Streets of Rage 4 is out now...but do you remember the cancelled Dreamcast version?

Streets of Rage 4 has finally hit the...er...streets, and it absolutely rocks. The 2D scrolling beat 'em up genre has played host to some fairly decent pretenders to the throne in recent years (Wulverblade is probably the best of the bunch), but nothing has really ever come close to knocking Sega's iconic franchise off the top spot. Until now that is. And it is quite ironic that the latest instalment of Streets of Rage is not only that game, but arguably the best in the series yet.
Sublime visuals, nostalgic nods to the original games, superlative controls and addictive as hell gameplay. The music isn't bad either, with lots of toe tapping techno tunes and deep bass lines accompanying the ass-kicking action. But did you know the original Streets of Rage 4 was intended to launch on the Dreamcast? A tech demo is all that remains of Dreamcast Streets of Rage 4 (see the video below), and our friends over at SEGABits showed off some interesting concept artwork a few years ago (also pictured below).


Streets of Rage 4 for Dreamcast never saw the light of day beyond this tech demo though, and some may say that's a good thing. 3D polygonal beat 'em ups did come to the Dreamcast in the form of Zombie Revenge, Soul Fighter and Cannon Spike et al, but they didn't really set the world alight. We'll never know if Dreamcast Streets of Rage 4 could have bucked that trend, but from these images and video it looks like Sega were toying with the idea of implementing features such as co-op combo moves for multiplayer, and even a first person mode.
This tech demo has never been leaked online, and we don't even know if there's actually a playable build; but it's still interesting to see what Sega had in mind for the then-dormant franchise on the 128-bit system after it totally skipped the Saturn. The fact that Fighting Force almost became a Streets of Rage game makes us breath a deep sigh of relief, too. Urgh. As it stands, the actual real Streets of Rage 4 is out now on all platforms and is truly a great continuation of the series from Dotemu, Lizardcube and Guard Crush Games. I would suggest you snap it up asap and indulge your inner vigilante post haste!
Have you picked up Streets of Rage 4? What are your thoughts on this latest instalment of the franchise that rocked a million Megadrives back in the day? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter.

Sakura Wars Returns with Flying Colours (PS4 Review)

The Sakura Wars (aka Sakura Taisen) series is possibly Sega's worst-kept secret, at least for us in the West. Most Dreamcast fans have probably encountered it at some point, but without the ability to understand the Japanese language, most have not proceeded further. This Japanese steampunk-themed tactical RPG series was a massive hit in its country of origin, spawning sequels and spin-offs, as well as crossing into other forms of media. As I'm writing this, the Sakura Wars multi-media franchise has surpassed over 4 million units shipped in Japan.

Despite the series' massive success, Sakura Wars was probably deemed too culturally-different for Western gamers, probably due to its heavy use of unfamilar (at least, back in the late '90s and early 00's), visual novel/dating simulation-style gameplay. The only Sakura Wars game from the original batch to be localised into English was the fifth game in the franchise, Sakura Wars V: So Long, My Love (released on the Wii and PS2). Most would probably agree that it wasn't the best entry the series had to offer, but hey, at least it was something. The series would then remain untouched for many years.
This was no small franchise. A big thanks to our very own Mike for the pics.
But Sakura Wars has stepped back onto the stage and into the limelight once again. Sega have blessed us with a worldwide (albeit, staggered) release of a flashy modern-gen reboot of Sakura Wars, exclusively for PlayStation 4. Developed by Sega's CS2 R&D department, Sakura Wars saw involvement from new and returning staff; including veteran Sega producer Tetsu Katano, director Tetsuya Otsubo and music composer Kohei Tanaka. Tite Kubo, the creator of manga ultra-hit Bleach was responsible for the designs of the main cast of characters. There was also guest artists like BUNBUN (Sword Art Online), Ken Sugimori (Pok√©mon) and Shigenori Soejima (Persona), who contributed their talents towards the designs of various supporting characters. It's clear from such star studded pedigree that Sega really pulled out all the stops for this one, and as an owner of a pre-order copy that turned up three days too early, I'm happy to confirm that it resulted in a big success. If you're a fan of Sakura Wars, you'll be happy to know Sega have done the franchise the justice it deserves. If you're new to Sakura Wars, this is the perfect entry point.

