Retro Review: Space Channel 5 (Sega Dreamcast/PS2)

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The Dreamcast era was a unique time for SEGA when it came to marketing their characters. While the Saturn’s launch made the error of shifting the spotlight away from Sonic the Hedgehog, the Dreamcast launch proved that there was more than enough room for established characters as well as new faces. Joining Sonic was a lineup of first party and third party faces, from Midway’s Afro Thunder of Ready 2 Rumble and Namco’s Soulcalibur fighters to SEGA’s own creations.

Space Channel 5’s Ulala was without a doubt the most heavily marketed of these new characters, with her face seen just about everywhere. Ulala appeared in a promotional stage show at Universal City Walk, she dominated SEGA’s booth at 2000’s E3, she was seen in print and on TV and even appeared as product placement in the 2001 movie Josie and the Pussycats. There was even talk of Ulala hosting her own TV show! Suffice to say, there came a point in Space Channel 5‘s promotion where Ulala nearly overshadowed her own game. There is no doubt that Ulala is a fantastic character (she is a favorite of the SEGAbits staff, so much so that we named our podcast after her report show), but has the original game stood the test of time? Let’s find out as we look back at the United Game Artists’ classic Space Channel 5!

Review: 3D Thunder Blade (Nintendo 3DS)

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The final arcade title in wave two of SEGA’s 3D Classics line of games releases this Thursday, and boy is it a special one! While Thunder Blade is not SEGA’s most famous 80s arcade title, eclipsed by greats like OutRun, Space Harrier, and Hang-On, it certainly deserves a spot with the big boys. Perhaps the general public’s neglect of Thunder Blade stems from the game’s home console releases. While other SEGA arcade classics have seen near perfect home ports, Thunder Blade never truly saw a worthy release that stacked up with the arcade original. But now, nearly 30 years later, SEGA and M2 just may have done the original justice with their latest SEGA 3D Classic release. How did they do in porting this 1987 classic? Read on!

Review: 3D Out Run (Nintendo 3DS)

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Out Run / Outrun (アウトラン) is a very important game in the history of SEGA, released back in 1986 on arcades and later ported to various consoles. Out Run was a massive success for SEGA, selling over 20,000 cabinets worldwide in its year of release. Almost 30 years later, we get a brand new port on 3DS with 3D Out Run. Is this port worth your time? Well, let’s talk about that…

Review: 3D Fantasy Zone: Opa-Opa Bros (Nintendo 3DS)

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I’m going to be honest, when SEGA and M2 announced that 3D Fantasy Zone: Opa-Opa Bros was going to join wave 2 of their 3D Classics, I was sold. Fantasy Zone is just one of those games that doesn’t get enough appreciation in the West and having it release digitally will mean that more people get to enjoy this underrated classic. But how is the port? Well, let’s jump right into the review…

Review: Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal (Nintendo 3DS)

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In late October, SEGA released the first piece of the Sonic Boom franchise by way of the Archie comic book series of the same name. Despite the much touted TV series and video games, the comic book was our first official trip into the Sonic Boom universe. In my review of the first issue, I noted that I really enjoyed the fun, loose, self-referential nature of the comic book series. I compared the Sonic Boom comic to Archie’s early Sonic the Hedgehog issues. My exposure to the franchise continued with the TV series, which I also enjoyed, noting that the series felt very much like DiC’s 1993 series Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog. By this point, I was feeling fairly positive about Sonic Boom. And then the video games released.

Review: Hatsune Miku Project Diva F 2nd (PS3 & PS Vita)

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All screens from the PlayStation Vita version.

So, Hatsune Miku Project Diva F 2nd is finally here. My first time playing a Project Diva game was last year when it came out on PS3 in western territories, and I’ve been hooked ever since. So many hours of my time logged into playing Project Diva F. Needless to say, I was looking forward to Project Diva F 2nd and it doesn’t disappoint, in fact, it goes beyond my expectations.

If you have played Hatsune Miku Project Diva F, you have an option of carrying over all the accessories, modules, and items you have unlocked over into F 2nd when creating a new game. Don’t worry if you haven’t unlocked everything, F 2nd gives you a way to unlock items from the first game if you haven’t unlocked them.

Retro Review: Shadow Squadron (SEGA 32X)

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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.

Review: Crazy Taxi: City Rush (iOS)

Free-to-play games can be hard to get right. They can either block customers from playing until they pay up or give them too much, making the grinding easy and fun which kills any reason to buy anything. The free to play approach on Sonic Jump Fever and Crazy Taxi: City Rush couldn’t be more different. Sonic Jump Fever is all about the high score by having you follow your Facebook friends and compete with them on the leaderboards. Sadly, the only way to get the best scores is to have that one rare chao that kills all of your enemies, Use your hard-earned in-game currency on items like power ups and more powerful characters, and have an energy bar that depletes super fast.

All of this forces you to pay-to-win, requiring you to pony out dough just to compete with your friends. This may be a free to play game, but I’ve spent $14 on Sonic Jump Fever. Curse you Sonic Stadium’s Adam Tuff and your super-high scores! In Crazy Taxi: City Rush, the “fare” is much more fair and just a better game all around. Read on for why this is one of the better ways to make a free to play game.

Hardware Review: AtGames Sega Genesis 60-in-1

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The old adage “You get what you pay for” tends to hold true more often than not. After all, if you’re in a Walgreens pharmacy you’re probably not looking to buy a video game console. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the AtGames Sega Genesis is a poor quality console. At $30, it’s pretty tempting, but buyer beware there is some drawbacks to this system. Read on to find out if it’s worth your gas money for this cheaply produced retro console and find out how you can win it!

Review: Hatsune Miku: Project Diva f (PS Vita)

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Hatsune Miku Project Diva f on the PlayStation Vita is a great game! Hatsune Miku Project Diva f PS Vita is similar to Hatsune Miku Project Diva F on the PS3. The PS Vita version came out in Japan first and the PS3 second. In the west that release order was reversed. I’m pretty busy with stuff right now so this is just a mini-review, but I had to talk about a few things and how awesome this game is.

Retro Review: Vectorman

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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.

Arcade Review: Dream Raiders

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?

Arcade Review: After Burner Climax

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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.

Review: Sonic Lost World (Wii U)

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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!