The Hidden Dreamcast Light Gun Game

How many light gun games are there on the Dreamcast? As I sit here staring at that rhetorical question, I recall about five if memory serves: House of the Dead 2, Confidential Mission, Death Crimson 2, Death Crimson 2 OX, and Virtua Cop 2. But wait. There's actually another I didn't even know about until today: Infogrammes and Pitbull Syndicate's Demolition Racer: No Exit.

Now, you'd be forgiven for thinking I'd had one too many bottles of strong ale before writing this (and you'd be right, in most all cases), but hear me out. Demolition Racer: No Exit is a stock car racing game very much in the vein of PlayStation classic Destruction Derby (we don't mention the Saturn atrocity), and while it looks very pretty I don't particularly like it because of the downright stupid rules in the championship mode. Try as I might, I can't even get past the first couple of races due to the ridiculously random nature of the scoring system - coming first in a race tallies up with damage given to other cars...or something. And there are weapons. Basically, it's a clusterfuck of confusion so I'm just going to leave it there for now.
Anyway, I'm in the process of moving house (for about the 8th time in 3 years) and as I was stacking up my beloved Dreamcast games ready to be boxed, I noticed something funny on the back of the Demolition Racer case:
A 'Light Gun' compatibility icon. Which is very odd, especially considering Sega didn't even release the gun in the USA. That, and Demolition Racer is an NTSC-U exclusive racing game..

We're no strangers to detective work here at the Junkyard, so naturally I headed to Google to see if there was more info, and lo and behold a Wikipedia entry was presented to me: Demolition Racer has a secret light gun game hidden on the disc!

I'll be honest here. I couldn't be arsed trying to discover how to unlock the thing myself, so I powered up Speud's VMU Tool, copied an 'everything unlocked' file to a VMU and dived into the game. It didn't take long for me to find the 'Big Car Hunter' mode in the extras menu, and after plugging a gun into port D as requested, I was shooting cars like an Olympian taking a piss in a Brazilian gas station. Or shooting fish in a barrel. One of the two. What? Never mind.
The game actually plays really well, and while there's no calibration mode I can't really hold that against Pitbull Syndicate. After all, Demolition Racer is primarily a racing game so to even have something like this hidden on the disc is pretty astonishing. Big Car Hunter is pretty basic in practice - you simply shoot stock cars racing towards you and they are targeted via a Virtua Cop style reticule that appears on screen and zooms in to their location. There are three difficulties, and if any of these runaway vehicles hit you, you lose a life and receive an increasingly cracked windscreen. There are also two shooting galleries that are accessed by hitting left or right on the D-pad, and it does get pretty frantic the further you get. As I'm shit, I haven't gotten that far so I can't say how many stages there are contained in this nice little bonus game, but I recorded some gameplay footage so you can see it in action for yourself:


So the moral of the story is this: the next time someone asks you to name all the light gun games on the Dreamcast (it happens more often than you'd think), remember to name check Demolition Racer: No Exit, too.

Note: the Wikipedia page for Dreamcast light guns also lists Star Wars Demolition as being compatible with the light gun. It isn't. It lets you navigate the menus, but isn't usable in game. Just so you know.

8 comments:

Florian Wallin said...

Looks pretty fun considering its an easter egg in a racing game , didnt know about this even if i play demolition racer quite a lot :)

Doc Rob said...

I Actually was searching the star wars demolition part about a week ago so im glad you put that in there it was killing me as its one of my favorite games

Unknown said...

Wow. I love the obscure stuff. Great article. Its crazy we still get to enjoy these classic magazine style articles so many years later

Unknown said...

Wow. I love the obscure stuff. Great article. Its crazy we still get to enjoy these classic magazine style articles so many years later

Mongroovy said...

This was great, interesting story and witty writing. Spot on!

Tamás Illés said...

Just in case you want to know, the scoring system in the game works like this: you earn points during the race by hitting and destorying other cars (there are also some power-ups on the tracks that give you points), and at the end of the race, you (and every opponent) get a multiplier based on your position in the race. The higher your position is, the higher the multiplier is, with 1st place obviously being the highest. The final score in a race = your collected points * your achieved multiplier.

So the game has a bit of a strategic element to it: you have to spend time in the fray earning points for a few laps while also not killing yourself, then race forward to get the best position possible. You can't win just by doing one or the other, it has to be a combination of both.

Knowing this, I think you will find it a much more interesting and fun game.

Damon Fillman said...

Great content as always, Tom. Your website remains the definitive source for all things Dreamcast. I had no idea this game had lightgun support, despite how minimal it is.

Tom Charnock said...

Thanks everyone for your comments. Damon - no me neither. It's crazy how much new stuff I discover about this console even now!