Showing posts with label Bleem. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bleem. Show all posts

History of Independent Dreamcast Development

This article is taken from the work-in-progress second issue of the free fanzine, Dream On Magazine.

It's hard to believe that Sega released the Dreamcast twenty years ago! It feels like only yesterday. Luckily, the indie developers have been busy these past decades, so there's lots of dreamy goodness to cover. 

The second issue has taken a long time to come out due to huge mistakes on my part, and I sincerely apologize for that. However, the wait should be worth it, as I've had some awesome help. The DC Evolution crew, the same folks who put together the excellent compilation disc, "The Sandman #1", is helping to make sure that this issue will be the best it can be. 

So, feel free to dive in, and read up on the creation of the independent Dreamcast movement. I hope you find as much enjoyment out of it as we've had creating it. 

Dream On #2, and by extension, this article, would not have been possible without the help of BlueCrab, Christuserloeser, Idarcl, DCDayDreamer, and lyonhrt.

Bernie Stolar opens the floodgates to rumors of Saturn's successor.

On 23 June, 1997, Sega's Chief Operating Officer announced "the Saturn is not our future", publicly revealing for the first time that they were working on a successor. This console would use a
Hitachi SH-4 for its CPU and an ARM processor for sound. The code name for the console was Katana, but it was given the name Dreamcast by the time it hit retail. It was released in Japan on
27 November, 1998, in North America on 9 September, 1999, in Europe on 14 October, 1999, and in Oceania on 30 November, 1999. It was discontinued just a scant few years later when
Sega announced that it was discontinuing the console on 23 January, 2001. Production of new
games continued in North America until spring 2002, in Europe and Oceania until winter 2002,
and in Japan until 2007. However, it continues to have an active commercial life among
independent game developers.

A collection of official MIL-CD enhanced music discs.

The Dreamcast continues to be attractive to indies because the games can be sold on CD without having to obtain a license from Sega, which drastically reduces the overhead that is usually present in commercial game development for consoles. This ability actually stems from a vulnerability discovered early on in the lifespan of the Dreamcast. Sega of Japan developed a multimedia system called the MIL-CD, or Music Interactive Live-CD.

Circuit Breakers - The Dreamcast's Best Race Tracks

Regular visitors to the 'Yard will probably be familiar with my love of the racing genre, and I've covered quite a few of the Dreamcast's finest examples over the past few months. From examining the best radio-controlled examples and F1 sims, to studying the racers with the best headlight effects; The Dreamcast Junkyard will leave no stone unturned when it comes to looking at even the most obscure aspect of the system's racing games. That said, it's recently occurred to me that possibly the most important component of a racing title has yet to be investigated here in any real depth. No, not the vehicle handling. Or the vehicles themselves. Or the accessibility contrast of the menu screens. No, I'm talking about the tracks you race on - one of the most fundamental parts of any racer. A good circuit can save even the most dire racing game, and will remain in the player's memory long after the crowds have left the grandstands and the smell of burning fuel has evaporated from the silent pit lanes.

Anyone who has played Sega Rally on the Sega Saturn will attest that even though that game only has a handful of tracks (Desert, Forest, Mountain and a fourth - Lakeside - if you're good enough), every twist and turn is etched into the brain, and this is because each and every one of those courses is a masterpiece of track design. Likewise with the original Ridge Racer - that title only really had the one track, but the intelligent design ensured that this paltry complement didn't at all degrade the overall experience. It isn't just the layout of a course that's important though - the setting and track side details all combine to create an environment that is as memorable as the street you lived on when you were a kid, or the bedroom in which you played your first games console. The very best tracks from your favourite racing games will stay with you forever, and even after years of not picking up a particular game, once the lights go green the important details come flooding back as if you never left.

With this in mind, the Dreamcast's very best (and worst) racers do contain some absolutely fantastic examples of track design. Some of them are great simply because they feature devilish corners and straightaways where fierce battles for the podium are a mainstay; others are just set in breathtaking locales - either Earthbound, or set in faraway places that man has yet to step foot in this reality. So, without further ado, lets set a course and take a look at some of the most impressive, memorable and enjoyable circuits from a selection of Dreamcast-based racers...

Mermaid Lake: Daytona USA 2001
At first glance, Mermaid Lake looks like another run-of-the-mill figure-of-eight track with a bit of a lake in the middle. And for the most part, you'd be right. The lake itself barely features in the course though, and that's because the section where you might be expecting to see said body of water is actually a Gale Racer type banked corner that reaches a fairly hair-raising angle. Once this has been negotiated however, the course opens up to reveal an extremely impressive downhill straight that not only takes you back under the track you just screamed over, but also gives a spectacular view of the whole course laid out before you. Mermaid Lake may not be the most exciting course in terms of the variety of trackside furniture - it's mainly a few grandstands and factories - but there are a couple of nasty 90 degree corners thrown in further along that will more often than not see your shiny Hornet transformed into a smoking, crumpled jalopy. Usually in 40th place.

Mars: Magforce Racing
Apart from being an absolute stinker of a futuristic racing game, Magforce has the envious position of being the only true 'futuristic' racer on the Dreamcast. The real issue here is that the vehicle design is laughable (the craft are all three-pronged tripods with wheels at each corner), and the sense of speed is far too sedate for a game of this ilk. The one saving grace though, is that most of the tracks are really well thought out and feature some rather nice details. If only this had been the basis for a WipEout game. Sigh. The shining glory in Magforce's catalogue of circuits though, is the only one not set on Earth: Mars. The track undulates fantastically as it winds through the ancient caverns and valleys of the Red Planet, past the spaceport and through a gigantic domed area that wouldn't seem out of place in Total Recall (the good one with Arnold in it - not that crap with Colin Farrell). Reports of a tri-breasted mutant are unconfirmed, however.

