The Weekly Five: Best Unknown SEGA Dreamcast Games (revisited)

theweeklyfiverevisited

Back in 2011, I wrote a Weekly Five about the five best “unknown” Dreamcast games. The goal was to highlight some of the Dreamcast’s best titles that no one really talks about. Among the handful of comments it received was a complaint that I didn’t go “obscure” enough, even though that wasn’t really the point (though I will admit my topic is and continues to be pretty vague). Since then, I’ve done some real digging into some of the deepest parts of the Dreamcast library and I feel ready to come up with an all new selection of titles.

I hope some of these titles are new to you! There’s no better way to celebrate 15 years of the SEGA Dreamcast than with a new game.

Unboxing a Launch Day SEGA Dreamcast

When I originally bought my Dreamcast in December of 2000, it was a refurbished GameStop unit in a bland white box. At the time I was trying to be a good son and save my parents some money, but unfortunately this also means I never had a box to proudly display, but I would never even know what the system’s original packaging was like.

That is, until I plunked down some cash to buy a near mint system on eBay a few days ago! In order to mark the occasion, I decided to record the experience so anyone in my predicament can finally get an idea of what it was like to get a (sort of) new Dreamcast in September of 1999. A few screw-ups aside (calling the controller a Dreamcast, not looking at the manual, not knowing what some of the launch games were) I daresay this might be the best launch edition Dreamcast unboxing video on the internet. At least, I couldn’t find one. I hope you enjoy my belated little birthday gift for the DC!

Tuesday Tunes: Sonic Adventure’s “Emerald Coast” and “It Doesn’t Matter”

Today we’re focusing on two songs represent both ends of Adventure’s soundtrack: cheery and Genesis-esque instrumentals of “Emerald Coast” and the corny rock tunes of “It Doesn’t Matter” that would go on to become more prevalent in many later Sonic OSTs.

Emerald Coast will probably always hold a special place in my iPad for one simple reason: it was the first song I ever heard on a Dreamcast. Seeing Emerald Coast on a Target Dreamcast kiosk is what ultimately made me buy the system, and the graphics and sound played a large part in that decision. I imagine many Dreamcast owners will feel nostalgic over this track for this very same reason.

It Doesn’t Matter was my introduction to Crush40 and its brand of cheese rock. I loved this stuff when I was a teen. Even today, this song always give me a warm feeling because it’s so goddamned optimistic! As cheesy as its lyrics may be, I love the sound, and it continues to be one of my favorite Sonic vocal tracks. Back then I would listen to this a lot whenever I was feeling down, and to my surprise it still has the same effect on me today.

For me, this song is in many ways the theme song of the Dreamcast. This was SEGA’s last shot and they put everything into it. The system’s short lifespan had the greatest concentration of legendary titles in the history of gaming, at least since the onset of 3D consoles. SEGA may have given up the fight, but in many ways the Dreamcast never did. It continues to enjoy one of the most prosperous afterlifes of any console on the market.

Check out “It Doesn’t Matter” below the fold.

SLaVE announced for SEGA Dreamcast

The Dreamcast’s life-after-death continues with yet another new game from the indie scene: Jay Townsend’s SLaVE. This new game is considerably different from most other indie projects the Dreamcast has received over the last few years. Neither a sh’mup nor an old school RPG, SLaVE is instead a colorful first person shooter built around an enhanced Doom engine called 3DGE.

Jay Townsend is making this game in collaboration with indie developer Isotope and GOAT Store Publishing. Only 484 copies of the game will be produced, including 400 limited edition copies and 84 “Limited Limited” edition copies, which will be sold for $20.84 and $30.84 respectively. You can pre-order them here. Production is slated to begin in April 2015.

SLaVE is supposed to combine the game design sensibilities and aesthetics of 80s arcade shooters with old school first person shooters like Doom and Wolfenstein. The game was originally revealed for the PC and is not currently slated for any other platforms besides the Dreamcast.

This isn’t the only Dreamcast project GOAT Store and Isotope are working on. Earlier this year GOAT Store revealed that it would be publishing another Isotope project running on the same technology, Hypertension: Harmony of Darkness. Check out a developers diary for SLaVE and a trailer for Hypertension below the fold. Check out the official press release here.

SEGA Saturday Morning Ads: It’s Evening in America…

The Dreamcast had one of the best advertisement campaigns in video game history. Period. Its ads took all of the best parts of SEGA’s Genesis era advertisement and infused it with fun and consistent quality. Every single time I click a Dreamcast ad and expect something ho-hum, I’m surprised by yet another kick-ass ad.

Here we have a parody of the classic Reagan re-election ad, “Morning in America”. With narration by Seaman. And whistling by guys from Quake 3, NFL 2K and NBA 2K. And a bunch of SEGA characters screwing around inside people’s Dreamcasts. And while Seaman gives a beautiful speech about Americans coming together so they can whoop each other’s asses, you’ve got gamers celebrating and raging over victories and losses. You’ve got house fires, decapitated teddy bears and exploding trailers. This ad is a perfect example of a great SEGA ad: well written, well directed, well voiced, plenty of game footage and plenty to get you pumped.

