Year: 2005

New GOTM Article

Yes, it’s true – the first new Game of the Moment in months has arrived, and it’s none other than The Lion King for the Sega Genesis!

The contest entries have been submitted, and we have two entrants, which is far fewer than I was hoping for. I will try to beat their scores and will post the results soon!

I’ve also got a few new soundtracks on order, so I’ll have more pages and samples up there soon too.

In the mean time, there have been a few new SBG entries, and the forums are always changing, so take a look around. You’re sure to find something you like.

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The Arrival of Trizeal

Well, it took two weeks for shipping, but Trizeal finally arrived at my doorstep yesterday. I’ve taken the liberty of playing it for a good while and wanted to share my impressions of it.

First off, anyone expecting mind blowing graphics the likes of Ikaruga will be sorely dissapointed. While the graphics aren’t terrible, they look very much like cleaned up PS1 graphics. Poor quality textures and low polygon counts really prevent the game from being much of a looker. But if you’re still buying Dreamcast games, chances are you’re not exactly looking for next gen graphics… what you care about is whether or not the game’s any fun.

Well, it starts off pretty slow. The first level is pretty bare bones and fairly slow paced, so I started out pretty disappointed.

Thankfully after the first boss, things really picked up, with each successive stage getting more and more challening and impressive.

It’s a well known fact that shooters generally all share some of the same basic mechanics, so I won’t go into detail about those, but I will explain the weapon system a bit, because it’s fairly unique. Essentially, you can switch between one of three weapons with the press of a button – there’s the vulcan spread, the homing missiles, and the twin lasers. As you play, sometimes defeated enemies will drop power up balls that will increase the power of your current weapon, up to a maximum of four powerups per weapon.

If this sounds like you’ve seen it before in lots of other games, you’d be right if it ended there. However, once you’ve powered a weapon up at least three times, it will continue to fire even when you’ve switched to another weapon, though it will be at a weaker level than if it were the main weapon.

It’s pretty cool the way it works, and it really brings out the sense of awesome over the top firepower that people have come to expect from a shooter.

Also included with the game were a bonus music CD with three tracks (totaling about 22 minutes) and a Trizeal bandana. While the CD isn’t a full fledged soundtrack, it is nice to get some extras rather than just the game. To be honest, I’m more thrilled about the bandana because I can never have enough articles of Sega related clothing.

At any rate, I wholeheartedly recommend the game to fans of the classic shooter genre – it’s not a bullet spray game like Giga Wing or Ikaruga, just old fashioned straight forward action.

If you’d like to see it in action, check out the new “of the moment” video – it shows off several different parts of the game. I’ve also added this video to our ever growing collection in the Vault.

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The long awaited update

Now that April Fool’s Day is over, it’s safe to browse gaming websites again.

As you may have noticed, March has been a rather busy month for Sega, with no fewer than 8 releases here in North America. Needless to say, the sheer number of releases has kept me exceptionally poor, but at least I’ve had a good time.

The only two of Sega’s March releases I didn’t pick up were Matrix Online (not sure if my video card can handle it, so I thought I’d better hold off) and Iron Phoenix (which is technically from the Sammy side of things and it didn’t look all that great from the videos, so it’s difficult to justify dropping 50 bucks on it).

But I did pick up Worms 3D, Worms Forts Under Siege, Super Monkey Ball Deluxe, Sega Classics Collection, Shining Tears and Spikeout Battle Street.

Apparently Spikeout has received enough press coverage about its limited print run to become quite a collector’s item. A quick field trip over to eBay yields some interesting results… Completed auctions routinely going for over $50 with one up to $91… It makes me sad to see scalpers driving the price up for people who legitimately want to play the game. I certainly hope Sega does another larger batch of the game because it really is pretty good (though not without its flaws, such as the lack of camera control).

Worms 3D and FUS are also both fun, especially on Live. While they’re not quite as intuitive as the old 2D Worms titles of the past generations of consoles (including the Saturn and Dreamcast), they’re still quite fun once you get used to the third dimension. Worms Forts Under Siege complicates the game a bit too much by focusing on making buildings as well as blasting your opponents, but I give Team 17 props for trying a different approach to the franchise. It doesn’t render the game unplayable, but unlike the other Worms games, you actually do need to go through the rather slow paced tutorials to find out what’s going on.

