Phantasy Star Online

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While the old series was more or a less a compeitior to Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy, PSO was in a class of it’s own. ~Adam R.

Phantasy Star Online

While Sonic Team might be constantly criticized for never really getting Sonic right when 3D came along, their magnum opus during the Dreamcast era was Phantasy Star Online. Which revived the classic Phantasy Star series after a 7 year break.

Phantasy Star Online

 While the old series was more or a less a compeitior to Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy, PSO was in a class of it’s own. The only thing like it were MMOs like Everquest on PC. It was to be played online as players can choose different classes and join other players to conquer levels and defeat bosses.
Phantasy Star Online
 The game later came out with different editions like a 2nd version with new content on Dreamcast. After the “death” of the Dreamcast, Sega ported an enhanced version on Nintendo Gamecube. There was also an Xbox version later on, but oddly it’s unplayable now since it had no offline mode and the online service for the original Xbox is gone.
Phantasy Star Online
This was one of the games I was always meaning to get, but never did. I never had broadband (until 2005) or got the internet adapter for Gamecube which was a big reason for it. Unless they come out with a Xbox Live Arcade version, I doubt I’ll ever get the chance to try it out. I hear the sequels never recaptured the magic of the original.

Blue Stinger

Blue Stinger - Sega Dreamcast

Blue Stinger (1999)
By: Climax Graphics / Activision  Genre: Survival Horror  Players:  Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: Sega Dreamcast  
Also Available For: Nothing

As game systems get more and more powerful over the years it’s only natural that the games played on them will evolve to make better use of them too, and occasionally new genres appear. One such genre was arguably started by Alone in the Dark which appeared in 1992 for the PC but I don’t think anyone would deny it was the arrival of Capcom’s Resident Evil series which really saw it take off. This genre came to be known, of course, as survival horror, but it’s one that’s never really taken a hold of me. Despite this, I bought Blue Stinger at the Dreamcast’s launch and looked forward to exploring its world. Is that because it promised something more than existing survival horror games, or would I once again fail to be ensnared by this burgeoning genre?

Blue Stinger - Sega Dreamcast

In all honesty it was probably just excitement over the Dreamcast’s arrival which prompted the purchase of this game, but it does have a few differences to earlier games of its type. It’s set in the Gulf of Mexico in the vicinity of the Yacutan Peninsula. As we’re shown in the fairly decent intro sequence, this was the site of the immense meteor strike which brought to an end the age of the dinosaur. Fast forward to the year 2000 and a mysterious island is all that remains after a huge earthquake hits the presumed site of the meteor impact, and it becomes known as Dinosaur Island. It isn’t long before the island is occupied by a shady biotech corporation called Kimra. Nearly twenty years later, ESER (Emergency Sea Evacuation and Rescue) member, Eliot Ballade, is fishing in the area while on vacation with a friend when something falls from the sky, heading towards the island.
Blue Stinger - Sega Dreamcast

Soon after the island is struck by what appears to be a meteor, an energy barrier appears around it which traps Eliot’s friend, and almost capsizes their boat in the process. Needless to say, Eliot awakens on the island with only a blue, floaty creature called Nephilim for company. Urging Eliot to follow her, it’s at this point your adventure begins. To begin with you’ll just have Eliot to control but before long you’ll meet some friendly characters – Janine King, a member of the security force on the island who most of your contact with is via computer/viewscreen, and Dogs Bower, a resident of the island. From this point on you can select either Eliot or Dogs to explore the mysterious island with. Eliot is faster and more agile, Dogs is stronger and can take more damage. But damage from what, I hear you ask? The majority of Blue Stinger is a adventure game – explore the various buildings and other areas, solve simple puzzles or find items to progress, etc, but there are also some less-than-friendly creatures on the loose.
Blue Stinger - Sega Dreamcast

As you might expect from a survival horror game, the island is occupied by some horrifying creatures as well. Many of these used to be human by the looks of it, but I don’t think they’re zombies. Whatever they are, they waste little time in tearing chunks out of Eliot and Dogs if they get the chance. To begin with, your only means of fending them off is your fists but it isn’t long before you’ll start finding some more effective weapons. These come in two groups. Short-range weapons include the trusty baseball bat (do these things actually get used for playing baseball?), axe, even a light-sabre type device. Far more effective (and safer), but with finite ammunition, are the long-range weapons. These include the standard handgun and shotgun, a couple of more originals ones in the acid gun and plasma gun, and the supremely satisfying bazooka!
Blue Stinger - Sega Dreamcast

