I overheard some sweaty bastard in a games shop having a verbal wank over Resident Evil 4 t'other day. I personally haven't played it, but from what I've heard it's a very decent game. Regardless, over-hearing that cretin dribble and spit through his moss covered teeth got me thinking - the Dreamcast has actually played host to 3 different Resident Evil titles. Yes, the series that introduced moonwalking in a circular motion, running down corridors whilst facing diagonally into the wall, and combining herbs on a bit of paper to promote good health (?!) has been pressed onto a GD-Rom numerous times...and here, for your information are they:

Resident Evil 2
Nothing more than a cash-in, Resident Evil 2 on the Dreamcast is a slap dash conversion of the PC version. Featuring super-high res pre-rendered backgrounds, but super un-detailed lego man characters, Resi 2 has the visual appeal of that vindaloo I threw up all over my bed a few weeks back. However, the age old story of Leon Kennedy - a rookie cop on his first day at work; and Claire Redfield - plucky sister of the original's Chris who is searching for his wearabouts, who must escape the zombie infested Raccoon City; is brilliant and frought with twists and turns aplenty. The DC version features pretty much everything that was in the PSX version - including all the secrets and gameplay modes...and unfortunately those fucking loading screens.

Two shots...same location! What are the chances?!?!

Resident Evil 3: Nemesis
As with Resi 2, Resi 3 is pretty much a straight conversion. Capcom are clearly advocates of the old adage 'if it ain't broke...etc.' The third game differs from the others in that you play as Jill Valentine (heroine of the first game) who is a) trying to escape Raccoon City; b) trying to bring down the Umbrella Corporation; and c) being chased through the dark alleyways by an eight-foot invincible zombie in a trench coat. Just an average day at the office then. Obviously, Nemesis features better pre-rendered back drops than the PS version, but still suffers from slightly dodgy looking zombies and characters which does nothing to hide the fact that it was converted simply to line a few pockets with minimal effort.

These grunts ain't shit compared to the Nemesis...

Resident Evil Code: Veronica
Now we're talking. The Daddy (or should that be Mummy?) of Dreamcast survival horror adventures. Created exclusively for the Dreamcast, Resident Evil Code: Veronica was the first game in the series to feature fully 3D environments (as opposed to the prequels' 2D static backdrops) and also the first game to feature a (sort of) totally new storyline. You once again reprise the role of Claire Redfield, but this time the game is set on a mysterious Umbrella Corporation-owned island that, conveniently, is also infested with zombies, mutants, giant worms and other unspeakable nasties that tend to go "BWAAAAH!" rather than 'bump' in the night. Featuring truly 'next gen' graphics (check out those game-engine powered cut scenes!), Code Veronica was eventually ported to the PS2 (and later the Shamecube) under the clever guise of Code Veronica X, but we all know that the only way to play this game is with a white joypad with a VMU plugged in.

Notice Claire's change in attire between the promo shot (top) and the final version (bottom)

The one thing that puzzles me about the Resi games on the Dreamcast is the totally disproportionate pricing of them. Code Veronica is easily the best of the lot, but is invariably found retailing for the lowest price (usually no more than a few quid); whilst Resident Evil 2 and 3 generally go for upwards of twenty pounds, either online or in a store. Why?!?!?

Answers on a postcard please.

If you need more info on Resident Evil (and who doesn't?), here's a few links that may interest you. Just don't tell Wesker.

The Resident Evil Portal
Resident Evil Fan - a frankly brilliant fan site that documents pretty much everything you could want to know about Resident Evil

R.I.P. Pro Evo

So, it's finally sunk in that the World Cup is over. No more footy for a few weeks now - until the Premier League starts up again, and hopefully by then Man United will actually have got some new players and offloaded some of the shite that 'helped' us not even attempt to mount a challenge last season. But allow me to get down off this soap box. You're here to chat Dreamcast - I'm here to chat footy. Let's combine the two!:

It has, as regular Junkyard visitors will know, been well documented that the Dreamcast never really played host to a ball-breaking football game. If you like your racing games, fighting games or pretty much any other type of game (even bus driving, fishing, dancing like a fool or playing Soul Calibur with a pseudo-sword), you can't go wrong with a Dreamcast. But if you're like me and eat, sleep and drink football - well, better get the Xbox out for a bit of computerised footy fun. Or so I thought until recently...

