Dreamcast L-N

Alien Brigade – By Atari

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 Last Hope – By NG:DEV.TEAM

Last Hope is a fiercely retro side scrolling shooter released by NG:DEV.TEAM for the Dreamcast in January 2007 via Redspot Games. It features decent graphics and nice sound design throughout. It is clearly inspired by such classics as R-Type, Gradius and Pulstar. Sadly its difficulty is pretty unforgiving, the colouring of the backgrounds, particle effects and enemy fire and incoming projectiles makes it VERY DIFFICULT to decipher what is an enemy ship or bullet and what is just flying debris or background art. I found myself giving up with it quite early on but it will certainly appeal to hardcore side scrolling R-Type fans. It has an emphasis on strategy as much as simply shooting everything due to you having to avoid a lot of incoming fire. It also incorporates all of the regular shoot em up staples such as collecting power ups and charging up more powerful attacks. As much as I would like to recommend this game the difficulty and frustration factor means I can only really recommend this version to the truly hardcore shooter fans among you. The ship moves slowly and you find yourself being unable to visually keep track of your ship and objects will often appear out of nowhere hitting your ship without you even realising. Apparently a remixed version called Last Hope Pink Bullets was released that included several gameplay enhancements which helped make the game more accessible to people with slightly less shooting experience, however sadly this was the only version I had access to. A solid, if somewhat flawed shooter

Review by dcultrapro

6/10

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  Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver – By SNK

In Soul Reaver you play the role of Raziel, a vampire who is seeking revenge against his old master - Kain. Raziel was one of Kain’s lieutenants but he had the misfortune of evolving as a vampire before his master by receiving the gift of wings. Kain decided to punish Raziel by throwing him into the Lake of Dead so its waters would burn Raziel and destroy him. But Raziel was not doomed for The Elder made him an offer he could not refuse: stalk the Material Plane of Nosgoth and destroy the other vampires. As Raziel you are immortal but your energy does deplete. A Health Coil let’s you know how much energy you have, energy that is depleted constantly in the Material Plance unless you consume the sould of your enemies. Should you run out of energy, you will transcend into the Spectral Plane where the Health Coil will slowly replenish. If you fail to replenish your energy, you’ll be sent to the Elder’s Chamber. Soul Reaver is a pretty amazing and large adventure game for the Dreamcast that fits perfectly as a Halloween game. You must explore the world of Nosgoth and destroy your enemies in order to gain new powers. Though you can be forced into the Spectral Plane, you can enter yourself there at will as a strategic way of getting around Nosgoth. Additionally, there are puzzles you must solve in order to defeat enemies or advance in the game. The graphics of Soul Reaver are gorgeous and sharp and the characters are nicely animated. The monsters look really cool and the bosses not only loom large but look grotesque. This is another really good title for the system and I can easily recommend it.

Review by TrekMD

8/10

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 Mag Force Racing – By Crave Entertainment

Mag Force is an unusual, bargain bucket racing game, it’s never been particularly well regarded mostly because of its limited release and lack of media attention at the time. And to be fair this racing game has some borrowed ideas, I won’t lie, but it not only borrows them, it improves them 100 times over, think a better combination of roll cage and wipe-out. It successfully incorporates the weapons and speed of Wipeout with the crazy courses and gravity insanity of roll cage. What could be better right? A couple of twists to the game play include, amongst others, the fact that the vehicles don’t have wheels but are powered by the “mag-force system”. This allows you to hang onto ceilings and walls and helps you to pass enemies and generally stay alive as the tracks are hazardous and often require you to defy gravity. You collect energy while racing along the track to keep your speed and magnet powered where possible though sometimes when barging enemies it can prove tough to get what you need. The weapons here provide a strategic element when using mines etc and you also have to weigh up whether to save them up for the turbo ram. The graphics are great for a budget title, if somewhat simplistic, and the music is fantastic too. The action is fast paced and there’s about a dozen tracks with over 30 vehicles, which vary in performance and style. The handling is very “arcadey” and as the vehicles glide rather than turn and wheel spin etc it can be very difficult to get used to but using the magnet power around corners is very useful. All in all one of the most unique and enjoyable racers on the Dreamcast.

