Remote User Online

Christ on a bike. Turned on the radio last night and what do I hear? Only Take That's new single. TAKE THAT?!?!? What the mother-fucking HELL is going on?! After I'd regained consciousness and the initial wave of nausea had subsided (and I'd managed to get the vomit out of the carpet); It suddenly dawned on me that hearing the defunct boyband's new single - 10 years after they originally dis-'banded' - could only be a sign from the Heavens. Yes - Take That is the catalyst for the revival of the Dreamcast! All we need to do is convince hoards of screaming 30-year-old women to buy units in the millions...and hey presto: The long awaited 2econd coming of the world's greatest ever console. If a group of geriatric manc pub-singers can do it, WE CAN TOO! Look at the facts: All Take That have got are man-boobs, beer guts and bleach blonde crew cuts; whilst we've got Jet Set Radio, MSR, Ecco, Daytona, Virtua Tennis 2...and...Army Men: Sarge's Heroes.

On second thoughts, where's that drawing board got to...

Oh well. That's another plan in the dog's bowl, but we've only licked the tip of this particular sugar coated iceberg, my friends. Before I continue with the intended diatribe though, I must firstly offer some explanation as to the recent drought of posts here at the epicentre of trans-dimensional Dreamcast related horizonal events - The Dreamcast Junkyard. You see, I recently moved to an area of Manchester called Burnage - a chav ridden suburb most famously known as the childhood home of those delightful Oasis frontmen, the Gallagher brothers. As such, I feel my affectionate moniker for it - The Cradle of Filth - is much deserved. Furthermore, the 'internet(?!)' doesn't seem to exist in said urban prairie so I'm restricted to using the highly monitored net connection at work to deposit the contents of my cerebral cortex into the 'Yard.

And whilst I can't post pictures (this will be completed at a later date using a highly complex system of...erm...someone else's PC - and hopefully by the time you read this it will have been done), the fact that most of my work colleagues are technophobic middle-aged toothless sea hags that share a solitary single eye, means that I can disguise my blogging activity as a harmless Outlook Express email to the Chief Exec with the subject line: Suck my 'Internet Code of Conduct'-breaking COCK, Oedipal Muthafucker!!!

You see, the 'Yard is more than a mere blog: It's a way of life.


Yesterday I discovered that women have more than 3 uses. Just as I always thought my DC was powered by miniscule Eddie Izzard type creatures (see post below...somewhere), I was brought up in the traditional Northern way to believe that women were only good for:
  • Being sent to the shop for woodbines and corn dog (corned beef)
  • "Make my fucking Tea (a meal, preferably on the table when I get home from work), Bitch"
  • "Spread your legs, Bitch (followed by optional slap/punch/garroting)"

Apparently though, this simply isnt the case. No - yesterday the greasy, spotty, smelly twats that work behind the counter at a Gamestation in an un-named provincial township not too far from here will have had the shock of their Kerrang-reading lives when a woman, yes a REAL woman - entered their dingy emporium...and purchased FOUR DREAMCAST GAMES!!!!

Do not adjust your monitor, oh hallowed and respected reader - your vampiric eyes do not deceive you: A woman went into a branch of Gamestation and bought 4 Dreamcast games.

Now, this isn't copy and pasted from a chapter of some obscure HP Lovecraft tome. No, it happened in real life, yesterday afternoon. But before you leap from your chair and reach for that flashing red telephone that has a direct link to the oval office: Women have not suddenly become intelligent.

No, said woman was infact my sister (ergo the above bullet points don't apply) and she wasn't acting alone. She didn't suddenly stop reading OK! Magazine, grow a brain cell and embrace the awesomeness of the Dreamcast. If you'd closely inspected her, you'd have probably been on the recieving end of a bottle of pepper spray, but after your vision had returned, you would have been able to see that she actually had a mobile telephonic device strapped to her head. A sinister, barely audible voice could probably have been heard blurting out commands too, pushing aside images of Max Factor, Eastenders and Coronation Street, and replacing them with images of a blue swirl, incessantly spinning in the darkness like some kind of arcane and undying catherine wheel of oblivion: It was ME!

Like a modern day SEGA sponsored Dr Claw, I commanded my sibling to enter the shop and immediatley ring me when and if she located a Dreamcast section. I knew when my phone vibrated exitedly on my desk that she'd fulfilled stage one of her mission. Then, from deep within the bowels of my hideout (, and cleverly manipulating her putty-like brain to put the cost of the call on her bill (YES!), I instructed her to read to me the title of every blue-spined Ark of Wonder she could see. Alas, the choice was rather limited but I managed, via remote use of her limbs (and money) to aquire the following selection:

Deep Fighter
The other underwater game on the Dreamcast after Ecco, Deep Fighter is like a mixture of said dolpin simulator and the superb space 'em up, Star Lancer...only not nearly as good as either. Infact, I'd readily use the phrase "considerably less than the sum of it's parts."

Deep Fighter spans 2 GDs, which initially makes you think it's probably going to a massive quest, but in reality it's probably to accomodate the sheer amount of FMV that's packed in to the story: basically, you play a recent graduate of the 'Academy,' Moray 2, and must carry out various missions for Admiral Lynn (who's a bloke, btw) in your little submarine thing. The overall aim of Deep Fighter is to repell the attacks of various sub-aqua ne'er do wells from your bases so that the scientists can rebuild a mothership that will help you escape the Waterworld-esque planet on which you're stranded. The graphics are actually quite good, and the underwater environment features some nice ambient lighting effects and a cool night/day transition, but there is no real-time lighting from your sub's lights (a shame) and the models used for enemies are quite basic. Also, whilst it all moves very smoothly, it's quite slow and the fogging is on a par with Turok on the N64. Furthermore, the game takes aaaaaages to get going proper and the disjointed way in which new objectives are added to your mission can be slightly annoying at times - especially when you havn't got a fucking clue where you're meant to be going or what you're meant to do when you get to your destination.

