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BetamaXXX

Well hello there! It seems like ages since the last post....well, four whole days - and four days is a long time when Peter Crouch keeps dancing like Clockwork Knight. It'd also help if Blogger wasn't constantly 'down,' or would occasionally let you post a picture without making you wait...well four days, actually. But you can't have it all can you.

Can you?!?!

No, you bloody well can't. But YOU, Dreamcast owning super-being, yes YOU, can have something (nearly) just as good! What? Why 3 new Dreamcast reviews of course!

And here, for your perusal, are they:

Spirit of Speed 1937! F1 Racing, old skool style. Think Jackie Stewart/Stirling Moss an' shit. Only nowhere near as good. More like Sly Stallone in Driven.

Re-Volt!
Pleasantly...er...pleasant remote control car 'em up, ported from the Ultra 64 Interactive Multimedia System (or something) and given a lick of strato-resolution, super shiny emulsion.

Sega Extreme Sports!
I only mentioned this one recently, and now I'm mentioning it again because it's pretty decent. Apart from the hang-gliding. Think Pilot Wings without any playability whatsoever.

"Monsuier, with these superb reviews you are spoiling us!" I hear you screech. But please, think nothing of it.

Elsewhere, two new Dreamcast related items entered the Junkyard's cavernous and fully automated vault this weekend. Unfortunatley, it wasn't the shipment of pure kryptonite I got off eBay for £3, but I'll wait a few more days before I serve ebay seller 'ZOD159' with the Paypal complaint form. Ahem.

No, the new arrivals are as follows:

Dreamography 2 - May to December 2000 VHS
This VHS tape was availible for free to any herbert that wanted one from Electronics Boutique (RIP). It features footage of the period's biggest releases and has some blurb on the back about Chu-Chu Rocket, and also makes the cardinal sin of having MSR written as M-SR. A truly hideous useage of the hyphon that should never be repeated.


DC-UK Magazine Promotional VHS
For those not in the know, DC-UK was the ingeniously titled magazine from Future Publishing that promised the Earth, delivered it in part and then vanished without a trace leaving the shipment half complete. This VHS is quite similar to the Dreamography one in that it features a load of in-game footage with a shite soundtrack over the top. It came free with Issue 1 and features the word 'schmooze' on the cardboard sleeve.

Good eh? SCHMOOZE!

Samba De Baseball!

NOTE: This article has been since proved as rrubbish. See this Follow-up to see why.

YES. I knew it. I knew I would find a hidden gem game that can work with the maracas,. There just had to be, as every Dreamcast controller has a game that works remarkably well for it even if it's not mentioned to work for it on the back of the box. With the Fishing Controller it's Soul Cailbur, which the Dance Mat it's Space Channel 5, so what is it with the Maracas?

Well, I was determined to find another game that worked really well with the maracas, considering that I had to fork out £75 for them, and while Mr. Driller worked sort of well, it isn't perfect, and more or less every other game I have tried hasn't worked in the slightest. Looking around IGN Dreamcast's archives, there was this article about Samba's release in the US. I can't find said article at the moment, but it's tag line was "Don't laugh, but you might just be playing World Series Baseball 2K1 with those maracas". I took this with a pinch of salt, but I own the game from where I picked it up along with two other Sega Sports 2K1 dirt cheap from a Toys R Us in Florida back in 2004 (along with Sega Marine Fishing and Alien Front. When I say dirt cheap I'm talking £1-3 each cheap!) so I decided to give it a shot.

Normally I couldn't give a toss about Amercian sport sims, however..

Well, the menu's are not navigational with the Maracas, which gave me a bad sign. Once I got into the game however, using the 2nd controller plugged in, I noticed something different about the in-game layout. Normally the camera angle is third-person from behind your batter, and you get this little window to aim your bat with. This time, the angle was more of a full shot, with the pitcher facing the back of the camera and the batter facing in front. First few shots didn't seem to register so well, but that was maybe because I was using both maracas. I put one down on the floor and had a swing with just the one like you would with a real bat and, holy hell, the character on the screen did near enough exactly what I did!

What I lookedlike playing it. Sort of.

That's right, you can actually use one of the maraca's (either one will do, it seems) as a bat, and it registers exactly what you do with the swing! Hit it high, the ball will fly high. Hit it low, and it'll roll along the ground. Hit it fast, it goes fast! When using the maracas, the CPU plays the other characters on the ground for you, including the pitchers, and with this in mind you end up playing the batting roles of both teams. This should be great for multiplayer, as you could just pass the maraca to he next player when their team's batters come up. This game was most defiantly made with the maracas in mind, as these alterations to the game play prove. It must actually register the maracas much like Samba De Amigo) only without telling you, and switches to this simpler game play that only involves the batting.

