Ebayneezer Scrooge

What a freakin' amazing few weeks its been here at the Central Administration of Dreamcast-related Intelligence (that's CD-i, to the uninitiated. If anyone else has used this name in the past, then I assure you it is purely coincidental), aka: The Dreamcast Junkyard. Not only do we get to see the awesome Dream Tablet and SD Card Reader, but Caleb preaches to the unwashed masses by showcasing Powerstone 2, through VGA...on a 65,000 ft projection screen. On the moon. Truly brilliant. Unfortunately, I cannot boast about such activities. Infact - and even whilst writing this I shed an acidic, cheek-rotting tear - my love for the Dreamcast is now very often hidden from friends for the fear of scorn that I have received in the past. Like someone who has a sexual preference for eating freshly delivered shit directly from another man's arsehole, I keep my passion locked away in the deep caverns of my Hollow-like heart and only allow it to ejaculate forth when I point my web browser at a certain site:


So to cut a long (and incredibly dull, convoluted) story short - let me elaborate in the voice of Robert Downey Jr's character from Tropic Thunder: "I got new shit, motherfucker!" Not that you're a motherfucker, dear and sacred reader...erm...(door slams)

Before I continue however, I must stress that devouring excrement from the business end of another dude is certainly not something I partake in. On a regular basis.

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

I know what you're thinking. I also know that this can barely be described as a 'game,' but when I saw it for 99p, I had to have it. Based on the hideously drawn-out real life game show of the same name, WWTBAM features that slimy gimp Chris Tarrant barking questions at you. Get them right and you win...well, nothing actually. Except a screen telling you that you've won a virtual 32,000 quid. Or 64,000 quid if you haven't used all your lifelines by that point. This would be great if you could download your virtual winnings straight into your heavily overdrawn Barclays account, but alas you cannot.

About as exciting as it gets

The back of the box boasts that the game features over 1000 different questions, but they soon get repeated after a few plays. What you get with WWTBAM is basically one of those DVD games you play with your remote control. The presentation and music are very faithful to the actual show (the UK version, that is) so in that respect it can't really be faulted. Likewise, there are a few multi-player variations of the main game show that make it quite good to play with housemates over a few beverages of the alcoholic variety (just avoid the methylated spirits)...and that's it really. Like The Next Tetris, it kind of ticks all the right boxes and does everything it sets out to do (i.e. recreate the show), but ultimately the thing wears thin when familiar questions start to come around again. Still, not a bad game for 99p.

Gauntlet Legends

I've never actually seen this on sale - even in those halcyon days when Dreamcast pods graced the entrance to our favourite branch of Electronics Boutique, I never recall seeing an actual copy on a shelf. I did see the reviews, however and they were mainly favourable - so when this little beaut showed up last week, I had to have it at all costs. Luckily, bidding interest died out at the £4.00 mark, so I was lucky enough to secure it for my own evil machinations (erm...playtesting it). So, does it live up to the hype generated in my corrupted mind? Well, yes and no. Gauntlet Legends is a pseudo 3D update of the classic game series Gauntlet, and the only previous Gauntlet game I've ever played is one on the NES...and rose tinted specs aside, I thought it was a load of shit. You just wondered around maze-like top-down levels killing hundreds of baddies and collecting the odd item or power-up.

Fast forward a decade or two, and Gauntlet Legends is more or less in the same vein, only with polygonal characters and a Pandemonium-style rotating camera view. You get to play as one of a number of suitable mythical character classes (knights, wizards etc) who all boast their own strengths and weaknesses and must roam various themed stages beating the shit out of the swarms of ogres and monsters that pile out through little doorways. Destroy the doorways and the stream of nasties is cut off at the source, leaving you to continue on your quest of opening treasure troves, avoiding traps and finding keys. Each of the themed worlds (valleys, castles, caves etc) is accessed through a central hub world in the form of a Wizard's grotto, and you get the chance to purchase armour and weapon upgrades aswell as various magic potions that you can unleash on your foes for even quicker and more colourful deaths.

