Showing posts with label Silent Scope. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Silent Scope. Show all posts

Stick It to the Man: Playing Games That Aren’t Fighters With the Dreamcast Arcade Stick

As with everything Dreamcast, the official arcade stick is something I have noticed has increased in price in the last so many years. Having been looking to add a second stick to my setup, I've discovered its average listing price on eBay now clocks in at well over £80 (close to double what I paid for mine back in 2018 when I finally decided I should get one for my beloved white box), although at the time of writing, it appears UK second hand retail chain CEX are currently selling them at a much more respectable £65!

Despite being a fighting game fan, I am the sort of fan that doesn’t actually fully understand the concepts of blocks, cancels, charge characters, spin characters or laser tappers. Okay, I made those last two up, but they definitely sound like the sort of things I imagine people on modern online fighting lobbies mutter to themselves as I lose my 115th game in a row: ‘this guy is trying to play a spinner like a lazerT, the idiot!’ Probably.

Anyway, I do own a number of different sticks - mainly for Xbox consoles, but also for some others - but not because I'm some sort of fighting purest as evidenced in the intro. It’s mainly because of my love for arcade games, which leads me back to the Dreamcast. With its focus on arcade conversions or at least arcade-style home gaming, I decided to bypass the merit of discussing the DC's fighters and go straight to discussing the games of other genres in my collection that offer arcade stick compatibility, which is normally indicated by a handy logo on the back cover of the game (thanks, Sega). However, this isn't always the case, I'm looking at you, Midway. Come see me after class, please...
I hope this piece proves to be useful for anyone who hasn't yet purchased an arcade stick and wants to know if it's 'worth it' for games other than fighters. Or maybe if you have one sat in a cupboard collecting dust, hopefully this article will give you the drive to get it out and give it another go, as it's frankly a glorious piece of kit.

Virtua Tennis 
This was one I was instantly drawn to try when I first got my own arcade stick. Its inclusion here offers a rare chance for me to give a shout-out to anyone who ever played the Virtua Tennis arcade machine that was in the Scream pub "The Pulpit" in Cheltenham during the years of 2001 and 2003. Unless you are the person who broke the lob button on the player two side, in which case I hope all the hinges fall off your PAL Dreamcast cases because you are a monster.

My first ever experience of Virtua Tennis was on said arcade machine, and I remember actually being disappointed when it appeared in the pub, as it was a replacement for my beloved Virtua Striker. I reluctantly had a go anyway, and then another, and then the next thing I knew, I'd bought Virtua Tennis for the Dreamcast (later that day, if my memory is correct).

The arcade stick is obviously perfect for this game. I’ve always felt the standard Dreamcast controller was a tad unwieldy for the game and that this is one of the very few drawbacks that the Virtua Tennis series has against it. But with the arcade stick, the smooth movement of the stick and the really effective yet simple amount of buttons offers a perfect way to play, to the extent I now want a second one for the rare chances I have a second person in the house willing to play Dreamcast. The arcade stick also has the added benefit of not causing D-pad indentation on your hand like the standard controller can. Surely that alone makes it worthy of purchase?

Final verdict: Get your stick on! Stick > Controller > Fishing rod (in that order).

Virtua Striker 2 ver 2000.1
I am overly fond of this game. Even though it has numerous flaws and actually plays a terrible game of football, I still love it. I love playing it on the arcade stick even more than the standard controller as it controls in the same stuttering and janky way that the arcade did. Oddly, the game itself would only let you use the D-pad when using the standard controller and not the analogue stick, so getting to control the game with the stick is a much nicer feeling all round, and is a clear improvement over the controller, as long as you can forgive the game for all its other issues.

Final verdict: GOOOOAAAALLLLLL!!! *ba da bum ba*

Virtua Athlete 2K
Those who know me, know I love track and field games. I can see that they are ultimately dumb and shallow, yet still they have been responsible for some of my best competitive and multiplayer memories on virtually every console up to the Xbox 360, which was when those kinds of games (and the people who’d play them with you in person) all seemed to vanish.