Preview: Xenocider

It was in June 2015 that we first learned of Retro Sumus' ambitious Dreamcast exclusive shooter Xenocider. Back then, we didn't really know much about what was to become something of a labour of love for lead programmer Chui and his team based over in Spain, but now, almost five years later were are very close to having the final product in our hands, and - most importantly - in our Dreamcast consoles. Xenocider has undergone several revisions over the years, but here we are privileged to share with you details of the latest beta build, and our overall impressions of what we have played so far.
What was initially pitched as a sort of homage to 'into the screen' shooters of yesteryear such as Space Harrier, Planet Harriers and Sin & Punishment, Xenocider places the player in control of Xara, a cybernetic heroine tasked with travelling from planet to planet, basically wiping out all life and ultimately causing said planet to self destruct. As you do.


If you'll allow me to be a bit wanky for a moment, this does actually bring up some questions of ethics for me. Why is Xara so hellbent on destroying these alien creatures and the very worlds they reside on? If she didn't come blazing through the atmosphere in her ship and then start marauding around the landscapes shooting everything and setting off nukes, surely these innocent lifeforms could just continue going about their daily routine of floating around and minding their own business? I'm sure the answers will be revealed in the final game's story mode, so we'll leave this aspect of Xenocider alone for now. Wanky mode: off.
The similarities with the aforementioned properties from Sega and Nintendo/Treasure are quite clear to see from a visual and gameplay standpoint, but Xenocider does have its own identity too. The aesthetic is very much one of a sort of corrupt artificial life form being directed by a mysterious commander via a communications codec. You travel to various worlds killing stuff, you collect upgrade points that can be spent on your health, armour, weapon strength etc. This is done via a rather excellent between-level hub section aboard Xara's ship - a ship you also get to control in one of the mid-stage bonus areas that reminded me a little of something like Soul Star on the Sega Mega CD, but is actually based on Galaxy Force.

Dreamcast Collectors Unite! Exploring your collections - Part 4

Hello fellow Dreamers, and welcome back to our ongoing 'Dreamcast Collector's Unite!' series of articles, taking a closer look at the collections of Dreamcast fans from across the globe. So far we've uncovered rare controllers, heard people's fondest memories of the console, the game and the merchandise that make up their collections, and seen some of the rare - and not so rare - pieces that make collecting for this console such a passion for so many people.

We're bringing you a quartet of collectors today, with a range of collecting habits, desires and goals - so without further waffling from me - let me introduce you to our latest fab 4, who go by the names of Ser Flash, Chris, Lee and James!

Ser Flash

Hello fellow Dreamer! Tell us a little about yourself!

STG fans around the world know me as Ser Flash. I make up half of Studio Mudprints, and we create and host Bullet Heaven, the world's longest-running shmups review show.
You obviously have a love for the Dreamcast; when did that start?

More or less since it came out. As a staunch Nintendo player, the Dreamcast really captured my interest, especially against the PlayStation and Nintendo 64 at the time. It would become my first-ever Sega console in 2000.

So your current collection – can you give a brief description of what you have, what you collect (i.e. games only, games and console variants etc.) and what your 'end goal' is, if you have one?

We don't really refer to it as a "collection" so much as a "Library", meant to be accessed, not merely displayed. We acquire games from all regions, though North American and Japanese games make up the vast majority of our titles. In the early days, we bought all kinds of different titles, from RPGs to Fighters to shooters. These days though, it has been almost exclusively shooters, which was ultimately my end goal: Acquire and feature every Dreamcast shmup and border-liner.
Why did you start collecting for the console, and if you still are, what makes you continue?

We never really collected for the system per se; we just got games we wanted to play at first, and later just those that we thought would review well on our show. It became a more directed effort when it come to tracking down and procuring a complete set of shooting games for a large-scale video compendium. The only one requirement was that all Japanese games needed their OBI spine-cards. Now that they have been completely obtained, we still get the odd title every now and again as more new titles are made, but our focus is now almost entirely PlayStation One exclusive shooting games.

Where do you get new additions to your collection? Are you still able to find them 'in the wild' or is it online only now?