Before you spit your cornflakes/vodka/donner kebab (or whatever else you may be having for breakfast) all over your lovely flat screen monitor - no, there isn't a new DC football game out. However, I'd like to re-visit a previously lambasted Dreamcast-based effort and explain why, on re-inspection it appears to better a title that many regard as the finest video representation of the beautiful game ever created: Ladies and Gentlemen - I'm putting my reputation on the line here by stating loud and clear that UEFA Dream Soccer is actually a better game than Pro Evolution Soccer 5...

Ok. So Pro Evo Soccer. For years it has been the pinnacle of all things footy related on the consoles. Fifa is wank - we all know that, but with Pro Evo 5 Konami have tinkered with the mechanics of their game engine to such a degree that is has virtually destroyed the whole experience and has allowed arguably the Dreamcast's best kickabout to sneak in and put one in under the 'keeper.

Evidence, Your Honour:

In Pro Evo 5, the ball moves at such a pace that the ball rarely gets to it's destination without being intercepted. This is what Konami deam 'realistic.' If you are playing as Leigh RMI, then this is acceptable - but as Chelsea or Man United? Erm...
In UEFA Dream Soccer (henceforth to be known as UDC simply to save my keyboard from wearing out), passing is crisp, fast and generally there are no problems.

Pro Evo's throughball used to be one of the best features in it's FIFA-smashing arsenal. In any of the other Pro Evos, a well timed throughball (of the grounded or lofted variety) can split a defence wide open. In Pro Evo 5, it is virtually useless as players inevitably get in the way or are muscled off the ball by the opposition. Realistic, yes - but also infuriating to the point of joypad/floor correlation.
The throughball system in UDC isn't as effective as in the Pro Evos 1 through 4, but it's a damn sight better than 5's - and it actually releases players for a break away.

One of the worst aspects of the new 'hyper realistic' Pro Evo 5 - no matter who you play as, even if you manage to play your best strikers in, shots generally fly miles wide or over the bar. THIS ISNT PRO EVO!!! It's a fucking mess! Granted, if you're playing an Italian league match, these things should be accepted - but Steven Gerrard blasting wide from 20 yards? It ain't right, Guv.
UFC's shooting is spot on, however. Shots have pace, venom and you can curl the ball. Fair enough, sometimes there is a little glitch that makes it look as if the player is facing the wrong way (!), but when you have a crack at goal - you know its going to actually go near the goal..not default to row Z.

The worst part about Pro Evo 5. It is simply impossible to perform a block tackle without getting penalised, and if you dare attempt to slide - instant yellow card, my friend. Even worse, computer controlled team mates will also automatically throw challenges in and win free-kicks for the opposition even though you weren't even controlling them!!!
UDC on the other hand does things slightly better. It does feel as though the players are actually ice skating rather than running at times, but at least you can block tackle without a freakin' whistle being blown, and when you slide you generally end up with possesion rather than having the ball ping out of play, True Pinball stylee.

Some games take the fun out of playing because it's too hard to score. NHL 2K is one - Pro Evo 5 is another. To be fair, scoring difficulties are mainly down to the ineptitude of the strikers as a whole, but even when you go clean through (very rare considering all of the defenders have the running ability of Billy Whiz) - beating the keeper is nigh on impossible. It's good to have competent 'keepers in a game (who can forget the 15-14 scorelines from Fifa '97?), but Pro Evo's are just too good.
UDC's goalies are a bit on the soft side, but they do generally have the goal area covered. When you shoot though, or cross the ball, at least you know you've got a fighting chance of scoring. Sometimes the ball is saved...sometimes it goes in...what's wrong with that?!

Before any big mouth leaves a comment along the lines of "you must be shit at Pro Evo 5 to hate it so much.." no - I am not. I am a self promoting demon at Pro Evo 1, 2, 3 & 4 and can also kick ass on any of the other versions of Pro Evo/ISS - and also on a real football pitch, out there in the sun (go on, have a look! The real world does exist!) - but Pro Evo 5 is an abomination...and UEFA Dream Soccer is simply more fun, better looking and better to play; which leads to the conclusion that the Dreamcast does actually have a decent football game afterall.

UEFA Dream Soccer - not as bad as it sounds. Check it out after you've smashed up your copy of Pro Evo 5 and posted it back to Konami in an envelope padded with pubes and razor blades.

More Bleemcast! Pepsimannn~!

