Credit Crunch?

Having read the quite spectacular Dreamcast tribute in the most recent edition of the wonderful Games TM magazine, I've got a little nostalgic for my little white box. That doesn't mean I've been playing on it, lord no! The ubiquitous 360 has killed off my regular excursions onto the Dreamcast in quite an alarming way.

Maybe the arrival of Dux will turn me back (Wind and Water Puzzles has not prised me away from GTA IV or Fallout 3 recently and maybe it's silly to put those games on the same page?)

However, I dabbled on the old eBay to check out the prices of Lack Of Love. You know 'LOL'???

It was the progenitor of Spore, an emotional 'evolution simulator' sound-tracked by that dude from the Yellow Magic Orchestra. Apparently a forgotten Dreamcast 'classic', it could have been yet another Dreamcast revelation that I probably would never have played.

But when I checked out the price it was asking between £60-£100+. Well you know what I thought? Fuck that!!! I want a new Shenmue, Crazy Taxi or Headhunter. Scratch that, I want some clever mod /emu type to deliver me Blue stinger 2!!!

Rant over, I promise. The point I was about to make was that I stuck around on the Dreamcast section of eBay and stumbled across what I considered to be a 'must have' purchase. In a nutshell I discovered two brand new, boxed up VMUs for £3 + postage.

When factored in a £1 donation to the NSPCC, plus my complimentary festive Paypal voucher of four delicious pounds off any purchase on eBay, the whole package cost me £2 (inc postage).

That's a sum total of £1 each for two boxed up, coloured, see-through US VMUs. Only two years ago, I payed £15 for ONE. Point being, now that we are in full on credit crunch recession, (plus the 'current gen' has truly arrived), there are many, many sweet Dreamcast deals to be had...)

The batteries alone (to power a VMU) cost more than I paid online. Get surfing people and let me know what lovely bargains you have secured!

Dr. Robotnik still plays his Dreamcast

Look at that picture. Now look closer. Can you see a little white box of awesomeness? Okay, I'll help, it's right next to the old doctor's finger. The screen is from the new Sonic Unleashed and was spotted by the good folks over at Sega Nerds.

By the way, about the game, I have it and I've played a couple of stages already (one of each type of gameplay) and let me tell you, so far this looks like the best Sonic game that came out after Sonic Adventure 2. Surprising, I know, but really, unless something really disappoints me in the next stages, this is going to be a blast to play. The speed stages are simply made of awesomeness, the town stages are pretty much like they were in SA1, only a little less annoying, and the infamous werehog levels are...not so bad, actually. They're a little tedious, yes, but they add variety to the game and keep the speed levels fresh. Besides, even the SA games were not made of speed levels only.

Like I heard someone saying recently, the problem with a lot of people nowadays is that they don't even know what they want in a Sonic game anymore, and while Unleashed is not its best title yet, it's definitely a huge step forward in the right direction. It doesn't even compare to the disgrace that was the first Sonic game on the 360 and PS3...

Another excuse to pretend the DC2 is coming..

I'm sure you saw that Japanese project where someone had crammed a PC into a Sega Saturn, and if you browse about other blogs you have probably seen this already too but is the same crazy bloke with a PC crammed into a Dreamcast. It even has a Blu-Ray drive!

It's quite amazing how this guy has managed to squeeze so such into the Dreamcast's shell. It must of been tricky enough with the Saturn, but the Dreamcast is mighty compact! The innards are insane!

Look at all those connections up it's backside! I sure would love to get a PC this compact and good looking, rather than a giant bulky block, mine of which is currently getting repaired as the darn thing decided to stop turning on.

And just to make sure it doesn't set on fire after five minutes it has a huge-arse fan in the bottom. I take it this means the system has to be layed on it's side when in use.

The controller ports are now USB ports. How cute. Yep, you could put me down for one of these! I'd get it emulating the previous Dreamcast, and scribble a "2" onto the logo.

Happy 10th Birthday Dreamcast

..and yes, this is the official birthday of he Dreamcast, not 9/9/99, which is the anniversary of the American launch. Today (or was it tomorrow? Whatever.) ten years ago the system was launched in Japan, almost a whole year before the west got it.

