He Gave His Life...So That The Dreamcast Could Live....

Now those of you who are aware of my other blogging endeavours will know that I completely plagiarised this great website by creating the 'Saturn Junkyard'. No more needs to be said about this blatant inferior copy, because it was a cowardly rip off of Tom's excellent idea. However, it has spawned one wonderful discovery... That of the man who gave his very life for the Dreamcast. Introducing Segata Sanshiro, the actual humanised form of Sega's next best console, the Saturn. Yes this living, breathing, greasy haired ninjitsu LEGEND, gave up his very being so that the Dreamcast might light up our dreary worlds.
What you see above is ACTUAL documentary footage of Segata Sanshiro saving the headquarters of Sega Japan on the eve of the launch of the Dreamcast. Those eagle-eyed watchers amongst you will notice the familiar orange swirl, which allows me the tangential link to post this video within these hallowed walls.
But for those of you who, like myself are moved to tears by the heroic act of this great man, need not worry.
For at the end of the video you will see actual footage of Segata Sanshiro in heaven, with the baby Jesus and Buddha.
Right now I bet he's chilling out with such departed loved ones as Jimi Hendrix, Ghandi, Plato, Lady Diana and Fred Elliot. We love you Segata Sanshiro, you will live in our hearts forever.

(P.S. For a full rendition of Segata's wonderful theme tune, visit the other Junkyard).

New games, new sticks, new buttons.

It's been quite a while since I've posted here hasn't it? That'll be because last week was give-us-all-your-coursework week at Uni, but now I have some time off, which = quality time with what is currently the most modern console in my household (since I sold my GameCube, and haven't got a Wii yet), along with the new bits I have brought back for it from my trip to New York over the last week of 2006.

So how did I even find any Dreamcast stuff anyhow? Pure luck, actually. Th 1st day we woke up in New York, after pissing about with the hotel who had lost our suite, we popped down to Greenwich Village, our favorite area of the city. Unlike the Rolex selling tramps and bright lights of Times Square, this lower down area is not only a lot quieter, but has a lot of great unique shops tucked away. After popping into an small Irish bar for a proper Breakfast, walking down one road I spotted a sign about an import retro shop, with a little map of where it had moved to. For those who may be interested, the address is 202 East 6th Street.

Anyway, we finally found the shop, which was rather small but very well packed with potentially thousands of games stacked up to the ceiling, and an old Mario statue standing out front, that some Japanese family were having heir photo taken with. The first thing you see as you walk in is NINTENDO WII ONLY ONE IN STOCK BIG FAT BUNDLE $500, but as soon as you went around one of it's many corners you came across a wall with about 5 shelfs of hundreds of American Dreamcast games. Yikes! On closer inspection, about half were 2nd hand and half were sealed, but a lot of them were multiple copies of the same game. For example, they must of had at least 50 copies of Coaster Works. Basically, most of it was junk. I did however fish out 3 games I did want which were cheap: Atari Anniversary Edition for $15 (about $8), Illbleed sealed for $10 (£6), and Floigan Bros for just $8 (about a £4).

They also had a shelf of DC games behind glass that were all gooduns, like Typing of the Dead and Outrigger, but were all $25, which is roughly more than I could get them on Ebay anyway. Lastly, there was a glass cabinet full of Japanese games, including one shelf for Dreamcast ones, which were mostly games you can get cheap anyway, like Sega Rally 2, or games that were pretty darn expensive, such as Under Defeat for $90! Ouch. I at least got one thing from this cabinet, and that was Puyo Puyo Sun for my Saturn for $20 (£12), because I wanted to try out that import cart I have had for years.

The shop had a lot of stuff I wanted (including just about every good Neo Geo Pocket game ever), but they were far too over priced with a lot of their games, obviously basing them on the highest prices they go for on Ebay.

One last Dreamcast thing I did actually pick up was a fighting controller for $15. It's third party, but the only time I had seen a controller like this for the DC was one released in Japan by ASCII, which sells for a lotta money. This one is pretty much the same thing, but a lot cheaper. Score!