Already the players seem to be a whole lot happier about it.

What's extra great about this is how it's techniqully exactly what the baseball part of Nintendo's Wii Sports is said to play like, with the only difference being the graphical style. Of course, what Nintendo is doing is taking this expensive (in 2000) technology and making it the norm for all their games, but the fact that it could be done six years ago makes you wonder: What if Sega decided to stick to the console market, and leaped on this idea first? Whatever the case, it’s very enjoyable to think I’m playing a small part of what is essentially being called the future of gaming using a game and controller created yonks ago. Not so revolutionary now, are we?

Take note that I'm not slagging off the Wii console itself, but rather just the baseball game.

Now of course, being British I haven't got a clue how Baseball works. There's so many terms and rules that I was often confused by it all. Also, on it's own with a normal controller this is a very dull game, and hard to play if you, like me, just don't get it and have to play all the other guys on the pitch. However, this game suddenly becomes another one of those magic game play moments the Dreamcast has so many of when using a maraca, and I'm sure once I get some mates round this will become a multiplayer favourite. What was also quite cute was seeing my dad walk into the room and rather than make a remark about how daft I looked swinging a bright red plastic maraca about, but "Blimey, don't those graphics look lifelike?". Who said the Dreamcast can't still turn heads?

Anyway, if you were considering getting the maracas set one day, now you definatly have to get them along with this game so you can glote to your mates when they rave about the Wii's controller.

Step into my Office...

Several days ago I announced that I had, like a particularly fat, clumsy and oafish goalkeeper, let a coveted miniature Dreamcast keyring slip through my sausage-like fingers. 'Tis true. If I remember rightly, a simply stunning post about the Dreamcast Gallery followed thereafter, and I left you - oh hallowed and respected reader - with an Empire Strikes Back sized cliffhanger as to what I had purchased to make up for the heartbreaking loss of said keyring-based awesomeness.

Ladies and Gentlemen, please empty your minds of the Fonz's iconic black leather jacket...

...and prepare for something roughly 7.4% cooler:


Keep going...

Its...


THE SEGA EUROPE DREAMCAST VIP LAUNCH JACKET!

The Front, embroided with the letters 'SOEPD,' which for the most part I imagine stand for 'Sega Of Europe...something or other.'

The Back, embroidered with something extremely familiar...

Yep, it's the Dreamcast logo! look at that quality workmanship!

I got this amazing, waterproof and thoroughly stylish (in a retro, student-type kinda way (don't hate me)) jacket off eBay for an undisclosed fee, and apparently, these coats were given out to 'industry VIPs' at the console launch. There are only a very limited number in circulation, and - even better - this jacket was never made availible to the public.

At last - something to keep me warm whilst I obliterate YOUR Kudos scores waaaaaaay into the small hours!

Sad? You bet your candy ass...but I'm LIVING THE DREAM!

DREAMCAST FOREVER!!!!!!!!

Furthermore:

As the Dreamcast Junkyard celebrates it's first 6 months in existence (that's 5 months longer than Mr Dreamcast Magazine, folks!), expect to see a 'Best of the Dreamcast Junkyard' post very soon!

Oh, and I got the Jet Set Radio soundtrack the other day. More to follow...

IGN Dreamcast returns. Dun Dun DUNNN.

As a certian ghostly sprite once said all those years ago: "RAIIIIIISE FROM YOUR GWAVE!"

A while back, the rather fanboyish but bloody funny IGN-Dreamcast2 blog started a countdown. What was it for? Now the countdown has ended this is it.

No, Sega haven't announced a Dreamcast 2 console. The news is that IGN has re-launched the Dreamcast section of their website thanks to a collection of fans doing it for free. Why? Because for starters they want to re-review every single game (because to be honest some of the original reviews were a little OOT. A 9.9 score for Tony Hawks 2? What were they thinking?) and because there is just so much love for the console still out there. Their first new review, complete with new screenshots and videos (that when seen next to the one's posted way back in 2000 is quite a bizarre sight), is of San Francisco 2049. The new rating system used just for the Dreamcast section even includes how rare said game is now and how much they paid for it. They even have an article about the best video game uses of Monkeys. Here's the blog blurb:

"You love this blog? Well you're going to be in heaven over the new IGN Dreamcast. No rules. No bosses. Just a bunch of Sega fans run amok, reminding people that while games coverage is serious business, this shit is supposed to be fun.

