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reviews >> dreamcast
Dreamcast Review Archive

written by Shaun McCracken

For those who want to know how games of the past fare, look no further to the Dreamcast archive section right here on Storm Videogames. Sure, the reviews may be shorter, but you still get the same scoring as the big reviews do, and that's really what you want to know in the end, huh?

4 Wheel Thunder 8
A sequel of sorts to HydroThunder, this game was actually under a different name, Xceleration. The premise is similar to HydroThunder, which is collect as many boosts as you can to finish. Great graphics and a rather cruel AI makes 4 Wheel Thunder a mixed bag. The controls are easy, but winning is not. While it doesn't seem a whole lot like Hydro Thunder, it still is pretty fun, and a game that could use a tuned sequel to.
Chu! Chu! Rocket! 7.75
A fast and frantic puzzle game for 1-4 players that demand players to think fast about guiding aimless mice to their spaceships to avoid the cats. Original and fun, but really has no depth in terms of level design or the overall game. Itís fun in small bursts, and is online playable. For the record, the GBA version is better in spite of the controls and lack of online play.
Crazy Taxi 9.5
Strap yourself in for a crazy ride around a loose interpretation of San Fransisco picking up and dropping off customers to collect some big cash in Crazy Taxi. Fast paced, fun and original, but leaves you wanting even more. This is one youíll be playing for days. Even though it's a port of an arcade game, it still feels fresh and entertaining, and in fact, it looks better than the arcade version.
Crazy Taxi 2 9
More of the same, but itís all good. Introduces the crazy hop feature and the abilltiy to pick up multiple passengers, as well as four new characters, which all have the same attributes. The game seems easier than the first one, but then you have too many damn cars to deal with, and some odd collision physics. The framerate has improved, but it still looks the same. All and all, itís still pretty fun.
Daytona USA 8.75
A combination of previous Daytona courses along with new courses, and an online mode which lets gamers compete with others around the world (SegaNet required) sums up Daytona. While the gameplay is not overly complex, itís very tough to get into and master the techniques required to win. It took a long time for me to actually win a championship, but after the first, it gets much easier. Sharp graphics, and a great sense of speed with a smooth framerate of 60 FPS. Once you start liking the game, though, you'll want more than what's here.
Grandia II 9
I havenít had a chance to play this one much, even though I own it. So far, itís a great RPG with a battle system that I have no real problem with. In a way, it reminds me of Chrono Cross. Great dialouge and the graphics are nice. RPGís are not that abundant on the DC (unlike the PSX), so this one is definitley worth looking at. Amazing how all of this fits on one GD Rom.
Hydro Thunder 7.75
A direct port of the fast-paced speedboat arcade racer. In fact, thereís nothing new in Hydro Thunder, which is a shame, because itís the best arcade racing game Midway has done since SF Rush. Graphics are good, but not highly impressive. Sound events are akward at times. Itís very tough, which can increase replay value, but then there's just 12 courses, and no championship or time trial events.
Jet Grind Radio 10
When I first saw this advertised back when it was new, I wasnít sure what this game was about. But after getting it for $5.50 at Target, I figured what the hell. JGR is one of the best games made, and leaves you wanting more. Excellent cel-shaded graphics, a great soundtrack, and itís very fun to play. What you have to do is stop rival gangs from tagging your turf, then take on an evil corporation who smear their material all over Tokyo, and try to muscle out the spray-painting kids. Gee, you think parents will like the premise?
Maken X 7
This is a rather strange FPS game, since you have a sword as a weapon. Nice graphics and decent sound, but the control could have used some tweaking. Iím not sure why this game is rated Mature, since there is no blood or gore when you hit the enemies. You really have to question the ESRB sometimes. Maken X also has some RPG elements, but this is primairaly a story-driven FPS.
Metropolis Street Racer 9.75
More of an arcade game than a sim, MSR is about driving with speed and style. Points called kudos are given for style and accomplished challenges and unlock courses and cars. While itís tricky to get started, thereís a way to manipulate the Kudos system, which can unlock chapters faster than you can finish them. The real highlight of MSR is itís graphics. MSR uses photo-realistic textures on low poly surfaces, and the effect is pretty amazing. Unless you get close to a structure, the buildings in MSR look fantastic. The whole look of MSR is wonderful. The biggest problem is in the framerate, which hovers around 30 fps, but drops when thereís a lot of cars on screen. But still, MSR (on a good TV) looks almost like an Xbox game. Well worth looking into. Strange and sometimes awful soundtrack. The Will Smith wannabe is really obnoxious.
