30 days of Dreamcast – Part 4

Join Stabby on his journey back to 1999 as he relives the star that burned twice as bright…The Dreamcast

Wednesday 31st October 2012 – Day 10

There is a Halloween Steam sale on at the moment with some really good games that I would buy under normal circumstances. (Ed.buy Amnesia!) I’m desperately tempted to get them however, I have to stick to the rules I set which means no new games. I played more Resident Evil: Code Veronica today. I picked up from where I left off which was fighting the Tyrant boss battle on the plane. I’m not kidding you; it took me 10 attempts to beat him. Oh and the VMU helpfully informs me that I’ve died. For anyone who hasn’t played this game, the tyrant is pretty tough. He does a lot of damage, you are fighting in a confined space and he is relentless in his pursuit of Claire. Beating him involves shooting him with everything you have and once you’ve done that you hit a button which releases a crate. The crate then dumps him out of the back of the plane. 30 minutes later and some frustration and he is no longer a passenger. Now onto disc 2. We’ve now landed in the Antarctic. As I’ve mentioned before, there are some genuinely creepy moments. There are a room full of zombies and an item I can pick up. I know they will attack me as the camera zooms into the body of a zombie. Another creepy moment is a locker rattling. I’m expecting a zombie to burst out but it turns out to be a rat. Eww! I have a parasite attached to my back from a butterfly monster. It doesn’t hatch at first which is horrible because you have this egg attached to your back for a while. I know I shouldn’t laugh but there are also some notes which made me laugh out loud. Am I a bit weird for laughing at them?(Ed. Yes…yes you are :P)

November 1st 2012 – Day 11

I’ve been looking at the reviews for Assassins Creed 3 and Halo 4. They are getting some great reviews and I’m very tempted by them. It’s a strange feeling because I do want to play these games but it’s also a nice feeling thinking that they will probably come down in price by the time that I get around to buying them. Plus they would probably just sit in a drawer until I got around to playing them. I think my gaming habits are starting to change.

Anyway, it’s time for more Resident Evil: Code Veronica.  More fun in the Antarctica base. I discovered Nosferatu today. He is very creepy because you see him tied up with a huge bloody axe across his chest. He grumbles and groans but then doesn’t do much. This in itself is creepy because you know he is going to do something at some point. I keep getting attacked by poisonous butterflies. They attach a parasite to your back which doesn’t hatch at first. This freaks me out because I had 3 of horrible things attached to me at one point. When they do hatch Claire rips them off and throws them on the floor.  Unfortunately they can poison you.  Fortunately there is a crate of blue herbs right next to the butterflies.   Steve, the soppy git, was too busy starting at Claire in a wistful way and crashed a digger which resulted in poison gas being released and Claire having to sort it out. Did I mention he was annoying?  Anyway, I’ve sorted this out now and discovered giant spiders in the process. It probably because I don’t like spiders in real life but these buggers make me shiver. I haven’t saved the game for over an hour and I’m getting anxious now. Oh no! I’ve awakened Nosferatu and he is all that stands between me and the next part of the game. I have no first aid sprays or herbs. Gulp! Luckily he isn’t too hard to kill and I manage to get away with just getting poisoned. Now we are onto Chris’s phase of the story. He is scaling the mountain where Claire was originally imprisoned. The dozy sod has dropped his equipment during the climb. Nothing is ever easy is it!

Friday 2nd November 2012 – Day 12

The Halloween Steam sale is causing me some grief.  It’s so tempting to go crazy and buy a load of new PC games.  I have to say that I’m quite proud of myself for not succumbing to temptation. Maybe I do have some willpower after all. Anyway, time for more Resident Evil: Code Veronica.  This game is getting really tough now. I have limited resources; in fact I’m just down to my knife. This makes the game even more tense than usual. I just hope that I don’t bump into anything worse than a zombie. Crap! Wesker has just unleashed the hunters!  These brutes take a good 3 or 4 shotgun blasts to down.  Although Wesker is a nasty piece of work, at least he gives me a fair chance.  He’s released a device which is attached to the ceiling. It scans the room so I have an opportunity to run past and avoid it.  If I walk through the beam it will release a hunter.  Steady, steady, steady. Shit! One hunter released and it’s taken my head off.  I must be more careful.