We're counting down every single U.S. Dreamcast game for the next year or so. That's right, we're playing every single game again, taking new screens and videos and giving out impressions on the value of these games in 2006. We'll also have retrospective interviews with former IGN Dreamcast editors plus the latest new on Sega's plans for a Dreamcast 2."

Brilliant! This was followed wth quite possibly the most simple yet perfect tribrute to the console ever put to youtube..

Uprising

Thought you were the only Dreamcast nut in your neighborhood? Well, you probably are. But - hark! - from the innermost denizens of that internet thing comes DC Forums! A place where, it seems, thousands of likeminded individuals gather to air their views and share vital battle plans for the inevitable march of the Dreamcast Army, predicted by Nostradamous for some time later this year.

When you take into consideration that most of old Nostro's 'predictions' have been fabricated by people who want to sell books about impending apocalypse, you may be forgiven for thinking this uprising will never come. But have faith, dear reader - and sign up with DC Forums here!

Your Console Needs You!

Speaking of uprisings, saw X-Men 3: The Last Stand yesterday. It was passable and features some great effects, but the whole story is just a bit pointless when it comes down to it. Oh, and it's got Vinnie Jones in it which usually spells disaster but he's actually not as embarrasing as I thought he'd be.

And if you do go to see it, wait in your (spine-threateningly uncomfortable) seat until the final credits have ended for an extra scene that screams 'X-Men 4' louder than the final scene before the credits roll. You may look like a sad tosser watching the credits while the cinema staff clean up around you, but at least you'll get your money's worth. Cough.

Guggencast

Last week, whilst searching the internet when I really should have been working, I came across an eBay auction for a miniature Dreamcast keyring:


Obviously, being the complete Dreamcast freak that I am, I knew that as soon as my pupils took in it's majesty, fate had decided that I would inevitably own it. Alas, not wanting to incur the unspeakable wrath of the work-based Internet Monitoring Agency (IMA - similar to the CIA, only much more brutal), I refrained from 'buying it now,' just incase said shaved monkeys were able to ID me from the transaction and then approach my cubicle.

I'm sick of scaling the facades of office blocks to escape The Man.

Anyways - to turn an incredibly dull story into an incredibly brief one: got home, item sold yadda yadda yadda. Unpeturbed, I Googled (how pretentious) for another one and like a fat, bespectacled 36 year old virgin who still lives at home with his parents might, say, drop a malteser under his bed, get down on his hands and knees, squeeze underneath and retrieve the choclatey treat from it's new home among the mass of dog eared copies of Readers' Wives and crispy balls of tissue paper - only to discover a half eaten peparami (Oh joy of joys!); I discovered THIS! The Dreamcast Gallery!!!

But before I continue, let me assure you - valued reader - that I am neither fat, bespectacled, 36, or a virgin...although the rest of that analogy is eerily close to the truth. Except that it was a half eaten pot noodle under my bed. Poetic license.

"Get on with it, cocksucker!" I hear you cry, so without further ado:

Yes, The Dreamcast Gallery is (as the name suggests) a pictoral journey through Dreamcast Land and features several sections including:

  • Consoles (prototypes and various cool special editions that we in the United Kingdom NEVER GOT!)
  • Contollers (see above - mainly ones WE NEVER GOT!)
  • VMUs (yep...more cool VMUs - mainly ones...you get the idea)
  • Merchandise (Cool DC related paraphenalia)
  • Development Kit (boring gits only, I'm afraid)

Just incase you have an IQ comparable to that of an almond, here's a few lovely illustrations of what to expect:

It's an inflatable cushion! Now you too can fart and slide about on the Dreamcast logo!

Look like a total ponce AND a geek in the gym? I have the very thing, Sir: A Dreamcast bottle holder! Of course, you could fill it with Cider and be the envy of all of the other tramps down at the bus station...

Rolex? Schmolex! Tag Hauer? Slag Heurgh! The real Gentleman's timepiece comes with a sweaty resin strap and an orange swirl.


I have to be honest - I have no friggin idea what this thing is meant to be. It's called a 'Swatch,' apparently.

Ah - it's a motion sensor wanking aid. Shoulda guessed, really. Maybe for use with Phantasy Star Onyourown. Yak.

A Karaoke add-on. Can't see why this was canned - it could have been as big as the Mega CD. Or even the 32X.

Last but not least - a fluffy Dreamcast! Something every hardcore gamer needs: something to hold during those cold, lonely (Never)winter nights. Ahem.

The Dreamcast Gallery - go there now, and bask in it's overall warm fuzzy glow. And for anyone who cares - I didn't manage to get the keyring. I got something even better instead...more to follow...