Civic: Rush 2049
Rush 2049 is a game you either love or loath. The cartoonish trappings and overtly ridiculous gameplay and vehicle designs are very much an acquired taste, but as a gamer who loved the original instalments of the series on the N64, I consider Rush 2049 to be the pinnacle of a series that hits all the right buttons. The Dreamcast version of 2049 is regarded by many as the finest available, and I am happy to agree with that notion, and of all the brilliant circuits on offer within the game, Civic is - for me - the best of the bunch. The fairly sedate starting section set within a green and pleasant parkland is soon eschewed for a fairly grandiose vision of a Utopian suburb of San Francisco, complete with skyscrapers and elevated walkways. Naturally for the series, these can be driven on and the emphasis is on finding hidden routes. Stick to the beaten track however, and you'll not only be treated to some fantastic drops (where you can utilise the vehicles' build-in gliding wings), but also a display by a formation of fighter jets.

Ship Graveyard: Hydro Thunder
Possibly one of the Dreamcast's greatest arcade racers, Midway's Hydro Thunder also features some pretty spectacular courses. As you can no doubt appreciate, it's hard to refer to them as 'tracks,' as there's not much asphalt involved here...but you get the drift. To be honest, this was a tough one to call as I had originally limited this list to one circuit per game, and Hydro Thunder has a multitude of outstanding examples, but in the end it was Ship Graveyard that won out. Starting off in a fairly quiet part of a dockyard surrounded by the rusting hulks of forgotten vessels, you quickly carve a path through the waves and blast out of the relative calm and though a working scrapyard where towering cranes precariously move bits of hull around above your head. Not long after this, you'll find yourself powering through the decommissioned superstructure of a radioactive navy warship, before being battered by increasingly choppy waves in a section straight out of Moby Dick - complete with lightning flashes and a solitary lighthouse showing the way. The finale of this amazing course has you blasting through a tunnel only to emerge in a tranquil lagoon with the sun breaking through the clouds as if the angels themselves had decided to call the maelstrom off. Truly, truly brilliant.

Le Mans: Le Mans 24 Hours
One of the only real-world tracks to appear on this list, the legendary Le Mans 24 hour course has to get a mention in this list simply because it is a sublime trip through the French countryside if nothing else. It helps that Infogrammes' racer is one of the best looking games on the Dreamcast, not because it does anything particularly special...but because it's subdued tones and realistically modelled mundanity actually makes it feel so much more lifelike than the brightly-toned Ferrari F355 and other titles in this category. The Le Mans course itself is a 13.6km beast that takes in rural farming villages and towering grandstands alike, as well as a draw distance to die for. This helps immeasurably when you finally get to the monumental straights that seem to go on forever and allow you to reach cheek-flapping speeds. The screenshots here only show the track during a foe-less time trial session, but during a full-blown Le Mans event the race goes on through the night and into the next day, and the dynamic lighting really shows off what the Dreamcast is capable of - you can even have a real time 24 hour long race if you like...although that's not something I've attempted yet.

Oovo IV Executioner: Star Wars Episode 1 Racer
Set on an asteroid and beating a path through a maximum security prison, the Galactic Podracing course Executioner is one that takes racers through various terrains and environs. The start of the course is in a fairly standard enclosed area, with bright floodlit concourses and a nice view of the asteroid belt above. This rapidly changes though, as competitors are soon thrown together as the course narrows and you are funnelled into a muddle of zero gravity mining tunnels - complete with errant floating boulders - and cavernous underground halls, where the entrances and exits have a habit of changing shape as you pass through. There are multiple routes through the course too, and more than one area where turning your pod racer on it's side is essential if you want to avoid certain death. As with Rush 2049, Episode 1 Racer also appeared on the N64 (and also PC and later the PS2) so isn't strictly a Dreamcast-exclusive track...but it's so atmospheric and exciting that I couldn't help but include it in this run down.

Bonus Track - Ridge Racer Type 4: Out Of Blue
OK, so this isn't even close to being a Dreamcast game...but by the magic of Bleem! it's here on the list! Out Of Blue is a course that, for me at least, encapsulates everything that sets RRT4 apart from the rest of the series. The over-saturated, pale and sickly light that seems to penetrate every section of the track gives the environment an almost sterile feel, as if something is completely wrong...but yet seems fine on the surface. It reminds me in a lot of ways of the manner in which The Matrix uses that slightly green filter to unsettle you. The course starts in a perfectly fine built up urban area, complete with towering glass structures and a roaring crowd. But before long, you're out in the middle of an eerily quiet dockland, where your only company is a flock of seagulls and motionless cranes. Maybe this is more down to the technical limitations of the PlayStation, but I like to over-analyse stuff like this, so lets just pretend you're racing through a near-future world where all of the people have been replaced by mindless robotic automatons, and the moment you get out of the car and they realise you're not a 'synth,' they'll all start coming for you. Chasing, endlessly chasing you to the end of the Earth - they will not stop until your organic body has been erased from the planet. Out Of Blue: a vision of a future where humans have no reason to exist. Shudder.