Admittedly they probably should have released it a bit later as the games available on day one weren't exactly all too exciting: they got Virtua Fighter 3tb (early versions of this game had some nasty bugs), Godzilla Generations (shit), July (shit), and PenPen (not bad, but not a system seller). That's it. Also, stocks were limited as NEC struggled to get the graphics chip produced in time, and it took at least a month for some great games to show up (when Sonic adventure was released that December, it was even buggier than the version we got, hence the re-release "Sonic Adventure International"). These reasons might be why the Dreamcast didn't quite click with the Japanese quite like the Saturn did (everything over there appears to be opposite land).

With this in mind it was a smart move of Sega to release the system in the West almost a year later, as it gave them plenty of time to prepare what could quite possibly be the best launch line up of games ever when it finally arrived in America, with the likes of Power Stone, Soul Calibur, Sega Rally 2 and House of the Dead 2 all there at day one, rather than a few months down the road.

Still, while the Dreamcast wasn't quite so hot in Japan as it was for a short while over here, there has been a small hardcore gamers market for it for many years after it's supposed shelf-death. Last year we saw two final retail releases in the form of Trigger Heart Exelica and Karous, and we also saw the debut for German-based indie publisher Redspotgames, who released Last Hope last year and has just released Wind and Water Puzzle Battles, just in time for this anniversary.

A pretty crummy way of celebrating this, but I did have a few things planned for today/tomorrow/even this week that I won't be able to now thanks to my computer conking out, including a ten minue long tribrute video featuring around 100 games, and my Rummage video for Wind and Water. Oh well, I'll be able to get back to work on them soon. =)

GamesTM Dreamcast Edition

Just a quick post to let all of you lovely people know that the latest edition of the very marvellous GamesTM magazine has twenty plus pages devoted to our favourite console this month.

The articles cover the history of the Dreamcast, from it's Japanese launch, to it's current status, including Wind and Water Puzzles. It name-checks the best and worst software releases from 1998 to 2008, the GamesTM top ten Dreamcast releases, how the Wii is the Dreamcast 2, a profile of Ryo Hazuki from Shenmue and information on homebrew and independent releases.

All in all it celebrates the Dreamcast's legacy, it's relevence in 2008 and gives it the props it's due.
Not since RetroGamer's Dreamcast special have we seen a contemporary publication show the Dreamcast so much love.

Buy it read it and revel in it!

Strange Finds. New Copy of NBA 2K Found in Grocery Store

Well I am working unpaid overtime at the moment so I wanted to do a quick post. Luckily, I'm using the money I made from online poker to carry me over.

I found a new still in shrink wrap copy of NBA 2K for the Dreamcast in my local grocery store the other day. $1. Not a scarce game by stretch of the imagination but an interesting find considering the location.

Other stores in the chain used to rent games and videos. So they got a bunch of PS1 games and Dreamcast games in to sell for $2 or less.

Have you ever found some Dreamcast stuff in a strange location?

Pop Culture Icon.

I think am going to do a new feature here where I make post every time someone uses the Dreamcast in their movie/webcomic/whatever as a Cultural Icon.

Take this brand new brand new MegaTokyo strip where Fred Gallagher has a zombie dinosaur eating a Dreamcast console.

They are getting harder to find, aren't they?

It's amazing how many people utilize the Dreamcast as an icon. I won't dredge up any of the many many examples I have seen the in the past but I will make mention of new ones I happen to see.

Dreamcast-ius Clay

You've probably seen those excellent miniature Sega consoles you can get. They're super detailed and even come with tiny games and joypads an' shit - indeed, the Gagaman showcased his collection over at Sega Memories a few months ago. However, if you feel the need to spunk THIRTY DOLLARS on a vastly inferior tiny Dreamcast such as this:

Then click here. Ho ho! That's not a real link! HA HA HA! See what I did there?! No - click here. Kudos to the artist for recognizing the downright fucking brilliance of everyone's favourite under-appreciated console, but Jesus H. Christ - Stephen Hawking could probably fashion a more convincing model using just his own faeces encrusted nappy.

Actually, upon reading the site, it appears that the item has sold out. 

Egg + face = whogivesashit.