Super Monkey Ball Deluxe is a real treat. While the standard Monkey Ball gameplay can be fun, unlocking the minigames in the Gamecube releases took a lot of time and effort in the single player mode. In Super Monkey Ball Deluxe, all the minigames are unlocked already, so the only reason to play single player is for the story or for points. While some people might think this takes away the incentive to play single player, I think that it’s better this way. The single player game is excellent in its own right, and most people will want to play it anyway. Why force them to play it over and over again to unlock the minigames? There’s no reason to, and Sega wisely realized this.

Sega Classics collection has been widely panned by critics (as I knew it would be based on their reaction to the Sega Ages 2500 titles), but when you get right down to it, even if you only like 2 or 3 of the games included on the disc, the $20 price tag is still more than reasonable. I like all of them except Golden Axe, so 8 games (9 if you split Tant-R and Bonanza Bros.) sharing $20 boils down to about $2.50 a game for the ones I like with a bad one tacked on for free. Not a bad deal at all.

I haven’t played enough Shining Tears to form a complete opinion on the game, but during the two hours or so that I have played it, I am somewhat disappointed. I like everything about the game except the gameplay. It’s just a bit too simplistic for a console title, in my opinion. The Shining Soul games were great for the Game Boy Advance, but having similar gameplay on a console seems a bit of a waste.

Sorry about the lack of front page updates lately – I’ll try to be better about that.

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Opposite ends of the spectrum

Tenchu: Fatal Shadows is set for release tomorrow. I preordered my copy of the game (to get a free T-Shirt and free overnight shipping) so I’ll be sure to post my impressions of it as soon as I have a chance. Other major gaming websites have already posted reviews of the game and they have basically said that fans of Tenchu will probably still like this one, but nobody else.

Regardless of what reviewers say, I’ve found the bare bones stealth gameplay in Tenchu to be fun and amusing, and while I wasn’t pleased with the controls in the second one, the game itself was still good. The graphics do look terribly dated by today’s standards, but I’ve never cared much about graphics.

So starting from deadly ninjas, there’s really only one way for this news blurb to go if it’s to cover the whole spectrum.

That’s right. Silly Penguin Racing.

I’ve uploaded a couple of videos of Pen Pen TriIcelon for the Dreamcast. You can find them here. One is the game’s intro movie, and the other is a short gameplay video. Both of these were filmed about a week ago when the Baku Baku and Twinkle Star Sprites videos were filmed. So you won’t find them anywhere else on the internet.

In other news, it’s Valentine’s Day. What better way to celebrate than with Feel the Magic XY ♥ XX? I finally finished Hell difficulty, which unlocked quite a surprise. I was expecting a couple of new outfits, but I was not expecting them to be the lack of any outfit at all. That’s right – Sega has implemented nude mode in the game. You can see a picture or a brief video of it in the forums if you are so inclined. It’s really quite amusing.

-benstylus

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Delays due to a power outage

Sorry about the delay in providing an update here – I really meant to prepare it last night but unfortunately there was a power outage here that prevented me from doing so.

This power outage has prompted me to discuss the most useless feature of Nintendo’s DS. As you may know, the DS has an internal clock function that keeps track of the date and time. This is used in very few games (Feel the Magic is one of them), so it almost seems like an afterthought. However, even more of an afterthought is Nintendo’s decision to integrate an alarm clock feature into the DS.

The only problem is that unless you’ve got a fully charged system, the battery isn’t going to last long enough for you to use it overnight. I set the alarm for 6 AM after the power went out and decided to call it a night. I awoke on my own at 4 AM, and the system had already run out of juice.

So I just wanted to offer my thanks to Nintendo for trying to make me late for work this morning. I’d like to thank my body’s internal clock for waking me up ahead of time.

The DS seems like the perfect tool to integrate a scheduler or planner or something useful, but no, Nintendo decided that people would rather have an alarm clock that won’t work right.

At any rate, I promised videos of Senko no Ronde, the new NAOMI based shooter/fighter from G-Rev, and thanks to SEGAFan 3000DC, I am delivering on that promise.