Deep Fighter makes great use of the Renderware 3 engine

Turok-style fogging: check

At this point, I'd also like to explain that Deep Fighter has one of the most confusing map screens I've ever seen; indeed, playing Panzer General is less complicated than trying to locate stuff on this map. However, once you get past these minor issues and get a few missions in, Deep Fighter becomes an accomplished little shooter - but hardly a must have title. As an added bit of trivia, Deep Fighter also features a character called Deav who you may recognise - He's played by a pre-Little Britain David Walliams. Indeed, the manual says of Deav:

"Deav is a brooding, focused individual. Although an excellent pilot he has always been somewhat overshadowed by Razz"

Hmmm. Sausages or Super Noodles for tea...?

Poor Deav - he's moved from the shadow of Razz, straight into the shadow of Matt Lucas.

Verdict: Decent Enough

Power Stone
If I remember rightly, Power Stone was part of the Dreamcast's highly impressive launch line up, but honestly, it could be released now and you'd still think it looked stunning. That's because it is, chums. Developed by one of the Dreamcast's premier supporters, Capcom, Power Stone - for the 7 people on Earth who've never played it - is a fully 3D, one-on-one scrapper where, rather than battle on a boring old square platform in the middle of the desert or a lake; you get to smash each other's faces in whilst jumping around fully interactive areas, complete with furniture, street lights, bins etc.

Most of the stuff featured in the environments can be used as a weapon (eg, pick up a table and chuck it at your opponent) or smashed up to reveal weapons like swords and flame throwers. The title derives from the way 'power stones' occasionally appear dotted around the level and if you manage to collect 3, your character mutates into an uber-version of themselves - usually complete with 12-ft thick armour and a whole pound-shop's worth of plastic weaponry sellotaped on. In this enhanced mode, you are given a licence to kick as much buttock as is humanly possible before the effect of the power stones wears off and you shink back to your original Dr David Banner style proportions.

The character select screen screams quality...

...As does the rest of the game

Visually, Power Stone sparkles - the whole affair is right out of the top of the wardrobe, let alone the drawers. The presentation is amazingly colourful and polished: even the character select screen looks great! The actual game doesn't let the side down either, as the character models and environments have been lovingly crafted and even when there's loads happening onscreen the action never slows down. Also of note if the superb animation of the characters - there are loads of little things they do but you probably won't notice due to the amount of pyrotechnics assaulting your optic nerve. Things like rolling over tables and the little sommersaults they do when's a class act.

The characters at your disposal are a typical bunch of steretypes (big and slow/fast and weak), but the locales on offer throw up a few suprises: Londo (London), Mahdad (Baghdad)...and Manches (Manchester) all feature!

Verdict: Gordon Bennet!

Disney's Dinosaur
The official game of the computer generated movie released a few years ago. I must admit to never having seen the movie, but Dinosaur is quite a rare title these days so that's why I got it. Just covering my ass there, folks. Anyway - the game.

There was no book in the case when I got my hands on Dinosaur so I'm not entirely sure what the premise of the story is, but it opens with some fairly impressive and self explanatory footage from the film, and so I managed to deduce that you play as a group of young Dinosaurs who must attempt to get home to their part of the Jungle (a bit of a Land Before Time rip-off methinks). Rather than a simple platformer, Dinosaur takes the form of a sort of team based top-down puzzle game. You can switch between which of the prehistoric pals you play as by clicking the right trigger and make the whole gang follow the character you're controlling by clicking both triggers together. Dinosaur 1 - 0 Rainbow Six.

I think these are PSX shots to be honest

I couldn't even get past the first level...

The characters all have different attributes in that one is a flying thing, one is a dinosaur (soft arse herbivor, btw) and a one is a monkey-type job (I think). And that's all I can really say about Dinosaur...because I couldn't get past the first screen! No matter what I tried with the different characters, I couldn't get any of them out of the 'paddock' bit at the very start of the first level - invisible walls blocking my progress at every turn. I tried for about half an hour, pressing every button, trying every combination of characters...even walking around the invisible walls whilst hammering the buttons. Nothing. And all this was accompanied by the loudest disk-accessing noise I've ever heard. The graphics (what I could see of them) are pretty good - super sharp and hi-res, and the music is of typical Disney high quality...but due to the fact I couldn't actually get into the game proper...I'm unable to give a valid and proper account of the proceedings, hence:

Verdict: The 9/11 Report

Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation
Im pretty sure there's potential for a lawsuit with this game. It's called 'The Last Revelation,' but last time I checked, there were 86 more Tomb Raider games after this one. Anyhow, The Last Revelation is Lara Croft's first outing on the Dreamcast and a return to her Sega roots after Sony forced Eidos to ignore the Saturn by threatening to put flaming paper bags filled with shit on their doorstep, knock on the door and run off.

The Last Revelation follows on from the previous games in the series in that it's a 3D Indiana Jones type romp through various ruined cities and temples (but strangely, no tombs), where badly animated wolves with square bodies attempt to eat your face. These wolves and other foes can be dispatched with a few well placed bullets from your twin pistols, which leaves you free to get on with your quest of finding a big lever to pull. And that's Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation down to a tee. Run around, jump up a ledge, shoot some stuff, pull a lever, swim through some tunnels, jump up a ledge, pull a lever, shoot some nauseum. In an effort to add some spice to the game, the opening level sees you play as a 16-year-old Lara, complete with Ruud Van Nistelrooy's facial features, but in reality this section adds nothing new to the series - it's just plain old Tomb Raider with a shorter version of Croft to control.

