Publisher: Capcom (2000)
Publisher: Capcom (2000)
Capcom has unleashed yet another fantastic 2D fighter. This one is just as good, if not better than Marvel Vs. Capcom 2. The 25+ characters are taken from Capcom's Street Fighter series and SNK's King of Fighters games. The thing I like about this game is that all of the fighters are human, and the combat is mostly hand-to-hand. The Marvel Vs. Capcom games are flashy, but all the projectile, flying, and over-the-top attacks get to be a bit much. This is more old-school, and I think it requires a bit more skill. You still fight with teams, but these aren't tag teams. You choose two to four fighters, depending on the strength of the characters (you get four points to spend, and the characters are each rated from 1-3). You can't switch characters during the fight, so ordering your fighters is important. The graphics here are stellar, and the backgrounds are the best I've seen in any fighter, hands-down! Many of the stages have interesting intro sequences as well, and the excellent music is also worth noting. Finally, a "bonus points" system allows you to earn points and buy goodies. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Jaleco (2000)
Rating: Mature (violence, blood, gore)
Publisher: Hasbro (1999)
Many game companies like Hasbro seem to believe that if you take an old game and add fancy 3D graphics and digitized sound, it will be even better. Well, as we've seen time and time again, that is not the case, and Centipede is a prime example. This new 3D version looks good but the gameplay is much
slower and far
less exciting. Cool power-ups and decent control make this game playable, but it's certainly not addictive by any means. Fortunately, the original arcade version is also included on this disk, which is crazy
addictive. Centipede for the Dreamcast is pretty lackluster overall, but at least it's better than the horribly choppy Playstation version. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Mattel (2000)
With its huge angular waves that resemble jagged blue mountains emerging from the water, it's easy to write off Championship Surfer as bargain bin material. Stick with it however, and you'll discover an addictive, albeit flawed title. It's a shame the game doesn't offer a tutorial mode, because its learning curve is substantial. Even after playing for a few hours, I still feel like I'm missing something. The main "championship" mode lets you face off against other surfers in a tournament spanning several locations. The reasonable controls make it easy to stay on your board, but earning enough points to progress to the next round is hard. While my scores did gradually improve, I never did make much progress. I suspect you need to execute some crazy Tony-Hawk style stunts in mid-air to earn the big points. As I mentioned before, the waves look pretty bad as they approach, but not bad at all once they're fully formed. The various beach locations don't make a difference since the camera angle faces the sea, but I really dig the variable weather conditions. The raging thunderstorms look especially wild with lightning striking the water in the distance. In terms of audio, the sound of crashing waves is convincing enough and the background guitar music is very pleasant. It's hard to recommend Championship Surfer to the casual gamer, but patient Dreamcast fans looking for some fun in the sun should check it out. © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Xicat Interactive (2000)
Rating: Teen (animated violence)
Charge 'N Blast offers arcade-shooting action with lock-on targeting, mammoth bosses, and massive explosions. It's a "behind the back" shooter in the tradition of Nam 1974 (Neo Geo) and Cabal (NES). Unfortunately it's saddled with one of the most non-intuitive control schemes ever conceived. The X, Y, and B buttons let you to charge a weapon (to three degrees of intensity), and A fires. It is not
necessary to hold in the charge buttons, and it only took me about ten years to figure that out. The shooting controls are tough enough, but you'll also need to move sideways (using the shoulder buttons) to avoid incoming missiles. The three selectable characters come with grenades, rockets, and lasers, but I prefer the "multiple missiles" which let you target several enemies at once. Just keep in mind that your aim is critical even with the guided missiles. The stages have funny names like "City of Nest", "Party on the Beach", and "Desire Town". The beach stage boss looks just like Godzilla, and I love the splash effect when he collapses into the water. Each boss is temporarily protected by a shield generator, and the poor octopus boss has one located in his ass
. That's got to be uncomfortable. Charge 'N Blast is pretty intense shooter once you get the hang of it. There's some slow-down and the game is short, but it has a "one more time" quality. A female voice delivers repetitive lines like "I will provide you with an energy cell", and the appealing soundtrack sounds a lot like House of the Dead 2. High scores are saved, but you need to score 550K to rank in, which is way too high. Turn down the difficulty if you want to have a chance of cracking that. Charge N Blast is an acquired taste, but arcade fans will enjoy its frantic mayhem. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.
