Dreamcast Reviews W

WWF Attitude
Grade: D
Publisher: Acclaim (1999)
Reviewed: 2001/6/27
Rating: Teen

screenshotThis clunky wrestling game is pretty mediocre by Dreamcast standards. Over 40 of your favorites are here, including The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Kain, and the Undertaker. Each wrestler has a dramatic introduction, but most tend to run too long. The graphics are a disappointment. The polygon count of the wrestlers is pretty low, making them look plastic and artificial. Their movements are fairly smooth, but poor collision detection mars the action as body parts pass through each other on a regular basis. The instruction book does a poor job of explaining the moves and various meters, and matches often turn into punching and kicking contests. Soundwise, the shouts from the crowd are almost as idiotic as the two-man commentary. There are a tremendous number of options which all you to create you own wrestlers, customize the arenas, and even create your own Pay Per View event. WWF Attitude is not a very good game, and only wrestling fans should take a look. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
1 to 4 players 

Wacky Races
Grade: D
Publisher: Infogrames (2000)
Reviewed: 2010/7/24
Rating: Everyone

screenshotIts title is hopelessly generic, but Wacky Races actually features Hanna-Barbara characters that many kids will recognize from the Cartoon network. I even remember a few from the Saturday mornings of my childhood. Wacky Races employs cell-shading to render cartoon visuals that look very clean and well-defined. Prior to each race you assign three weapons/power-ups to the X, Y, and B buttons. The problem is, you have no idea what purpose they serve just by looking at their icons (a birdhouse?), and the instruction manual doesn't help.

The narrow tracks wind through desert roads and mountain passes, and they are hard to navigate. Some sections are so poorly defined you'll need to follow the CPU racers just to figure out where to go! That arrow at the top of the screen is meant to direct you, but it lags behind the action something terrible.

The fact that the cars simply bounce across stretches of water is completely idiotic. Making matters worse is how your vision is often obstructed by other racers, or worse - your own car! Avoid using the "creepy coup" at all costs, because the thing is so tall you can't even see the road! Once you get to know the tracks the races are moderately fun, but the rubber-band AI is atrocious.

Every time I was about to finish in first place, I would be bombarded by missiles, causing me to fall back to fifth place or worse. That especially sucks in the single-player mode which requires you to finish in first place to make any progress! The split-screen mode accommodates up to four players, but my friends were not impressed. Wacky Races represents yet another botched attempt to bring kart racing to the Dreamcast. © Copyright 2010 The Video Game Critic.

1 to 4 players 

Walt Disney World Magical Racing Tour
Grade: C+
Publisher: Eidos (2000)
Reviewed: 2010/7/24
Rating: Everyone

screenshotThis intriguing kart racer features tracks inspired by Disney attractions. The stage selection screen even looks like the Disney World theme park. You can choose from a number of classic Disney characters including Polly Roger, Otto Plugnut, and Moe Whiplash. Huh? Were Mickey and Goofy unavailable? Magical Racing Tour wisely sticks close to the Mario Kart formula, incorporating speed-boost arrows, power-slides, and coins you collect to increase your speed.

The action is fast, the controls are responsive, and I love how the controller vibrates when you drive over bumpy areas. Unlike other racers that employ "rubber band physics", you can actually run away from the pack if you're skilled enough. The single-player mode begins with only one track available, and making progress is quite a challenge. It's fun to see what each track has in store.

Pirates of the Caribbean is the clear highlight, featuring gorgeous scenery that will have you slowing down just to gawk. Space Mountain and Rock-N-Roll Rollercoaster are high-speed thrill rides. Splash Mountain and Jungle Cruise let you race around in speedboats. The wider courses are terrific, but too many tracks have narrow paths and sharp turns, making them hard to follow even in the single-player mode.

The disappointing Haunted Mansion and Jungle Cruise tracks feel like confusing mazes. Another complaint is that the tracks are entirely too long. The weapon selection is okay, but I really hate the teacup which causes your vehicle to move in a very topsy-turvy manner. One power-up temporarily transforms the other racers into frogs, prompting my friend Scott to exclaim, "Dave! I can't believe you frogged me!"

One to four players are supported on the split screen, but the visuals look really murky in this mode, and the sense of speed is lacking. The soundtrack features two awesome songs: "Grim Grinning Ghosts" and "A Pirate's Life For Me". Unfortunately, "It's a Small World" plays over the menu screens, and that atrocity should probably cost the game an entire letter grade. Magical Racing Tour is a decent single-player racer, but all things considered this should have been a lot better. © Copyright 2010 The Video Game Critic.

