Tuesday 26 December 2006

I've just fallen in love...

I'm not sure whether this thing of beauty is real... surely such a vision of loveliness can't exist in this cold cruel universe...

20.26 p.m. December 26th 2006... From now on this day will be remembered as hallowed. For it was at this very moment, that whilst perusing the wonderful Gnome's Lair , I first laid eyes on The Hi Saturn Navi.

A wonderful hybrid of Sega Saturn, flip up LCD screen, with a karaoke facility, GPS and probably some sort of blowjob facility (OK, in my ideal world it would have...)

Now I thought the Treamcast was the most special piece of Sega modification...

But this?????

I'm keeping this post short because I now have to go and 'crack one off' , such is my level of excitement...

For more information on this wonderful piece of kit look here...

Sunday 24 December 2006


Just a quick one to say Merry Christmas! to all of the friends, commentors and comrades I've made this year!

Big love to all of you at this festive time!

Father Krishna X

(Oh! BTW! As a little Christmas gift for all of you who can tear themselves away from video games to listen to a tune or two, let me alert you to this album by the Beatles... They're a new four piece from Liverpool and they've got the odd catchy tune in their repertoire...

It's called 'Love' and as far as I'm concerned it's all you need...

You can learn about it here ...

...and for those of you who don't mind a bit of Beatles tampering check out Revolved here... )

Thursday 21 December 2006

Clockwork Knight Review

Ah! Clockwork Knight!

A great game I picked up at 'Toy's R Us' as the Saturn was on it's way out... I remember it was cheap, although I can't remember the price... Probably far more than most of the games I buy today... (I picked up Pen Pen Tricelon for Dreamcast for £4, at the wonderful "Chips" used game shop, coincidentally... today.

"Chips"... I'm going to take a break from the game review to do a quick "shop" review. The Three Gingers have told me about this place for years... It's situated in Chorlton, Manchester, about a mile or two from my house. Although I often visit this rather excellent Manchester suburb for a meal, a beer or a bit of shopping, I've never checked out "Chips". This is very strange behaviour for me, as I'm usually sticking around used games shops like a fly sticks around a freshly dropped turd. For some reason though I never checked out this particular venue.

However today with about 10 minutes to kill before picking up the Littlest Ginger from school, me and the Biggest Ginger decided to pop in and check it out. And what an excellent revelation it was! Instead of the dusty old shambolic second hand tat market I had imagined, this was a nice organised emporium, with the games categorised and presented by console. Not the cheapest of venues, but definite bargains for both the Saturn and the Dreamcast on show. My usual used games venue is the excellent Gamestation. However, as any regular customer will know, the selection of games seems to stagnate for a few weeks, then a gamer selling his beloved stash will replenish the stock, and a hidden gem might be up for grabs...

In "Chips" however there was a nice selection of less obvious titles at a variety of prices... In Gamestation the games I'm looking for rarely cost me more than a couple of quid... Here games ranged from £3 to about £20...

On paying for my Pen Pen Tricelon, I enquired about the rest of the Dreamcast games in the shop... (perhaps hidden gems were stashed behind the counter?) Unfortunately what you saw on the shelves represented stock of software for a particular console... Bah!

Imagine my surprise when the 'uber-geek' (who tend to staff video games shops) asked me if I was after a particular title... "Daytona USA 2001... for the Dreamcast" I spluttered...
"Not too uncommon..." he suggested.
A quick tap on the computer to check on availability of said game revealed that it was not very available after all... Bah!

"Hang on... they might have it in our Glasgow store..." Glasgow Store??? This place was a chain???

Within seconds the guy was phoning North of the Border... "Daytona USA 2001... You got it?
Yes? Send it to us... What? Twelve days... sweet."

He then asked me if I wanted to reserve it... Deposit price £1. He asked me for my phone number and then promised to phone me on it's arrival in the store...

Price? £12!!! Fucking result!! Awlright!!!

How's that for service? Now if you want a bit of "Chips" action, but don't have the fortune of living in Manchester or Glasgow, fortunately this esteemed retailer is enough of a going concern to have a website and you can go straight to it here...
Not sure about international sales but definite UK goldmine...

OK where was I? oh yeah... Clockwork Knight!

At this festive time "Toy" related games seem very appropriate... "Toy Story 2", "Toy Commander" or "Toy Racer" for DC, "Micro Machines" for Megadrive and indeed the veritable "Clockwork Knight" for Saturn...

Let's check out the blurb on the back of the box...

"Stunning cinema-quality SGI-rendered characters and graphics create this amazing 3D toy world. As the clock strikes midnight Pepperouchau springs to life armed only with a sword and split second timing. Tackle treacherous furniture, huge household items and wind up villains to save the kidnapped princess before dawn!"

Pepperouchau is a largely mustachioed Kaiser looking Clockwork Knight... Not the most familiar of toys I'll grant you... and not the most obvious name for a toy either... but we're splitting hairs.