Recommended variation: Easy/5 cnts/max life
Our high score: 684,703
1 or 2 players
Publisher: Sega (2000)
The Sonic Team strikes back, this time with a frantic puzzle game unlike anything you've ever seen. ChuChu Rocket is played on a square grid full of scampering mice and the occasional cat. The object is to direct the mice towards your rocket ship by strategically placing arrow tiles in the grid. The game can be played by up to four people at once, and this was one of the first Dreamcast games with online capabilities. The action is fast and dynamic, and takes a while to wrap your mind around the concept. One cleverly placed arrow can direct a slew of mice away from another rocket ship and straight to yours. Once you get the hang of it, ChuChu can get addicting. For the solo player there are some thoughtful puzzle challenges that will test your mind and reflexes. The graphics are whimsical but nothing fancy, and a quirky musical tune plays nonstop in the background. The gameplay eventually wears thin, but you have to give it credit for originality. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Xicat (2000)
This simulation game lets you construct and even ride (!) your own roller coasters. A nice CAD-style design tool makes it easy to lay the tracks and view your creation from every angle, and you'll need to obey the laws of physics and make sure the turns aren't too sharp. It only takes a few minutes to create a ride, and it's easy to bank turns and make small adjustments here and there. Once you're done, you can take a "test ride" that gives you a live, first person perspective of your ride. There's no way it can duplicate the sensation of being on an actual roller coaster, but it's still interesting to watch. The shaky camera and screaming sound effects also add to the illusion. The graphics are fairly simple, with sparse amusement park backgrounds. If there's one area where Coaster Works falters, it's the fact that there's only ONE playing mode. Actually, it's more like a tutorial that lets you build six increasingly larger and faster roller coasters. While this slow approach may be suitable for younger (or dumber) players, I found it to be annoying. Let's face it, most people want to jump right in and build a MONSTER roller coaster without having to build five intermediate rides first! A "free hand" design mode would have been nice, and it would have been cool if they had included some sample roller coasters. When all is said and done, Coaster Works is an interesting concept, but there's not much of a game here. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Sega (2001)
Rating: Teen (13+)
This light gun shooter is basically Virtua Cop for the Dreamcast. Been there done that you say? Not with these nice Dreamcast graphics you haven't! In Confidential Mission, one or two players shoot their way through three James Bond-style missions. The graphic quality is about the same as House of the Dead 2, but seems slightly less detailed. People's lips don't move when they talk, but at least their bodies are nicely animated. Bad guys can be shot anywhere on their bodies, and extra points are awarded for "justice shots" (shooting their weapon). There aren't any specials like a duck move or a smart bomb; it's just kill or be killed. The body count gets pretty high, but there's no blood. The bad guys just keel over and disappear, except for the fat guy of course, who you'll need to pump about 10 rounds into. Are fat people this hard to kill in real life? Interesting locations like a museum and a moving passenger train provide attractive scenery and a nice variety of situations. The game gives you eight credits, but you'll go through them pretty quickly. Although there's some minor branching, the game is fairly linear and surprisingly short. And like most light gun games, it can get repetitive. It's not a standout game, but if you're looking to get some use out of your Dreamcast light guns, Confidential Mission isn't a bad buy. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Sega (2000)
Recommended variation: Arcade rules
Our high score: SLN $2,2028.17
Publisher: Sega (2001)
The first Crazy Taxi game was invigorating, but this sequel seems far less inspired. Crazy Taxi 2 is set in New York City instead of San Francisco, and as much as I love the Big Apple, its "concrete jungle" seems drab and uninteresting compared to the rolling hills and scenic harbor of the first game. The basic gameplay is unchanged as you pick up people in your convertible cab and shuttle them around to familiar destinations like FAO Schwartz and the Hard Rock Cafe. This time you can pick up groups of passengers, including dudes with big Afros and mimes
(looks like a new icon is in order). Since groups tend to have larger payouts, you'll want to pick them up whenever possible. Crazy Taxi 2 incorporates an unnecessary new "jump" maneuver, which has "gimmick" written all over it. I really wish the developers had fixed the drift controls or spinning tires instead. Also notable is what was removed
from this sequel. You can no longer associate your initials with high scores, and that's a shame. I can only assume Sega lost the technology
since making the first game. There are technical issues as well, including noticeable pop-up and an erratic directional arrow. This time the soundtrack is provided entirely by The Offspring, and as you might imagine, it wears thin in a hurry. Crazy Taxi 2 still retains the arcade flair of the first game, but it feels like a half-hearted follow-up. © Copyright 2010 The Video Game Critic.
