It’s the year 2049. Earth, as portrayed in BlueSky Software‘s Vectorman, has become completely uninhabitable by the human race. Having left their polluted planet behind, they’ve set off through the galaxy in hopes of finding a new home, while a crew of mechanical Orbots remains in their place to clean the Earth up.
Into this scenario (one which today seems oddly reminiscent of Pixar’s Wall-E) appears Vectorman; one such Orbot with an attitude and the courage to stop Warhead, an Orbot who went rogue and took control of the planet. The adventure that ensues is a fun one with great atmospherics, an addictive scoring system, and a bit of an edge. Vectorman was a great showcase of the Genesis’ capabilities back in its day, and even today remains a must play for those who want a stylish and futuristic sidescroller.
After the first Sakura Taisen game was met with commercial and critical success in 1996, a sequel was inevitable. The SEGA Saturn, though successful in Japan, was hemorrhaging money abroad, making a sequel to one of the company’s few late 90s success stories all the more important. So, SEGA collaborated with RED again to produce a sequel.
Sakura Taisen 2: Kimi, Shinitamou Koto Nakare, which roughly translates to “Beloved, You Must Not Die” was released for the SEGA Saturn on April 4th, 1998 as a three disc set. Introducing two new characters and improved game play, it remains the most successful game in the series. It sold over half a million copies, making it the second best-selling dating sim of all time. It was re-released for the SEGA Dreamcast two years later with brand new features that showed what the system was capable of.
Here is our retro review of Sakura Taisen 2 for the Saturn and Dreamcast.
SEGA’s catalog is quite literally littered with spectacular characters and franchises that either never took off or never made it to the west. We each have our favorites and one of mine is a little game for the Genesis called Ristar, a glowing example of SEGA’s mascot aspirations that was unfortunately unable to find an audience.
Back in the early Genesis days, SEGA was looking for their Mario killer. After Alex Kidd failed to save the Master System from being anything more than a speed bump to the NES’s growing monopoly, SEGA knew it needed a mascot that could capture the imagination (and money) of gamers. As we all know, they would eventually come up with Sonic the Hedgehog. Along the way, however, they created some other concepts, including a bunny that could throw things at enemies. This concept would percolate within SEGA for years, until it was finally released in 1995 as Ristar.
One of the newest entries in Sega’s arcade lineup, Dream Raiders has just arrived at my local arcade (Round 1 in Puente Hills which houses a lot of Sega games and Sega owned UFO catchers) and is attracting quite a few arcade goers. But is your short time with Dream Raiders worth the price of admission or is it all ride and no game?
As a SEGA fan, my loyalty has been tested to the breaking point at times. Let’s face it, SEGA has had to make some tough decisions and has made some terrible games over the years, especially over the last fifteen. In 2007 SEGA had lost much of my loyalty after turning out a rash of bad games including the infamously awful Sonic the Hedgehog. Then one day, I walked into a local arcade, played After Burner Climax for the first time and all was well.
I’ll forego the Sonic franchise history lesson that typically kicks off a Sonic review. As SEGA fans, we know where the franchise has been. Sonic Lost World, a Wii U exclusive title, answers the question: where is the Sonic franchise headed? Unlike the series spanning celebration that was Sonic Generations, Sonic Lost World introduces several new gameplay elements and shakes up the familiar 2008-2011 Sonic formula. Some may take this as a breath of fresh air, as the series has finally moved away from boost mechanics. Others, content with the direction the series was headed and the refinements Sonic Generations made to the formula, may find Sonic Lost World to be too much of a reinvention. Did Sonic Team’s shake-up pay off? Read on as we enter Sonic Lost World!
Another major Sonic game has been released on a home console and with that, another portable version is put out by DIMPS. This time however, DIMPS will be dealing with Sonic in a full, 3-D world with all new controls and an emphasis on platforming instead of speed. DIMPS’ attempts in the past at making portable versions of Sonic console games have been fairly mediocre. Sonic Colors DS was flat out dull and Sonic Generations 3DS relied on its multiplayer and mission mode to be anything more than a rental. (I think I gave that game way too high a grade at the time.) This time however, DIMPS has actually been getting some praise for their port of Sonic Lost World with some claiming it to be the superior version. While I disagree with that, it really seems like DIMPS did their best to make a solid 3-D Sonic game that does in fact, improve over the Wii U version on some respects, but has some serious flaws as well. Read on to see why Sonic Lost World has some of the best highs and worst lows of any portable Sonic game.
Droppin’ F-bombs like a mother…
The original The Typing of the Dead was a misunderstood sleeper hit when it came out for the Dreamcast. The keyboard accessory may have been useful in the eyes of consumers for games like Quake III Arena, but it didn’t immediately become apparent that a typing game spin-off would make for an amazing, fast paced alternative. The original game appeared in Japanese arcades prior, and when it arrived on PC shortly after it had done well enough to spawn several more sequels and updates on the platform, in Japan. Outside of Japan it would be seen as an outdated arcade game that would be shunned, yet had become the cult hit which emitted an outcry of diehard fans in their never ending list of seemingly implausible demands for a new entry in the series. Years later, after SEGA and Headstrong’s release of The House of the Dead: Overkill on the Wii, it had seen an update with The House of the Dead: Overkill Extended Cut on Playstation 3 and on the week of Halloween has seen an update on Steam for PC as part of a semi two game bundle, literally out of the blue with no fanfare and nearly cancelled by now defunct Blitz Games. Despite these hurdles, it was still the ideal platform to put out this modern update to the franchise that encompasses its cheesiness and over the top absurdity to much higher levels, probably higher than people would expect or possibly want.
Before Sonic the Hedgehog, there was Mickey Mouse. In November 1990, Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse released almost simultaneously in America, Europe, and Japan to the SEGA Genesis and Mega Drive consoles. At the time, the game was visually stunning, described in one video preview as “beautiful”, “brilliant” and continuing the tradition of Disney animation. On top of that, the platforming was brimming with inventive platforming elements accompanied by catchy, whimsical music. The game was great at the time, and replaying it in 2013 it is easy to see why it is deemed a platforming classic.
As far back as April of this year there were rumors that a remake was on the way, thanks to digital box art that had leaked. The idea of a Castle of Illusion remake really was an unexpected surprise. Sure the original is fantastic, but few fans were demanding a remake and even fewer fans ever expected SEGA to team with Disney to make it happen. But here we are, the summer is coming to an end, and we have a re-imagining of the SEGA classic. Was a remake really necessary, and does it maintain the magic that made the original so great?
Warning: the review you are about to read is very bright and colorful. If you hate bright neon and colorful things, well.. you have been warned
So it’s finally happened, a Hatsune Miku game has been translated to English and released in the Western hemisphere. Is the Project Diva series as good as people say it is? Read on to find out how I have experienced my first Hatsune Miku game.