Previously Unknown Dreamcast Game Millennium Racer: Y2K Fighters Discovered

This is pretty damn cool. Ever heard of Millennium Racer: Y2K Fighters? Not many people have. It was developed by Creat Studio and released on the PC back in 1999 and it appears that a Dreamcast port was in the works. For whatever reason it was never shown to the public, the press...or anyone outside of Creat Studios by the looks of things. This is particularly odd because the game was recently discovered on a Dreamcast dev kit and it appears to be fully playable and complete!
Millennium Racer is a futuristic racer with combat elements in the same vein as Extreme G or WipEout, and looks as though it could have given the genre a shot in the arm as the only other titles in this style are limp to say the least. Pod 2 and Magforce Racing are the only true attempts at this style of game on the Dreamcast (I'm not counting Episode 1: Racer) and they're both pants.
Anyway, back to Millennium Racer. I was contacted a few weeks ago by the owner of the dev kit, a Dreamcast aficionado known as Kuririn84 and he told me the following:

"Hi, I just wanted to give you a heads up that I have found an unreleased Dreamcast game called Millenium Racer: Y2K Fighters. 

"I am working with another member of the community to get it running, and I do plan on releasing the game and files to the community. I know the PC version was released, but there was never an announcement of a Dreamcast port. The files I found are on the HD of my Dev kit, so certainly Dreamcast files. I'm working with another member of the community to get it running.

"I have sent the game to two people, one of them was unable to do anything with it, the other person is very well known in the Dreamcast scene and seems confident they can get it running. If he can get it running I will put the game out there for the community, if not I will post the files for people to look at. I've been a Dreamcast fan and a member of the community since 1998, I hope this can be my contribution."
- Kuririn84
Since then, it appears that Millennium Racer has indeed been extracted from the dev kit on which it has been hiding for all these years, and the best bit is that it's 100% playable...

The owner of the Live Journal site japanese_cake (who I'm guessing is the same guy mentioned in the email I was sent) has published a post detailing his exploits extracting Millennium Racer here, and has also kindly posted a download link for the game file! Here's what he had to say on this amazing discovery:

"I think only few people knew about this game and even fewer knew about its portage to the Dreamcast. I took those files and worked on giving this game a second chance. After digging a bit in code to see why it was failing to boot and doing few file manipulations, the game started to show its guts and to be honest, it rocks! It is not a demo or an alpha version that would be just frustrating, it is a complete version! Cool, right? Another brand new game!

"To distribute the game, I built a GDI image, region-free with VGA support (was already there) and forced PAL-60hz mode for PAL console. For the sake of digital preservation, I kept original files datetime, ISO9660 volume name, date, etc. as if a real GDR existed."
- japanese_cake
I downloaded Millennium Racer and managed to get it working through lxdream on my MacBook, and it appears to be a pretty playable futuristic racer very much in the vein of WipEout, but with the racers riding floating bikes. The tracks are all fairly unique (and there are 10 of them to begin with, although the later ones need to be unlocked) and feature plenty of shortcuts and multi-layered sections. Overall the whole game looks very polished and the handling of the vehicles is actually pretty tight. An arcade mode, championship and time attack are all in there, along with fully customisable 'bikes' and riders.
The bikes themselves appear to be made of neon wireframes, as do the riders and it gives the whole game an air of 'Tron,' while the tracks vary in visual style. Some of them are standard sci-fi trope fayre like space stations and mining colonies, while others are based in gargantuan alien cities. There's an interesting jump mechanic which can be activated to leap over chasms and there are circular boost rings which give an increase in speed.

Because I was using an emulator the menus and some of the character models are really messed up, but if you can get this running on an actual Dreamcast I have no doubt that it'll look just great. To be honest, it's actually hard to fathom why this game was never released considering how far along it clearly was in development. Hell, I'd agree with the comments from japanese_cake (God, I love that name!), namely that Millennium Racer was probably already finished before being quietly and unceremoniously canned. Sigh.
You too can now play this mysterious and never-before-seen Dreamcast game - just head over to japanese_cake and grab the GDI image here. Massive kudos to both Kuririn84 and japanese_cake for this effort, and also to Sega Max for making me aware of the fact that this had finally been released for us all to enjoy! Another Dreamcast game in 2017...it's madness I tells ya!

Update
The game runs perfectly from an SD card reader on a standard Dreamcast. Simply drag the files onto your SD card and run the .gdi file to get it up and running with none of the glitching associated with an emulator. Here's some footage from our old pal Pcwzrd of Millennium Racer running on a Dreamcast via an SD reader.

