, The Dreamcast Junkyard: June 2009

Goodbye Space Michael..



Here's the mission where he appeared in full (from the English PS2 version). take note Micheal phoned up Sega personally because he wanted to be be in the game. That's just how awesome he was!



As you may remember from my 'Common Themes in Dreamcast land' Article, MJ was also playable in Midway's Ready 2 Rumble 2! Here's the first part of a complete play-though of the game with the king of pop!



R.I.P, MJ. I also have an article about his contributions to Sega over at Sega Memories.

Ay up, it's that bloody Shenmue again!

It would seem that truth is stranger than fiction, and indeed, a good deal funnier too! You might remember that, a little while ago, in the comments section of our esteemed epistle, many chuckles were to be had at the idea of an alternative Shenmue universe. One in which our own Ryo Hazuki was a cloth cap and clogs wearing, twelve pints a night drinking, lard butty munching, whippet breeding tinker, such as you'd find in areas of Manchester, such as Gorton, Wythenshawe and Beswick.

Well if you let out a guffaw or two at the thought of this, then imagine no longer... For I have just been sent, by a shady underworld figure known only as Brrythnmd, an email of a video, of this most startling and revelatory delving into the mind of AM2 genius and Shenmue creator, Yu Suzuki... The British Shenmue!!!!

InsideOut Video of Dux



Dux arrived in the post last Friday, so here's a video of what you get with the regular edition and a quick spot of gameplay, which is conveniently cut to not show how many times I blew up on my first go. I also also set it to an option that turns the background off without realizing that's what it meant by 'Perfect' so er...yeah.

Jenson Buffoons

How do. I've been at Silverstone this weekend watching loud cars drive about for a 'Grand Pree' or something. Wasn't overly exciting, but I didn't have to pay for the experience (hehe!) so I'm not complaining. I did, however, spend a lot of the time baulking at the price of the food on sale at the event - one fuckwit had the cheek to try and charge me £7.50 for a cheeseburger that looked like it'd just been sat on by a certain Dr Banner, post anger-inducing incident. You'll be happy to hear that no exchange of currency took place, although a swift flash of the V sign did. On the bright side though, I happened to spot a bit of (slightly) DC related guff:


That's right folks, there was an 8-player Ferrari F355 Challenge trailer round the back of the Stowe corner grandstands...and people where actually queuing up for a go! If only the blinkered cretins had the sense to spend £20 on a Dreamcast and another couple of quid on a copy of F355, rather than £30 on a ridiculous Jenson Button baseball cap (that was no doubt made in Taiwan by a 6-year-old for about 14 pence), THEY'D NEVER HAVE TO QUEUE AGAIN!

Unless, of course, they were queuing for something other than a go on an F355 arcade machine...erm...

Back to the scene

My Dreamcast hates me. And the worst part is, she's (yes, you all know I call me Dreamcast a "she") right! I've been neglecting her, only playing with my many other consoles (except for the N64, that one's sitting quietly in a dark corner). Maybe that's why the laser slowly began to fade away... But now it's back! I really have no idea what's going on, maybe it just needed to rest for a bit, but, anyway, what matters is that I've been playing the hell out of that thing lately, with 3 particular games, 2 I already had, neglected in the shelf, and a new one. Let's break it down:

Le Mans 24 Hours


Amazing game. The only reason I didn't play it much when I got it was because at the time I was more into arcade stuff. Now that I'm seriously in the simulator business this game is a godsend in the Dreamcast's library. The gameplay's just...right, you know? The cars respond to every move you make, with fully analog control that lets you turn or accelerate exactly how much you want, depending on the pressure you apply to the analog pad or the triggers, and it just feels good, driving those hi-powered machines in a variety of different tracks. The graphics are pretty damn awesome, and, of course, it gives you the option to race the whole Le Mans challenge, in 24 hours real-time!



