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Shenmue SAGA ShowOff ShortCut Project

Started my Shenmue ShowOff ShortCut project. Maybe someone is interested in 🙂
Shenmue III comes this year, so for everyone who havn’t the time to replay part I&II, or never played it and get completely new with part III into the series. Or have already played the HD release of Shenmue I&II but can’t get enough from holy cow Shenmue. Hope you enjoy!
 
Link Youtube: Shenmue SAGA ShowOff ShortCut
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Retroshopping Jan’19: 90s and early 2000s PC big-boxes + Spyro Reignited

I don’t collect anymore. But some good priced big-boxes crossed my way and back when I collected I missed to regard my PC stuff properly with big-boxes. Especially to PC games from the 90s and maybe early 2000s, I have a strong relation. So beside the Tomb Raider big-boxes I added a while ago, I put some further to my collection. For actual hardware: Spyro Reignited

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20 Years of SEGA Dreamcast

Wow, now we have it … 20 Years of SEGA Dreamcast. Really 20 years have already gone since I played this wonder the first time??

DC Pal

And yes, this thing was a wonder when it was released. In Japan launched at 27th November 1998 the western release followed one year later (US: Sept. 9th 1999 and Europe Oct. 14th 1999) this machine was based on Segas Naomi board from the arcade. It had four controller ports, so no need for an adapter for 4player multiplayer matches. But about the machine, the specs and commercial stuff you‘ll find enough information already in the net. So no need here 😉 And at YT many will celebreate the 20 years anniversary of Segas last console. I write my own story. So it‘s not a view from today, it‘s a view from the past how I experienced the Dreamcast back then.

My last hardware before the Dreamcast was the SEGA Saturn I purchased fall 1996 and 1997 my second PC (Pentium), which I call together with my first (AMD) PC I purchased end 1994 my „first PC-phase“. Cause hardware developement was so fast back then, I needed 2 ½ years later a new one … but it felt for me more like an upgrade within one hardware-circle. Even if I bought a new one … cause everything in the old AMD PC was dated and was crying for an update – the main processor, the ram, faster CD-Rom, new graphic-card … everything.

Oh I don‘t wanted to talk about PC stuff??? Sry – but here the Dreamcast comes up. Around 2 ½ years after I purchased the Pentium PC mid 1997. It was again the time my PC-hardware grow old for new upcoming titles. So many of the coming games of 2000 or later, won‘t run properly or at all on this machine anymore.

As a Sega fan I was generally interested in a new hardware Sega was going to release. And this time they seems to do everthing right they made in the Saturn hardware developement wrong  (click here for my SEGA Saturn article).  So both came together, my PC „ran out of power“ and a new piece of SEGA hardware was arriving. So I grabbed every information I could get in the time before the Dreamcast-launch.

I had internet back than since 1995, but even 1998 the mainsources for an upcoming console still remained magazines with hard- and software specials about Segas new upcoming powerhouse. Maybe both, but Internet was still in its infancy.

Dreamcast Pal

Before the machine was released in my terretory, I was with a friend in a video store with a japanese Dreamcast to rent … by surprise for us. We were both curious about the new console generation and rented it impulsively. We went home with Sonic Adventures on it and plugged it onto the CRT. … We were so excited we forgot to think … so the NTSC machine runned only in black/white over the TV.  The TV was able to run the game, but no colors in NTSC fromat. Yeah … that was not a plan that worked so well … 😀 But hey it was a first look and feel about the machine. Shit happens 😉

When the system was launched October 1999 in Europe I took a first view on it in a store. On a demoscreen was Soul Calibur running and it was breathtaking impressive! This was a real huge next step! And now I saw it in color!1 Real time running in front of my eyes. This was real next gen feeling!! This was the real deal! I was easily on the hook.

So the decision was made and I bouht the system 4 weeks later. It was my first console I purchased at lauch. Normally I‘m something between 1-2 years later when I enter a consolegeneration. But this time I was hyped … and wanted to play with actual tech-specs on my TV.

Most reviewers praise their Dreamcast experience with the arcade ports and games on the system. And yes thats right, the DC was also here the real deal to bring the arcade games in perfect condition into the livingroom. But there was more, especially a lot of action adventures were released on the Dreamcast and for its short lifespan also some interesting RPGs hit the system. Same on racing games, there are a lot of releases in all its kinds. Beside the arcade racers like SEGA Rally 2, Speed Devils, Daytona USA 2001, POD2, etc. there where games like MSR (Metropilis Street Racer) , 24h of Le Mans, V-Rally 2, some Formula 1 games a.s.o. for people who like racing games with a more semirealistic to realistic feel.

So the Dreamcast was intended to be a complete machine, targeting the leadership of the console market. At the time, all was about to conquer the market to become the dominant system, the second place was back then near extinction. Not like today, when three plattforms can life together economically in one hardwarecycle (PS4/XboxOne/Switch) and be able to manage to have no financial loss.

