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Everything posted by cicinski

  1. Iv been reading the Official Nintendo Mag for a while now and what Iv really started to notice is the way they compare games to the ethos of development Nintendo impliments, not to the game's peers or predecessors. An example is the review of Metal Gear the twin snakes, in the review they say that the cut-scenes and script is not what Nintendo gaming is about. In the GC period of games I have found that I haven't enjoyed Nintendo games as much, I mean all the games impressed me while I played but once complete and I had the gift of retrospect I found them not worth playing again and dare I say it ... dull. Only Zelda:tWW, Wave Race and Mario Kart havent left me with bad memories thatd stop me playing again. Do any of you think this is just the problem of the ONM or is Nintendo so keen to make itself and its consoles so individual in terms of the gameplay it offers that it forgets that as a developer it cannot possibly release enough games itself to sustain a console (an example is that last year the core team at Nintendo only released 3 games last year... Wario Ware, Mario Kart and 1 other, all the others were licensed out.) that is catered to the games it thinks the public want. Im going on too much but is the whole Nintendo philosophy the thing keeping it from success? blah blah blah... any way thats what i wana rant about.
  2. cicinski


    meh, hmm it sounds ok, the way the your voice is tracked and monitored sounds clever but EyeToy was a blast for all of a week, it'll sell and itd probly get my girlfriend interested in playing on the PS2 but meh. (C&VG magazine f*cking love this... they are getting far to pro Sony but i suppose that is a whole other topic...)
  3. http://cube.ign.com/articles/491/491054p1.html sorry if this has been posted else where.
  4. It feels like Sonic 3D:Flickies Island off the MD and Saturn, anybody who commented on the shiny characters is right. It is as close to the 2D gameplay any 3D Sonic has gotten but that shouldnt be the point, they should try and mould something new for him in 3D (just not treasure hunting or shooting). But it's ok.. im just glad I traded in Red Card, Virtua Soccer 3 and resident Evil 0 for it and didnt pay £40.. but i hated SA2:Battle at first and now thats a firm favourite for me and my bro. Oh and on the subject of sega's third party efforts i think FZero was limited at best and MonkeyBall has been sucked dry any identity by the sequel. Virtua Fighter 4:evo is amazing tho. i think that the DC hit them hard and if casual gamers didnt like or get things like Rez, JSR and others then of course they will head down a route of Sony-esque titles involving generic themes (shinobi etc) and constant updates and ports. But give them til this generation ends and the DC is firmly a distant memory and finances are a-ok and then we'll see. Just please god make them make Sonic and Knuckles 2 or port Sonic3 and Knuckles to the GBA... itd be sooo sweet.
  5. i have had a change of heart after spending three hours on the train playing turfmasters, but Mario Golf on the GBC just seems to edge it out on handheld golf games... but i conseed its worthy of a 7! Last Blade tho'... I stand by that, compared to the other SNK beat em ups i dunno it feels lower than them. Oh and I'm hoping to put together another overview of other consoles, so what would people be interested in? Old and not-to-popular? (eg Jaguar 3DO etc) or classic and under-rated (Dreamcast, Virtual Boy (!?) or Saturn.) Let me know. cheers!