Got a bit surreal towards the end there, but as usual this list isn't definitive - there are plenty of games that didn't make the cut yet also feature some impressive examples of great (and memorable) course mechanics. Games like Wacky Races, Ferrari, Buggy Heat and Sega Rally 2 have some brilliant stages; and the collection of Formula 1 games also have some accurate and interesting real-world tracks. But what do you think? Is there a shining example we missed? Let us know in the comments section...

Custom covers for Homebrew games/ports

I've set up a folder on the Dreamcast Junkyard Photobucket of custom box art I've put together, so far all in the PAL style (might make American style versions soon). Quite a few are just edits of DCEvolution covers to make them look a little more official while some are completely made up designs like the Marathon trilogy cover using the highest res artwork of the game I could find, the Counterstrike one based on the X-Box cover art. Lot's of covers I made for the Dreamcast Forums scene years ago, mainly of Bleemcast releases. I like to make these from time to time so I can print them up and put them with the discs in their sleeves. All credits to whoever drew what in each image, these are just for free fun. :)

Metal Gear Solid: Dreamcast VS PS2

A side to side comparison of the Bleemcast version of Metal Gear Solid VS the PS2 version Metal Gear Solid. Yeah NOT the original MGS disk running on a PS2. This is the version they recently released in the Metal Gear Solid 3 pack for the PS2...

The Dreamcast version had some blurring of the text but the rest of the comparison will shock you...(Well, it didn't shock me as much as leave me with a smug feeling that's gonna last all day)

And now to get a copy of Bleemcast for Metal Gear Solid. Unlike other bleem offerings you can actually save your game. Of course this takes up a whole VMU dedicated to Playstation saves but thats not really a problem for a guy like me who hase collected like 20 of them.

So while all the current-gen sheep line up to buy MGS4 I will be playing the best game of the series on the best console of all time...

All hail the Undead console!

Lost Bleemcast video (and more!)

I was sorting through all my Dreamcast videos sitting on my harddrive (some of them take up a lot of space you know), I found a piece of Bleem footage that I had forgot to upload to the youtube account, so here it is: Time Crisis Project Titan running (poorly) on the infamous emulator. You can't use the light gun, the music doesn't play and it crashes after the first area of the first stage...but it's quite amusing to watch just for the skipping voices.

So this post doesn't look quite so meek, here is a collection of some of the best Dreamcast related videos I could find recently.

A Space Channel 5 live dance show at E3 2000. Not just another excuse for seeing a girl dressed up in Ulala gear, honest. Sega's set up at E3 2000 was simply magical, wasn't it?

A Saturn and a Dreamcast slagging each other off. Like that ancient Dreamcast Vs PS2 one, sort of.

A early tech demo that teases us with Scud Race models. Why did we never get a port of that game?

Hot naked Dreamcast porn. Actually, it's a video tutorial on calibrating your GD-Rom drive.

Dreamcast Hip-Hop from 'The Big Cheese' Sure beats that song Mega64 did, even if he is singing in in his kitchen.

A run through the "What's Shenmue?" demo. With narration that points out the subtle differences. Worth watching just for the cameo by Sega executive Hidekazu Yukawa.

Mario Kart 64 (just about) running on the Dreamcast. These emulators are just getting more ambitious, aren't they?

A expansive guide to getting good at Street Fighter 3rd Strike. Brilliantly edited with clips of Shenmue.

9 New Bleemcast Videos!

It's been a while, but here's a new collection of videos showing off Playstation games running in the infamous Bleemcast beta emulator. I've been picking up a lot of dirt cheap Playstation games recently from boot sales, particularly this weekend when I got a bundle of 8 discs (all with no manuals or covers) for 50p, for example, which mainly consisted of rally games, and half of them worked in the emulator. In fact, there are only a select few games that I've bought that haven't worked.

I've been buying all these not because I care for a lot of the games (I find a big percentage of the PSX's game library to be rather boring, excluding all those rare games I'll never find, like Vib Ribbon) but simply to see what one's work via the Dreamcast, and I've come to the conclusion that the emulator especially likes games by Namco, what with Klonoa, Time Crisis, Tekken 1 and 3, Ridge Racer 1, High-Spec and Type 4 and Soul Blade being on the "playable" list.

So to make up for not making one of these Bleem posts for a while, here's a heap of NINE new videos! Of course, if you own these games, don't bother watching them...just try them for yourself!

Crash Bandicoot

Now here's something you may of never expected to see: Sony's unofficial mascot (until he went multi-format some time after the Dreamcast was out of stores) on a Sega console! Crash games ain't all that original, but the first trilogy of platformers by Naughty Dog weren't too bad, really. The game works pretty darn well, too. The graphics, bar for some glitches at the title screen and company logos and some semi-transparency on the pits, are close to perfect. The sound effects are missing (which is a shame), but at least the music is intact so the game isn't completely mute. Definably worth a shot considering I paid 50p for it! I hope to hunt down Crash 2 and 3 eventually to test on it too (I already know Crash Team Racing doesn't work, however).

Compatability Rating: 4 and a half out of 5


A 2000 budget release, Crisisbeat is a scrolling beat em up with four playable characters, one of which has a slight resemblance with Ryo from Shenmue. The game works really well except for the fact that the cut scenes consist of some terribly irritating voice skipping. Also, after playing the game on the Playstation I noticed that most of the time the game runs a whole lot faster on the emulator, and when your characters runs to the next area Benny Hill music might just pop into your brain. Still, it's a mildly entertaining game that only cost me a quid.

Compatability Rating: 4 and a half out of 5

Tekken 1

Seeing as Bleem! released a disc for Tekken 3, I figured: why not try the previous installments? First off, the one that started it all. This game really hasn't aged well, at least not as well as Virtua Fighter has (as blocky and simple as it was, VF1 has a certain retro charm to it. Tekken 1 is just ugly). Still, Bleemcast seems to like it: the game's graphics are 99% perfect: all that's wrong is that the sky is always black in the very top half. There's no music either, but all the grunts and smashy effects are there. The game's not really worth it, but it's nice to see the emulator run it well..

Compatability Rating: 4 and a half out of 5

Tekken 2

..which is more than can be said for it's sequel, unfortunately. Everything seems fine enough until you get into an actual fight..and then it hits you with one of the oddest glitches I've seen in this emulator yet: the characters polygons are stretching out all over the place turning good old Heihachi into a mess of scrambling spikes. This is a real shame as everything seems to be in place: the backgrounds, sound effects, even music (although it's choppy). Oh well, some arty farty type might like it's abstractness.

Compatability Rating: 2 out of 5


Good thing you can always rely on Bomberman to cheer you up, especially when even a Playstation game of his works so well on this emulator. This exactly-what-it-says-on-the-tin title is such because this is a remake of the original NES game, and much like Crazy Climber 2000, it lets you choose from 'modern' graphics and the original 8-bit visuals (except unlike Bomberman, Crazy Climber is shit). here's the great part: the graphics are nigh-on perfect, the sound effects are all there, and the music is there too, although it is choppy. Still, 2D games rarely work in Bleemcast, so this is darn impressive. I picked this and Tekken 1 up for £1.50 the pair.

Compatibility Rating: 5 out of 5

Soul Blade

Soul Calibur: we all know it's the greatest thing to happen to the human race since toasters were invented, but games like this can't just happen out of the blue: they have to start somewhere. Hense there was Soul Blade, the prequel to our much loved fighter on the Playstation about 3 years prior, and it still holds up well enough. As far as this emulator goes, however, it's so close but so far. Thankfully the music and sound effects are all fine, at least until you get to those dreaded cut-scene voices (which loop in a similar fashion to that in Crisisbeat, but not as severe), but while the game is perfectly playable, the textures are just not having it: most of them refuse to load until a match is over, in which as soon as the replay begins they all decide to finally show themselves...too late. If you really don't mind playing on a blank white stage with blank white characters most of the time, you have the option, but really your betting off staying with Calibur.

Compatibility Rating: 3 out of 5

Colin McRae Rally

At the time this was being prasied as the best rally game ever. I can't see what the fuss was all about here: Sega Rally was way better, but each to their own. The emulator runs this game very well, with just some texture issues here and there that mainly stand out. Instead of not loading textures, though, this game oddly loads the wrong textures. For example: some of the gravel and trees get replaced with lumps of random numbers and letters, and the Start and Finish signs are now a map of a stage. How odd. Otherwise, perfectly fine to play.

Compatibility Rating: 4 and a half out of 5

Colin McRae Rally 2.0

Now this is more like it. I can see why people loved this one, it's a huge improvement on the first installment. McRae Rally 2 was actually penned for a Dreamcast release, but was canceled, so here's the next best thing. The games music and sound effects are all there, but much like Soul Blade, the emulator has trouble loading the textures at the start of a race, it takes about 30 or so for it to adjust, and even then textures will pop on and off here and there. It;s perfectly playable, though. Just pretend it's been snowing a lot.

Compatibility Rating: 3 and a half out of 5

Intelligent Qube

Finally we have a game I don't own (it's too rare) but burnt, a puzzle title called Intelligent Qube that has you clearing blocks that are slowly rolling down the screen. It's pretty clever and well worth a look, especially when the emulator can run it so well. he graphics are very simple so they are all 100% there, and so are the sounds. Once again, the only issue is with the voice in the tutorial section, although it doesn't loop forever luckily. As the game so brilliantly says it, this game is about as "PERRRRFECT!" as emulation is gonna get on the Bleemcast beta!

Compatibility Rating: 5 out of 5

What? More Bleem?

I have a confession to make.

I, the GagaMan(n), anti-Playstation extraordinarie, have bought myself a PSone.

Before you all come charging down to my house with pitch folks and axes, I have my reasons. First, it wasn't the butt ugly early model, but the cute as puppies smaller model that looks a little bit like the Dreamcast. Second, it was in next to brand new condition. Third, it came in a cool little official carry case, and forth, and most importantly, it only cost me five quid.

Now I would give any console a go for that kind of price, so here I am, plugging up a console I swore I would never own, but hey, I already have games for it, remember? The one's I bought dirt cheap to try on the Bleemcast beta emulator? Yeah, those. Now I can actually save my progress for them! Sadly, I can't run the burned discs of rare Japanese games I've got, as I'd need to get a mod chip in it to run them, but at least I can compare how the games look on the console they were made for and the console they weren't. I had gotten used to the smoothness of Time Crisis running on Bleem, so sticking the game into the PSone gave me a bit of a shock as everything is much, much more pixellated. It's all to do with the fact that in Bleem the games run at twice the resolution they do on the PSone and even the PS2 (and, by the sounds of recent news, the PS3 as well). Haha!

Now don't get me wrong, the Playstation had some true classics and under rated gems on it, but you try finding proper copies of them. Browsing through Gamestation and GAME in various towns, it seems that everyone has held onto these gems and given these shops nothing but football games. I swear to god, the PSone has about a million of them, even one just focused around David Beckham! Compare this to the six or seven that the Dreamcast has. Not being a fan of Football myself, I'm kind of glad I don't have to bury my way through every month's FIFA release when searching for good Dreamcast games, but it could have had at least one really good one, like Worldwide Soccer 98 on the Saturn. If it's not football, it's some other sports sim, wrestling, or one of the early racing games like Porsche Challenge and RIIIIDGE RACER. Sigh.