This ad is a thing of beauty. I hope you enjoy it, have a fine Saturday morning and play some Dreamcast.

SEGA Import Guide: Cool Cool Toon (SEGA Dreamcast)

coolcooltoon

More than eight years since the death of SEGA’s final console, SEGA fans have been left digging deeper and deeper into their console’s libraries, looking for new games to play. Though impressions, reviews and videos for SEGA’s English language releases are typically easy to find, information on their console’s Japanese exclusive selection of games can be quite elusive. That is why we at SEGAbits are launching a new feature focused on the quality and playability of SEGA console regional exclusives. Today, we will be looking at an obscure rhythm game released by SNK exclusively for the Dreamcast in mid-2000: Cool Cool Toon. I’d like to give a special shout out to my niece for getting me this for my birthday!

Cool Cool Toon is a unique game in SNK’s Dreamcast library. A rhythm game made from the ground up for the Dreamcast, it was neither a fighting game nor an arcade port. It is so far removed from what SNK did for the system that it doesn’t even look like an SNK game at first glance. It does share one common thread with other SNK games though: it is very easy to pick up and play.

Tuesday Tunes: Propeller Arena’s Shaving Your Life

I thought it would be best to start out the month with something many of you may have never heard, at least not in a SEGA game. The above track is a little gem from the canceled (and subsequently leaked) SEGA Dreamcast game, Propeller Arena. We’ll be covering the game in more detail later this month, but for now I’d like to talk about the game’s soundtrack.

Propeller Arena’s soundtrack is filled to the brim of punk rock, including nine tracks from five different guest bands. I have to admit that I don’t really care for a lot of it (including many of the AM2 produced tracks), but there are definitely some gems in it that I absolutely love. The above track was composed by a “Mad Caddies”, a band I definitely intend to check out after this. Whenever I’m blasting through the game I usually try to keep it on this and one or two other tracks because it does a great job getting your blood pumping while you’re dogfighting seven other planes over cityscapes, volcanic islands and castle.

Below I’ve included another track that I discovered when I downloaded the game’s OST. I suspect it’s something I need to unlock since I can’t currently find it in the game’s options menu. I also can’t find any info of it online, so I have no idea who made it. Should I ever find out I’ll be sure to give it its own Tuesday Tune, since it is my favorite track in the OST bar none.

Please check out “Welcome to the Promised Land” below the fold.

Retro Review: Shadow Squadron (SEGA 32X)

StellarAssault_32X_US_Box_Front

Anyone who thinks the 32X was nothing more than a steaming pile of shit has never played Shadow Squadron. If they had, they’d not only know that the 32X had its share of great titles, they’d know it played host to what was quite easily the best space sim available for fourth generation consoles. It may have paled in comparison to PC sims like Wing Commander and the X-Wing series, but it beat the shit out of anything on the 16-bit consoles.

I think there’s no better way to end 32X month then with a look back at one of the platform’s best titles. Known as Stellar Assault in Europe and Japan, Shadow Squadron was one of the closest things the 32X had to a true killer app during its brief lifespan. Check below the fold as we explore what makes this hidden, forgotten gem so special.

SEGA Saturday Morning Ads: Doom 32X helps butchers keep their mind off work

 

Alright, we haven’t been too kind to SEGA’s marketing campaign for the 32X, so I thought it would be great to end things on a high note: the Doom ad. The Doom ad is fucking awesome, embodying everything that was great about SEGA marketing in those days.

Is it edgy? Yeah. Does it match the tone of the game? Hell yeah. Does it make you want to go out and buy the game? Fuck yeah. Doom was known for being a gory, violent, bloody game, and on the higher difficulties it could be a hell of a meat grinder. Placing it in a slaughter house, with lots of kid friendly gore and even an actual meat grinder? Having butchers who are surrounded by real gore every day talking about how intense the violence in Doom is? Genius. This is an ad that understood its product and knew how to sell it, easily making it the best 32X ad SEGA’s produced. It’s simple, smart and doesn’t get into any of the distracting weirdness or camera mugging of other ads. Most importantly, this ad didn’t just tell, it showed, something every other 32X ad failed to do.

So enjoy, and be sure to tune in next week, as we start taking a look back at a considerably better advertisement campaign for another, more successful SEGA platform…

Rise From Your Grave: Spot Goes to Hollywood for the SEGA 32X

Spot Goes to Hollywood 32X Screen Shot 2014-08-29 02-05-47

Back in 1995, SEGA promised 50 titles for the 32X by the end of that year. Unfortunately, the onslaught of the “true” next gen systems from SEGA and Sony would take its toll on SEGA’s little mushroom, and it died a silent death with only 39 titles in its library. Numerous titles were canceled, many of them notable, including Daytona USA and Castlevania Bloodletting. Some however, were just prettier ports of Genesis titles. Today’s game is one of those titles, a never before seen version of Spot Goes to Hollywood. Dumped to a mere 35 reproduction carts earlier this year, this ROM has yet to be released to the public.

Today, SEGAbits is proud to present a first look at a game only a few hundred people have ever seen before. What is it like? What makes it unique to other versions of the game? Answers lie below the fold.