Prior to officially joining the staff for the Junkyard, I made an overly elaborate comparison of the three athletics games that found their way onto the Dreamcast and that was actually the first time I ever played Virtua Athlete 2K.

I was not overly surprised to see it had arcade stick support, as it is effectively a more serious reskin of the Sega Saturn great Athlete Kings/DecAthlete (originally of the arcades). So is it any good with the arcade stick? Well, not really no. The button mashing is more satisfying on the arcade stick due to the larger buttons, but the game is significantly harder with this control method. I tried to adjust to compensate, thinking this might be from my many years of using the standard controller for these kinds of games, making me unfamiliar with the arcade controls, but it isn’t. For the quick precise nature of this sort of game, the wider spread of the buttons and control on the arcade stick isn’t ideal.

Final verdict: Controller or bust if you want to go fast.

The World's SMALLEST Dreamcast Games!

A minature scale model of the Dreamcast by Retroldtech

The Dreamcast's GD-ROM format was a strange beast, being ever so slightly bigger than a CD-ROM but nowhere close to the capacity of the impending, mighty DVD-ROM. Packing in 1GB per disc, a majority of the Dreamcast's retail game library barely even tapped into this extra available space. As we will explore here, storage space isn't everything though: you can squeeze some pretty darn good games into not even a tenth of a GD-ROM's space!

Screenshot of the GD MENU Card Manager application
In this day and age of being able to store Dreamcast games on many different kinds of hardware, like SD cards or hard drives, it is possible to strip these games of any blank data that is used to fill up the rest of a GD, leaving just the necessary files to save space. This can be a risky move, as doing so can break games if they're not optimized correctly, but there are "means" to find games that have already been shrunk down to be used on a optical drive emulator such as GDEMU or MODE.
Photo of a 256gb SD card
My entire shelf of Dreamcast games and more fit on this! What a time we live in!
It's via this technique that I have been able to put together this list of games that are all less than 100MB! Take note, I am not including indie releases, prototypes, unreleased games, Atomiswave ports or software like web browsers and Fish Life. Also I haven't downloaded every game ever released so there are probably some visual novels out there that are tiny in size for all I know.

15. Silent Scope - 96.91MB

Photo of the Silent Scope game case
Konami's Dreamcast output was kind of disappointing. When they weren't busy cancelling Castlevania games for the system, they did throw out the odd bone with some arcade ports such as this here sniping-romp. It's a real shame the Dreamcast wasn't blessed with a sniper light gun like the Xbox, as the game played with a standard controller feels like it's missing something. Much like Samba De Amigo, though, it is playable enough this way but you can't help feeling like it's a lesser experience. Oh well.

14. Ooga Booga - 91.49MB

Photo of the Ooga Booga game case
This very unique collection of mini-games, with an emphasis on online multiplayer, released exclusively in North America and was touted as one of the big hitters during the push to sell people on SegaNet. Luckily, this is one of those games where online play has been revived, though even if that wasn't the case, this would still be worth checking out as there is nothing else quite like it on the Dreamcast.

13. Evangelion Typing Project E - 71.59MB

Photo of the Evangelion Typing Project E game case
I won't go into too much detail about this one as it has been discussed here at length in the past after Derek Pascarella treated us all to an English translation! Evangelion Typing Project E gives us another game to practice our touch-typing skills on, but instead of gunning down zombies with words you Evangelion stuff! Like the anime! I dunno, I haven't really had a chance to play much of it yet, but definitely give it a shot if you're a fan of the show! There are in fact two translated Evangelion typing games, but I couldn't properly shrink the other one without it breaking, so I assume if optimized well it'd probably be a similar size to this one.

12. SEGA Tetris - 62.56MB

Photo of the Sega Tetris game case
This was the first Japanese import Dreamcast game I ever purchased from eBay, if I recall correctly! Why this one stayed in Japan is beyond me, but the console rights for Tetris have always been a bit of a confusing ride as Sega themselves found out when their Mega Drive/Genesis release had to be recalled... But this is Sega Tetris, not to be confused with Sega. Got it?