Review by dcultrapro

8/10

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 Maken X – By Atlus

I was very surprised by this game. I thought at first that it would be like Hexen for the Saturn only worse, but it’s a fascinating first person battle game, with a very innovative game style. You take control of a sword called Maken, a life form that can infiltrate people’s minds and allow you to take control of the character through "brain jacking". In a sense you can change the character you are using mid game, these different characters might be stronger or use different fighting styles. The REAL trick is that this affects the games progression and outcome. For instance you might get the option to either continue in your current character or pick a pilot, but if you stick with the current character then you won’t know how to pilot a vehicle for example and you will plummet to a different location. The graphics are great, the combat is versatile, the music is fitting and it is incredibly challenging. The gameplay is very smooth with lock on functions to avoid frustration from losing sight of your foe. The graphical style is colourful and slightly garish but its fitting in the context of the game, textures are well painted and the environment lines (walls and gates/doors) are smooth. The only negatives I would mark it down on are a slightly confusing storyline about taking over the world and religion and so on (but hey what do you expect its a very Japanese styled game?) and the fact that the dubbing over from the Japanese version has left the dialogue ALMOST nonsensical to the point of garbling the game's plot. It does affect your immersion but it can be overlooked as the in game action is so solid and once again, the graphics look brilliant! All in all this is one of my favourite unusual action games on the Dreamcast and it is an essential purchase to anyone looking for one of the many original and unique titles available on the platform.

Review by dcultrapro

8/10

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 Mars Matrix – By Capcom

Mars Matrix was first released to the arcades in 2000 to be later ported to the Dreamcast in 2001. By the year 2309, Mars has been colonized by humans and under the direction of the Mars Development Agency. Though this agency gives Mars the appearance of independence, the reality is that the Earth Federation controls everything that happens on the red planet. But no more. On December 8th, 2309, Mars signalled Earth declaring its independence and then communication went blank. The Earth Federation knew war was necessary and a large fleet was moved from the Moon to converge on Mars. You are one of the pilots raiding Mars. Can you survive and help Earth take control of Mars once more? Mars Matrix is a frenetic vertical shooter that is relentless and difficult but very addicting. There are three modes of play: Arcade, Elite, and Score Challenge. Arcade is pretty much a direct port of the arcade original while Elite is an enhanced version unique to the Dreamcast. In Score Challenge you can play in any stage and just shoot anything in sight to get the most points. In Elite you can choose for the enemies to be positioned as in the arcade or rearranged for a different challenge. Your Mosquito Fighter has two types of shots, a normal shot with rapid fire and a piercing cannon. It is also equipped with a Gravity Hole Bomb (GHB) that will destroy a large swath of enemies. While the GHB is charged, you can also absorb enemy fire and use it against your enemies. Mars Matrix has decent graphics, but they do fall short compared to other shooters for the Dreamcast. Sound effects are good and the music is as frenetic as the game itself. Overall an excellent game for the system.

Review by TrekMD

9/10

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 Marvel vs Capcom: Clash of the Super Heroes – By Capcom

The Earth is under attack by a mysterious force from a foe called “Onslaught.” Onslaught is the most powerful enemy the Earth has seen and it is up to the Super Heroes of two worlds to save the planet and to do so, they must fight! Captain America, Spider-Man, the Hulk, Wolverine, Gambit, War Machine, and Venom are here from the Marvel Universe. Representing the Capcom Universe you’ll find Ryu, Captain Commando, Chun-Li, Zangief, Jin, Morrigan, Mega Man, and Strider Hiryu. Before you start, you’ll need to choose from five different modes of play: Arcade, Versus, Survival, Training, or Cross Fever. Depending on the mode, it’ll be a one or two player game, except for Cross Fever which allows up to four players at one. When the action starts, you’ll enjoy seeing the characters in their splendour as they are rendered beautifully with lots of detail and colour. The backgrounds are also well done, though not as detailed. You’ll be playing two-on-two fights but you can call in a third character just for a brief assistance. The fights are neither long nor shot in duration but they work well. What’s cool is all the different moves you can use and some of the rather high-flying attacks you can pull off. These are so high that the screen scrolls up to follow the characters. There are tons of combinations you can use for fighting, though you do have to get used to the controls. You need to sue button combinations at times for functions that should be more easily accessed. Overall, though, this is an excellent game!

