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Showing posts with label Rush 2049. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rush 2049. Show all posts

Petrol Panic! 6 of the best gas stations in Dreamcast games

For a relatively brief period in late 2021, the UK transformed from a miserable, grey, rainswept dystopia into a miserable, grey, rainswept dystopia that had no petrol at the vast majority of its filling stations. Many reasons were put forward for this phenomenon, but the general consensus was that some shitty 'news' websites were hungry for clicks, so they told everyone to start panicking and go and buy some fuel before it ran out...even though there wasn't actually a shortage. 

What ensued was an embarrasing display of idiocy on a national scale, with people fighting over diesel and miles long queues at forecourts. Meanwhile, Hexxus from Fern Gully was rubbing his oily hands at the prospect of another few decades of humans acting like assholes because they couldn't put some 4* in their Vauxhall Cavaliers.

Oddly, Crazy Taxi features no gas stations. I know, I've looked.

Anyhow, It occured to me - while I too was sitting in a 14 mile long queue for petrol, incidentally - that there are numerous games on the Dreamcast which feature equally queue-less petrol/gas stations. And here, for your pleasure is a rundown of six such virtual establishments. It's worth noting that none of the petrol/gas stations here feature a digital queue of Crazy Taxis or Afro Thunder punching people on the forecourt. Which is a crying shame, if you ask me.


San Francisco Rush 2049

It's actually quite a push to think that people will still need petrol stations in 2049 - surely electric vehicles will be the norm then? That said, one of the cars in Rush has an actual rocket engine on the back. Either way, If you travel to the Haight course in San Francisco Rush 2049, you'll stumble upon this double Shell garage that has perhaps the largest forecourt canopy ever constructed. Furthermore, the pumps appear to be emblazoned with acid faces, so maybe they aren't fuel dispensers at all, and are in fact tiny portaloos inhabited by local drug dealers.

Summary: Massively over engineered roof canopy, poor vehicle access, bizarre signage on pumps. Could be a front for more serious gang crime in the wider San Francisco area.


18 Wheeler: American Pro Trucker

18 Wheeler: American Pro Trucker is a game in which you drive trucks with 18 wheels, while pretendng to be an American. Unless you are an American. And a pro trucker. It's a passable arcade to Dreamcast port that is much less impressive when played on a 14" CRT television in a damp bedroom as opposed to on a huge multi-displayed big rig arcade machine with all of your nonexistent friends cheering you on. But enough of my childhood. On the first stage of the arcade mode (Key West), just after you come off the freeway theres a lovely little Texaco on the right offering various delicious fuels for a bargain price. Also, just beyond said petrol station there's an advertising board with a typo. Which is nice.

Summary: Nice looking, well kept and tidy Texaco branch. Intelligently located next to a busy arterial route. Occasionally an overly aggressive rival trucker buying beers will call you a 'greenhorn' and throw a cup of piss at you.


San Francisco Rush 2049 & ChuChu Rocket! Websites Restored


As reported recently over at Dreamcast Live, the websites for both San Francisco Rush 2049 and ChuChu Rocket! have been added to the ever-growing list of restored online resources for Dreamcast games. Just to be clear - this isn't related to online gaming per se. ChuChu Rocket! has been playable online with DreamPi for some time now, and Rush 2049 doesn't have any online multiplayer modes. It's the dedicated websites that can be accessed from each game's menu that have been dragged back from the depths of the internet's Bermuda Triangle and put back online.
That's not to say there aren't some really useful and interesting features on both websites, which, thanks to the work of programmer Jial and DreamPipe, are now available once again. The Rush 2049 website in particular offers some really cool and interesting features, including the ability to upload and download ghost times and participate in an online leaderboard for certain circuits. At the time of writing, yours truly is ranked number 1 in the world at the Marina track. As ever, autographs will be available for a nominal fee. Edit: I'm now ranked number 2, dammit. I will have my revenge!
The ChuChu Rocket! website has been restored by Xiden and similarly is hosted by DreamPipe. Sadly, there is no ability to upload scores to the ChuChu Rocket! site, however there are still some pretty cool features available, such as the ability to download puzzle stage DLC to your VMU. What's worth noting here though, is that with the resurrection of the website along with the previously restored online multiplayer modes, ChuChu Rocket! is one of several games that now has all of it's online functions fully back online.
In order to make the most of these features, you will need to sign up for a fake Sega.com account which you can do here. Because these sites are hosted by DreamPipe, the account details once stored by Sega no longer exist and it's actually a stroke of genius that the folks over there created this workaround to allow idiots like me to 'sign up' to a no longer available service once offered on Sega's main website. These two additions add to the previously restored Sonic Adventure, Sonic Adventure 2, Ecco and Jet Set Radio websites that can now be accessed direct from your Dreamcast. Bravo to everyone involved in this continued online restoration project.

Will you be checking out these two resurrected sites? Will you dare to challenge me for the title of world's number 1 number 2 racer on the Rush 2049 Marina track? Let us know in the comments.

Source: Dreamcast Live

Postcards From 2049

Whenever I'm asked what my favourite Dreamcast titles are, there's one game I will always mention: San Francisco Rush 2049. While many Dreamcast owners will quickly (and correctly) cite titles such Metropolis Street Racer, Le Mans 24hrs and Hydro Thunder as the cream of the crop when it comes to racers on Sega's final console, Rush 2049 will always come near the top of my list.

I can't even accurately explain why, there's just something about the janky handling and erratic physics that really endeared not only 2049 but the entire Rush franchise to me. Indeed, ever since I played the original console port of San Francisco Rush on the N64 I've been a fan of the series and while there are far, far better games out there I just can't get enough of Midway's arcade racer.
When it comes to Rush 2049 though, I think there's something strangely beautiful about the near-future world the developers created for us to race through. The neon soaked straight aways and tranquil civic gardens of the San Francisco of 2049 prove to be a perfect backdrop through which rocket-propelled high performance vehicles can jostle for superiority; the futuristic jungle of suspended walkways and towering skyscrapers lay in wait while high speed trains and passenger-less trams traverse the sterile streets of a commuter-less metropolis.

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...

All The Lights That Light The Way


Are blinding. There are many things that I would like like to play on my Dreamcast. But that's another story (morning glory). Where was I? Oh yes...Driving games! The Dreamcast has lots of them. Some of them are total shite, and some of them represent the very zenith of their respective sub-genres. Ferrari F355 Challenge and Le Mans 24hrs for example, are two of the most impressive track-based racers of their generation. But I'm not here to talk about the quality (or lack thereof in some cases) of the Dreamcast's racing stable. What I'm here to talk (write?) about is a minor part of some of the Dreamcast's racers that I find quite intriguing: headlights! More specifically: which Dreamcast racing game has the most impressive digital rendition of light particles being thrown out of the front of a vehicle as it careens around a course in the pitch black?

Triple Threat

Well, Christmas has been and gone, and we were a little quiet here at the 'Yard. Mainly because the Dreamcast has been out of production for the last decade, but we don't let that get us down! And in any case - Happy 2014 to our loyal readers and DC lovers! On a slightly different note, I made a new video recently and I thought I should post here as well as elsewhere...if that makes sense.

It's a comparison video showing the various graphical differences between the console releases of San Francisco Rush 2049 on the DC, N64 and Xbox. I think you'll agree that the DC version looks pretty much identical to (if not slightly better than) the 'arcade perfect' Xbox version (which was included as part of the Midway Arcade Treasures 3 compilation). I think the most notable differences between the N64 and other versions is the lack of a headlight effect, and the Xbox version's tire smoke looks a bit thicker than that in the DC version...but have a look and form your own opinion. Enjoy: