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Newsletter from 04-05-1999
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04-05-1999 { Two more US Launch Titles, Other DC News, Saturn stuff, and more... }

Hello all,

This week is the start of another quarter of classes for me. With new classes, I've found that it may be necessary to move the mailing of the newsletter from Monday to Tuesday. If this happens, I will let you know!

The past week has been relatively quiet. But, some information has come out about some US Dreamcast launch titles. Previously announced to launch with the DC in Europe, Metropolis Street Racing will also be released in the US with the Dreamcast. The game is a city based racer that takes place in three primary settings: Tokyo, San Francisco, and London. Each city contains three areas that are about two square miles (~3.2km^2) in size each. The environments were built to recreate the actual city settings. Bizarre Creations used thousands of photographs and many hours of video footage as their base for designing the 'cities.' Play modes include Championship, Time Attack, Head to Head (2player), and Gang Battle. The last mode is interesting in that it may include a four-player split screen mode. The game will include twenty cars, and eight additional hidden ones. The cars are from auto makers including, Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Ford, Honda, Mercedes, Renault, and others. The controls are in the analog form which add to a more realistic acceleration/breaking. Audio is in full 3D, with music from many different genres. To top things off, the game includes a real time weather system that generates the usual rain, snow, wind, and fog.

Overall, Metropolis is looking great...and with Bizarre's previous (and very successful) Formula 1 racers, it appears to be one of the top titles set for release. There is no word when the Japanese version of the game will be released, other than it is planned.

The other title now set to launch with the DC in the US, is MDK2. Not many details are known at this time. MDK2 picks up where the original title ends with the aliens ready for a second attempt to invade earth. Gameplay is similar to the original, but of course will take full advantage of the Dreamcast's audio and graphical abilities. The game will contain a total of nine levels, and is being developed by BioWare. The game is intended to be the "ultimate single player experience." The game will be shown in May at the E3.

So, Shenmue has been split into two chapters now. Does this mean that the game will now be ridiculously short? Of course not, Sega has stated that the first chapter will contain at least 20 hours of gameplay, and will take around 50 hours to complete if every part of the chapter is completed.

Last week, Get Bass Fishing was released for the Dreamcast. As expected, the title is a perfect port of the arcade version. This game is rather a niche product, for those who enjoy fishing. Its not a bad title, but if you are not interested in fishing it may take some time for you to become interested in it if at all. The fishing controller works fairly well, providing some player feedback etc.

One new title is coming at the end of this week, its Shouei's Digital Horse Racing. The game is a hard core horse racing sim costing ¥6800 or about $55US. The rest of April doesn't really have any big titles set for release. Titles set for release later in the month include: Morita's Strongest Reversi, Morita's Chess, Web Mystery, and Redline Racer.

For the Saturn, there are only two releases set for release this month. Both are scheduled for the months end. The first is Suzuko's Chat Room form Datam Polystar. The second from NEC is Friends ~Youth's Radiance~. Both are sims using lots of anime style graphics. Unfortunately, there are only two other titles labeled for release on the Saturn after that, Sonic 3D Flicky Island (aka Sonic 3D Blast), and Professional Mahjong Guide. The Saturn is a great console, and I'll continue to enjoy using it....its too bad it couldn't survive in the foreign markets as there were many great titles only released in Japan. It will be missed.

Though, there is a future for the Saturn...this future is mainly through those who already own and are dedicated to the Saturn, but with Sega's SatCast project for the Dreamcast, it will be interesting to see what happens with Saturn titles. Will there be sort of compilations, or will Saturn software remain a relative niche project. SatCast is probably the most promising, but there are a few active Saturn emulation projects out there.

A-Saturn is the most advanced public project. While it has relatively complete support for the main (note well documented) processors, the special chips such as the VDPs, and communication between the two SH-2 chips is very preliminary. At this time it does not run any demos, let alone any commercial software. A-Saturn can be found at:

There is another one underway called PC-Saturn. It is in much earlier stages than A-Saturn and as the author says, it will not be ready for quite a while. The PC-Saturn web site can be found at:

Please, DO NOT bug the authors with questions such as "Will it run game X?", and "When will it be done?" Emulation should be appreciated with the effort that goes into recreating hardware (or pieces of) in software. The question is whether it can be done or not, not whether the software can replace the hardware.

That's about all this week...I've still several projects in the background that I've been wanting to finish up....I apologize for not getting them online, but there's little I can do due to the lack of time available for them. Again, many thanks for the support, happy gaming!


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