Well, it's that time again - the kind of time when I, your venerable host, like to take you, the venerable reader on a magical trip. A trip through a kingdom of unimaginable delights, of vomit coloured skies and shit coloured meadows. What is this place I speak of? Why, it's New-Games-Off-eBay-Land, of course!

Whilst that opening paragraph probably made very little sense to all but the most highly sedated Broadmoor resident, you'll no doubt have some kind of idea what I'm on about - more stuff flopping through the Stargate (letterbox) and claiming squatter's rights in the galaxy-sized library of awesomeness that is the Dreamcast Junkyard (tm).

Before I go any further though, I must bring your attention to this:

I had an email published on teletext's Game Central! FAME IS FINALLY MINE!!! X-Factor? Pfft...fuck that shit - I've had my name (well, my Blogger ID) on Game Central! I can now die happily. Although if I did, right now, you'd never find out what crap I've recently added to my collection.

So I won't. Die, that is. Yet.

Spawn: In The Demon's Hand
Have you played Heavy Metal: Geomatrix? Spawn: In The Demon's Hand is a game in the same vein - you run around  3D maze-like levels shooting, punching and kicking the crap out of every other character who's trying to do the same to you. And that's it, really. As the name suggests, it's based on the Spawn comic books/film and features characters from the Todd McFarlane scribed canon, but to be honest it could be a game based on any comic series with different characters pasted in. My knowledge of Spawn begins and ends with the rather shit film from a few years ago so I'm not really equipped to say whether this game and it's environments are authentic to the comic series, but I wasn't really that impressed by the experience contained on the disc. The graphics are OK (but it doesn't support VGA, dammit) and the music is of the typical rock type, but it's just, well, a bit boring.

Worms World Party
I don't even know why I bought this. Probably because it was a quid, but thinking about it that quid could have been spent on something else. Like a chocolate chip flapjack and a copy of The Sun. Oh well. Anyway, back to Worms. Like Armageddon, World Party sees you take control of a team of sadistic worms who must defeat a similar team with all manner of outlandish weaponry. These (turn based) battles take place in some very strange Lemmings-like environments and most of the explosions take huge chunks out of the floors and walls meaning that you can shape the landscape to your benefit or hindrance of the enemy team. The thing is, Worms is meant to be played as a multi-player game so if you have no friends (like me), it can be an unrewarding experience. Aesthetically, World Party is very colourful and even though it looks quite basic, the visuals perform their function perfectly. The 'World Party' moniker comes from the fact that when it was released, the game allowed gamers from around the globe to battle each other online. I'm not sure if you still can, but considering the Dreamcast has been defunct for nearly a decade now, I'm guessing the servers are now lying in a pool of effluence in an alley somewhere.

The following games I got off that lovely chap known only as Gary, and so arrived in the form of a CD-R titled Dream Shooter 5. Here's a (pretty crap) flip video of the clever interface bit:

Don't tell the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT). They'll probably get that fat twat to brand me with that red-hot poker and then lock me up for funding terrorism like all those ne'erdowells selling copied DVDs down the market.

Under Defeat
An awesome helicopter shoot 'em up set in an alternative timeline from our own, Under Defeat is one of those new-ish DC releases. I'm quite new to the whole 'shump' scene so wasn't really expecting much from Under Defeat, but I have to admit that I was quite taken aback by how cool it is. The graphics are all fully 3D and you can change the aspect of the screen from portrait to landscape for a full screen experience (although you have to put your telly on it's side). The best thing about Under Defeat though is the tempo of it all. Wave after wave of brilliantly designed enemies come at you and you can modify the angle that your chopper flies at in order to attack bogies from the side (which helps if they are firing a constant stream of projectiles to their front). The difficulty level is perfectly balanced and the special effects are imply stunning (check out the special screen-filling super weapon!). All in all, one hell of a shooter.

Zero Gunner 2
Another helicopter based shooter, Zero Gunner differs slightly from Under Defeat in that you can fully rotate your craft in order to destroy enemies that come at you from the left, right and behind. Again, the 3D graphics are mightily impressive - as are the end of level bosses. Basically, they start as various pieces of hi-tech military kit (stealth bomber, submarine etc) and when you've worn enough of their energy down they transform into a big fuck-off robot. Kind of like Power Rangers, but without an actor in  shoddy rubber suit. You also get to choose one of three different types of chopper, each with a different pattern of fire and strengths and weaknesses. It's not as good as Under Defeat, but it's still a corking shooter.