I really dig the presentation in this game. It's also kind of notable for being one of the last arcade Tetris games before the new rules came into play like swapping, hard drops and now legendary T-spins. The gameplay of this one gets ridiculously fast-paced, making it one of the harder Tetris games out there, though there are plenty of modes to mess around in, including a UFO catcher claw game with cute Sonic 1 remixes!

This is another one on the "someone get it translated and back online if at all possible" wish list!

11. Plus Plumb - 62.53MB

Photo of the Plus Plum game case
No, I wasn't going to pop down the shops just to buy a plum to photo this with. That'd be silly.
Only 3kB less than Sega Tetris, we have another Japan-only puzzle game! Plus Plumb is a pretty obscure one as far as I know. I discovered it back in around 2000 when a car boot sale I went to every week had a store of bootleg games (oh no! ☠️). These bootlegs were incredibly low effort, literally just plain CD-Rs with the game's titles penned on them, most of which were random Japanese games I'd never heard of until I took them home and fed them to the rotating Utopia reindeer.

Plus Plumb is a pretty standard match 3 versus game with some Pokémon-looking mofos chatting in between stages (with full voice acting!). I played quite a bit of this back in the day (did eventually buy a legit copy, don't worry) so the music from this is one of those earworms that has stuck with me for 20+ years!

10. Planet Ring - 62.44MB

The cover artwork for Planet Ring
Also within the 63MB range is this PAL exclusive, online-only mini-game collection that was given away on the front of magazines and the like. I never got around to trying this one out when the original servers were up, but luckily it's one of those games that is back online today! It even has voice chat so you can talk to someone other than your mutant human-faced fish for a change!

The Gagaman's London Gaming Market Haul

So last weekend I went to the first ever London Gaming Market. Run by the same people who bring you the wonderful Play Expo further up north, it was nice to finally have an event like this nearer my way. I haven't got any photos to share of the event unfortunately but there was two reasons for this:
  • It was quite a small venue
  • It was very very very crowded
Literally the second the doors opened till near the end when I left around 2pm it was shoulder to shoulder, you could barely move in there! I was afraid it was gonna be like a mad rush to grab bargains with everyone tearing each others eyes out, but thankfully that wasn't the case. Unlike other busy conventions I've been to like EGX and MCM Expo, a majority of people all desperate to have a browse here were polite and courteous and weren't shoving in. I don't think I have both said and heard 'sorry' more times than I had here, heh!
There are photos on the Facebook page for the event, photographed by Alan Chang. You might even spot me in a couple of them!

Dreamcast wise there was quite a lot on offer at the stores, with a good selection of PAL, American and Japanese game and a few nice boxed systems and accessories like the Mr. Yukawa box console and a boxed arcade stick. I wouldn't say I spotted much in the way of rare games per say, certainly not anything from my most wanted list, but I still managed to spend quite a bit of money in total on a few curiosities.

One thing that is great about the Dreamcast is there is still a lot of games that can be picked up for less than a tenner, of which every game I grabbed were around that price. I particularly wanted to grab a few American games as they don't come up quite as often, and postage from America is usually too expensive. I bought a majority of my games from Console Passion, who had the biggest selection and some of the fairest prices.
Here was my total haul, though considering where we are you're only interested in the Dreamcast games right? I've given each game I picked up a go so here's my first impressions on all of them, after the jump!


Carrying on from yesterday’s meandering insight into my recent purchase activity, I thought today would be as good a time as any to pour scorn onto the other glittering jewels/polished turds that I have inducted into the Junkyard.

Dragon Riders: Chronicles Of Pern

Anyone seen Eragon? You know, that shit Lord of the Rings wannabe? I have – and it’s poo. Malkovich – you know where the door is. Anyway, Eragon and Dragon Riders could quite easily been separated at birth. I realize that they’re both based on books by totally different authors before some green-toothed librarian comes on here to engage in some pathetic argument, but the fact remains. But back to Dragon Riders. You play a titular Dragon Rider who lives in a magical noddy-land type place called – you guessed it! – Pern. The world is under threat from some enigmatic evil thing called Thread and it’s down to you, with the help of your dragon, t’ save t’ world, laddy. Quite how you will achieve this by wondering around sparsely populated Kokiri Village knock-offs is unclear, but that’s the aim anyhow. Dragon Riders is essentially your bog standard westernized RPG. You build up stats for your character; you get different outfits; you engage in very poorly done hand to hand combat; you go on sub-quests that involve finding things for lazy NPCs. For me though, the biggest disappointment in Dragon Riders is that YOU DON’T GET TO RIDE ON A DRAGON! 