I was lucky to find one gem last week, however, at a boot sale for £1. R-Type Delta, a rather lovely 2.5D (Read: 2D game with 3D graphics) shump. Although I am a big shump fan, I never really got into the R-Type series, so this is a first go at it. For the fun of it I ran it through the Bleem Beta and, what do you know, it worked almost perfectly in it! With it being an arcade game and all, you don't really need to save this game unless you want to keep your rankings, so it's the prefect kind of game to run well in Bleem. Here's the clip I ripped from it, in which I do pretty terribly.

Thanks to that Portable Video thingy I won last week, it's now easier for me to rip this stuff. before I had to record it to video, then record that video through a DVD recorder, then rip that DVD footage onto the PC, which took bloody ages. Now, I can just plug this little device into my telly, rip the footage, and drag it onto my computer! Hurrah!

Another game I burned for the PSX recently with Bleem self boot built in was, funnily enough, another 2.5D shooter from a series I never got into when it started out: G-Darius. This game has the odd music issues, like most games in this emulator, but looks perfectly fine. Playing it on super easy mode so I don't look like a plonker blowing up a lot, which commenter's on YouTube would soon point out, as they always do. Here the clip:

Finally, there's been some interesting news recently at abouts developments with another Playstation Emulator, known as PSX4ALL, which is in it's beta stages and is looking great so far. The post at the forum shows some screen shots and videos of it's current progress. It's slower than Bleemcast at the moment, but it does have the potential to surpass it. For starters, it looks like it may be able to run those dreaded video files Bleem hates so much, and it may, after some tinkering about, be able to save memory card files to the VMU too, in he future. Keep your eyes on this!

More Bleem! Footage.

Recently Lan-Di from DCforums has been submitting a batch load of self-booting Bleem discs featuring rare Playstation games that work rather well on your much prettier Sega console. Yes, the murdering kung fu master that Ryo is after is in fact a DC torrent seeder. Who would've thought? I haven't tried them all out as of yet, but I have downloaded 4 of these (well, 5 actually, but one of them wouldn't go any further than a couple logos. Doh!) and now posted videos of them all for your viewing pleasure. I spoil you lot, I really do.

These are mostly games you won't very likely find for 5p at a boot sale (in fact, most of them never saw the light of day outside of Japan), so I have no gripes about downloading them. If it's Tekken or Ridge Racer you want, you may as well find the proper copies, and run them off a disc of the beta emulator on it's own.

First off, we have Cowboy Bebop, based on a very popular (Also a personal favourite of mine) anime telly series starring a bunch of Bounty Hunters in space. Trust me, it's much cooler than it sounds. Shame the same can't be said for this game of the same name.

Rather than playing any of the cast from the series, the whole game involves you flying one of the fighter planes from it, and game play wise this is nothing more ha a on rails shooter set to dull scenery. You get bog standard guns and a much handier laser that locks on to enemies. You can also rotate your ship and move it about, but it doesn't really make a whole lot of difference until you get to the boss areas, in which it becomes pretty darn hard to line up your ship in the direction you want it. You'll notice in the video that once I'm in the boss area, the level suddenly flips upside down and I spend the whole time trying to line it back up while getting beaten down by un-dodge-able fireballs.

Emulation wise, the graphics have the texture issues seen with many games running in Bleem beta, in that they don't load up quick enough and you end up with patches of white all over the place. Also, judging from screenshots of the Playstation version I've seen, there is supposed to be animations of the characters that pop up in little boxes, but none of them show up here. The music works fine, but the SFX are a bit of a mess and only play when hey feel like it (which is barely ever). Pausing then un-pausing the game seems to make random SFX and voices echo like mad for a few seconds. Over wise, it's as playable as such a bog-standard game can be.

Next up, Crazy Climber 2000. Apparently this is a classic retro game from the 1980s. I've never heard of it, myself. The game features a 3D remake and the original game. As far as Bleem emulation goes, this is possibly the best compatibility yet. It works perfectly in all departments, and even the retro version of the game works like it should. Much like Cowboy Bebop, though, it's just a shame that the game itself doesn't live up to the great compatibility.

For starters, the graphics leave much to be desired, and is about as basic as you can get. Remember Virtua Fighter running on the 32X? That looks 100 times better than this does. But the graphics are nothing compared to the failure that is the actual game play.

The arcade version played with two joysticks, you see. One for the guys right arm and one for his left arm. On the console controls, this translates as the d-pad for his left arm and the four main buttons for his right arm. While classics like Pac-Man are extremely simple and instantly accessible, Crazy Climber is far to complex for it's own good. Not only are the controls awkward, but even on easy mode the game really has in in for you. Once you finally start getting the hang of things, about five men, perfectly set up to make avoiding them impossible, will pop out of their windows and toss flower pots at you. Sometimes flower pots can just hit your side and bounce off, but too often for it's own good, they'll bounce onto your head (sometimes MULTIPLE times) to make sure you fall.

Then there’s the closing and opening windows that make you fall if you get your fingers caught in them. These closing windows tend to gang up on you in their dozens, and because you can't grab onto a closed window, you end up trapped with no where to go but down (Falling, that is. You can climb downwards!). In short, this game is frustrating to say the least, and hardly what I would call a retro classic.