Saturday 3rd November 2012 – Day 13

I played some couch gaming with my friend Matt Clements. He’s never played on a Dreamcast before so this will be an experience for him.  We played Dynamite Cop, Ready 2 Rumble and some Dead or Alive 2.  It made me realise how much I miss playing couch games.  The sense of having another person in the room playing against you is fantastic.  Mind you, considering he’s never played these games before he’s whopped my ass.  Dynamite Cop does that classic thing of making you face off against each other at the end of the game.  The President’s daughter cheers as you beat the crap out of each other.  Sadistic bitch!  Dead or Alive 2 is a really nice looking beat-em up.  It’s similar to Soul Calibur in as much as I have no idea what I’m doing but I’m pulling off some really nice moves. By the looks of it, the makers of the game weren’t obsessed with boob physics yet, as there isn’t a whole lot of jiggle going on.

Sunday 4th November 2012 – Day 14

I’m nearly at the end of Resident Evil: Code Veronica. Poor old Steve has copped it and turned into a huge hulking monster.  He attacks Claire and just as he is about to kill her he helps her to escape the clutches of a nasty worm creature.  That’s not a euphemism.  The creature kills monster Steve and he reverts back to his normal self.  It’s actually quite touching when he dies and professes his love for Claire.  Shame!  Anyway, the idiot’s dead now so let’s crack on.  The other thing with this game is that you swap between characters at certain points.  You don’t know when this will happen however you share a crate where you store your items.  This can be helpful and also a hindrance.  I’m playing as Chris and I need a fire extinguisher to be able to gain access to a Magnum.  A handgun, not the ice cream.  Guess who has the Fire extinguisher on them?  Grrr!  Ok, time for the final boss.  Alexia is a right sod!  She poisons you, whips you with her tentacle arms and sends annoying little pods that whip you and mean you can’t get your shots off.  I’ve died for the 3rd time. Time to go back to a crate and get more herbs.  I’ve died for the 6th time. Time to go back to the crate and sacrifice my shotgun shells for more health.  Yay, the bitch is dead!  It only took me 10 attempts.  I have to say that the ending is a bit underwhelming.  I’ve just taken a look at the Code Veronica X ending and it’s much better.  Still, they say it’s the journey and not the destination.  My stats pop up at the end of the game.  Wow, I’d been playing for 15 hours 58 minutes.  It really didn’t feel like it. What a phenomenal game!

I also tried Outtrigger and Tony Hawks Skateboarding. I’ve never played a skateboarding game before and I have to say that I suck big time. Even the VMU delights in telling me that I’m a loser.  Outtrigger is a game that I vaguely remember.  It’s an arena based shooter similar to Quake or Unreal.  The controls are a bit strange as you use the D pad to move and the analogue stick to look around.  The only problem with this is that they are both on the same side of the pad.  You can connect a mouse and keyboard which would be the best way to play the game. You can switch between 1st person and 3rd person views which are interesting.  The game itself is obviously designed to be played with other people rather than bots.  It’s a fun game once you get used to the controls.

Thursday 8th November 2012 – Day 15

Well I’m halfway through my 30 days. It’s been fantastic so far. I’ve still got plenty of games to keep me going.  Although I do hope I finish by the time the Wii U is released.  Next up, Skies of Arcadia. I never played this game back in the day. I’ve read plenty about it and it regularly appears in the must own game lists for the Dreamcast.  Wow!  This is a lovely game!  I know it sounds like I’m damning it with faint praise but it really is, well, lovely. It has a nice Disney feel to it in terms of the characters, music and presentation. The gameplay reminds me of Final Fantasy 7, especially the random battles.  This is a real change of pace for me as I don’t usually like these types of games but it’s fair to say that the charm of the game has got me hooked. (Ed. Sad we don’t get many games like this today)

Friday 9th November 2012 – Day 16

More Skies of Arcadia today.  More random battles.  Grr!  I realise they are necessary to level up your character but they can get on your pips after a while. I just want to explore the world but I keep getting attacked every couple of minutes. Still, the story is good and is keeping me interested.

Saturday 10th November 2012 – Day 17

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is out on Tuesday. I already had it pre-ordered before I vowed to play only Dreamcast games. I also ordered the Care Package edition (Ed. you did what??!!??) because I’m an idiot. I guess I can just look at the box until I finish with the Dreamcast.  More Skies of Arcadia today.  I get the feeling that this isn’t a short game. It comes on 2 discs and I feel like I haven’t even scratched the surface and I’ve played about 5 hours. Still, it’s keeping its hooks in me.

Sunday 11th November 2012 – Day 18

I played Sega Rally 2 today.  To say I was looking forward to this game is an understatement. I absolutely adore Sega Rally on the Saturn and I think it still holds up today.  Sega Rally 2 is a real disappointment. The cars feel light and the handling isn’t great.  I also thought it would look a lot better in terms of the jump from the Saturn to the Dreamcast, but the graphics aren’t anything special at all.  This should have been a step up from the Saturn but all it does is remind you of how good Sega Rally was on an older system.

I also played Speed Devils.  This was recommended to me by Dave from 80s Picture House Podcast. He loved this game back in the day and was curious to know if it held up. I’m happy to report that I really enjoyed it.  Let me put it like this, I played this game for an hour and a half whereas I played Sega Rally 2 for about 20 minutes.  You start with a crappy old banger and you can place bets and win money to buy upgrades and better cars.  The race setting reminds me of Cruisin USA.   What makes this game interesting are the race tracks.  One track is like a movie lot.  You drive through a dinosaurs legs, avoid a giant gorilla smashing his arms and have a giant shark jumping out of the water like the Jaws ride in Universal Studios.  Another nice touch is that jets will fly at the screen in the style of the Red Arrows.  They will leave a trail of red, white and blue smoke which obscures your view.  It’s no Metropolis Street Racer but is still a good racing game. (Ed. No Daytona love?)

Monday 12th November 2012 – Day 19

I played more Skies of Arcadia today.  It’s a shame to say it but I don’t think I’m going to finish this game.  I’ve read that you can easily sink 40 hours into it and I’m not sure that I’ve even started the main quest.  I want to finish Shenmue by the time my 30 days is at an end.  I am really enjoying Skies of Arcadia but I don’t think I’m going to have the time to commit to finishing it.

Thursday 15th November 2012 – Day 20

I have Black Ops 2 in my hand.  I desperately want to play it.  Sad face!  To try and cheer myself up I went back to Shenmue.  Having checked my previous save, it was the 21st October since I last played this game.  I have to say that I’m stunned by how good this game looks. I know I’ve commented on how good the game looks in previous entries but wow, just wow!  I fought Chai again. The sneaky little git caught me with a sucker punch.  I know I should have trained harder but the death of my father traumatised me and I couldn’t be arsed.  He beat me and Fuku-san came and took me home.  The next day I went back to the Asia Travel Company and found a minion.  A chase ensured through the streets of Dobuita and lots of quick time events kept me on my toes. The QTE’s are stunning!  Anyway he told me to head to the harbour to find out about my ticket to Hong Kong.  The next day I walked back into Dobuita.  It’s 16th December in the game.  You’ll never guess who I bumped into?  Santa!  Yes Santa is in Shenmue.  He is walking around the streets and there are Christmas decorations hanging up.  There is even Christmas music playing in the background.  This totally blew me away.  I know we take these things for granted now but it really took my breath away that there would be this much detail in the game.  I’m on disc 3 now.  I’m pleased that I’m making progress but I don’t want this adventure to end.

Friday 16th November 2012 – Day 21

More Shenmue today.  I’m looking for work at the harbour.  There is a strange man called Goro (not the 4 armed freak from Mortal Kombat) who helps you get a job.  He is a truly bizarre character.  He’s got a rockabilly quiff and dances about the place like he needs a pee.  You can tell he’s a comedy character because the music in the game changes to suit his appearance.  I’ve got a job now shifting crates using the forklift.  Who’d have thought that moving crates from one place to another would be so much fun?

Saturday 17th November 2012 – Day 22

It’s the first day of my job in Shenmue.  Your alarm clock goes off at 7.30 instead of 8.30.  Another great touch.  Ha! I’ve had my first forklift race today.  I hope there are more races because I came last.  Mark is a new character that you meet and he seems friendly.  The Mad Angels are hassling people around the docks so Ryo steps in and teaches them a thing or two.  I met my quota of shifting crates today so it’s time to look around and find out more information about the Mad Angels.

Sunday 18th November 2012 – Day 23

More forklift races and crate shifting in Shenmue.  I’m getting better at the races as I’ve come second on this occasion.  A typical work day is arrive at 7.30am, have a forklift race, shift crates until 12pm, have lunch, ask people if they know about the Mad Angels, have a fight or QTE, start work again at 2pm, shift more crates, finish work at 5pm, ask people about the Mad Angels, have a fight or QTE, and then head home for 9.30pm.  I bet Ryo is knackered!  Nozomi visited Ryo today to tell him that she is leaving for Canada.  Instead of sweeping her off her feet and professing his undying love for her, he moped about the place.  To make matters worse, they had a Polaroid photo taken and he looked like he would rather be in a bar full of sailors than with her.  Well, I’ve beaten up most of the Mad Angels gang and there is a deal going down that I need to investigate.

Join us next time for the final part of 30 days of Dreamcast!

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