Dreamcast Monthly magazine actually awarded The Last Revelation a score of 10/10 - higher than either Soul Calibur or Crazy Taxi. Is it really that good? The answer is quite clearly "NO" - preferably written in 13-mile-high flashing red letters. On the moon. 100% for a rush-job PC conversion?! I smell an Eidos-funded piss up, complete with buffet, at a certain publishing house...

You see, The Last Revelation hardly looks like it's running on 128-bit hardware. The framerate is inconsistent, the character models are basic, the level design is tedium incarnate and the scenery pop up - even when you're inside a building (!) - is fucking pathetic. TLR is a slap-dash conversion that makes no use of the extra power of the DC. It's still entertaining in it's own way, and the framerate is nowhere near as choppy as Shadowman's, but it's still lacklustre. Oh, and it apparently features music by 'Oakenfold.' A must-buy game then. Or not.

Verdict: Sloppier than diahorrea mixed with day-old Weetabix

So there it is. If you've actually read all that - hats off to you. I wouldn't have bothered personally, but it's all about personal choice...

...or is it?

Oh, and don't forget: It's the PAL Dreamcast's seventh birthday on Saturday. I've already put the balloons up and set out the paper plates and plastic cups. All I need now are some friends to eat this Aldi battenburg with.

Oh well, Sonic plushie, it's just me and you again. Sniff.

Surely This Can't be Right?

One of the problems associated with being a Dreamcast obsessive is that I spend more time reading the erudite postings of Teeleecee and the Gagaman, trawling eBay and Youtube for Dreamcast related guff, and chatting on forums about the finer points of Voldo's (frankly blatant) transvestite wardrobe malfunctions, than I do actually playing the damn console.
I must have over 90 games by now, and I've only ever really played about a quarter of them. Boil down that lot, to the ones I've ever truly got right into or clocked, and we're talking about ten.

So it was something of a revelation on Friday night when I discovered my newest favourite game. And its a footie game. Oh yes.
Now, as any of you regular readers will know, the Gagaman's dad is rather partial to a bit of Dreamcast footie. He's pretty good at it too, we're led to believe... And Teeleecee once made the outrageously controversial claim that 'UEFA Dream Soccer' was better than Pro Evo (yes he did really...) But common consensus is that when it came to football games, the Dreamcast never really cut the mustard. In fact it sucked big ones. We know those arseholes at EA Games never backed the DC, so it was left to Sega themselves (as well as developers such as Infogrames) to have a go at recreating the beautiful game. And do you know what? Those little software elves at Sega actually came upwith the goods in the shape of Sega Worldwide Soccer 2000 (Euro Edition).

But how did it find it's way into the Father's top slot? Cos I like you, I'll tell you, pull up a chair...
It went like this. My lifelong best mate Tay is my gaming nemesis. There is no one I enjoy beating the pants off, more than him. When he comes over to the lair, we usually have a bit of a fight on Soul Calibur (I win). We might indulge in a bit of a 'burn off' on V Rally or Sega Rally (he wins). Occasionally we get a bit 'Wimbledon' on each others ass with a session of Virtua Tennis.
Now the last footie game I had enjoyed was (I think) a game called imaginatively 'Euro 96' for the Saturn. Playing Pro Evo and Fifa with the two biggest Gingers was always a nightmare. The younger one induced a controller throwing huff in me last time we played, by bringing his goalie out to score two against me. The little shit.

But on this particular evening I fancied something different, something that involved grown men in tight figure hugging shorts getting physical with each other.
So the rarely played game was pulled off the shelves, dusted off and popped into the little white box.
The gameplay was fantastic, with a nice element of 'pick up and play'. The graphics are functional, no better. The goal keepers were effective, so getting a goal past them felt like a big acheivement. Passing and crossing were challenging, with the opponent usually ending up on the receiving end. Tackling was somewhat random, and although the ref was at times lenient, I got yellow carded very regularly throughout the series of matches that we played!

Players celebrations were hilariously camp, but had the desired effect of rubbing salt into the wounds of the opponent after a goal was scored- (as did the endless replays that could only be stopped when the scorer had had enough of watching their skills shown over and over!) A quick pull of the right trigger enabled one to do showboating turns and step overs, in the style of poncey Portugese winker, Ronaldo. But we don't want to say too much about that particular person do we?One sad feature of the game was that in 2000 when the game was released, my beloved Manchester City were wallowing in the First Division. On the flip side of the coin, my dad's beloved Sheffield Wednesday were making a rare appearance in the Premiership so I could play as them - (feel the Dad love growing throughout this post?) So there will be many more matches in the near future! A highly reccomended game!

If you are going to seek out this particular Dreamcast game make sure you get the Euro Edition.
Take this review of the resurrection of a failing title from Dreamcast Magazine issue 16:

Sega Worldwide Soccer 2000 -"Yet again we find Sega shooting itself in the foot by producing a totally sub-standard sports game for which there is no excuse. 62%" (Ouch!)

Sega Worldwide Soccer 2000 (Euro Edition) - "Talk about overhaul- this semi-sequel to an originally lack-lustre game totally changes everything. Its simply one of the most fun footie games EVER! 92%" (Hooray!)