Monaco Gran Prix 5.75
Itís a fairly average game. The graphics arenít spectacular and the sound isnít amazing, but it does offer a change in the racing genre. Thereís better out there, however.
Outtrigger 7.75
Outtrigger is best described as a shooter for short attention spans. Stages take a minute or less to complete (in most cases), and the stages are never that big due to the compact size of the arenas. This is probably for the online mode. The graphics are fairly sharp, and the framerate is fast and smooth, but again, due to size, there's not much to see. Decent sound, if that matters. I would like to see this reborn as a more solid and larger game, because it does have potential. Until then, we have the DC version.
Resident Evil Code Veronica 8.5
Break out the candles, because Capcom is finally departing from pre-rendered graphics. Finally, Resident Evil has a camera. You think Silent Hill had anything to do with this? Itís a nice looking game, but itís still Resident Evil. Thereís moments where youíll jump, but after playing Silent Hill 2, I just donít find this game all that scary. Fans will enjoy it, and itís better than RE3, and probably serves as the best RE yet.
San Francisco Rush 2049 10
This is the best Rush game yet, and is full of replay value. Rush 2049 has excellent art design, with amazing structures I have ever seen in a racing game. Unlike the N64 version, the DC version of Rush 2049 runs at 60 fps (30 when you kick up dust) and at a high resolution. Best of all, no dithering! So many secrets to be found, along with a great stunt and multiplayer mode. Even my brother, who is fairly picky, likes the stunt mode. Along with MSR and Daytona, Rush 2049 is definitley a Dreamcast racer to pick up.
Sega GT 7.75
This is pretty much Segaís answer to Gran Turismo, but after playing GT3, is this game impressive at all? Not really, but itís a good change of pace from GTís courses. No more Trial Mountain or Grand Valley Speedway, thereís the Sprint Zone and Night Ground to look forward to. Sega GT borrows heavily from Gran Turismoís simulation model, but with one important feature. You can make your own cars. Well, youíre limited by body designs, but there are a variety of engine and drivetrain options to look into. If the control was more perfected, this would be an excellent racing sim, but as it is, itís still pretty good. Just get used to spastic handling later on.
Sega Rally Championship 2 8
You only have two rally options on the DC. Sega Rally 2 and Test Drive: V-Rally. While I havenít played TDVR, I have had a chance to play Sega Rally 2. Itís more arcade based than a sim. In fact, if Ridge Racer was a rally game, this would be it. Itís hard to see some of the detail on my TV, but Sega Rally is a decent looking game. Good car models. Framerate is all over the place. Limited courses and environments, which can put people off looking for a bigger rally experience.
Sega Smash Pack Vol. 1 5
The thought of having 11 classic Sega games sounds great, but when getting into SSP1, I was really disappointed on how the sound was emulated. The graphics and control remained the same, but except for Virtua Cop 2 and Swirl, the audio has been horribly butchered. Golden Axe and Altered Beast sound terrible, and the reast are rather sad, except for Phantasy Star II, which may have suffered the least. And whoís to blame for this? Sega. Not Digital Eclipse (which is usually the ones who do the classic arcade games) or anyone else, Sega. While these games do stand the test of time, itís hard to enjoy them when the sound is so bad. Games include Golden Axe, Altered Beast, Columns, Sonic the Hedgehog, Streets of Rage 2, Revenge of Shinobi, Swirl, Virtua Cop 2, Wrestle War, Shining Force, Vectorman and Phantasy Star II.
Sonic Adventure 8.5
Sega finally comes out with a Sonic game that tries to rival Super Mario 64. While the game is no Mario 64, itís still pretty fun and challenging. The graphics are vibrant and sharp, and some textures look excellent. The gameplay is fairly balanced, and you have a number of characters to chose from, which have different goal objectives of their own. The Chao raising is a nice feature, but not that integral to the game. Sonic Adventure would be near-perfect if it had fixed two problems: the camera and the emblems. The camera system is very problematic here, since it always wants to focus on the character itself, rather than the action. Mario 64 had some camera issues, but this is pretty unforgivable. Second, the emblem system, to me, is flawed. You collect all of these emblems for what? Nothing! There should be some incentive for collecting all of those emblems. As it is, Sonic Adventure is a pretty solid platform game with some challenge to keep itself going, as well as going back to the stages individually and bettering your score.