Almost exclusively online, predominantly on eBay. It sounds lazy, but scouting out and stalking the best deals on specific games can take a long while; all of the ones we have gotten were in great condition for comparatively bottom dollar, but some took time and planning. We sometimes find neat things at local shops though.

What's the favourite part of your collection, and why?

Probably Yu Suzuki Game Works Vol.1. I had no idea it existed, then I suddenly needed it more than anything else in the world. So basically it marked the time I completed a game set with a book. My favourite Dreamcast game is probably Bangai-o, though. So nice, I bought it twice.
We all love bargains, any in particular stand out for you whilst amassing your collection?

Grabbing a bunch of games on $10 Clearance in the early days was definitely nice. The used market was excellent until relatively recently then it suddenly exploded, especially for shmups. This kind of makes it hard to pick out a really good deal for its time. There have been several times we were able to get new, sealed games for well-under the typical used price in the last couple of years, so those would count, I guess.

DreamPod: Celebrating 5 Years of Dreamcast Podcasting!

April 2020 marks 5 years since we started our podcast DreamPod, and with this in mind we thought it was only right to celebrate this milestone with a special anniversary episode. The DreamPod has had a changing cast of presenters over the years, and they have all brought a unique personality and perspective to the podcast, be it on current Dreamcast news, opinions on games or just their tales of how they got into the Dreamcast scene in the first place.
For this episode though, we thought it would be good to bring together the original hosts from episode zero - Tom, Rob and Aaron - to catch up, share memories of that pilot episode and see how, even after 5 years, not a lot has changed after all!

In this episode, we also have some rather nice congratulatory messages from some familiar voices in the Dreamcast scene, so make sure you listen to the end. You can find all the previous episodes on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Buzzsprout and pretty much any other podcast service you might use simply by searching for 'DreamPod.' For ease though, please find episode 75 embedded below.

Thanks all for listening, and here's to 5 more years of the DreamPod!

Every Dreamcast game featuring a Toyota Celica...because why not?

I recently bought a Toyota Celica. When I showed a picture of it to my sister, she asked if I was having a mid-life crisis. I enthusiastically replied that I'm having a whole-life crisis, but that the purchase of this automobile had nothing to do with it. I just happened to see it going quite cheap and was looking for a replacement for the old diesel estate that had trustily transported me and all my Dreamcast crap to countless gamings expos over the years. So yeah, I'm now a member of the Celica owner's club. Not an actual club - although I'm sure something like that exists for conscientious drivers who like nothing better than adding gigantic spoilers, furry dice, diamond encrusted wheels and go faster stripes to their cars.
I've blanked out my number plate so ne'erdowells don't do ne'erdowell stuff with it.
After owning the Celica for a couple of weeks, something odd slowly dawned on me as I mindlessly played various entries in the racing genre on Dreamcast. No, it wasn't the realisation that nothing even comes close to Spirit of Speed 1937 in simulating the thrills of driving a real race car. It was actually something far less interesting to pretty much everyone who isn't me: the Toyota Celica features in quite a few Dreamcast racing titles...and I'm not just talking about the famous GT-Four rally car either. 
The Celica GT-Four as seen in Sega Rally 2
No, I'm specifically talking about the seventh generation Toyota Celica coupe, the final model Toyota released before killing off the iconic marque in the mid 2000s. A car that - for me at least - has taken on baader-meinhof properties since I started driving one. Seriously - I see them everywhere now. I suppose the answer as to why the seventh generation Celica appeared in so many Dreamcast games is quite obvious when you really think about it though.
The real deal...
The Celica - and specifically the seventh generation model (pictured) - was Toyota's flagship coupe slap bang in the middle of the era of the Dreamcast (the seventh generation Celica was produced between 1999 and 2006), so why wouldn't it appear in so many Dreamcast games as a mid-level sportster? A mid-level sportster with outstanding fuel economy, light weight and outrageous road handling, I should add...but that's a topic for another website entirely.
...the digital deal
Anyway, join me, dear reader, as we look at all the titles on Dreamcast that feature the seventh generation Toyota Celica, and a few that feature the iconic GT-Four...