Now we're talking. Ikaruga is one mother of a shoot 'em up - and possibly one of the most imaginative ever created. How? Well, it's all about opposites. You see, in Ikaruga, enemies come in two varieties - light and dark. Your ship, Ikaruga, also has the ability to change between the two different polarities meaning you can shoot dark and light missiles. The clever bit is that even though you can destroy either type of enemy with either type of ammunition, you can only be destroyed by enemy fire of the opposite type. If, for example, you are in the dark polarity and are hit by a dark enemy's fire, you simply absorb it and it fills up an energy bar enabling a special attack. If you are hit by opposite fire, you take damage. It sounds a bit confusing when it's written down, but in practice it's actually very clever - especially when you're fighting a boss who is filling the screen with patterns of different coloured projectiles. Switching between the light and dark polarities becomes a test of skill in these situations and death is usually down to your own ineptitude rather than unfairness (for that, see below). As with most of the shooters I've recently acquired, you can alter the orientation of the screen in Ikaruga and in effect get it to run full screen if you want to put your TV on it's side, but playing it with the borders is totally acceptable. And, like Under Defeat and Zero Gunner, the graphics are far beyond what you would expect to find in a shoot 'em up of this ilk - everything is modelled in 3D and the backdrops can be breathtaking in places. Quite simply, Ikaruga is an ingeniously creative and beautiful-looking game. Awesome.

Trigger Heart Exelica
Bit of a weird one this. Rather than pilot a spaceship or helicopter like in most shooters (with the exception of Gunbird 2, where you can pilot a magic carpet), in Trigger Heart Exelica you get to control a Manga schoolgirl in a flying battle-mech outfit. A sexual fantasy fulfilled for many people, I'm sure. It also differs from the rest of the pack in the way that you can fire a sort of grappling-hook thing at enemies in order to 'capture' them. Once captured, you can either use them as a shield or spin them around and throw them back at other enemies. Two birds, one stone. There is a story of sorts that seems to be an integral part of the game - characters are always popping up to chat shit, but seeing as it's all in Japanese I haven't got a clue what it's all about - and even less of a clue as to why, when you destroy them, enemies turn into gold nuggets that then get absorbed by your little character. There are a few different play modes (story, arcade, attract, training etc) and two different characters (with different shooting patterns) to play as, but it's all fairly middle of the road stuff. Trigger Heart is also quite difficult simply because it relies on completely filling the screen with fire at times making it impossible to avoid death, and also has end of level bosses that you have to defeat up to three times before they just fuck off. It's a fairly decent shooter, but nowhere near as good as some.

Psyvariar 2
Another shooter that has you in some kind of battle suit rather than a ship, Psyvariar is probably my least favourite of all the games on the Dream Shooter disc. Graphically, it's quite good - everything is very crisp and it features interaction with the background (the first level boss smashes a hole into the ground and them you do battle whilst hurtling down in), but it's lacking that vital something. It does feature a unique 'buzz' system, where you power up your suit by glancing enemy bullets, but it all moves just a bit too lowly for my liking. Also, there are no extras - all you get is the main game, which is a bit stingy. On the plus side, the music is of a very high standard and mirrors the action brilliantly. And that's it, really. Psyvariar 2: Painfully average. Although, it's better than Trever McFur in the Crescent Galaxy on the the Jaguar, so it's got something going for it.

And if you actually read all that guff, congratulations - it was hard enough writing it all whilst still suffering from a Beck's induced hangover. Next up: Capcom Fighting Collection!

Finally, to the abhorrent cunt who stole my Shepherd's Pie (yet left the beer!!) out of the fridge: I'll find you, and I'll kill you. Make no mistake. Just incase you're, y'know, reading this. Erm...

Yeah, baby...erm...yeah!

Sigh. Do you look in the mirror every morning and sigh? Is your life empty, meaningless and devoid of any form of (non-Dreamcast related) fun? 

Yeah - mine too.

