Archive for the ‘Dreamcast’ Category
This week we are joined by Chip Cella (@CaptinChaos) to discuss listener William’s topic: What makes a successful console launch? It all ends up being more stories of console launches and discussions on killer apps, but we do manage to cover most mainstream consoles.
This week Rob “Trees” (@treeslounge00) joins us to celebrate the launch Dreamcast title Blue Stinger. Our game club covers the complete campaign with gameplay elements, plot, encounters, and level design. Enjoy a fun and hilarious show that might arguably be better than playing the game itself.
This week Fred is joined by Chip Cella of the B-Team Podcast to discuss one of the few colorful platformers born completely from the 3D generation, despite the first game playing on a 2D plain. Ubisoft’s Michel Ansel all but saved the then struggling developer/publisher and gave way to a challenging but fun series starring a character with no limbs.
Opening Song – Rayman Theme from the original Rayman on PS1
Closing Song – Madder by Groove Armada (Fred incorrectly refers to this song as Hoodlum in the show)
This week Fred is teamed up again by Andy (@damien14273) and Ali (@thealmiesta) of the 42 Level One podcast (@42levelone) to discuss the second and final part of the history of Sonic the Hedgehog. For the second part we cover Sonic’s 3D outings including the sordid tale of Sonic Xtreme (and its many other project names and iterations) as well as all other 3D Sonic titles up to 2006 (Sonic the Hedgehog on 360/PS3/PC). Although it ends badly, trust us, it’s a great ride.
Opening Song – Living in the City from Sonic R (Saturn)
Closing Song – Sonic X Theme from Sonic X cartoon show
This week’s double dose comes from our 9/9/99 podcast and Twitter user @UselessBug. During that podcast I purchased a Dreamcast launch game, Expendable, that looked like a 3D violent Smash TV, check out the video to see if that’s what it actually is.
And the second game came from one of our readers/listeners that requested Street Fighter The Movie: The Game based on the glorious movie of, well, another game. He challenged me to complete it, but he failed to mention a large catch in the game’s design. Can I do it?
This week Fred and Trees set out to talk about console launches and instead dedicate an entire show to the Dreamcast launch. There were a shocking amount of great games that assisted the launch of Sega’s most successful, albeit final, console.
This week Fred and Trees are talking about the Tomb Raider series and its busty protagonist Lara Croft that shadowed the video game as a pop culture icon in the late 1990s. We discuss development, creation, and production of both Core and recent Crystal Dynamics’ vision for Lara and her many adventures.
I can’t explain my love for the light gun. It’s one of the oldest forms of interactive entertainment, dating back to the carnival days where you would fire air rifles at a metal bullseye to make an old man’s hat pop up or a dog bark. Once the gun made the transition to video games it honestly became one of the most lifelike and violent gaming tropes throughout history. Not to get deep with it, but you are pointing a gun at a target, usually alive, and shooting it. There is not other gesture like it, you are shooting a modern device to kill something, virtual or not. At the same time it also doubles as the most simple form of proficiency. I don’t think anyone will claim that being good at Duck Hunt or Lethal Enforcers relates to being a good shot in a shooting range, but it’s got a much higher chance of significance than being able to get a headshot in Call of Duty. Whereas the FPS emulates the concept of aiming and firing a gun with 1:1 responses from a controller, a light gun truly simulates the experience.
Light gun games have been a niche genre, but that doesn’t prevent them from withstanding the test of time and being available on most home consoles and one of the most popular games, even today, in arcades. I guess it’s because despite the maturity implied behind firing a gun, it’s one of the easiest concepts for us to pick up. I’ve been on many adventures thanks to light gun games – whether it’s cleaning up the future in T2: The Arcade Game, battling zombies in a haunted house through House of the Dead, or enjoying some of the worst acting of all time in Mad Dog McCree.