Radilgy/Radirgy/What-the-fuck-you-want-to-call-it


Personally I like to call it Radilgy, as in Radio Allergy. Because that's what the game is all about, your character having a radio-wave allergy, and her father's being kidnapped, and you taking control of a flying robot shooting wave after wave of enemies... Pretty generic shmup storyline, you see. As I stated sometime ago in a comment to a Martin's post, I had it, though, as what happened to Le Mans, at the time I got it just for collection's sake, not exactly to play it. Well, now things are different. In the past months I've became a huge shmup fan, so I inevitably had to play this. Here's what I think.

The graphics are awesome, pure cell-shaded, bright colours, delicious animations goodness! The gameplay is tight, the controls respond well and the game's not impossibly difficult (although it's far from easy). There's the regular shot, a special move identical to the bombs in other games but which is used primarily to render you invulnerable for a period of time and a close-range sword attack, powerful but dangerous to perform since you're right next to the enemies, making it difficult to dodge incoming fire.



I only have two major gripes with the game. First, you can't use the analog pad. This is just stupid. If the damn thing is the closest you have to an arcade stick, why the fuck shouldn't they allow you to use it? The d-pad's fine, but it just isn't the same... Second, the main shot is weak as fuck. Even when you power it all up certain enemy ships take about half a minute to blow up, which leaves you felling like you have a peashooter on your hands.

Other than that, great shmup, specially considering the rather weak competition when it comes to the Dreamcast (face it, it wasn't a particularly great machine for shmup fans...).

Wind & Water: Puzzle Battles


Finally! I thought I would never get my hands on this game! (now I only have to get that Dux...) Played just a little bit yesterday, not enough to pass judgement, but I can already tell you two things. First, the gameplay is rather unique, so be prepared to suck at it at first. The game features a nice tutorial, explaining everything in detail, but still, don't expect to master it right away. Second, this game was made with love. Seriously. The attention to detail, to make this game appealing to the player and has solid, complete and polished as a game can be is really astonishing. Also, the soundtrack's great.

Now, I've only really saw the tip of the iceberg, but I can already tell I'm going to love it. By the way, Gagaman and Father K, would you be so kind as to send me your custom character's codes? I'd love to play as both of you :P


(Gman's rummage vid)

Dux is shipping out!


If you put in a pre-order for the latest indie Dreamcast shooter DUX, it's should be winging it's way to you from today, and according to the DC-Scene forums some people in Germany already have it. If you're one of those few and can type English, post in the comments with your impressions!


HUCAST put out some rather tasty preview photos of the final pressed boxes, both the regular and special edition, in their pretty DVD cases that can sit along side your other late Dreamcast shmups like Under Defeat and karous, if you were lucky enough to get your hands on those of course. Personally I have both editions ordered (the L.E with Play-Asia, so hopefully they don't let me down!) and they'll be sitting rather nidely besides Cosmic Smash and Segagaga, and also Last Hope Pink Bullets when it makes it way into the post.

Supermassive Black Pad

Look here, you contemptible buffoons (no offence intended). Back in the day, I was one of the three people in the UK who owned an Atari Jaguar. I'm sure there were many more in the US, but my predictions are based on hope, rather than fact. This is irrelevant though, since whilst my European contemporaries were kicking ass on Streets of Rage 3 or indulging in the superlative brilliance of Super Mario World, I was trying to convince myself that I'd embraced the future by enduring the 'delights' of...erm...Club Drive, Trevor McFur in the Crescent Galaxy and Cybermorph (pictured, yesterday). Cough.


I'd like to say they were fond memories, but I'd be lying through my gargantuan ass. That's because the Jag was the very zenith of bilge. The reason I dredge this subject up like the decomposing carcass of a sheep that wandered too close to a canal edge, is that the Atari Jaguar will always be remembered for two things: A slew of sub-16 bit 'games,' and that fucking ma-husive joypad. For those that never sampled it's charms, here's a pic:

This is what a 64-bit Interactive Mulitmedia System joypad looks like


Yes, beloved reader, its the same shape and size as the crust from a loaf of thick-sliced Warburton's - and it features a bizarre telephonic pad in the middle that allows for 'quick & easy' access to camera angle changes and weapon selections (via an overlay that came with most games). To be blunt, it's the biggest joypad the Universe has ever known, has it's own postal code, and if you've got hands even slightly smaller than popular Bible baddy Goliath - you're pretty much fucked when it comes to using it. However - there is a new pretender to the Jaguar pad's throne. Ladies & Gentlemen, allow me to introduce the McLaren Dreamcast Pad!