For starters, it is laid out just like the arcade stick, with the shoulder buttons replaced with the Z and C buttons at the front. This makes the controller very useful for six button fighters like Street Fighter III,. hence the name. It also makes it look a lot like the controllers for Sega's earlier systems, especially thanks to the shape and size of it. Example below (sadly I don't have a six-button Mega Drive pad to compare with, but it's good enough):

Also notice how the VMU sticks out of it. It has one slot, so what about if you want rumble? It's built in! Oh yes. And if you don't want to use the rumble there's a switch to turn it off, if you like. There is also a turbo and clear button, although I haven't tried these out yet. The plastic feels a bit cheap, and the d-pad isn't on par with the arcade stick for fighting games, Also, games that use the analogue stick only won't work with it. It's still a good alternative if you can find one, and also quite nice for playing emulators. Reconfig the controls on Smash Pack and you could have the excat same layout as on the original Mega Drive controller!

Speaking of arcade controllers, I now have two of 'em. I didn't drag this 2nd back from America, however, but it was the first thing I saw in the window of GameStation as I visited it not long after arriving back home, and it was boxed for a measly £13. The one I've had since 2000 didn't have a box and cost me £30, but even that's cheaper than you'd have to pay for one online, because they're so heavy the postage goes through the roof. This new one isn't in as nice condition as mine, but at least it hasn't rusted up at all like mine. Here's a photo of the two sitting together in harmony:

Elaborating on the games I brought back, Atari Anniversary is a complication of about 13 of their old arcade games, all with plenty of options and features, and a bunch of artwork and interviews to round it all off. It's a very nicely made collection, with all the games perfectly recreated. Tempest is additive as hell, too.

Illbleed is a unique take on the survival horror genre in which you are in a horror theme park where you win money for not dying, which isn't easy as they throw just about everything they can at you, from mad chainsaw men to a huge, vampire Sonic that vomits rings. I'm NOT kidding. The game has you keeping track of all six of your senses (yes, you do see dead people), pumping yourself with pain killers, popping to the hospital now and hen and even listening to a cassette of whales to calm your character down from everything that's out to make you jump. It's pretty hard stuff, and features voice acting that rivals that of the first Resident Evil, but it looks great for it's age and is yet another reason why the Dreamcast is the most "dare-to-be-different" console of the last generation. Well worth a go, I've posted a video to give you an idea of it's awesomeness. You know, there was a plan for this to be remade for the Box, along with Blue Stinger, but they got canceled, so there both still Dreamcast exclusives! HA!

Oh, and that purple haired girl in the trailer? You play her wearing nothing but mud near the end of the game. ZOMG NAKED CHEAT. Again, I'm not kidding.

Floigan Bros, as Tomleecee has previously pointed out, is absolutely fantastic. Even now, this is probably the most cartoon like in game graphics ever produced. You can cel shade all you like, but if you really want that classical Looney Tune look in your game, make it bouncy, which this is in spades. In a medium where everyone is striving for realism, it's takes real innovation to do the opposite and take game visuals into a direction that has rarely been done in 3D without resorting to pre-rendered footage (as great as those cut scenes in Stupid Invaders looked, it wasn't ingame). Gameplay wise there is a lot to take in, and Moige is always craving for attention. I swear I've played that high five game with him too many times to count now. It still is, however, a must buy.

Remember that tutorial mode that Tom mentioned? Well, thanks to the game running at 50HZ (which is a first for a NTSC game), I've recorded it and plopped it on YouTube for you to see in all it's cartoon glory!

With those three new American games added, my collection of imports is looking rather healthy now, and almost filling a whole row on me shelf! I can fit 15 PAL games in a row on there, but 30 NTSC, because of tthe thinner, regular CD cases. Lovely.


This is the only clip I could find on Youtube of my newest favourite game... It's frankly shit, and does nothing to actually show the greatness of the game. For a true reflection of the graphics and gameplay check the IGN link at the bottom of the DCOX post underneath... However the Drum and Bass soundtrack is worth a post on it's own... turn your speakers up loud and enjoy!!

Death Crimson OX Review

Well they say in this life you get what you wish for... And I wished for Death Crimson OX and I got it...

Universally panned in every review I've ever read, I felt undeterred and searched eBay for this coveted treasure.

In Samuel Beckett's frankly fucking depressing masterpiece "Waiting For Godot", the hopeless central charatcers, Estragon and Pozzo, trapped in a hostile limbo-like wasteland, resort to insulting each other... After exchanging swearwords, profanities and a variety of scathing comments about each other, the ultimate insult to be levelled is "CRITIC!"

"Yer fecking big CRITIC!!"

This was Beckett's way of replying to those who had poured scorn over his writing, because they had not 'got it', and often were so puffed up with their own smug sense of self worth, that they had missed the point of the work they were reviewing.

"Father Krishna!" I hear you cry "What the fuck is this? Some poncey, Open University, literary analysis, or a shitting games review for fucks sake?" (Ahem!) and to you I say, "Calm down oh reader...I'm getting to the point..."