Yes, that infamous little emulator that could is back for more, folks. This time I come to you with one of the Bleem discs that was actually released commercially: Bleemcast for Tekken 3! I got my hands on it at Ebay, which is more addictive and money-draining than gambling, for £9 (well, £7 and £2 postage) complete with a copy of the game.

The difference between these commercial releases (of which there is only three) and the leaked beta is that they are specially made to play said game perfectly, complete with all the out-dated FMV cut scenes, rumble pack + arcade stick support and even the ability to save! Just one snag about the saving: it gobbles up an entire VMU (or one slot on a 4-in-1 memory card) to do so, which is the only gripe to have with these things. Otherwise, it works a treat for the Namco scrapper.

As for the game itself, it's certainly not one of the best fighters out there, when compared to some of the Dreamcast's fighter gems it feels a bit sluggish, but as far as Playstation games go this is very nice, especially with all the extra modes like the Tekken Force mode (Which plays like Streets of Rage, only without as much freedom of movement. Not being able to pick up he chickens because you're walking on a random straight line all the time can be infuriating) and the Tekken Ball mode (possibly the best thing in the game). There's also plenty of characters to unlock, although they don’t exactly take long to unlock (just beat the arcade mode so many times until you've got them all). These range from a panda, to a big goblin type thing (the game's boss, and possibly one of the easiest final bosses ever) to a little orange Dinosaur with boxing gloves called GON (if you don't know he is, I don't blame you, but find out here.) Below I've posted a clip (well, a bunch of clips stuck together) of the game running on Bleemcast.

Another development I've noticed is how people are now releasing Playstation games on torrent with the Bleemcast beta built in, so you don't need to do any disc swapping, which is nice. I'd rather own the proper games myself if I can find them cheap, but in some cases there are games that are mega rare that run brilliantly on Bleemcast, and you just can't resist giving them a shot. One of these games is Pepsiman.

Pepsiman, you ask? What the hell? Well, this is a true oddly of a game this. Pepsiman is the star of a series of Commercials Pepsi did in Japan, who looks like he has walked straight out of Terminator : Judgement day, has no face except for a rather creepy mouth that appears when he feels like it, and always seems to get into a lot of pain after saving the day by, you guessed it, supplying your everyday folk to cans of Pepsi. I've posted a youtube video I found of all the ads below. These are easily up there with the Segata Sanshiro commercials. (Submitted by Grimsato. Thank him.)

Now, onto the game. Well, before this Playstation game he was actually playable in the Japanese version of Fighting Vipers, for some reason. Soon after, this game was produced by KID (who normally only make dodgy anime dating Sims starring girls that are surely not of legal consent) for the PS. It's a very simple game in that you are constantly running forward, dodging any obstacles in your way and collecting cans of Pepsi. The game is in fact a whole lot of fun and not far off to what Sega was showing off with the new Sonic game on the Nintendo Wii in terms of gameplay. The game also features some rather excellent, English voice acting. Here's the Bleemcast footage. As you can see it works almost perfectly.

Finally, here's something I made when bored recently. Bleemcast covers! They are scans of Playstation covers, edited to fit in with the PAL Dreamcast games! Enjoy! PEPSIMANNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!

Browsing the Net on the Dee Cee!

The Dreamcast was my first real experience of the internet. I didn't own a PC until late 2000, and this was years before Broadband took off, so the console's 33k modem didn't seem too bad back then. I bought myself a keyboard with the console, and it was all rather nice at first, with the exception of the per-minute pricing, which meant I could only use it for around an hour a day. I made my first website using Angelfire on it, disconnecting when I got to the edit page, then re-connecting to save. I learnt the basics of HTML this way. You could even download VMU saves and mini-games, and Chu Chu Rocket online was great. Ahh, memories~

Of course, as soon as I got a PC the Dreamcast internet was obsolete so it got pulled from it's socket. I've since kind of missed it for some odd reason. Now my Dreamcast isn't located anywhere near a phone line, but I found a way around it recently. Firstly, from browsing Sega-Europe's website hey still have a Q&A section for the Dreamcast (go see for yourselves), and one of them was about obtaining the last edition of the DC internet disc, Dream Kit Ver.3. It appears they still have piles of them, so they're giving them away to anyway that requests one for free. I requested one for the fun of it recently, and in two days it popped through the mail.

Now I didn't have much use for this until last week while popping into GameStation, like I do once or twice a week thanks to it being a short walk away, and came across a third-party VGA device in their basket of random preps where I also got a Fishing Controller once. It was ironically by the shops rival Electronics’ Boutique (now known as GAME) and only cost £3.