Although the quality of the videos is far from perfect, it will at least give you an idea of how the game plays. Now let’s all hope for a Dreamcast port.

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Continued Shining News

As I promised yesterday, I’ve uploaded the new Shining Force Neo videos.

But being benstylus, I thought to myself, why stop there?

So instead of having 5 Shining Force Neo videos to download, I’ve added 17 videos from various Shining games (in addition to the two Shining Tears vids we already have) bringing us to 19 Shining movies. As usual, it’s all in the Vault.

No doubt you’ve got a lot to download now, so why don’t you get started?

SEGAFan 3000DC has been kind enough to donate some videos of G.Rev’s new Naomi arcade game Senko no Ronde. The game is a cross between a versus fighting game and a shooter, which would make it only the second game in history to fall under the category of “competitive shooter”. The first, of course, would be Twinkle Star Sprites, but that was more of a combination of a puzzle game and a shooter.

I’ll be uploading these videos later today – the game looks pretty cool and let’s hope we get a Dreamcast port of it. Hey, we got Border Down, so we might just get this one.

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Shining Force Neo

Sega has released a few more videos of their upcoming game Shining Force Neo. (They will be available to download here at SegaFans tomorrow – having some problems with my cable modem so I’m using dial-up for the moment until I get it fixed).

A departure from the traditional strategy RPG that Shining Force games (though not all Shining games) have all been in the past, Shining Force Neo seems to be more of a hack and slash action adventure more along the lines of Diablo than anything else. When I first heard that the a new Shining Force game was being developed, I was ecstatic. Shining Force 3 was the pinnacle of strategy RPGs in my book – not too complicated battlewise, yet still varied enough to provide incentive to play all the way through to the end.

Then it was announced that this new entry in the Shining Force series would not be a strategy game, and I was shocked and disappointed. It was at this time that they revealed the name – Shining Force Neo – to which I cringed and had to face palm, crying out to the Segods asking why they did this. In truth, I still don’t care for the name, but I’ve come to grips with the reality of what the game is going to be and it looks like it will be quite pleasant indeed.

That’s something you can look forward to tomorrow.

In the meantime, Sega of America opted to pick up the publishing rights for Worms Forts Under Siege – and that will be released here on March 1 – the same day as Worms 3D. March is looking like a pretty big month for Sega so far, with both Worms Titles, Iron Phoenix, Sega Classics Collection, and of course The Matrix Online (currently scheduled for March 30).

Also, we’re just two weeks away from the next Sega No Hi, which promises to be yet another Sega No Hi. I can’t let slip any further details yet, except that it will be uploaded that morning instead of at ten o’clock that night.

Also I’m working on a new Game of the Moment entry, which should be ready later today or tomorrow. Please look forward to it!

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Odd Hours

Every now and then I work a closing shift at my store (usually leaving around midnight) followed directly by an opening shift (starting at 7:30 or 8:00 am), leaving me with about 8 hours between shifts. Factor in travel time, the time it takes to unwind before I go to bed, the time it takes to get ready in the morning, and it translates into about 3-4 hours of sleep at the most.

Needless to say, I am a tired stylus this morning.

It’s funny because even as I’m typing this, my fingers are hitting the wrong keys and I’m laughing at myself for how groggy I am. But work is work and I’m glad to have a decent job even if I have indecenet hours.

We’re now exactly one week away from the release of Tenchu Fatal Shadows, and I am eager to see if Sega handles their second release of the year better than the first. Without a doubt, Virtua Quest is a fun game, but never again do I want to go through such an ordeal just to find a video game. Satomi says he wants to make Sega Sammy the number one publisher of video games in the world, but in order to do that they’ll need to actually sell their games so they can stay in business.

It was pure dumb luck that I even found a copy at EB (their shipment had just arrived and was still waiting to be opened and sorted). Sega needs to get in line with other big publishers and do a few things differently if they ever want to be number one:

Marketing – I haven’t seen a commercial for a Sega game in ages. The last one I saw was for Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg. What’s worse, it aired during WWE Smackdown (yes I enjoy watching professional wrestling from time to time, laugh if you must). That’s really not the demographic that’s going to find the game appealing. Sega of America’s marketing department is completely broken – they’d probably have more success if they just aired the Japanese commercials. Untranslated.

