Showing posts with label Alien Front Online. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Alien Front Online. Show all posts

6 Dreamcast Games That Would Perfectly Suit Nintendo Switch

Earlier in 2017 we pulled off a fairly ridiculous April Fools prank that garnered far more attention than we ever intended, or expected. Remember the whole 'DreamStream' thing? It got picked up by a fair few groups on social media and it fooled more people than I'm comfortable admitting, but that's probably just down to my amazing skills of internet tomfoolery. As awesome as it would be to stream Dreamcast games onto a Switch via an internet connection, the very premise is as daft as a brush - that is, why wouldn't Sega just release the games as downloadable ports, as opposed to stream them and require the user to have a WiFi connection? Tsk!
Anyway, this got me thinking. After Damon's rather excellent recent post about Splatoon 2 being the Dreamcast game we never knew we wanted; and after recently purchasing a Switch myself, I started to think about the other jewels in the Dreamcast's library that would make great additions to the Switch's steadily growing software suite. Sega has been a strong supporter of Nintendo hardware ever since the Gamecube and there's been a big enough length of time since the Dreamcast graced us with its presence that there are bound to be millions of Switch owners who have never played many of the system's greatest titles. Surely, with the almost mythical status the Dreamcast has garnered over the past few years, it would be a license to print money for Sega to release - either as budget downloadable games; or as a 'best of' multi-pack - a selection of the finest software ever to grace the little white box of tricks?
With this in mind, here are my picks for the best first party Sega games that would fit right in on the Switch. Please bear in mind that this is just first party stuff, so unfortunately it doesn't include a Switch port of the amazing Spirit of Speed 1937 - a game that was clearly passed down from heaven by the hand of God him/herself (delete as applicable). They'd mostly have to be re-worked with an aspect ratio more in keeping with the Switch screen too, but this is all just wishful thinking in the first place so don't go all keyboard warrior on us. Anyway, here we go...

Planet Ring & Alien Front Back Online With DreamPi 1.5

Our good friend Luke Benstead has been hard at work updating his DreamPi software, and the latest release adds a load of cool new features. The coolest of these are support for VOIP (voice chat) and allowing tank-based multiplayer shooter Alien Front go back online! The VOIP thing is also important because games like PAL exclusive Planet Ring use it extensively, and Plant Ring is now another title that can be played online should you have all the right bits an pieces required to hook your Dreamcast back up to the internet. Here are the key details on DreamPi version 1.5 taken from Luke's website:
  • New software is included written by Jonas Karlsson called 'dcvoip,' this system process makes the VOIP communication in Planet Ring work! The software is distributed with permission.
  • There is now built-in support for the upcoming Alien Front Online servers that will allow your vanilla normal AFO CD to work without a boot disc! (Thanks again for Jonas for the information to do this).
  • The Pi's firmware has been updated which should bring better device support
  • A bug has been fixed where the DreamPi software wouldn't shut down correctly
  • The modem command timeout has been increased which fixes a number of bugs on modems which are slow to respond (for some reason...). Thanks to Neoblast on the DC-talk forums for finding this.
  • Fixed a bug where the DreamPi process would boot before there was an internet connection (mainly affected WiFi) and would require restarting multiple times to get things to initialize correctly.
The work being done by Luke and Pcwzrd13 to get the Dreamcast back online is phenomenal and we have nothing but admiration. As stated by Pcwzrd on Twitter, the Alien Front Online server is still in beta so don't expect it to run perfectly, but the fact that it's up and running is a fantastic achievement in itself. If you've been enjoying playing online multiplayer on your Dreamcast again through DreamPi, let us know in the comments how you've found the experience. For more information on creating a DreamPi connection, be sure to check out Luke's FAQ and Pcwzrd's video on Alien Front Online over at Dreamcast Live.

Edit: Just a minor piece of additional information. The Alien Front Online server was created by Petter3k with help from Jonas Karlsson (Shuouma), DreamPi simply adds support for these games.

