Dreamcast S

Alien Brigade – By Atari

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  Sega GT – By UEP Systems/Sega

On your marks! Set! Go! Get on your race car and get ready to roll! Sega GT is a racing simulator for the Dreamcast that often gets compared to Gran Turismo (PS1). This comparison stems from the fact that in this game you can earn licences and earn money that you can use to buy better cars or improve the cars you already have. In Sega GT you have four modes of play to choose from: Championship, Single Race, Time Attack, and Dual Race. In Championship mode you need to obtain a license (Driver Test or Works Cup) before you can start. This selection will determine the steps you are to take next to race. In Championship mode you can even create your own car by entering the Carrozzeria. This is really cool as it lets you design and test a car using the money you have. In Single Race you select a car and enter one race, choosing from three levels of difficulty. In Time Attack you use a car from Championship mode to race and set the quickest time, while in Dual Race you race against a friend. Sega GT has great graphics and offers an excellent car selection (130 real GT cars). The animations are fluid and do not have any slow down. Music does the job but it is not anything spectacular. One good thing, though, is that the AI works just right for the game, with it being neither too smart nor dumb. One issue with the game, though, is control. Controlling the cars can be difficult and does take some getting used to. It is not impossible but it will take some time to learn. There are 22 tracks to choose from, which is not bad. Overall, a good racing game but not stellar.

Review by TrekMD

7/10

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  Seventh Cross Evolution – By UFO Interactive

If you are looking to learn a weird game, this one is it. Touted as a survival game, the game is about evolution itself. The player must defeat enemies and prey on weaker creatures in order to evolve into a stronger creature. You start off as a weak organism called a protist. This protist has three different stages of evolution before reaching what is called an Origin stage. The protist has no offensive capabilities so it can only survive by eating microorganisms and hiding from predators (though it can also swim away quite fast). One the Protist reaches the Origin stage, it is capable of self defence and can become any type of creature, depending on the DNA is gets. The game starts off in a pond where you will start evolving until you are large enough to move into the ocean and then continue to move on. There are six stages in total that you must play through, each stage having a “boss” you must defeat in order to advance to the next stage. So, how do you evolve? Eating is part of it but you must also select six colours at the beginning of the game. These colours are mapped into six attributes: offense, defence, intelligence, psi power, healing, and dexterity. You can then create patterns on a 10 x 10 grid which give you different body parts. There are 30 different types of heads, bodies, legs, and arms you can gain. Seventh Cross’s graphics are not as good as some other Dreamcast titles but they do work well. Music is soft and the sound effects are nothing spectacular either. Nonetheless, they work fine for this game. This game is definitely strange but certainly varied enough to keep you interested.

Review by TrekMD

7/10

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 Shenmue – By Sega

Shenmue was the first true game of its kind. The first entirely open 3rd person action/story driven game. You could go about daily tasks, speak with friends, do work, go to sleep, play games, mess round or follow the story and do nothing else. The choice was up to you. The story centres on Ryo and the loss of his father. You investigate his death by questioning the locals, investigating leads and you frequently get into fights. The game world is populated by incredibly realistic characters and within the first few minutes of the game you realise just how much effort has gone into creating this world. With simulated weather patterns and effects you actually felt like you were in a living and breathing town with real people. You could watch every character live their day to day lives. The graphics themselves are excellent, character models and textures are painted well with characters such as Ryo and Lan Di being truly incredible. The level of graphics on display in Shenmue was so far ahead of anything else at the time it didn’t seem real! While the game is amazing in virtually every aspect in my opinion, it does have some minor flaws. Firstly you can sometimes feel like your performing a particularly silly or menial task such as asking random people on the street where “Sailors” hang out or waiting for the fortune tellers store to open. The pacing of the game can be a problem as you are often restricted to doing things at certain times and if you’re out after 11pm or so you are instantly transported back home because it’s past your bedtime! But aside from those minor flaws Shenmue was and is a classic from the Dreamcast’s incredible library of Killer Apps and it is a true must own for the system.

