Dreamcast Reviews D

D2
Grade: C
Publisher: Sega (2001)
Reviewed: 2002/9/19
Rating: Mature - Adult language and subject matter

screenshotD2 is the massive, four-disk sequel to the spooky, puzzle-oriented game 'D' that came out in the mid-90s for the 3DO, Saturn, and other systems. As a haunted house mystery game, 'D' was slow-moving but conveyed an eerie sense of isolation. D2 takes place in an unusual setting: a snowy mountain.

The story begins as the main character, a blonde woman named Laura, is sitting on a plane that's taken over by hijackers belonging to some bizarre cult. The plane is then struck by a meteor (!) and crashes into a mountain. Laura awakes in a snow-covered cabin 10 days after the crash, with no recollection of what happened since. The snowy environment provides a surprising sense of terror and isolation.

As Laura trudges around the snow in her skirt and high heels, she'll investigate deserted places and collect items. The windy sound effects and snow-covered wilderness create a chilling ambiance. Although most of the time Laura is alone, she occasionally has run-ins with mysterious characters that never stick around too long.

Periodically she's accosted by bizarre monsters that appear to be humans with huge plants growing out of them. They look a LOT like the creatures from Sword of the Berserker Guts Rage. You'll hear the Dreamcast drive spin-up before the monsters appear, ruining the surprise every time.

These encounters take you into a first person "battle mode", where you blow away the creeps with your semi automatic weapon. It's an abrupt change of pace, but at least it incorporates some much-needed action into the game. Shooting the monsters is satisfying, but you'll have to deal with clumsy controls and slowdown. D2 does have some genuinely creepy moments, especially when you return to the plane wreckage. Some of the bosses are terrifying, but others are bizarre to the point of being comical.

The storyline is played out in a series of lengthy cut scenes. D2 is interesting for a while, but it really takes a turn for the worse when you enter the mineshaft labyrinth, which is a confusing maze with an endless parade of monsters that all look the same. Although the graphics are decent overall, the people in D2 don't look so hot up close, and their voices aren't synchronized with their mouths.

In terms of audio, excellent sound effects and a creepy piano adds mystery and tension, but the dialogue is pretty bad. You can save your place at any time. D2 is wildly uneven, but the compelling storyline and spooky atmosphere should be enough to keep most people's attention. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.


DUX (Japan)
Grade: F
Publisher: Hucast.net (2009)
Reviewed: 2009/10/28

screenshotI 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.

1 player 

Daytona USA
Grade: B-
Publisher: Sega (2001)
Reviewed: 2001/4/13
Rating: Everyone

screenshotI'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.
1 or 2 players 

Dead or Alive 2
Grade: B+
Publisher: Tecmo (2000)
Reviewed: 2000/4/18
Rating: Teen


screenshotJust 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 modes 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.

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1-4 players 

Death Crimson OX
Grade: D+
Publisher: Sammy (2001)
Reviewed: 2002/9/19
Rating: Teen

screenshotThis 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 an 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.

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1 or 2 players 

Demolition Racer: No Exit
Grade: D+
Publisher: Infogrames (2000)
Reviewed: 2010/9/14
Rating: Everyone


screenshotI've played my share of Demolition Derby-style games, and it never ceases to amaze how easy these are to screw up! Demolition Racer: No Exit offers both smash-up derbies and circuit races. You'd expect the split-screen derbies to be mindless fun, but they're just awful. There's zero sense of mass as you plow into a traffic jam and send cars (and point values) flying all over the place. Even the split-screen mode is unsatisfying because every hit rings hollow.

Circuit racing is better. To advance to the next track you'll need to earn damage points in addition to placing in the top three. While unlocking tracks I discovered quite a bit of strategy. Jumping out to an early lead leaves you with no one to ram into, so it's wise to hang back until the final lap. Once you acquire a turbo boost, wait until you're behind a crowd and plow into them for the big points.

Winning tournaments unlocks mini-games including a car soccer game and even some kind of light gun shooter. Still, Demolition Racer's flaws are hard to overlook. The controls are touchy, and more times than not you'll completely miss the car you're trying to hit. Points earned for crashes never seem to match the magnitude of the collision. Bonus boxes award points, but penalty boxes that look almost exactly the same subtract points from your total! Bogus!!

