Showing posts with label Genki. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Genki. Show all posts

Guest Article: Shutokou Battle Celebration

Martin Hinson is a man who knows his racers. Specifically Japanese racers you may never have heard of. And when he's not getting stuck into the likes of Racing Lagoon, Touge Max G, Side By Side Special or Battle Gear, he's tinkering with Japanese sports cars in real life. In this latest guest article, Martin takes a look at one of the Dreamcast's best racing series: Shutokou Battle. Western gamers will be more familiar with the title Tokyo Highway Challenge, and a lot of racing game fans may have initially looked at the fairly limited number of circuits and not really given the series a fair crack of the whip. Happily,  Martin is here to tell us all why we should give the series a second chance...
It came to my attention at the recent UK gaming event Play Expo Manchester, how few people still know about the Shutokou Battle series. Although I was aware the series is rather cult, I still found this somewhat surprising, given the age of the series and number of titles it spans.
Starting life on the Super Famicom in 1994, the series passed through the 32-bit era, flirting with both the Saturn and PlayStation before rising to prominence, albeit it on a small scale, on the Dreamcast in 1999. Starting as a somewhat standard Mode 7 racer, it had evolved into a fairly unique ‘CaRPG’ by the time it hit Dreamcast. It was also one of the earliest games to utilise tuning with a huge range of performance upgrades in some of the 32-bit games. 
The series focused on drift racing until it hit Dreamcast. It suited the arcade nature of the visuals and wide tracks on display - think Ridge Racer on the PlayStation. However due to the grunt of the Dreamcast, developer Genki put a huge focus on realism, not only visually but also from a gameplay point of view. This is perhaps most obvious in the handling, as it is much harder than before and car control almost feels sloppy. It’s easy to be put off the moment you play and most people probably were, but frankly, that’s a huge mistake. Stick with it and you are left with one of the most rewarding driving games around.

A Quick Look At Super Magnetic Neo

Magnets are fun. I vividly remember the first time I discovered that old hi-fi speakers contain magnets after I broke one open in an alleyway behind my house. Being from a rather run down district of Manchester me and my siblings made our own fun back then, and smashing old broken stuff up in alleyways was a particular highlight. When such endeavours yielded hitherto unknown treasure like huge magnets...well, that's the stuff dreams are made of. Even more so when we discovered that putting said magnet on the TV made all the colours go funny...until my mother saw what we'd done and went banzai. But I digress.
BBC Breakfast's new format was a winner.
Magnets then. Fun and mysterious things that can be used for all kinds of wondrous applications - making speakers work, ruining the colour on crappy old CRT televisions, levitating the friction-less trains of the future, and being the basis for the overtly camp Dreamcast game Super Magnetic Neo.