Now, onto some good games. Yes, for every 50 bad games the PSX had, there was one that was well worth the visit. The first of two Bleem compatible examples is Klonoa: Door to Phantomile, which I'm sure if you were ever a Playstation-owner you will have heard of. This is a funky 2D platformer with 3D landscapes starring a rabbit/racoon/thingamajig with big ears and a little blob for a friend that resides in a ring. You can float in the air with your ears, and shoot a little close range laser thing that turns any critters that get in your way into a balloon with can in turn help you smash things and reach higher places. It's all rather charming.

On the Emulation front, this game works pretty darn well in places an not so well in others. The graphics, for example, appear to have no major problems what so ever, which is especially surprising as the Bleem emulator is not known for handling 2D sprites all too well. The SFX only play when they feel like it, although this is more often than Bebop and there are generally no glitches there either. However, it's the music that truly suffers in the emulation. As you'll hear at the start, you can just about hear it but it's drowned out by horrid flickering noises. I fond that the music can be stopped all together by opening the disc drive once a level as loaded, but this makes the next level slow down to a halt, so it's best off to just play with the volume down. Shame, really, because everything else is fine.

Finally we have the oddly titled N20: Nitrous Oxide by Gremlin. The game plays a lot like Tempest, only in this you are flying through a lopped tunnel that you can rotate around and you have to shoot bugs of all sorts. All of this is set to colourful, trippy graphics and dance music. The speed in which it moves can at times be dizzying, especially if you intend on spinning around the tunnel a lot.

The emulation for this game is very much perfect. I couldn’t spot a singe glitch in the graphics nor any problems with the music. I presume this game was supposed to have SFX, though, as the emulator doesn't pick up any. Unless of course the game didn't have any to start with, in which case please correct me. The game has so many colours flying about that YouTube compressed the video, a LOT.

So there we have it. More peeks into the most intriguing DC emulator out there. In other news, I've updated the Junkyard Wiki quite a bit, with a few game profiles set up here and there. I have so many more to do!

Top 5 Dreamcast Emulators (so far)

The Dreamcast is one of the most versatile consoles out there, thanks to a slip-up in that the console can run CD-Rs, when Sega went to all that trouble with the creation of the GD-ROM to try and prevent piracy. While piracy is never a good thing for the developers, it did also open up the console to one of the most thriving homebrew and emulation scenes on the net. While it may not be as powerful at emulation as a modded X-Box, the Dreamcast is the easiest to make pretend it’s another console. Just slap a disc in with the right tools and a bunch of ROMs and as soon as you know it your little white box is pumping out classic games like a little trooper. Bless.

Over the years there have been some real surprises in what programmers with a lot of spare time have managed to pull off on the Dreamcast, making it play games from consoles that no one thought it could. What’s more, the emulation scene for the DC is ever expanding, so there are bound to be more surprises around the corner. I’m dreaming of Mega CD and 32X emulation myself. For now though, these are the Top 5 emulators that have impressed me the most.


I only just got my hands on this yesterday, but already it’s blown me away. The Neo-Geo AES was the rich hardcore gamers console choice of the 16-bit era, providing direct ports of SNK’s quality arcade titles (there is also a emulator for the Neo Geo CD, but I have yet to try this) . This emulator pulls the games off very, very well, with it only slowing down on really hectic moments in very graphically intense games like Metal Slug. Over wise a good load of games work very well indeed, and the games you can get really are something of a hardcore gamers wet-dream. If you like your 2D fighters, scrolling shooters and Puzzle games, your in for a real treat by picking this up.
Get it Here.
Favourites to play on it: Metal Slug X, and that disc-throwing game I forget the name of.


Considering how this one is only in Alpha stages, this one has a lot to give. One of the real treats of this emulator is the variety of games you can load into it. Around two decades worth of arcade titles are at your grasp, from the oldies like Space Invaders and Pac-Man right up to the early 90’s games like Street Fighter II and Final Fight. While not all games run perfectly in it yet, there are so many that do that you’ll be playing it for hours.
Get it Here.
Favourites to play on it: 3 Wonders, Street Fighter II, all the old Namco and Atari stuff.

3 - Bleemcast!

The only emulator in existence that not only re-creates the graphics of a console, but enhances them. Bleemcast is something of a miracle that it was ever pulled off at all, even if we only got 3 complete game discs. Mind you, there’s nothing more enjoyable (and money wasting) than picking up old Playstation games at boot sales for a quid each and seeing what ones run in the leaked beta disc. You can also pick up converters for your Dreamcast that let you use Playstation controllers, so even the lack of L2 and R2 buttons is not a problem if you’re willing to splash out on one for around £15. If Bleem was released as it was originally intended, with compatibility for hundreds of games on just a few discs, and the save files didn’t take up an entire memory card, this would surely be in the top spot. A real shame Sony had to sue them into a early grave.
Get it Here.
Favourites to play on it: Tekken 3, Pepsiman, Parappa the Rapper

2 - Nester DC

With one of the biggest game libraries of any console, including more classics than you could possibly count, a NES emulator is a god-send for those of us who don’t want to keep blowing the insides of the cartridges and kicking the darn box for being so temperamental. NesterDC takes away the pain, and gives you oodles in return, including 99.9% perfect, full speed emulation, save features, Game-Genie codes, and many other bit and bobs. You may miss the small block controller, but if you really have the time and patience there’s even a way around that.
Get it Here.
Favourites to play on it: Punch-Out, River City Ransom, Gun Smoke, Excite Bike

As superb as NesterDC is, I’ve given t top spot of my list to..