Those of you that don't know what a VGA is, it's what plugs a computer monitor to your PC. In short, with this little box you can run your Dreamcast through a PC monitor. This was pretty ahead of it's time whe it came out, and only the Gamecube has done it since (although good luck finding that consoles VGA). Playing DC games with a monitor simply means you get the sharpest quality footage you could possibly get, and it's said to even work with HD TVs.

Sadly not all games work with, but about 85-90% of them do. The VGA I got also has sockets on it to plug in speakers, a Hi-fi, and a TV. I tried out the VGA feature by nabbing the sound and video sockets from the back of my motherboard, and the picture quality is indeed very, very nice, and because my PC speakers have a sub-woofer the sound was miles better than what I get from the TV.

With this I about I try out the Dreamcast online using the phone line by the computer, while the Dreamcast is set up to the VGA? Well, I didn't want to pay the per-minute stuff to try it out, so I hunted down a free ISP for it and luckily enough there was one. Right here. (you dont have to sign up to this, just take tose details.)

Using this I slapped the Dreamkey disc in, put in the details I printed out from that site, and there we have it! My DC was online again, if only temporarily. The ISP worked, although I cant tell if it was truly free yet until the next phone bill arrives. Anyway, I taped what I tried out with my camcorder and here it is!

Most of this footage is double speed and a lot of edited out because the modem is really, really slow. It takes about 5-10 minutes to load a page, and even then a lot of the layout is completely lost. My webcomic page worked the best, but these blogs came out rather basic. Also, even though this version of Dreamkey is said to work with Flash, it told me that it wasn't installed and sent me to Macromedia’s website which told me I wasn't on a format it could read. Doh!

Oh well, it was fun back in the day, but it does show how much I take Broadband for granted. I also picked up two games from gamestation, but I'll come back to those in my next post.

Town please, 'mate.'

Whilst doing my usual trawl of the Information Super Highway (copyright 1994) for Dreamcast related guff, I inevitably come across the banal, the bizarre and the downright wierd. And by that, I usually mean anything that is Japan-centric.

Take dating games for example. The Dreamcast has a fuckload of them - but (thankfully) none of them ever came out over here. And I can see why: a UK based dating game? What - bum-fluff moustached 14-year-old lads taking their 'birds' to McDonalds before sharing a bottle of cider on the bus home? Hmmm.

No - forget dating games. I found something slightly more intriguing that I'm sure some of you will already know about, but that the impenetrable wall of ignorance that one has built up around oneself has prevented one from noticing before: Tokyo Bus Guide!

Yes - it's a game about driving a bus...around Tokyo.

How cool is that?! Here's a few pics I stole from several other, better sites:

Who said the Dreamcast doesn't cater for everyone?!

Judging by the reviews I've read (at Gamespot and NTSC-UK) it's not a particularly brilliant game - indeed the visuals look rather basic and boxy, but you are obliged to adhere to the real rules of the road in order to be successful in your quest for high scores. Bus drivers around here could probably learn a thing or two by playing Tokyo Bus Guide too - things like indicating when attempting to turn a corner; using mirrors when pulling out of a lay-by; not crushing cyclists; greeting fare paying customers with anything approaching manners (or just something that isn't a grunt); and actually stopping at bus stops instead of blasting past at Mach 7 whilst flicking a V-sign*.

If you'd like more information about buses or bus stops, please click here - then kindly leave the 'Yard and refrain from returning.

* - Apologies for a blatant over-use of the itallics.

Free games...that are good?!?!?!?

Ah, the Dream On demo disks. You've gotta love 'em. Just when you thought you'd seen it all, they still throw up lovely suprises. For those not in the know, the Dream On demo disks were, well, demo disks that came free with the Official Dreamcast Magazine in the UK. Possibly in Europe too, but please - don't quote me on that.

Today, I discovered something amazing. Whilst rummaging for a VM, I happened across Dream On volume 8. The fact that it features playable levels from the sublime Soul Reaver and heavenly Rayman 2: The Great Escape is not what caught my eye though. No, it was something a little more obscure: Sega Swirl.

Sega Swirl is a free game that Sega distributed over the net and through the magazines and one which, until now, I had never even heard of. But what is it? Only one of the finest puzzle games this side of Tetris, folks!

