, The Dreamcast Junkyard: November 2009

Skin Deep

Ah, Dreamcast racing games. Forgive me if I'm wrong (and I usually am), but to my untrained eye it would seem that the Dreamcast has more racing games than any other type. From the truly awesome (MSR, Daytona 2001), to the middling but still fun (Re-volt, Speed Devils), to the fucking abhorrent (E.O.S., Roadsters). There is, though, a common theme in the vast majority of the DC's racers - they almost all feature cars. Yep, boring old cars. With four wheels. Again, there are exceptions to this rule (snowmobiles, jet skis and motorbikes are hiding somewhere), but for me the most under-represented mode of transport has got to be the futuristic floaty car. Sure, there's Episode One: Racer and Looney Tunes Space Race, but where's the Dreamcast's Wipeout clone?! You know, with cool looking pointy ships, mental twisty racing circuits and amazing explosions? Well, I thought I'd found it. Only it's not the awesome thrill-ride I was hoping for. It's merely 'meh.'

Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome the newest entry into the Junkyard...it's Magforce Racing!

Thinking about it, the PSX had the aforementioned Wipeout, the N64 had F-Zero X and Extreme G, even the Saturn had the alright-in-a-mid-ninties-sort-of-way High Octane...and the DC has...Magforce Racing. Hmmm.

OK, so we've established through association that Magforce is a futuristic racing game. Twisty tracks? Check. High speeds? Check. Cool looking pointy ships? Erm...no, actually. For some reason, the developers eschewed the usual style of vehicle for some truly hideous designs. Rather than have wedge-shaped formula 12000 beasts, Magforce Racing gives you the chance to strap yourself into the cockpit of one of a number of crap-looking 'tripods.' Tripods! Why? They look pathetic! The story goes that these tripods have a wheel under each 'leg' that is magnetically charged and allows the vehicles to stick to the track when they inevitably travel along upside-down sections of the circuit...and that explains the need for you to drive over the glowing yellow strips dotted about in order to charge up your 'magnet power,' or something. If this power runs out, you can't drive on the ceiling anymore, and if you're on the ceiling when it runs out you fall to the ground below. If this had some kind of effect on your vehicle (like visible damage or the depletion of a shield bar, ala Wipeout) then it might have had more relevance...but alas no such luxuries exist in Magforce Racing. In actual fact, the whole 'magnets' thing does little more than provide a nice title for the game (Magforce...geddit?!).

Moscow. In the future. You can tell because of the Palace in the background.
And the generic industrial - orange sky.

Speaking of a lack of any kind of damage model for the game, the inclusion of a weapons upgrade system seems like little more than an afterthought by the developer (little known VCC Entertainment, just in case you were wondering. They also made Killer Loop for the PSX, which is in effect the semi-prequel to Magforce). This is evident in the way that even though you can collect and upgrade various weapons (lasers, mines, missiles etc), when you fire them at an opponent the result is little more than a loss in speed for the victim. Obviously, this can help you get past them but there's little incentive to use the weapons...because if you collect four in a row without firing them off, you get a 'turbo ram' that makes you invincible and blasts you along the track at ridiculous uncontrollable speeds. Want to win any race with ease? Just keep collecting four weapons and turbo ram everyone else out of the way like a massive futuristic knob in a dodgem. I used this tactic quite a bit once I'd discovered it and you'll need it to unlock the higher class vehicles and tracks because rather than employ a normal 'championship' option, all Magforce offers is a series of one-off races. You know the drill - finish each track in first place in a particular vehicle and you open up the next class and a few new circuits...but the shit thing is that you can only play them with the vehicle you unlocked them with. Again, looks like another lazy design choice on behalf of VCC. Why couldn't they have put in a proper league mode or something? All you get is that single race mode and a time attack.

As mentioned, the 'cars' look a bit gash.

So what you get with Magforce racing is a pretty run-of-the-mill futuristic racer with really crap vehicle designs and very few play modes. It does have one thing going for it though: the graphics are fecking brilliant! When I first started playing it, I was quite overwhelmed by how smooth everything was and how slick it looked. Sure, by today's DiRT 2 standards Magforce looks horribly dated, what with it's lack of real-time shadows and specular lighting...but back in 2000 this must've looked the dogs bollocks. The tracks (whilst slightly generic) twist and turn all over the shop and feature some rather impressive enormous architecture - in places it reminded me of Wipeout on the PS2, with it's cavernous mountainside entrances and underwater translucent tunnels. It's just a shame that the programmers didn't go the whole hog with some over-the-top lens flares and the like - because with a few more effects lavished over the top of the ace track detail and eye-watering pace, Magforce could've been possibly the best looking racer on the Dreamcast. As it is, it's still up there with the best of 'em - but you can't help but ponder what else could've been done with the game engine.

To surmise, Magforce Racing is a generic futuristic racer. It's got a techno soundtrack, minimalist front end, a dearth of play modes...but is damn nice to look at. Oh, and it only cost me £3 from Chips in Gloucester. I believe the phrase is "wOOt." Cough.

A Dreamcast "What if?"

Sure, this is The Dreamcast Junkyard, but did you also know that we are also Earth conscious? Why waste precious digital letters when you can reuse and recycle! What follows is an article I wrote over at The Nomad Junkyard earlier this year:

Had the Dreamcast lived on, would we still have had Sonic Heroes? This was a question I asked at the Sonic Stadium. I think its an interesting question, just as interesting as asking "In Back to the Future, what would happen had Marty knocked up his own mother?" Food for thought.