But wait - something has surfaced that can fill that gargantuan chasm of nothingness that dominates your existence! No, it's not the tender touch of the opposite sex (but we can all dream, right?); Rejoice, for the DREAMCAST HAT IS HERE!!!!


And it only costs $12.99 (which is about 7 quid in real money). Sigh...

Wind and Water unpacking and first impressions

So Wind and Water Puzzle Battles showed up in the letter box this morning, so I promptly did a video of the excitement of getting a brand new Dreamcast game, showing the game's highly professional packaging as well as a quick look at the game running on the system. I'm very impressed by just how slick the presentation of both the manual and the game itself is, the Yuan Works team (all two of them!) are evidentially very passionate when it comes to making games, I hope we see more from them in the near future.

So my first impressions on the game? The story mode is the game's strongest point: you get a Super mario 3 like hub map where you'll bump into characters to chat to (two of which are based on the Yuan brothers themselves) and plenty of different mission based stages to play, that on completion open up more of the map. There is also a shop to buy items from and great little mini games to be found. The dialog between the characters in a great laugh: the game's story is based around Amy who has been deemed the task of teaching everyone how to play the game despite being a bit of a air head, while the game is still being developed around you by the Yuan brothers. One particularly amusing moment was coming across a little kid who was on his way to a RPG school, holding a giant, Final Fantasy VII like sword. There is also a arcade mode and a very clever puzzle mode where you only get one or two moves to clear all the blocks.

As for the gameplay, so far I'm finding it quite challenging at say the least. It's rather simple to get into, but deceivingly tricky once you start to get deeper into it, especially when facing CPU opponents. The game requires very quick reflexes and the ability to manipulate the blocks you swift about very strategically. Personally I tend to hold my own pretty well in puzzle games but in this case I'm getting my arse whupped. I still haven't even beaten the first opponent you need to face in the story mode yet after quite a few attempts, he just manages to throw me out of the game in seconds with his super quick maneuvers.

So at the moment I'm struggling to keep up with it but I'm going to stick with it and see if i can get better, so this game may even be able to pull me away from LittleBigPlanet for a bit, so that's something. When I said in the video the review will be by the end of the week it'll probably be more like next week as I want to play quite far through it first.


You may (or probably don't, to be honest) remember this post from the 'Yard's early days documenting PlayStation advertising popping up in a Dreamcast game. Well guess what - I've found some more, this time hiding away in the 'name entry' screen of that graphically wondrous race-a-thon, Tokyo Extreme Racer 2:

I realise that they're only shapes, but c'mon! Where else in the history of mankind do those four particular shapes appear - except for on the PSX joypad?!

Yet another example of subversion by Sony-planted moles. Tsk.

Wind and water is out!

From this week copies of Wind and Water: Puzzle battles should be on their way to whoever pre-ordered it, and can also be purchased right now as the game is officially out! Apparently it was already for sale at a convention in France a week ago, lucky buggers. If you haven't already, buy yourself a copy of this NEW game for your Dreamcast at Redspotgames store. Alternatively Play-asia will also be stocking the game within the week. I'm looking forward to finally getting my copy, look forward to some videos on it's release from me including a Rummage video review!

Rough with the Smooth

Fuck sake. Had to get my car MOT-ed yesterday, which for our non-UK readers means that I had to take it to a local garage for it's annual check-up. As predicted, the piece of shite failed the test and I had to shell out 400 quid for some grease-monkey with no neck to tighten a few screws and scratch his arse. As you can probably guess, this left me in a mood that could be described (quite accurately) as the exact opposite to 'euphoric.' Moral of the story? Never buy a Ford Mondeo that smells like a chicken shed off a Farmer. Rather, contact a man called Gary and spend your money on Dreamcast games instead - definitely an activity more associated with happiness than getting your jalopy fixed.

You may remember the enigmatic Gary from sporadic posts here at the 'Yard over the last couple of years. We first encountered him through his enormous DC collection, and then again when we managed to prise a copy of DC Half-Life from his grip several months later. Now, he's only gone and dumped a fucking lorry load of even more amazing stuff through my letterbox...