There I was expecting some Panzer Dragoon style action – you know, blasting shit with snazzy lasers and opening up family sized cans of WHUP-ASS on terrified villagers – when all the Dragons act as are portals for getting around the map! You walk up to your Dragon, tell it where you want to go…and Whoosh! One black screen later and you’re at your destination. Pah! RUBBISH. Graphically it’s pretty good – the outside environments are quite impressive and the animation is decent although the Dragons look like they’re made out of balls of playdough. The voice acting is really rather good too – much better than in, say, Shenmue. Loading times are horrific however, so be warned. Best bit though? Have a look in the booklet. It’s got PC installation instructions in it! The lazy cunts couldn’t even be arsed to make a proper Dreamcast manual. Tsk. 6/10

Note: It would’ve been 9/10 if I could fly the Dragon and shoot flames and all kinds of crazy shit out of its mouth.

Iron Aces

Another plane based shoot ‘em up for the Dreamcast, Iron Aces differs from the rest of the pack (Aerowings 2, Deadly Skies, Incoming et al) in that it’s set during WWII. Sort of. You see, even though at its heart it is for all intents and purposes a game set during the height of the Second World War, all of the theatres are totally fictitious. Therefore, instead of fighting the Hun over the English Channel or the fields of Southern England, you shoot down Messerschmitts and attack enemy naval convoys around a made-up archipelago consisting of bizarrely named islands that are meant to represent real countries. 

So England becomes ‘Trincer,’ Germany becomes ‘Blocken,’ Japan is ‘Yamato,’ and the US is renamed ‘Valiant.’ WHY? Surely just setting the game in 1940s Europe would have been sufficient – why go to all the trouble of making up some half-arsed, contrived story to go along with a WWII game? Surely the REAL War is good enough as a backdrop? The mind well and truly boggles. Anyway, you play an unnamed young pilot in – as ever – the US Airforce. And it’s up to you to save the poor old defenseless British from the ever advancing Axis of Evil. So you hop into your fighter plane, take to the skies and dish out some pain. This being WWII and all, there are no magic homing missiles – just machine guns and bombs, so shooting down enemy planes relies more on your own skill than in Deadly Skies where you have fire and forget missiles at your behest. The thing about Iron Aces is that it’s totally unremarkable. The pace is sedentary, the graphics completely average (and very bargain basement), the sound totally pathetic. And why you have to press TWO buttons at the same time to drop a bomb is a question only the developers can answer. Also – why does the camera need to switch to a 3rd person, spinning-around-your-plane view when you do manage to drop a bomb? Where you can still control the plane? So you can inadvertently smash your plane into the sea/floor because you couldn’t see where you were going? Genius that. So to sum up: Iron Aces – weird. 5/10

Wacky Races

I was never really a fan of the Wacky Races cartoons to be honest, although Dastardly and Muttley are truly legendary creations. As far as licensed games go though, Wacky Races has got to be one of the best ever. It’s about as close as you’re gonna get to something like Diddy Kong Racing on the DC, in that you start the game by driving around a small ‘hub’ level and must drive into the different areas of the map to access races on tracks in that particular theme. I suppose the most striking thing about Wacky Races though, are the superb cell-shaded graphics. Oh, and the brilliant voice samples and sound effects deserve a mention, too. When you strip all the aesthetics away, Wacky Races is a ‘kart’ game, with loose handling, loads of suitably wacky characters (all from the cartoon series) and weapons dotted about the track that you can use to hinder the progress of your enemies. Wacky Races is a marvel to look at and all of the environs are suitably garish – although the dreaded slowdown does rear its ugly head every now and then, but it’s nowhere near as bad as that seen in Exhibition of Speed. So Wacky Races then. Amazing graphics, lots of challenge, loads of longevity. A bit of a corker really. 8/10