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1 to 4 players 

Who Wants to Beat Up a Millionaire?
Grade: F-
Publisher: Simon and Schuster (2000)
Reviewed: 2019/5/7

screenshotBilled as a "hilarious parody" of the Hit TV Quiz show, this reprehensible piece of garbage deserves a place in the Video Game Hall of Shame. Who Wants to Beat Up a Millionaire tries to combine trivia with boxing - a match made in Hell! I usually expect a party-like atmosphere whenever I can get four players together, but my friends were just dumbfounded. The host is a loud, obnoxious buffoon and the contestants are unlikeable caricatures.

The character selection screen includes an internet nerd, an oil tycoon, and a blonde floozy. You assume you're choosing your character, but in fact you're selecting who you want to "beat up". Trivia questions are then presented and you "buzz in" and answer via a wildly counter-intuitive user interface.

Typical questions are "who painted the Sistine Chapel?" and "a corner kick can be found in what sport?" Answer correctly and you're allotted a few seconds to beat the crap out of a fellow contestant. You get a first-person view of the carnage, and my friends sat slack-jawed at the sight of an attractive woman being punched repeatedly.

Fortunately the game comes to a merciful conclusion after just a handful of questions. Simon and Schuster has a history of publishing sordid titles including Outlaw Golf (GameCube, 2002) but Who Wants to Beat Up a Millionaire is the worst by far. Now if you'll excuse me I feel like I need to take a shower. © Copyright 2019 The Video Game Critic.

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1 to 4 players 

Wind and Water Puzzle Battles
Grade: B

screenshotThis likeable home-brew combines refreshing anime graphics with twitch puzzle action. The screen is initially full of colored blocks representing wind, fire, earth, water, and metal. You move a diamond-shaped cursor around the screen, highlighting four blocks at a time. By rotating sets of four you can create solid-colored formations, causing the blocks to burst, resulting in an avalanche that can lead to chain reactions.

Once you get past the basics you'll learn how to execute "full combos" (clear an entire color) or "elementals" (burst two different colors at once). I could never fully wrap my brain around the nuances of the game, only executing chains at random. Still, Wind and Water Puzzle Battles is engrossing. The tranquil music and outstanding controls really help you get into a zone.

The story mode has a charming anime style with a girl who walks you through the mechanics while engaging other characters in lighthearted dialog. The developer (Yuan) is actually a character who's trying to finish this game as you play it. Try wrapping your brain around that one! As you traverse the story board you'll unlock various challenges and mini-games - including an Outrun-inspired racer.

There are also arcade, puzzle, and head-to-head modes with full VMU support and a nifty auto-save. It's clear the developer put a lot of TLC into this. Wind and Water Puzzle Battles has a degree of polish and attention to detail even big-budget titles lack. My friends fell in love with this game and there's a really good chance you will too. © Copyright 2016 The Video Game Critic.

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1 or 2 players 

World Series Baseball 2K1
Grade: F
Publisher: Sega (2000)
Reviewed: 2001/4/14
Rating: Everyone

screenshotThis is one gorgeous baseball game with extremely limited gameplay. The graphics are excellent and occasionally stunning, with players that move fluidly and mimic their major league counterparts. Close-ups reveal actual faces that move and even chew bubble gum. The stadiums look just like the real thing, and even the crowd looks impressive. On the downside, the players have a robotic look to them, and the creases in their uniforms are accentuated too much, which looks odd.

There are some neat animations including players blowing bubbles, players congratulating each other, pitchers using the rosenbag, and catchers that visit the mound. The pitcher/batter duel is streamlined so there's no pauses between pitches. The pitching and batting controls are completely different from the traditional style, but it's a welcome change once you get the hang of it.

World Series 2K1 is fast and easy to play, but lacks the control of ALL other baseball games. Fielding is automatic - that's right - you only control the throws, and even those are unresponsive at times. Not being able to control the fielders will devastate most baseball fans, who will really miss not being able to dive for balls.

Other indications that this is a first-generation game include fielders that get a late jump on the ball and don't always make sound decisions. There are too many slow grounders and short pop-ups, and pitchers field way far too many batted balls.

Automatic replays rarely capture the best angle, and unrealistic, 529 foot home runs are all too common. The one-man commentary is sparse. Beware of the incomplete instruction manual, which fails to mention how to perform basic actions like bunting or aiming your pitch. This game probably should not have been released. Better luck next year! © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.

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1 to 2 players 

World Series Baseball 2K2
Grade: B-
Publisher: Sega (2001)
Reviewed: 2001/8/26
Rating: Everyone

screenshotLast year Sega got caught with their pants down, inexplicably releasing an incomplete baseball game with no fielder control. This year I figured they'd come back strong with a robust, polished game with bells and whistles out the wazoo, but it didn't take me long to start picking this game apart. For an arcade-style baseball game, World Series 2K2 doesn't have any glaring flaws, but it does have a huge number of glitches and minor problems.

