Dreamcast O-R

Alien Brigade – By Atari

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 Open Tyrian - By World Tree Games / Indiket

Open Tyrian was originally developed by World Tree Games and published as an open source game for PC. Originally released by Epic Mega Games in 1995, it was ported to Dreamcast on 24/02/2008 by someone called Indiket. Playing Tyrian is a wonderful experience; it feels like a complete, retail title from the mid 90’s that just happens to be available on Dreamcast! The game is a vertical shooter similar in some ways to Raiden, it requires you to shoot and dodge large numbers of enemies while also trying to destroy structures passing in the background. There are power-ups and coins to be found while playing and the money gathered can go towards upgrades and purchases, a wonderful little addition to the tried and true vertical shmup formula that the Dreamcast community is all too familiar with. Tyrian is a wonderful little indie title that has been ported to Dreamcast faithfully. The version I played had some audio glitches where the sound seemed to almost be doubling up at times but this didn’t detract terribly from the overall enjoyment. The sound during the game is well made and nicely fits in with the game style and overall the package is very professional. The graphics are sharp, if a little basic, but certainly attractive and functional. The multiple layered backgrounds are wonderful and add some interesting depth to proceedings. If you own a Dreamcast and want to broaden your homebrew horizons give Tyrian a chance. When you download this game you might be confused because the image is of a compilation, but just scroll down to Open Tyrian and it should work fine.

Review by dcultrapro

8/10

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 Phantasy Star Online – By Sega

PSO was the first online RPG for a console and it was one of the most important moments in Dreamcasts history. It paved the way for all future online console games and services and provided a truly fantastic first glimpse into what would come to pass in future console generations. Phantasy Star Online bears the name of the venerable Phantasy Star RPG series from the Master System and Mega Drive days though it bears little resemblance. The art style and story setting are Phantasy Star like but the game is now a 3rd person Real Time RPG rather than turn based. You drop into a location and proceed to kill all monsters while progressing through the maps to a boss. You can team up with friends online and take on different responsibilities depending on your character type. You can level up to a maximum of lvl 200 and can also create a creature called a Mag which will be your companion throughout the entire game. You could stay in touch with friends and socialise in the lobbies while deciding on the kind of game you wanted to play. Be it just playing through the normal story mode levels, playing challenge mode, battle mode, playing exclusive online team based missions, or even playing a game of Lobby Football! Some could argue that Phantasy Star Online was linear and repetitive but at the time there had never been an online RPG of this kind on any console and it was so much fun that people didn’t care if the story wasn’t exactly cinematic Hollywood quality. The gameplay was excellent and the graphics were amazing at the time. Phantasy Star Online was a gorgeous, addictive, amazing experience for the Dreamcast and I was truly privileged to be a part of it from release.

Review by dcultrapro

9/10

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  Plasma Sword: Nightmare of Bilstein – By Capcom

Plasma Sword is a sequel to another Capcom fighting game, Star Gladiator. Originally, the game was released on arcade machines but it was ported to the Dreamcast in the year 2000. The story is set one year after the evil Dr. Bilstein was slayed and the terror of the Fourth Empire was abolished. The galaxy has been at peace and has begun to prosper but, sadly, peace is a delicate thing. It appears that Bilstein has somehow returned and the Fourth Empire has found a way to rebuild its forces. Hope is not lost, however, as a team of soldiers is ready to take on Bilstein and his forces. War has begun once more and the fate of the universe is at stake. Plasma Sword is a 3D fighting game with some simple rules of play. Win two of three matches by either surviving for 90 seconds or draining the life of your opponent. One or two players can fight in one of four modes: Arcade, Versus, Group Battle, or Training. Group Battle is fun as it lets you choose up to five characters to play as a team. In Arcade Mode there are eight total stages of play, with stage five having a mid-level boss. Defeating this boss, progresses your specific character’s story until you reach the final stage and face a boss that is specific to that character. Speaking of characters, Plasma Sword features some 20 different characters with rather interesting designs. Of course, the key to the game are the Plasma Strikes that you can perform when the Plasma Power Gauge is full. Talk about inflicting damage! The game has nicely defined graphics, good animation and cool music. Overall a really nice fighting game for the Dreamcast.

