<-- -!>

Featured Article

Showing posts with label Sega GT. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sega GT. Show all posts

Every Dreamcast game featuring a Toyota Celica...because why not?

I recently bought a Toyota Celica. When I showed a picture of it to my sister, she asked if I was having a mid-life crisis. I enthusiastically replied that I'm having a whole-life crisis, but that the purchase of this automobile had nothing to do with it. I just happened to see it going quite cheap and was looking for a replacement for the old diesel estate that had trustily transported me and all my Dreamcast crap to countless gamings expos over the years. So yeah, I'm now a member of the Celica owner's club. Not an actual club - although I'm sure something like that exists for conscientious drivers who like nothing better than adding gigantic spoilers, furry dice, diamond encrusted wheels and go faster stripes to their cars.
I've blanked out my number plate so ne'erdowells don't do ne'erdowell stuff with it.
After owning the Celica for a couple of weeks, something odd slowly dawned on me as I mindlessly played various entries in the racing genre on Dreamcast. No, it wasn't the realisation that nothing even comes close to Spirit of Speed 1937 in simulating the thrills of driving a real race car. It was actually something far less interesting to pretty much everyone who isn't me: the Toyota Celica features in quite a few Dreamcast racing titles...and I'm not just talking about the famous GT-Four rally car either. 
The Celica GT-Four as seen in Sega Rally 2
No, I'm specifically talking about the seventh generation Toyota Celica coupe, the final model Toyota released before killing off the iconic marque in the mid 2000s. A car that - for me at least - has taken on baader-meinhof properties since I started driving one. Seriously - I see them everywhere now. I suppose the answer as to why the seventh generation Celica appeared in so many Dreamcast games is quite obvious when you really think about it though.
The real deal...
The Celica - and specifically the seventh generation model (pictured) - was Toyota's flagship coupe slap bang in the middle of the era of the Dreamcast (the seventh generation Celica was produced between 1999 and 2006), so why wouldn't it appear in so many Dreamcast games as a mid-level sportster? A mid-level sportster with outstanding fuel economy, light weight and outrageous road handling, I should add...but that's a topic for another website entirely.
...the digital deal
Anyway, join me, dear reader, as we look at all the titles on Dreamcast that feature the seventh generation Toyota Celica, and a few that feature the iconic GT-Four...

Metropolis Street Racer
Bizarre Creations' seminal driving game has a surprising number of real world vehicles you can sample the delights of, and though you start small with some fairly low-specced runabouts, as you progress through the chapters more and more powerful cars are revealed; their well-rendered showroom blankets thrown off to reveal the glistening virtual paint beneath. The Celica featured in Metropolis Street Racer is ranked with a modest 4.0 CPF (Car Performance Rating), meaning it's not quite the top end of the stable, but does the job for the chapters in which it becomes available. 
MSR's vehicle selection screen is pretty cool
It's the favoured 190bhp model used in MSR
It handles well (like most cars in this game to be honest) and has a decent top speed. The model is very faithful too, although it does lack the interior details seen in some other games listed here. Due to MSR's lack of any real tuning or visual detail options, you can't really change much apart from the tint of the windows, the colour of the paint and the registration plate, but that's OK.
This is taken from the 'Exhibition' mode
Doing a bit of sightseeing in London of an evening
Metropolis Street Racer's Celica is a fine representation of the real thing, and as you'd expect it features the standard 6-speed gearbox found in the real vehicle (7-speed if you count reverse), but to be honest you'd kind of expect this level of authenticity in a game where the developers measured the actual height of curbs in London to make sure everything looked as accurate as possible. It would have been nice to be able to add spoilers or change the alloy wheels, but that wasn't really a thing with any of the cars in MSR, so I'm happy to give it a pass on that front.

5 Dreamcast Racers Which Didn't Quite Make the Podium

There is no shortage of 'best racing games' lists for the Dreamcast - a system which had some of the most critically acclaimed racing games of the early 00’s. Everyone knows just how good Dreamcast classics like Metropolis Street Racer, Daytona USA, Sega Rally and Ferrari F355 Challenge were. Absolutely fantastic driving games that really did move the genre forward in their own way, and games that as a Dreamcast fan reading this article, you’ve probably spent many hours playing.

As you should know by now, here at the Junkyard we like to think outside of the box a little. So here we go, then. In no particular order, I present to you my alternative top five Dreamcast racers that you might not have played yet:

Tokyo Highway Challenge / Tokyo Extreme Racer
Released for the PAL launch (and confusingly called something different in every territory - Tokyo Extreme Racer and Shutokou Battle in the US and Japan respectively), Tokyo Highway Challenge is a game that I rented plenty of times when I was younger and have since put many hours into. I think it’s one of the most underrated racing games on the system and thanks to its evening setting, it still looks fantastic when played today in a smooth 60fps.
Tokyo Highway Challenge sees us buying cars, tuning them up and taking to the Japanese highways to challenge other hoons in a race for cash. Each other driver belongs to a gang, and when you’ve beaten all drivers in a particular gang, you get to face off against their leader.
It’s all a bit like a 'racing fighting game' where all races are 1v1 and you have an energy bar at the top of the screen. Whoever is behind on the road starts to see their energy bar deplete, ticking down faster as the gap between first and second increases. A simple concept but a refreshing one for those who don’t want to race lap after lap.
The biggest criticism of the game is a well noted one - just one 'track,' which itself isn’t particularly big, even though you do get the option of racing in either direction around the highway loop. Nevertheless, the tuning and upgrade system is fantastic and an essential part of the game. As you get further in, your tuning skills will make the difference between winning battles or not, regardless of how well you can drive!

Top 5 Dreamcast Online Games...That Never Actually Existed

The Dreamcast’s online capabilities out of the box were no doubt somewhat revolutionary for a console back in 1999. Sega couldn’t have played up the fact that a modem was included much more than they did; with a heavy push on web browsing and emailing when the Dreamcast first launched.

The promise was that online gaming would follow shortly and whilst we did get some outstanding online experiences eventually, I think looking back now, it is fair to say that Sega didn’t really live up to their pre-release “up to 6 billion players” hype. There were some great games designed around their online features, but there were just not enough.

The sad part is that the Dreamcast was ahead of its time when it came to online gaming on console, and I can’t help but think that with a few more quality online-focused releases earlier in the Dreamcast’s lifespan, it could have turned an also ran feature into THE reason to buy Sega’s wonderful grey box.

Walk with me as I uncover the five Dreamcast online sensations that never actually existed, but I think wish really should have...

Dreamcast Magazine Issue 7

Issue 7 of Paragon Publishing's Dreamcast Magazine was available to buy from all good (and quite probably some slightly cruddy) book stores and newsagents on the 30th March 2000. Back in those halcyon days of VHS boxsets and massive MP3 players that took four AAA batteries, Dreamcast Magazine was by far the most popular and best-selling alternative to the official Sega-sanctioned periodical from Dennis Publishing. Issue 7 isn't a rich source of unreleased games like some other issues have been, but it weighs in at 114 pages and this represents a lot of content for the princely asking price of £2.99 a copy. According to the cover issue 7 also came with a free book worth £9.99, but just quite what it was is a mystery as it is not referenced at all in the magazine itself.