Tuesday 27 November 2007

A wallet full of wonder

Last Saturday I went into a thrift store nosing around for older video games.

I came up short. There was nothing there.

I talked briefly to a sales clerk there and he did say they had a bunch of Sega games.

He proceeded to reach into the glass display and take out an unassuming CD wallet. There was no sign or anything to show that anything was even it in.

It was full of Sega Saturn Games.

Not in the best shape but all of them are playable.

Here are some of the highlights included:

Shining Wisdom
Virtua Fighter 1
Fighters Megamix
Panzer Dragoon 1
Panzer Dragoon 2
Mortal Kombat 2
Herc's Adventure

And the best

Guardian Heros!!!

G. H. was the the best pick of this lot! Side scrolling at it's best! It's too bad this great game is going for like $100.00-$150.00 on ebay, it's a fun game.

And I FINALLY have a working copy of Panzer Dragoon 2!!!!

Sweet! There were alot more too! All these were mine for $20!!!!!!!

It pays to ask the store clerk in a thrift shop if they have any older video games.

Monday 26 November 2007

Sega ages 2500 Vol. 26: Dynamite Deka

I guess by now you all already noticed that I'm totally addicted to the Sega Ages 2500 games (BTW, notice how "ages" is "sega" spelled backwards...), specially when it comes to Saturn ports or better, remakes. This is the case with Dynamite Deka, known as Die Hard Arcade outside Japan due to the similarities between the game and the movie. Here's an awesome review I found on the internets:

"Wow. This is how you enhance an old game. Unlike the Panzer Dragoon port, which only looks marginally better, the PS2 version of Dynamite Deka looks almost completely different. Revamped character models, completely new textures, lighting effects - although it looks much darker than the original, it's almost as good as its sequel on the Dreamcast (known simply as Dynamite Cop in Western territories.) You can play the game with the Saturn graphics if you want too. Furthermore, there's a ton of additional modes, including an Easy Mode (double life bars for your characters and weakened enemies), One Hit Kill mode, Arrest mode, and Deadline mode (you have unlimited health but are under a strict time limit.) Altered Beast mode turns the main characters into two monsters - a Wolf Man and Bird Woman - from the classic Sega arcade game. You only have one credit in this mode, and while your life is constantly draining, enemies constantly drop little life power-ups. There's a ton of different variations in these modes, including slightly different weapons (the spray can becomes an air horn, for example.)

Easy mode allows the characters to dress up as Ax Battler and Tyris Flare from another classic Sega game, Golden Axe. The third stage boss, the huge football player dude, has been changed into Death Adder. This whole fight includes a ton of Golden Axe references - the giant fish in the aquarium has been changed into one of the monsters, and all of the furniture has been changed into statues of different Golden Axe characters. The music has even been changed into the classic first level theme. The other modes allow you to dress up in other different costumes, including characters from the young girl-oriented Sega arcade game Oshare Majou (One Shot Kill Mode) and the manga/anime Sukeban Deka (Deadline Mode). There are even small references to other Sega games like Wing War, Alien Storm and Alien Front Online. In addition to all of this, there's an art gallery and a quick Japanese commercial.

The Saturn version had included an emulation of Deep Scan, an incredibly ancient Sega game where you drop depth charges on submarines in order to earn more credits for the main game. This has been replaced with Periscope, a 3D recreation of an even older Sega coin operated game from 1968, predating most video games. You need to shoot missiles (denoted as blinking light bulbs) at battleships (which were little plastic models in the original version ) It's a fascinating look at Sega's history - I'd almost buy a whole Sega Ages package filled with recreations like this."

Here's some comparison screenshots for those that never played the Saturn version:

Looks good, doesn't it? =)

Thursday 22 November 2007

Segata Sanshiro The Game!

I almost shot my load when I first found out there was a Segata Sanshiro game for the Saturn and within 24 hours of discovering there was one, I had it in my posession (thanks to the marvel of the Internet.)

Imagine my joy then at finding some video of said game on Youtube, when before I couldn't even find any screenshots! There are lots of minigames on the disc, (including a seasonal one where Segata flies through the air chucking presents down chimneys dressed as Santa), but the ones featured here show Segata at his martial arts best.

The first game is Segata kicking household objects and other debris into a skip with his ninja-like ...erm... legs. This has to be done with precision timing or the objects fly past damaging our hero. Clear the stage and our leader does us a little dance. Classic!

The second sees our Lord headbutting his way through a stack of tiles. Again timing is of the essence or Segata fails to break the entire stack. The player playing these games is quite an expert, clearing the stage each time... I was crap!

As you can see between games, we are treated to video clips of those hallowed Japanese advertisements that spawned our guru. I'm thinking of reposting all of these, the compilations and even the Segata documentary. I think they all deserve another outing! What do you think?
Like classic programmes re-played on a T.V. station! They need to be seen again and again...

But then if you think about it, apart from the novelty of having our messiah in a game, the games are actually a bit crap. You can find a gazillion more entertaining games on games sites like miniclip. Imagine if Sega had really honoured his holiness by placing in a game of the calibur of Virtua Fighter or Fighting Vipers, now that would have been a fitting tribute!

Still, anything that honours "the one" is worth owning and in that respect, I'm glad to own this title.

Gentlemen (and Hex) it is time for us to once more don our Judo suits and Elvis wigs and worship at the altar. Come on! After 3... 1,2,3 "Segata Sanshiro, Segata Sanshiro, etc..."

Sega ages 2500 Vol. 31: Virtual On

Finally! After some days of atrocious waiting I'm now the proud owner of this fine game and right now I think the Sega ages series of ports/remakes is the best thing Sega did in the last years (along with the new Sega Rally and VF5).

But why so much excitement over this when we already had a great port of Virtual On on our beloved Saturn? 'Cause this is a hell of a port, that's why! Not only is this the first arcade-perfect port, it also has tons of options and a hell of a lot of content!

Talking about options, there's the usual, like changing the difficulty setting, timer or volume, but then there's also the Extra options menu and even the Secret one, where you can enable new colours for the virtuaroids, a new camera type, new moves and even a playable boss!

This title isn't short in game modes, either. There's the usual Arcade, Vs, online Vs, and then there's Assault mode, the cute Chibi-chara mode where you play with deformed/squashed versions of the virtuaroids (think Virtua Fighter Kids) and the unlockable Z-Gradt mode, where you play with the final boss and have to beat the regular robots (it's so much fun to be the uber-powerful boss for once).

Then there's the extras, like a 3D gallery where you can freely admire all the game's models, and two galleries of artwork and scans of promotional flyers, covers and more.

Sounds good, eh? But how does it play? Well, great! Not as good as with the original twin sticks, but the Dualshock does a good job replacing them and it's more intuitive than the Saturn controller. Overall the game is fast, looks good and it plays great.

Unfortunately this is a Japan-only release, so if anyone's interested in this beauty the best option is to try Play-asia , which also has other interesting things like this.

Tuesday 20 November 2007

All we need is RadioSEGA!

Wow! I was dreaming about a website that always streamed classic music from Sega games. A place that not only celebrated Sega's greatness but also allowed us mere mortals to listen to some of Sega's musical triumphs...

Constantly streaming the scores of Shenmue, NiGHTS, Sonic, Jet Set Radio and so on... And all we had to do was to click on a link and we could hear it all... Even that naff song by the Offspring that plays on a loop on Crazy Taxi? (Oh alright I love it!)

But that's too good to be true isn't it? That's just a dream, right?
Well it's not, it's a reality! For not only does the wonderful radioSEGA constantly provide us with all our usual Sega Musical Favourites, but it also hosts some of the best damned Sega themed forums on the internet! A forum where people regularly chat about the Saturn!!!!! *FK begins to become firm... COUGH!!*

I know your dying to check it out so either check out it's inclusion on the "Friends Of The Saturn Junkyard" on the sidebar, or nip up to the lovely little banner at the top of the page and it'll whisk you right there...

Or you could always just click on the link here...

Nights remake for the PS2?

Apparently so.

My bet is that it's the next game on the Sega Ages 2500 series, which recently caught my attention with the release of Vol 31, a port of the arcade version of Virtual-On, one of my cult games for the Saturn. More on that later...

Anyway, looks like NiGHTS has never been so popular.

Friday 16 November 2007

House of the Dead on the Wii?

Apparently so, according to this Joystiq article. For now it's only a rumour, but it's a strong one. I certainly wouldn't mind, specially if they add some bonus stuff, but I have to admit this is a rather strange move. Why not port HofD 4 instead? I bet fans would love that, since so far it's the only arcade-exclusive game in the series.

Anyway, better than nothing, I guess...


I've just completed RE 3 with the help of my middlest, gingerest son. He's like a consultant of games. All the hard bits are concluded by him, while I do the donkey work between levels...

Enjoy this video... It's where the whole business kicked off!

Monday 12 November 2007

Two Great New Saturn Sites!

You may have noticed in the cbox on the sidebar, a small and unassuming comment by the wonderful 'Mick' asking us to check out a new and rather wonderful site called segasaturn.co.uk. This rather brilliant site is slick, professional, packed with Saturn goodness and makes the old SJY look a bit of an amateur operation :(

But still, it does have some great stuff on it and is well worth a look. Just promise you won't desert us when you see our sexier relation!

But what has really got me excited is the thought of playing Saturn on line. That's right! For years I thought the Dreamcast was the first online gaming system, but then what did I know?

Yep the old Saturn and even it's dad, the older Megadrive/Genesis could be played online.

And there's a whopping FIVE games with Saturn net play potential. One of them is my old favourite Sega Rally! Wanna know what the others are? You'll have to look here! What??? The picture gave it away? DOH!
Now I'm really excited about this... Although I know that my whole Dreamcast internet experience has been painful. I've only ever browsed the web, never played online... In fact I've never played anything online! Imagine if my Saturn was the first system I ever played in this capacity... I'm browsing eBay for a Saturn modem as we speak!!!

Friday 9 November 2007

Skeleton Warriors

Looks like those guys over at ScrewAttack really like the Saturn. Weird, for Nintendo fanboys...

Anyway, this time they picked up Skeleton Warriors (what's this obsession with skeletons? First Mr. Bones and now this...). I have to admit, I had absolutely no idea this game existed! Looks like I didn't miss much, though. The graphics and animation look superb, but apparently the gameplay sucks. Well, you can't have it all, can you?

Wednesday 7 November 2007

Virtua Fighter 10th Anniversary

After all this talk about VF4 I decided to play one more time with my NTSC copy of VF4: Evolution, not just to get me arse beaten by the unforgiving CPU opponents but to try once again the little extra called VF 10th Anniversary.

Basically this is a port of the arcade version of Virtua Fighter. All the blocky characters, arenas, music and gameplay of the original game are intact, something the fans surely appreciated, but with the benefits of the PS2's hardware, that being the high resolution, the smoother textures and the overall speed of the game.

There's also a bit of Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution as well when it comes to characters, so you can expect newcomers like Lei Fei or Goh, fully rendered in the beautiful, blocky, retro way of the 32 bits era.

Sounds good? You bet it is! But how can you own this beauty? Well, the easiest way is probably purchasing the US version of VF4: Evolution, since us Europeans where left out and the Japanese version should be harder to get.

Sunday 4 November 2007

VF4 Video... For Gagaman(n)

OK I'll be the first to admit the quality of this video is apalling... But it's the best of a bad bunch.
At least it demonstrates the lightning pace of gameplay in this PS2 classic . It also shows the great range of characters and some of their more impressive moves...

As stated below, I put some serious time into this sucker this weekend, eventually gaining access to the classic 'end of level' boss Dural... She kicked my ass! Oh well...

VF4 is a game I'll continue to play until I acheive completion... This could take month even years... Until then I suggest you check out the VF world as much as possible. For 360 and PS3 owners, I would suggest VF5 is a must... Until then why not grab the PS2 budget classic VF4 or VF4 Evolution and enjoy!

Thursday 1 November 2007

Virtua Fighter 4

The Saturn would have always been my choice over the Playstation, and there was one in my home for two years before I eventually buckled under pressure from my boys and bought one for them. One of the reasons for my Saturn love was the most excellent Virtua Fighter series, which played out four releases on the Saturn. Virtua Fighter, VF2, Virtua Fighter Remix and VF Kids. (Plus the VF characters also played a major role in the wonderful Fighter's Megamix...)

The game was quality all the way with great characters like Shun and Kage, who had great background stories and a fabulously oriental feel. I love Kung Fu movies (even the really old badly dubed/speeded up fight scene ones!) and having the chance to control a fighter was a dream come true!

Everything about Virtua Fighter works: Moves, music, speech samples, backgorund settings, victory cries and so on. However great the gameplay is though, even the most die-hard Saturn fan would have to admit that the graphics haven't stood the test of time. The characters look square and blocky, angular and pixellated.

When I eventually graduated to the Dreamcast, I was really anticipating VF3tb (originally slated for the Saturn- look here), but having played Soul Calibur and Dead or Alive, VF3tb didn't really do it for me. I can't really explain why, but the graphics and gameplay just didn't cut it after playing SC and DOA, and VF3tb became the least played fighter of my Dreamcast collection. However, the ever wonderful Shenmue series employed the fighting engine from Virtua Fighter and the central character Ryo Hazuki was based on VF's Akira. (You could also collect capsule toys -very pleasurable in itself... of VF and VF Kids as you embarked on Ryo's quest.)

Fast forward to 2007 and I happened upon a rather battered copy of VF4 for the PS2. At first I was gutted because the disc wouldn't load and there was no mannual in the box. But thanks to the wonder of the Internet, I'd soon downloaded the mannual and thanks to a blob of toothpaste, I'd soon managed to get the disc working.

Don't know about the toothpaste trick? If you've got a disc that won't load, simply smear your disc in toothpaste and rub outwards from the centre of the disc in straightlines with your finger. Wash it off in lukewarm water and dry with a paper towel. I'm not guaranteeing it'll work but it did for me...

Onto the game. The beauty of VF4 is that it is basically the same great game as the Saturn original, but with sumptuous graphics and a couple of new characters to compliment the originals. First off there is the mysterious Shaolin Monk, Lei Fei and then the amply chested Vanessa Lewis. (Why do women in fighting games have big breasts? Not that I'm complaining... *Ahem!*)

The backgrounds and arenas are simply stunning, the characters look great and the fighting is fantastic. I always play as Kage, as I love his ninja look and trademark upside down pile driving headbutt! But the game is fiendishly dificult to progress in however... As the saying goes, "Easy to play, dificult to master!"

Dedication and repeated gameplay is needed to make headway into the game but for the £7 your likely to pay for it you couldn't get a better fighter. But now I'm a little stuck, as VF5 is out for the XBox 360 & PS3, and I don't own one of those suckers. And to make matters worse, the prospect of online battles on the 360 is making me drool for one. That AND Sega Rally Revo.
You see I'm a Sega fan through and through and it hurts me to know franchises I've loved will be progressing on systems I don't own. So here's the plan... I'm going to try and persuade the boys to get a 360 as their collective Christmas present! Cunning plan huh? I'll update you in December as to whether it comes off!

Wanna know more about Virtua Fighter? Then have a look at these links...