Demolition Racer is one of ugliest Dreamcast games I've seen. The cars look boxy and the tracks tend to wind through muddy industrial areas. The city track offers a nice respite with its towering skyscrapers and starry night sky. The soundtrack is a hodgepodge of headache-inducing guitar and techno beats. Demolition Racer is mildly amusing for the single player, but the game does too much wrong and not enough right. © Copyright 2010 The Video Game Critic.

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1 or 2 players 

Dino Crisis
Grade: B
Publisher: Capcom (2000)
Reviewed: 2001/1/3
Rating: Mature


screenshotThis is a terrific Resident Evil-style game with dinosaurs instead of zombies, and it plays much like a video game version of Jurassic Park. You control a hot-looking redhead in a tight outfit who is part of a commando team infiltrating a mysterious lab facility on an island. So far, it sounds like every adventure game you've ever played, right? You'll encounter raptors, pterodactyls, and of course, T-Rex.

The good news is, this is just like Resident Evil! The bad news is, this is JUST LIKE Resident Evil. The graphics are smooth and clean, but the lack of detail (like square hands) gives away the fact that this was originally a Playstation game. You'll have to struggle with an overly complex menu system to examine, mix, and equip items. Some of the dialog is pretty corny, and bad camera angles will have you wondering where the heck the raptor is (although you'll hear him). The tension runs high and the puzzles are thought-provoking without being too frustrating. The vibration feature is effective, and the VMU is used to display your health - a neat idea! You can only save your spot in designated "save rooms", but there are enough of these around.

I do have a few digs to get in before I end this review. The analog control is not supported, so you'll be stuck with the D-pad. The map feature has its good and bad points. It indicates which doors you need to open, and highlights the room you're in, but it doesn't indicate WHERE YOU ARE in the room, which is confusing. When your character is hurt, she tracks blood, but other than that she acts completely normal, which looks silly. Finally, although the puzzles are clever, they all fall into three main groups: unlocking doors, rearranging boxes, and turning on power generators. I like Dino Crisis, but it's really just a "by the numbers" adventure. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.

1 players 

Dynamite Cop
Grade: C
Publisher: Sega (1999)
Reviewed: 2008/5/21
Rating: Teen

screenshotI was inspired to re-review Dynamite Cop after an astute reader pointed out that this is actually the sequel (in spirit at least) to Die Hard Arcade (Saturn, 1998)! Both games are structured similarly and feature the same brand of 3D arcade fighting action. In Cop's unoriginal storyline, the president's daughter is being held hostage on a cruise ship by some terrorist freak. Although the bulk of the action takes place on the ship, the story culminates on an island shaped like a massive skull.

Three different missions are available, each offering different (but overlapping) routes through the game. Two players can fight side-by-side while punching, kicking, and shooting their way through gangs of thugs.

There are plenty of weapons lying around. As a general rule, if you can pick it up, you can hit somebody over the head with it. It's satisfying to club a thug with a side of beef, or toss muffins in a rapid-fire fashion! On one occasion my petite female cop actually hurled an entire forklift at some unlucky S.O.B. It's also fun to pick up bad guys and slam their bodies into the ground like they were rag dolls.

There are machine guns and flamethrowers, but the most impressive weapon is the "anti-ship missile" that produces a 100-foot mushroom cloud! There are so many items lying around that you often pick up something new when you really just want to clock some thug with a baguette.

Unfortunately, the game is not nearly as fun as Die Hard Arcade, largely because bad guys can absorb a crazy amount of damage. You can bend one into a pretzel and break every bone in his body, yet he'll still get up and keep fighting! And how many times do I have to shoot a guy in his face at point blank range before I kill the bastard? According to this game, the answer is 20! Oddly enough, punches inflict as much damage as gunshots!

Bosses you'll face include a fat chef who tosses exploding carrots, and an enormous Kraken that somehow found its way into the engine room. This game is cheesy as hell, but if you're in the mood for goofy fighting mayhem, Dynamite Cop serves its purpose. Just don't ask me what that purpose would be. © Copyright 2008 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: 80950
1 or 2 players 


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Screen shots courtesy of IGN.com, Gaming Age Online, Shinforce, Sega.com, Racket Boy, Wikipedia, GameSpot, Video Games Museum, Moby Games, Sega Dreamcast.com, The Dreamcast Junkyard