A Quick Look At Alien Front Online

This week I received in the post a fully boxed and complete copy of Alien Front Online, for which I paid the princely sum of £3. I have played this game extensively in the past as I own a burnt copy of it, but there's nothing like having the complete official set in your collection...and for such a minuscule sum who could turn it down? I'll tell you who: a screaming buffoon. A buffoon I am not though, and this is evident in the way that I now own Alien Front Online. Am I making any sense at all? No? Excellent.
Following on from our recent A Quick Look At Virtua Cop 2, I intend this series to be - as the name suggests - a sort of whistle-stop investigation of titles lots of people may already be familiar with, but that others may never have experienced. Indeed, many people will be very familiar with Alien Front Online, and I'd hazard a guess that the vast majority of those folk would be Dreamcast owners hailing from the good ol' US of A. This is because Alien Front Online didn't receive a PAL or NTSC-J release, and even if it had been launched in the UK I very much suspect that the 'Online' part of the title would have been dropped just like it was from PAL versions of Outtrigger, Daytona and Unreal Tournament. But let's not get too far ahead of ourselves. Just what is Alien Front Online? Let's have a little look...

Life's A Beach

Erm...I hate to start a post in this fashion, but what the fuck is this:
Right there, under TrickStyle. The audacity...
I've just noticed that out of every single game I have, only one has the name printed right to left instead of left to right. F1 Racing Championship, why must you be different? It's not big, and it's not clever. You'll forever be in the shadow of F1 World Grand Prix 2 and pulling an attention-grabbing stunt like this will never change that. Sigh.

Anyway. The sun's still out and my garden is still dying in the unexpected summer heat. I'm not complaining, but my significant other spent quite a while planting all sorts of green, leafy stuff out in the mud and I'll be damned if I'm going to fill a jug with water and start messing about expending calories by pouring the aforementioned wet stuff onto it. In the immortal words of Ivan Drago, if he (the foliage) dies, he (the foliage) dies. Of course, I'm just joking...I'll go and throw a mug of vodka on them in a bit: there'll be Hell to pay if she gets back from her travels and the yard resembles the surface of Planet Crematoria. Gulp.

And while we're on the subject of arid, sunny locales I thought it might be fun to profile some of the Dreamcast's best beaches!

100 Games and Counting!

Over the weekend I realized that I've hit the 100 games mark with my Dreamcast collection! The epic event started when I paid a visit to the local used games store and found a few treasures: the Limited Edition version of Shenmue, complete with Jukebox CD for $17, Alien Front Online in box with microphone for $14, Versus Books Official Shenmue Perfect Guide with poster for $9 and the SEGA Saturn's Puyo Puyo Sun for $8 (check out the Saturn Junkyard for a look at that game).

Arriving home, I found that the indie shmup Fast Striker standard edition had arrived in the mail from Play-Asia (InsideOut video to come). So I got on the computer, went over to my profile and added the games to my collection list and the counter hit 100! No flashing lights went off, and there wasn't any confetti, but it was a fun moment. I should note, the 100 count doesn't include games I own in multiple regions, demo discs and browser discs. If that were the case, I'd be at around 125. I plan on doing a collection photo roundup, just as Gagaman did back in November when he hit 200, but will hold off until a few other items arrive in the mail. Specifically Unreal Tournament, Quake III, Fur Fighters, Wetrix+, Seventh Cross Evolution, Slave Zero, Soul Fighter, Time Stalkers, Trick Style and Tokyo Xtreme Racer which were all in a lot sale. The seller just has to get back to me once he "finds all the games", lolz.

There's something about the winter months that make me buy more Dreamcast games than usual. I think it's due to the lack of new games being released in January and being stuck indoors.

We're Three!

¡ Hola mi amigos! I realise this post is about a week too late - but it just dawned on me that The Dreamcast Junkyard is now officially entering it's third year of existence! Wow! Who'd have guessed that three years after it's conception, the humble 'Yard would be the most powerful Dreamcast-related interweb thingy/Empire in this arm of the galaxy?!
For this reason, I would like everyone reading this right now to go to the kitchen/cellar/local Netto, pour yourself a pint of vodka/gin/paint thinner (my tipple of choice, these days) and quaff a libation to the memory of the Dreamcast and to the future of the Dreamcast Junkyard. Finished? Good. As a special birthday treat, here's a picture of a Dreamcast travel clock I found on eBay several weeks ago but then forgot about and so never got around to posting before the auction ended:

Reviewing all the officially liscensed guff that we've seen here at the 'Yard over the years (you know - the jackets, shorts, towels, watches, tissue holders, hats etc), it makes me wonder whether Sega's financial and PR teams were actually run by Baldrick from Blackadder (above left, yesterday). Picture the scene:


Shoichiro Irimajiri: Right people, let's hear your strategy for world domination

Baldrick: I have a cunning plan, sir. It involves mass producing Dreamcast branded swimming shorts and alarm clocks. If my predictions are correct, Dreamcast domination is guaranteed

Shoichiro Irimajiri: Fuckin' mint - right, lets wrap this up and get down the pub. I'm buying


Anyhow, after my recent adventures in trying to download and burn my own games (something I failed at spectacularly, even though I can't actually see what I did wrong - I followed the instructions down to the letter and wasted TWO packs of high quality CD-Rs*), I went with my tail between my legs and aquired more games off one of our esteemed long-time supporters. Now, some say his favourite meal is carpet-tack and drawing pin pizza and others claim to have seen him at the controls of United 93 before it ploughed into a field in Pennsylvania. All we know is he's called The Sti...erm...Gary**. And here are the fruits of my loins of purchasing stuff (hmmm, not sure if that works. Ah well.):

Capcom Vs SNK 2
Oh. My. God. I'm by no means a beat 'em up fan - especially when it comes to the 2D variety; indeed the last one I actually bought at full price was X-Men: Children of the Atom on the fucking Saturn, and that must be about 15 years ago now...but this is simply awesome. I hate to say it, but I am what would probably be considered a 'newbie' when it comes to 2D beat 'em ups like this. Never held a Neo Geo pad and never played an SNK game before either, but after sampling the delights on offer here I can truly appreciate the appeal. For a start, the presentation is possibly the best on the DC - I'm talking DVD interactive menu style here, and the gameplay is unbelievable. The roster of playable characters is fucking ma-husive and features all the old favorites from the Street Fighter canon, as well as a shit-load of ones you might have read about in Sega Saturn Magazine but never had the cash to be able to sample (King of Fighters, I'm talking to you). And don't get me started on the fantastically camp announcer, who is possibly the gayest in-game voice over dude since Guy Smilie agreed to commentate for Ridge Racer. Oh, and the post fight faux news reports are quality too...I could go on forever. Quite simply, this is possibly the best 2D fighter I've ever played. But there's more...

Marvel Vs Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes
Holy Christ's undead corpse on toast! This is even better than Capcom Vs SNK 2! It's got Jill Valentine in it! At this point, I must apologize for my ignorance and total denial that the 2D beat 'em up genre even existed. I have been living in the gaming closet, clearly. Last time I disclosed my virginity when it comes to shooters - this time my virginity in fighters. The shame is unbearable, people. Moving swiftly back the MvC2, gameplay features the ability to assemble a team of three familiar characters (granted - something you can also do in Capcom Vs SNK 2) and then use their individual special attacks, combining them into one humungous super-attack powerful enough to level a continent, nay a planet. All of the familiar Capcom characters are here (and also a few unfamiliar ones for good measure), as well as the usual Marvel ones too (the X-Men etc), but its the general pick-up-and-play nature of the game that made me fall instantly in love with it. The presentation is simply awesome (the music is amazing), and the selection of playable characters is inspired (as mentioned, you can play as Resident Evil's Jill Valentine; Wolverine; Spiderman; Venom; Strider and even Mega Man (who you would think would be invincible...))...what's not to love about the Marvel vs Capcom 2? Dazzling, in every sense of the word.

Power Stone 2
Everyone's favourite early DC game, Power Stone was a 3D beat 'em up with a difference - you could run around freely within the stage, pick up weapons and the titular 'power stones' and dish out some serious cans of whup ass in full-blown polygonal glory. Power Stone 2 ups the ante by several folds, adding such delights as a four player mode (an aspect missing from the original that SERIOUSLY damaged my Dreamcast's appeal recently), bizarre side-scrolling single player stages and a horse-box full of new characters and weapons. In layman's term, Power Stone 2 is basically more of the same, but with 4 characters battling to the death rather than just two. This may sound like a bonus on paper (screen), but in reality it's about as confusing as that sudoku puzzle in the Metro (erm...I'm thick). You can barely see where your character is at times and you're constantly being attacked and then told (courtesy of big flashing arrows) to run or jump to a new area of the level. What was wrong with smashing someone's face through a wall ala DOA2, to reveal a new arena? Here, you have to outrun Indiana Jones style boulders, mid-bout, just to carry on your scrap! Don't get get me wrong - Powerstone 2 is a wicked fighter, and the absolute pinnacle of pissed-up four player gaming 'mayhem'...but it just gets too complicated for it's own good at times. The twat.