Yep, it's a DC pad branded by the Formula 1 team McLaren. Yes - a pad. Not, bizarrely, a steering wheel, but 10/10 for effort guys. What you can't tell from the above picture though is the sheer scale of the thing. It's bigger than E. Honda's packed lunch - and in order to truly appreciate the colossal proportions of it, here's a comparison shot with the regular DC, PS2 and 360 pads:



Look at the 360 pad...scale is not exagerrated.

So, we've established that it's big. Really big...but how does it stand up to the official pad? Surprisingly well actually. Unlike most third-party pads, the McLaren one is very sturdy (not a great shock given it's size) and the analogue triggers are very responsive in driving games (again, not a great shock considering who made the thing). The one component of third-party pads that usually strikes fear into the heart is the analogue stick, but again the McLaren's is very robust and super-accurate. Strange, considering that it is actually a 'stick' protruding from the pad as opposed to the 'ball' that the official controller has.

Look here, Squire:


It's a stick and not a ball. How rude.

Perhaps the most interesting feature of the McLaren pad though is the 'double rumble' one that's emblazoned on the box. Upon closer inspection (and finding that the rumble pack offers the same amount of feedback as when it's used with a regular pad), it appears that this 'double rumble' feature is only activated when the pad is used with 'compatible software.' Quite what this compatible software is though, I have no idea. And what the fuck is double rumble anyway? I'm assuming that there are extra vibration motors built into the pad (that'd explain the size), but I can't confirm this theory as I don't have a screwdriver that fits into the holes on the underside of the goddamned thing. Bah. I do have an assortment of hammers, bricks and crude cutting instruments but I tend to just use them when I need to smash open a coconut and devour the soft flesh contained within. Mmmm. Flesh...

But I digress. The McLaren pad is a worthy addition to the 'Yard even if it does require a flatbed lorry to transport, and is possibly the best 3rd party DC pad I've ever used. Smoke that, Madcatz.

Incidentally, I'm working at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone at the weekend. Might take my pad and get Lewis Hamilton to sign it. On second thoughts, he may not appreciate someone shoving a massive Dreamcast pad under his nose whilst foaming at the mouth and screaming.

Good news Everyone! Two Indy Projects Are Still in Development!

First off Dynamite Dreams is still in development!

Still fighting to be on the Dreamcast!

I checked their website about a month ago and there was no activity at all so I lost hope.

But it appears they are still gonna make the game! Nice!

ALSO

Elysian Shadows is still being worked on and still is slated to be on the Dreamcast!

There seemed to be a pretty big shake up in the team but it looks like this game could actually see the light of a dreamcast's laser one day.

Wonderful news. Two Dreamcast projects that I thought might be dead are ALIVE.

Truly the undead console is king (or queen according to Gagaman(n)).

ALL HAIL THE UNDEAD CONSOLE!

Pulled from DC EMU UK and DCEmulation.org.

Treamcast!

Sorry for not posting much of anything for such a long time guys, been quite busy as of late (see here if you're curious). Either way this post has been a long time waiting to be written as I actually got this a while back. I don't know if you remember me posting about anticipating something rather special in the post? Well this is what I sent off to a member of the Dreamcast Scene forums from Portugal..

...and here's what I got in return.

Yes, the guy who I did the trade with even went/goes by the name of Treamcaster online yet was looking to collect Dreamcast magazines and I just so happened to have a whole bunch of them from subscribing to it back in the day that were taking up a whole lot of room, so we did this rather neat trade! He even got on a webcam and showed me it working, which was awfully nice of him! I promised a Inside Out video of it and I still intend to do one when I've got time, but for now here's some photos.