Terrorvision

You may have heard about this morning's 'terror' raids in Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham. Apparently, according to the (suspiciously omnipresent and all knowing) BBC News, over 500 police officers raided several properties thought to be inhabited by individuals associated with terrorist activity 'overseas' (or 'Iraq,' as it's more commonly known). What I didn't know, however, was that one of these houses was across the fucking road from me, so imagine my suprise when I returned home earlier to discover an entire studio's worth of news vans, camera crews and Z list news presenters milling about. For a moment I thought I spotted Eamon Holmes conducting an interview with some gormless old sea-hag, but was dissappointed to discover that it was infact Zippo's Circus putting up a Big Top at the end of the street. The greedy cunt.

Anyhow, this got me thinking. 'Terror,' apart from being Mr Bush's favourite catchphrase at the moment, is quite ubiquitous. People, we live in an age of fear: but fear not! There are several Dreamcast based organisations at hand to save us from our News of the World created oppressors!

Lets have a look at them and their capability to keep us and our 'democracy' safe...

Rainbow
OK, not a solely Dreamcast related organisation, but Rainbow appeared in no less than two titles for our favourite great white hope. Taking control of a team of crack counter terrorist agents, it was up to you to infiltrate various real world locales such as museums, schools and office buildings in total silence and take out any 'tangoes' who happened to be stupid enough to wander into your line of fire. The two DC versions are very much a mixed bag in terms of graphics, sound and pretty much everything really. The first game, Rainbow Six, featured pretty basic graphics and some shockingly bad texture mapping but overall was quite playable. The second Dreamcast outing for Rainbow was in the follow-up, Rogue Spear and that added keyboard and mouse compatibility and slightly better visuals but also threw in a wierd 'flickery' screen. Hard to explain, but when you play 'em both you'll see what I mean.

A Plane
Interforce
More of a privatley funded venture than the NATO controlled Rainbow, Interforce is still primarily an anti-terrorist outfit. If you're still not completely sure who Interforce are - one word: Outtrigger. Or is that two words? Whatever. Outtrigger is a top little arcade game with all the usual bells and whistles attached to the genre: gameplay about as deep as a muller fruit corner, garishly vibrant graphics and arenas the size of a postage stamp. But that's not to detract from Outtrigger - indeed, it's a really good game and deathmatch fans would be encouraged to seek it out.

Ouch
John Mullins
Not really an organisation in the traditional sense, John Mullins is the real life one man army featured in Soldier of Fortune. Regular visitors to the 'Yard will already know my opinions on SoF (not favourable), but Mr Mullins is still fighting the good fight against a seemingly infinate number of balaclava clad hoodlums intent on world domination. The fact that Mullins looks like an outcast from the Village People fades into insignificance when he's got an arsenal of weapons as impressive as displayed here. Shotguns, Desert Eagles and M16s are all perfectly acceptable methods of diverting moustache jokes too.

erm...
CMF
Hmmm, not much can be said about the CMF. Or Confidential Mission Force, for those of you not on the 'need to know' list. They're out to stop an evil scientist (replete with evil eye-patch (it must be a nightmare looking through a microscope)) taking over the world which is very commendable and all, and also feature in the other PAL lightgun game - Confidential Mission...but that's about it. Oh and one of them is called Howard. But sadly, it's not the girl.

Typical. Highlight the black guy.

*********INTER(CONFIDENTIAL)MISSION*********

I'm thinking of going to watch The Da Vinci Code this week because I thought the book was a great read. Airport fiction it may well be, but a good read nonetheless. An observation I have made though, is that many people are saying the film is a pile of shite. When asked if they have read the book, the answer is invariably "no." FUCKING CRETINS. If I hear one more pompous twat on the bus going on about how it's all made up and totally inaccurate, I swear I'll punch the fucker in the eye. Then jump on his throat. Then drag his asphyxiated corpse to WH Smith and point out that the Da Vinci Code is, has and always will be sold in the FICTION department...BECAUSE IT'S FICTION and has never been marketed otherwise!!!

Just had to get that off my chest. Next Week - how to dodge taxes and get away with it! The Dreamcast Junkyard: better than Capone. Ahem.

Dreamcast Memoribilia! Swoosh.

That's right folks, there's no better way to celebrate your wonderful white box all over the place then to decorate your gaming room with toys and other merchandisables from your favourite Dreamcast games! That's what I've found myself doing, anyway. Well, not exclusively Dreamcast stuff, but Sega stuff in general, because they own my soul. I'll just stick to stuff from DC games so I won't be here all night.

