Dreamcast T-U

Alien Brigade – By Atari

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  Tech Romancer – By Capcom

Growing up I really enjoyed watching Go Nagai’s Mazinger Z and many of his other anime creations. Though Tech Romancer is not a game that licenses those giant robots, it is a game clearly inspired by this style of super robot design in every way possible. Not only are the robots inspired by those anime classics but the music and the human characters as well. To get you in the mood, the game features an opening with the same type of music you’d expect for a cartoon of the genre. Heck, the intro makes me wish Tech Romancer were a TV show! In any case, Tech Romancer is a 3D fighting game in which two giant robots fight each other. The robots have pilots that control them, so you must pick a robot/pilot combination at the start of the game from 10 possible combos. There are three modes of play: Story, Hero, and Versus. The story mode has various paths and is fully voiced. In Versus mode you can play against a friend. In order to gain power ups for your robot, you need to collet the diamond-shaped icons that fall into the playing field. With these you can gain special weapons or special defensive features. The control works fine but you do have to get used to it as there are some weird combinations of buttons needed to use the power ups. Despite this, the action is fast and you will definitely be having fun smashing buttons to beat your opponent. The game graphics are a bit mixed. The robots, characters, and animations are very well done but the battlefield backgrounds seem rather plain. Nonetheless, this is a worthy fighting game and certainly fun.

Review by TrekMD

8/10

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  Test Drive 6 – By Accolade

Test Drive 6 is another attempt at imitating Grand Turismo on the Dreamcast. This time, however, the game much better than the previous try (I’m referring to Sega GT). The game challenges you to race your dream supercar against a muscle car through tracks that are all over the world. There are cars of various types available to choose from in the “garage”. These include known brands like Ford, Audi, Plymouth, and Jaguar, so if you ever wanted to drive a Jaguar you most certainly can here. Not all the cars are available early on as these have to be unlocked as you advance through the game. As you win races, you earn money which you can use to get better cars or to upgrade your existing car. There are some 12 tracks to the game in cities like New York, Paris, and London and these tracks are all pretty long. The cities look nice but there are no people in them so they look dead. I guess realism wasn’t what they were going for with this one. One cool aspect of this game is that you have plenty of choices when it comes to controls. You can, of course, use the standard controller but the game is also compatible with the Race Controller and the Arcade Stick. I only have the standard controller but that worked fine for me. Of course, I’m sure the Race Controller will make the game even more fun. Another cool aspect of the game is the intro music. It’s none other than Fear Factory’s Cars. A very appropriate song for this game! The score during the game is catchy and fits the game perfectly. This is a pretty good racing game and worth having.

Review by TrekMD

8/10

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  The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas – By Swing! Entertainment

In the year 2000, Univershell Pictures released a new movie based on that modern stone age family, The Flintstones. The movie was no critical success but it inspired the development of a game that was released on the PS2 and the GameCube. A release had been planned for the Dreamcast as well but the game was cancelled before it was completed. As life goes, though, the beta of the game was uncovered at some point and it can be had for free online or purchased as a reproduction disc. Despite its title, the game has no direct connection to the movie as it does not follow its story. This is actually a racing game featuring the characters from the movie. The idea is that Fred, Wilma and their friends must participate in the wacky Boulderball Run that goes from Bedrock to Rock Vegas. There are 12 different stages and four different modes of play: Single Race, Time Trial, Multiplayer, and Practice. You can also choose from eight different characters such as Fred Flintstone, Barney Rubble, or the Colonel, among others. Once racing, you’ll need to keep your eye open for coins that appear on the track and bowling pins. The coins are used to charge your “boost power” (speed boos) and the bowling pins are used to pick up weapons such as oil slicks, cracked eggs, and thunderbolts. Though the game is certainly playable, it is clearly incomplete as there are bugs and sometimes you’ll find yourself stuck for no apparent reason. The graphics looks pretty good but the music is not particularly memorable. If completed, this may have been a better game but as is it is just a cool curiosity.

Review by TrekMD

4/10

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  The Grinch – By Konami

Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” is one of the many classic stories for the Christmas season. In the year 2000, Universal Pictures released a live-action version of the story (starring Jim Carrey) and it was this movie that inspired a game for the Dreamcast. In this 3D platformer, the player takes the role of the Grinch in an attempt to undo the Holiday preparations of the citizens of the nearby town of Whoville. To do so, you must complete missions within four different areas in and around Whoville. As the Grinch, you will play pranks on the townsfolk, steal or destroy presents, and assemble contraptions that will make your job easier. These contraptions include a Rotten Egg Launhcer and the Grinch Copter, among others. To assemble these, you must find blueprints within each area you explore. The Grinch starts off a bit slow but things do get better once you move outside of the town itself. It appears the first area was made intentionally easy to allow for younger players and for anyone to learn how to play with relative ease. The graphics look good but they are not spectacular and they do appear to fall short for what the Dreamcast can do. The animated scenes are smooth and the narrator does a great job moving things along. Where the game excels is in the music department, which certainly adds to the ambiance and brings the Holiday cheer forward. The Grinch takes advantage of the Dreamcast controller, making good use of the buttons not only for game actions but for camera control as well. With its 24 missions, mini-games, and snowy landscapes, The Grinch is a wonderful title to play during the Christmas season.

