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Showing posts with label retro. Show all posts
Showing posts with label retro. Show all posts

Flea! - Brand new release for the Dreamcast

 2020. It's not been great, has it? But whilst we all seclude ourselves in our homes, proclaiming how bored we are whilst ignoring our game backlogs, something has been stirring in the Dreamcast Indie scene. The year kicked off with the rather glorious Xeno Crisis - perhaps the finest Indie game yet on the DC, and we've got some delights on their way with the high speed thrills of Arcade Racing Legends from JoshProd, the wonderful Xenocider in all it's 3D glory from Retro Sumus, and Indie masters Senile Team back with the fantastic looking Intrepid Izzy. That's not even mentioning the impending release of Summoning Signals, JoshProd's Indie onslaught with 8(8!) more titles, and almost certainly others that we've simply forgotten to mention! It's a never ceasing cause of amazement for all of us here at the Junkyard that we could see more than a dozen titles added to the library in a matter of months.


It seems though, that even more is on the horizon - including a game which has come as somewhat of a surprise - Flea! which is out now and available from the developers own Etsy page here. A successfully funded Kickstarter project this year, the game was designed for the NES, but has jumped it's way onto our chosen platform, caught us all by surprise, and left us itching to tell you more. I promise that's the last awful Flea pun I'll be making...

Playing as your cute little Flea protagonist Henry, your task is to collect blood from the games 80 levels, blood which is being horded by the greedy King, and is desperately needed by the Refu-fleas. To that end, each unit of blood you collect can, at certain points, be converted to extra lives. It means that very quickly you'll rack up substantial numbers of lives - but that's something you'll most certainly need here. The game creator, Alastair Low (featured on the DCJY before, for the very cool Dungeon Ross), clearly has a fondness for tough NES era platformers, as Flea! is designed with plenty of tricky sections and death is frequent. Luckily, such death is not permanent in Flea's world, for a few seconds later you're back on the hunt for blood at the beginning of the level. Just as quickly as you build the life stock up though, you'll see the numbers going down when you get to one of the games tougher stages.

The game's deaths don't come by way of Uzi wielding parasites or anything so extreme though - here, death will come by way of your continually jumping little critter finding his way into a particularly nasty obstacle. These litter the stages, and whilst only a few syringes seem to be your issue early on, you soon come face to face with other creatures and more extravagant obstacles. Not every creature you meet is a bad guy though - there are plenty of colourful and interesting characters throughout the game to interact with as well.

The game is a tough one to master, in the time honoured 8-bit fashion. However, this toughness doesn't come with unfairness - if you die, it's due to a mistake you've made. Control is generally simple - Henry jumps continually, but you can press the A button to keep his jumps lower (a skill you will require early on in the game), and later on you can dash as well (although I've got to be honest, I've not actually got that far yet! I've never said I'm any good at games...). The main challenge here is to maximise your blood collection whilst navigating the obstacles with well timed jumps. The instant restart of the single screen levels makes any frustration minimal, luckily, but the game does induce a feeling of rage when your life supply dwindles as you fail at a decidedly crafty stage for the umpteenth time - but there's a not insignificant amount of satisfaction when you finally make it. It's a classic risk-reward strategy of gaming of yore, tried and tested, and it works well here, a tribute to the games developer once more.

At times the game does mix things up a little, ditching the single screen approach and going for a forced scrolling platforming experience - a sort of endless runner type affair, only, er, it ends. It shows a little bit of versatility off that makes for a nice change of pace, and again technically, it runs smoothly.  

Visually, it's not going to blow anyone away. It's clearly a NES game, with chunky pixels and bright colours, a look evocative of an age before the Dreamcast, but one which is very much back in fashion. Of course, it looks this way through functionality (being an actual NES game) rather than style alone, but it's competent, cute, fun and cheery. In fact, I'm officially starting a campaign to get Flea! to become the official mascot of the DC indie scene, as I look at his cute little face looking at me from my VMU during the game. The stages vary in their colour schemes - different beasts that the fleas infest - but all have that 8-bit colour and brightness to them, which is very visually appealing. 

There's no denying the games NES roots though. The pixels are colourful, the action is smooth, but this isn't the sort of title that's going to push the hardware. That doesn't matter at all, of course, as the core gameplay is fun and challenging enough to justify itself a place in the library, but we know there will be some out there who will baulk at the idea of a Dreamcast game looking this way. To them, we blow a giant raspberry. Personally, it's a style of game we've not had much of on the console, and I welcome it's arrival. 

I also welcome the chiptune music, so insanely catchy that I found myself humming it to myself on the bus this morning. It perfectly captures the fun, nostalgic retro-ness of the game, and deserves special mention just for that. The packaging is also great - a US style look (despite Lowtek Games being a Scottish based developer), it has a great disc image, and full colour manual (although it's only 2 pages), and the cover is great. For a game none of us were expecting, it's level of professionalism in design was surprising but most welcome. 

The game is available for £30 from Lowtek Games Etsy store, limited to just 200 numbered copies,  and you can find the games creator Alastair on Twitter  so go give him a follow!