Metropolis Street Racer
Bizarre Creations' seminal driving game has a surprising number of real world vehicles you can sample the delights of, and though you start small with some fairly low-specced runabouts, as you progress through the chapters more and more powerful cars are revealed; their well-rendered showroom blankets thrown off to reveal the glistening virtual paint beneath. The Celica featured in Metropolis Street Racer is ranked with a modest 4.0 CPF (Car Performance Rating), meaning it's not quite the top end of the stable, but does the job for the chapters in which it becomes available. 
MSR's vehicle selection screen is pretty cool
It's the favoured 190bhp model used in MSR
It handles well (like most cars in this game to be honest) and has a decent top speed. The model is very faithful too, although it does lack the interior details seen in some other games listed here. Due to MSR's lack of any real tuning or visual detail options, you can't really change much apart from the tint of the windows, the colour of the paint and the registration plate, but that's OK.
This is taken from the 'Exhibition' mode
Doing a bit of sightseeing in London of an evening
Metropolis Street Racer's Celica is a fine representation of the real thing, and as you'd expect it features the standard 6-speed gearbox found in the real vehicle (7-speed if you count reverse), but to be honest you'd kind of expect this level of authenticity in a game where the developers measured the actual height of curbs in London to make sure everything looked as accurate as possible. It would have been nice to be able to add spoilers or change the alloy wheels, but that wasn't really a thing with any of the cars in MSR, so I'm happy to give it a pass on that front.

Dreamcast Collectors Unite! Exploring your collections - Part 3

We put the call out for collectors willing to show off their collections, and the responses have come thick and fast. After showing off our first 5 contributors earlier in the week, we're back again for part 3 of the Dreamcast Collector's Unite! series, with 4 more fans of the Dreamcast letting us take a peek at their cherished collections.

So take a seat, grab yourself your favourite beverage (in a Dreamcast mug, of course) and come with us as we explore the collections of 4 wise men who go by the names of Adam, Brandon, James and Mike.

Adam

Hello fellow Dreamer! Tell us a little about yourself!

My name is Adam, better known on YouTube under "TechnicalCakeMix". I'm a Brit who has found himself in the United States for... reasons? I think?

You obviously have a love for the Dreamcast; when did that start?

For years I've been a fan of Cammy White, from Street Fighter - and as it turns out, she has a spin-off game of her own, called "Cannon Spike" that was exclusively on Dreamcast. While living in the homeland, I never found it for a reasonable price, and so sadly it never came to fruition - cut forward to 2014, the year I moved to the United States, and my now wife (then fiancee) gave me a huge surprise with a gift of not only my own Dreamcast console, but also a copy of Cannon Spike. From there, the rest as they say, is history.

So your current collection – can you give a brief description of what you have, what you collect (i.e. games only, games and console variants etc.) and what your 'end goal' is, if you have one?

I have around thirty games so far in my collection, which does not sound like a lot - however I've been focusing mainly on the higher $$ titles and the harder to find items before the market inevitably explodes. My eventual goal is to get as close as I can to 100% of the NA library, and also get some region exclusive oddities (some of which like Frame Gride, I already own). I've also been on the hunt for promotional merchandise, as well as oddities from the era.

Dreamcast Collectors Unite! Exploring your collections - Part 2

In the Dreamcast Junkyard's now 15 year pursuit of all things related to Sega's last console, we've featured many a topic - we've had nostalgic trips down memory lane, a pursuit for the Dreamcast barber, interviews with some of the biggest names, 70+ episodes of a podcast; you name it, we've (probably) done it. But none of that would of been possible, without people like you reading our sometimes rambling thoughts. Like us, many of you live and breath the Dreamcast, and we thought, during these rather unprecedented and surreal times we live in, what better way to celebrate our collective passion, than to throw the doors open to some of your very own Junkyards, for us all to admire.

And so here we are, with part 2 of our 'Dreamcast Collectors Unite!' article series. Last time out, we featured 4 fantastic, passionate Dreamcast fans as they allowed us a glimpse of their cherished possessions, collections that would put many of us to shame. But we also wanted to highlight those collectors who have gone that extra mile in amassing their collections, whether it be through sheer volume, or through dedication to a particular sub-set of the Dreamcast collecting journey. The 'Super Collectors', as we now are going to call them. And today, we feature our first.

Come with us as we take a somewhat mesmerising journey into the console, controller and toy collection of a man called Brian...