Looney Tunes Space Race

Cell shade overload alert! Coming from the same Infogrammes/Warner Bros stable as Wacky Races, Looney Tunes Space Race is another cell shaded racer that – dare I say it – features even better graphics! Seriously, at times you could be forgiven for thinking you were playing an actual cartoon. LTSR differs from Wacky Races in that eschews the familiar hub style setup in favour of a more traditional menu-driven system. You win races, you get tokens. Tokens are then used to ‘buy’ other cool things like challenge races or view gallery items like character models etc. What sets LTSR apart though, is that it a genuinely funny game. The voice samples are superb, and the humour is very clever – even though it is at its core a kiddies game. 

All of the old Warner Bros characters are involved, so you can ‘be’ Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, Yosamite Sam, Bugs Bunny and Wil E. Coyote as you speed around the futuristic tracks on your stylized ACME rocket bike. Weapons play a major part in LTSR and the same love has been lavished upon them as the rest of the game, so not only do you get the bog standard homing missiles and lasers, but you can drop elephants, pianos and anvils on foes’ heads, zap them with lightening from their own personal storm cloud, or boff them in the kisser with a comedy boxing glove on a spring. Superb stuff. Gets a bit easy once you get the hang of the boost system, but LOOK AT THE FUCKING GRAPHICS! Astounding stuff. 9/10

Bust A Move 4

Fire different coloured balls up the screen. Get 3 together and they pop. If your screen fills up, it’s “GAME OVER MAN!” Cough. It’s a very simple game, with very simple graphics, but it still kicks 28 tonnes of ASS in multiplayer. Not the game to rival Chu Chu Rocket (what can?), but top fun nonetheless. The single player ‘story’ is unnecessary, as are the vomit-inducingly twee characters (please God, no more vomit), but Bust A Move 4 is a pleasant little puzzle game. And I don’t think there’s much point putting anything else. So I won’t. 6/10

Silent Scope

Oh to be a police sniper. The fame, the money, the women. Well now you can have it all! That’s right – just whack a copy of Silent Scope into your Dreamcast, and your life will be transformed! No longer will you have ‘kick me’ sellotaped to your back; or have to give the school bully your dinner money! No – you can pop a cap in his fat face from seven miles away! Well, that’s what it says in the manual anyway. Silent Scope, then. Have you seen that cool-as-fuck looking arcade machine with the big rifle and scope on it? That’s Silent Scope, that is! And here’s the Dreamcast conversion – in all it’s arcade perfect glory. It would’ve been better if they’d packaged a sniper rifle peripheral with it, but I’m pretty certain – no I AM certain – it’d never work. Basically, it’s an on-rails shoot ‘em up, but instead of using a lightgun (which could’ve worked, maybe), you have a little curser that you move around. Press the button and it zooms in, sniper style. Leaving you free to fill any passing terrorist or ne’er do well with hot lead. It’s quite good fun in small blasts, but the longevity is tainted by the fact that it’s just an arcade game. That you’re only meant to play for about 5 minutes in a bowling alley whilst you wait for your lane to free up. And at that it excels, but Silent Scope is about as deep as a supermodel’s belly button, so you’ll get bored very quickly. Like I did. And go and make a cup of tea, or a Cuppa Soup depending on your preference. 5/10

Note 2: neither of these screenshots is from the DC version. But fuck it.

On a different note, I saw a film called Kung Fu Hustle yesterday. If you haven’t seen it, go now and get it. They’ve got it in Tesco for 3 quid. It’s a ridiculous martial arts ‘comedy’ (that isn’t remotely funny), but the fight scenes are amazing. Nothing to do with the Dreamcast, I know – but just thought I’d mention it.

Also, who can beat this: whilst trying to post this update, I was confronted with the message "Safari can't connect to the server..." about 500 times. This resulted in me nearly putting my fist through a router and my laptop's moniter. Can you beat that? Entries on a postcard!