1 - SMS Plus

Yes, this emulator not only emulates TWO systems, the Master System and it’s little brother Game Gear, but it does so with such devotion and class that it could make a grown man cry. Professionally presented, with countless options to suit your needs (adjust the screen, save a list of favourite games to your VMU etc) and with a menu design full of animations so good you’d think Sega themselves made it. As for the games themselves, they work a real treat, with 98% of them running at full speed with no glitches in the sound or graphics. This is just about the best representation of a console’s library the Dreamcast has seen yet. SMS Plus, we salute you!
Get it Here.
Favourites to play on it: Sonic Chaos, Alex Kidd series, Slider

Honourable mentions:
DreamSNES (Which would be great if not for that slow game menu that makes the Dreamcast go nuts)
UAE4ALL (An Amiga emulator with great potential, and one of my all-time favourite systems)

So what are you waiting for? Hunt these things down and get down with some retro goodness!

More Bleemcast! Pepsimannn~!

Yes, that infamous little emulator that could is back for more, folks. This time I come to you with one of the Bleem discs that was actually released commercially: Bleemcast for Tekken 3! I got my hands on it at Ebay, which is more addictive and money-draining than gambling, for £9 (well, £7 and £2 postage) complete with a copy of the game.

The difference between these commercial releases (of which there is only three) and the leaked beta is that they are specially made to play said game perfectly, complete with all the out-dated FMV cut scenes, rumble pack + arcade stick support and even the ability to save! Just one snag about the saving: it gobbles up an entire VMU (or one slot on a 4-in-1 memory card) to do so, which is the only gripe to have with these things. Otherwise, it works a treat for the Namco scrapper.

As for the game itself, it's certainly not one of the best fighters out there, when compared to some of the Dreamcast's fighter gems it feels a bit sluggish, but as far as Playstation games go this is very nice, especially with all the extra modes like the Tekken Force mode (Which plays like Streets of Rage, only without as much freedom of movement. Not being able to pick up he chickens because you're walking on a random straight line all the time can be infuriating) and the Tekken Ball mode (possibly the best thing in the game). There's also plenty of characters to unlock, although they don’t exactly take long to unlock (just beat the arcade mode so many times until you've got them all). These range from a panda, to a big goblin type thing (the game's boss, and possibly one of the easiest final bosses ever) to a little orange Dinosaur with boxing gloves called GON (if you don't know he is, I don't blame you, but find out here.) Below I've posted a clip (well, a bunch of clips stuck together) of the game running on Bleemcast.

Another development I've noticed is how people are now releasing Playstation games on torrent with the Bleemcast beta built in, so you don't need to do any disc swapping, which is nice. I'd rather own the proper games myself if I can find them cheap, but in some cases there are games that are mega rare that run brilliantly on Bleemcast, and you just can't resist giving them a shot. One of these games is Pepsiman.

Pepsiman, you ask? What the hell? Well, this is a true oddly of a game this. Pepsiman is the star of a series of Commercials Pepsi did in Japan, who looks like he has walked straight out of Terminator : Judgement day, has no face except for a rather creepy mouth that appears when he feels like it, and always seems to get into a lot of pain after saving the day by, you guessed it, supplying your everyday folk to cans of Pepsi. I've posted a youtube video I found of all the ads below. These are easily up there with the Segata Sanshiro commercials. (Submitted by Grimsato. Thank him.)

Now, onto the game. Well, before this Playstation game he was actually playable in the Japanese version of Fighting Vipers, for some reason. Soon after, this game was produced by KID (who normally only make dodgy anime dating Sims starring girls that are surely not of legal consent) for the PS. It's a very simple game in that you are constantly running forward, dodging any obstacles in your way and collecting cans of Pepsi. The game is in fact a whole lot of fun and not far off to what Sega was showing off with the new Sonic game on the Nintendo Wii in terms of gameplay. The game also features some rather excellent, English voice acting. Here's the Bleemcast footage. As you can see it works almost perfectly.

Finally, here's something I made when bored recently. Bleemcast covers! They are scans of Playstation covers, edited to fit in with the PAL Dreamcast games! Enjoy! PEPSIMANNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!

Bleemcast Example clips

Three topics in a row? Two in one day? Surely I'm over doing it? Meh, I'm bored is all, and I've actually had this post planned for weeks now, and finally managed to rip the footage properly. Basically, if you have no idea what 'Bleemcast' is, check out Tom's previous posts about it here and here, as well as my Sega Freaks post about it here, before I joined this blog's staff. Get ready for an overload of YouTubes!

This first clip is of Time Crisis, which works almost perfectly. This was always a favourite of mine in the arcades back when I was about 11. The intro is all in real time so this is a great way to show how the emulator works at it's best. The only main thing that sticks out is some of the voices fluffing up, especially near the end. Also, the fact that you can't use the Dreamcast light gun on it takes away some of the fun. Oh well.

Next is Parappa the Rappa. I don't own this game properly (it's a rare one, lke a lot of the good ones are), but have a burnt copy from a torrent site to check this out, as I was told it worked well, and it does. The title screen is a bit messy, the menu's graphics are not quite right, and the cut scenes in-between levels don't play right, but the in-game stuff works perfectly, as seen here. Because all the pixelation is smoothed out, the game looks like a real cartoon almost.

This clip above is of Riddddddge Racerrrrrrrrrr: High Spec. First it plays the original mode, which runs kind of slow but perfectly playable, then the 'Turbo' made which is even slower, but runs pretty well none the less. This is one of those games you don't need a save file for either, as it's just a quick fix arcade title. It seems Namco games are the ones that work the most for Bleemcast, which is good news for me, as there games are pretty much the only ones I like on the Playstation that I can't get anywhere else.

