Archive for the ‘Dreamcast’ Category
Altered Beast was a game that lived in screenshots. Like it or not, the arcade System 16 classic was less known for the roller skating rinks, bars, and bowling alleys that it was intended to get popular on and instead became the poster child for early Genesis advertising. I say this as someone who was under 10 years old at the time it premiered, though, so perhaps it was burning up the arcades, but all I seem to remember was it coming home. I did get a chance to play the title in coin-op form at my local bowling alley, but after a handful of attempts that never got me further than the second level I gave up on replaying the game. When it came home, however, I needed it on my Genesis and I replayed it constantly. In fact, for a game that is not only easy but also quick to complete (probably about 30 minutes), I find myself replaying it more than most other games from my past. This even more odd given that, sadly, Altered Beast is not a very good game.
The premise is that of a centurion of Greece brought back by Zeus to save Athena, his daughter, who has been kidnapped. Upon your resurrection, you now gain the ability to take the form of different animals in a sort of “were-” hybrid (werewolf, weredragon, werebear, etc) that can be accomplished by collecting power-ups in the level. Beyond that Altered Beast is nothing more than a walk to the right and beat up everything in your path game, often known today as a brawler, but given that it pre-dates most of the Konami licensed brawlers and Capcom’s Final Fight, it was significant for the time. Levels can vary in length, but if you know the game in the least – and what needs to be done – you’ll clear each one in 5 minutes or less. Given that there’s only 5 levels, that’s a short time span. When I refer to knowing what needs to be done, that’s the need to destroy the albino wolves in each level, which contain the power-ups needed to make your character’s strength grow and eventually trigger “beast mode.” Each level rotation has 3 albino wolves and it takes 3 power-ups to go into beast mode, so you have to do it right the first time through or go through another rotation of the level that is usually harder than the first. Beast mode refers to your character transforming into the aforementioned were-beasts from earlier and has even crept its way into pop culture as a meme. While there are new enemies in each level, they all take basically the same amount of hits to defeat and aside form some basic change in behavior, don’t differentiate very much. That’s still not to say this game didn’t have talent behind it because designer Makoto Uchida would earn some notoriety for his future work on Golden Axe and a personal favorite Dynamite Deka (Die Hard Arcade series). Co-designer Hirokazu Yasuhara is even more notable with his planning and design on the early Sonic the Hedgehog titles before moving on and being involved in the design of Jak & Daxter titles with Naughty Dog and eventually the first Uncharted.
Happy Halloween from Gaming History 101! To celebrate we had Fred tackle Splatterhouse 2, a game he tragically had not played until today. Can he overcome the house of horrors and save Jennifer?
Warning: Both videos contain adult language and gameplay violence.
Then to lighten things up Fred moves over to the Dreamcast to play through Typing of the Dead.
The life simulator genre is quite popular in Japan, but it seems that every time it makes its way to America or Europe, the titles are mostly seen with contempt. A handful of games have transcended the trip from the East to the West, but these titles have appeared more recently save for the one standout: Shenmue. Originally planned as an AM2 title for the Saturn led by Yu Suzuki, Shenmue ended up being a near-launch Dreamcast game that was seen as an influential powerhouse for gamers of the time. It now sits as one of those games that is only appreciated by the smaller avid fan community, but looking back at reviews almost every outlet that existed in 2000 loved it. Although it has now been 15 years since its release – and despite the fact that until recently I had never played it – Shenmue‘s draw, attributes, and puzzling attraction are just as present now as they were the day it released.
Fred has never played Shenmue and wants to see what all the fuss is about after the announcement of Shenmue 3. Each day, he and a few great viewers delve into this long title for approximately one hour in a quest to complete it and see what it has to offer. These recordings are from nightly livestreams on twitch.tv/gh101 every night in July at midnight Eastern (5:00 am GMT). This playlist and post will update automatically as a playlist on YouTube. Until the game is completed there will be no future posts, feel free to head to the YouTube channel or simply search “Shenmue” on our site to find it.
This week Fred and Jam are throwing around fighters of the 90s (that aren’t Street Fighter II or Tekken, we did a show for those already). In the 1990s, the fighter genre was the most popular type of game available (like First Person Shooters today), and among those that have withstood the test of time there were plenty of others that played the field. From Mortal Kombat to Soulcalibur you had plenty of arcades (and home ports) to drink your quarters in arcades.
Console: Playstation, Dreamcast, PC
Digital Release? Yes, PSN version compatible with PS3, PSP, and Vita for $5.99
Price: $7.50 (disc only), $10.00 (complete), $35.00 (sealed) per Price Charting
Dino Crisis really sounds like a winning formula if, like me, you are are fan of survival horror and dinosaurs. What could possibly go wrong? Well its time to revisit this Sony Playstation 1999 release and see if it stood the test of time or should have remained extinct.
Dino Crisis released when survival horror was hitting a peak in the industry, at least in terms of the “tank-like” control system. The Sony Playstation had plenty of games like it to offer. In the same year Dino Crisis released we also saw Silent Hill from Konami and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis also from Capcom. Interesting to note: Shinji Mikami – creator of the original Resident Evil – was heavily involved in the production of this game so much so his name was put on the front of the box in hopes it would sell the game. Clearly something worked as Dino Crisis managed to sell over one million copies.
This week we are tackling quite possibly the two most popular titles of survival horror: Resident Evil 2 and Silent Hill 2. Resident Evil 2 was scrapped only a few months before completion and completely redone, resulting in many of the staples that carried the franchise forward and stands as a fan favorite. Meanwhile Silent Hill 2 waited until the Playstation 2 hit the market and with one of the creepiest atmospheres of all times redefined what horror gaming could be. We openly discuss the notable aspects of both.
This week we are talking about Capcom’s survival horror titles in a dinosaur-infested facility, Dino Crisis and Dino Crisis 2. A testing ground for new survival horror mechanics, it’s interesting to see the decisions made in what is one of the more interesting two titles of the original Playstation’s late titles.