Some of these weapons can be found surreptitiously laying around, but they can also be bought at one of the various (automated) shops you’ll come across. It’s the same for ammunition, although this can also be found on some of the dead bodies you’ll periodically encounter. Eeek! Dinosaur Island is a fairly extensive place too. As well as the expected areas like the docks (which is where you start), warehouses, and research facilities, there’s also shops, banks, and all sorts of other places. It’s more like a town than a corporate headquarters – they even have their own currency – the Kimra dollar. This can be found in several places but your first source of it is a dangerous one – the terrifying monsters themselves!
Blue Stinger - Sega Dreamcast

Predictably enough, the hideous creatures increase in both strength and numbers as you progress through the game but it’s worth taking them on rather than running as each will explode in a shower of coins upon defeat! Whilst this does break the illusion a little, they are nonetheless invaluable sources of money which is needed to make decent progress. Money can also be found in a few other places, as can numerous other items. Some of them are useful but not very exciting such as keys, bank and ID cards, stamps, etc. Others are a bit more interesting but less useful such as an array of new t-shirts! Various foods and ‘Hassy’ drinks can also be found or bought which replenish your energy level to a varying degree depending on what you consume.
Blue Stinger - Sega Dreamcast

One of the biggest attractions of games like this is their realism which is probably why they, as a genre, were born relatively recently as a result of the ever-increasing power of home systems. After all, only so much realism could be achieved on the older and more limited cartridge and disc-based machines! Accordingly, considering it was one of the first Dreamcast games, Blue Stinger is a fantastic-looking game. The intro and cut-scenes are great (although the lip-syncing is a little ropey) and this was one of the first games on any system to feature a fully-3D game environment. The scale and atmosphere this helps to convey is pretty darn good and all the characters, especially the gruesome monsters, look superb. Some of the boss monsters are enormous and mightily impressive!
Blue Stinger - Sega Dreamcast

The various areas of the game have been well thought-out too and the attention to detail is top-notch. For example, the game apparently takes place near Christmas as there are decorations and jingly music around the shopping area! The voice-acting, whilst not cringe-inducing, is a little below-par but the rest of the music is of a high standard too. Some of it’s creepy as you would expect, but that Christmas tune is brilliant. There’s something very surreal about shooting the crap out of disgusting, mutated creatures while music as happy and jolly as that is playing! A vast majority of the game is viewed from a third-person perspective and, mercifully in my opinion, control over Eliot/Dogs is more akin to Tomb Raider than Resident Evil which gives the game a lot more immediacy and is greatly beneficial to the enjoyment of the game.

Blue Stinger - Sega Dreamcast
And enjoyable it is too. The graphics, sound, presentation, etc are all about as good as you could expect for a Dreamcast launch title and they still impress today but for one problem – the camera. Yep, it was a familiar story in the late 90’s. The view of the action is very good until you find yourself in a cramped corner or something similar, at which point it doesn’t seem to know where to go! That said, it’s not a game-ruining problem and it shouldn’t dissuade you from playing Blue Stinger. The story is engrossing and the interaction between the characters is superb with some amusing banter between them all. The shady Dogs rarely seems at ease with Eliot and even less so when Janine’s around (I suspect he’d be ever more incensed if he knew about the revealing pics Sega hid away of her on the game disc!).

Blue Stinger - Sega Dreamcast

Aside from the camera problem there really isn’t and bad points to this game. There’s a genuine urge to unravel the mystery and see how things end and there’s a good 10-15 hours of tense and atmospheric gameplay before you’ll get to find that out. There’s also enough secrets and small side-quests to encourage multiple play-throughs and it’s enjoyable each time. A survival horror beginner I may be, but I’d like to think I know a good game when I see one, and this is certainly that.