  6. NEO GEO POCKET COLOR CONSOLE, GAME AND ADVERTISING REVIEW Japanese Launch: March 1999 American Launch: June 1999 European Launch: Autumn 1999 The Neo Geo Pocket was released in Japan on October 27, 1998. This original model was 16-bit but it only had a grey-scale screen, meaning that it displayed no colour detail at all and dealt in black and white and the 8 shades that could be produced with these. The main target for the Neo Geo was the Game Boy. The Game Boy had been successful in Japan, but only as a handheld it never really shifted a great amount of software until the arrival of Pokemon in 1995. Since then it had demanded respect from game developers and had become home to many titles which offered depth of graphical style (altho' for every good game there are around 30 terrible to fair titles). SNK hoped that their handheld would appeal to their key fans and a newer range of players who wanted graphics to match the gameplay. The first major problem arose when game software was delayed to get it completed, this lead to a period where only three titles were available for the first three months of the games life. All of this seemed to be improving with the launch of Samurai Showdown in the December of 1998. SNK then moved forward in terms of hardware by launching a colour version of the NGP in March 1999. SNK also altered the casing of the hardware by putting in a more impressive 4K colour TFT screen which could get 40 hours of running time from just two AA batteries. King of the Fighters Round 2 launched with the console, and it became the first title to boast connectivity with Sega's newly released Dreamcast. This is the point when the Neo Geo Pocket's and the Dreamcast's fate became inter-twined. But at this point all was going to plan, the console didn't have massive success but it recieved high praise from gaming publications and the SNK faithful got to play their favourite franchises on the move and now in colour. In the June of 1999 the America recieved the console and later on the autumn so did Europe. Samurai Showdown 2, A new Fatal Fury title and Metal Slug launched with the console as well as King of the Fighters R2. The NGPC also has an integrated world clock, calendar, horoscope and alarm system. It also has a 1-channel 5-pin communications port with a max speed of 19200bps, a stereo headphones jack and an AC adaptor jack. A dedicated built-in lithium battery is used for its memory-backup system. SYSTEM SPECS: CPU: 16-bit Toshiba TLCS900H (6.144MHZ), Z80 sound processor (3.072MHZ) RAM: 12KB for core processor, 4KB for Z80 processor Colors: Pocket Color 4096 (146 on screen) Resolution: 160x152 pixels Sprites: 64 per frame Screen: Reflective TFT LCD, 45 x 48mm Sound: 6 tone stereo PSG Game Media: 54 x 46 x 7.5mm 2MB cartridge Power: Pocket Color 40 hours (2 AA batteries) Weight: Pocket Color 195g (with batteries As I said before the Neo Geo Pocket Color shared alot in common with the Dreamcast. It launched in a time, much like the market is today, where the gaming press was looking to the future but the consumers were happy with what they had. In Europe in 1999 Pokemon had really caught hold of the younger (and some older) gamers imagination and, most importantly their, cash. The fact was that anime had broken into the mainstream, but it wasn't hardcore, it was cheaply produced Pokemon cartoons and Dragon Ball Z. King of the Fighters and Metal Slug just didn't satisfy the general publics needs from a presentation perspective. The system was again highly regarded by the press and all who played (much like the Dreamcast) but this didn't gaurantee commercial success. Sad fact is that the NGPC was pretty much still-birthed in the West, even Sonic's Sega developed handheld debut (Sonic had once appeared on Tiger's ill-fated Game.com system via a licenced out deal with Tiger) had little effect on sales. It also had very little support from other game devlopers. Namco and Sega both shipped one title each for the system (Pac-Man and Sonic respectivly) but Taito and Capcom both supported the platform a little more. It was ultimatly left up to SNK to sustain the console, but surly this couldn't be a problem, they kept the Neo Geo home console alive for over a decade. While in Japan this wouldn't have been a massive problem but in the west the very limited software releases meant it quickly became relegated to the bottom shelves. Also a lackluster advertising campaigne ment few were fully aware of all the facts. You'd be lucky if you saw the occasional ad in a gaming magazine (in GamesMaster magazine SNK kept printing ads for two after they ditched the console and it had all but