Granted, all of the following games are CD-Rs, but for the average non-importer like me, this is probably the only way I would ever get a chance to sample the delights of the following gems without paying an arm and a leg for them on eBay:

4x4 Evolution
A favourite of online gaming community UK-Rockers, 4x4 Evolution is an off-road racer that eschews the arcade stupidity of 4 Wheel Thunder in favour of a more realistic SUVs-racing around-the-countryside setting. Posh twats in tweed and carrying shotguns are, however, thankfully absent. The sheer number of real-life vehicles on offer is mind-boggling, with nearly every major 4x4 manufacturer represented by their most popular gas guzzlers. So, you get Nissans, Mitsubishis and the like jostling for position, rather than made-up monster trucks and buggies. Sweet. The game itself offers a multitude of play modes (single race, time trial etc), but the main meat of the 4x4 Evolution experience is to be found in the Career mode in which you start out with a limited bank balance (a bit like mine after that fucking MOT) and must buy a vehicle, kit it out and then enter championships.

Just like in Sega GT, you can only enter certain championships with certain vehicle classes so this means you need to juggle which trucks you buy and upgrade. The actual gameplay is also about as far removed from 4 Wheel Thunder as you could possibly get - there are no nitro boosts or time limits here, instead the majority of the races are of the point-to-point variety and set on large open plan circuits where you have to follow an arrow to the next checkpoint. Because of this open-plan nature, it isn't always essential that you stick to the beaten track, indeed the AI vehicles usually don't and this leads to some great races through wooded areas and through rivers etc.
Graphically, Evo's vehicle models are pretty sweet although the environments can feel a little sparse at times and the game engine shudders occasionally. This minor niggle aside, 4x4 Evo is a solid racer and the fact that it never got an official PAL release remains something of a mystery to me.

Project Justice: Rival Schools 2
Project Justice is a game I actually owned in it's official guise many moons ago when the DC still had a pulse. I got it from Gamestation for about a tenner and boy, do I wish I'd held on to it now - it regularly appears on eBay for upwards of £100. Alas, my copy went when I (somewhat foolishly, with hindsight) traded in my DC set-up for a PS2 and a copy of NHL 2001. For shame. Getting hold of this replacement copy through Gary then, was like welcoming back an old friend. Project Justice is a 3D beat 'em up by those masters of the 2D genre - Capcom, and rather ingeniously features a storyline like something out of an episode of Saved by the Bell.

Yep, the game features characters who are all pupils at different schools and throws them all together for one almightly playground scrap, although these fights are nothing like the ones we had at my school - there are no endless headlocks or rolling around on the football pitch here, people. No, instead the kids from Justice High are all masters of kung-fu and have the ability to throw balls of fire with their eyes - a skill that would undoubtedly have resulted in multiple detentions when I were a lad. The fights are similar to those in Marvel Versus Capcom 2 in that they allow multiple characters to be called upon to lend a hand should you find your ass being handed to you, and so you choose a team of 3 fighters to wade into battle with and can use them to gang up on an adversary depending on whether or not you have the required power in your little whup-ass meter.

Nicely, the characters all represent various (Jap & US) student-themed stereotypes such as sporty jocks and science geeks etc (if it were based on UK themes, they'd all be drunk chavs and pregnant 14-year-old slags, no doubt), whilst the battle stages are all similarly school related in some way e.g. classrooms, gyms, playgrounds etc. Project Justice is very easy to pick up and play, so if your beat 'em skillz consist simply of mashing all the buttons with sausage fingers (like mine) you can get just as much enjoyment out of it as an expert. Aesthetically, it's not as good as Dead or Alive 2 (what is?!), but the variety and creativity of the stages and characters, coupled with the outlandishness of the special moves on offer more than make up for it.

Tokyo Extreme Racer 2
The original Tokyo Extreme Racer is a bit of a mixed bag really. Whilst the graphics are fairly decent, the gameplay was as deep as a puddle on Mercury: Race around one dull highway challenging boy racers to a duel. Repeat to fade. Enter Tokyo Extreme Racer 2, a game that offers more of the same, only with vastly improved graphics, more cars, and a slightly bigger stretch of highway. Like Project Justice, Extreme Racer 2 is a game that occasionally pops up in it's PAL guise on eBay for a hideous amount of money and is also a game I've owned previously in it's official form. The basic premise of Tokyo Extreme Racer 2, much like it's prequel, is to drive along the highways and byways of a neon-lit Tokyo searching for 'rivals' to race against.

