels like yesterday that Soul Calibur was rocking my world. Oh wait, that because it was, because it's still arguably the best in the series, and playing it on a 32" TV with a VGA cable is still an absolute wonder to look at, despite not being in HD.

On just about every system most recently we were treated to Sega Superstar Tennis, a Virtua Tennis spin off that salutes Sega's history of great characters (and Shadow), particularly the Dreamcast era that gets a huge representation in it with the inclusion of characters and locations from Jet Set Radio, Space Channel 5, House of the Dead and Samba De Amigo.The game is great fun and already quite cheap to buy if you haven't already. The games developer Sumo Digital seems to know why we love Sega more than Sega itself.

Speaking of Samba De Amigo, the upcoming Wii version of the game was shown off at a recent Nintendo event, along with some wonderful looking screenshots (but sadly no footage yet) and impressions that were mostly positive (except some complaints from people who can't play the game properly). It is looking beautiful and gives you the option to play the game with two remotes instead of a remote and a nunchuck, the first game to even do this on the Wii so far. While there is nothing quite like shaking two big plastic maracas that rattle, this new game will finally give this much over looked classic a second chance and this time it has the potential to be BIG.

Even the handhelds are not safe from the Dreamcast invasion, with a DS sequel to a personal favorite of mine, Bangai-O, on it's way to the DS, and the PSP getting ports of Crazy Taxi and Power Stone.

These alongside Sega Bass Fishing, House of the Dead 2 + 3 Return, Trigger Heart Exelica on Xbox Live and the Milestone Shooting Collection (Chaos Field, Radilgy and Karous) on the Japanese Import Wii, show that the Dreamcast's amazing library of games is spreading across all formats even today, years after the console stopped production. Be happy in the knowledge that those that never played the Dreamcast are only just now catching up with it's greatness, and that we were years ahead of them. =)

Farenheit 451: Dark Days At Gamestation...


Ah! Gamestation. Once a hallowed Mecca for three of the five members of the DCJY team. For myself, Tomleecee and the Gagaman(n), Gamestation represented a high street store that until as recently as eight months ago, you could walk into and gaze upon a neat display of Dreamcast or Saturn games or secure yourself a classic Sega console and assorted peripherals . A high street store which seemed to recognise the value of Retro gaming and applaud those who still celebrated the might of systems past. It's where I purchased the vast majority of my Saturn and Dreamcast collections. Standout moments would be the purchase of Shenmue 2 for £25 when I knew nothing about it... All of the other games were £2.50... It's high price alone hinted that it might be something special. I was entranced by it for months after. It's where I also bought my rare copy of House Of The Dead for the Saturn, again for the high price of £25. Yet it proved to be an essential purchase...

Then came the takeover by the giant corporation that is 'Game' and all of a sudden, the Saturn and Dreamcast (plus all the other Retro consoles) games were swept aside. Cast randomly into bargain bins, the once proud products of times past now looked like a load of charity shop (thrift store) crap. Covers gone, cases cracked, discs and cartridges without their boxes, the whole thing was a sorry mess. But as Games TM magazine reports, the company has now gone a step further. I'll repeat the article for you, copied out and hand typed and see what you make of it...


(From Games TM magazine) "Gamestation Burns Retro Stock"

"Internet rumours this month suggest a shocking trend within the UK's second biggest retail chain. reports from consumers claimthat the over 200 strong chain has pulled most of it's retro games from the shelves and has destroyed all but a few select desirable titles.

Gamestation itself has not released an official statement at the time of writing, but an anonymous source within the company has confirmed the rumour to Games TM.

Several retro cartridges and CDs have apparently been removed from sale and destroyed. The bulk of these games are highly unlikely to sell - such as very old sports games- but there are also many under-the -radar classics that have been inadvertently been destroyed.

Our source tells isthat an official list exists that outlines exactly which games to preserve. These are mostly from recognisable franchises like Sonic The Hedgehog and Final Fantasy and will continue to be sold in Gamestation stores. There are, however, a number of less obvious, but nevertheless desirable games that are not accountable on the list. We've personally heard of two highly collectable Saturn games that are not intended such preservation, which would boil the blood of any retro enthusiastif they knew exactly which games they were.

The notion that a high street retailer as well respected as Gamestation might even think about destroying potentially games, especially those that have not been re-released or emulated, is as bad as burning books in our view. The company's supposed preservation list is a good idea, but it really needs to be as thorough as possible to avoid mistakenly eliminating lesser known titles from history. And we'd also like to know if the destroyed cartridges are being recycled or simply thrown away. Gamestation will hopefully make an official comment in the future and shed more light on these distressing allegations."