been removed from general sale in most high street stores... it makes you wonder don't it). What the console did tho' is something that hasn't yet been matched, not even by SNK PlayMore's attempts on the Game Boy Advance, they made excellent and playable handheld beat 'em ups. All of the SNK developed fighting titles were well above average, some verging on genius (ie SNK vs Capcom: Match of the Millennium). SNK did release a range of casino based titles which were, well not worth the rather fancy plastic cases they were housed in. An amazing console which ultimatly added to the demise of an amazing company. The good news is that some of the guys who worked so hard on the handheld versions of many of SNK's key franchises left the crumbling SNK and founded Dimps, who are now known for working on the Game Boy Advance versions of Sonic the Hedgehog with Sonic Team. ******************************************************************** The NGPC now retails on some independent web based stores for as little as £65 with six titles (only three are good tho!) so if you decide to invest in one of this babies here is what to grab and what to avoid. NEO GEO POCKET COLOR GAMES YOU NEED AND SCORES Bust A Move Pocket ...7 Puzzle update of the classic and rather sluttly franchise, it really has got around. Gal Fighters ...7 More of a gaming-lite version of all the other beat 'em ups on the NGPC. A simple combat system was fleshed out with breast and panty shots King of the Fighters R2 ...8 Sequel to mono-chrome original. Enhanced graphics, more characters, better audio. A fine tuning of an already accalimed beat 'em up. Metal Slug: First Mission ...8 Metal Slug: Second Mission ...8 They vary little in gameplay but they are classics both of them, they both deserve to be held in high regard, together Samurai Showdown 2 ...7 Perhaps the second best beat 'em up on the system. It feels more complete and balanced than KotFR2 but lacks the polish and shine of SNK vs Capcom SNK vs Capcom: Card Fighter's Clash ...7 This is what that Pokemon card game should of been, highly addicitve and a rare challenge. SNK vs Capcom: Match of the Millennium ...9 Easily the greatest game on the system, you cannot grab this for less than £40 boxed now adays but it is definatly worth considering, especially if you are loaded. Sonic Pocket Adventure ...9 I have reviewed this in length before and it is indeed the best and only vaiable platforming titles on the system. It captures the essence of Sonic at his purest, substance over style something missing from Sonic's later day adventures. ******************************************************************** If you are still looking for some gaming thrills try out these but remeber that if they are priced above £30 you really should re-consider they are all good, but nothing above that. Fatal Fury: First Contact ...6 King of the Fighters R1 (import) MONO-CHROME ORIGINAL ...7 Last Blade ...5 Mega Man Battle and Fighters (import) ...5 Pac-Man ...6 Puyo Pop ...5 Puzzle Link 2 ...5 Turf Masters ...7 Pocket Tennis ...5 ******************************************************************** IN SUMMATION THIS, LIKE THE DREAMCAST, IS A LITE-NEXT GENERATION CONSOLE THAT OFFERS SOLID AND PURE HARD GAMEPLAY. SUBSTANCE AND DEPTH OVER COMMERCIAL APPEAL IN ALL ASPECTS. IT WILL BE FORGOTTEN, IT WILL DISAPPEAR FROM THE GENERAL GAMING MEMORY BUT IT COULD BECOME A FOND MEMORY AND AN ACTIVE PIECE OF YOUR GAMING LIFE IF YOU GIVE IT THE CHANCE. ******************************************************************** Helpful links: Neo Geo Pocket Color @ Special Reserve http://uk.special.reserve.co.uk/q_GG9648_n...colour_han.html Neo Geo Pocket Color @ Play-Asia http://www.play-asia.com/paOS-13-71-2r-70-2aw-4-14.html Neo Geo Pocket Color @ Lik-Sang http://www.lik-sang.com/list.php?category=99& My Sonic Pocket Adveture Review http://www.rllmukforum.com/index.php?showtopic=30669 ******************************************************************** What the scores mean: 1: Disgusting, Unplayable 2: Playable but to the point of desperation 3: This game will stand up against the best 3DO titles in terms of quality, not good! 4: Below Average 5: So Average 6: A Solid title, with a few nice parts 7: A well put together title that will keep you engaged and playing 8: Very Good 9: Amazing, a definate buy 10: AMAZING, UNPARTABLE, UNSPEAKABLE QUALITY, A GAME THAT YOU WOULDN'T STOP PLAYING AFTER ONE RUN THRU. A TOTAL CLASSIC