Update 2
Thanks to a member of our Facebook group, Eric Fradella, there's now a bootable disc image that you can download and burn! Simply head over here to grab it, and then burn it to a CD-R to play in your Dreamcast! Awesome work Eric!

Update 3
I went ahead and did a video review (of sorts). Check it out:

25 comments:

Simon Early said...

Great find! How many more times can this possibly happen? It's retro gaming archaeology and you sir, are Indiana Jones.

Tom Charnock said...

Cheers mate, although I take no credit! Sega Max alerted me to it and the other guys who actually found and released it are the real archaeologists. I'm just the guy who writes the spinning newspaper that flies towards the screen haha!

Eleazar López said...

Thank you! It is a great new.

Nicholas Lo said...

The game look awesome. Hope someone release it as a physical game.

Henry McHenry said...

That is indeed amazing! Hopefully someone will make it fit into a CD image

MrMushasii said...

This is one of my favorite PC games of all-time, can't wait to try it out on the Dreamcast.

It was a great racing game in general, except for the bots being terrible, does the Dreamcast version allow you to save Profiles like the PC version?

Tom Charnock said...

Yes it allows you to save profiles :)

Kurasiu said...

I actually remember playing the PC version somewhere around 2000, it was dirt cheap in Poland and quite a nice racer. I'll definitely download the GDI and give it a go on my GDEmu!

KonflictOD said...

Have you talked to creat studio?

Eric said...

Here's a selfbooting CDI image for you guys that I made.
https://mega.nz/#!ywVTEIbR!ghQsFXXHq8aU_GPwbXqEDzXWmF1xHgd2-Yx_tUVOzLc

Tom Charnock said...

Amazing work Eric! Will update main article with your link :)

Florian Wallin said...

Well done indeed Eric ! (Flat-Eric?) , may i ask , does the cdi image come with music ? :D

Mick Taylor said...

Amazing, stuff like this is why I love the dreamcast.

Dean Taylor said...

Retrogameslab.com do some great reproduction games! Ive already messaged him about making this.

Eric said...

Florian -- yes, the CDI image I created contains all the CDDA (digital audio tracks) and the game binary is hacked to play them back properly. The disc image should perform exactly the way the game is expected to run had it been released retail. :)

Regarding Tom's comment on SD card usage "the lack of music is possibly due to Dreamshell not supporting CDDA audio...whatever that means!" Tom, CDDA audio is when a game uses music that is placed on the CD as audio tracks (like audio tracks on a music CD), instead of audio data files on a data track. Think the difference between a traditional audio CD and an MP3CD (which is just MP3 files placed on a data disc). Since the game is looking for audio tracks on a CD instead of a music file within the GDI, it doesn't work right from the SD card. But playing from a CD-R (or with proper GD-ROM emulation through a GDEMU or USB-GDROM), it works fine. I think the music is one of the best things about this game, so I'd recommend staying away from the serial SD adapters for this title!

hoogafanter said...

This is amazing news! Can't wait to load this into my usb-gdrom!

Florian Wallin said...

Thanks alot for the information Eric ! :D

GillBert said...


To have music while playing this game with Dreamshell, just enable CDDA emulation option. It plays fine from SD Card reader and from HDD (G1-ATA).

Redde said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Redde said...

So, is this game any good? And how does it compare to the PC version?

Also, is there a list of unreleased Dreamcast games that ended surfacing on the web at some point?

Tom Charnock said...

Redde - there's a video review in the article, should tell you everything you need to know.

Emmanuel Hoachlander said...

I made Cover art for a cd case and cd label for the cd-r. It's not much but it is a start. I used graphics from the game disc and screen shots from here to come up with something that looks close to offical. Let me know what you guys think and feel free to edit this and make it better ^_^

I have included the photshop files as well as PNG files

https://mega.nz/#!dYJWEQjb!PPo9Fg4fMfBzT0F46QWtOlWi5sNieNA4PtcH_1_Yk5o

Tom Charnock said...

Awesome! Thanks for sharing these covers :)

RetroB8 Gamer said...

Hello Eric, do I need to use a specific burning application to create the CDI. I've tried 4 different times using BootDreams but each one's been a coaster. Any tips as I've love to try out this lost title.

Tom Charnock said...

Try using Discjuggler - I've just been using the free trial version and it works great.