But the success of the PSX was not only huge … with the PSX many people grow into the gaming scene, younger … older, many of them made their first real gaming experience in the time of the success of the first Playstation. It was their only universe … and the prediction of the upcoming (later released) PS2 rumors promised so much. Even if the games of the first two years of the PS2 looked mostly worse (line flicker) than on the Sega Dreamcast and Sonys successor was much higher priced, SEGA could not use the time advantage they had to sale the Dreamcast successful enough. In the head of most console-gamers of the time, only the PSX brand existed, nevermind what good came up beside … it was for the most simply out of sight. An additional reason was the capabilities of the PS2 to be able run DVD format, the Dreamcast couldn‘t.

The Dreamcast was a great machine in hardwarearchitecture and price, but the PSX was for most kind of a religion at the time and so the Dreamcast regrettably couldn‘t hit the market the machine deservers. Only in the US the sales were good enough, the rest of the world totally ignored it. At the end Microsoft came with the Xbox and sealed the end of Segas last homesystem (see end of the article).

Dispite of the missing commercial success the SEGA Dreamcast  has a lot of fans and has an unique and strong loyalty in the realm of the hardcore gamers scene. For most gamers who experienced the system between 1998 and 2002 … the Dreamcast became legend!

Dreamcast Pal chipped SEGA

There are many games we could talk about, here‘s my story of the Dreamcast and the games wich made me a fanboy of the machine. So heres the lineup in short words wich marked my way I experienced the Dreamcast.

I list the games in order when I played it something like that back then iirc. And I‘m sorry, but I havn‘t screenshots from the games by myself at hand, so I took some from the net. The rating I give the games reflects how I experienced the games back then. So no test of time included 😉

Sonic Adventures

Normaly I rather play 3D Jump & Runs. But Sonic Adventures was for its time a technical showcase, a complete new experience in graphic, 3D Speed and gameplay. It was a real jaw-dropping experience when it was released, and everyone … really everyone was blasted away when they saw it. Maybe not a timeless game, but a real bombshell of its time!1  9/10

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Virtua Fighter 3tb

While I had a Saturn, a video shop on my daily rout had a Virtua Fighter 3 arcade machine, while I had Fighters Megamix on the Saturn, which featured (nearly) all moves from Virtua Fighter 3. That was an amazing experience for me and I was total hooked for the release of VF3tb for the SEGA Dreamcast.

To be honest. I was a bit dissappointed. The graphic seems for me weaker, especially the colours were lacking, an e.g. Pai had while execute her standerd kick move (Kick+Kick) a blue-transparent move-effect on the arcade machine. But not in the DC homeport. The arcade machine was regrettably removed when I had my Dreamcast, so I couln‘t compare directly. If I compare the arcade and DC version, they look really very similar. I think I played the first VF3 arcade machine, not the tb-version, maybe the first had a different color setting? I don‘t know.

So it was for sure a prober port from the tb-version. The case why I was a bit dissabointed too, was the graphical much superior beat em up games like Dead of Alive 2 and Soul Calibur on that machine. I really wished to have a Virtua Fighter game on my DC in that graphical quality. Beside of that … Virtua fighter 3tb remained imo the best 3D beat em up gameplaywise. 8/10

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Soul Calibur

This game looked simply incredible for its time. And played at the same time perfect. Beside of Sonic Adventures, this was the showpiece for the Sega Dreamcast to show the capability of the machine. And remember, this was fist gen software!1 It was THE multiplayer game of the time for me … and played it nearly only that way. Like Mortal Kombat in the 16-bit days … I played also vs. only. Everyone who saw Soul Calibur back then was blown away. 10/10

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SEGA Rally 2

Sega Rally 2 was on the Pal release only called SEGA Rally. But it‘s the massivlely extended homeport of the arcade machine Sega Rally 2. The contend was very satisfying. A lot of cars and track and modes available. The technical port was not as good as it could be, cause Sega used the port to demonstrate the capabilities of the Windows OS you can alternately use as an developer to port PC games much more easy onto the Dreamcast. That costs a bit of performance in comparison if Sega Rally would have been programmed directely onto the Dreamcast hardware. The Result was 30 fps with some framedrops here and there into the mid 20s. It was still a good port and very good arcade rally game … but after the brillant first SEGA Rally on the Sega Saturn, I was a bit dissapointed to be honest. The first SEGA Rally is cult and one of the best Racing games ever made. Sega Rally 2 is still a real good arcade rally game, but without the brilliance of the first one. 8/10

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Formula 1 games

There are some F1 games released on the Dreamcast. I played three of them. Formula 1 World GP 1&2 and Racing Simulation 2. The F1WGP games looked great and showed next gen visuals with a gameplaywise solid gaming experience. Racing Simulation 2 was craphically a more medioca appearance but from its driving experience it was a real hardcore sim racer we knew back then only on PC. With the port of RS2 onto the DC this kind of hardcore sim racing genre hit the first time the conosole market. I loved at PC the Papyrus sim games Indycar Racing 1&2 and Nascar 2 or F1GP2 (Goeff Grammond) I played before and was a big fan of this „sub-genre“. So this well done port was for me a great pleasure to drive on my „big screen“ aka TV on the couch.