  7. SONIC POCKET ADVENTURE NEO GEO POCKET COLOR DECEMBER 1999 (US) EARLY 2000 (EURO) The Neo Geo Pocket Color was a brave venture for SNK, and one that delievered the goods in terms of software quality. Yet SNK made the fatal mistake of not backing the console up to the hilt with effective marketing and launching when the Pokemon franchise had really started to take hold on not only the limited handheld market but it was also out performing the Dreamcast's best efforts and many PlayStation titles. 1999 and 2000 were both, in my opinion, strange years in the console market. It was marking the end of the 32 and 64 bit era and the industry was a buzz with what 128bit generation was going to bring. The fact the the Dreamcast was a 128bit console did little to gain interest from consumers who didn't view it as a true next generation console. And mainly because it launched in those fuzzy years. The Neo Geo Color has a lot in common with the Dreamcast in terms of performance in the west. At the machines launch I remember going into a local MVC and seeing it on sale and within three months it was taken off the shelves. HMV and Virgin followed suit when the software dried up. The only places you could still grab hold of the titles was at larger GAME stores and independent stores. The latter days of the console brought some of the most classic titles available for the console, the Capcom vs SNK titles, Gal Fighters and Metal Slug 2nd. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Way back in December 1999 Sega and SNK released Sonic's first Sega developed handheld title (the first was a lincened out version of Sonic Jam on Tiger's terribly performing Game.Com) Sonic Pocket Adventure was in fact the first new 2D Sonic titles since 1995. The minute you turn on the game you are greeted with what is my earliest memory of console gaming, the cool MegaDrive originating SEGA logo and digitised "Say-Gah!!"chime... ahh the memories. From the off it is evident that this is Sonic at his most pure and classic. After the dilution of the franchise in Sonic Adventure, where Sonic was relegated to share the lime-light with a series of soul-less additional characters. It would be more appropriate to call Sonic Pocket Adventure a 'best of..' collection. Taking the initial addrenaline of Sonic 2, adding some of the more technique based gameplay and bosses of Sonic 3 and a hint of the original Sonic the Hedgehog. But the even tho' the stages share alot graphically with previous stages from the Sonic series, the level layouts have been altered to make best use of the Neo Geo Color's screen and capabilities. As before all the stages are broken down into two 'acts'. As in all of Sonic's true 2D games the main aim is to get from one end of the level to the other, while spin attacking any 'badniks' you come across and collecting as many rings as you can. The speed of title is also really impressive, if it wasn't for the limited colour palette this would be even more impressive than the MegaDrive titles. To add even more depth to the titles there is a puzzle game option. Within each level there are diamond pieces that you have to find and collect. Each piece is part of 4x4 grid that ends up displaying a Sonic related image. This extra side of the gameplay gives the game a completly different perspective from which to be played. The original idea of the gameplay is to get from points A to B but in this mode it makes the gameplay more exploration based. This really does make you view the stages differently and it really does make you appreciate the structure of the levels. The game also supports a link-up mode (altho' both of you will need a copy of Sonic Pocket Adventure altho' there is now NO reason not to pick another copy up as it retails sooo cheaply on lik-sang and play-asai.) The two modes available are 'Sonic Rush' and 'Get The Rings'. Player 1 will take on the role of Sonic, the other will be Tails (Sonic annoying "sidekick" altho' the beauty here is that he is rendered mute by the lack of voice acting ohh praise be to the consoles limitations!) While both are adequate and enjoyable by todays standards back in 1999 they felt so totally new and exciting but Sonic and extra mulitiplayer gubbins on handheld consoles are now the norm and in some cases over hyped (and given un-warrented attention by developers *cough*NINTENDO*cough*). The graphical look and feel of the game made this and the other European SNK developed launch titles feel like viable games in there own right. From my memories of the original GameBoy, I remember enjoying it massivly but my older teenage brother and sister found the games far to limited and un-varied. The Neo Geo Color's SNK games have a depth and varied amount of gameplay that only became more evident in games when the 16bit era got into it's heyday. Since 1999 Sonic has been on two