So there you have it. I think its a fucking outrage... Could Burning Rangers, now with a degree of bitter irony, be literally burning? There are some classic "older football" titles that I still play to this day. Why not give them to charity, or offer them as freebies to their loyal customers? The cunts...

What do you think?

My Dreamcast Collection...


How do! Lord knows it's been an absolute age since I've posted anything of note on the DCJY and I'm not about to buck that trend now. You'd be right in thinking that as a contributor, I'm about as much use as a chocolate fucking teapot. I did want to do a stellar review of Half Life, which I'm currently right in to, only to remember that our esteemed leader Tomleecee did it ages ago.

However, the chances of me actually playing and reviewing some games that haven't appeared here on the 'Yard, just got a little bit bigger, as for the first time ever, I've actually collected all my Dreamcast games up and put them (very anally) into alphebetical order. You can see them in the shitty picture attached to this post, but even with the latest CIA spying equipment, you'd be fucked if you tried to read the titles on their spines.

So be prepared for me to bore the arse off you with a long and pointless listof all the games I currently own for The Dreamcast. Actually, I say pointless, but it'll be good for insurance purposes if I ever get burgled again and will give me something to crack one off over when I fancy a ham shank...

Are you ready? Well here goes... (Oh, I'll throw in a few cover shots, to break up the monotony and to prevent your retinas imploding, every once in a while ...

PAL Releases:

Alone In The Dark
Bust A Move
Blue Stinger
Buzz Lightyear Of Star Command
Championship Surfer
Chicken Run,
Chu Chu Rocket
Confidential Mission
Crazy Taxi 1 & 2

Daytona USA
Dead Or Alive
Deadly Skies
Deep Fighter
Disney's Dinosaur
Dragon's Blood
Ducati World
Dynamite Cop
18 Wheeler
Ecco
Evil Dead: Hail To The King
F1 World Grand Prix
F335 Challenge; Passione Rossa
Fighting Force 2
Floigan Bros
Fur Fighters
GK: Giant Killers
Grand Theft Auto
Gunbird2
Half Life
Head Hunter
Hidden & Dangerous
House Of The Dead 2
Jeremy McGrath Supercross 2000
Jet Set Radio
Jo Jo's Bizarre Adventure
Kiss Psycho Circus
Kao The Kangaroo
Looney Toons Space Race
Marvel Vs. Capcom 2
MDK 2
Metropolis Street Racer
Mortal Kombat Gold
NBA Hoopz
NBA Showtime
Outtrigger
Pen Pen Tricelon
Phantasy Star Online
Planet Ring
Plasma Sword
Powerstone 1 & 2
Prince Of Persia: Arabian Nights
Quake III Arena
Rayman 2
Ready 2 Rumble Boxing
Resident Evil 2
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis

Resident Evil: Code Veronica
Re-Volt
Sega Bass Fishing
Sega GT
Sega World Wide Soccer 2ooo (Euro Edition)
Sega Rally 2
Shadowman
Shenmue
Shenmue2
Silent Scope
Skies Of Arcadia
Silver Zero
Snow Cross Championship Racing
Soul Calibur
Soul Fighter
South Park: Chef's Luv Shack
South Park Rally
Space Channel 5
Speed Devils
Spiderman
Star Wars Episode One: Jedi Power Battles
Star Wars Demolition
Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike (I had it after all Caleb!!!)
Stunt GP
Super Runabout
Sword Of The Beserk: Gut's Rage
Tee Off Golf
Tech Romancer
The Grinch
Timestalkers
Tokyo Highway Challenge
Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation
Tony Hawks Pro Skater 2
Toy Commander
Toy Racer
Trick Style
UEFA Dream Soccer
UEFA Striker
Ultimate Fighting Championship
Unreal Tornament
Urban Chaos
Vigilante 8: 2nd Offense
Virtua Athlete 2K
Virtua Fighter 3Tb
Virtua Striker 2
Virtua Tennis 1 & 2
Vanishing Point
V Rally 2
Wacky Races
Walt Disney World Magical Racing Quest
Wetrix
WWF Attitude
WWF Royal Rumble
Who Wants To Be A Millionaire
Wild Metal
Imports:


D2
Death Crimson OX
Godzilla
Ill Bleed
Last Hope
PRO YAKYU TEAM DE ASOBU SERIES
Samba De Amigo
Seaman
Sega Marine Fishing
Sega Smash Pack
Typing Of The Dead
Zombie Revenge
Plus a variety of homebrew, emulators and CDRs (including Propeller Arena Ikaruga, REZ and Rival Schools...)