F1WGP 8.3/10                           F1WGP2 8/10                         RS2 9/10

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Evolution

My first RPG on the system. It‘s a more compact RPG, so maybe nothing special … but again, the technical aspect in form of crisp textures you had never seen before on your TV and the simple yet fun gameplay made this a joy to play for me. 7.5/10

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Omikron: Nomad Soul

My highest expectation for upcoming games 2019 is Cyperpunk 2077. I love faithful sci-fi games with a well executed world to explore. Nomad Soul represents this kind of sci-fi fascination for me in the same way. Only executed in form of an open world actionadventure. I loved it. Regrettably I did not play it though. I simply bought to much games at the time :/ But it‘s a bigger game and I played the game half and its a great game especially for gamers who love sci-fi this is a must!1  8.5/10

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MSR – Metropolis Street Racer

MSR was another impressive peace of software on the system. It was the first time they tried to replicate a real city (London) into a racing game. And the result was for its time outstanding in the result they remade the real location in the game. It was beside of Shenmue one of the most lavish projects from SEGA to push their new hardware to its first generation-software limit. The idea with the real rebuild city as location and different virtual radio stations you could choose from, was fresh and new. The next hight quality software hits the Dreamcast   9/10

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Ferrari F355 Challenge

As I heard and saw in magazines back the time the first infos about the game, I couldn‘t believe it. This looked for me back then like photorealistic visuals. It was of course not, but it looked so much the time ahead and after I played it the first time I was excited about the great driving physics and simulation feel. To be able to play this game right after the japanese release, I even modded my Dreamcast via chip. I loved that game and in a neighbor-town nearby (Düsseldorf) there I found even a 3 screen full set F355 Challenge arcade machine I could play from time to time. The arcade machine was a bombshell … the DC port luckily as well too! 10/10

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Tomb Raider IV – the Last Revelation

Tomb Raider 4 LR Dreamcast

Tomb Raider 2 I played on PC and TR 3 a bit. But as mentioned after 2 ½ years my Pentium grow weak for new games (hardware development was much faster back then in the 90s than today). So I was happy about the port onto my new console. But not only because of that. I was alway a console guy, so I was happy to play Tomb Raider games again on the big screen in the living room. TR the Last Revelation is a difficult but also brilliant game! I‘m a big Tomb Raider fan and this game is with the original and TR II my favourate TR game ever! I adore the Core Design Tomb Raider games (no not AoD :D)!1   9.6/10

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Dead or Alive 2

Another brilliant looking and playing 3D beat em up on the DC! If you like Virtua Fighter you‘re familiar with the gameplay in DoA. It‘s kind of a knock off. A very good one and one of the most impressive Beat em Up for its time.  9/10

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Silver

Silver was a PC port and hack‘n slash action RPG/action adventure game with beautiful backrounds. The game itself was good but nothing special. But with its phantasy setting and prerendered backrounds it was quite an enjoyable game for me.  7.5/10

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Speed Devils

Speed Devils was a surprising good 3rd party arcade racer with animated backrounds. So you raced through thunderstorms, a Dinosaur Rex crossed your way on the road … and even spaceships attacked the track with their laserbeams you had to avoid. Much underrated game, not on the radar of many, but was a nice surprice on the machine back then. 8/10

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Shenmue

And of course … don‘t forget Shenmue. It was one of the most ambitious softwareprojects of its time. It‘s known as the first sandbox like game and the start of this genre. Sega called it FREE (something with free open eyes shit or so ^^). Thats of course a console perspective. Same as with analogue controls in the 32-bit era, consoles were a bit back in case of open world gameplay back then. In bitmap-form the TES games Arena (PC) and Daggerfall (PC) were already open world, or Ultima (VII) (PC) afaik too … and even in 3D/Polygons there was with Omikron: Nomad Soul (PC – and even DC port) a game with open world gameplay available. But Shenmue was dispite of that something very special. The NPC had their own, unique daily lifecircle and in buildings the enviroment was more interactive than ever before. So the NPCs and the world felt much more faithful than in all other games before. Maybe for todays standards difficult to understand, but it was a big step forward. The QTEs were something new too and are imho still better implementated than in most modern games. The Beat em up sequences were Virtua Fighter inspired you learned moves from scrolls you received in the game to develope your fighting style. Then Shenmue has a slow pacing. It‘s an action adventure, but feels often adventure-like from the pacing and gameplay. Especially the first half of Shenmue I. This game had a big impact on the gaming scene, in developement circles and in the gaming-industry. It is a very special kind of game. And I think one thing remained the same … back then and today: some love it, some hate it. The haters are the dumbasses of course ^^ The Shenmue Saga grows strong on me and I‘m more then happy to be able to continue the journey with the upcoming Shenmue III!1  9/10