Review by dcultrapro

9/10

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 Shenmue 2 – By Sega

Shenmue 2 improves greatly on the formula of the first Shenmue game, while adding lots of new elements and including a hell of a lot more action! While the original suffered from pacing issues as mentioned, the sequel addresses that issue immediately, allowing you to avoid otherwise boring sections such as sleep etc and you can actually skip forward through time. The game builds to a glorious crescendo of drama and emotion in a handful of gorgeous locations. Sadly the game is left on a cliff-hanger as the sequel was never made and to this day the Dreamcast fans around the world have been waiting and hoping.... that one day it might be finished. The Shenmue world is grand and beautiful, with hundreds of people living their lives, working, playing, or just out doing their exercises. It’s simply so stunning and realistic you don’t even need to play it, just wander and marvel at the realism and detail that went into the games design. Literally EVERY aspect of the games visual design simply cannot be faulted. Trees have realistic leaves, the weather system from the original is present once again and is still fantastic, and the lighting and setting of each location is unique and well thought out. There are very few repeated textures etc. In short the production of Shenmue 2 is second to none. You are thrown right into the action, no more waiting around; you literally live Ryo’s life for a couple of months while he continues to trace his father’s killer. Never before have I felt like my actions truly impact the story of a game. It’s not about winning or losing, there’s no cheating to get a good score, no special technique needed to pass a difficult point. Just discover the truth, make friends and enemies. Live the adventure and go about it the way that seems best to you. Shenmue 2 is simply astounding

Review by dcultrapro

10/10

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  Silent Scope – By Konami

Silent Scope started off as an arcade game where the player used a rifle mounted on the cabinet to shoot terrorists. It was later adapted for the Dreamcast, though it did not have lightgun support. The story of the game finds you being selected as a Profession Sniper who must rescue the President and his family from a terrorist grup who has kidnapped them while visiting Chicago. The terrorists are demanding the release of their leader in exchange for their leader. Rather than sending an entire team of soldiers, the decision is made to use a sniper to rescue the First Family and this is where you come in. Can you rescue the First Family? Silent Scope has two modes of play: Arcade and Training. Training mode does just that, trains you into honing your markmanship. Arcade mode has three additional modes: Shooting Range, Story, and Time Attack. In Shooting Range you practice your shooting skills and earn points based on speed and accuracy. In Story Mode you advance through different stages with the story changing based on your progress. In Time Attack you must beat the clock at any given stage. Silent Scope has good graphics that, essentially, copy those of the arcade. The music reminds me of an action movie and the sound effects are pretty good. Though the game does not have lightgun support, the controller works well for using the sights for selecting targets and shooting them. Early on things seem easy but shooting your targets becomes increasingly difficult as your setting changes. Just think of how “easy” it’ll be to shoot while you’re on a moving car or you’ve jumped with a parachute. Overall, this game is quite fun and a really good port.

Review by TrekMD

8/10

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  Slave Zero – By Sega

I have always had a fascination with giant robots, so a game about giant robots is certainly one that I would find appealing. It is the year 2500. The SovKhan rules the First Corporate Dynasty from Megacity S1-9. Unfortuantely, the SovKhan could care less about their subjects and they simply use their city to pollute the surrounding countryside. The Guardians, descendants from an ancient warrior clan of priests are sworn to destroy S1-9 but they lack the firepower necessary to defeat the Slaves. Slaves are the giant cybernetic war machines grown by the SovKhan using Dark Matter. The Slaves, however lack intelligence and what the Slaves lack, the Guardians have in abundance. One Slave unit has been stolen by the Guardians and they’ve chosen their best, Chan, to pilot this monstrosity and become Slave Zero. Despite it’s cool story and interesting premise, Slave Zero does fall short. The game is all about shooting your enemies but it suffers in terms of control. Yes, there are five different configurations to choose from but the problem is that the analog stick tends to be overly sensitive which makes it difficult to control your robot with precision. Visually, the game is dark but there is plenty of detail. The only problem is the scale. You’re supposed to be 60 feet tall but the city is so large that you can hardly tell. I suppose the tiny cars on the streets are supposed to help you realize your size. Sound is good with a cool female voice giving you instructions and status reports. Despite its issues, this game is entertaining and if shooting stuff is your thing, this makes the cut.