So there you have it! Are you sleeping yet? Before you tell me, I know, there's a ton of shite games in there, but my Dreamcast collecting was something of an obsession in the glory days of Gamestation...

Now many of these games have never been played so if there's something you'd like me to play or review let me know.... On the other hand I've dipped into quite a few, so if you've ever wondered about any of them, I might be able to tell you if there of any merit!
Hopefully I'll get to play a few hidden gems - point me in the direction of anything thats there that you've loved! Cheers!


More shmupping action on the way...

Tired of every new Dreamcast release being a shmup? Well, I got to admit, it gets a little annoying sometimes, but as long as there are new projects for our console that's a good thing, I guess. To cut to the point, all this talk is because I've just discovered a new shmup being developed for the Dreamcast by the same guys that brought us Last Hope. Remember Last Hope? Neo-Geo quality graphics? Hard as hell? Well, this one is also going to be a horizontal shmup (I prefer vertical ones myself), and it's probably going to be as hard, since the guy admits that it's going to be a "memorizing shooter" (that means, forget reflexes, you need to know exactly where the next enemies will come from or you won't survive), but this time around this is going to be a Dreamcast game and not a Neo-Geo port, and the graphics really show that. Just see for yourself:

Nice, huh? According to the developer (I think this is not really a project by NG:DEV.TEAM, but a side-project from some of its members) DUX will be released as soon as June/July with a price of about 20 euros.

Zero Gunner 2

While I'm preparing my first DCJY-exclusive write-up, Father K suggested that I could repost stuff I had written for my personal blog, the badly titled NebachadnezzaR's Place of Awesomeness, which is a rather great idea since here my posts will have a much broader audience. So, what follows is a copypasta of my ramblings regarding Zero Gunner 2, exactly like you can read on my blog (no changes made). Enjoy:

"After the blast I had while playing Zero Gunner, I couldn't wait to try out its sequel, now on a real console instead of an emulator, so I popped the game in, turned on the Dreamcast, and...well, I liked some things but there's also some stuff that I really hate, so in the end I guess I have mixed feelings about this one.

To start with the good things, this game is beautiful. Really. Sometimes I end up forgetting just how powerful the Dreamcast is, and when I see it in action it blows me away. The textures are very detailed, the models have a great design to them, in that arcade fashion that only the Dreamcast seems to show, and the stages are really unique and impressive.

The gameplay is also very enjoyable for the most part, but the rotation system just fucks it all up. Unlike in the original ZG, where you would first lock onto an enemy and then rotate around him, here there's no lock-on system and you freely rotate your choopper. So far, so good. The problem is in the way this is done. To rotate you have to hold a button (thus stop firing) and then use the d-pad to rotate your ship. Now imagine doing this when all hell is broking loose around you! It's confusing, unintuitive and worse, it will most certainly make you loose lives, because you'll get so disoriented you'll loose any sense of direction and invariably run into enemy fire.



Unfortunately this is necessary, since enemies (and sometimes bosses) come from all directions, and sometimes the screen moves sideways or down instead of up. Shit... To make things worse, although this game offers many difficulty options, even the easiest setting is hard as hell. After two unsuccessful tries where I would always end up running out of credits in the last level, I thought "fuck it" and resorted to my life-saver, the Code Breaker cheat disc. With unlimited lives I eventually was able to beat the fucking game, but I immediately put it back in the shelter, since there's no extra modes to keep you busy, only a replay mode where you watch a previously saved game.

I may seem angry at this game for being so hard, but that's not the case. Hey, Under Defeat it fucking hard, I was never able to beat it, and I still love it. My problem with Zero Gunner 2 is that it's not only hard due to unforgiving enemies, but also due to a fucking control scheme that makes no sense! You don't loose because you suck, you loose because the control scheme to rotate the damn chopper is insanely unintuitive and impractical, and that's basically my major complaint about this game. Of course you can eventually get the hang of it you practice enough, but I doubt it's worth it when the Dreamcast as such an awesome library of shooters.

I would still recommend it to shmup fans, but be prepared for a challenge."

PS - As a bonus here's a picture of my (somewhat) customized Dreamcast. The picture is a little old, and right now the console looks a little different (I won't say exactly what I did to it because you would call me crazy...), so maybe I'll take another photo sometime, if you guys are interested of course.