I received some interesting replies. Some thought that Heroes would have come out on Dreamcast (exclusively, of course) and the rest of the games we have now would have followed suit. Sonic Riders Zero Gravity would have been the last Sonic game to appear on the Dreamcast, and we would have been treated to a much better Sonic '06 as a launch game for the Dreamcast 2 or Sega Cyclone or Sega Infinity (basically Sega's next step after the Dreamcast).

Others believed that we would have been treated to a Sonic Adventure 3 with a plot similar to Sonic Heroes and gameplay that was more in line with Sonic Adventure 2. This led to a bit of complaining over how some Sonic fans believe that Sonic Adventure 3 is just a fanboys answer to the perfect Sonic game that never happened. Those who think a third entry in the Adventure series would have saved us from "the dark times" are complete loons who are better off wishing Sonic & Mario would team up (wait, nevermind that last part).

This discussion inspired me to design boxart for Dreamcast games that might have been, had the console and Sonic series lived on together. Enjoy!



Exclusive Rush Rush Rally Racing Wallpaper! Ooh!

The reason it's exclusive is pretty simple: I drew it. I was going to hold off on releasing this until the Rummage review was ready (will be at the start of the video), but instead I thought it may tide you over until the review is ready, which I'm not sure when that will be because I haven't started recording it yet, want to get decent enough at the game to show plenty of it! I've provided the wallpaper in plenty of shapes and sizes: find them below!

DCJY InsideOut: Rush Rush Rally Racing



Here's what showed up in the post yesterday! I've played it for a couple hours so far now (I recorded yesterday morning) and it's fun though it maybe could have done with more than just one 1-player mode, or at least the multiplayer modes vs the cpu as well. Of course I'm only saying that because I've got no friends.The presentation is very slick though, with neat animated cut scenes and a brillaint soundtrack. This regular edition of the games only costs about £15-20 (a lot cheaper than previous indie releases from RedSpotGames I believe) so it's worth a look especially if you enjoyed top down 2D racers in the past, and unlike Micro Machines there isn't pits everywhere!

Lawsuit Imminent Part 4: Ker-azy Copyright Infringement

Went to the gym the other day. Not been for a while as I have recently discovered the liberating past time of long-distance road running. That, and the fact that 'working out' in a stifling mirror-filled room full of narcissistic, impossibly muscled grunting wankers makes me feel physically sick. Getting back to the point though - I went to the gym.

So there I was, sweating away with the rest of the cunts and when I could stand no more of the red-faced screeching buffoon checking out his bicep in the mirror next to me - I decided to leave. Now, you know how in gyms there's always a table near the entrance that is strewn with random pamphlets and leaflets advertising yoga classes, Indian takeaways, ultra-max beefcake shakes and all that sort of shite? Well, there was one in the gym I visited. And d'you know what? Upon that very table I found something Dreamcast related! YES! How fucking random is that?! Check out this flyer created and circulated by Somerset County Council that advises people not to use unliscensed taxis:


Notice anything strange? Apart from the obvious copyright infringement and image theft from the movie Taxi Driver, look a little closer. Look at the TAXI. Look crazily familiar?!


Here's a clue:



It's Axel's motor! And if you look closely at the back of the flyer, you can see that the photoshop wizards down at the town hall haven't even bothered to remove the 1NOM155 licence plate from the front of the cab. Interestingly, the helpful garb states that 'pirate taxis are unlicensed, uninsured and very unsafe,' yet makes no mention whatsoever of the shortcuts they take across rooftops, under the sea and through subway tunnels whilst expecting tips for not killing you in a multi-car pile up.

There are some slightly more sinister things on the flyer too - the 'issuer' on the mock-up taxi liscenses is 'SS,' and the driver I.D. has a little picture of Joseph Goebbels on it.*

If I were Phoenix Wright, I'd be on the blower to Sega HQ asap. Sadly though, I'm not a high-powered cartoon attorney with an improbable quiff. Sigh.

*This is a lie.

Dreamcast rated as One of the "Best Toys of All Time"

http://shopping.yahoo.com/articles/yshoppingarticles/280/the-best-toys-of-all-time/

This list was created by Good Houseskeeping.

Sega Dreamcast
In 1999, the season's to-die-for item was the Sega Dreamcast Console ($199). The chip inside this 128-bit system processed graphics four times faster than a Pentium II. Plus, the unit played CDs and had a built-in 56K modem, so kids could surf the Web on the TV with the optional keyboard. Forty games ($39.95 to $49.95) will be available for the holidays. We featured Sega in a December 1999 story, "Buyer's Guide."


Interesting. This was for the 90's. One could say that the MegaDrive/Genesis was actually the big thing for the 90's (especially in the UK).

Of course this list also has an "Ultimate Planetarium" listed as a toy so we might want to take this with a grain of salt...

More on that Hypertension game!

Just in time for...no wait..just a little late of Halloween more details and a new trailer of TDGmods' Dreamcast FPS/PRG hybrid HyperTension. The gory trailer is just below, this time we get to see plenty of gameplay of this elaborate Doom mod. It even has Voodoo dolls! Oh yeah, it gets a bit noisy about 2 minutes in, just in case your volumes up to 11.




Better yet, there is a nice legthy interview with the guys making this over at Diehard GameFAN which you can read here, and there is also a Wiki set up for the game and you can hear more of the soundtrack at their blog.

Speaking of brand new Dreamcast games one just arrived in the post this morning. Expect a video soon!