October NiGHTS

Well, it's October - tenth month in our slightly flawed Gregorian calender, and the one which heralds the drawing in of the cold, the wind, the rain and the early nights. Of course, if you live anywhere near northern England, the cold, wind and rain is something you're probably already well accustomed to, as it's always fucking pissing down. Also, October sees the Dreamcast Junkyard's 10-month anniversary! Yep - 10 whole months of DC related guff - hard to imagine it all kicked off as a hideously geekish way of cataloging my fledgling collection, only to explode into what it is today: the Inter-Dimensional Hub of Slightly Surreal Dreamcast Related Ramblings (tm). Or IDHSSDRR (tm) for short.

Speaking of hubs (not to be confused with either 'humps' or 'lady lumps'), I recently came across a rather special Dreamcast related site: Dreamcast Scene. Here's their opening statement:

"Dreamcast-Scene (abbreviated as "DCS") is not only the world's largest database for every Dreamcast related subject, from games to merchandise to home development, but we also are a publisher with bureaus in Germany, USA, Canada and Japan."

And they're not lying either my unsweetened porridge-shunning friends. I understand that this may be old news to many (all 3) of you reading this now, but I bring DCS to your attention simply because they appear to still be bringing on Dreamcast development to the fore - indeed, their pages give details on several recent homebrew game ports - namely a conversion of Jetpak, SDL Lopan (unfortunatley not a game about Jack Burton's nemesis from Big Trouble in Little China; but rather a Mahjong game), and most impressively a brand new DC title called DreamChess - which, in a feat of crytographic naming not seen since the discovery of the Voynich Manuscript - is a chess game. Fancy that!

They also offer a wide range of 'merchandise,' including T-shirts. But let's be frank here people - if you buy one and wear it, you're sadder than someone who writes in to Points of View complaining about Smirnoff Ice and WKD adverts (you know who you are). And that's coming from the guy who bought a Dreamcast jacket off eBay, but is afraid to wear it in public. Cough.

While we're indluging in a bit of linkage (in the obvious absence of real news), why not have a little look here. It's a fabulous site called How Stuff Works, and it features a really in-depth look at how the Dreamcast operates. Before reading it, I was always under the impression that hundreds of tiny transvestites lived inside my Dreamcast and it was their endevours (and a little bit of fairy dust from the nymphs living in the plug socket) that made it possible to play Daytona 2001 and Virtua Tennis 2. Apparently, this is not so - it's something to do with 'electricity,' 'processors' and 'memory' that makes the pretty pictures appear on the screen. Go there and see for yourself!

Again, Apologies for the lack of pictures. Blogger is virtually useless at the best of times, so we'll just have to make do with layouts similar to a piece of GCSE English Literature coursework until one of the 'engineers' sorts the image problems out.

Only In Your Treams 2. Sort Of.

Following hot on the already flaming heels of Father Krishna's fucking ace post about his (worrying) 'platonic' love for his Treamcast (see below), I thought it was about time that we dove deep into the murky pool of the obscure, took a huge lung-filling gulp and then slowly drowned.

And with that slightly macabre analogy, let me introduce the fittingly named Divers 2000 CX-1:

Looking like the illegitimate bastard nightmare child of an old style Apple iMac and a Chao, the Divers 2000 is, for all intents and purposes, an all in one Dreamcast - but where it differs from the Treamcast is that it is actually an officially licensed Sega product. The target audience for such a hideous creation isn't immediatley clear upon first glance...and after a good hundred more glances you'll still probably be none the wiser as to whom, or indeed what, the Divers 2000 is aimed at.

Featuring an integrated CRT monitor, Dreamcast console, 4 contoller ports, top loading GD-Rom tray and TV tuning capabilities, it's probably not that bad a guess that the Divers 2000 was intended to be a sort of all-in-one multimedia unit that did everything - played games, surfed the internet, allowed video conferencing (via the bundled camera), played music, and showed TV through an internal receiver. However, one question burns me like a poker ripped straight from Satan's furnace and shoved straight up my ringpiece:
Why not just use a normal Dreamcast plugged into a fucking telly?!

Show me more, please Guv'nor. Or I'll pick your eyes out, chew them up and then spit the resulting mass of iris, pupil and jelly back in your face. Cough.

And as if showcasing the Divers 2000 wasn't enough, there's more.

Yes, this guy recently became one of the coolest guitarists on the planet (fuck Hendrix) when he revealed this:

It's an Amp in the form of a Dreamcast. Bill S. Preston Esq is probably turning in his squalid dole scrounger flat as I write this; sour that some other guy thought of it first, put the pics up on the net, and reaped the glory. While all he did was ride the wave of Wyld Stallyns' meagre success, fall off the Keanu Reeves bandwagon and fade into vodka soaked obscurity.

Want more?! Well how's this - my latest review of the massively wierd, lazy and overall quite shit Stupid Invaders over at Defunct Games - still the net's ultimate resource for retro reviews and articles. Go there now!

Only In Your Treams...

So, if you thought about it long and hard, what would be your greatest Dreamcast purchase ever..?

From your first console, to that special game that you've loved to play. From a sought after peripheral that revolutionised your gaming experience, to a rare piece of promotional merchandise or even some Dreamcast branded clothing... For they are all out there, in second hand game shops, on eBay, or in someones attic, laying dusty and forgotten, just waiting for us obsessives to find and shell out hard earned dollar for. Well I know what mine is and it sits like a proud and mighty king, ruling over my Dreamcast collection, undisputed, as my best buy ever.