other 2D outings on a handheld console, namely the Gameboy Advance. These game tho' have become more stylish in presentation but have gone down the route of the Adventure series of Sonic titles, and due to this the levels are fun a couple of times but once the thrill has worn off they feel lackluster and repetative. This Neo Geo Color version maybe subtitled in the same vein as the Sonic Adventure series (but this is mainly due to the fact that Sonic Adventure was fresh on western Dreamcast's and it was a success so retailing another game in the same vein was both Sega and SNK's plan, also the game was originally titled Sonic Pocket Color but due to many Gameboy Color titles being given the prefix of Color under their titles ment to aviod confusion it would have to be changed.) it is very far away from the Adventure series. This classic, unaltered and instant Sonic gameplay which has been given extra depth and enjoyment thru' newer features and the thrill of Sonic in your pocket. This is a game that should have shifted the Neo Geo in massive bulk but history cannot be changed and nor can the fact that this is the best Sonic title since "Sonic 3 and Knuckles". It is both a gift and a curse for it to be on the Neo Geo Color because many won't get to enjoy it but it will be remembered as one of the best titles to grace the handheld. The fuzzy era of the Dreamcast and the Neo Geo Color will be remembered as a time when two mighty companies tried to push the envelope and move the gaming world in a new direction when it evidently wasn't ready for such change. A true classic in terms of Sonic gameplay and Neo Geo Color titles but in a true overview of games it can be remembered as just a really great little title which will probably be forgotten as Sonic moves further away from his routes and insists on 3D graphics and 80's rock style. SCORES: GAMEPLAY: 9 MUSIC: 7 GRAPHICS: 8 OVERALL: 9 (in no way an average) I don't like giving scores but I have to say that a 6, for example doesn't mean 60%. 1: Disgusting, Unplayable 2: Playable but to the point of desperation 3: This game will stand up against the best 3DO titles in terms of quality, not good! 4: Below Average 5: So Average 6: A Solid title, with a few nice parts 7: A well put together title that will keep you engaged and playing 8: Very Good 9: Amazing, a definate buy 10: AMAZING, UNPARTABLE, UNSPEAKABLE QUALITY, A GAME THAT YOU WOULDN'T STOP PLAYING AFTER ONE RUN THRU. A TOTAL CLASSIC
  8. Sonic Adventure 2: Battle The Charlie's Angels Full Throttle of video gaming Every game franchise needs to evolve to both stay fresh and interesting. There are two routes that this kind of evolution can take, one is perfectly illustrated by Zelda and the other by Mario. The Zelda series has evolved to become a staple of Nintendo's console arsenal. It successfully established the key devises of it gameplay was back in its original incarnation (on the Famicom) and the development of the series has been more in the visual and conceptual stages. Nintendo have also limited the public apperances of the serie's main protangonist (this habit has recently started to fade with Links exploitative apperance in the GC version of Soul Calibur 2). The second route is perfectly shown in the Sonic games. Way back in 1991 Sonic the Hedgehog was released on the Sega MegaDrive after four key titles on the platform (as well as off shoots on the Master System, Game Gear and MegaCD) Sega decided to relegate its key character to a console generation in second party development hell. When the Dreamcast was released in Japan in 1998 Sonic made a comeback (albeit a little late). Many were bowled over by its graphics and scale (mainly because when the DC was developed on by an expert developer it could achieve astounding things for its time and the shift from PSone to DC was quite huge, one that diluted to the shift to PS2 for myself) but all this couldnt help to cover up gameplay that didnt remain true to the successful formula of the originals. In all senses it tried to out do itself and its rivals at any chance, especially in the sheer content and variety it tried to offer. In 2001 Sonic Team then released Sonic Adventure 2 and later in 2002 it re-released it in updates form on the GC as Sonic Adventure 2: Battle. Sonic Adventure 2: Battle is one of the most mixed games I have had the pleasure of playing. Saying it was a pleasure is a slight contradiction. I could sit and play this game and enjoy the sheer speed and fun of the early Sonic and Shadow stages yet become so horrified by the laziness and pointlessness of the treasure hunting levels and the utter monotany of the shooting