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V-Rally 2

V-Rally 2 got a port from the Playstation orignial. And it worked out. The graphic was improved massivley and the game was running with buttering smooth framerate. Additional the gameplay was superb with exact and predictable car handling, every powerslide was a joy in this game. Great port, great rally game!!  9.5/10

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Ecco the Dolphin – Defender of the Future

On the Mega Drive I already fell in love with the Dolphin with the three stars on the forehead. This time in full 3D and a glorious modelled and animated Dolphin. In a beautiful underwaterworld this game is kind of an actionadventure … only the hero is a dolphin 😀   8/10

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SEGA GT

SEGA GT was an attamped from Sega to bring a Gran Turismo like game onto their new Dreamcast hardware. It looked because of the newer machine better than the PSX rival and was a real good effort and first step from SEGA into the „GT genre“. I liked to play it! What I enjoyed in the game was that you had to take care don‘t to overpower your car with tuning accessoirs. Every car/chassis had its limit … but you was free to build any engine of your choice into every car. But if you build a too powerful engine into … the chassis was no more able to handle the power. As a result the car got undrivable on track. I liked that really very much that you had to take care to build the right engine into the right car to find the best power for it and still managing a good handling. SEGA GT was not on the level of Gran Turismo 2,  but a good genre representive of its time. But one major complain I had back then, I wished additional 2 or 3 longer tracks.   7.8/10

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Gran Turismo 2 Bleemcast

Then the real deal came onto the Dreamcast. I couldn‘t believe that Gran Turismo will hit the Dreamcast. Noo … no official port of course. Therefore it‘s an 1st party game by Sony, an official port was not possible. But came via Bleemcast onto the Dreamcast. With a staggering result! The textures of GT2 were much more detailed than the PSX could handle. So with the increased power and the higher resolution Gran Turismo looked really like a Gran Turismo 2 Next Gen! The cars and the enviroment were detailed and sharp, and you could read every shild on the track or decayl on the car crisp! This was the best racing game of its time, and I was happy to have it in premium quality on my Dreamcast!   10/10

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Tomb Raider Chronicles

After TR IV the successor Tomb Raider Chronicles was released as well on the Dreamcast. Gameplaywise not as amibitious as Revelations, Chronicles was a smaller game, devided in different parts to tell Laras story of the past … cause … spoiler alert (!!) … Lara seems to die at the end of Revelations. So some aged dudes tell each other stories they experienced with mighty Lara. It‘s a smaller game in comparison (something between TR1 and TR2) and is no more so difficult like TR IV. For TR fans still a nice game even if the TR formula after the fifth installment in the series was a bit worn out. But still a real good Tomb Raider game of the good old Core Design formula!   8.3/10

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Grandia II

The first obvious at this game was its colourful, bright and for its time supercrisp graphics. Beside of the great looking visuals it had one of the most fun JRPG battle system of its time and the imho best story telling I experienced in a JRPG together with Phantasy Star IV. Beside of that it was a total normal, traditional JRPG – but these three points where amazing implemented in the game!  9/10

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Resident Evil: Code Veronica

The last Resident Evil game which mached my tast of gameplay. The old Resi games were kind of action-adventures genrewise. Out of these games the Survival Horror genre was born. Its not made for me. It goes too strong into the action for me and/or you struggeling through the whole game. I have no fun playing these kind of gameplay. But I like the old Resident Evils cause they were action-adventures in a creepy setting. So after Resi CV, the series died for me. No prob for me, I‘m not a die hard Resi fan. I like the old ones, especially the first one, but o.k. 🙂 So Code Veronica was the last Resident Evil which machted my taste of games.    9/10

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24h of Le Mans

This game was also a visual very impressive game for its time, and runned at 60 fps. It looked great, it played great and brought you the Le Mans race with a complete day and night circle. Too less words for a great game … but man this article goes longer and longer ^^ 24h of Le Mans was spectacular good and offered many more tracks than “only” Le Mans!1   9/10

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Skies of Arcadia

Skies of Arcadia represents for me the RPG highlight in the short hardware-lifespan of the Dreamcast. It was a typical JRPG but with an new and fresh setting, which delivered also some new gameplaytweaks for a JRPG. You sailed with a flying ship through the skies and there was no mainland, but many ilses you could land on. The graphic was not benchmark like so many other games on the system. But still very good for the time and had a great artstyle! The charakteredesign and your party was also very unique, so this game felt like no JRPG before. Even if the gamemechanics, like the turned based battlesystem and the item- and levelsystem is as you‘re used in a JRPG. But wait, there was more, flying with your ship around you was able to enter encounters with other ships. So you battled in turned based fights against other battleships. It‘s difficult to explain, if your interested take a look at Youtube, Im sure you will easily find these kind of ship-battlescenes. And you could build up your homebase. All was really fun and great implemented in the game. One of my most beloved JRPGs ever!1     9.5/10