It is my Treamcast. Thats right Treamcast. With a 'T'. I cant remember how I found it. Through an accidental typing error on my shitty, shitty keyboard? Through spending many a saddo hour trawling through eBay and Google? Through a tragic and expensive obsession with an outdated and technologically trumped games console?Or through the mystic forces of fate and the cosmos, which drew me and my loved one together?

I think it was a combination of all of those things. I searched eBay and a plethera of console and game dealers world wide in an attempt to find one. At first it seemed futile. I persisted like a moth battering itself repeatedly against a 60 watt bulb, sat for days in front of my monitor, with girlish tears in my eyes and blisters on my typing finger.

Eventually one came up on eBay for the hefty price tag of £350 "with over 200 pieces of software" which turned out to be CD re-writes. I didn't want that load of shite, so after much haggling via email and a few strange phonecalls I agreed on £100 and a Raleigh Chopper, which I handed over to a perma-tanned, bleached blonde, tatooed, slightly gay looking behemoth, in a motorway service station car-park in Leicester (I kid you not). I didn't even know if it worked! (Fortunately, after a night of shitting myself that I'd thrown good money away, and nervously heading to Maplin's for a 'step down adaptor', I found out that it did... Sort of...) And I have been in love ever since...

"So where did the Treamcast originate Father Krishna?" I imagine you might ask me if you were at all interested. Very well... Shortly after the demise of the Dreamcast, some enterprising pirates in Hong Kong decided to buy up (or more likely hijack) a load of consoles cheap. They took the cases off, moulded some new ones, and made a few modifications. The first was to add internal speakers and an external volume control.

A small ten inch LCD screen, complete with contrast and brightness adjustment, was attached on a hinge, opening up like a lid from the main body of the console. As well as the mains power lead, the makers added a clever little 'plug in' for a car lighter, so the Treamcast could be played in your 'ride' whilst cruising down the highway (by the passenger obviously...). This meant that it was a "Travel (or Transportable)" Dreamcast which is where the 'Tr' part of the name came from (Geddit?)

God knows where they came up with the controllers, because they look suspiciously like bad white copies of Saturn pads. No VMU action happening with these babies! Finally they chucked in an MP3 adaptor and a little device which allowed the Treamcast to play VCDs. Clever eh?

As if this wasn't enough, they wrapped the whole package up in a lovely little laptop-style handbag-size case, complete with a strange squared spiral motif, not a million miles away from the original Sega swirl.

So how does the little tyke play? I'd love to say perfect, but I'd be a bare faced liar who would burn in hell. It likes Japanese and America games (no need for a Utopia, Codebreaker or DCX disc) , pirate copies and CD-Rs. It doesn't like PAL games, which it shoves to the side of it's little screen putting the top of the visuals at the bottom of the LCD.

The colours displayed are very washed out and tinkering with the brightness and the contrast between games becomes a cumbersome chore. Occasionally it switches itself off, occasionally it won't turn on. It is fickle about the discs it reads and inconsistent even about reading the ones it likes.

You may as well chuck the Saturnesque controllers in the bin and replace them with regular ones otherwise you won't be saving shit. But regular DC controllers work fine. All in all a pretty frustrating piece of kit! Still it's rare, it's coveted, it's a piece of console history, and the first mod for Dreamcast that I ever saw... and I love it. Due to it's slightly tetchy nature I don't play it much. But I like to look at it. And hold it. And stroke it.

It's spawned such lovelies as this...

And even this...

And I dare say this...

More Bleem! Footage.

Recently Lan-Di from DCforums has been submitting a batch load of self-booting Bleem discs featuring rare Playstation games that work rather well on your much prettier Sega console. Yes, the murdering kung fu master that Ryo is after is in fact a DC torrent seeder. Who would've thought? I haven't tried them all out as of yet, but I have downloaded 4 of these (well, 5 actually, but one of them wouldn't go any further than a couple logos. Doh!) and now posted videos of them all for your viewing pleasure. I spoil you lot, I really do.

These are mostly games you won't very likely find for 5p at a boot sale (in fact, most of them never saw the light of day outside of Japan), so I have no gripes about downloading them. If it's Tekken or Ridge Racer you want, you may as well find the proper copies, and run them off a disc of the beta emulator on it's own.

First off, we have Cowboy Bebop, based on a very popular (Also a personal favourite of mine) anime telly series starring a bunch of Bounty Hunters in space. Trust me, it's much cooler than it sounds. Shame the same can't be said for this game of the same name.

Rather than playing any of the cast from the series, the whole game involves you flying one of the fighter planes from it, and game play wise this is nothing more ha a on rails shooter set to dull scenery. You get bog standard guns and a much handier laser that locks on to enemies. You can also rotate your ship and move it about, but it doesn't really make a whole lot of difference until you get to the boss areas, in which it becomes pretty darn hard to line up your ship in the direction you want it. You'll notice in the video that once I'm in the boss area, the level suddenly flips upside down and I spend the whole time trying to line it back up while getting beaten down by un-dodge-able fireballs.

Emulation wise, the graphics have the texture issues seen with many games running in Bleem beta, in that they don't load up quick enough and you end up with patches of white all over the place. Also, judging from screenshots of the Playstation version I've seen, there is supposed to be animations of the characters that pop up in little boxes, but none of them show up here. The music works fine, but the SFX are a bit of a mess and only play when hey feel like it (which is barely ever). Pausing then un-pausing the game seems to make random SFX and voices echo like mad for a few seconds. Over wise, it's as playable as such a bog-standard game can be.