It's the same with games reviewers.

Frankly I think a lot of games reviewers and 'experts' are:

a.) Up their own arse
b.) Overly critical of the genre
c.) Trying to score points with their smug sense of self satisfaction
d.) Very much in need of a good shag/An excursion away from their consoles and into the real fucking world....

The game is a Light Gun game for fucks sake! A port of an arcade blaster! A mindless 'shoot'em up'! A lovely psychedelic slaughterfest, with a thinly veiled plot... there's no need to 'wax lyrical' about the finer points of frame rates, the subtelties of pixellation, the nuances of character or the profundities of the moral lessons learned throughout it's sub-plot...

Before I get any further on with my my soap box rant let's look at the (admittedly) poo storyline...
(This is the blurb off the back of the box...)

'July 29, 2010. The beautiful city of Saronica is destroyed by the mysterious SMO. Agents, known as Subliminers, are placed throughout the city to opress the populace. Survivors form the Resistance and fiercely engage SMO forces in battle. The Resistance is led by the elusive Lily, who also makes a mean dish of macaroni and cheese. (I kid you fucking not... FK)
Segue to Agent Kou Yanami, tortured with doubt over his employer's policies. he seizes two pistols from SMO's arsenal and joins the Resistance forces.His pistols are the Crimson, ancient super weapons,. lily attempts to shelter Kou, from his dogged pursuers but in turn falls prey to SMO. Now, Kou Yanami and Lily's daughter, Yuri, set out to free her... and blow away any SMO Subliminers who get in their way...'

So there you have it! Not fucking revolutionary, but not that much inferior to the plot line of HOTD 2 for example... Let's not forget, the game is about blowing away monsters, skeletons, zombies, robots and hulkng behemoths wielding swords... How much plot do you need? Did Asteroids need a plot ? (A lone ship in a barren Universe... Astronauts Chad Thwackerman and his latent homosexual lieutenant , Charles Blanchefort suddenly discover they are facing a hail of meteoric appocalypse... ) PUR-LEASE!

Similarly, the use of text representation of character's speech, rather than spoken word? Is that a massive problem?

Did HOTD2 scour the acting world for the cream of vocal excellence...HELL NO! Did bad voice acting affect the game? NO!

The graphics, whilst not the best, are vividly colourful and imaginative. The game has a good variety of villains to plug away at. Like HOTD2 and Virtua Cop, there are innocent civillians to avoid, weapon upgrades and 'life-ups' to discover. At the end of the level there are Bosses to defeat (one with a blob of shite on the end of his sabre - known as (LOL) "The Sword Of Stink"!

The one problem I have with the game is a minor one and I'm coming to terms with it quickly.
The shooting method is totally different to Virtua Cop, HOTD2 or Confidential Mission.
On my screen (though not on the video on the IGN link below) there is a moveable target. You use the D pad on the gun to aim it at your adverasies. Reloading is acheived with the a press of the B button, which means having to use both hands whilst firing... ho hum!

There are a number of modes in which to play the game, Mission Mode, Story Mode and Bullet Mode, the latter involving slaying your many faceted foes, with the minimum amount of ammo...
I managed in two attempts on 'easy' option on Story Mode to clear two stages, earning me a place on the leader board, and got to input my initials. Go me! Longevity of gameplay is not an issue for me, I like the odd game that I can just pick up and play, revisit when I want to and leave if I want... This little baby fits the bill. I won't play it to death, won't obsess about completion, or feel that I've been undersold as a result. The only two Dreamcast games which have had me hooked in that respect are Shenmue 1 & 2 and Soul Calibur (Mission Mode). As a devoted family man (!) I simply haven't the time to devote lots of hours to gameplay, so a half hour of blasting away at monsters, or a quick spin in a Crazy Taxi, are the sought of things that can provide a short burst of escapism. Plus I have too many games which I've bought and never played meaning I can discover a 'new' hidden gem at any time!

So, all in all Death Crimson OX is a winner for me.... 'it does what it says on the tin' ...it delivers the goods... And I'll award it a generous 7.5/10 for overall gameplay!

However if you want to read harsher reviews (and also look at some great CD-OX video) you can do so here, here and here. For all the boring specs and details you can look here...

And remember people the best review a game can get is the one you give it... If you are unsure of a current game rent it... A duff retro purchase can always be traded at your local Gamestation for something you like better.