Although this claims to be 3D that is largely confined to the rendered environments. essentially it's a side scrolling 2D platformer... Playing through the many rooms of a typical house our little toy Aryan has to battle a variety of foes. It's fucking great!! The worst thing about this particular game was always being unable to save... In fact I could never save on the Saturn cos I never had a memory card... I always thought the huge slot in the top of a Saturn was for Megadrive games... Go figure... I once left "Casper" (Yes I know...) on for days 'cos I was trying to complete it... Without a memory card... Now I've got one ... a super-duper one that is also a cheat facility and Japanese/import game "enabler". (Separate post altogether..)

I've not done this game justice... it's great. But I've been interrupted by life in my house, instant messages from my good friend across the 'pond Deitrix, showing me very funny video clips and
Peter Kay shouting very funny things from the TV in my peripheral vision...

You see? This is why I need my own blog... to post utter shite! I actually take posting on GGOTG and the DCJY very seriously... but here i can post sub-standard ramblings, read by no-one and not have to worry about it!

Great! 'Cos there has not been anything of worth imparted on this particular blog may I offer any random reader this lovely image as a consolation!

Goodnight children wherever you are!!

Sunday 17 December 2006

Cheap as chips... SWWS 97 Review

Well another cold dank day in rainy Manchester... After the festive highs of last night's Coolrom.com discovery, I felt a bit of a downward spiral when I realised I would probably never be able to download the wonderful 'Dragon's Lair' (flagged up by Gnome on his Lair spin off site, Gnome's Gaming On The Go) onto my DS without some sort of USB lead which I didn't own... Bah!

And so I set off for the wonderful Gamestation in the hopes of procuring one. It soon became apparent that even the wisened uber-geeks behind the counter didn't even know of such a device, let alone be able to regail me with one...

Heres my all singing all dancing festive Homer, modelling my new accquistion...

So, off to the retro section to see if there was any Dreamcast, Saturn or Game Gear surprise bargains available. At first scan, although there were a few good titles available, I had most of them already. And then I saw it... laying there silently, modestly, belying its own brilliance...
'Sega Worldwide Soccer 97'. For 20p!!! That's right, twenty-motherfucking-pence... HOORAY!!!

Here's the blurry proof!

This was the first soccer game I ever got into, back in my heady Saturn days. Of course I've played Pro evo and Fifa on the PS1 and PS2 since then, but they never excited me much. This was mainly because my surly, showboating ginger progeny would usually spank my arse, using their goalkeepers to dribble round all my players, before thumping a convincing four, five, six or seven into the back of my goal... Bastards!

But I could hold my own on SWWS. I just played the middle ginger at it, and for a ten year old game, it holds up rather well! The opening titles are very graphically impressive for the day... all in glorious slow motion, to a MOR rock score. (Ahem!)

The commentary is hilarious, bearing little relevence to what's happening on the pitch. Oft repeated and frankly fucking obvious phrases, such as "The goalkeeper is going to want to get it to a player up-field..." or "He wants to get it towards the goal" are repeated on a loop. But this is an endearing quality which adds to the fun of the game.

I can't tell you much about the controls other than 'B' is pass and 'A' is shoot. The back buttons allow you to select the player you want to control and can give you a little flourish of speed.
Having taken a shot you can put a lovely curl on it by using the direction pad. And you can thump it into the back of the net from the half way line if you're lucky! Awlright!!

There's loads of options to allow you to work on your tactical game, formation, squad selection (they're all made up names, not real players) and so on. You can also decide on the time of day you play, (night or day) and adjust the weather, to change the conditions of the gameplay... balls will skid to a halt and players will slide around on greasy pitches...

The referee, as in all of the football games I play, is very unforgiving of my slide tackles from behind and hacking challenges. What's that all about?

But what about the game I just played against the middle ginger? He was Brazil, whereas I chose underdogs Wales, for an exhibition match. Going 1-0 down early on in the match, and being reduced to ten men after a harsh sending off, plucky Wales came back to score an equaliser with only 15 minutes to go... The Welsh faithful wept, as their national heroes were beaten 4-3 on penalties, after the Brazilian keeper pulled off a couple of blinding saves.

Oh well, a narrow defeat after a hard fought match... honour maintained.

Here are a few factoids about the game, gleaned from a frankly better review, on 'Rotten Tomatoes' which you can read here:

Features: 48 International teams
Revolutionary (for it's time) animation
4 camera views
Context sensitive play by play
Players injuries and suspension (and don't I bloody know it!!)
Stat tracking in more than 25 categories

Overall Score? (Purely on a personal enjoyment basis...) 9/10! "The best 20p I've spent in a long time!"

Oh and for a rview of SWWS 'Euro Edition' on the Dreamcast visit the Dreamcast Junkyard (here) and look in the October archives!
And talking of football excellence, how about a very cheap plug for MCFC... "The best team in the land and all the world!"

Saturday 16 December 2006

No Saturn? No Problem!

We all want to play Saturn games don't we? Come on that's the reason were here...
But what if your local retro gaming outlet/pawnshop/junkyard doesn't carry one? What if you have one but it's malfunctioning? What if your broke as this festive time of year approaches?
What if your in the same position as me, and, in the words of my good lady wife, "if you bring just one more bloody console into this house, I'll snap your bloody cock off!" (Cough!)