The premise is a simple one: the screen is filled with a grid of multi-coloured 'swirls.' By selecting a particular swirl and pressing A, it disappears - also taking with it any swirls of the same colour that happen to be in direct contact with it. When they disappear, the swils above fall down into the void left behind and that creates more combinations of adjoining swirls. As is the usual with this kind of puzzler, the bigger the combos you create, the bigger the points you can rack up. With my prose creation skills being as lacklustre as they are, that probably sounds really confusing, but trust me - it's gaming at the most basic level, and is a lot of fun.

There are several different play modes availible, such as trying to clear the screen against the clock, taking turns to create combos against the Dreamcast, or - if you have any friends who will even touch a joypad that isn't attached to a PS2 (which I don't, the goddamned HEATHENS) - you can play a four player game in which you try to foil your opponents' attempts to get big combos by screwing up the layout of the swirls.

It really is a great game and one that (given a few more game modes and some jazzed up graphics) could probably have been sold as a full priced puzzle game - just look at Bust-A-Move and it's 17 sequels. What I mean is that as a totally free, Sega produced game, Sega Swirl is unfaultable. If you aren't lucky enough to have a copy of Dream On volume 8, you could always play a Windows version of Sega Swirl by clicking here to see what all the fuss is about. And you'd be advised to, as Sega Swirl is so good - it even features in a penny arcade comic! (click on it to read it):

When you're done with that, you may want to click here to read my review of Dragons Blood / Draconus: Cult of the Wyrm at Defunct Games - the net's premier retrogames review source; or here to view my lynching of Fighting Force 2. Just don't tell Eidos.

Finally, a word of congratulations to the Italians for winning the World Cup - and I'd also like to take this opportunity to wish Zinedine Zidane all the best in his new career as a UFC cage fighter:

Penny-less Lane

Long time readers of the 'Yard may recall my disasterous Dreamcast paraphernalia scouting mission to our fair Capital city - London (left). Of course, the excursion wasn't solely about looking for shit with a blue swirl on it, but it would have been nice to see at least one games shop. Saying that though, most of the day was spent in Westminster admiring the real-life MSR circuits and beating off Big Issue selling cockneys with a large stick, so it's hardly suprising. A Gamestation next to the Houses of Parliament? Not likely.

Anyhow, I touch on said subject simply because yesterday saw me take yet another such trip as part of the continuous hunt fo' new shit. Yes, I left the yuppy and student (same thing, right?!) infested citadel of Manchester and headed west - toward another bastion of great northern industrialism - Liverpool.

Liverpool is a vast smogopolis of urban decay, dog shit ridden boulevards, and - of course - the most hideous inhabtants one could ever hope to encounter - Scousers. Yes, my Dreamcasting friends, Scousers.

This is what Scousers look like:

An undead army of Chavs.

Moving back to the city itself, I have to say I was quite impressed with the amount of stuff to see and do:

The Maritime Museum

The Tate Gallery (which, incidentally is full of Modern Art - ie SHITE)

The Liverpool Museum

A street full of bars that arse-rape the Beatles' good name to within an inch of its life (oh, and a bronze statue of some guy called 'John Lennon' or something. Scouser I presume. Which equates to Chav.)

The Docks (where, I shit you not, I saw a fucking massive Seagul virtually destroy a litter bin in order to eat a newspaper.)

But what am I saying here? Have I just been elected Senator for Tourism? No - I'd rather be in charge of tourism for Mega City 1- it'd probably be easier. No, the reason - as you'd probably guessed - is that I found something better than all that shit up there: GAMESTATION!!!

Liverpool: 1 - City of Westminster: 0

And inside, I found the smallest of Dreamcast sections, but one that offered two rather interesting and unspoken of (as yet) titles:

Snocross Championship!
Yep - a game built around the well documented world of high speed sledges. I think I played this on the N64 at some point, so I sort of knew what to expect. The graphics are a bit poo - it looks like a PS1 game in places, and the sound is equally poo - the engines sound like they never click out of first gear, even though the speedo says that is has. The thing about Snocross is that if you click into first person view mode, it becomes one of the most fun racing games on the Dreamcast. Wierd, because when you play it in 3rd person - it's actually pretty shit. The snow speeder things just will not turn, but in 1st person: they do! WHY?!?! . It's the same as Polaris Snocross - they just dropped Polaris from the title for the PAL version. Again WHY?!?!
There are some interesting features, like a track editor and such like, which adds to the longevity, but overall it's never better than passable. Anyway, not the best game ever but quite rare I suppose.