For those not in the know the Treamcast is a Hong Kong unofficial system (but made with official parts inside, so it's not a clone like all those NES and mega Drive ones you see) that is quite a bit smaller than the Dreamcast, is chipped to play any region of game but best of all has a fold out 5" screen and a headphone socket. It even even comes bundled with a car adaptor so you could take it about on the go if you really wanted.

This is as far as i know the last of 3 models of this system made. The first was white and apparently didn't have that great of a screen, then it was released with a widescreen, which to be honest looked a little silly as it stuck out on the sides, and finally there was this black model with a better screen. It even has the normal TV connections so you can hook it up just like a normal Dreamcast too. Here it is running good ol' Marvel vs Capcom 2.

It's a fantastic piece of kit and while I seriously doubt Sega approved of it's existence (many a regular Dreamcast's must of been gutted to produce these) I'm sure it's probably quite the collectors piece too. There's something pretty neat about sitting sitting in bed with headphones on playing a bit of DC goodness in the middle of the night.

UPDATE: Because barry asked for it. I have no sunglasses, so feel free to photoshop some in. Stick them in a Miami beach setting while you're at it. UPDATE 2: Barry, you are brilliant.


Last Hope: Pink Bullets.

If you loved "Last Hope" but felt it was lacking in pink bullets then you are in luck...

http://www.lasthope.ngdevteam.com/

The team that first created Last Hope for the Dreamcast is going to release a self-published reprint very soon (in July maybe?).

The Pink Bullets edition is not just a remake but they are tweaking the game a bit.

Yes, the bullets will be pink.

Also
- Six credits and instant respawn during one credit
- Higher player ship speed from beginning
- Players ship does permanently equip the Rotary Protection Unit
- Five difficulty settings
- Overall less hard difficulty
- Altered stage color theme for higher Visibility

I noticed the Overall less hard difficulty part right away. That should quell some of the complainers that felt that the original game was just too hard.

So is this a big deal? Well for people who missed out on the first release YES. For people who already have the game? Ehh...maybe not. It's essentially the same game.

Will this effect the value of the original game? I really can't say at this time. Gamers are quite fickle when it comes to stuff like this. Sometimes the original release is made MORE valuable by a re-release. Sometimes the original will lose value. Sometimes people will just consider the two items separate entities and their values will not effect each other at all.

Personally I never had the chance to get the original release. I am preordering.

You can preorder at Hucast, Play Asia and the NG:Dev Team website.

Any questions?

Go here.

PS:

Sorry TL for bumping your post. I felt this was somewhat big news.

Blue/Orange Ring of Life

So, it finally happened to me. That thing that I've heard and read so much about finally came around and bit me on the ass. I'm talking about the dreaded 'red ring of death.' Just like whispering the name of the Scottish play before a theatre performance, muttering those four words prior to switching on your Xbox 360 will only result in a bizarre grinding noise and a crimson halo emanating from your console's faceplate. But this is a Dreamcast site, so why do we care? Well, I just wanted to bring it up because in the four years I've had my (second-, and maybe even third-hand) Dreamcast, it hasn't died. Granted, there was the whole speaker wire/controller board incident but it still battles on nearly 10 years after the last units rolled off the production line.

All hail the Undead Console!

Incidentally, even though they are responsible for one of the greatest crimes to retro-gaming in the modern age, I'd like to give Kudos to the guys at Gamestation who effortlessly swapped my 360 for another one...and also sold me an extended 2 year warranty for twenty fucking quid.

Next up: Jeremy McGrath Supercross 2000 and an exclusive review of the McClaren Dreamcast pad. I realise how exciting this news is, but for the love of God CONTAIN YOURSELVES!

Roads? We don't need Roads(ters)

As I was driving my noisy, smoke belching, coal-powered, big-ass truck around the tranquil idylls of Southern England and flicking my fingers at church-going Women's Institute members t'other day, I spotted this:

It's an orange spiral that looks vaguely like an orange Dreamcast swirl! From America! Or Japan! Vaguely! OK, I realise that this is barrel scraping of the worst kind possible, but relax - I also bring news of Ebay-age, M'lud!