It’s also significant because the light gun is a genre nearly impossible to emulate and doesn’t translate well in today’s technology. While there are exceptions, you will have a hard time playing Crypt Killer properly on a PC running MAME and most HDTV technologies don’t support light guns from the past. Authenticity is as important as the genre itself. This month I’ve decided to dedicate to a timeless style of video game that I always make first priority when buying a new (or old) system: the light gun shooter. Come join me to learn about some of the best, worst, funniest, and definitely weirdest titles to ever grace the hobby of video games. Thanks to my huge CRT television and original hardware, I can even show you videos.
Also Known As: Vampire Savior: Lord of the Vampires in Japan
Ports: Playstation 1, Sega Saturn (as Vampire Savior: Lord of the Vampires in Japan only), PS2 (part of Vampire: Darkstalkers Collection, released only in Japan), Dreamcast (technically, see below, as Vampire Chronicle for Matching Service in Japan only), PSP (as Darkstalkers Chronicle: The Chaos Tower), PS3 (part of Vampire: Darkstalkers Resurrection, released to disc only in Japan)
Digital Release? Yes – As a PSOne game on PSN ($5.99) that works for PS3/PSP/Vita, as Darkstalkers: The Chaos Tower for PSP ($10.00), Part of Darkstalkers Resurrection in the US on XBLA or PSN ($15.00)
This is the game where Capcom went nuts. As the list above suggests, there were several ports of this game and in different forms. So many, in fact, that a brunt of this article is about the ports and differences themselves than the actual game. Darkstalkers 3 released to a very crowded arcade in 1997, most fighters at that time were also developed by Capcom might I add, and thus Darkstalkers 3 was almost unnoticed in an arcade in America. Furthermore, the dwindling US arcade market probably saw it releasing to fewer locations. Originally titled Darkstalkers: Jedah’s Damnation for the US, this title was dropped – I can think of a few reasons why – and the very generic Darkstalkers 3 replaced the title domestically. As it stood in 1997 you could walk into an arcade and choose between Street Fighter III, Street Fighter EX Plus, Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter, and that’s just the Capcom fighers.
This title did away with rounds, substituting for a more versatile life bar that could regenerate in certain instances and multiple life bars were used to decide a round winner. Each time a character depleted a life bar they would separate for a moment and then continue fighting without the other player’s life being regenerated. The special meter now had a “dark force system” that allowed certain special moves to only be performed during certain meter ranges. These complexities were interesting but again they were all mixed into plenty of Capcom’s fighters and even for an enthusiast like me it’s hard to focus on any one game for the time. A new story involving Jedah, a noble being from the demon world that gets resurrected, has decided to rebuild the demon world and use a group of souls to do it. Wouldn’t you guess, it just so happens to be the Darkstalkers clan. Characters Donovan, Huitzil, and Pyron are dropped – guess bosses weren’t a good idea – and four new characters Jedah, Lilith, Q-Bee, and Baby Bonnie Hood (who named her?) are added. Now if you’ve seen characters like Donovan in Darkstalkers 3, bear with me, I’ll explain in a minute. There’s also a hidden character in the arcade game, Shadow, who takes on the moves and attacks of the character he last defeated. To play as Shadow, in the character select screen you want to highlight the character you wish to start off as and press Start 3 times (it’ll be random if you skip this), then highlight random fighter, press start 5 times, and finally press any punch or kick button.
Vampire Hunter 2: Darkstalkers’ Revenge
This was a Japan only 1997 arcade release (update) that came out shortly after Vampire Savior and was an interesting experiment in updating the engine of the previous title. Still, I consider it to be an alteration of Darkstalkers 3 and not Night Warriors. This game brings back the soundtrack of the previous game, removes all of the new characters and retains the 14 character cast list of the previous title as well. Aside from the roster and soundtrack, the entire game is brought into the Darkstalkers 3 engine, animation, and style, move lists are based on the new moves and attacks, the game and rounds function as the newest title, and air chain combos are removed. It basically feels like an experiment that Capcom wanted to do to test if the game’s popularity would change based on retaining the character list of the previous game and I’m guessing omits the new characters due to memory limitations. Before Darkstalkers 3, no characters had ever been removed from the game, only added.
