Last night a spambot left 99 comments on this hallowed blog. Reminds me of a Jay-Z/Linkin Park collaboration. Anyhow, as a result comment word verification has been turned on. The Dreamcast Junkyard management would henceforth like to apologise for any inconvenience presented by having to type in a random string of letters before posting a comment. It's all good fun though, as invariably this 'random' string of letters throws up some smirk inducing combinations of the rude variety (like 'BoObsCocK,' for example). Simple pleasures eh?

Moving on, something occured to me last night while I was playing through Code Veronica: after the bit where you play as (the whining streak of piss) Steve and mow down the zombies in the Training Facility with the Uzis, you are returned to controlling boring Claire and must follow Steve through a stone corridor, into a lift and then out onto a balcony. Inevitably, the balcony collapses and you and Steve end up in a heap in the courtyard below. Then a zombie appears and Steve kills it with the Uzis (I won't reveal the storyline here just incase you ain't played it yet) and then the game continues. The thing is, in said Courtyard there is a broken down jeep that was probably being repaired before the zombies over-ran the base. The reason I bring this up is that the only exits from the Courtyard are doors that the jeep simply could not get through. HOW THE HELL DID IT GET THERE?!?!?

Here's a really poor quality pic to illustrate:

The jeep is on the left, the biggest door in the Courtyard infront of Claire. That jeep is not going through that door.

Not a game spoiling moment you'll agree, but one that puzzled me for some time. Maybe it was airlifted in there. Whatever the answer to the riddle, that's not the main focus of today's post. Oh no - today I want to talk visuals. Yep, the bit of a game you actually look at with your eyes. So, in a link that is possibly even weaker than the Xbox 360's launch line-up, here I present the Official Dreamcast Junkyard Top Ten Best Looking Dreamcast Games (TM):

From 10 down to 1 here we go!

10. Daytona USA 2001
Stunning hi-res racing straight from the arcades, Daytona is amazing no matter how you look at it. Its a bit garish in places, as turquoise skies clash with emerald fields - infact you could almost be racing through Green Hill Zone sometimes - but that's the way Daytona has always been. The frame rate is always consistent and the amount of trackside detail is astounding (if you discount Desert City and National Park Speedway), as is the smoothness of the car models. It just looks great. Simple.

9. Aerowings 2: Airstrike
OK, so it's not the most exciting game ever, and the addition of missiles and guns makes it precisely zero percent more interesting than the first Aerowings game - but look at it! Rolling landscapes that stretch for miiiiiiiiles into the distance, and cities that actually have proper buildings rather than Shockwave Assault-style flat, painted on houses. The Planes are stunningly realistic too - check out the little reflections of the sun glinting off the cockpit in the chase cam view. Hmmm...nice.

8. 4 Wheel Thunder
Not only one of the fastest and most furious arcade racing romps on the Dreamcast, 4 Wheel Thunder is also one of the best looking, too. Pop-up is practically non-existent thanks to some clever coding by Kalisto and the colour pallette is just right to create a totally convincing real world environment. There are loads of cool little effects in there too, like tumbleweeds blowing across desert tracks and leaves scattering across roads on the more rural circuits. In places, whole swathes of the track are laid out before your eyes as you descend down a hillside - at breakneck speeds - with not a hint of slowdown, zero glitching and razor sharp resolution.

7. Shenmue/Shenmue 2
Some may argue that Ryo Hazuki's quest should be placed higher in this run down, but it stalls at 7 due to some hideous slowdown and shocking 'fading in' of NPCs when walking around the environments. However, even with these two problems (probably more down to the hardware capabilities rather than the game itself, granted), Shenmue gets in because it is one of the most detailed videogames in existence. Absolutley everything in these games - the people, the shops, the rubbish bins, the vehicles, the tables, the toys, the animals , the trees, the is all so realistically modelled it's unbelievable. Without the stupid glitching and sometimes slightly grainy appearance, Shenmue would surley have been nearer to the top.