First off, action figures! Everyone loves those right? Well, you'll be pleased to now that there's actually quite a few out there based on Dreamcast games. First off, the most obvious, Sonic Adventure. While there's truckloads of Sonic consumables out there (Trust me, I own quite a collection myself), these following were actually made to promote Sonic Adventure back in 1999. After flickering through the Argos catalogue you may actually recognise these three talking figures here...

..because Sega recently re-released these to promote the anime series Sonic X. They didn't even bother to change the voices to the Sonic X ones, and for some reason they made the Sonic one look rather odd...

...his gonna get a neck cramp like that. Anyway, the next one is a whole lot nicer. This limited edition is quite big, and comes with a big Sonic emblem thingy that talks, and it came in a splendid box. There was also a series of smaller figures of this style, but I've never been able to get my mitts on them. They even did Big and Gamma! I want them so much.

Next up: House of the Dead 2. This rather lovely set of four came my way rather recently at boot sales brand new for £3 a piece. They even have the Dreamcast swirly on the back of the boxes, which is nice. One of them is out of his box because it was all beaten up (I bought that one else where, before the whole set popped up by the tub load.) I kept them in their boxes because I simpliy have no where to put them. The back of the boxes also show off that there was a series of Space Channel 5 figures. I need those.

Raagh.

Crazy Taxi! This toy was actually released rather the Dreamcast's commercial "death" and was actually promoting the PS2 port (sic.). There was also another one from Crazy taxi 3 on the Xbox, but I haven't come across that yet. This was from a whole series of Sega toys that also includes the Monkeyball characters, some Virtua Fighter 4 blokes, and Sonic 'n' Shadow. This one is the cutest, however, because it comes with little plug-in passengers, including that fat guy who always wants to go to the baseball arena to eat hotdogs.

Now this one is vaguely Dreamcast related, as Tron Bonnie and her little robot helpers are my favourite picks in Marvel Vs Capcom 2, only in that she is stomping around in a huge green robot. Whatever the case, think this is hella cute.
Speaking of 2D fighters, here's my Street Fighter collection. This photo is old so it's missing the two Capcom Vs SNK 2 figures I got last xmas, and the lighting does them no justice, but I've had these since 2001, and there's a ew 3rd Strike characters in there, which is nice.

Shifting away from action figures, here's something you won't see everyday: a book about going online with the Dreamcast published back in '99. because I didn't own a PC back then, the Dreamcast was my main source of the interwebs, so this boo went everywhere with me, hence why it's now so battered up. It even helped me out with setting up my first website "SegaGaga" (which later became the web comic MangaGaga). I signed up to Angelfire, and disconnected every time I went into the HTML editor to save money, then I would go onto the Chu Chu Rocket chat and plug the site with a shortcut key. Ahh, memories.

Finally, here's an interesting piece that you can pretty easily find on Ebay pretty cheap. Released for just two days online when you ordered Sonic Adventure 2, this is the 10th anniversary box set, complete with a music CD, gold coin and a little history book. They were only selling it on Dream Arena in very limited numbers back in 2001, and you had to go on there and order it from midnight before it was gone. I tried to get through, but when hundreds of people hit a website at the same time and you're using a 33kb modem...things are a little slow, and I didn't get through. People soon slapped these onto Ebay for around £50, but after a few weeks it was apparent that there was loads of these things, so it's values shot down and I nabbed myself one a few months later (by then I had a PC) for around £15. It even had a Japanese import Sonic Adventure 2 included!

One last thing: I took some more photos of my collection of DC stuff today out of sheer boredom, and I didn't want to make a whole new topic just to show off with, so here's the photos. I'm such a show off it's not even healthy. The 2nd image is made up of 3 photos joined together, which is way it looks funny in places, but with it you can see he covers of every game I own. Full view is a must.

I might make a 2nd topic like this one day, so watch out! Also, I think we can all agree that Sega Freaks seems to be a dead blog now, can't we? For those who wonder how I keep churning out these long posts, it's because I've been doing naff all else. Samba De Amigo, Seaman, Sega marine Fishing and MAME4ALL have taken over my life as of recently.

Ch-Ch-Changes

Anyone who's even half as embroiled in Shenmue as I am will love this site. It documents in detail the visual differences between the Dreamcast and Xbox versions of Shenmue 2. Example:










The DC shot (left) shows a sign on the door to the left; while in the Xbox version (right), the sign is absent...

There are loads of others, and some are slightly more nonsensical than others (bottles in shop fridges have moved etc) - but it's still a really intriguing study of the little things Sega thought necessary to change...

...and remember to view us with Firefox - Internet Explorer fucks the 'Yard's sidebar up for some reason.