Recommended variation: Normal rules
Our high score: SDZ $4,630.98
Publisher: Sega (2001)
Rating: Mature - Adult language and subject matter
Publisher: Hucast.net (2009)
I suspect this shooter was created by the same people who brought us Last Hope
(Dreamcast, 2007), because it shares many of the same irritating
qualities. DUX is a side-scroller with large, well-defined objects that make it look like a Flash game. Sadly, it also plays
like one! The sterile, bright space stations you fly through are incredibly dull, and I hate how your ship tends to get crowded into impossibly tight areas. For once, you'll be glad the collision detection sucks. The game's Z-axis is really hard to gauge, so you can't tell what parts of the scenery you can collide with. In fact, it's really a matter of trial and error to determine how to navigate the stages. As with Last Hope, a shield can be used to block projectiles, and while it's possible to deploy it to the far side of the screen, I really don't see the point. Between lives, the screen flashes a huge "Ready!" on a white screen while playing an annoying sound effect, and my friends despised it. But the worst aspect of DUX is its continue system, which forces you to use all three
continues before ending your game (and entering your initials). Considering each continue supplies you with six lives, that adds up to a whopping 24 lives
you'll need to suffer through. Sorry folks, but a quick game of DUX is not
an option! To be honest, playing DUX for any period of time is something I like to avoid. © Copyright 2009 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Sega (2001)
I'm familiar with the Saturn version of this arcade racer, which was pretty decent despite some horrendous pop-up and headache-inducing music. Thankfully the music has been toned down for this version of Daytona, and the graphics are arcade quality. The game combines simple controls, bright graphics, and pure arcade racing action. I'll take this over a tedious Nascar-style game any day. There's a two-player split screen mode, but it's real selling point is the ability to race on-line against three other players. There are eight beautiful, well-designed tracks and four cars to choose from. If there's one thing I can criticize, it's probably the control. Once your car begins to slide, it seems impossible to regain control. But fans of the original arcade game should approve. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Tecmo (2000)
Just when you thought 3D fighters were getting boring, Dead or Alive 2 breathes new life into the genre with fantastic graphics and original new features. The visuals are awesome - even better that Soul Calibur, and the flowing garments and photo-realistic hair look especially impressive. The women fighters are drop-dead gorgeous, and the bosses look bizarre. The backgrounds are less fantastic than Soul Calibur, but many arenas are multi-tiered, allowing you to knock your opponent off a high ledge and continue fighting below. Other stages allow you to fight in water or snow environments. The control takes a bit of getting used to. It only requires three buttons, but makes use of both the analog and digital controls. The moves are very imaginative, so you'll see wild maneuvers you've never seen before. You also have the ability to smash your opponent into walls. We've seen that before, but never done this well. The playing mode include story, tag team, and even a four-player battle!! Dead or Alive 2 has it all. The music and sound could be better, but that doesn't detract from this high quality fighter. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
Death Crimson OX
Publisher: Sammy (2001)
This light gun game is one of the oddest Dreamcast titles you'll ever come across. Death Crimson is no House of the Dead, but like most light gun games, it'll hold your attention for a while. The main story mode features as incoherent plot about monsters invading a town. Your main goal is to blow the monsters away, but you'll also need to keep an eye out for innocent civilians. As far as enemies go, this game is all over the board. There are skeletons, zombies, robots, giant bugs, and giant robot bugs. Some of the bosses are so bizarre and "out there" that I couldn't tell if they were supposed to be funny or disturbing. As you run around town and through warehouses, there are plenty of extraneous targets for you to shoot as well including lights, windows, and power-ups. To be honest, the weapon power-ups didn't seem to have any effect. The game moves at a steady pace, and the action is nonstop, but the jazzy background music seems totally out of place. Death Crimson is an odd light gun game that doesn't make a whole lot of sense. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
Demolition Racer: No Exit
