frothing love letters though. This time I'd like to focus on an aspect that is very rarely mentioned when MSR is discussed, and that is the way the original PAL issue of the game shipped with various (fairly serious) bugs and glitches, and even had to be recalled by Sega. The first batch of MSR GDs featured some fairly major errors that Bizarre Creations either missed or weren't able to iron out in the time Sega had given them before being told that the game simply had to hit the shop shelves in November 2000, and thanks to an interesting blog I recently discovered here is a complete run-down of the bugs lovingly included (for our displeasure) in the various iterations of MSR:
- Completing Street Race challenges without the required number of Kudos would be considered successful nonetheless (first PAL version)
- The game would sometimes corrupt VMUs (first PAL version)
- After some time of playing, Tokyo races would always be at night (first PAL version)
- When using a keyboard to enter names etc., the keys were mapped incorrectly. Pressing C would give B, pressing B would give A etc. (first PAL version)
- The "Quick Race" screen in the multiplayer mode would be blank and thus impossible to play (first and second PAL version)
- The Alfa Romeo GTV cannot be gained legitimately as the 'time to beat' was set too low at 31 seconds (first and second PAL version)
- The Street Race in Chapter 17, Challenge 8 cannot be beaten legitimately as it was mistakenly set to infinite laps (first and second PAL version)
- Special Events could be completed without the required car or clock time (first and second PAL version)
- During wet conditions, it still rains inside tunnels and under bridges (all versions)
- Ghost cars loaded from a VMU can become corrupt and crash into the sides without reason. This includes ghosts saved within Time Trials (all versions)
- Two Time Attack records (Asakusa Eki-Iruguchi and Koen Minami) are pre-set to 0.000 (all versions)
- Creating a Time Trial with 'misty' or 'foggy' weather will default to 'clear' weather once a ghost car is saved (all versions)
- When selecting a personal music playlist as the default choice, MSR reverts to its own preset list when resuming a game (all versions)
I did also discover that turning off the tire smoke effects and the rear-view mirror improves the frame-rate immeasurably...but that's hardly a bug, and is the only thing I can add from personal experience. Um. Moving on...
As stated in the original article, the second and third releases of the game had most of these issues rectified but I still find it quite fascinating that Sega actually allowed gamers to send back their bugged copies and receive a new version for free. What happened to all the buggy games? Were they simply destroyed or were the cases re-purposed? Or did gamers simply send back the GDs in a jiffy bag? Either way, the logistics of such a program must have been a nightmare. Even so, I would imagine there are a fair few copies of the initial release still floating around in the wild. I personally don't recall experiencing any of the mentioned bugs - apart from the rain inside the tunnels one - so maybe I was lucky (or unlucky in this case) enough to never part with cash for issue one...but it would still be interesting to be able to compare the two (or three) different revisions of MSR first hand.
On that bombshell, I would imagine the only way to tell which version you have is by looking for the bugs yourself, as there appears to be only one serial number for the various PAL releases (MK-51022-50 according to the amazing Dreamcast Collector's Guide).
Source of the list: MSRDreamcast blog
While perusing the Bizarre Creations website on Wayback Machine, I stumbled across this entry in the 'notes' section of the MSR microsite:
Sega Europe have just released an official statement on MSR. This includes information for those who have found problems in the first retail version of the game, on how to go about getting a replacement disk. The statement is below:
Official Sega Europe Statement:
The development of MSR has been an astonishing accomplishment and has since set new standards within the gaming industry - pure driving games will never be the same again. Thousands of calls have been received since launch, complementing on the sheer size and precision of the sound, visuals and game play, though undoubtedly, a game of this calibre will experience some difficulties. It has come to the attention of Sega that the first version of MSR, currently in retail, has shown some irregular, minor problems which may affect game play. Since discovering this issue, we have all have worked extremely hard to produce an updated version of the game for you, eliminating these problems.
Should you discover anything unusual then do not hesitate to call the Sega Customer Services number - 08456 090 090, where helpful Sega staff will be on hand to process your details and replace your troubled disk. We apologise for any inconvenience caused and hope you enjoy the game everyone is talking about - Metropolis Street Racer.
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We, at Bizarre Creations, are also happy that those people who have experienced problems will have them solved by Sega's Customer Services, and are sure that they will be able to answer all your queries. We're sorry that we've not been able to put any more information up here on the website, or give out more by e-mail, but Sega have needed to focus customer support and the solution to the problems at their HQ.
Now there that the disk replacement operation is in place, Sega have assured us that they will be doing their utmost to help all of their customers as soon as possible - as a games publisher, they are already set up to provide swift and effective support for their products. And, of course, we hope you continue to enjoy the game.
This pretty much solves the mystery of how people were meant to get a replacement copy of the game!