Dreamcast Love On The Eve Of The Wii...

Well it’s about time I put ‘pen to paper’ (so to speak), and make sure I don’t find myself sacked off from the Dreamcast Junkyard team for lack of effort, in the wake of the Gagaman(n)’s recent Herculean posting odyssey...

Much has happened since my last epistle. Man Utd. saw off Man City in an embarrassing 1-0 Derby defeat at the City Of Manchester Stadium, which I had the misfortune to watch in an Australian Bar in Barcelona. It was full of Reds and there was a bigger cheer when City missed their penalty, than when United scored theirs.

Man Utd of course went on to win the Premiership, whilst City managed to clock up their first record in many years... fewest goals scored at home in one season. DOH!
This has ultimately lead to the sacking of Stuart ‘Psycho’ Pearce, whilst Fergie and his boys strolled triumphantly around Old Trafford last Sunday. BAH!
I have solved one Man United mystery that had always puzzled me though… Apparently the letters "A.I.G" on the United shirt stand for "Almost In Greece…" :)

But I digress… It’s at dark times like this, that one seeks solace in the little box of wonders that is the Dreamcast. I’ve been feeling super-love for my Dreamcast recently, since I committed to buying a Wii. (I’m getting it tomorrow, May 16th , for my almost top secret 40th birthday….But DOn’t tell anyone, I DOn’t want a fuss.)

It’s as if I need to prove my love for my DC, as if I’ve been caught by my significant other, with a pert young super-model on my arm. I need the Dreamcast to know it’ll always be ‘the one’, even if there’s another in my life…

So here’s a quick round up of some of the games I’ve been playing over the last few months, in a sort of "micro-review medley" type thing…

Last Hope: This fiendishly difficult side scrolling 'Shump' (I’ve become a bit of a shump fan of late…) comes to us courtesy of Germany’s NG:Dev team and is a 2007 release. That fact in itself, is one which fills me with a rosy glow, knowing that there are still brand new Dreamcast releases coming out. Then my rosy glow dissipates into icy water flushing through my bowels, as I remember that the announcement of the cessation of GD Roms, that could put pay to Dreamcast development forever…

Still the game is fantastic. Originally and (very costly) developed for the Neo Geo, the game was ported to the Dreamcast and released this January. The graphics are fabulous and the gameplay somewhat hypnotic. As your ship glides smoothly into the oncoming landscape, you must blast away at alien foes whilst, attempting to fly through power-ups and avoid the oncoming mines and missiles pitted against you. I’ve only managed to get as far as the first boss, but I’ve enjoyed it so far. One of the most enjoyable aspects of the game is its musical score, (available as a limited edition CD release bundled with a special game pack). The music is like ambient-trancey Kraftwerk and builds as your ship progresses through the game. Quite beautiful really. Oh and its region free. Games TM Magazine reviewed it recently and gave it an 80% score and I’ll agree… 8/10 Why not buy it here?

In total contrast to this frenetic kill-fest is Virtua Athlete 2K. This decathlon based sorts sim is a more serious update of Sega Sport’s ‘Athlete Kings’ which appeared on the Saturn. The gameplay involves a lot of speedy button mashing and split second timing as you power your athlete through a variety of track and field events. This is not a game to be played on your own, but is an ideal party game for up to four players. It must be good, as it has even enticed the two biggest Gingers to pick up and play. The ideal game for non-gamers and a great laugh after a couple of drinks! For the fun factor alone, 9/10. For a more considered review look here…

Moving on to Silent Scope, the best Light Gun game that never was… This arcade port was made for the Light Gun, but due to the legacy of the Columbine shootings, it was only released to be compatible with the standard controller. A shame, because this really is a great shooter! As the name suggests, the scope is the key, allowing you to ‘nail far away targets with pinpoint accuracy’ (according to the back of the box…)

