Mustn't talk about Shenmue. Mustn't talk about Shenmue...Oh, there you are! Come on in - I've just put the kettle on. But where to begin, eh...?

The Gagaman has provided such amazing posts over the last week that I believe it would be extremely ignorant and totally in character for me not to comment, but in recognition of the obvious effort exerted - here goes: Gagaman, "nicely done, Sir."

Just a quick bit of news though before I plough ahead with much Dreamcast related verbal diahorrea - yesterday I was roped into being an audience member for a TV gameshow called 'The Price is Right.' It's target audience is obviously grannies, dolers and students as it's aired at about 4.30 in the afternoon and as such I won't get to see myself looking like a cross between our old friend Pete Doherty and the Cheshire Cat. Why so? Because I only got about an hour's sleep the night before and been drinking heavily throughout. TV debuts: always a laugh.

But onwards and upwards. It's been a while, but today saw my first Dreamcast purchases for nearly three weeks. Here for your viewing pleasure is what I managed to get in return for a wet, screwed up fiver at my local Gamestation...

Sega Extreme Sports

Bit of a curious one this. I first played it aeons ago on a demo disc that came with the extortionatly priced Official Dreamcast Magazine (although saying that, £5 for a mag is considered reasonable these days - damn thieving media swines); and remember being slightly impressed by the sumptuous visuals. Basically, Sega Extreme Sports is like playing a triathlon but instead of running, swimming, chopping onions and grouting the bathroom (or whatever they do in a triathlon); you have to guide your remarkably stereotypical character through a series of non liner 'stages' via various modes of transport. So, you start off at the top of an obscenely steep mountain with a snowboard strapped to your feet, bomb it down the hillside and go through a checkpoint at the bottom. Then, your character will hop off the 'board and run to a quad bike (or ATV, depending on how anal you are) and scramble over the hills to the next checkpoint...and so on and so forth until you get to the finish.

It's actually rather good fun, but some sections/modes of transport are better than others e.g. the hang-gliding sections in particular are the gaming equivalent of a peaceful political protest - you never really know what's going on, where you're going or what you're meant to be doing. The aforementioned snowboarding bits are pretty enjoyable and probably could have been used to make up a full game - they're easily as good as 1080 on the N64; and the music is quite similar to that heard in Jet Set Radio (relaxed beats, man), so it's all good. The graphics possibly aren’t as good as they once seemed, and the scenery has the habit of 'morphing' into view in a slightly disturbing manner, but overall (with the exception of the hang-gliding), Extreme Sports is a pleasant little game.

6.8/10 in an EGM stylee.

You've had the Good...now prepare for the Bad and The Ugly rolled into a single ball of sheer hatred and then flattened to the size of...well, a Dreamcast GD-Rom, as luck would have it. Gentlemen, lock up your daughters - it's:

90 Minutes: Sega Championship Football

Erm. What happened here then? I've mentioned 90 Minutes in the past, but I’d only managed to play it briefly. Now I actually own it, I can confirm my earlier fears that it is one of the most broken video representations of footy I've ever seen. Pele on the Megadrive played a more convincing game than 90 Minutes, and if I remember rightly, Mean Machines Sega said that it was one of the worst games...ever. But I've jumped the gun a bit. There are loads of things wrong with 90 Minutes:

  1. Playstation quality visuals (that's PSX, friends - not PS2)
  2. Commentary that's so bad it's actually just plain bad (example: "The clock, 5 minutes, indicates that there are 5 minutes remaining in this, the first half..." - no, REALLY)
  3. A 'dash' button that doesn't make your player run any faster (?)
  4. More slowdon than a particularly busy day down at the Harbour in Shenmue (oops...!)
  5. It's impossible to tackle
  6. Players run through the ball

This list is exhaustive, but I'm sure you get the message.

However, the single aspect of the 90 Minutes 'experience' (an experience similar to 'The Death of A Thousand Screams') that makes me want to rip out and then devour my own small intestine, is that it was developed by Smilebit. Or at least it has their logo festooned all over the box and manual. Who?

Er...Jet Set Radio? Jet Set Radio Future? Gun Valkyrie? Panzer Dragoon Orta? Hmmm...when you consider the rest of the Smilebit family, 90 Minutes suddenly looks more like the retarded brother who is chained up in the attic.

Turd out of 5, in a CVG (Golden Years of '96-'99) stylee.

And even though I've already broken my vow not to mention Shenmue, I've got some news that just can't wait...I FINISHED IT!!! Now for part 2... :-)

Footnote: Never attempt to write a post in Word and then paste it into the blogger window. You have been warned...


gnome said...

Beautiful post, but you shouldn't have mantioned the CVG of yore. Now, I'm all nostalgic. And sad.

Tom Charnock said...

Thanks Gnome, always a pleasure. Ah yes, CVG of yore was a fantastic publication. Second only to Saturn Power (nee Sega Power). And Mean Machines Sega, of course.

gnome said...

Remember the short-lived Go! that used to accompany CVG?

Animated AF said...

What about Official Saturn Magazine mid-97 to mid-98? That was quality.

Tom Charnock said...

Gagaman - yeah, Saturn Mag was quality, I must agree. Any mag that championed Sega in the face of such blatant industry Sony bias is OK in my book.

Gnome - Don't remember Go!, but I was a big fan of the 'Retro Ranch' centrefold that was, funnily enough, in the centre of CVG. Maybe the Greek and UK versions were slightly different...?

gnome said...

Alas, there was no Greek version. We were stuck with cretins trying pass of blatant plagiarisms of manuals as reviews. No. Go! was the special handheld mag included in the brit version of CGV, featuring reviews for Lynx, GameGear, Gameboy and the TGFx-16

Ross said...

I own Sega Extreme Sports, but its just known as 'Xtreme Sports' here. The U.S. version wasent even published by Sega - Infogrames (the French company now known as Atari, the publishers of such stuff like Driver: Parallel Lines) did the honers. Its a decent game but it gets old kinda fast. If it had more things to do I would love it. And it has beautiful graphics as well. No online functions in the U.S. version either, but I never hopped online with DC (I purchased my little white system in 2004) so it didnt matter to me anyway.