Welcome Nebachadnezzar!



Lord knows that this site has benefitted from the contribuitions from Caleb, and now I'm inviting the awesome Nebachadnezzar to sew his Dreamcast seed all over the 'Junkyard. (ooer!)

Welcome Nebacha! May we bask in the glory of your Dreamcast knowledge! Oh and BTW, enjoy the video! I'm not sure it's been here before...

Lost Bleemcast video (and more!)

I was sorting through all my Dreamcast videos sitting on my harddrive (some of them take up a lot of space you know), I found a piece of Bleem footage that I had forgot to upload to the youtube account, so here it is: Time Crisis Project Titan running (poorly) on the infamous emulator. You can't use the light gun, the music doesn't play and it crashes after the first area of the first stage...but it's quite amusing to watch just for the skipping voices.



So this post doesn't look quite so meek, here is a collection of some of the best Dreamcast related videos I could find recently.

A Space Channel 5 live dance show at E3 2000. Not just another excuse for seeing a girl dressed up in Ulala gear, honest. Sega's set up at E3 2000 was simply magical, wasn't it?

A Saturn and a Dreamcast slagging each other off. Like that ancient Dreamcast Vs PS2 one, sort of.

A early tech demo that teases us with Scud Race models. Why did we never get a port of that game?

Hot naked Dreamcast porn. Actually, it's a video tutorial on calibrating your GD-Rom drive.

Dreamcast Hip-Hop from 'The Big Cheese' Sure beats that song Mega64 did, even if he is singing in in his kitchen.

A run through the "What's Shenmue?" demo. With narration that points out the subtle differences. Worth watching just for the cameo by Sega executive Hidekazu Yukawa.

Mario Kart 64 (just about) running on the Dreamcast. These emulators are just getting more ambitious, aren't they?

A expansive guide to getting good at Street Fighter 3rd Strike. Brilliantly edited with clips of Shenmue.

Gamma Powered!

Back in May last year, I introduced a website called 'Unseen 64,' a cool little place where they post pictures and gameplay details of games that either never saw the light of day, or were changed radically before being released. For some reason hidden deep within the cavernous emptiness of my pre-fabricated heart, details of beta versions and unreleased games captivate me with some kind of morbid fascination, and as such I often check the hallowed pages of Unseen 64 to see if they've added any new Dreamcast screens. And guess what?

They have:

World's Scariest Police Chases: Deadly Pursuit
Played the PSX version to death with my flatmates when I was at University, and it was a pretty decent craic. Especially after several litres of Lidl cider and a couple of tokes on the bong. The unreleased DC version looks like it could've kicked it's ass though - the graphics are way better:



Thunderboats
Thunderboats appears to be an arcade style speedboat racer very much in the vein of Hydro Thunder. Indeed, if you view the promo video, I'm almost certain you can hear the 'engine power down' sound effect used in Midway's blistering racer...



Galleon
Eventually released on the Xbox, Galleon was intended for an earlier Dreamcast launch and in it's original form probably would have garnered the recognition it deserved. As it is, it's just an also-ran Xbox game clogging up bargain bins around the country:



PBA Bowling 2001
Bowling. The real life game, for me, is just a tiresome way of interrupting a good drinking session so why anyone would want to actually play a computerised version is beyond me. Maybe the developers had the same thoughts and duly pulled the plug on PBA Bowling. Grapics look alright though...



Picassio
Picassio is one of the most enigmatic and simultaneously interesting games that was promised but never arrived on the Dreamcast. You were meant to play a sort of lycra-clad cat burglar who broke into museums and stately homes etc to pinch priceless works of art. A bit like Hudson Hawk, only good. Here's a (slightly grainy) video taken from Unseen 64's YouTube page:

Capconmen

Capcom – undoubtedly one of the Dreamcast’s staunchest allies – brought some superb games to the swirl-shaped table. You only have to look at stuff like the Marvel Vs Capcom fighters, Resident Evil Code Veronica and Power Stone to see that when it came to the DC, they had their fingers on the pulse. It is for this reason alone that I decry Capcom releases like Dino Crisis. Why? Three little words for ya: Shitty PlayStation Port.

Look at Code Veronica. Look at it! It’s frigging awesome! The graphics are some of the best on the Dreamcast, so why does Dino Crisis look like it was dragged backwards through a hedge before being thrown up on and then shat on by Brian Blessed? I’m getting ahead of myself here, but come on people! The DC is capable of so much more and Capcom should be shown up as the money-grabbing twats they are for releasing such a shoddy looking cash-in on our favourite defunct console.