Well, don't worry you can access every Saturn game you ever wanted for play on your PC. Wecome to the world of Coolrom.com. This wonderful, (yet possibly illegal) emulation site allows you to access a full range of Saturn releases which you can simply download FOR FREE!! And you can find it here... No not there, that's later!!! I meant here!

Now bearing in mind the illegality issue, I of course, would never download anything which I was not able to access within the boundaries of copyright law. However, a certain fat, bald and yet stunningly handsome 'friend' of mine, known as (cough!) 'Father Rama' (ahem!) is currently downloading the wonderful 'Christmas Nights' for a bit of festive gameplay. Its a game I've been...sorry... he's been trying to get unsuccessfully for years.

And the fun doesn't stop at the Saturn good people, oh no! You can access titles released on the Gameboy, Atari, GBA, SNES, N64 etc.

How's that as a little festive gift for you all... HO! HO! HO!

...and talking of Ho!Ho!Ho! I must tell you about a most wonderful film that had me laughing my arse off last night. welcome to Borat -The Movie.
For those few of you not familiar with Borat, he is the comic creation of the most excellent Sacha Baron Cohen, perhaps more familiar to most as Ali G. Borat is the number one T.V. reporter from Khazakstan, and the Americans he meets think he is a real... He then pushes them to the limits of their patience and credulity by staging all manner of outrageous acts... Oh just watch the trailer here

Thursday 14 December 2006

Virtua Cop 1 & 2 Review

Firstly, and this is a bit slack, I'm reviewing the two as a pair... I'm sure gaming purists will be horrified by this but its just a general guide. I'll be happy to be corrected by any Saturn purists out there....
As readers of the Dreamcast Junkyard will know, I love guns. Light-weight plastic guns that is, that fire beams of light at your telly, not real ones that fire metal bullets at innocent individuals. (You know, the type the Metropolitan Police use on the tube...)

The first Light Gun game I ever played was Virtua Cop for the Saturn. I didn't play it until relatively recently, however, using the Light Gun. No, for years I enjoyed the game using the ordinary Saturn pads. The Gun, however takes the game into a whole new dimension. I now have three Saturn Light Guns. One of them is in the Lovely themed 'game and gun ' package pictured in the last post...

But I'm getting ahead of myself...

"What is the premise of these games dear Father? Tell us about the gameplay... How did the franchise develop? Has it ever appeared on another console?" I hear you cry...

To you I say "Calm down my friends... It'll all become clear presently..."

Originally an arcade game, lucky Saturn owners were given a port of Virtua Cop for home gaming, that was virtually an exact copy of the arcade system. Connect your Light Gun to your system, press start and the action gets started straight away.

In the game you play as one of Virtua City's Finest. Arriving at a bank robbery as it is taking place, your job is to use your marksmanship to take out a plethora of robbers, gang bangers and terrorists who are causing mayhem, taking hostages and making a general bloody nuisance of themselves.

All the action takes place in the first person view. You don't need to see the barrel of your gun, because if you are playing it as it was intended to be played, you'll be holding one in your hand.

To hep you suss out the immediacy of the impending threat of one of the hoods shooting you, they each have a large green target which appears around them when they are about to 'lock and load'. If you don't take them out quickly, this target turns, to yellow, then red... the nearer you are to getting 'capped'.

You can shoot your adversaries dead, but as you represent the forces of light over dark, there is always the "Justice Shot". the Justice Shot allows you to shoot the weapon from your opponents hand, thus allowing him to be arrested. You'll score more points for this...

Various weapon upgrades are hidden in crates dotted around the level environments. a rifle for example allows you more bullets than the standard pistol, so you don't have to reload as often. (you re-load by shooting outside of the screen.)

The graphics are superb for the time. A variety of environments are presented through out the games. Bank, docks, building sites, onboard a ship, in the subway. Objects within these environments can be shot at and will be caused to swing, fall or shatter...and that's fun in itself!

At the end of each level, there is a suitable car chase to take you to the next place of action and fresh batch of villains. These necessitate you firing at moving vehicles, shattering windscreens, bursting tyres and causing the cars or vans to flip out or explode.

Level bosses are brilliant to take out. In Virtua Cop One the bosses include a hysterical laughing behemoth, who throws barrels, grenades and even a van at you. You need to shoot them before you get hit by them. otherwise your lives will disappear. Beat him before he beats you and your onto the next level... Fairly straight forward then!!

The options allow you to play on the usual easy, normal or hard levels, so you can comeback to the game once you have completed it, and challenge your reflexes with increasingly harder reaction times, faster shooting etc.

at various point's you'll be given the option to choose you route through the game by shooting one of two sign posts e.g. Docks or Subway. again this lends variety to the game as different environments throw up different challenges.

The games definitely stand the test of time. After the demise of the Saturn, the games were ported to 'next gen consoles'. They appeared in slightly enhanced form on the Dreamcast as part of the wonderful 'Sega Smash Pack' and on the Ps2 as 'Virtua Cop Elite Edition'.

Virtua Cop 3 made an appearance on the XBox. The franchise would seem to have a rosy future!

Overall Score for this particular pair of titles... 9/10. For a frankly better review you can visit here.