When you eventually find someone willing to chuck their copy of the highway code out of the window, you drive up behind them and flick the high beams at them. This initiates the actual race, where two power bars appear at the top of the screen and whoever gets the furthest ahead has the least damage done to their bar. If your opponent gets too far ahead of you - you lose, and likewise if you leave the slow old twat in your dust you get the spoils of victory. As with most racers, the career or 'Quest' mode in Extreme Racer rewards your wins with credits with which you can upgrade your vehicle with body parts or engine/handling improvements. I suppose this game is pretty unique in the way that it pits racers against each other in a way that most other racers don't, but the repetitive nature of the tracks and the virtually non-existent music slightly let it down. Where it definitely shines though, is in the graphics department. The car models are some of the best on the DC - and while the cars aren't officially licensed you can generally tell what it is you're driving simply because the models are so authentic-looking.

Sadly, there are no damage models, but for a game with this degree of arcade slant, realistic damage would probably been more of a detraction than a bonus. In a nutshell, Extreme Racer 2 is an original and awesome looking game that is let down slightly by sub-par sound and some simplistic gameplay aspects - but overall, a decent little racer.

And so concludes part two of the documenting of my recent games haul. There's much more to come, dear enlightened reader, so keep checking for updates - and in the mean time, if you want to get in touch with Gary and take advantage of his massive stock of games for sale, email him at for a full list of titles.

Super Furry Animals

So America has it's first black President and F1 has it's first black world champion. Yawn. I've got much more important news: I've been drinking alcohol and surfing eBay again! As such, it's been a bit hectic on the delivery front here at the 'Yard this week and seeing as DC games are still as cheap as ever, I've been snapping up every decent title I can find ont tinterweb. A knock-on effect of this blurry bidding action has seen an obscene volume of games drop out of the ether and into my DC, so here begins the arduous, but not unsatisfying task of documenting these purchases...

First on the operating table? Why, it's none other than:

Fur Fighters

At first glance, you'd be forgiven for thinking Fur Fighters was another shit kiddies game - indeed it appears to be the result of a sleazy hotel-room rendezvous between Conker's Bad Fur Day and Banjo Kazooie. Even if it was, it probably wouldn't be a bad thing...but it isn't. No - it's far more than that: It's one of the best shoot 'em ups on the Dreamcast - FACT. Look beyond the stylised cartoon visuals and super-deformed furry characters and what you have in Fur Fighters is a decidedly adult themed, and often slightly risque take on the 3rd person shooter genre - and it's also a damned good adventure to boot.


The back story is pretty original too. Basically, there are six playable characters to control, all of which have different abilities - one can swim, another can glide, whilst another can climb etc etc etc. These characters were all once members of an elite military unit, the titular Fur Fighters, that put an evil genius behind bars. With the task completed, the Fur Fighters retired to a quaint seaside village to have kids, read the Telegraph, eat crumpets and just generally wither away. Possibly with the intention of dying alone in a piss soaked bedsit. Thing is, the old nemesis (General Viggo) has done his time, got out of the slammer and launched into a revenge-fuelled campaign against the dudes who put him behind bars. How so? By kidnapping the Fur Fighter's kids, naturally. Comparisons to Gary Glitter aside, this obviously pisses the Fur Fighters off a bit, so naturally they dive straight back into the fray to get their offspring back and shut down Viggo once and for all...

As you can probably see from the screen grabs, it's a beautiful little game - the (VGA compatible) worlds which you have to shoot your way through are really well done and full of little details and tongue in cheek humour . In the opening level you have to blast your way to the top of the World Quack Centre in the heart of New Quack City (no prizes for guessing where the level is meant to be set, and yes Fur Fighters was released prior to 9/11 - I don't think it would have seen the light of day otherwise), and in the lobby of the aforementioned skyscraper is a games store selling these little delights:


Metropolis Sheep Racer

Resident Weevil or Quack, anyone?