RKS Score: 8/10

Jet Set Radio

jet set radio

The beautifully designed, awesomely soundtracked game from the Sega Dreamcast is now only 99 cents on Google Play.  Originally released by Sega in 2000 the game features a gang of rebellious teens who skated around a beautifully cartoonish cell shaded town collecting spray cans to paint designated targets all while jamming to impressive beats.

jet set radio

All this holds up in the Android port however, what does not is the controls. Back on the Dreamcast it still took many a while to get used to the controls especially when preforming tricks to get to those hard to reach places. On the screen pad it is nearly impossible. Perhaps mobile gaming pros will have no issues, but if any game was made to go with a Bluetooth controller it is this one.

jet set radio

Another complaint is its size. At 1.3GB’s it can be a lot for people with smaller storage spaces and if your phone is kind of old there have been reports of crashes. If you have a newer phone then it isn’t an issue and with an external controller the game is just as fun as I remember.

So check it out for only 99 cents on Google play and rejoice in retro and classic gaming having a home on mobile devices.

My Favorite Games: Part 8

My Favorite Games

Saturn Bomberman – Saturn (1997)

Sega Saturn - Bomberman

The Bomberman series is unquestionably one of my favourite series’ of all-time and it’s almost unanimous that this Saturn-exclusive version is the best. Unlike many who view the Bomberman games exclusively as multi-player games, I personally really enjoy the single player modes on most of them too. The simple pleasure of trapping enemies and blowing them up, gradually powering-up our White Bomber hero, and progressing through the stages is one that I enjoy a lot, and the stages in this release are the most inventive and feature-laden yet. However, no one can question the frenetic fun of a multi-player Bomberman session and this is another area in which SB excels – it’s possible to have up to ten players simultaneously battling away here and it’s among the most fun that can be had in any game!

Hydro Thunder – Dreamcast (1999)

Hydro Thunder - Sega Dreamcast

For some reason water-based racing games are few and far between to begin with, but good ones are unfortunately even rarer. For this reason, I thought Midway’s Hydro Thunder may be a special treat even before I first gripped the steering wheel, but a few short, heart-pounding, sweaty-palmed minutes later I knew for sure! There’s no fancy options screens or championship modes to mess around with here – simply choose from the selection of ‘space boats’ and blast away! The courses are fantastically themed and designed, and are full of features, shortcuts, huge jumps, and other racers to jostle for position with. The water physics here aren’t as convincing as something like Wave Race but that’s not really the point – this is a fast-paced arcade racer through and through, and what a rush!

Robocod – MegaDrive (1991)

Robocod - Sega MegaDrive

Released by EA before they sucked, this sequel to the entertaining underwater adventure, James Pond, bore little resemblance to its forebear aside from the inclusion of the main character himself, and even he is barely recognisable! To enable our hero to engage in non-water-based tomfoolery, he has been equipped with a robotic exoskeleton, but the Robocop puns end there as he embarks on a bizarre platform-based quest across many large, strangely-themed levels to save Christmas from Dr Maybe! As well as being a superbly designed game, Special Agent Bond’s second mission is a treat for the eyes and ears too. It may not have as many background colours as the Amiga version but it’s superior in pretty much every other way, and provides a long and entertaining challenge with a surprise around every corner.

John Madden Football – 3DO (1995)

John Maddon Football - 3DO

Given my well-known intense dislike of EA, some may be surprised to see this here, but I didn’t always hate them. In the MegaDrive days in particular, EA were awesome and one of their best games was John Madden Football. This was the first version of the series to appear on a 32-bit system and, as great as the MD games were, it made a big difference. Bigger sprites, great commentary from Madden, video clips, countless game options and stats, more plays than ever, a floating camera that follows the action closely, and the ability to play as legendary teams from the past made this the definitive US Football game to have ever been seen at that time, and it’s still my favourite to play. Some games are great fun but too arcadey, some are too intricate and take too long to learn. This was just right. Plus, it’s the only game where I’ve actually managed to win the SuperBowl!

Chuckie Egg – Dragon 32 (1983)

Chuckie Egg - Dragon 32

Few platformers were as popular as this one in their day. Every version that I’ve played is at least good, but the rather garishly-coloured Dragon 32 version is the one I’ve spent by far the most amount of time playing. My good friend Luke had a Dragon around the time I first met him and we would spend many hours trying to play through this. The game apparently cycles through the eight single-screen stages five times but I’ve had the skill to prove this. Luke was always better at Chuckie Egg than me but even he couldn’t get that far! Still, despite its hideous background (which seemed perfectly normal at the time), this is a great version of the egg-collecting classic, and the only version Luke and I have played which enabled you to perform a few little tricks which greatly helped our progress!