Hello fellow Dreamer! Tell us a little about yourself!

Well let's see, I am a father of 2 (soon to be 3), I'm a huge gamer and of course enthusiast, as well as horror fanatic. I'm a pretty busy dude, but I'm sure like most of, I trade sleep to play games (my wife isn't a fan).

Dreamcast Collectors Unite! Exploring your collections - Part 1


We put out the call to our fellow Dreamcast collectors, and my word, didn't we get a response! We've had such a quantity of replies, it's going to warrant several articles to cover you all - great for us, as there's more glorious Dreamcast goodies to gaze at!

So join us, as we delve into the games rooms of our first set of featured Dreamcast fans. There's a wide range of differing approaches to this collecting lark, and we have a selection of those on offer today. Without further ramblings from me, let's meet our first 4 collectors - say hello to Tristan, Mike, James and Stephen!

Tristan


Hello fellow Dreamer! Tell us a little about yourself! 

Hello! I’m Tristan (@Infiniteque) from Cleveland, OH and I run gaming and Esports events in the city that are free and open to everyone. I’ve been a huge fan and collector of the Dreamcast since it was released and it remains my favourite console. I love sharing my collection with others so they can experience games they may not have had the chance to play before! 
You obviously have a love for the Dreamcast; when did that start? 
  
So, I remember going to the mall arcade with a buddy of mine and we happened to walk by a game store's display where they had a Dreamcast playing Sonic Adventure. I remember being absolutely stunned and stopped in my tracks, not expecting to see it, and was blown away by the high-res screen and graphics. As I think back, they must have had it connected via VGA because more than anything, I just remember how sharp the visuals were! 
  
I didn't get my own until I set off for college when my younger sister got me a Dreamcast as a going-away gift! Who could ask for anything better? 
  
So your current collection – can you give a brief description of what you have, what you collect (i.e. games only, games and console variants etc.) and what your 'end goal' is, if you have one? 
  
Within my collection, I have a wide variety of original Dreamcast titles, arcade ports, and lots of peripheral-based games. Over time, I began to focus on those games that required special peripherals (arcade sticks, dance mats, fishing rod controller, light guns, etc) to get the full experience of, and my end goal is to find and acquire all of those games! 
Why did you start collecting for the console, and if you still are, what makes you continue? 

I started to collect Dreamcast stuff mostly because of the fact that I could not believe how amazing so many of the games were! Game after game, I was in absolute awe of the library every time I saw something new in a magazine or in-person. It got to a point where I thought to myself “Alright, I’m just going to get everything I can for this console!” Currently, I don’t consider myself to still be collecting technically, but I do not pass up opportunities when I come by them! 
  
Where do you get new additions to your collection? Are you still able to find them 'in the wild' or is it online only now? 
  
Interestingly enough, it’s a mix of both when it comes to buying offline and online! Of course, online is best but every so often I will wander into a used game store and stumble upon something. 
  
What's the favourite part of your collection, and why? 
  
Within my collection, nothing beats setting up and playing Virtual-On: Oratorio Tangram with others on two Dreamcasts, VS Link Cable, two sets of Twin Sticks, and both connected to monitors via VGA. That’s my absolute favourite for sure! When introducing new players to this game and playing it this way, seeing the joy on their faces is the best.
Also, sidenote; shout-outs to all the Phantasy Star Online fans! PSO was probably the single greatest gaming experience I've had in my life!

Dreamcast Collectors Unite!



If you're reading this blog, there's a good chance that you're a fan of the Dreamcast. I mean, why else would you be here? And as fans of Sega's little 128 bit machine, we have numerous ways of enjoying the excellent game library – some of us like to stick to emulators on our souped up PC's, lacking the space required to have shelves of games. Others will have invested in one of the numerous mods available to have hundreds of DC games on your real-life Dreamcast at all times, a great way to experience titles that would otherwise be out of reach. Then there are those who do it old school – only play original discs on an original machine, and only the very best of the library.