But before I really start laying in to Dino Crisis, let’s view the whole picture.

Dino Crisis was originally a PlayStation game very much in the vein of Resident Evil – you know the sketch: fixed camera angles, badly animated characters, appalling voice acting and laughable cut scenes. These things are all present and correct in Dino Crisis, but where Resi had shambling zombies and stuff, Dino Crisis has been out and employed a gang of immigrant dinosaurs. Possibly for below minimum wage, judging by the game’s production budget. And that’s about as complex an explanation I can give: it’s Resident Evil with dinosaurs. You play as a sassy female member of a sort of rescue team (hmmm…S.T.A.R.S, anyone?) dispatched to a remote island to investigate the disappearance of an undercover agent who has vanished whilst trying to infiltrate a dodgy laboratory. Once there (and after the team gets – surprise! – split up), you get to explore the deserted facility, find keys, open doors (by using the most contrived key/code set up I’ve ever encountered in a game, I hasten to add), stumble across half dead lab workers who hand you vital items before kicking the bucket, and shoot/run away from various time displaced dinosaurs.


The old Resident Evil-style loading screens also make an appearance, but you get the added bonus of being able to see your character now, instead of being a disembodied head clunking up the stairs.

Quite why Capcom decided to release Dino Crisis on the Dreamcast is something of a mystery to me. From the outset you can tell it’s a direct port from an inferior platform with virtually no attempt at making use of any of the extra system resources available. The options screens are bargain basement, the music and sound effects akin to what you would expect from a Megadrive game and the graphics…well, lets have a looky…

The game is viewed from a third person perspective, but the locations switch from fully rendered 3D to 2D pre-renders depending on where you are. For example, in some rooms the camera will follow you as you wonder about, ducking under pipes and around corners; whilst in other rooms it just stays static because the background just appears to be nothing more than a low-res drawing. I may be wrong here (as I usually am in these matters – as I’m sure some smug cunt will gladly tell me via the comments thingy), but that’s just how it looks to me. The characters themselves are bereft of any real detail and are generally quite angular – nowhere near the standard of Code Veronica or even Blue Stinger’s protagonists. Pick-ups take the form of rotating floating boxes no matter what they are, so health, ammo etc all look the same until you acquire them and can see what you’ve got in the ‘items’ subscreen. It’s a bit like Deal or No Deal but without the Lovecraftian horror of Noel Edmonds’ goatee and strange tattoos. The map too is very antiquated – you just get a basic line drawing of the floor plan of the facility and whichever room you’re in glows blue whilst your destination glows red. Your character (who goes by the improbable name of Regina) isn’t actually shown on the map though, so it can get confusing and annoying when you’re trying to work out which door you’re meant to open to get to where you’re going. Especially when two of the three exits have raptors lurking behind them and your health and ammo are both minimal.

Look! A floating, rotating box! Wonder what's inside...

One of the remedial class puzzles. Put the fuses in the right order and press the button. Krypton Factor it ain't.

The dinosaurs don’t actually look too shabby – they move quite well but they’re just as dense as the zombies were in Resi so you can just run past them if you can’t be arsed standing there popping caps into their leathery green asses. To be honest, running past them is probably the best course of action in most cases considering the relative scarcity of ammunition and pathetic stopping power of the weapons at your disposal.

There are a few nice ideas in Dino Crisis – such as the branching storyline, the way you drip blood after being attacked and the way dinosaurs can follow you through doors so you can’t just keep being a cowardly be-atch by running away.

On the plus side, Regina's quite fit. Wonder if she's a natural red head.

However, as you’ve no doubt gathered, I’m not Dino Crisis’s biggest fan. On the 32-bit consoles it’s probably par for the course, but not on a console that has stuff like Shunmue, Nomad Soul, Code Veronica, Headhunter or even Carrier knocking about. If you want a decent adventure game, go and seek out one of those badboys. If you want a by the numbers Resident Evil clone with a shit, cliché-ridden story, poo graphics (it’s even got that weird texture-warping thing going on that most PSX games have), and acting straight out of the Barry Burton Academy of Drama and Dance then by all means have a crack at Dino Crisis.

40%

Verdict: More Barney the Dinosaur than Jurassic Park.

In the next gripping installment? Why it’s a double header! F1 Racing Championship and Spec Ops: Omega Squad. I can almost feel the testosterone welling up inside me. Fast cars AND guns? Lock and load, people – Lock and Load.