Aqua GT!
I didn't even know this had been released - I saw it in some non-descript gaming mag in a 'coming soon' feature and never saw it again. I presumed it had gone the way of Picasso and Colin McRae: to the great development graveyard in the alley behind the publishers' a dirty great wheely bin with apple cores and shitty nappies overflowing from within. But no, it obviously was released. Can't see why they bothered though - it pretty much sucks. It's meant to be a contender to Hydro Thunder's crown as the only powerboat game in the history of the world that is actually any good - but fails quite spectacularly. Why? because it's slow, boring, has wank graphics (the water effects aren't even as good as Wave Race 64) and, well, has the production values of series one of Red Dwarf. The loading screens look like they were drawn by a five year old with finger paints; and you have to endure them for quite some time due to the outrageous 'accessing' of the disk.

Overall, not a great haul - but two quite obscure titles are welcomed into the Dreamcast Junkyard none the less.

On the other hand, I did manage to get Pro Evo 5 on the Xbox for a mere SIX pounds - so it's not all bad. As for Liverpool - decent enough place, shame about the people.


Oh, and lest I forget: it's the World Cup final today. Who'll win? WHO FUCKING CARES? But the Italians have got the bigger incentive: win the World Cup and escape jail!

The Italian Justice System: Legendary.

The cheap, the not-so-cheap, and the.... er...

I'm pretty darn behind with you lot on how my DC collection has been going the last few weeks, me thinks. This could be due to multiple things such as:

1) The stupid heat sucking away all my productive energy.
2) My Modem buggering up and the useless phone calls to BT.
3) Said recent Dreamcast purchases taking up all of my time.
4) Seaman walking, having sex, giving birth to offspring and dying all in one week.

Anyway, let's start with the 'cheap'.
Boot sales. Ahh, the things you can find at them amongst all the common-as-muck Playstation titles, Winnie the Pooh toys and broken mobile phones. This one lady last Saturday, for example, had a box full o' CD related junk, that also contained next to all the DC demo discs. I didn't buy these as I already own them all, although I kind of wish I did now, as some of mine are pretty darn scratched up. Anyway, I rummaged under these demos and found in a thing little CD case...

MDK2! It had no case or manual, but had the front and back papers and of course the CD. How much did she want for it?


Yep, 20p. That's probably the current record for the cheapest DC game I've ever picked up, although still 2nd place to the bargain that was a bundle of Japanese import games for 50p each once (shame they were games you can get here anyway, but still, they have lovely full colour manuals). I soon sorted out the case problem by nicking one of a spare copy of Virtua Striker I have.

As for my opinion of the game, it's one of those games that I want to like, if not for the fact that is just so darn infuriating. It's certainly original, with plenty of new ideas being thrown about and a great sense of humour, but there is simply not enough checkpoints in a level so you end having to do massive chunks of a level over and over again, and those tiny space ships that are next to impossible to aim at in the first level are a pain. Currently I've only played the game once in a week, which is a not a good sign. It probably has something to with the first boss which I simply don’t want to have to go against again. I can do that sniping part easy enough now, but as soon as the alien bloke jumps down on the stage I don’t get a chance to figure out what his pattern of attacks is before he kills me, and I have to do the laborious sniping part over and over again. AGHHGHHGH. Score: 6/10

I went back to the same boot sale this Saturday hoping the find that woman there again so I could nab the demos, but she weren’t there. Darn. I did, however, pick up another gem for a dirt price.

The Sega Racing controller, fully boxed too with all it's paperwork too! Mine looked just like this above, only mine had some bonus tea stains on the top. How much was it, then?


Three quid for a ruddy great big steering wheel in possible the biggest blue and white spiral box I have ever seen. Ok, so it might not be on par with other racing controllers out there (No floor pedals? No built in rumble feature?), it'll do the job until one of those better third-party ones shows up. Someone's actually made a mutant mod of this controller to have those features, along with a seat and everything! I've tried it wit a few games and discovered that it didn't feel right with 18 Wheeler (making the game even harder to beat the times), Daytona was far too twitchy (again, easier with a regular controller), but games like Le Mans 24 and F1 World Grand Prix II worked a treat.

Le Mans 24 in particular has now got me hooked once again thanks to the new device, and now I'm attempting to blast through all the championship tracks, which take around 20-25 minutes to race through all ten laps. It's amazing how seamless the change of weather is in it, shame it has to keep raining cats and dogs half way through every race so I have to pit stop and switch tires. Le Mans is always the complete opposite of the un-bearable heat going on outside recently.