6. Quake 3 Arena
Slick frame rate, amazing lighting effects, haunting architecture...Quake 3 has it all. But it doesn't stop there: look at the details built in to the walls - the gargoyles, the flashing lights, the computer panels...It's fucking stunning!!! Also, the fog swirling around the floor in some levels adds a new level of realism to chasing an eye on legs around a gothic palace with a rocket launcher.

5. Jet Set Radio
The game that looks like a playable cartoon and kick started an entire genre of pretenders, The Dreamcast Junkyard loves JSR. But it's not just the unique cell shaded characters we like - it's the variety in the stages presented and the individual feel the lighting effects give them - from the neon-lit night stages, to the sun drenched afternoon and sunset levels, JSR has a feel all of it's own even if you look past the gimmicky cell shading. The stages themselves are packed to the rafters with stuff to marvel at - people wandering about, kids playing, people's a living, breathing Tokyo-To!

4. Sonic Adventure 2
Sonic Adventure 1 wasn't exactly ugly, but it did feel a tad unfinished in places and the hideous cutscenes where Sonic and chums talk with rubberised faces are enough to make even the hardest 25-stone-of-pure-muscle gamer feel embarrased. SA 2 builds on the first game by introducing some lovely new stages that are packed with flora and fauna, as well as some well designed enemies. Again, it's the variety and vibrance of SA 2's worlds that get it so high in this list - the themes are really quite inventive (like Knuckles' Hallowe'en style stage and the Aztec style levels - total contrast). Plus, there are lots of nice touches like lens flares and the like. A great looking game. And that intro level...breathtaking.

3. Soul Calibur
Yes, the animation, lighting effects and backgrounds are brilliant...but ultimatly Soul Calibur has you fighting on a Virtua Fighter style pedistal...not in a true 3D environment. Of course, that would have changed the way the game plays completely...but we're talking graphics here. The pedistal thing aside, Soul Calibur still looks as god as anything on the Xbox or PS2 - have a gander at the character models in the Gallery mode. Good eh?! Miturugi's washboard stomach is almost as impressive as mine...

2. Ferrari F355 Challenge
OK, so as I may have mentioned in the past, I'm not a huge fan of F355...but even I can't argue that it's one of the best looking games ever made. From the single cockpit view it looks realistic enough, but the slightly washed out appearence makes everything seem that much more as if it's a TV replay rather than a game you're actually playing. The rival car models are practically flawless (that's if you can get close enough to look at them), but the visuals reveal their true class during the replays...honestly, it could fool your eyes into thinking you were watching a real race. The only problem is, the only Channel that would show something like a race between a load of Ferraris is Channel 5, and the reception is so shit - while F355 is so clear - that it simply couldn't be TV.

1. Dead Or Alive 2
A game where asses are round, legs are perfect and boobs bounce. What else could make it to number 1? Seriously though, DOA2 is by far the best looking game on the DC - no other title looks so goddamned gorgeous. The interactive arenas where you can smash an opponent through a wall or off a cliff, go through said hole/over said cliff...and carry on fighting in a totally new amazing. The sheer scope and ambition of DOA2's garphics really has to be seen in motion to do it justice - the animation is priceless. Punches and kics really look as if they connect, but more to the point - the character models and environments are superlative. Here - look:

Even though my word is generally final, I feel a special mention should go to one game in particular for showcasing what was possible on the Dreamcast hardware only a few weeks into it's life:

The Special Services to Dreamcast Award goes to:

Pen Pen Tricelon
Pen Pen was a UK launch title and one of the first games I played on my new DC because it was all Blockbuster Video had to rent. It's a quite rare title these days, but it's graphically still very good. You play as one of a selection of wierd creatures and must run, swim and slide through various ice themed stages in a sort of triathlon (on ice, hence 'Tricelon'). It's a bit short lived and gets a bit dull after a while, but it really stood out at the time when the Dreamcast was up against the N64 and PSX. Pen Pen - The Dreamcast Junkyard salutes you!

Finally, found this locked in time Dreamcast preview page while browsing the net - have a look!


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!