Review by TrekMD

6/10

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 Sonic Adventure – By Sega

Sonic The Hedgehog was Sega’s answer to Nintendo’s Mario and the hedgehog caught on to become a great success in the world of 2D platforming. Sonic Adventure takes Sonic to the 3D gaming world and it happens to be quite the successful attempt at doing so. This game captures the same fast-paced gameplay the series is well known for. Sonic Adventure is divided into two stages: Action and Adventure. These stages connect to each other in sequence, alternating from one to the other until the game ends. In the action stages the game will remind players of the original 2D game as you are running into tunnels, jumping spikes, bouncing off bumpers, and spinning. In these stages you’ll be taken to various environments such as icebergs, tropical landscapes, cities, and ancient temples. In the adventure mode you’ll be interacting with other characters in what’s more of an exploration type of game. Here you’ll find puzzles also that must be solved in order to advance further. Sonic Adventure allows you to play as one of six different characters: Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy, Big, and Gamma. Only Sonic is available when you first start, however. Some of these characters will play together but the fun part is that each character has its own story to follow in the game. So, each character has its own particular mission to complete. Sonic Adventure has superb graphics with excellent animation, detail, and colour. The music and sound effects are excellent also and quite fitting this fast-paced game. Overall, this game is one of the best for the system and not to be missed.

Review by TrekMD

10/10

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  SoulCalibur – By Namco

The Dreamcast is where I feel console games had finally caught up to their arcade counterparts, and one look at SoulCalibur should tell you why. The Dreamcast version looks just as good if not better than the arcades with enhanced textures and 3D backgrounds. Not content with merely emulating the arcade original, the team at Namco decided to stuff the Dreamcast port with bonus features. One of my favorites is the Mission Mode, a single-player mode in which you complete a series of objectives and earn points to spend in the art gallery. Other additions include a Team Battle and Survival mode, new costumes, and a Battle Theater (CPU exhibition) mode, but all of this is dressing for the real meat of the game, the revolutionary fighting engine. This is one feature Namco left virtually unchanged from the arcades as it was already close to perfection. SoulCalibur is essentially a 3D fighting game where combatants duel with weapons rather than fists. You can still string together basic combos a la Tekken, but combat generally focuses on your ability to block, parry, and outmaneuver your opponent. Standard attacks can be divided into two categories: horizontal swings and vertical chops. You can sidestep vertical attacks and duck under horizontal moves, so your success will depend on how well you recognize and react to your opponent’s attacks. Additionally, there is a large assortment of special moves to learn for each character, giving you more options to inflict punishment. The storyline picks up from where Soul Blade ended. The triumphant knight Siegfried has been corrupted by the evil sword Soul Edge and transformed into the genocidal Nightmare. Do you have the courage to face him in a duel to the death? What’s the harm in trying? Win or lose, you’ll have a great time.

Review by wyldephang

10/10

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  Space Channel 5 – By Sega

Here is a game that took me by surprise. How can a dancing game ever be fun? Well, when you set it in the future and the survival of mankind is at stake. It’s the 25th century and Earth is in crisis. A race of aliens called the Morolians have invaded the planet but they are doing something strange. Their guns don’t kill humans but, rather, it forces them to dance uncontrollably at the rhythm of their alien music. Dancing may be fun, but dancing uncontrollably is not good for anyone and the public is in a state of panic. Enter Space Channel 5. This is a little watched broadcaster who sees the invasion as an opportunity to raise its ratings. How? Well, by sending the one and only reporter who is left on Earth, Ulala. Ulala travels to Spaceport 9, the location of the first incident, where she will challenge the aliens by matching their dancing moves: Up! Down! Rigth! Left! Shoot! Save! Can Ulala save the world? The whole story may sound over the top but the game itself is quite fun. You control Ulala and you must repeat all the aliens’ moves exactly as they do them. This means your timing must be perfect if you want to win. Sounds easier than it actually is. The game does have very nice graphics and the characters are well animated. The backgrounds look really good but you won’t be able to pay much attention to them if you want to keep up with the relentless aliens. The music is pretty cool and quite catchy also. There are five different stages you’ll dance...I mean, play through in different settings such as spaceports, asteroid belts, and colourful tunnels. This one is fun. Believe me.