Next up, Crazy Climber 2000. Apparently this is a classic retro game from the 1980s. I've never heard of it, myself. The game features a 3D remake and the original game. As far as Bleem emulation goes, this is possibly the best compatibility yet. It works perfectly in all departments, and even the retro version of the game works like it should. Much like Cowboy Bebop, though, it's just a shame that the game itself doesn't live up to the great compatibility.

For starters, the graphics leave much to be desired, and is about as basic as you can get. Remember Virtua Fighter running on the 32X? That looks 100 times better than this does. But the graphics are nothing compared to the failure that is the actual game play.

The arcade version played with two joysticks, you see. One for the guys right arm and one for his left arm. On the console controls, this translates as the d-pad for his left arm and the four main buttons for his right arm. While classics like Pac-Man are extremely simple and instantly accessible, Crazy Climber is far to complex for it's own good. Not only are the controls awkward, but even on easy mode the game really has in in for you. Once you finally start getting the hang of things, about five men, perfectly set up to make avoiding them impossible, will pop out of their windows and toss flower pots at you. Sometimes flower pots can just hit your side and bounce off, but too often for it's own good, they'll bounce onto your head (sometimes MULTIPLE times) to make sure you fall.

Then there’s the closing and opening windows that make you fall if you get your fingers caught in them. These closing windows tend to gang up on you in their dozens, and because you can't grab onto a closed window, you end up trapped with no where to go but down (Falling, that is. You can climb downwards!). In short, this game is frustrating to say the least, and hardly what I would call a retro classic.

Now, onto some good games. Yes, for every 50 bad games the PSX had, there was one that was well worth the visit. The first of two Bleem compatible examples is Klonoa: Door to Phantomile, which I'm sure if you were ever a Playstation-owner you will have heard of. This is a funky 2D platformer with 3D landscapes starring a rabbit/racoon/thingamajig with big ears and a little blob for a friend that resides in a ring. You can float in the air with your ears, and shoot a little close range laser thing that turns any critters that get in your way into a balloon with can in turn help you smash things and reach higher places. It's all rather charming.

On the Emulation front, this game works pretty darn well in places an not so well in others. The graphics, for example, appear to have no major problems what so ever, which is especially surprising as the Bleem emulator is not known for handling 2D sprites all too well. The SFX only play when they feel like it, although this is more often than Bebop and there are generally no glitches there either. However, it's the music that truly suffers in the emulation. As you'll hear at the start, you can just about hear it but it's drowned out by horrid flickering noises. I fond that the music can be stopped all together by opening the disc drive once a level as loaded, but this makes the next level slow down to a halt, so it's best off to just play with the volume down. Shame, really, because everything else is fine.

Finally we have the oddly titled N20: Nitrous Oxide by Gremlin. The game plays a lot like Tempest, only in this you are flying through a lopped tunnel that you can rotate around and you have to shoot bugs of all sorts. All of this is set to colourful, trippy graphics and dance music. The speed in which it moves can at times be dizzying, especially if you intend on spinning around the tunnel a lot.

The emulation for this game is very much perfect. I couldn’t spot a singe glitch in the graphics nor any problems with the music. I presume this game was supposed to have SFX, though, as the emulator doesn't pick up any. Unless of course the game didn't have any to start with, in which case please correct me. The game has so many colours flying about that YouTube compressed the video, a LOT.

So there we have it. More peeks into the most intriguing DC emulator out there. In other news, I've updated the Junkyard Wiki quite a bit, with a few game profiles set up here and there. I have so many more to do!

Oxygen Thief

I revisited the small provincial carbuncle of Leigh again last weekend. My journey was one of 'pleasure' rather than business, and indeed turned out to be filled with such delightful events as having my face, arm and left nipple zapped with a taser; being threatened with a chainsaw; playing ten pin bowling in the street at 1am; witnessing two grown men throw gravel at each other with shovels and, lest I forget, trying to get two terrapins to shag. Of course, most of this behaviour was influenced - nay fuelled - by considerable volumes of alcohol, but they all pale into insignificance when compared to the activity that followed only a day later: I visited a Gamestation and found Dreamcast games in abundance!

After managing to explain to the fourth member of Greenday (who, incidentally, was working behind the counter) that I DIDN'T WANT TO PRE-ORDER A FUCKING WII, I managed to procure the following titles for my ever-growing stash of blue boxed loveliness (loneliness):

Star Wars: Jedi Power Battles

Even though I'm not a fan of the Star Wars franchise in any way, shape or form, I have seen all six movies and played pretty much every SW game there has ever been (except Yoda Stories, because it looks wank). Even stranger, with the purchase of Jedi Power Battles, I now own all three Star Wars games released for the DC (Episode 1: Racer and Demolition being the other two). All three range in quality drastically - Racer is arse-meltingly good, Demolition is just arse and Power Battles is, well, also a bit arse. It sort of follows the story of Episode 1: The Phantom Menace (which was also, surprisingly, arse) and you get to 'battle' through various appropriatley themed levels with your (very) trusty lightsabre in hand.

Is it Cosmic Smash? Is it Power Battles? I just can't tell!

Or is it Chaos Control?

Most of the enemies encountered along the way are of the robotic variety and will crumble at the merest of touches, and you can also deflect their own laser fire back at them with your blade. But that's about as good as it gets in Power Battles. Apart from the light sabres and the legendary intro music (complete with yellow writing that vanishes into an invisible sphincter in the middle of the screen (more arse!)), there's not a lot to recommend it - animation is extremely ropey, the graphics look like they were created by Bertha (right, yesterday) and it could be any old generic platformer if you took out Ewan McGregor and the Yoga "Mmmm!" noise every single fucking time you collect an item.