You play as a former special operative in the British Anti-Terrorism force (very adept at killing innocent Brazilians no doubt…) currently residing in Chicago. Your foes include the quite wankily titled: Cobra The Iron Man, Hornet The Sniper, Tom & Jerry ( the genetically spliced mutated Killing Machine), Scorpion The Butcher and… Wait for it… Monica The Armoured Secretary… No shit! Un-fucking-believable!
What tosspot came up with these characters? I don’t bloody know… This game is excellent arcade style shooting fun, but I’m only going to give it 7/10 because it screams out to be played with a gun… So there! Wanna know more? Look here…

Head Hunter: The moment I started to play this game I knew it would become a lifelong favourite, up there with the likes of Shenmue 1 & 2 and Resident Evil: Code Veronica… Graphically lush and with fabulous gameplay, this game is something of a futuristic bounty hunter odyssey, set in a bleak, corporate, fascist America. (A little like today's USA then...)

Spanning two discs and with a brilliant storyline (interspersed with fake video news bulletins and product commercials), this game has been likened to Metal Gear Solid due to it’s stealth missions. However, it’s fusion of motorbike riding and assassination had me thinking of the Vice City franchise and the untapped potential of the Dreamcast…

The character you play is Jack Wade, a cross between Dirty Harry and Snake Plisken. He’s quite literally “cool as fuck”! Having lost his memory it’s your job to train him up again using the L.E.I.L.A virtual training facility, gain experience in riding your bike and regain your bounty hunter license and then go out an kick motherfuckin' ass in the criminal underworld…

It’s an utterly fabulous game, but can be a little frustrating when it comes to bike riding, as the streets are cluttered with other vehicles which you inevitably hit… this then causes your experience points to drop, which is a killer when its taken you so long to build them up… I’m not the first one to notice this, have a look here… Overall Score? It would have got a 10/10 but due to the bike crashy thing, it only gets a 9/10. Still very definitely recommended…

Resident Evil: Code Veronica- This is an excellent game, but one with which I definitely have a love-hate relationship with, that has oft been chronicled on my other blogs. Like Marmite or Shenmue, you’ll either love it or hate it. At times I felt both emotions about the game… I played right through the whole thing and then left it unfinished with about 40 minutes to an hour (if that) of gameplay to go. I ended up watching its conclusion on Youtube, I just couldn’t be arsed any more. ( I also bought RE:CV Survivors Guide and Light Gun for the PS2, enabling me to whizz through the stages of the game AND shoot Zombies in House Of the Dead Style… Which is nice...

You see the problem with this horror survival classic, is that failure to pick up items at the start of the game, can impact on your ability to succeed, way into the second disc (even with a walkthrough). Still fabulously plotted, stunning graphics and some great gameplay make this one of my all time Dreamcast favourites… 8/10! Intrigued? Look here… and here… (and I know the video is from the PS2 port, but it shows the graphic spleandour of the original and goes very nicely with the music!)

As well as these games I’ve also been playing some classic Dreamcast lovelies, oft discussed on this hallowed forum… Soul Calibur, Powerstone, Crazy Taxi, SWWS (Euro Edition) and Jet Set Radio. This is because I’ve sneaked a Dreamcast into the traditionally console free ‘little living room’, where we have a 60HZ TV, and I’m currently enjoying the improved graphics and smoother frame rates (or whatever it is that a 60HZ TV does for your DC). It’s made me think of investing in a new scart lead or even a VGA adaptor…

Finally to offset a disastrously poor purchase of three Japanese games from Play Asia, (I’m no Gagaman(n) when it comes to making wise choices…), I was delighted to receive my own copy of Half Life from the wonderful Gary from This legendary piece of un-published vapour ware was first brought to the DCJY’s attention by the great Tomleecee a while back. To own my own copy however is a sublime experience. The quality of the packaging is just amazing, coming in a PAL Dreamcast case, with glossy front and back cover, printed disc and even a glossy covered manual, replete with cheats! I cannot recommend Gary’s work highly enough! Check him out and BUY STUFF… Like a Dr. Feelgood of Dreamcasting, he can get you what you need… Have a look here

Well that’s me for now! I’m off to enjoy my last evening of being 39 and anticipating a new Wii flavoured chapter of my gaming life….

Goodnight dear children… wherever you are…