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Daytona USA 2001

I‘m a big fan of Daytona USA and dispite of the rushed port on the Sega Saturn I love the Saturn port cause it plays and feels like the arcade original (not CCE). For the Dreamcast I hoped for Scud Race aka Super GT and/or Daytona USA 2. Regrettably it did not happen. But another Daytona hit the Dreamcast. Daytona USA 2001. Technically it was more medioca, but looked still good for its time. But most important, the game had the Daytona style artdesign, the driving behavior/drift mechanic and runned smooth with 60fps. Some had issues with the sensitive analogue controls. You had to manouver with care … and on the same time take care not to spin the wheels by throttle to hard with your analogue R-trigger in corners. But I liked it, it was very similar to the original Daytona gameplay and got quickly used to it. Another game on the Dreamcast I loved!   8.5/10

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Shenmue 2

In Shenmue 2 the story about Ryo succeded in Honkong with everything similar to Shenmue 1, but bigger. New locations, characters, activities, secret games … it was a more than worhty successor. I so happy that this series will be continued with Shenmue III … release date announced 2019! Again … too less world for a great game, but I wrote already a lot about part 1 above … and this damn article just do not want to end ;P      9.5/10

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The House of the Dead 2  / Crazy Taxi / Space Channel 5

On the Saturn I had a lot of fun with lightgunshooters (Virtua Cop 1&2 and the first House of the Dead). Especially with a second player this genre rocks!1 I had no own lightguns and House of the Dead 2 for the DC, but a colleague of mine had it and so I played it as a guest sometimes back then. I Purchased it only way later for my collection. But this game I want to mention, because it was an arcade perfect lightgun-shooter experience at home. I have very good memories by shooting down Zombies 😀 Same for Crazy Taxi & Space Channel 5 btw.

HotD2 9/10               CrazyTaxi 8/10               SpaceChannel5 8/10

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Virtua Tennis

Oh sorry, one game I have to edit in afterwards: Virtua Tennis! I forgot VT cause I play sportgames only rarely. But from time to time a tennis or golf game I do. Virtua Tennis was the game on the Dreamcast I was able to use the 4player ports. It was with Soul Calibur THE multiplayer game on the system for me, but the only 4player game I had on DC. There are more, but I played only VT I had … and Sydney 2000 via rent from a videoshop a couple of times . Virtua Tennis was a visually and gameplaywise a top notch port from the arcade game. 2player was multiplayer at its best and in 4player mode, the game turned into a party animal. Great memories!1  8.5/10

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These are the games which leave its marks on my Dreamcast era most, I had and have more games for System, but these I mentioned above marked my experience in first place in my Dreamcast era between end 1999 and around 2004.

Something special I want to mention are the two unreleased games Propeller Arena and Half Life for the SEGA Dreamcast. Both games were fully developed to the end, but both were not released due to different reasons. Propeller Arena was an online multiplayer flight game with planes from the past. There were different stages to fly, among other areas cities with skyscrapers … skielines similar to New York and similar cities. … Then the unthinkable, September 11th happend and changed so many in the world. Also the release date from Propeller Arena … which was canceled cause of the skycrapers levels and planes you was able to crash into. Half Life was different, it was simply a game in the period when Sega decided to quit from the hardware-market and so to remove the Dreamcast from the business. Valve decided regrettably to cancel the official release of Half Life.

… luckily around 2 years later, both games Propoeller Arena and Half Life were able to download from the net and to burn the ISO on a GD rom to be able to play the games perfectly on your Dreamcast. No modding needed. I worked on any DC and any Dreamcast owner was finally able to play these two games, dispite of no official release.

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Model 3 notes: The DC offered itself well for Model 3 ports. So some Model 3 ports I really missed on the SEGA Dreamcast. Especially Daytona USA 2 and Scud Race aka Super GT was a real pain don‘t to see to appear on the DC. But also other ports like the Jurassic Park light-gun shooter or Harley Davidson Drivers would be a very welcome addition on the Dreamcast library.

The early (official) End

2001 the Dreamcast and Sega left the stationary consolemarket. So only three years after Launch. Some game still was released the next two years after the official cut off from Sega, but then the major support was finally at the end … but some indipendend developers still supported the Dreamcast over a longer period of time. Especially Shmups, but with Pier Solar and Zia & the Goddess of Magic also two RPGs were released after the mid 2000s. But the support by indipendend devs especially since 2010 are more a retro phenomen, the real Dreamcast lifespan was from end 1998 to maybe around 2003.