Review by TrekMD

7/10

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  Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear – By Pipe Dream

The Rainbow Six games are a series of tactical shooters that Tom Clancy created initially as PC games. The first title was released in 1998 and then ports were created for various consoles, including the Dreamcast. RAINBOW is a multinational counter-terrorism special unit made up of elite soldiers from NATO countries. The team is directed by John Clark who is referred to as Rainbow Six. Rogue Spear is the third title in the series and, though it uses the same game mechanics of the original title, it has a different story. The events are set after the collapse of the Soviet Union and RAINBOW must stop the Russian terrorist Maxim Kutkin and the arms dealer Samed Vezirzade from creating nuclear weapons for sale in the black market. Rogue Spear refers to the possession of nuclear weapons by non-state entities, which fits the game perfectly. The game has three different modes of play to choose from: Campaigns, Deathmatch, and Training. In Campaign mode you begin all campaign missions (there are 23 different missions) and play solo. In Deathmatch mode two to four players compete in a split-screen version of the game. Training mode lets you choose missions according to Skill Sets you want to be trained on. The game starts in a Planning Phase where you select your team members and plan the actions to take in the Action Phase. Suffice it to say that Rogue Spear is a huge game in which you can spend hours exploring and making plans. The locations in the game are based on real-world places and the graphics do a great job portraying these. This is a true strategy game that is well made but it is not for everyone.

Review by TrekMD

8/10

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  Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater – By Neversoft/Crave

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

8/10

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  Toy Commander - By Sega

I am going to guess that when Sega made this game, they had the movie Toy Story in their minds, though with a twist. In Toy Commander Andy’s toys (yep, the boy in this game is also called Andy!) Are sick and tired of how he just uses them only to toss them aside quickly. The toys are unhappy and they have organized a mutiny against Andy under the leadership of Huggy Bear. Huggy Bear has claimed that he is the Toy Commander and Andy must stand up to his rebel toys to regain what is rightfully his title. Huggy has organized the toys so they’ve taken over all the rooms in the house. The toys have set up tests for Andy and only if he completes four of these will he be able to challenge the Boss Toy of that room. Win that fight and the toys in that room become your allies. Those are allies you will need when the time comes to face Huggy! Toy Commander can be played alone or with friends. In single-player mode, you have to complete seven missions in seven areas before facing Huggy in the eight area. In multiplayer mode, up to four people can play as teams or individually. In this mode, you‘ll have to choose the kind of game you want to play (Deathmatch, Cat and mouse, or Capture the Flag). This game has some really nice graphics with lots of detail, colour, and good animations. There is enough variation in the game to keep you entertained but the action is a bit on the slow side. Nonetheless, it is a pretty cool game and well worth giving a try.

Review by TrekMD

8/10

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 Ultimate Fighting Championship – By Anchor, Inc. / Crave

In 2000, the mixed martial arts promotion Ultimate Fighting Championship was a wounded animal in its death throes. Unrelenting political pressure caused the UFC to lose its television deal—arguably the only thing keeping it alive with attendance dropping—and the company was inching closer to bankruptcy every month. Running out of ideas, the UFC turned to the video game market in a last-ditch effort to vindicate itself in the eyes of critics and to reach out to a wider audience and prove why the UFC was like no other sport on the planet. The resulting product, Ultimate Fighting Championship for the Dreamcast, is one of the first games of its kind—neither a full-fledged fighting game nor a sports title, but some combination of the two. Each character has a standard set of punches, kicks, takedowns, and submission holds that they can perform with the face buttons. Some characters specialize in the striking arts and others are more proficient on the ground, so you can choose a character to fit your play style. You have a full 3D range of motion around the cage (the “Octagon”) and can cut angles to make it difficult for your opponent to avoid takedowns. The roster features a mixed bag of late ‘90s and early 2000s UFC standouts like Tito Ortiz, Pat Miletich, and the up-and-coming Matt Hughes and Chuck Liddell. Also in the game are Mark Coleman, who had already defected to Pride FC, and Bas Rutten, who retired a year before the game came out. It’s fun to experiment with each fighter, but most matches degenerate into button-mashing contests. A surprisingly deep Career mode awaits you when you grow tired of versus mode, but overall, UFC is best enjoyed in short bursts as the repetitive gameplay makes for limited replay value.

Review by wyldephang

7/10

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