Vampire Savior 2
This was another 1997 Japan only experiment released alongside Vampire Hunter 2 that switched around the roster at the cost of removing characters to keep it at 15 fighters. This further suggests that memory limitations are responsible for the shortened list, especially with the integration of all fighters in most home ports. In this version the roster gets rid of Sasquatch, Rikuo, and John Talbain to bring back Donovan, Huitzil, and Pyron. As I never much cared for the boss characters and Sasquatch and John Talbain (werewolf guy) are two of my go-to fighters, I find this to be a very poor updated. As with its simultaneous tweaked brother, this game is identical to Darkstalkers 3 save for the roster tweak.
I don’t know if it was due to the end of the Darkstalkers series – with arcades dying out and a bunch of fighters being cranked every few months by Capcom to both arcades and consoles all while the genre was dying – but Capcom handled releasing home versions of Darkstalkers 3 much like the arcades. The most abundant version is the Playstation port, which features the entire roster of Darkstalkers characters, totaling 18, as well as playable versions of four secret characters including the aforementioned Shadow, Dark Talbain (color and sprite change, moveset the same), Oboro Bishamon (secret character from Night Warriors now playable), and Marionette (secret mode in Hunter 2 and Savior 2 turned into character, she retains attributes of your current opponent). This was clearly a throw everything at the wall move that makes for the most complex and full version of the game to date. Much like Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 there are some who think integrating all characters throws off the balance of the game, although with this series and its many releases I tend to disagree. The port was decent, most of the animation was smooth, load times were still a bit of a problem, and the graphics were okay. I’m biased due to the fact I have played and own the Saturn port that was released to Japan only.
Saturn’s version, known as Vampire Savior due to its Japan only status, utilized the cartridge port to add 4MB of RAM and make for near arcade perfect animation and graphics. It was packaged with the game when it released in Japan, although to play it on an American system required the Pro Action Replay that also acts as a 4MB RAM cart. This version also compiles a hybrid of all versions of Darkstalkers 3 with all 15 original characters and the three omitted for a total of 18 characters. Shadow can also be used but Marionette didn’t make it over. Additionally, as far as I’m aware, Dark Talbain and Oboro Bishamon are not playable, but can still be fought like in the arcade.
In 2000, via Capcom direct, a hybrid of all the Darkstalkers games entitled Vampire Chronicle for Matching Service (sounds better in Japanese) released in Japan only for Dreamcast. This game took all of the characters, all of the fighting styles, and all of the assets from the three (technically five) games and made one giant game. Additionally online play was added. If the Playstation Darkstalkers 3 is like UMK3 then this is the Mortal Kombat Trilogy version. This title was re-released to all territories on the PSP as Darkstalkers Chronicle: The Chaos Tower in 2004, although online play was cut for ad-hoc play.
Finally the Playstation 2 yet again collected all five games, although separated and not fused together like Chronicle, in the Vampire: Darkstalkers Collection in Japan. With Vampire Savior you literally select which of the three arcade versions you wish to play, but there’s no way to play a hybrid version like on the Playstation or Saturn ports. Also the XBLA/PSN version of Darkstalkers Resurrection features only the original arcade version of Darkstalkers 3 and does not include the updated versions or any hybrids of such.
This week Trees returns and we are talking about the Japanese developer Treasure, best known for some of the most impressive games on Sega’s consoles (Gunstar Heroes, Radiant Silvergun, Guardian Heroes, and Ikaruga) as well as Nintendo’s later consoles (Bangai-O and Sin & Punishment). We discuss the company origins, values, and of course the entire library of this impressive developer.
Below is a video of an unreleased (canceled) title, Tiny Toons: Defenders of the Universe. The beta that was presumably used as a trade show demo eventually leaked on the internet. We have acquired it and played it on an original, modded, PS2. Enjoy!