Really interesting was imo the huge software release in numbers and quality within the 3-4 years the Dreamcast was officially full supported on the market. An very interesting feature of the EU/Pal-Dreamcast was the possibility to switch nearly every game from 50 to 60 Herz, if your TV was capable to run at 60Hz. A function the Pal-PS2 did not suppert e.g.! For me it was a time of gaming euphoria I have since then never experienced again. Maybe younger people from today cannot comprehend it if they see the now 20 years old graphic, but believe me, it was something very special!

And at the end the supposed reason why Sega removed the Dreamcast in such a hurry at the end. Rumors said that Microsoft was very interested to remove the Dreamcast from the market to have one competitor less for their new console brand Xbox … and payed SEGA a lot of money and offered very good conditions to release games for Sega on the new Microsoft hardware. … And so Sega disappeared from the home-hardware market. That rumors never became confirmed by Microsoft or Sega, but I heard the rumors back then … and for me, it makes sence and explains the tight relationsship between Sega an Microsoft in the early Xbox days.

So farewell Dreamcast – SEGA leaved the console-market with a peak of a machine!

Happy new year 2019 ladies and gents!

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Shadow of the TOMB RAIDER – quick review – PS4Pro

Shadow of the Tomb Raider brings mixed emotions at the audience. Some like it, other think it is more a medioca game in the TR history. Here my opinion about the game after my playthrough.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

I’m a big fan of Rise of the Tomb Raider and so I was really excited what Shadow of the TR will be. If you want to read my opionion about Rise of, click the following link:

Review Rise of the Tomb Raider [360 version]

Right away, I’m one of them who think Shadow is a more medioca game in the series. My major complain about Shadow is the passive feel of the game. The game is much more linear in leveldesign and the Storytelling is imo too much in front and takes way more time in the game in comparison to Rise of. In Shadow in most cases you don’t feel free to explore but to follow a predetermined way strictly … a bit too strictly.

Especially the first half of the game felt very restricted in case of gameplay, but to be honest, the complete mainstory. But wait there is freedom for exploration. In the second half of the game when you reach Hidden City (Paititi) and later the missionary village, there’s noticeable area you can walk freely, collect items, do sidequest, find optional tombs or murals. Yeah theres a Kiwang Yaku before, but heres the area is very small, so don’t count.

Especially the first 10% of the game I would have preferred to get it in form of a cutscene. The start was visually impressive, but imho very boring cause of the nonexisting gameplay.

The game takes imho in generell to much focus and time onto the story. Who’s playing Tomb Raider cause of the story?? The story in TR should frame the adventure imo, to give a sence why I’m doing this and add some atmosphere, not more – not less. The action adventure gameplaymechanics and impressive build levels are for me the star of the Tomb Raider IP. But gameplay in Shadow of the TR comes a bit short in my opinion, even if the game in the second half opens a bit up in form of optional tasks.

CONCLUSION

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is in my opinion a more average game with a strong technical appearance. I had despite of that fun, but after Rise of it did not match my gameplay expectations I had at all. In Shadow I felt to often passive gameplaywise. The first half of the game and the mainquest in general is very linear in case of leveldesign and so the exporation part did not work so well like in Rise of. Some gamers praise the lack of action in Shadow of the TR and that this is the real soul of a TR game. But sorry guys I played the original Tomb Raider (PSX-version on Vita) this year twice after 20 years and in the original the action/exploration ratio is much more similar what we see in Rise of. I think this matches the traditional Tomb Raider formula in case of exploration, puzzlesolving and action much better. Maybe puzzlesolving could be more in Rise of.

Especially small shootouts (short shootings with less enemies) for variety while playing (as you can see often in TR1 (1996) and Rise of) are missing. E.g. in the original TR from 1996 you fight often small and short, they are not difficult, but this short inbeween action adds a lot to the variety gameplaywise and adds a lot of fun. Cause you have to react and do something (Shoot bat, dog, foe) … and after the intermezzo continuing the exploration/puzzlesolving part.

I had despite of that fun playing Shadow … but not overhelming much. Without the gorgeous graphics and the name Tomb Raider, I’m not sure if I would have finished it. Especially the first part of the game and the mainstory is as I mentioned very linear … and you feel to often passive. Sometimes you have the feeling you have only to press forward.

The strength of the game is for sure its visual appearance and the strong showed Maja culture, towns and people. This is really a showpeace for its own and prooves … even good graphics and atmosphere can produce fun! But also beside of that, still a good game!

Pos:

  • Great graphic – great jungle feel and athmosphere (even if very linear first half of the game and mainstory in general)
  • Phantastic presented Maja culture ‚Hidden City‘ and native people.
  • Lara looks great in detail and animation!
  • Some nice and appropriate riddles, especially in Challenge Tombs (but also on main route).

Con:

  • Plays mostly very linear (except the two HUB worlds (sidequests)).
  • You feel often very passive as a gamer
  • Boring cutscenes/story presentation takes too much time in the game. Liked it more like in Reboot and Rise of where the story was more in the backround and the gameplay in front.