Review by TrekMD

8/10

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 Power Stone – By Capcom

What happens when you mix one part platformer with one part 3D fighter and add a generous spoonful of fun? If you answered Power Stone, you may be right. Ported over to the Dreamcast in 1999, Capcom’s innovative fighter was accompanied by a firm marketing push—I remember seeing advertisements in video game magazines for the longest time. Sega was clearly confident about this title, and for good reason: it’s a tremendously solid game with no glaring faults. Power Stone essentially takes the standard one-on-one fighting game formula and adapts it to an isometric arena where combatants can interact with the environment and pick up power-ups to gain the upper hand in battle. You’ll be swinging off light poles and breaking crates over your opponent’s head and having a great time doing it. The character selection is diverse and colorful, too, and each one has unique attacks and abilities. In Power Stone, the goal isn’t simply to beat your opponent, but to do it in style. In addition to the aforementioned power-ups, you can collect a set of three gems during the match to transform your character into a supercharged version of him or herself for a short period of time. When powered up, you become near impervious and gain access to special moves. For example, Falcon dons a combat suit that can fire heat-seeking rockets while Wang-Tang, the quintessential martial arts expert, becomes an unstoppable kung-fu wrecking machine. If you’re playing alone, you take a character through campaign mode to find the fabled Power Stone. The most fun is to be had in two-player versus mode, though, where all etiquette flies out the window and it’s a no-holds-barred brawl as you fight tooth and nail for every gem and power-up. Brilliantly designed, Power Stone is endless fun.

Review by wyldephang

9/10

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  Propeller Arena: Aviation Battle Championship – By AM2/Sega

Propeller Arena is one of those titles developed towards the end of life of the Dreamcast but that was never commercially released. Apparently, it was felt the gameplay had visuals that were too similar to the, then recent, September 11 attacks and sales were expected to be low. Thankfully, a disk image of the game was discovered years later, making it available for Dreamcast fans to enjoy. Propeller Arena has four modes of play: Championship, Quick Battle, Training, and Network. The latter was intended as a multiplayer online mode which, unfortunately, cannot be used today. Nonetheless, the other modes offer plenty of fun and you can play with up to four friends with a split-screen mode. The game itself is set in the near future where air combat tournaments take place using World War 2 era planes. If you think this is a flight simulator, think again. Propeller Arena is more of an arcade-type game where your goal is to survive the dog fights in the sky. These dog fights take place in certain delineated areas that, though not clearly marked, are enforced by the computer! If you fly outside of the designated area, the computer flies you back into the proper space. There are eight different characters you can choose from to play and five different planes. Graphically, the game is fantastic. Remember this was developed at the end of the Dreamcast’s commercial life, so by then programmers had a good handle on the system. There’s plenty of detail, fluid animation, and lots of colour. You can certainly notice this in the different environments the action takes place. The sound effects are fine but the soundtracks is excellent and very fitting. This is an excellent title that you should get your hands on.

Review by TrekMD

9/10

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  Q*bert – By Hasbro Interactive

In the 80's there was this orange little character who had a foul mouth called Q*bert. He jumped around a pyramid to change the top surface colour of the cubes on the pyramid while avoiding a series of enemies. Q*bert became a very popular title and it was ported to many of the early consoles but by the time of the Dreamcast, bringing such a game home needed more than just the original arcade game. The folks from Hasbro took the excellent Q*bert formula and raised the bar a notch by recreating Q*bert with updated 3D graphics and expanding on the original. There are three modes of play available: Classic, Adventure, and Head-to-Head. In the Classic you can play the original arcade game of Q*bert but with more advanced graphics which do look beautiful. For something different, try the Adventure mode in which Q*bert must find the four pieces of a Magic Disc which must be used to save his friends from Coily! In this mode you will travel through four different dimensions (Z!La, Triplets, A!Bol, and Q*Dina) in which you must change cubes to a target colour (or two). In this mode the designs are quite wild and take full advantage of the 3D environment. Through these new levels you will face Q*bert enemies but you will also be able to gather power ups to assist your progress. In Head-to-Head you are still changing cube colours but the rules are different. One player controls Q*bert while the other controls Q*dirk. Q*bert must hop on orange cubes while Q*dirk must hop on blue cubes to change their colours. There are also green cubes that both players can hop on. To win you must change all your cube colours and capture the most green cubes. This is a winner and should not be missed!