Alien Front Online
The premise here is cooler than Samuel L. Jackson locked in a meat freezer in the local branch of Farm Foods. Earth as been overrun by hideous alien invaders who have set up camp in our major cities. You are a rookie tank commander who is tasked with blasting the shit out of said alien scum and allowing the druggies, chavs and benefit scrounging single mothers to move back into the decrepit inner city slums once they're cleared. It's called 'democracy,' people. Anyhow, you get to enforce this notion by driving a hoofing great tank through E.T.'s newly acquired living room and unloading a 40 Lb shell into his face with extreme prejudice. Alien Front Online essentially plays like a tank-based version of Spawn: In The Demon's Hand. The levels at first appear to be massive open-plan cityscapes, full of destructible tower blocks, but in reality are rather small, enclosed arenas. The controls are also rather annoying - the strafe command is ever-so-slightly Red Dog-esque and overly cumbersome meaning you'll be blasted by alien tanks more often than you should - and you can't turn the turret and body of the tanks independently...but the graphics are fairly decent and the music is rousing so I'm not going to be too harsh. Obviously, as the name suggests, Alien Front Online was originally intended to be played over t'interweb with teams of humans battling teams of aliens for global domination. Alas, as with most online DC titles these days, the servers now presumably lie unloved and AIDs ridden in a gutter in Dehli. Sigh.

Demolition Racer: No Exit
You remember Demolition Derby, right?! That ancient PS game where you smashed cars into each other in an attempt to bed the opposing redneck's teeth into their dashboard? Yeah? Cool. Demolition Racer is a game that follows the same template, albeit with vastly superior graphics. Apparently a port of an older PSX title, the first thing you may notice about Demolition Racer is its outstanding soundtrack. Whilst today's games (most notably those released by EA) often feature soundtracks by real-life bands, back in the day it was quite unheard of (for the first, see crap top-down shooter Loaded), and that's why Demolition Racer's is so unique. Granted, the bands on show are fairly obscure ('Cirrus' and 'Coffee Shop Boys' to name but two), but their tunes are really rather good and fit the mood of the game perfectly. Unlike that hideous creation blaring out during the first stage of Sonic Adventure 2. Rolling Around at the Speed of Sound, indeed. So, it's a redneck simulator where you can race against other cars and smash into each other to earn points; or you can take part in a proper destruction derby in a 'bowl' and, erm, smash into each other to earn points. It differs from Destruction Derby in that the tracks are strewn with power-ups and the like, and the damage models are quite basic considering it's whole focus is on destruction...but it's good fun and like I said, the soundtrack rocks. Good stuff overall. Why it didn't get a PAL release I'll never know, but it may have something to do with the above Baldrick situation.


*Please don't post any comments about my buying burned games, downloading ISOs, Discjuggler, or calling me a fucking idiot/shit-eater/retard/cum-guzzling bollock fondler etc. I did everything right and followed all the instructions at (the rather good) site, but nothing I downloaded and burnt using either the aforementioned Discjuggler or Bootdreams would run in my DC. Again - I did nothing wrong. And just to emphasise the point, I've downloaded and burnt shit before and it worked perfectly. Don't hate the playa - hate the GAME, people. And if you must ignore this heartfelt plea, have the cojones not to post as 'anonymous.' That way, I can find out where you live, slip in through an open window at 3.15am on Christmas Morning and slit your fucking throat with my Soul Reaver. Cough. I would also like to add that, yes, the stuff that you can download obviously works for many, many people - it just didn't for me.

**Apologies if you're not familiar with Top Gear. That paragraph will have made no sense whatsoever.

***Not the real BBC, you understand.

And on that note, it's nearly Christmas, so I'm off to battle my way through the crowds of Primark-clad zombies in Woolworths to get some vastly reduced pick 'n' mix for my Xmas dinner. Oh, and spare a thought for these two poor bastards:

Yep, it's Woolie & Worth. Who's thinking of them during this festive financial crisis?