Each of the worlds is accessed from a central hub stage set within the tranquil surroundings of the Fur Fighters' home village and all require items salvaged from previous worlds in order to get past the guard at the door. So, in order to get into the space centre you need to acquire a degree in astrophysics; whilst getting access to New Quack City requires a subway token etc. 

One major area where Fur Fighters excels though, is in the sound department. Whilst the voices of the characters are ridiculous Star Wing-style garbled bollocks, the music and sound effects are stunning for a game this old. I've played 360 games with music and sound effects several leagues below those on display in Fur Fighters, so top marks to Bizarre Creations for truly squeezing the best out of the Dreamcast's sound gubbins. Remarkable. 

So, to top it off - I love Fur Fighters. It's good looking, fun to play, full of logical puzzles and features some great script writing and humour (check out General Viggo's pet human!). If you get the chance to buy this game, do yourself a favour and snap it up. And if you can't find the DC version, there's also a cell shaded PS2 port knocking about...but it'd be unpatriotic of me to recommend buying that...

Stay tuned for more updates in the coming days - I've managed to get my mud-covered claws on some truly mind-blowing games this week. Mind-blowing, oh yes!

Super Magnetic Aaaargh!

What a week it's been eh? Russel Brand (cock) and Jonathan Ross (arsehole) drown in a pool of their own turgid smugness, Hallow e'en comes and goes without even a hint of Armageddon/unleashing of the Legions of Hell (dammit), and the Dreamcast Junkyard gets a long overdue makeover (awesome). It's been emotional, people. Not, however, as 'emotional' as I've been in recent days. And by emotional, I - of course - mean 'synapse-endangeringly furious.' Why so? Three words:

1) Super
2) Magnetic
3) Neo

You know that old adage about the Devil disguising himself as something nice in order to appear more enticing? Well, meet the Devil. In the form of this little cunt:

Yes, I bought Super Magnetic Neo off eBay for the princely sum of £3.00 or thereabouts, and was expecting a colourful yet slightly childish romp through candy-cane worlds populated by jelly babies. And to a certain degree, I was right. You see, visually, Super Magnetic Neo is like an uber acid trip, helped on it's way by a couple of lines of coke, a bottle of JD and a punnet of magic mushrooms. You play as the titular Neo - a smurf-hued robot with a magnet for a bonce. An evil baddie bloke has taken over the world, or something, and populated it with similarly evil robots (although, I don't remember the Terminator just mincing backwards and forwards, minding his own business like the evil robots do here) and it's up to you to smash them to bits and restore order.

However, to accomplish your mission, you must utilise the aforementioned cranial magnet. How? Well, it has the ability to create positive and negative polarity fields and by creating these fields in certain places you can propel yourself off platforms, grab swinging ropes and, obviously, destroy baddies. And by reading that, and looking at the amazing graphics in the poor quality screen shots here, you be forgiven for thinking that Super Magnetic Neo was a platform fan's wet dream. Which it would be, was it not for the immense difficulty level. A wolf in sheep's clothing if ever there was one. And just to nail it in even further, Super Magnetic Neo makes MDK 2 seem like a walk in the park.

Everywhere you turn there are pits and baddies that kill you instantly with the slightest touch, and in some areas you must jump from swinging rope to swinging rope to platform to platform to swinging rope...where the polarities change and you have to get the right one...or it's game over. Hair tearingly annoying? You bet your ass.

Be afraid. Be very afraid...

As such, I haven't actually got past the second world at the time of writing this guff. However, seeing as the graphics are so mind-bendingly good and the story so completely off the wall, I'm prepared to stick my neck out and recommend this to neurotics, people with pace-makers and inmates of high-security medical wards only. Have fun!

The Emperor's New Clothes

Wahey! Welcome to the third generation of The Dreamcast Junkyard! Thought it was looking a bit tired around here so I spent today sprucing the place up a bit - no point going out boozing when there's important work to do. I realise that other members of the team may have (much) more creative skill than me when it comes to graphic design - Gagaman, I'm looking at you - but seeing as this place was originally my baby, I thought it only right that I put my ham-fist to it...

Hope you like it - and we'll have no more talk about these 'new' blogger templates. Or else... ;D

Edit: Yes, I took the advice. The 'Yard has entered the 24th Century. Or something.