Review by TrekMD

9/10

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 Railroad Tycoon Gold Edition – By PopTop Software

Railroad Tycoon II is a railroad simulator that takes place at various points of time, from the past to the future. The player must choose a scenario in which to play by selecting a map. One this selection is completed you will take the role of the chairman of an unnamed railroad corporation in order to make profit for yourself and your investors. Of course, as with any business operator, you’ll have to deal with competitors and various other events that affect your bottom line. So, expect to have train robbers mess things up for you and do keep an eye on your trains as they do breakdown and require maintenance. And how do you make profit? You do so by building tracks, trains stations, and trains so you can complete missions such as moving passengers or hauling cargo. The different tasks give you different amounts of money and things such as the type of cargo and the demand for that cargo will affect your bottom line. As you make money, you can look at your annual reports and see how satisfied your investors are. You will also be able to use your money to purchase newer trains that may be faster, more fuel efficient, or greater power so you can cover more territory more effectively. Visually, Railroad Tycoon II gives you a 3D environment to work in. You can look at things from far above or up close and the environments try to be realistic in the sense that if you’re in a part of the US that has very little vegetation or features, that’s what you’ll get. As a simulator, this is not a bad game, but it is not for everyone.

Review by TrekMD

6/10

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 Rayman 2: The Great Escape – By Ubisoft

Ubisoft first introduced us to Rayman in 1995 in a bright, colourful platformer that was released to consoles such as the Atari Jaguar, the PS1, and the Sega Saturn. In 1999, Ubisoft moved Rayman from the 2D gaming world into the 3D gaming world by releasing Rayman 2: The Great Escape. Though the game was released for various consoles, the Dreamcast version has some exclusive content that make this a well worth title to own. The story of the game says that Robo-Pirates have come to attack Rayman’s world to enslave the population and steal the energy of the world. Volunteers have come forward to try to stop the pirates and among those volunteers are Rayman and his friend Globox. Both enter The Great Forest to face these enemies and stop them on their tracks. Through the game, you will run, jump, hover, and even ride a rocket as you travel through the various levels. As you advance through the levels, you’ll be able to unlock the exclusive content once Rayman gains the power to grab Purple Lums. This will allow you to enter the Globox Village and the Globox Disk where you can enjoy various mini-games. Lums do come in other colours, though, and they have different effects. Yellow Lums represent the world’s energy, Red Lums restore Rayman’s life energy, Blue Lums are rich in oxygen, Green Lums work as check points, and Silver Lums give Rayman new powers. The graphics in Rayman 2 are plain gorgeous with lots of colour, lots of detail, and some amazing effects. Sound and music are the perfect fit for the game, with the music always properly setting the tone. Overall, this is one of the best platformers I’ve played and certainly among the best titles for the Dreamcast.

Review by TrekMD

10/10

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  Redux: Dark Matters – By Hucast

Redux: Dark Matters is a follow up to Hucast’s Dux 2D side-scrolling shooter that will remind players of games such as Gradius and R-Type. Development of the game was funded by using Kickstarter and there was even an exclusive “tin” edition available to those who supported the project with enough money. The game can still be had by visiting the Hucast site, however, in both standard and Limited Edition versions (with the latter including a soundtrack CD). Redux is about shooting, shooting, shooting and then shooting some more of the enemies that you’ll find as you move through its various levels. The game starts off a bit on the slow pace but that doesn’t last long. As you fly about, you must keep an eye out for various power ups that will gain you upgrades for your weapons that become essential in order to survive. You’ll find that memorizing enemy patterns also becomes key, which means that you’ll be replaying levels to be able to advance further. The game does have continues that will help you advance but these come in a limited supply. That means that when you run out of continues, you’ll be starting all over again. The power ups you’ll find will not only enhance your offensive capabilities but also your defensive capabilities. So, you’ll get shields but also laser beams that ricochet off the walls and missiles that fire both horizontally and vertically. Visually, Redux looks good but it is in the sound department that it excels. The musical score by Andre Neuman makes the game shine! Fans of side-scrolling shooters should definitely get this game.