Review by TrekMD

8/10

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 Star Wars Episode 1: Jedi Power Battles – By LucasArts

Who has not wanted to wield a lightsaber and play Jedi?! Well, wait no longer. Jedi Power Battles, inspired by The Phantom Menace, let’s one or two players take the role of a Jedi Master to deal with various enemies in environments taken from the movie. Remember when Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon Jinn were on the Trade Federation ship fighting the droids? Well, you can enact that scene yourself and use your lightsaber to deflect laser fire or cut down droid soldiers. You’ll also be able to duel Darth Maul, leap across the Sarlac pit, and face other challenges only a Jedi can master. Jedi Power Battles has nicely rendered graphics with fluid animation. You have plenty of Jedi Masters to choose from and it is cool when you play with a friend and select a unique pair of Jedi to fight together. The game sound effects are excellent and the music is none other than John Williams’ thematic score. One strange thing, though, is that when any character picks up an item, they all laugh like Yoda. I’m not sure why this was done. The game has excellent control, though you do have to get used to how to use the Force and block attacks as the L button is used for both. Jedi Power Battles has 10 levels of play as well as some unlockable levels. There are two difficulty levels as well. You also have a Training mode that will help you learn the controls and improve your skills with the lightsaber. This is an excellent title that should not be missed.

Review by TrekMD

9/10

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  Star Wars Episode 1: Racer – By LucasArts

One of the most memorable scenes in Star Wars: Episode One was the pod race in Tatooine. It comes as no surprise, then, that games would be developed that would take advantage of this scenario. Racer is certainly one of those titles and it is one that lets you live the race yourself. There are 23 different podracers for you to choose from and 25 different courses in eight different planets! These planets have different terrains for you to tackle with both natural and unnatural obstacles. You’ll be on water planets, ice planets, and volcanic worlds, just to name some. The game does support the Jump Pack, which is recommended for an even better experience. The game graphics are excellent with top notch animation and some really nice cut scenes that introduce each race. Sound is also excellent and the music doesn’t get any better as it is the soundtrack written by John Williams for the movies. The controls are also very well handled and do not deter at all from gameplay. One of the cool aspects of the game is that you can modify your racer just like the characters did in the movie. You can inspect your podracer and make changes to help you win the race. The game can be played by yourself but you can also compete with a friend. Here the screen gets split into two halves so each player can see where they are at the same time. Overall, this is a really fantastic game that any Star Wars fan cannot be without. Heck, you don’t even have to be a Star Wars fan to enjoy this excellent racing game.

Review by TrekMD

9/10

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 Sturmwind – By Duranik

My first impression of this game was simply WOW! Upon loading the game you are presented with the choice of 4 options: start game, high scores, options and bonuses. Most are self explanatory but a bonus area always intrigues me so I took a look at this area first, here you will find an awards system in place (much like the trophy or achievement systems on current gen) and one I am sure will add some replay value. Now onto starting the game - there are two types of games are available, Arcade mode and Normal mode. Arcade mode consists of 6 levels, no continues or save option. While the normal mode enables the auto-save feature and also allows you to select levels after you have completed them. During the game weapons containers float around the screen after you have destroyed random enemies. Up for grabs are extra points and 3 weapon upgrades, if you shoot the container it will change its colour to that of one of your weapons. The bosses are huge, colourful and powerful but not invincible. They increase in difficulty slightly in each level giving a good learning curve. The audio immerses you in the atmosphere of the game fantastically and is actually some of the best shmup music scores I have heard in a long time. This game oozes quality, it deserves to be in your collection so get over to Duranik and get your order in, you wont be disappointed and you will also be supporting not only one of the finest homebrew devs around but the scene in general.

Review by zapiy

9/10

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