Gauntlet Legends is a pleasant enough way to while away a few hours, but it does get a bit repetitive after a while - you just do the same thing in every level: kill monsters, collect health, kill monsters, open door...ad nauseum. Graphically, it appears to be nowt more than a sharpened up N64 game - the character models are boxy and the animation is as basic as Amstrad CPC 464 programming language...but like I said, it's entertaining guff in short sharp bursts. The most interesting feature is probably the 4-player co-operative mode, but seeing as most of my friends would baulk at the idea of playing anything that isn't a 360 or PS3, I doubt I'll ever get the chance to experience it. Sigh.


Can you believe I paid £1.70 for this?! It normally sits aloof with the likes of Resident Evil 3 as a DC title that commands bids of £15 and above! Not that I'm complaining, you understand. So, Spider-Man then. In essence, it is no more than a port of the PSX title of the same name, but as a port from an inferior piece of technology it remains one of the shining examples of how porting should be handled. Initially, should you choose to look beyond the slightly shoddy FMV sequences (thaf for some reason feature shitter character models that the actual game engine), you'll discover that Spider-Man boasts some of the slickest presentation and menu screens seen on the DC. But it's the actual game that impressed me the most.

Taking the form of a 3D platformer-cum-beat 'em up, you (naturally) assume the roll of Peter Parker dressed in uber-camp lycra and must swing around the rooftops of New York twatting the shit out of henchmen (who for some reason seem to enjoy swaggering around atop skyscrapers without guardrails). Occasionally the action takes you inside said skyscrapers and involves you rescuing hostages, opening doors and acting all Spidey-like by climbing up walls, through vents and shooting ne'erdowells with your web and then roundhousing them. Nice.

I really liked the way Spidey mutters classic one-liners to himself ("my Spidey-sense is tingling!"), but the neatest thing about this particular PSX port has got to be the graphics. The character models (and Spidey in particular) are great - rather than be an angular mess with texture-mapped muscles, his arms, legs and even head are very smooth and rounded. Likewise with the enemies and even the locations themselves are clean and sharp. Lets not get too excited here - the outside sections are hardly Mirror's Edge, but it all looks and moves exactly as you'd like an interactive comic book to do so. Definitely one of the DC's finest platformers - easily up there with Soul Reaver in my humble opinion. Top stuff.

Donald Duck: Quack Attack

Another platformer in the vein of Crash Bandicoot, NebachadnezzaR covered the merits of this Disney produced romp here. I'm inclined to agree with most of his points, although I wasn't overly impressed with the graphics to be honest. Super Magnetic Neo it most certainly ain't. Still, can't complain for £1.50.

Now, Gagaman - hurry up with that 'Z' based Rummage video...the anticipation is killing me!

Oh, and Happy Easter to those who still give a toss.


The GagaMan(n) said...

One thing I found hilarious in Millionaire was the audience, or the complete lack of one. Also: you can never trust the phone a friend line, they either just go "ummmmm errrr durrrr" or "it's defiantly B" when it turns out to be D. Feckers!

Caleb said...

Come on.

It wasn't that big of a screen.

I liked the wall crawling mechanic in Spiderman and I need to to a full playthrough on that game one of these days.

Barry said...

Cool finds! I need to go on the hunt next paycheck. Nothing is more satisfying in the ebay world than placing a 99 cent bid (or .67 pounds) for some low tier DC game and then five days later you get the "you won" email.

Anonymous said...

It'd be a lot better to play with an emulator on a projector..The dreamcast is pretty low resolution. Unless the projector is low res too.

Benjamin said...

i really like the donald duck game is a platformer on rails...much like the old crash bandicoot games...so camera is never an issue.

i must admit i use god codes for spiderman my friend and i beat it in one sitting...that was a good day

Blair said...

Happy Easter to the DCJ!

The GagaMan(n) said...

Put a swear word into the password screen in Spiderman, and Spiderman will give the word a good slap.

arcane/j said...

The Gamestation store in the Metro Centre, Gateshead has loads of pre-owned copies of Gauntlet.

I remember that Donald Duck: Quack Attack was a main feature on the Official Dreamcast Magazine UK demo in one of the final issues. :(