Oh and BTW I've just found out that Death Crimson OX is the favourite game of alcoholic flange flasher Lindsay Lohan! Who'd a thunk it!?

Good night dear children wherever you are...

Dreamcast Half-Life

The Internet...Bloody Marvellous! It allowed me to procure a lovely Treamcast. It allowed me to discover this wonderful 'Yard. It has lead me to discover more about gaming in less than twelve months, than I had known in the preceeding thirty years... and it allowed Tomleecee to procure 'Vapourware', cancelled Dreamcast games that were never released, including Half Life for the DC.(See October's Archive posts.)

Whilst posting a sterling review of this game with screenshots, I thought regular readers might enjoy the somewhat late addition of this little video clip discovered by Deitrix... which has got my Dreamcast juices flowing.

As Tom pointed out recently, it's getting increasingly difficult to find stuff to post about a console that has been 'resting' for 6 years... But we'll keep on trying...

Oh and I will endeavour to play Death Crimson OX enough to write a full review sometime soon.

Peace out! Happy New Year!

Beta Powered!

WA-HEY! It's 200,000,000,007! Have a look out of the window. Look at all the flying cars, houses on sticks (left) and Michael J. Fox on a skateboard with no wheels being chased by Biff Tannen and his mates. Oh, and the Junkyard has finally made the Quantum Leap to Beta. Cool eh? EH?!

Actually, it looks the same as 2006 to me - SHITE. Outside, that is - still cold, still grey and still populated by CRETINS. And on top of that, it looks like blasting around in a plutonium and/or garbage powered DeLorean has had some adverse effects of Mr J. Fox's nervous system. Ho hum.

Anyway, I'm temporarily back from my quite hideous trip into the realm of the World Police, and thought I'd swing by the 'Yard to see how FatherKrishna and The Gagaman(n) were keeping the side up in my abscence. Verdict: I can see that they've done a quite stirling job - HUZZAH. Cough.

Much like a post of old, this diatribe isn't really going anywhere Dreamcast related simply because I haven't been able to get my gnarled and almost root-like hands on any DC paraphernalia for almost two months. I did see a copy of Evil Dead: Hail to the King t'other day, but I didn't think it warranted putting my hand into the pile of dog shite it was encapsulated by. Oh, and that Dreamcast towel I was harping on about a few months back is actually more like a flannel than the beach towel it was advertsied as. Negative eBay feedback, how I love thee.

I did, however, swallow my big, blue, SEGA-sponsored pride and buy a PSP a few weeks ago, and I have to say that I'm thoroughly impressed with the quality of the thing, if not overly impressed with the selection of games on offer. But why wax on (or off) about the PSP on a Dreamcast blog? Well, I also happened to pick up a copy of Virtua Tennis World Tour, which is basically Virtua Tennis 2 with an updated roster of tennis stars and a few new mini games...and that's it! Even the 'career' aspect is i-fucking-dentical to the DC version's - yep, even the pointless and infuriating way you have to create both a male and female character to train. Sheesh. Not that I'm complaining about the similarities - indeed, Virtua Tennis 2 is still the best Tennis game availible on any system. I just thought that, you know, Sega would be good enough to make Virtua Tennis World Tour more of an update than a blatant port. Humph.

Quite why Tim Henman is still required isn't entirely clear...

I suppose though, that what I'm getting at is that the memory of the Dreamcast is still surviving in the technology of today! That residue of the Dreamcast is still...still...CONTEMPORARY, MOTHERFUCKERS!!!

Furthermore, a popular clothing store by the name of Republic is flogging a range of 'fashionable' bits of cloth under the brand 'Soul Cal.' Ring any bells? I'm penning a letter to Namco as I write this. I knew that third arm implant would one day come in handy (cue canned laughter).

In other Sony related news, I had a blast on a "PlayStation 3" (or something) earlier this week. What happened to the cool looking 'boomerang' style joypad?

"Cool!" I thought when I first saw it, "A pad that comes back and hits you in the face when you throw it at the telly because you've been killed for the tenth time IN THE SAME SPOT..." Ahem.

No - they've reverted back to the boring old Dual Shock!! WHY?! Anyway, I had a go on Ridge Racer. Nowt special I'm happy to report...and the console is fucking HUR-UGE! It makes the 360 look like a matchbox. If the current tred continues, consoles in the real future (as opposed to boring old 2007) will come with their own nuclear powerstations. Or in the Xbox 1080's case, sold seperatley. For the price of £YourSoul.99

Oh, and I completed Blue Shift on the Dreamcast. Go me!