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Newsletter from 03-29-1999
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03-29-1999 { New Releases, TGS Info, Shenmue Images, US/Euro DC Info, and more... }

Hi all,

Its been a really busy week with finals and preparations for the next quarter in school. Over last week, there as well have been many little Dreamcast stories.

First off, the European Dreamcast release date has finally been confirmed for September 9th. Ten titles are planned to launch with the console in Europe, with 30 titles by the holidays. The US release is most likely on the same day, but no official word has been given. With the US release, a confirmed list of titles set to launch with the platform has been widely circulating. On that list are: Cart (Super Speed) Racing, Geist Force, Mortal Kombat 5 (Williams), NBA Basketball, NFL Football, Power Stone (Capcom), Ready to Rumble (Williams), Sonic Adventure, Soul Calibur (Namco), and VF3 Tb.

With the Tokyo Game Show over, some of the media essentially complained that there weren't enough Dreamcast games on display, with Shenmue being the only major attraction. NextGen Online went as far as implying that all is lost for the Dreamcast. Partly due to the PS dominating the software sales market in Japan. Hmm...what console will sell more titles, one that has more than 13million units on the market, or one that has less than 1million?

While it is true, that Shenmue was the most impressive title on the floor, it is important to mention that other companies were showing off their (impressive) DC efforts. Capcom's current releases were on display along with both versions of SF Zero 3. Both the Dreamcast and Saturn versions of the game were in very good shape, the animation was smoother than the PSX version as well, but otherwise, graphically the versions were very similar. Capcom also demonstrated movies of a very early version of Biohazard: Code Veronica. The game is looking good, but has quite a way to go before its completed.

SNK's demonstrated a 40% complete version of their first Dreamcast title: King of Fighters: Dream Match 1999. The game's play mode is based on KoF98, and will have 38 characters when all is said and done. The game uses 2D characters, while having 3D backgrounds. Its still too early to judge how true to the arcade versions the game will be, but judging by Capcom's 2D fighter ports, there is no reason KoF99 should have any quality issues.

Konami's Airforce Delta is looking good also good. The game is a mission based flight sim/shooter with several plans to choose from (5 so far). It can also work in combination with ASCII's DC Mission Stick. If anyone has product specs for the mission stick, please let me know!

Now on to Shenmue. First, if you've not read already Shenmue will be split into two 'chapters.' The first called, Shenmue Chapter 1: Yokosuka is set for an August 5th release, and will sell for ¥2800 ($23US). Chapter 2: Mainland China is set to be out by the end of the year. With the TGS, Sega showed off the game, and a few playable demos. The first demo allowed you to walk around the city, and interact with the people there. After a certain point, a chase would begin, and you had to guide your character through the streets. However, this chase was controlled similar to how older Sega CD games were (ex. Road Avenger), ie. an arrow appears, and if you don't react fast enough, something bad may happen. I hope in the future, the game will allow more freedom in this this type of gameplay is old, and can be repetitive.

The second demo was a mock up of the Sega booth, where you guided your character around the booth, and could talk with various Sega reps. The last set of demos showed various fight modes including free battle, and QTE (quick timer events) modes. QTE is the type of gameplay as in the chase scene.

With these demos, Sega released a 20minute video clip of these and other parts of the game. You can find info in the Snapshots area, along with 41 screenshots from the video to help illustrate what was shown. Enjoy!

Over in Europe, Bizarre Creations released the first screenshots of their city racer, Metropolis. The game looks extremely impressive to say the least. They remain tight lipped about details of the game. It has been made known, that the game will launch with the Dreamcast in Europe. You can view them here:

Last week, a slew of Dreamcast titles hit the stores. In short they are: Kita He aka White Illumination (Hudson), Yukawa Kawamoto's Manager's Treasure (Sega), Blue Stinger (Sega), House of the Dead 2 (Sega), Marvel vs. Capcom (Capcom), Sangokushi VI (Koei), Super Speed Racing (Sega).

For the first two, I've no information as to the quality of the titles. Blue Stinger is interesting in that it has very little Japanese. In fact, everything (including speech) is in English except for the dialog subtitles. The game has excellent graphics along with a solid story line. However, in giving the game a very cinematic feel, the camera angles are often difficult to use in terms of gameplay. As an adventure titles its pretty good, if only the camera placement was better, and didn't move around so much. If these bugs were fixed, the game would be one of the best DC titles out now.

HoTD2 is as expected a near perfect port. The gun works quite well despite its rather unorthodox looks, and is very accurate. The game with gun isn't in the best supply as an import, but it should be more widely available soon. Marvel vs. Capcom is also excellent, but playing the game takes getting used to as the button layout on DC controllers isn't the most fighter friendly. The 2+2 configuration of DC game pads is inferior to the 3+3 config of Saturn pads in this respect. Hopefully, there will be some 3rd party game pads that remedy this, but until then, there is the DC joystick.

Super Speed Racing is about average...graphically its rather plain when compared to the other two DC racing games.

This week we can expect to see to see Get Bass fishing from Sega. The other release, Buggy Heat from Sega/CRI has been postponed until later this spring. That's all for this week, see you in seven!


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