 

Sega Rally Championship 2

Sega Rally Championship - Sega Dreamcast - Gameplay Screenshot

The release of Sega Rally Arcade Online for XBLA got my blood pumping for some “arcade-style” racing, my favorite style, as I’ve mention in the past (see Quick Take-Ridge Racer). Not that I have anything against sims, but just popping a quarter (or 2, or 4) into a machine, squishing my ass into the driver’s seat meant for a teenager, grabbing the grease-smeared steering wheel, and hitting the accelerator (what’s a brake petal?), is what video game racing is to me.
Having recently acquired Sega Rally Championship 2 for the Dreamcast, I’ve finally found a little time to see it in action. Being a port of an arcade game, I wanted to see how the DC hardware would compare….and luckily, I immediately felt like I had an arcade cab in my home.

Sega Rally Championship - Sega Dreamcast - Gameplay Screenshot
The graphics of SRC2 are tremendous. Jumping right into a game, I noticed the frame-rate is top notch and the backgrounds move fluidly. Didn’t really notice any slowdowns, shudders, or jumps. I was a little worried how it look, but pleasantly surprised. The weather effects look nice, and handle accordingly. Being a hater of the brake petal, I learned quickly that I’ll have to adapt to the elements (ice, gravel).
Now that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the options:

Sega Rally Championship - Sega Dreamcast - Gameplay Screenshot

There are a great number of tracks (a lot will have to be unlocked), but it seems like just under 20. Also, a number of themes, including desert, city, mountains, snow, rainy, etc…. 8 cars to start (some reason I like the Celica), each with their pros and cons, and there will be a number more to unlock (again, somewhere around 20). Add all of that together, and that’s a lot of options. One of my Ridge Racer complaints was a lack of variety, SRC2 doesn’t disappoint there.
Other features:

Sega Rally Championship - Sega Dreamcast - Gameplay Screenshot
You can use the 1st-person or behind-the-car looks, as well as split-screen for the head-to-head competition

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There’s the Time Trial mode, the regular Arcade mode, and a 10-year Championship mode that I haven’t yet tried.

You can also choose your “co-driver” who shouts out when there’s going to be a turn or jump, a feature that I found cool and fun. And for those of you who like to tinker with your rides, you can do that as well… modding your tranny, brakes, tires, etc…

Sega Rally Championship - Sega Dreamcast - Gameplay Screenshot
I’m just getting into the game, so this is a very “quick” take, but I’ve played enough to know what I like…
To summarize, SRC2 is a beautiful port of a very fun arcade racer, with smooth gameplay, and enough variety in vehicles/courses to keep you coming back.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5kbtwSRDCo[/youtube]

Old Game Reviewer reviews classic and retro games, you can check out more of his great work on his blog here – Old Game reviewer.

GunLord Relaunch

dreamcast_regular_edition

Coming soon for the Sega Dreamcast is the classic platform shooter GunLord. GunLord is a Eurostyle Platformer with emphasis on exploring huge worlds and blasting off enemies. This game features 8 stages of exciting 2D game play with over 45 unique enemy types. Blast yourself through giant landscapes, explore caverns and reveal all secrets!!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HohDEQpIRMw[/youtube]

The game features:

8 Huge Stages

16-bit Hand-drawn Graphics

Non-linear action with 8-way scrolling

Big Bad Boss Enemies

Constant 60 fps

Internet Ranking via Code

L1 Boss (Ludger)

You can preorder GunLord for the following systems:

Sega Dreamcast

Neo Geo MVS

Neo Geo AES

SEGA Dreamcast: Must have Collection

Sega Dreamcast Collection Box
Sega Dreamcast Collection Box

Mark your calendar Dreamcast fans February 22nd is the day for you. Sega will be releasing a special package compilation featuring some of the most popular classic titles from the Sega Dreamcast. Not only will you be able to get these if you have an Xbox 360, but it is also being released for the Microsoft Windows PC digital download.

