Retro Review: Cannon Spike

The Dreamcast’s greatest strength is easily its selection of arcade perfect ports. Few games exemplify this trait better then Capcom’s Cannon Spike. This game is a pure arcade shooter through and through and a nice little love letter to Capcom fans. It also holds the increasingly rare distinction of being a Dreamcast exclusive. Cannon Spike was a difficult game for me to find. I have only seen it a half dozen times since its release, and its price has been increasing for years. When I finally decided to buy it, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but my hopes were high. I’ve picked up a couple fan favorite Capcom games over the last few years, like Project Justice and Power Stone 2, and they had yet to disappoint. I am grateful to report that Cannon Spike doesn’t break that trend, though it’s also not quite what I was hoping it was. Eleven years after its release, is Cannon Spike still worth checking out?

Retro Review: Christmas NiGHTS

Anybody who recognizes the Christmas season has their traditions. Some go to church, some pig out on honey-glazed ham and others have their list of “must watch” tv shows and movies. But very few have a “must play” Christmas video game. Christmas themed games are out there, but most are so horrible that they would only hurt one’s holiday mood (never ever play Elf Bowling or Dreamcast’s The Grinch). Leave it to SEGA to fill that empty void of quality Christmas games with the NiGHTS into Dreams demo Christmas NiGHTS. But is this much talked about Saturn release a holiday classic? Or is it simply an overly glorified demo disc?

Retro Review: Sonic Pocket Adventure

After SEGA retired the Game Gear in early 1997, they suddenly found themselves on the market for a new handheld to support. That same year SEGA threw its weight behind the Tiger’s Game.com, offering Tiger the licenses to several of its franchises, including Sonic. This deal would give rise to the worst shit SEGA ever slapped its name on. As the Game.com quickly dropped dead at the sight of the Gameboy, SEGA threw its support behind another, much better handheld: SNK’s Neo Geo Pocket Color. This support would only yield one SEGA game in the American market, in the form of Sonic’s last portable adventure before going third party: Sonic Pocket Adventure.

Retro Review: Sonic Jam

The SEGA Saturn was something of a black sheep in SEGA’s family of consoles. It divorced itself from many of its predecessor’s most well-known franchises, and instead focused on a slew of original IPs. Even Sonic Team would take a big break from Sonic, instead focusing on NiGHTS into Dreams and Burning Rangers, the former becoming the Saturn’s mascot. This would lead to the Saturn becoming the one and only SEGA console to not feature a wholly original Sonic platforming game. Instead, the Saturn merely saw a trio of spin offs, in the form of Sonic 3D Blast, Sonic R and the subject of today’s review, Sonic Jam. The first two were fairly mediocre spin offs created by Traveler’s Tales for the purpose of filling the cap by the canned Sonic X-Treme game. Sonic Jam was easily the best Sonic game on the Saturn, though largely because it capitalized so heavily on the past: it was a compilation of the best Sonic titles ever made.

Retro Review: Dynamite Cop

Dynamite Deka is a series of beat em up games first introduced to American arcades in the mid-1990s. Renamed “Die Hard Arcade” to capitalize on the success of the movie franchise of the same name, the game was later ported to the SEGA Saturn, and to this day remains the only good 3D brawler to ever make it to the system. Dynamite Deka 2 would later be ported to the Dreamcast some years later, renamed Dynamite Cop. Is this game any good? Read on to find out.

Retro Review: Burning Rangers

The year was 1998, and the Sega Saturn was on its way to obsolescence and breathing its last. Sega decided to give the system one last hurrah with some very limited edition games. Panzer Dragoon Saga, Burning Rangers and Shining Force III (I think) were released at a very limited 5,000 copies each. If you didn’t pre-order these babies, you were paying through the nose later. In fact, I payed $100 for my used copy last year. Does Sonic Team’s future fire fighting game still hold up or has its charm burned away?

Retro Review: Sonic 3-D Blast (Saturn)

(Re-Edited from Shigs Sonic Stadium Review)

Many of you may only know Sonic 3-D Blast through the Genesis version, which you either played back in the day or on the Mega Collection. If that’s the case, then sadly, you’ve been playing the far inferior version. Yes, the level design is the same, but graphics and sound can make a big difference in your enjoyment of a game. Sonic 3-D Blast was originally intended to be a Genesis only game developed by Traveler’s Tales with some help from Sega of Japan. However, the Saturn was suffering not only in sales, but from a complete lack of any Sonic titles. Sonic Extreme was in development Hell at the time and would not make Christmas release. (Then again, it would not make ANY release, as it was cancelled shortly afterwards). In seven weeks, Sega managed to port the game over to Saturn, polish up the graphics, change the music from Jun Senoue’s tunes to new,  jazzy ones by Richard Jaques, and add what is arguably one of the best bonus stages in Sonic history.  That’s quite a feat for a seven week port!

Review: Shenmue – 10 years later, there’s still been nothing else like it


[Even 10 years later, Shenmue’s still a fanbase favorite]

All throughout the life of the Dreamcast, we were teased with images and trailers for what promised to be the most amazing and cinematic game to ever grace a home console. There were certainly high expectations for Shenmue to deliver, and, well, it may not have been the game everyone was expecting. For those of us who “got” Shenmue, though, it ended up being one of the most incredible gaming experiences of our lives, and to date, surpassed only by its sequel. This is a series that every gamer should play and playing it when it was released in 2000, 10 years ago, was a journey that, like much on Sega’s awesome white console, forever changed the way I looked at video games.

Retro Review: Shining Force III Trilogy

Shining Force III is a game that had many Saturn owners wishing that they could speak fluent Japanese. Considered to be one of, if not the best game on Sega Saturn, only one third of the full story ever saw an English translation. While most fans will already know this, the Shining Force III that most westerners are familiar with is only a fraction of an intricate trilogy of games, a true epic in every sense of the word. Three different scenarios, three different stories, all intertwining and combining to form an intricate, sprawling story and game. Recently however, thanks to the hard work of some very dedicated and skilled fans, almost every part of every game has been translated finally allowing the game’s English speaking fan base to enjoy the game as it was intended. So, how does it hold up over a decade later?