Now onto the not so cheap.
Ebay. Yes, the place where you can be hopping with joy one minute then kicking dents in your computer the next when someone outbids you at the last nanosecond. And then there's the waiting for the things to arrive from somewhere in-between Tokyo and Madagascar. I had a bit of luck with it recently, though.

First off, got two rather lovely titles, one PAL (but pretty hard to get your mitts on) and one Japanese, from the same bloke for £15 the pair. The former is Giga Wing, and the latter Street Fighter 3: W Impact. Both by the Dreamcast's favourite bed partner, Capcom.

Giga Wing is a game that, simply by looking at screenshots, would have you think you're actually paying for a Mega Drive game on a 128-bit machine, but you would be oh so wrong. This mental scrolling shooter may have big lumpy sprites, but when you see how many of hem whizz about the screen at once, and how fast, you'll soon change your mind. Simply said, if this was released on the saturn, it'd need one of those honking great big 4MB carts to run it. It's hella fun too, and while you do blow up a lot (especially if you suck at it, like UK ODM did) it's hella fun while it lasts. Oh, and one of the characters you play as is a Nun. A blue haired Nun! Score: 7/10

Now onto Street Fighter 3: W Impact. Now, those of you who are not Street Fighter nuts like me, you'll probably be wondering why there's two Street Fighter 3's out on the DC (this and 3rd Strike). Well, a lot like how Street Fighter II had about twenty-seven variations (estimated) released over the years with added characters, new artwork etc, Street Fighter III had three variants. It's the magic number! This release features the first two SFIII's. For those of you lost already, I can tell you now that only fans of the series and completists will really want this, as the games featured are just cut down versions if what you get in 3rd Strike. I just so happen to be a fan and a bit of a Capcom-arcade-DC-stuff completist, and the Japanese box art made it hard to resist, especially at that price. Score: 7/10

Those were last week, this week I spent some big money on two Japanese games. Well, big money for me to spend anyway. Capcom Vs SNK 2 for £18.50 and Puyo Puyo fever for £17.50. I'm aware you can get both of these games over here cheap for the gamecube, PS2 and X-Box, but then they wouldn't be on my Dreamcast. Also, these games are well worth the money I coughed up for them.

Capcom Vs SNK 2 is, yes, you guessed it, another capcom arcade port, only this is one of the biggest and most solid they have ever made. There's around 35 characters to pick from, 3 arcade modes (Ratio, 3-on-3 and single match), two survival modes, and like the first one even a colour edit system where you can make your own colour schemes of characters with custom names. One of my first mission was to take the guy with the biggest, spikiest hair, paint him blue and call him Sonic. This game is also a bit easier than the first one (which, when pitted against certain characters, was near impossible), although the final bosses that only show up if your score is good enough are as cheap as Capcom fighter bosses get. Still, this next to Marvel Vs Capcom 2 is one of the most engrossing and additive 2D fighters on the console, if not necessarily the prettiest (3rd Strike and Guilty Gear X take those awards). Score: 9/10

Puyo Puyo Fever was the last game Sega published for the Dreamcast, three years after it was off the market in the west, and is a rather shazzy way to go out. Anyone who hasn't heard of the Puyo Puyo series will have heard of it's mega Drive westren edit Dr Robotniks Mean Bean Machine, and this game improves on that formula with new shapes and sizes of blobs and the 'Fever' mode which makes everything go ape shit bonkers. The artwotk is sickenly cute and there is even the options to run the game entirely in English! Mind you, I have the voices on Japanese because the English voice acting is enough to make you want to rip out your spinal cord Mortal Kombat style. Who says 'Kiddies' anymore? That said, this is easily one of the best DC puzzle titles. The game even features the ability to save your best matches as well as some cool downloads for your VMU that customize your BIOS. You can add Puyo wallpapers to back of it, and transform it into a 3D area in which you can zoom and rotae the camera about. There's prooth of the pudding here. Score: 8/10

One last purchase to point out was of a American edition of Samba De Amigo for £6, simply as a spare copy of the game in English. Phew, that about wraps things up. Funny how these games prices were very much relative of their qualities, with the cheapest being the least impressive (if still impressive enough to be worth more than what I got it for) and the most expensive being the best quality.