Neutral:

  • The roleplay inspired upgradesystem makes in Shadow less sence than in the predecessors. Some make sence (detect traps, hold longer air, etc.) … and yes you upgrade your weapons. But mostly you don’t care about what you find in the skilltree. You have points and so you unlock the skills, but at all it seems a bit out of place for the gameplayconcept in Shadow. It just does not mesh properly. Neurtal, cause I don’t need RPG elements in a TR game. In Rise of it worked, in Shadow it feels kind of obsolet.

RATING

Shadow of the Tomb Raider (PS4(Pro))

Controls:                                           8.5  (I’m happy real diving is back, but feels not perfect)

Gameplay&adv./action ballance      7.4  (too linear, feels often too passive and even too less shootouts. Especially small shootouts for variety while playing as you can see often in TR1 (1996) and Rise of are missing. The first Tomb Raider 1996 and Rise of shows the perfect adventure/action ration imo)

Action:                                              8.0  (works at all good when present, the enemy arangement is o.k.)

Visual/Style:                                     9.5

Audio:                                              9.0

Technique:                                       9.2 (a real graphical showcase, but running on perfomance mode (60fps) unconsistand too stottering. I prefer the resolution mode, running not 100% perfect, but very consistant at all (30fps).

OVERALL:                                         7.9 out of 10       (rating legend, see below*)

Maybe the review sounds a bit critic, but don’t missunderstand me, I still like the game. I like the setting, Lara looks great, the graphic and atmosphere is great! I really still do like it, but … as a Tomb Raider fan I had higher expectations gameplaywise. It simply don’t delivers at the level I hoped for (as written above) after I experienced the predecessor ‘Rise of‘, which I really love. Shadow is gameplaywise imo more medioca (still good but don’t met the expectations I had after ‘Rise of‘) behind a great looking and atmospheric game.

If you want to see how I see this game in comparison to the other Tomb Raider games, follow the link to an older post of mine: Tomb Raider main series overview (in order best to worst)

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

*Legend (ratings):

10/10         brilliant, really rare brilliant, has absolutely no competitors, this game defines genres and the world of games!

9/10           brilliant, really brilliant but has some competitors, not much but some, don’t defines really, but is part of the best of the best!

8/10           really good to great game, depends on tending more to 8 or 9. Among a bunch of other competitors, but great.

7/10           good to really good game, depends on tending more to 7 or 8. There are better games out there, but this game is still a good one.

6/10           really average … mostly in every way. With some real flaws. I you like the genre and your expectations are low, maybe you will have some fun with it. But not so much, this game could be so much better.

5/10           absolutely not necessary to play, it’s a waste of time. Maybe if you like to play trashgames with some friends and a couple of beers. Maybe then, it’s your decision.

4/10           see above – only even worse.

3/10           If you play this piece of shit and knowing about it … go to a doctor!

2/10           total trash – put it into the place where it belongs to. Keep the world clean!

1/10           you’re kidding? Break this cardridge immediately! Now! Show that thing what a hammerfall means! This shit shell die in pain!1

Hori ONYX controller for PS4 – REVIEW

As I saw the ONYX Controller from Hori I thought nothing can get wrong. The analog sticks are set on the correct position like on the X-Box controller. A layout I prefer way over the Sony controller layout. The PS4 standard pad is finally a great controller (I dont like the controllers of PS1,PS2,PS3), but the left analogue stick still on the wrong place.

Hori ONYX Controller for PS4 s

So Hori is good! Right!1 Hori is quality! Hori is the holy grale of third party perephials, eh? I have a 360 arcade stick from Hori and it prooves right. This thing is the shit!1 So yeah, I have a very good vibe, when I see the Hori trademark on a box. But this is the first time for me using a Hori item which is no arcade stick. So let’s take a look on my first Hori pad/controller.

In first place I bought the Hori ONYX controller for racing games (cause of the analoge stick layout) and tested the controller in this function.

Here is my experience:

Pro: the good things:

  1. the controller has no frontlight. For me that is a good thing, I never used the function on the original controller. I have even taped the frontlight on my original PS4 controller, cause it reflects onscreen when you play a very dark passage of a game or a dark game in general.
  2. The Option-button is so tiny on the original controller, sometimes I barely meet it. The Option-button is much better to hit on the ONYX controller.
  3. The left analogue stick is on the correct position!

