Mini Review – Dreamcast Collection
More of a nightmare, actually.
You can divide gamers into two categories: those who love the Dreamcast and those who can fuck the fuck off immediately. Well, cut me and I bleed orange in little spiral patterns, so it’s been quite nice to see Sega supporting some of the classic Dreamcast titles recently – especially when you get top XBLA titles like Rez being lovingly enhanced for the current generation – and with an embarrassment of riches waiting to be tapped, Sega have put out this, the Dreamcast Collection. Two new ports (Sega Bass Fishing and Space Channel 5 Part Two) and two previous XBLA titles (Crazy Taxi and Sonic Adventure) are all you get for your money but before I summarise the collection as a whole, let’s take a look at the individual titles.
Space Channel 5: Part Two
Ah, the game that launched a thousand idiotic cosplayers. Well the sequel to the game but anyway. SC52 is a straight-up rhythm action game from the good old days before plastic peripherals and dance mats. Now I never really cared much for it back in the Dreamcast’s brief heyday – prefering instead the PS1 music games such as Parappa The Rapper and Vib Ribbon – so I was keen to give this another crack of the whip.
Unfortunately, it’s even less likeable ten or so years later. For one thing, they’ve tried to smooth out the original cutscenes which gives them the appearance of dogshit being smeared into your eyes. It’s not just lazy, it’s horrific and once the main game starts the game has the same bland look of the original but now looks a decade out of date.
The gameplay itself is standard rhythm-action fare, albeit it with your cues being all in the game rather than having on-screen icons to follow. It does an adequate job but is slow, awkward and tedious and as so SC52 will be staying on my review gamertag rather than main one. However, if you want a pedestrian peripheral-free dance game with little to recommend it, knock yourself out.
Sega Bass Fishing
Continuing the theme of games not ideally suited to the joypad, Sega Bass Fishing originally had a bizarre fishing rod peripheral. Now sans-rod you’d expect it to be pretty awful and in some ways it is. The array of lures are somewhat baffling – especially in ‘Original’ mode – and baiting in bass is never really explained.
That said, after a fair bit of trial and error, I started to get the hang of the game and there is something quite relaxing about this type of game. A quick arcade mode and a set of tournaments is all you’ll get for you money and the structure of the tournaments isn’t even that good but the core gameplay was surprisingly enjoyable.
I’m no Sonic expert – I more or less hate the original games – but I do recall Sonic Adventure being quite the show pony for the Dreamcast with its fast, 3D graphics and colourful scenery. Alas, it was never much of a game mixing tedious platforming adventuring with the excitingly fast sections that were impressive to watch but had a habit of playing themselves.
That’s pretty much how this port works albeit that now the game isn’t at all impressive to look at and, now we’ve had a decade of shitty Sonic games that even the fans hate, he’s rather lost his sparkle which, in turn, highlights all the annoyances that you’d have previously overlooked such as his horrible voice, the unhelpful camera and the clumsy controls.
This port of the one game on this collection that you’d actually want on a compilation like this is already available on XBLA and has been for some months now. Much has been said about the changes from the original and yes, the music somehow manages to be worse than Offspring, the buildings no longer have real company names on them and something is indefinably ‘wrong’ about the controls but I actually had some fun blazing through this for review/achievement nabbing purposes.
The main ‘Arcade’ mode sees you ferrying passengers around the city (presumably San Francisco inspired) against a time limit and is suitably frantic. The ‘Original’ mode remixes the map a little and is slightly less good because of it. Both these modes play reasonably well though. That said, everyone’s probably quite bored of what was already a pretty shallow game and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t the achievements keeping me playing.
On top of that you get the Crazy Box challenges. There are sixteen of them ranging from easy to bollocks and they’ll entertain/frustrate you in equal measure. Crazy Taxi definitely doesn’t make the grade in 2011 but there’s some charm there once you readjust to the controls and horrible music.
So overall it’s a pretty average compilation that somehow picks four of the least inspiring Dreamcast titles possible. Despite being an inexplicable choice, Sega Bass Fishing probably steals the show and as one of the two non-XBLA titles on here, that’s probably where the small amount of value in this compilation can be found. The rest of the games are either gash or already available making this less of a celebration of Sega’s finest hour and more of a piss onto its gravestone.