Sword Of The Bezerk: Gut's Rage 7.75
Sword of the Bezerk would be great as a movie, since thatís the style the developers seem to be going for. Sure, it has a lot of action with lots of bloodshed, but there are many moments where the cinematics take hold, and could last as long as 5 minutes or more. Sure, movies are good, but when developers make this their main focus, gaming as itís form is at a loss. Without the movies, SOTBGR would be nothing more than a two-hour tour with lots of blood. The gameplay mechanics are almost of that of Gauntletís, but thereís an actual payoff. Great graphics, great sound and excellent production values, but loses the essence of what gaming is about.
Test Drive : LeMans 9
I previously owned TDLM for the PSX and was rather unimpressed by itís graphics and gameplay. As a racer, it was pretty avereage. But TDLM on the Dreamcast is a something different altogether. Infogrames decided to make the DC version themselves and cranked out one of the best looking racing games for ANY console. Itís also worth noting that thereís more gameplay too. The graphics for the courses are amazing. I think TDLM has the best looking grass texture I have ever seen in a game. The detail is intricate and the game moves at a nice framerate. The cars, on the other hand, look weird. All cars are aliased (have jagged edges), and the texture maps are rather uninspired. At least thereís the cockpit view, and thatís where youíll want to be in this game. The sound is good, but not extrordinary. TDLM blends sim racing with arcade handling which translates into a racer anyone can enjoy. Also, thereís also braking and driving aids for beginners. Itís not a full on sim, but is nice on providing a realistic experience. This is one DC racer to own.
Trickstyle 6.75
Criterion Studios (later known for the Burnout series) has created a great looking game which has a horrendous framerate, especially for a game like this. Trickstyle is a futuristic game with hoverboards like the ones from ďBack to the Future IIĒ. The game has a good look and nice lighting effects, but with a very bogged framerate that isnít smooth. It controls rather well, but tricks are sometimes tough to pull off. Also, tricks must be unlocked through asinine events and challenges. The one thing that I want to know is where the time trial is. Why canít I race alone? Trickstyle may be worth a gander, but be ready to tolerate long load times and somewhat slow gameplay.
Vanishing Point 6.75
The Dreamcast has many racing games, and thereís plenty of them that look really good, such as MSR, TDLM, and Rush 2049. So should you bother with Vanishing Point? The game gives a different take on racing. Instead of taking over opponents, you take on a clock. The goal is to finish with the lowest time, or basically beat the established time. It sounds easy, until you get into the driving mechanics. Let me tell you, this is one of the worst handling engines for a racing game. You slide too much, the collisions are bad, and when you do crash, you either get pointed towards the wall, the other direction or go flying (which is funny at first). All of these add up to lost time, and some accidents are unavoidable. I have never seen such an a-hole AI in a racing game before, either. There is a stunt mode, but feels more like a license test, and proves to be more aggrivating than fun. VP does run at 60fps, has no pop-up and sports some great textures, BUT, the car models arenít that good (some, more than others). The load times are pretty unbearable as well. There are a lot of cars to unlock, as well as extra features, but what really sucks is that you have to unlock your tuning options as well. VP is more of a chore than a pleasure, and to put so much into a game that is like the teacher that keeps giving you work, it's not worth the effort. VP does have good features, and looks nice, but requires a lot of patience and mastering. If you really want a challenge, give VP a try.
Wild Metal 2
Crappy is a one-word summary of this "game". Stuck in development for what seemed like forever, Wild Metal is a plodding action game that feels like playing chess. Wait, chess is more exciting than this, as well as more fun. Itís like watching golf on TV. Itís that boring. The objective is rather unclear on what the hell youíre supposed to do. Plus, why canít these damn machines go any faster? The graphics are very unimpressive. Iíll let some things go, like fog or some bad textures, but for a game like this, itís hard to ignore. It looks like an N64 game in high resolution. Also, why did the game refuse to save to my VMU? I was unimpressed by this game, and I was hoping it would be as good as IGN made it out to be. What were they on that day?