Review by TrekMD

9/10

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  Marvel vs Capcom II – By Capcom

So, how do you outdo a highly rated fighting game based on characters from the Marvel and Capcom Universes? Well, by creating a sequel that expands on the original. While the original Marvel vs Capcom had 14 different characters, you’ll start off on this sequel with 24! And these can be expanded to 56 as you play the game! Some of the new additions include Cyclops, Marrow, Cable, T. Bonne, Rubyheart, Rogue, Amingo, Hayato, and Doctor Doom. This time the game has three different modes: Arcade, Verus, and Training. The matches are three-on-three, though you only control one character at a time. This time of set up does let you switch characters at will so you can let a spent fighter rest and recover their energy. This game also offers plenty of fighting moves but the control scheme as been improved when compared to the original game. This makes it easier to handle the fights, though that doesn’t mean the game is any less challenging. The characters are well rendered in great detail but, what’s different now, is that the backgrounds are no longer just 2D but, rather, 3D rendered and animated. Though there is no interaction between the backgrounds and the fighters, it does add visually to the game. Something new in this game is the Secret Factor, a place with a shop where you can use your points to buy new characters and even new features that enhance the gameplay further. This game can be summed up as awesome! This is a must-have title for the Dreamcast!

Review by TrekMD

10/10

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  Metal Slug – By SNK

Metal Slug was first released in 1996 for the Neo Geo MVS. The game is a running shooter where the player is doing nothing more than shoot all the enemies to reach the end of each level. There you will face a boss who will do what it can to stop your progress. Of course, along the way, you’ve picked up upgrades for your weapons, even the titular Metal Slug tanks, the SV-001. These tanks give your character additional protection while also increasing your firepower. If you’re wondering who you are and who you are fighting, you are one of two members of the Peregrine Falcon Squad, a team of fighters serving under the Army’s special operations division. As either Marco Rossi or Tarma Roving, you must fight the army of General Donald Morden to prevent a coup d’état that will create a New World Order. You must traverse six levels through various terrains, including forests, garrisoned cities, canyons, snow covered mountain valleys, and military bases. Through the levels you will find prisoners of war (POWs), whom you must rescue in order to receive new weapons and other bonus items. Metal Slug was never officially released to the Dreamcast but the game was discovered offered as a homebrew release. The game is really an excellent game for the Dreamcast and it is a good thing that it was released when discovered. The graphics are cartoony and have excellent animation. There are many funny situations depicted (e.g., enemies are seen roasting food or even sunbathing!) that make the game humorous. Sound and music are also very well done. If you are looking for a plain fun, shoot everything game, Metal Slug is for you.

Review by TrekMD

9/10

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  Mr. Driller – By Namco

Mr. Driller started off as the third game in the Dig Dug series in an unofficial capacity but the folks at Namco liked the game so much that they decided to keep the project going but with a new name. The game was released to the arcades but was also adapted to various home systems, including the Dreamcast. The story of the game says that suddenly Downtown, a city like any other, found itself having coloured blocks popping from the ground until it was not possible to move about. The townspeople sought out the help of an expert, none other than Mr. Driller, in order to help clear the blocks and reach the bottom of the mystery of the blocks. Using his jackhammer, Mr. Driller breaks blocks while moving underground. He can break blocks in any direction but he must be careful that blocks don’t fall on him as they are deadly. He also must not to run out of air. He must keep an eye out for air capsules underground that will help him stay alive. Mr. Driller is a fun strategy/puzzle game. The player must break blocks of any four colours: red, blue, green, or yellow and must try to combine blocks of the same colour to break bigger areas. To add to the challenge clear blocks appear (they do not merge with other blocks), as well as crystal blocks (blocks that are slow to disappear), and X-Blocks (these take five hits from the drill to vanish plus eat up Mr. Driller’s air). This version of the game offers three modes of play: Arcade, Survival, and Time Attack. With great graphics, sound, and gameplay, Mr. Driller is another fun title for the Dreamcast.