Chicken Run

Not a game I've ever actually seen on sale before - even on eBay, but one I knew existed somewhere out in the ether due to a review I saw in a mag once. It's basically the official game that accompanied Aardman(Wallace & Gromit)'s animated movie of the same name. The most noteable thing about Chicken Run is that it doesn't feature Mel Gibson's voice. The second most noteable thing is that on the back page of the instruction manual, it states that 1287 chicken pies were eaten by the game's production team during the development. Cheers for that information guys!

These are clearly PS1 shots...

...but the DC ones are practically identical

Moving on to the game itself, it plays a bit like a super-watered down version of Metal Gear Solid in that you, as a hen, must venture out of the chicken coup and into the various areas of the farm in order to collect items that will help you build a plane to escape. Or something along those lines. I mention MGS in comparison because Chicken Run is more an exercise in not being seen by the guard dogs who are wandering around, or the farmer himself. If you do get seen, you invariably get mauled to death by the dogs and ripped limb from limb in a bloody cloud of feathers. Tony Martin then pops up and shoots a gypsy through the window in the background. Graphically, Chicken Run is only marginally better than the average PS1 game and is full of hilarious glitches and fuck ups; but the sound is of such outstanding quality it makes you wish they'd put the same amount of effort into the visuals. Fans of the film will be interested, but the rest of us (normal) people will see it for what it is: a slap dash cash in that not even Mel Gibson would lend his alcoholic, drug addled, anti-semitic name to.

Stupid Invaders

Not really the kind of thing you expect to see on the Dreamcast: a title that should really only have been released as a freeware PC game. It's a bare bones point and click adventure (that, gasp, uses the mouse!) where you take control of a group of aliens who, whilst returning home from a picnic in space, manage to crash on a depressing, rainy, putrid planet inhabited by mindless worker-ant type beings whose only interest in life is destroying themselves and eating burgers. It's called Earth. Now my Ford Prefect bit is out of the way, I'll continue.

It's all a bit Ren & Stimpy if you ask me

These aliens, whose number totals five and have names such as Bud Buddiovitch and Stereo Monovici, happen to crash near a small quiet town and decide to set up home in an abandoned house whilst repairs are carried out on their ride. Unfortunatley, the local nutty professor (there's one in every neighbourhood, folks) Dr Sakarin finds out and decides he wants to perform experiments on the aliens (and, possibly, full cavity searches). He sends out a bounty hunter called Bolok to capture them and thats basically the premise of the game. Getting away from Bolok...and the Earth.

Tip: that bird cage is IRRELEVANT

On first glance, Stupid Invaders appears to be the best looking game you've ever played due to the high-res pre-rendered backdrops and well animated 'claymation' characters, but look a little deeper and you'll realise it's no more than the sum of it's parts - flat 2D images. The gameplay consists mainly of wandering from screen to screen picking up items and then using them to solve a puzzle in the very next room; and scratching your head in bewilderment as it attempts to amuse you with one of the many, many bizarre cut scenes or visual jokes thrown in. It's billed as a 'adult' themed game, and yes, there are various refences to poo, wee, wanking, homosexuality and sexual perversion...but funny? risque? pull the other one guys - Duke Nukem 3D was more risque than Stupid Invaders. It's not a terrible game by any means, just a bit pointless on an arcade-geared console like the Dreamcast.

Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future


Oh...where am I?! Don't do that with my toothbrush Mr Glitter! Oh...wait a second...oh, I must have had a funny turn there: BECAUSE I HAVE JUST WITNESSED ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL GAMES THAT THERE HAS, IS, AND EVER WILL BE!

It's called Ecco, and it's on the Dreamcast. Don't bother buying that Xbox 360 Mr, buy this twenty quid Dreamcast and five pound copy of Ecco instead. Now, go home, plug it in and prepare to have your retinas tickled by Sega's version of the feather duster.


If you're still in the dark about what I'm trying to say - you clearly are a bonafide oxygen thief, but i'll get to the point - the 3D world, characters, effects...everything visually represented in unbelievably beautiful. One of the best looking games I've ever played - bar none. And that's not even taking into account the sublime sound effects and watery music; the silky smooth way your super-intelligent, warm blooded avatar moves through the oceans and lagoons, and the countless mini-quests and missions availible.

Pretty fishies! EAT THEM!

When you think of the Dreamcast, you conjure up images of Shenmue, Jet Set Radio, MSR, Soul Calibur, House of the Dead, Sega Rally, Urban Chaos...well, maybe not the last one, but definatley the others. Well add another to that list: Ecco. Find it, get it any way you can - you owe it to your Dreamcast to witness the production values and love that has gone into creating it. STOP READING THIS AND GO FIND A COPY OF ECCO! NOW!

And as an added bonus and testiment to my love for Ecco and his 'slippery when wet' fuselage, here's an Ecco wallpaper robbed from a vastly superior website:


Existenz - That rubbish movie sponsored by Dreamcast!

I'm sure at least Tom has seen this poster for a movie that was released in 1999 (2000 in the UK) that, for some reason has the Dreamcast logo featured on it (can you see it? It's just under the Z of the title). So why did Sega pay to have their console's name slapped on this movie poster? What does this movie have to do with Sega, or even video games at all? Well, to solve the mystery, I've rented the movie out on DVD. Hoping to find subliminal DC advertising a lot like that I spotted in the Josie and the Pussycats and that Janet Jackson video. Like the creepy Dreamcast stalker I am, my results are a mixed bag of interesting and a complete waste of time.