Street Date – A lot of publishers (including Nintendo, EA, Microsoft, Vivendi and more) have a Street Date program in place. This is essentially an arrangement with retail stores where the publisher ships their games a few days in advance in exchange for the store’s promise not to sell it before the street date. This allows them to heavily market their products, and when the release date arrives people can actually buy it.

There’s a lot more Sega could be doing, but I’ll leave that for another day. It’s time for work.

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SegaFans VS – A new wave in entertainment

Today I bring you several new videos on a brand new page – and I’m calling it SegaFans VS. The name makes perfect sense because these videos are matches between members of our fine community.

As you may remember, some time ago I posted a replay video of a Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution match between Skeearmon and myself. It was well received, and so I decided to make more videos of a similar theme. Turbos and I faced off over the weekend in fierce matches on two of our favourite Saturn games and some of those matchups have now been posted and await your download.

You’ll see 3 matches in Baku Baku and 4 bouts of Twinkle Star Sprites as well as the classic VF4:Evo match from many weeks ago.

At any rate, it was nice having a weekend off as that doesn’t happen often in retail. It was even nicer being able to spend it playing video games instead of having to run a whole bunch of errands & things.

In other news, I didn’t watch the Super Bowl, but I heard the Patriots won.

While it’s not 100% Sega related, Robert’s Anime Corner Store is having a huge sale on a lot of their merchandise – clearing out some stuff for good it seems. There are some right fantastic deals there, including the original version Serial Experiments Lain boxset for a mere $37.98 insteadl of $97.98. If you’re only into Sega-based anime, fear not. They have a Sakura Wars DVD on sale for $5.98 instead of $19.98. Bob is the best in the business when it comes to customer service, and everything on his site is legit stuff, no bootlegs to be found. So check it out, you might find something that interests you.

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Comparison Videos

Here’s something fun for the weekend – I’ve put together three videos featuring various Game Boy Advance games compared to their console counterparts. All these videos are roughly 15 Megabytes in size.

Up first is a comparison of the GBA version of Crazy Taxi with the Dreamcast version (widely known to be the best home version).

DOWNLOAD IT!
fileplanet – segascream.com

As I’ve said before, everything about the Game Boy Advance version of the game is horrible. It’s got a bad framerate and lousy controls. Instead of fixing these problems, the developers decided to make the game extremely easy. If you were to watch the full version of that run, I ended up with over $8,000.00 and an easy S ranking, despite my frequent crashing due to the camera/controls. The Dreamcast video didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped, but that’s due to the bitrate restriction I put on the file. The game itself doesn’t have the framerate problems that the video does.

The second video is a comparison of the Game Boy Advance and Saturn versions of Sega Rally.

DOWNLOAD IT!
fileplanet – segascream.com

As you can see, the Game Boy Advance version plays pretty well. It’s not as good as the Saturn version, but it isn’t bad in any respect but the graphics. Perhaps it’s because the game doesn’t require split second reflexes to avoid cars, but the game just plays so much better than the GBA Crazy Taxi. From what I understand, Sega Rosso did the development for this title. It was wise of Sega not to turn the game over to a 3rd party in this case.

The final video for today is a brief look at the Game Boy Advance and Dreamcast versions of Space Channel 5. For the Dreamcast source material, I used the Japanese version of the game – mostly because it’s a lot harder to find footage of that version on the internet, and partly because I like the Japanese voices better.

DOWNLOAD IT!
fileplanet – segascream.com

It’s remarkable how well they’ve translated the game to the small screen. Yes, they ditched the FMV and most of the voices, and the character animations are a bit lacking, but they crammed the whole game onto the cartridge which is no small feat. Of course I still prefer the Dreamcast version, but for those times when there’s no Dreamcast or TV around, it’s comforting to know that I’ve got Ulala in my pants and that I can play with her just about anywhere.

I’ll probably end up doing more videos of this type (there are a few more games to cover) since they’re both entertaining and educational. When I do, they’ll be posted here.

-benstylus

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