Despite what some people may tell you – all of these are completely legitimate ways to enjoy the console if you so choose. We're one big happy Dreamcast family, and there's no one out there able to tell you how to enjoy your own precious time playing games. This also, however, goes for those people out there who want to amass large collections. If you want to have a ton of awesome Dreamcast games, consoles, merchandise or collectables – that's cool too! Whilst collectors are sometimes 'frowned upon' by sectors of the Dreamcast community, there's absolutely no denying that some of your collections are... magnificent! And we at the DCJY, fine connoisseurs of everything Dreamcast, like many of you, love seeing what bits and pieces people have in their games rooms. 

And that's where this latest series of articles for the Dreamcast Junkyard comes in. We've scoured our contact books, sent some begging e-mails, and genuinely made a nuisance of ourselves, all in the pursuit of showcasing some of the best, interesting and weird Dreamcast collections out there. We ask the collectors themselves just why they do it, get them to show off some of their wares, and hopefully showcase some rare bits whilst we do it!

But it's not only the super-collectors who we'll showcase here. We want to take a look at some of the more modest collections from other passionate Dreamcast collectors, and so we'll be talking to some of those as well. Not everyone can afford, or indeed wants to own, a large collection, but they cherish what they have, and these passionate fans are the backbone of our little community.

We'll be bringing you the very first of these new articles very soon, but we'd love you (yes, YOU) to take part as well! If you have a Dreamcast collection you're just dying to share with the wider DC community, drop us a message through any of our various social media platforms. 

Dreamcast Printer Prototype Discovered

Whilst flicking through the second issue of Official Dreamcast Magazine, I noticed on the letters page a keen reader had written in asking if Sega had any plans to release a printer for the Dreamcast so that they could print out web pages they’d found. Sega’s response to this particular letter sounded like it was something they’d already been considering:

Dreamcast is an evolutionary product with flexibility built into the whole design. If enough people develop a need for a printer, then we will look into releasing one in Europe.

This was enough to make me curious. Were Sega working on a printer add-on for the Dreamcast? It’s not as crazy as it sounds -- don’t forget, back in the late 90’s/early 00’s, not everyone owned a PC and so browsing the web on their Dreamcast was the only way possible for a lot of people to get online. The Dreamcast already had a keyboard and mouse, so having a printer just seemed too obvious not to be true in my eyes.
I also knew that Sega were not afraid to work with other hardware manufacturers for PC-like peripherals, such as the ultimately unreleased Zip Drive from Iomega. So, I sent some emails. Through various contacts, I fired off a few speculative enquiries to various sources who were working for major printer manufacturers back at the turn of the millennium.

Amazingly, weeks later, one individual who had previously worked for Canon’s R&D department in Uxbridge, in the UK, got back to me with this amazing reply:

Sega approached us (Canon) in early 2000 to make an inkjet printer for their Dreamcast console. It was early days but we had a fully working prototype that, as long as you had a keyboard connected to the console, would allow you to print whatever was currently displayed on the TV by a simple press of the “Print Screen” key. Amazingly, this worked during gameplay as well, so you could print off screenshots if you wanted to. During testing, we had numerous copies of printed screenshots all over the office -- I think gamers would've loved it.

Even more amazing, attached to the email was a photo of the prototype for this printer from my source’s personal collection. Known only by its internal model number at the time, 5L-00FLIRPA, here she is: the Sega/Canon Dreamcast Printer Prototype:
Note the modified cord with a Dreamcast controller plug added to it, allowing you to simply use one of the available controller ports on your console to attach the printer.

Unfortunately, the current whereabouts of this prototype are unknown but my source does not believe it has been destroyed. This means there is still hope we can enjoy printing out our favourite web pages and Spirit of Speed screenshots directly from our Dreamcast at some point.

It’s incredible that here we are, over 20 years since the Dreamcast launched and we’re still uncovering new and unknown things about our beloved system. Would you have bought this printer had it actually been released in 2000?

Let us know in the comments below, or on Twitter.

Update: If you've read this far, your reward is the knowledge that yes, this was an April Fool! Look at the date in the photo; and the model number of the printer. We do like a good April Fool here at the Junkyard, as was seen back in 2017 when everyone lost their shit when we announced DreamStream - a Switch streaming service for Dreamcast games. One that didn't go down too well was when we announced on 1st April 2016 that we had become the 'PlayStation 2 Junkyard.' We don't mention that. Thanks for playing along...and remember - it's all just a bit of fun!