And before you groan and go back to your copy of Readers Wives and that mug of luke-warm tea you've got balanced on the arm of your battered couch/bed - I'm not doing a マーティン and trying to flog my (ill-gotten?) gains through the DCJY. No - I personally don't think this is the kind of place I'd get away with advertising a nearly-new PVC gimp suit and matching powder-coated dildo (although, email me if you're interested. Only light stainage). Ahem.
No, dear reader. I've been buying...

...this:

Roadsters

I remember Roadsters fondly from my pathetic pre-Dreamcast days. I used to have it on the N64 and to be fair it was a pretty solid game. It had cracking hi-res (for the N64) visuals, tight controls and was just a fun little game all round. So, forgive me for thinking the Dreamcast version would be just as good - if not better. Y'know, what with it being released much later and on a vastly superior console and all. Wrong. It's fucking hideous.

The first thing veterans of the N64 version will notice is that the visuals have hardly improved at all. Whilst the Nintendo version appeared to squeeze the very core of the N64's graphical heart until every last drop of rice pudding was drained from it (yes, N64s have rice pudding inside them. Strange, but true), the DC version looks like something running on a Speak & Spell. Spell 'crap.' C.R.A.P.

  • Cardboard cut-out trees. Check. 
  • Over sized sized track-side objects. Check.
  • Bizarre scenery fade-in. Check.
  • Static crowds. Check.
  • Static vehicle drivers. Check.
  • Badly pixelated 'real time' reflections. Check.
  • Random bouts of slowdown. Check
These are just some of the problems Roadsters suffers from in the graphics department. I could go on, but if I do you'll still be reading me moan on about visual shortcomings until the coming of the next ice-age. So I'll moan about some other stuff instead. The sound. Where is it?! I don't know if it's just my SCART lead or my TV, or a combination of the two (Roadsters isn't VGA compatible, surprisingly), but the sound kept fading in and out seemingly at random so I spent most of my playtime sat there in silence. Shoddy programming. Check.



Next - the controls. Roadsters has the worst control model I have ever experienced in a game. On any console. Ever. Tap the analogue stick and your car will go careening into the nearest wall and then either just stop dead or be bounced along at super-sonic speeds. This effect appears to be random, for some wooden fences will grab you like some unnatural spectral magnet, whilst others seem to have been greased up with lube that sends you off up the track at the speed of light. The best bit though, is when you don't touch the analogue stick and your car still flies off at an angle and hits a wall! Oh how I laughed. Then switched the console off.



Roadsters is clearly a game that could've done with a few more months in development because even an imbecile like me can see that it's not a finished product. What the hell where the playtesters thinking when they gave this the thumbs up? Where they all pissed or something? What's even more annoying about this whole debacle is that there are some truly interesting ideas in Roadsters. For example, the developers decided that the straight road racing seen in the N64 version wasn't enough for Dreamcast gamers, so they added in a whole host of natural disasters to make the races more interesting. So, on one course, a volcano erupts turning the sky black and spraying magma onto the road, whilst on another an Earthquake hits and shakes the whole track violently and on the Docklands track a jumbo jet crashes, devastating certain parts of the circuit. All great ideas that where sadly tacked on to a virtually unplayable mess of a game. 



I was really looking forward to playing Roadsters (no, really) simply because of my experience with the N64 incarnation but this DC port has left me feeling massively underwhelmed. Quite how Player 1 and Titus managed to completely destroy the experience of racing convertables around exotic racetracks is a mystery even Inspector Clouseau would have trouble solving. 

So rather than waste your time playing through this piece of utter shite, here are some suggestions of other things you could do with Roadsters:



Microwave it



Toast it



BBQ it (well, it has been sunny recently)



Eat it



And finally, shit it out.

Oh well. Just got to wait for Jeremy McGrath Motocross to turn up now...

Ho hum.