Reading up on it, the film at least has some relevance to video games, in that the story is about an organic computer game...thing, that is inserted into a hole in your spine that takes you into some sort of alternate reality that is too life-like for it's own good; and soon enough the characters can't tell when they are in the game and when they're not. In other words, it's another Matrix type film. Although with all due respect it did come out the same year as the Matrix, that movie got a LOT more attention than this, and in my opinion, for a very good reason.

As interesting as the idea may sound (at least at the time), I personally thought this movie, after just watching it not too long ago, was an ugly, dreadful, pointlessly gory, poorly acted pile of tripe. One of the worst films I have ever had the misfortune to watch, in fact, and why Sega would want their name any where near it is beyond me, it's more like something Sony would want to use as a advertising sceme (Ever see that "Playstation 9" commercial they did for the PS2? Yeah, it's almost the same concept as this film!) The plot may of been a bit more bearable if it wasn't for the unnecessary body horror that was just thrown in at every opportunity. There was barely a scene in this film, even the basic conversation scenes, without some kind of lizard, frog, or mutant organic controller thingy being mutilated and slaughted in full detail on screen. It just wasn't needed! Oh, and the ending was a predictable cop out and a "You're taking the piss!" moment at the same time.

The only positive moment I can really think of in the film was the first few minutes before all the crap kicked in, because none other than former Doctor Who Christopher Ecclestion has a short role in it, although even he couldn't seem to act in this and was putting a naff accent of some sort on. Another scene that stuck out as amusing and very vaguely related to the Dreamcast was just after the main bloke in the film has his "Bioport" installed (i.e: a nasty little hole in the back of his spine to plug the phallic looking plug for the game thing), has a can of "XE-60" spayed on the hole to make it work better. The can is a blatant reference to WD-40. This little scene brings back memories of spraying WD-40 into one of the sockets in the back of the Dreamcast to stop it from randomly resetting. Ahh, bless.
So other than this, what does the Dreamcast have to do with the film? Well, nothing much except that Sega have used the DVD to advertise the console. As soon as you put the disc in, one of the main menus is a Dreamcast logo. Click on this and what do you get? A cut down version of that promo video 'Dreamography'! You know, the one with the bloke sitting on his sofa dreaming about the games that prances about with a broom and has a Playstation in his bin? It's that, only a lot shorter.

All the third party games have been stripped from the videos, as well as a few of the Sega ones. When he mucks about with that elastic band, the Code: Veronica clips have been replaced with Sega GT (which makes no sense at all), and when he's dreaming about Shenmue (complete with soundtrack) it cuts to the footage of Ecco instead...then cuts out the part where his mates come in with the console and pretend to play 4 player. Maybe this is an earlier version of the promo. Still, it's in very nice DVD quality here, and my guess is that this promo was screened with the film in cinemas too, for all five people that went to see it. I've even gone to the effort to rip the promo for you, so you don't have to rent the crappy film to see it.

Also, when the DVD is run on a PC, there is a auto start of a flash animation telling you all about DreamArena. that DC-only website that was the Euro Dreamcast's homepage. I'm pretty sure this presentation was also featured on one of the DreamOn demos. I've uploaded it here for you all to see in it's unexciting but for me nostalgic glory.

This was ripped from the autostart webpage. Ooooh~!

So now you know. Avoid the film unless you like lizard guts in every shot, a stupid mind-feck plot and piss poor acting. I've done all the Dreamcast research so you don't have to. As if my dignity hasn't already taken a blow from finding Dreamcast stuff is the most parallel of places, maybe I should rent Josie and the Pussycats so I can at least get screen caps of the film's hidden Space Channel 5 goodness. I know not to sit all the way through that movie already however, so I won't suffer too much. 

The things I do for you guys, honestly!

Sega 64

With a little bit of educated Googling, it's possible to find information on pretty much anything on the net. Into shit eating porn? cool - just type it into the little white oblong box and you can be privvy to more turd guzzling than you could ever imagine. Likewise, if pictures of prototype Dreamcast hardware is your vice (as is mine), then typing said parameters into the all consuming corporation's search box will invariably throw up such delights as these:

YAWN. Old. News. Seen them all before here at the Junkyard. How about some 1997 era 'Sega 64' / 'Dural' shots instead?

Here you go:

How cool?! These pics were featured in the Frontline section of issue 8 of defunct games mag Saturn Power (Christmas 1997). The reproductions here were taken with my shod-tastic digital camera and not, as one would prefer, a proper scanner - but as is my mantra, used many times in the past - you can't have everything. Moving back to the pictures, the article states that the images were 'leaked' from a source in Tokyo and then published by Gamefan Online. The images are pretty low quality, and are covered in Japanese text which I suppose, back in '97 lended an air of authenticity to them. What's interesting though, is that the article gives some technical specs about the system, including the implementation of a DVD drive, AC-3 sound ("phenominal, but very expensive"), and the ability to shift 1.8 million polygons per second ("very tricky to imagine").

Someone needs to invest in a spell checker methinks

The controller appears to be a bastardisation of the original Saturn analogue pad, but with the X,Y and Z buttons given the boot. Also, there only seem to be two controller ports which, given that the N64 was already availible with it's revolutionary 4 port design, would appear to a step backwards for the Sega64/Dural/Blackbelt/whatever.

Even though it is stressed in the article that the images could very well be a hoax, there are still some similarities with the final design of the Dreamcast - the colour for one, and the pad isn't that dissimilar, while the layout of the buttons on the console itself (save for the ommission of a reset button) is quite reminiscent and it also appears to feature a vent on the side, hinting at the implementation of a fan based cooling system.

Of course, it's obviously not the console as it is today, but still an interesting bit of history.