Con: what? No more good stuff??? It‘s a Hori item!! I‘m sorry, but the rest of this piece of hardware belongs suprisingly (for me) to the dark side:

  1. The analogsticks feel at the first sight o.k., but in comparison to the analogue sticks of the PS4 standard pad, they work much less precise. In result GT Sports or Project Cars 2 play much worse and were much less to no fun to play. If you play after that with the standard PS4 analog controller, the analogstick quality is kind of a revelation.
  2. The L and R Trigger (e.g. for eccellerate or braking), is in a weird angel positionend. Really strange, you have to press them a bit from the side.
  3. The L and R Trigger movement have much less space in comparison to the standard PS4 pad. With the standard PS4 pad you can much better controle excellerate and breake. In result you drive much more controlled as with the Hori ONYX.
  4. The buttons work fine, but the low budged material let them feel not so satisfying.
  5. Then the overall layout of the controller. At all it mimiks the X-Box pad and I love this, I think the X-Box controller layout is since years (Xbox S-controller, 360 controller and One) the untouchted king of the analogue controller layout. It is the holy grail … but even here the ONYX controller failed. It fits ergonomical simply not as good in the hand. And from both, design and material, I don’t like the feel.
  6. There‘s no speaker at the ONYX pad. So if there is a funktion build in a game to use it (like in Project Cars 2 the pit talk), it is not supportet by the Hori pad.
  7. And some strange at the end. The standard PS4 controller I can easily charge with my Smartphone charger. That‘s very convenient. Strangely if I put it into the ONYX controller nothing happens. I have to stick the usb-cable onto my PS4 and connect with the ONYX controller, then the charge process works.

The digicross I havn‘t used much, so I cant say anything valuable about, but the first impression was also not so good. Far away from the digicross on the original PS4 controller which is again the far better choice.

Hori was for me a brand of quality, but holy I was suprised what I got. Hori is for me still a quality brand in case of arcade sticks. But on other perephials … I will be in the future more careful before buying.

I really cannot recommend this controller! Avoid this item. Stick with the original PS4 controller!1

Let’s do some random cover picporn vol.4

It has to be done … part 4 of my cover picporn series 😉

If you wanna look the first three parts, click the following links: cover picporn vol 3  — cover picporn vol 2cover picporn vol 1 (scroll down the rubbish ‘my hardwareretrospective’ stuff in vol 1 to see the cover scans)

Cover SEGA Mega Drive PS2 Genesis CD Nintendo Saturn DS PC (1)Cover SEGA Mega Drive PS2 Genesis CD Nintendo Saturn DS PC (2)Cover SEGA Mega Drive PS2 Genesis CD Nintendo Saturn DS PC (3)Cover SEGA Mega Drive PS2 Genesis CD Nintendo Saturn DS PC (4)Cover SEGA Mega Drive PS2 Genesis CD Nintendo Saturn DS PC (5)Cover SEGA Mega Drive PS2 Genesis CD Nintendo Saturn DS PC (6)Cover SEGA Mega Drive PS2 Genesis CD Nintendo Saturn DS PC (7)Cover SEGA Mega Drive PS2 Genesis CD Nintendo Saturn DS PC (8)Cover SEGA Mega Drive PS2 Genesis CD Nintendo Saturn DS PC (9)Cover SEGA Mega Drive PS2 Genesis CD Nintendo Saturn DS PC (10)Cover SEGA Mega Drive PS2 Genesis CD Nintendo Saturn DS PC (11)Cover SEGA Mega Drive PS2 Genesis CD Nintendo Saturn DS PC (12)Cover SEGA Mega Drive PS2 Genesis CD Nintendo Saturn DS PC (13)Cover SEGA Mega Drive PS2 Genesis CD Nintendo Saturn DS PC (14)Cover SEGA Mega Drive PS2 Genesis CD Nintendo Saturn DS PC (15)Cover SEGA Mega Drive PS2 Genesis CD Nintendo Saturn DS PC 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Shenmue I&II, Shadow of the TR, Marvel vs. Capcom

Shenmue 1 Remaster I have already played and I’m happy about the released remaster of Shenmue 1&2. First I thought cause I played the games back then on Dreamcast I will buy them more for my collection … but once started Shenmue I was back into it and enjoyed playing it. Yes it is a milestone from the past. But of course 3D (action) adventure games have developed so incredible fast in the last 18 years that many gameplayparts has aged. So escpecially today it is not for everone. But for them who enjoyed the games back then and want to reenter the series before playing part III of the Shenmue saga, which will be released August 2019, it’s still worth playing. For all others, especially younger gamers, it is imho the need to have a historic interest in gaming and adventure/action adventure games. It is a masterpeace and milestone from back then, when things were new … but today become a standard since years and in a much more polished way. But dispite of that, Shenmue is still today a game of its own, a unique gaming experience with its complete own character.

I heard of many bugs, but I had only minor issues. I had two bugged cutscenes (one darkscreen and the other showed the stars/sky instead the talking chars, one no importand, the other mainstory). And once I had also the first person bug. That was it, no other bug complains here. After I played Shenmue II, I will (hopefully) write a review about the games and why I still love them.

Shenmue ShadowTR Marvel vs Capcom

Shadow of the Tomb Raider just bought today and will this evening take my frist look. I did not read or watch any review. Cause the idiots spoils the shit out!! I want have the complete new experience when I press start!1

And Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite. I’m not a serious Beat’em up guy, but I love to play them casualwise. I simply love the arcade feeling the games have and they are perfect for the fun inbetween.