Panzer Dragoon Orta

 Panzer Dragoon Orta
After giving Sega fans the few bones they could get with the Saturn, Panzer Dragoon stayed dead during the Dreamcast days. However the long awaited sequel did hit the Xbox, and although it didn’t become a RPG like Saga might have left fans thinking where the series might head, it was arguably the best in the series.
Panzer Dragoon Orta
With little question or doubt either. It was easily the best looking PD so far, and it expanded the gameplay with 3 wing forms which could make you faster, or stronger, better shots, etc. The bosses were rather lamely designed visually, but were unique in a Japanese version of Tim Burton on crack kind of way. Despite my criticism, the boss fights were pretty fun, and the levels were like going on a visual roller coaster ride that used your mind and reflexes.
 Panzer Dragoon Orta
Granted it is a bit short, and I really couldn’t care less for the story or characters. Something about a girl and her dragon, blah blah, evil empire, blah blah. Kinda left me with melancholic feeling honestly. I guess the story doesn’t matter, but it did rub me the wrong way.
Panzer Dragoon Orta
A nice bonus in Orta, is that it came with a free version of the original Panzer Dragoon, just in-case you were one of billions of people who didn’t own a Sega Saturn. It holds up rather decently, though the graphics do show their age. Starfox 64 defiantly whoops the original Panzer Dragoon in all aspects.
 Panzer Dragoon Orta
It might be a tiny gem in a great pile of Xbox games, but you can find it rather easily and quite cheap. If you like Starfox, Panzer Dragoon, rail shooters, or good games in general and you have an Xbox (I guess the 360 plays it too) then you are truly missing out of one of Sega’s best efforts in recent memory which is pretty sad since the game came out in December of 2002.

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.