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.
In nine days, SEGA’s final console the SEGA Dreamcast turns 15 years old in the United States. The Dreamcast is a rare instance in which the US launch overshadows the Japanese launch, thanks to the memorable date of 9/9 and a stellar launch lineup. While Japan had a paltry four games, the US had nineteen which covered just about every major genre. Racing fans had the most options, with CART Flag to Flag, Hydro Thunder, Monaco Grand Prix, Pen Pen Trilcelon, TNN Motorsports Hardcore Heat, Tokyo Extreme Racer, and TrickStyle. While those who prefer their speed in the skies had AeroWings and AirForce Delta.
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.
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…
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.
Since the day I joined SEGAbits, one of my goals has always been to shed light and draw attention to some of the more obscure games in SEGA’s history. With 32X month in full swing, it just didn’t seem right to let the month pass without writing some kind of article that sheds light on one of the rarest titles in the system’s small library: Darxide. This is a game that few people have played and even fewer people know how to play, so today I’m not only going to go over the history of the game, I’m also going to explain its mechanics so that if you do ever get to play the game, you’ll know how.
Kolibri is a neat little cute-em up shooter from the Ecco development team Novotrade. It’s probably best described as a mix between Ecco the Dolphin and Fantasy Zone. In some levels the goal is to fly around a level to seek out and destroy enemies. In others, you need to solve an environmental puzzle to progress to the stage goal. Finally, some stages are just straight up, left-to-right scrolling shooter stages. It’s an interesting and unique game with a soundtrack to match.
The soundtrack was composed by Zsolt Dvornik, a Hungarian Jazz guitarist. It sounds reminiscent of Ecco’s soundtrack: atmospheric and subdued. Infestation has a very primal sound that goes extremely well with the game’s realistic art style and wilderness setting. Compared to the bombastic soundtrack of most other side scrolling shooters, Kolibri is a unique and wholly different beast.
Some people consider the 16-bit wars to be the golden age of gaming, but as much as we see the early 90′s with rose tinted glasses there where some serious mistakes made during the war (on both sides). This week we will discuss what we think SEGA’s worse decision during the 16-bit console wars was. Sit back and if you want to join in on the discussion, please do so in the comments.
That awkward sexually infused ad we featured at the beginning of the month wasn’t the only 32X ad rapper Chill E.B. starred in. He also featured in this other, considerably better advertisement that focused on the math rather than the weird sexual innuendo one could infer from two consoles hooking-up.
That math is pretty sketchy though, as it often was in these ads. Much like how bits and blast processing were little more than marketing terms that oversimplified complex technology, the math here seems to have very little basis in fact. I could believe the 32X being significantly more powerful than the SNES, but I sincerely doubt that the 32X was four times more powerful than the 3D0. The console that was two and a half times more expensive at the time, and even though it was being sold for a significant profit by companies that didn’t see a dime in software profits I find it hard to believe that the 32X could have simultaneously over-powered and underpriced the competition, at least without magic. The fact that the 3D0 produced better looking games doesn’t help SEGA’s case, either.
Of course, the 32X died off so quickly we likely never got to see what the hardware was truly capable, so who knows? Either way, this ad is one of the best that the 32X got. It emphasized what the consumers cared about: graphics and games. It highlighted the right and actually demonstrated what the 32X was capable of. The math may have been bullshit, but at least the games weren’t!
Digital Pictures was a pioneer in the world of interactive full motion video, bringing a cinematic feel to games at a time when players were used to two dimensional sprites. Their titles, which included Night Trap, Sewer Shark, Corpse Killer, Supreme Warrior, the Make My Video series, and many more, spanned a number of genres and appeared on several platforms throughout the 90s. Now, their most famous title Night Trap is set to make a return to modern platforms with former Digital Pictures members leading the way. Director/co-designer Jim Riley, co-designer Rob Fulop, technical director Mark Klein, and executive producer Tom Zito have formed Night Trap, LLC and have established a Kickstarter initiative dubbed Night Trap ReVamped.
Tom Zito joins Barry on our latest Swingin’ Report Show to discuss the creation of Digital Pictures, the never released Control-Vision game console from Hasbro which was to use VHS tapes as cartridges (originally codenamed NEMO), Night Trap‘s releases both past and present, and his team’s plans for the Night Trap ReVamped Kickstarter. This episode is a must for retro SEGA fans and fans of innovations in the video game industry – give it a listen and be sure to check out Night Trap ReVamped!
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