Publisher: Infogrames (2000)
Publisher: Capcom (2000)
Publisher: Sega (1999)
Our high score: 80950
1 or 2 players
Ecco The Dolphin: Defender of the Future
Publisher: Sega (2000)
Elansar & Philia
Publisher: Hucast (2015)
This package offers two separate games: Elansar and Philia. Both are point-and-click adventures in the tradition of Myst
(Jaguar, 1995). Myst was pretty popular in the mid-90's, but that may have been more due to its surreal graphics than its obtuse puzzles. If you're looking for a slow-paced, thought-provoking experience, this two-disc set is a good deal. In both games you move a cursor around the screen, clicking to interact with objects and navigate a computer generated landscape. I would highly
recommend using a Dreamcast mouse because dragging that cursor across the screen using the analog stick is just tedious. Elansar lets you explore a deserted island, collecting random items like a bracelet, hammer, and piece of rock. The static island scenery is sharp and colorful, and the sound of waves pounding the surf is immersive. As you sweep the cursor across the screen it will become an arrow if you can move or a hand if you can grab something. The problem is, the game doesn't always make much sense and it feels like you're just trying to exhaust every possibility. Somebody went through the trouble of incorporating rumble support for the Dreamcast controller, and it's effective. If only they bothered to incorporate some way to save your progress! Navigating the island is disconcerting to say the least. The screens aren't arranged in a neat grid as you might expect. I enjoyed Philia a lot more, as it keeps you in confined areas full of mini puzzles and treasure-hunting challenges. The landscapes are surreal and dreamlike, and the jazzy background music is relaxing. Elansar and Philia will probably put most gamers to sleep, but cerebral types will appreciate this thoughtful combo. © Copyright 2015 The Video Game Critic.
Evil Dead: Hail to the King
Publisher: THQ (2000)
I've been an Evil Dead fan for many years, often citing Evil Dead 2 as one of the greatest movies of all time. No other film has so effectively combined action, horror, and humor. And just for this game, actor Bruce Campbell has returned to lend his voice to the main character, Ash. So as you can imagine, I was pretty disappointed when I realized how mediocre this game is. The gameplay is almost exactly like Resident Evil, right down to storing items in chests. One difference is that all relevant items shine like beacons, eliminating the element of exploration. I enjoyed the audio track, with sound effects ("I'll swallow your soul!") and music taken directly from the film. The background graphics are outstanding and a feast for the eyes. I love being about to walk around that old cabin and explore the surrounding areas. The pre-rendered rooms and outdoor areas capture the spirit of the movie very well. If only the monsters looked so good. But no, the ghosts, zombies, and skeletons are so incredibly blocky that it's almost comical. And the control is a nightmare too. Ash is slow at turning and constantly getting stuck in the scenery. And if you thought battling monsters with a chainsaw would be fun, think again. Fighting is nothing but button mashing, and it gets so tiresome that you'll soon try to avoid confrontation altogether. Unfortunately, the creatures regenerate constantly and love to block your path. It's especially painful when you get lost in the endless maze behind the cabin. Hail to the King fails to capture the edginess or humor of the movie, and poor control and repetitive action are like nails in the coffin. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Infogrames (1999)
Expendable brings to mind a game called "One" released on the Playstation a few years back. It's an all out blast-a-thon, with dark environments, aliens, robots, and magnificent explosions. The idea is simple: move around and shoot the hell out of everything in sight. You view the action from up high and behind your man, and a useful strafe feature makes it easy to aim and maximize your damage. The camera angle sometimes moves to the side for no good reason, but this isn't a major problem. Expendable certainly delivers some serious shooting satisfaction! Your firepower is awesome. You can run out of ammo, but there's always plenty more lying around. The levels and bosses are a pretty unspectacular, but at least there are some branching paths and secret side areas. There's a two-player simultaneous mode, but it's way too confusing with all the destruction going on. I like Expendable for its mindless mayhem, but its replay value is pretty low. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
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