The Lost Golem is a Lost Gem

Now here's a game you most likely won't have heard of. I was going to include this as part of 'Japanese Import Oddness Part Two' (read the first one here) which i will be writing in the near future, but this game really deserves an article of it's own. I have actually owned this game since November, but have only really got around to playing it recently.

I first heard of this game while browsing through Segagaga Domain's Dreamcast write ups. Always a great place to get info on Japanese Sega releases, that. Described as a simple but clever puzzle game, I was intrigued as I do love me a good puzzle game.

So I tried to serach for more info, and came back with nothing. That was until I tried seraching for it by it's Japanese title Golem No Maigo, which gave me two excellent articles about the game by a Jeff M at his blog gogamego. The first claimed it to be "The Dreamcast's Best and Rarest Puzzler" with only around 500 copies sold, that gave a good description of the game play and features.

This was later followed by an interview with the games' developer who revealed that he was a student while producing the game, did a large lump of the work himself, and that the studio who put this out CaramelPot (who's logo looks like the Dreamcast logo stretched out) only ever made this one game before closing.

Now I just had to see this for myself. I was expecting when a copy did eventually show up it would cost a bomb like other rare games like Lack of Love, but it popped up on an Ebay shop for no more than £10, so I bought it.

Graphics wise the characters are very blocky crude models, much like those seen in Sengoku Turb, only in this case we're talking about a small team of student programmers and not the company that produced the Dreamcast's graphics chip. It makes up for the lack of any technical prowess with a very charming art style, including a beautiful colour scheme and characters you will find yourself warming up to, despite how simplistic they are. Even the instruction manual is full of cute child-like drawings of the characters. This charm comes across in the story as well, which I found a translation of at Gamefaqs...

"A Golem got his existence from sorcery conjuring the rocks and soil. The
masters of magic has come to an agreement that there would be only one of
them, nothing more. There were two peaceful countries, Pipiria and Mabel.
The kingdom of Pipiria was composed almost entirely by plains, with some
forests at the northern tip of the land. The magic sorcerers lived in that
forest during the peace time. Mabel, south of Pipiria, had an enormous lake.
On the lake, there was a wizard composing wizardry for Mabel, up on a tall
tower. One day, Pipiria was attacked by goblins and the people of Pipiria
lived in uncertainty and fear every day ever since."

The game manual also suggests that if you are the emotional type, you should get a handkerchief while playing the game. I haven't played enough of the game to see why this is yet and such emotional scenes might end up being lost to those who can't read Japanese, but with the exception of the text in the cut scenes this game can be easily played without any knowledge once you know what menu is what.

So what do you do in this game then? Well, you play as the rock golem with it's big square body and beedy little eyes, who has to guide a king who seems to be lost and has no sense of direction. In each stage you have to guide him from one door to another using walls you can push around to change his direction. You see, much like the Lemmings series of games, every time the king comes across a wall he will turn in the next possible direction, either left or right, and he will do this no matter what. Even if he is about to walk straight towards a hole.

But getting the king into the exit is not all. You also have to make sure all the walls on the stage are linked to the red wall when the level is over, so the Golem can knock them all over in one push. This is where things can get complicated as you need to adjust the walls to move the king towards the goal and link them all together once he is heading in the right path.

There are many stage elements that will complicate matters more such as pole that will make walla rotate 90 degrees, and various types of enemies that will break down walls, get in the kings way or even attempt to kill him. half of the fun comes from seeing just how many ways the king can be bumped off. If a level is driving you mad you can push a wall into him, knocking him off the stage and landing on his fat arse.

There are about 100 or so levels in total with cut scenes inbetween every 10 or so of them. Once you have conqured all of those however the game is not over. Considering what a low budget, small staffed game this was, Caramelpot sure did utilize a lot of the Dreamcast's features. There's also a two player battle mode (which I have yet to try out) but the real life expansion for this game is the stage creator, which gives you free realm to produce a level using any of the games elements and save it to your VMU, as many as you like as far as I can tell. What's more, there is a link to caramelpot's website on the disc where you could download new stages and upload your own for others to play. It's a shame the website has long since vanished as i would have loved to try out some of the user created stages.


A note must also be made for their use of the VMU screen while playing. While it has no real purpose in-game, the animations displayed throughout the game are a nice touch, with a close up of the king's face in which ever direction he is facing, as well as death and victory animations amongst other things.

So if you ever manage to come across this rare but cheap game and like a good puzzle game that will get your brain going, I would defiantly recommended this, so long as you can get over the basic visuals.