First, the ball moves too quickly off the bat, making it difficult to flag down grounders or stretch a hit into a double, and outfielders can throw out runners they would never have caught in real life. Players sometimes forget to reach for balls or tag runners, and if they're running away towards the fence, they'll catch the ball with their backs! I actually saw a ball that bounced on the ground ruled a fly out!

Pitchers field too many hits, and every play at the plate is a head-on collision. The single man commentary is incredibly boring, never adds anything to the gameplay, and often lags behind the action. Sometimes he's just plain wrong, like the time he said we were at the "halfway point of the game" - in the ninth inning! And there's absolutely no drama for home runs.

Graphically, the player bodies are modeled well, but their faces don't resemble their real-life counterparts at all. The crowd looks like cardboard cutouts, and the dugouts are completely empty. I think this game came out of the oven a little early. But despite all of these problems, a funny thing happened to me: I couldn't stop playing this game!

I was won over by the easy-to-play, fast paced arcade action. The animation is smooth, and the stadiums look great. Thanks to the simple controls and user-friendly menu interface, I found this game strangely addicting despite its numerous flaws. In fact, I prefer this over any of the PS2 baseball games out there. And what other baseball game offers online play? ? © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.

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1 or 2 players 

Worms Armageddon
Grade: B-
Publisher: Microprose (1999)
Reviewed: 2015/1/27
Rating: Everyone

screenshotIf you're looking for an evening of wacky hijinks and madcap hilarity, all you need is a few friends, a case of beer, and Worms Armageddon. This wacky turn-based strategy game pits up to four players against each other on colorful, randomly-generated 2D battlefields. Two or more teams of worms methodically try to exterminate each other using a vast arsenal of weapons. These range from the conventional (bazooka, grenade, uzi) to unusual (dragon punch, blow torch, baseball bat) to downright bizarre (exploding sheep, skunk, old woman).

Watching the action unfold is a riot, especially since attacks cause chain reactions and unintended consequences. A 46-page (!) instruction book explains the controls, but nothing beats experience for knowing how to properly handle each weapon. Newbies are more likely to blow up themselves than their opponents.

The worms themselves are hilariously animated and sport cute names like "Tagbottom" and "Dr. Spangler." After each move they yell funny lines like "what are you, nuts?!" and "I'm dead meat!" in their high-pitched worm voices. The bass-heavy soundtrack ranges from tranquil mood music to dramatic action themes, and the surround sound totally envelops you.

Competing against friends is always a blast, but the one-player modes are a drag because the CPU takes 20-30 seconds just to calculate each move. In fairness, he does tend to make pretty good decisions. The multiplayer "quick start" option is welcome because the onerous multiplayer set-up screen requires a PHD in rocket science to figure out. But the biggest knock on the game is how all players must pass around the same controller. Despite this ridiculous oversight, Worms Armageddon is still outrageously fun. © Copyright 2015 The Video Game Critic.

1 to 4 players 

Worms World Party
Grade: B+

screenshotWorms ranks right up there as one of the all-time great multiplayer games. The first Worms for the Dreamcast, Worms Armageddon (Titus, 2000), was insanely fun despite the fact players had to share a single controller! World Party addresses that horrible deficiency and delivers the same hilarious, turn-based warfare. There are even crazy new weapons like the "holy hand grenade" of Monty Python fame.

A myriad of customization options are available along with support for online play. You can tweak the action in any number of ways including a shopping mall mode that showers the landscape with items, kung food which limits combat to hand-to-hand, and armageddon which takes place in a sinking toxic wasteland.

The single-player modes are a little tedious since the computer takes his sweet old time, but the multiplayer action is brilliant. Backstabbing is the order of the day, accidental deaths are common, and unholy alliances are formed and disbanded. Trash-talking is optional but highly recommended!

The main problem with World Party is the lack of a quick start option. The set-up screen has got to be the worst-designed interface since... well... Worms Armageddon. A series of panels configures various aspects of the game, but navigation is a mess. With so many confusing sub-screens, nondescript icons, and inconsistent controls, set-up is a chore. Half the time you accidentally quit out on the main screen!

Recently while struggling to set up a game my friends suggested it might be easier to fax a form containing our social security numbers to the developer so they might generate a 64-character code which we could enter into the game just so we could play it. As with most Titus games, the quality control is suspect, but once the mayhem begins Worms World Party is hard to beat. © Copyright 2015 The Video Game Critic.

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1 to 4 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