 

Top Dreamcast Moments of 2007

Well it's 2008 and I still don't own a current-gen console. Go figure.

But that's all right because 2007 was a year stuffed with awesome Dreamcast occurrences!

Join me, will you, as I blog about some of my personal favorites...

New Dreamcast games!


Karous, Trigger Heart Exelica and Last Hope. Remember these? What a great year for classic shumps!

Proving once again that the Dreamcast IS the undead console, new games were announced for 2008 as well. This was AFTER the GD-Rom was discontinued!

Redspotgames doesn't want to leave the Dreamcast.

Interview.

Website.

They are coming out with Dalforce and Wind And Water Puzzle Battle this year!

And lets not forget about Dynamite Dreams!


4 players with VMU mode!

http://alicedreams.com/NewsANG.htm

And of course we cannot forget the many homebrew releases and ports from the Dreamcast Evolution site!

http://www.dcevolution.net/

My Favorite?

http://www.dcevolution.net/game_bass.php

Beneath a Steel Sky! If you have a Dreamcast mouse and keyboard you will be all set!

Nick Perry gets a new copy of Resident Evil 2 for the Dreamcast



Just a random youtube video. But I liked it and the Resident Evil 2 Dreamcast version is the best one out there!

The Dreamcast 2 rumour.

Is it possible to crush the Dreams of Sega fans anymore? Yes, yes it is.


Totally official Sega Dreamcast 2 plans. PROOF AT LAST!

http://www.trademork.com/dreamcast/

This trademark renewal led to speculation and many many tears...

Getting a copy of Powerstone 2!


Ok, this was just a personal thing. I have wanted a copy of this game for a long time. I was so lucky to get this game and many other Dreamcast gems in 2007. I made the effort to rearrange my collection this year as well so I got to get some new pics up.

And my personal favorite for 2007?

The Dreamcast guitar.



I don't know why this masterpiece (originally blogged here by Gagaman(n)) caught my attention but it did. Perhaps it's just a nice symbol of how cool the Dreamcast and the Dreamcast community is.

Thank you Flooky from Destructoid.

Here is hoping for an awesome 2008.

Dreamcast Hangover.

I am feeling a bit blue this morning.

You see I was celebrating the Dreamcast's birthday last night with a few rounds on the off-white box.


Yep. In North America 9-9-99 only meant one thing...the Dreamcast (and stocking up on canned goods and bottled water for no good reason *Y2K*). And now so many years later the Dreamcast is still a wonderful gaming device enjoyed by many.

Yet this auspicious occasion was marred by this article that reminds us of of the sad truth that soon Sega will no longer support it's greatest creation. You should still read that Kotaku article though, the comments people listed below it are a testament to how great the Dreamcast truly is.

So go to Sega's website while you can if you need to grab a manual for the Dreamcast or a Sega Dreamcast game (Scroll down to the bottom of the manual's page). Or consider sending in your Dreamcast in to Sega to be fixed if it's a limited edition one.

I currently have 4 Dreamcast's in the house. One mint condition one hooked up to my VGA adaptor at my computer desk. My Sega Sports limited edition is in secure storage in my closet. Down cellar I have Dreamcast that has been professional repaired and a beater Dreamcast that I use the most. The only thing that has ever gone wrong with any of them was the control board blowing up the F1 fuse in my beater model. But a quick fix and that Dreamcast is still going strong. If you make sure that they are on a cool hard none-carpeted surface Dreamcast consoles can keep working for a long time... But it would be nice if I could send in my Dreamcasts to Sega to get professionally repaired after this month is over. Too bad.

Still it's not all bad news. While I was at a game store recently a young gamer who looked about 14 years old was buying Dreamcast games. I heard him tell the store clerk that he had only recently got a Dreamcast and that it was his favorite console. It's nice to know that the system keeps getting new fans even as Sega keeps trying to pull the plug on it.

But Sega can't end the Dreamcast. It has a life of it's own and it will never die.



All hail the undead console. All hail the Dreamcast.

X-Box Live Arcade woefully behind the Dreamcast in terms of awesomeness

Well it appears that the X-box is trying to play catch up with the Dreamcast.

They now offer a version of Marthon:Durandal on X-box Live Arcade.

Joystiq Article

Xbox Marathon Website

Quote form the X-box wesbite.

"This title is only available to Xbox 360™ owners with an Xbox LIVE Silver or Gold membership, through download from the Xbox LIVE Marketplace."

Technically that is true. To get the faster upgraded version with a few add-ons you have to have the X-box 360.

But if you want play THE WHOLE TRILOGY (including the original version of Durandal!) all you need is a Dreamcast, a CD-R and a decent internet connection!


Download it at the DC Evolution website.

That's right. First the Wii and now the Xbox 360. The new gen just keeps on ripping off the Dreamcast...



Yes the DC Evolution website has had THE WHOLE TRILOGY up for awhile. Of course there are some drawbacks (the most painful being that you can't save).

But still. Three original games versus one remake.

Simple math people

3>1

Dreamcast > Xbox live Arcade

The Undead Console leaves another victim in it's wake...

Live the Dream people...

All hail the Undead Console!

All hail the Dreamcast!