Review by TrekMD

8/10

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  Resident Evil Code: Veronica – By Capcom

Capcom’s announcement of a Dreamcast-exclusive Resident Evil game was definitely a major selling point of the console. Though it was held up in development and released several months off schedule, when Resident Evil Code: Veronica finally hit shelves in 2000, survival-horror fans were witnessing a significant step forward in the genre. Capcom upgraded the pre-rendered backgrounds of the PlayStation games to full 3D environments, allowing the camera angles to open up and capture more of the terror. The character models are improved and Code: Veronica is overall a longer and deeper game than any of its predecessors. If you had trouble with the “tank” controls of previous games, though, you won’t find any refuge here: the game feels like a traditional Resident Evil game, and that’s precisely why Code: Veronica is both a hardcore fan’s dream and a newer fan’s nightmare. If you’re familiar with the formula, there are some added features for you to play around with, like the ability to dual-wield certain weapons. It seems like a novelty at first, but you’ll be thankful for the added firepower when you find yourself cornered by zombies. Just when you get comfortable with the way things are going, you’ll have to switch characters on a few different occasions and you can expect a lot of backtracking across locations. Code: Veronica may prove difficult for newcomers, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll find yourself wrapped up in the plot and wanting to play it through to completion. The narrative stars Claire Redfield, who we are joining after the events of Resident Evil 2 as she sets out to find her missing brother. Claire’s packing more heat in Code: Veronica and intends to make life difficult for the undead, so this is an adventure you won’t want to miss.

Review by wyldephang

9/10

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 Rippin’ Riders – By UEP Systems/Sega

Rippin’ Riders claims itself to be a boarder’s paradise, that’s a snow border’s paradise. The game will have you fight against the elements in order to get your best personal score. Are you up to the challenge? There are three different game modes to choose from: Free Ride, Super Pipe, and Match Race. Free Ride has five different courses that you can play but to play them all you have to unlock everything past the first course. You do this by reaching the goal for each course. The five courses have different settings such as a forest, a city, and underground. In Super Pipe you have to reach the end goal but also perform tricks that will get you points. In Match Race you get to compete with a friend in a race against time to see who can get to the finish faster. The game does give you a choice of seven different characters, each with different skills, that you can choose from to play. These characters are Jimmy, Monica, Axel, Ronnie, DJ Ken, Tia, and Bob. Rippin’ Riders has nice graphics that are detailed and colourful. The characters are nicely animated and they each have a musical theme. These musical themes do the job but they are nothing fancy. The levels have good design and the first two levels are not so difficult to master but afterwards things get dicey. This gets worse when you consider that the controls aren’t as good as they should have been. The characters are slow to respond and pulling off some of the tricks in the Super Pipe can be hard. I suppose that should be part of the challenge but it gets annoying. Overall, this game is alright but not one everyone will enjoy.

Review by TrekMD

6/10

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 Rush Rush Rally Racing Deluxe – By Senile Team

RRRR is racing game similar in graphical and gameplay style to such games as Micro Machines for Mega Drive or Power Drive Rally for Jaguar, it is a classic top down driving game and controls quite simply. Senile Team have put together a nice little retro package here for Dreamcast owners craving something other than shooters, it’s a breath of fresh air to the die hard Dreamcast fans out there. The game itself is pretty straight forward, you have a standard single player Grand Prix mode in which you play through a series of races on different maps trying to finish in the top 3, but there are also several multi-player modes such as Versus, Item Mode and Get Ahead. I have only really played the single player and so far it is fairly entertaining even on my own! Graphically there isn’t a lot to talk about as it basically could quite easily run on any 16-bit system, but the sound is nice, the maps are big and varied and well laid out if a bit tough to get to grips with. The game also has 4 difficulty levels, thus far I am finding it hard getting used to this style of driving game and often find myself flying off the track constantly, the controls are almost too basic for me to get to grips with fully. Though this doesn’t totally ruin the experience but it damages the replay value somewhat in that you only get a couple of attempts in the grand prix mode before you have to start from scratch. Overall this is a fair effort from Senile Team and will definitely fill the void for all those retro nuts looking for something different on the DC. It’s a bit hard to get into if you’re not used to top down driving games but it’s fairly easy to get to grips with and is definitely worth giving a go.

Review by dcultrapro

7/10

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