Review by TrekMD

8/10

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  Ms. Pac-Man Maze Madness – By Namco

The most famous female video game heroine in history must embark in an all-new mission in order to save Pac-Land! Someone has invaded the Enchanted Castle, one of the four Wonders of Pac-Land, and has used dark magic to turn it into a ghost-ridden haunted house. Equipped with a Pactrometer given to her by Professor Pac, Ms. Pac-Man must travel through all four Wonders in order to save her world. The four Wonders of Pac-Land are Cleopactra, Crystal Caves, Pac-Ping Harbor, and Haunted Halloween. Each of these Wonders has a special magical gem for Ms. Pac-Man to find: the Gem of Generosity, the Gem of Truth, the Gem of Wisdom, and the Gem of Courage. While Ms. Pac-Man Maze Madness is a more modern version of Ms. Pac-Man that uses 3D graphics, it is interesting to say that the game does maintain the spirit of the original quite well. You must travel through the different Worlds, essentially 3D mazes, eating dots, using power pills, eating fruits, and solving puzzles. Yep, besides the classic dot-eating formula you will also have to solve puzzles of various types in order to advance through the game. There’s some 180 puzzles through the four Worlds, so there’s plenty for you to explore. Visually, the game looks really good with a top-angled view. The sound effects are excellent and some of them are even taken from the original arcade game. Overall, this is a very good game that fans of Ms. Pac-Man will enjoy. If you are in the mood for a classic game, the original arcade game is also included and can be selected in the main menu.

Review by TrekMD

9/10

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  Neo XYX – By NG.DEV.TEAM

The Orochi, an alien race who had disappeared for thousands of years, have returned. They are out to conquer the galaxy and they come with a vengeance. Their ships, powered by “The Flow of Orochi,” attack world after world and it is up to you to destroy them. You must find the power source for the Orochi fleet and destroy it. Can you complete your mission? Neo XYX is a shoot ‘em up for the Dreamcast in which you must traverse six different stages (Green Hills, Battle Town, Blue Ocean, Techno World, Steel Snakes, and Orochi Mask) in order to defeat the Orochi forces. Through each stage you will face one or two types of enemies who will do everything they can to stop you. They have varied attacks and they will pursue you incessantly. The bosses at the end of each stage are huge and challenging to deal with but not overly so. Your ship comes equipped with a laser gun and bombs and the ability to slow down its motion. To keep things interesting, the game makes you find pieces of bombs through the stages so you can make more bombs for your ship. You’ll also need to collect medals in order to garner more points. To keep things interesting, Neo XYX offers multiple horizontal and vertical orientations you can choose from. Visually, Neo XYX is amazing. The graphics are detailed, colourful, and bright. They are accompanied by an equally good musical score and great sound effects. If the game has any fault is the lack of skill level selection. Overall, though, this is an excellent shooter for the Dreamcast.

Review by TrekMD

9/10

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 Nightmare Creatures II – By Konami

Nightmare Creatures II (NCII) follows the story of one Herbert Wallace as he tries to stop a sorcerer of the name Adam Crowley. Crowley had been defeated about a century prior but he has returned after gathering power once more. Crowley has stolen a mystical object from The Circle, the Glyph, in order to impose his reign on Earth. Wallace, a man who has suffered for years at the hands of Crowley, decides that it is time to stop this evil sorcerer and takes it upon himself (with whatever little sanity he has left) to end the sorcerer’s plan. NCII is an adventure/fighting game for the Dreamcast that is most appropriate as a game to be played on Halloween night. The scenery involves old buildings and dark streets that provide the eerie atmosphere that is perfect for this type of game. As you explore, you will have to face a variety of monsters and creatures fit to give anyone a nightmare. To do so, you have your trusty axe but you can certainly pick up various power ups to assist in your fights with the ghouls. Some of these power ups include a Gory Sound, a Jar of Flies, Hell Fire, and a Gory Spirit. Each has an unique property that will help when attacking your enemies. Though NCII has the right atmosphere for Halloween, the game is far from perfect. There isn’t much strategy when fighting, though I suppose this may be appealing to some. Music is sparse, but there is music from Rob Zombie on the title screen. Sound effects, though, work quite well and certainly are of the right kind for a scary atmosphere. Overall, NCII is an alright game that may only need to be played one night a year.

Review by TrekMD

6/10

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