Month: April 2005

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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