Let’s talk games. This package include:

  • Sonic Adventure
  • Crazy Taxi
  • Bass Fishing
  • Space Channel 5 Part 2

The collection will feature enhanced graphics in addition to achievement’s and online leaderboards for Xbox Live.

“The Dreamcast console is still remembered as a pioneering console for online gaming,” commented Gary Knight, VP of Marketing at SEGA of America and SEGA Europe “We are delighted to be able to offer to our large community of dedicated fans a collection such as Dreamcast Collection for them to enjoy old favorites on this Xbox 360 and Windows PC.”

David Costarigot: Zallag

Zallag logo
Zallag logo

Name: David Costarigot

 

Company: Zallag

 

Profession: Co-founder and Managing Director

 

Favorite Classic Game: Skies of Arcadia (Dreamcast and GameCube)

 

Quote: I actually discovered this game a little later than most gamers. As I didn’t own a Dreamcast I had to wait for the GameCube release a few years later. It was unfortunately not a big hit in France and quite difficult to find in stores. Despite these accessibility issues, I’ve had tremendous fun playing this game. I think it’s the RPG that occupied me for the longest time (120 hours). I’ve completed the main story and almost all of the secondary missions. This game is a must-have in my opinion because of:

  • Its unique universe (a whole world floating in the sky, flying ships, a great variety in the different areas…)
  • Its great sky battles with the flying ships.
  • It’s really captivating scenario.

 

All in all it’s the general atmosphere that fascinates me and the adventure actually reminds me of Star Wars mixed with the universe of pirates!

A very unique game which unfortunately didn’t have any sequel.


 

Bio: Established in 2009, Zallag is the first video games publisher specialized in the publishing, the distribution and the promotion of dematerialized games. Zallag is interested in all current platforms (WiiWare, Nintendo DSiWare, XBOX Live, PlayStation Network and PC) and also offers comics to extend the universe of its games.

 

Christelle Chandavoine and David Costarigot are both co-founders of Zallag. After more than 10 years of experience in the video game industry, they have decided to devote all their energy to the dematerialization market, which is currently in high growth. The tremendous success of Trine (digitally sold on PlayStation 3 and PC) on which they worked on speaks for itself: the game was granted the Editor’s Choice Award of the Best Downloadable Game (E3 2009).

 

 

Current Event:

  1. 1. We release in December 2010 the Minis version (Playstation Network) of the amazing iPhone game “SHIFT”. Called “SHIFT extended” and compatible with both PS3 and PSP, this version will offer twice the content from the original game.
  2. 2. We have just released Gods vs Humans for WiiWare and PC. A nice mix of a Tower Defense game and a God Game with adorable characters 😉

Commercial Wars: Best use of Awesome

awesomeness demotivational poster Barley
awesomeness demotivational poster Barley

A great commercial like a great movie trailer can really hype people up to go see or buy it. Sometimes the video is much better than the game, but sometimes you are surprised to find the trailer matches the film. When a company takes the time to put real money and effort into a video game commercial and it comes out awesome it earns respect regardless of the game. This week we take a look at some of the best video game commercials that just look awesome in the way it was put together.

Sega Dreamcast: Thief

The Sega Dreamcast was one of the most awesome consoles that never really got the credit it should have. This commercial embodies the awesomeness of the console and the games behind it. You have to love when a company takes a movie-like approach to a game. The action, the humor and even the dialog all match and you spend the entire time into what’s going on. By the time you see the final splash telling you about the Dreamcast you’ve already purchased it.

Call of Duty: A Soldier in All of Us

Sure, this is a brand new commercial, but as we said Obsolete Gamer profiles good games regardless of when it was made. In this case the game takes a cool thought that we are all playing this war game and we come from different backgrounds. I love the fact that they add many different types of people and it comes together so well that you have to give it its praise. There was just enough humor and spirit to complement the action, beautifully done.

Halo Reach: Deliver Hope

Yet another modern game and yet another spectacular display of visuals with a perfect blend of music, heart and action. You did not need to hear loud booming explosions. You did not need to hear the screams of the dying. You did not need to hear one word, all was told to you visually with a light side dish of audio mastery. Yes, a commercial can do all that and “Deliver Hope” did it.

Vote or Die

Here we have three different action oriented videos that deliver awesome and so much more. Now the question is which one of the three did it best? The choice is yours.

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