Next up: Ridge Racer Type 4. Dreamcast nuts will remember that this was the first game Bleem showed screenshots of running on Bleemcast, and sure enough it works really well, especially in time attack. The main problem I noticed is in the Grand Prix mode, where the car engine plays up, sometimes going silent then suddenly really loud.

Rollcage also works well enough to play, but it has some problems with loading textures from time to time, and there's no sound effects at all. It also makes me feel like a casual gamer playing it, for some reason.

Finally, Driver 2. If you thought Rollcage had texture problems, check this out. It also slows down from time to time (especially when you first start up the car) and, not shown in the video, the menu's are a bit of a pain of navigate. Meh.

Well there you have it. Conclusion? Unless you already own the games on the Playstation, this is only really a novelty more than anything. What's more, Dreamcast games are far more interesting anyway, as long as you're not counting all those games they ported from the Playstation that weren’t even it’s good ones.

Sweet Bleems are Made of This.

(This article was originally from my old blog Sega Freaks, which is now dead. I've mysteriously moved it over here to the Junkyard. Whoo~)

I'll apologize right now for that terrible pun but hey, what's this? What are a bunch of Playstation games doing within the collection of anti-Playstation Sega Freak Gagaman's? Well, if you didn't already guess from the title, I finally got some games to try out the Bleem Beta that has been leaked across the net. If you haven't heard of it, it lets you play these ol' games on your Dreamcast, with smoother graphics too. Because it wasn't complete, however, only some games work well whereas others are either riddled with bugs or just give you the black screen of death. And thus the hunt for compatible games begins.

Firstly, how does it work then? Plain simple, it's just a case of disc swapping. Modeled by my cat above, all you need is a copy of the beta burned onto a disc, and any PSX you can find to try out on it. I've never actually owned any PSX games before, due to going with the Saturn for the 32-bit era instead (I don't regret it, the Playstation's games libaury has never really excited me quite as much, and, to my possible mistake, made me buy a Gamecube instead of a PS2, even though hat has turned out to have a lot of interesting games), but luckily the games are as common as muck at bootsales, and can picked up for daft little sums of money. For example, just today I picked up Cool Boarders for 50p, Driver 2 for 25p, and Time Crisis, which I will be demonstrating with, for £1.50). Stick the disc in and this below is what you get.

Here's Time Crisis running on it. I always have loved these games in the arcades, and would even go as far as to say it blows Virtua Cop 2 out of the water. The game runs almost perfectly, except unfortunately it's not compatible with the Dreamcast light-gun, so the controls can be sort of awkward. The other obvious problems is the DC pad lacks three buttons - L2, R2 and Select. For games like Driver 2, it prevents you from getting where you need to, although you can grab a PSX/Saturn controller to DC port off Ebay. The other obvious problem is not being able to save, although luckily that's not such a big deal for arcade titles like Time Crisis anyway. Below is some shots of Cool Borders 2, which doesn't have sound and looks major buggered in any mode other than championship, with textures going mad including black and green snow. Gran Turismo 2 is another game that runs almost perfectly, which is nice.

Ok, so it's a totally geeky and almost pointless way of playing Playstation games, but the games that do work look bloody brilliant, much better than they do on a PS2, and hey, it's a fun novelty and saves having to own a console that looks like a toilet on your desk. Also, if anyone does decide to hunt it down and try it out, here's some guys' incomplete, but very handy compatibility list.

Bleem! Update!

I managed to borrow some PlayStation games from a mate...and they some extent.

Here are some shots of Tomb Raider 3, Driver 2 and Metal Gear Solid for your perusal. Apologies for the quality - as I've mentioned before, my camera only cost £40 and you really do get what you pay for when it comes to photographic equipment.

Back to Bleem! though - it even runs back up copies of PS games too, although naturally some work better than others. Tomb Raider 3, for example has the tendency to replace all the wall textures with a plain white gloss untill you get near to them and Driver 2 has a similar problem. Die Hard Trilogy is perfect until you get into the game proper and it's just a mess of polygons and odd textures - although the sound seems to be perfect.

The joypad is mapped pretty well to the Dreamcast one - X is A, Triangle is Y etc but due to there only being one trigger on the tops of the DC pad, you lose the L 2 and R 2 functions. Also, the analogue seems to work with some games but not with others.

The actual Bleem! interface is pretty non existent - when you put the disk in and it loads up, all you get is a flashing Bleem! splash screen. You then open the drive, pop your PS game in and it loads up. Simple but effective.

I do have a list of games that I am assured work perfectly with this version of Bleem! (including Colin McRae 2.0, Gran Turismo 2, Tekken 3, Ace Combat 3, Time Crisis, Ridge Racer Type 4, Quake 2 and ISS Pro Evolution 2) and I'll be trying them out at some point in the near future.

Even though there are a few graphical glitches with the games I have been able to test thus far, it is pretty cool to witness a Dreamcast displaying games for a totally different rival machine. The graphics on the whole are much shaper and pixellation is erradicated, but I don't see this as anything other than a novelty - who the hell wants to play Driver 2 when you can play Crazy Taxi 2?!

But if you'd like to download of a copy and try it out for yourself, click here

Legal Notice:
The Dreamcast Junkyard doesn't know how legal/illegal any of this shit actually is, so if you end up behind bars just because you love the Dreamcast - respect Brother (or Sister).