In other words, my dad is hooked on Virtua Striker. Maybe I should dig out my to-sell copies of the other football games so I don’t have to hear that excruciating "GOOOOOOOOOAAAALLLLLLLLKKKKK!" sample all the time.

Finally, those are my quality cover scans there. They are just another vein in the leg of the Junkyard domination project. Mwa. Ha. Haa.


The heavens opened earlier on this evening. It was quite spectacular - there was even a bit of Hollywood-calibre thunder and lightning thrown in for good measure. The thing is, I forgot that I'd left an upstairs window open, so whilst I was marvelling at the sudden summer hurricane, cup of tea in hand, thousands of gallons of acid rain were happily cascading through said window - and setting up camp all over my PC, desk, bed and curtains. As a result, it looks like I've pissed the bed (actually, I haven't done that for at least a month) and my computer is pretty fucked.

Oh, and England are, quite predicatably, out of the World the quarters...on penalties...with 10 men. Still, at least cunting Sven's fucked off now - so there's a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.

But as ever, and also quite predictably, I digress. In this maelstrom of football tears and rain (hmmm - James blunt references in the 'Yard? There's the unmistakable sound of 50 million readers deserting us), there have been two new purchases. Oh yes my good friends. Whilst David Beckam sits in his Platinum encrusted mansion, crying crocodile tears and commanding his house keeper at gunpoint to boil faberge eggs for his spoilt kids, Tomleecee was out in the urban jungle, pounding pavement scouting for Dreamcast games. And - you'll be pleased to hear - I got some. Well, two. And they are exactly 50% awesome. They are (start the fans, please...):

Fighting Force 2
Yes! This game has brought me a lot of joy. Almost as much joy as when Burke gets eaten in Aliens - the scumbag. But, this is a different kind of joy. A revelatory joy. Why? well, because with the purchase of Fighting Force 2, I have discovered a game that's actually worse that Army Men: Sarges Heroes! Yes, it's true I tell you! Here's a few hilarious reasons why:

  • All of the 'baddies' look the same!
  • The d-pad doubles up at the 'weapon select' and 'quick turn-around' command. Due to an hilarious oversight on the developers part, if you change weapons, you also spin around on the spot!
  • The 'punch' button also doubles up as the button you need to use when you climb a ladder. If you aren't in the right postion to use the ladder, you just stand there punching air!
  • The background bitmaps look like they were drawn in Paint on a 386 running Windows 3.1!

And there's more:

  • Hawk Manson runs in slow-motion, so you get to see the five frames of animation in super detail mode!
  • You can kick and punch baddies through walls, doors and ledges!
  • The camera often gets stuck in the wall, so you can't see what you're doing!
  • There is only one sound effect when you get hit by an enemy - and it sounds, well, a bit 'sexual' actually. Exclaimation!
  • You can punch photocopiers and paper comes out!
  • Boxes left next to locked cargo doors often contain the key for the very same door!
The list goes on, but you get the idea. To cap it off, there is literally no sound whatsoever (no, really - just silence) and the graphics are...well...hmmm. PSX anyone? The. Worst. Game. On. The. Dreamcast.

Thus far - that is. I believe there are some other fetid experiences out there, so the hunt goes on.

Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver
Yeah, yeah, yeah - I mentioned this one recently but you can't deny it's a class act. It's really only a tarted up version of the PS game, but tarted up beyond recognition. You play Raziel, a resurrected vampire who is ordered by an Elder God to track down and ultimatley take out the titular Kain. Just a bit of trivia for you, but the guy who voices the Elder God also does the story telling in Dragons Blood. True.

Anyhow, LOK:SR is one of the best platform adventures on the Dreamcast. The cut-scene graphics are pretty ropey by today's standards, as are the enemies - but the variation in gameplay, the animation, the way the world 'morphs' as you travel between the spirit world and the real world - it all smacks of extremely high production values. It's really good stuff, and the heavily story-driven plot just tops it off. And it's huge. I could kiss LOK's ass for much, much longer - but I'm sure you're bored shitless by now. It's like this: buy this game!

So there it is. 2 games. One shockingly good - the other just plain shocking. Now, please excuse me - i'm going out back to find a particularly long and thick plank of wood - preferably with a few rusty nails wedged into it. Then I'm going to Manchester Airport to await Christiano Ronaldo's return from Germany, at which point I will drive said plank towards his head at speed and continue to do so until his squirrel-like face looks less like Mr Nutz and more like a strawberry blancmange.