stages. It is a startling fact that only six stages in the game are soley devoted to the games title hero. The rest are divided between the treasure hunting antics of Rouge and Knuckles and the shooting stages of Eggman and Tails. The fact is that the way the absurd plot evolves carries on has a strange addictivness about it that kept me playing until the end. Something that has always been one of my observations of the Sonic titles is that as the levels progress they get steadily worse. On the MeagDrive once the game hit its peak middle levels the game then started on a slope downwards. The same is massivly evident in this title. The later stages become a chore and while not impossible they hold no enjoyment. One of the main points that Sega has made us aware of in the games adverts is that it is a fast and furious title but towards the end the speed of Sonic and Shadow's levels work against it, in that these levels are so intricate (or clumsy, either way could be sucessfully argues for) that it becomes hard to judge jumps and secrets without risking death. On the subject of secrets you do get the feeling that each level contains more than it is letting on, in some cases this is true in others it is a visual deception. The fact is that secrest become more secret because of the camera. Platforms and alternative routes that would be obvious in games that feature a fully 3D camera are hidden and obstructed by the un-intuative camera. Sonic Team's convertion of SA2 didnt take fully into account the GC's controller. In other ways it does take advantage of the GC this is most evident in the multiplayer modes. Although these modes are predicitable and sometimes add up to nothing more than chance it does show a willingness by Sega to create a fuller experience on the GC. One thing that is very impressive about the game is some of its textures. In the pyrimid levels and some of the forest based stages the textures are very impressive even 3 years on. The direction Sega has taken Sonic is worrying (but the new Sonic title, Sonic Heroes has definatly captured the essence of the 16bit titles) Sonic Adventure is a statisfying experience delivered in an average package. when its good and exciting it is really good and exciting when its boring and tedious (which is around 70% of the time) is is very boring boring and tedious. Yet it manages to maintain a charm that even eludes Zelda in that return to play it doesnt fill you with a hesitant feeling. In conclusion its: Dull, Exciting, Boring, Fast, Slow and Strangely compelling If you can take the very rough with the very smooth you will enjoy this, it just needs working at. The DC version of SA2 differs little from this so the scores can easily apply to this. (I am not one who really appreciaites extras that much, in this game the GBA link, so I dont really touch upon this. These features add to the package but to the gaming experience they very rarely do) GRAPHICS: 7 GAMEPLAY: 7 MUSIC: 5 OVERALL: 6 I don't like giving scores but I have to say that a 6, for example doesn't mean 60%. 1: Disgusting, Unplayable 2: Playable but to the point of desperation 3: This game will stand up against the best 3DO titles in terms of quality, not good! 4: Below Average 5: So Average 6: A Solid title, with a few nice parts 7: A well put together title that will keep you engaged and playing 8: Very Good 9: Amazing, a definate buy 10: AMAZING, UNPARTABLE, UNSPEAKABLE QUALITY, A GAME THAT YOU WOULDN'T STOP PLAYING AFTER ONE RUN THRU. A TOTAL CLASSIC
  9. I wouldnt say badly, its playability hasnt suffered (mainly becuase no other game except the sequel can equal it) the graphics still look quite pretty its just the backgrounds look downright awful in some places and quite bland
  10. My introduction to the Jet Set radio series was the semi-sequel "Jet Set Radio Future" on the XBOX. Since I reintroduced myself to the world of Dreamcast gaming it has given me a chance to play some truly amazing games (even if their impact's have become more muted over time) and I felt it was only right for me to play the game whose sequel was responsible for me importing a Controller S back in 2002 just so I could physically play the game. It was also the game which started the cell shading revolution, and weather you respect or detest it for it you have to admit it was a brave move for Sega to take in a world where DC user support was fairly low at the best of times. Going back to previous titles within the same console generation is something I do quite regulary (with Sonic 1 to Sonic and Knuckles on the MD and FFVII thru to FFIX) but even tho the Dreamcast is an 128bit console it was never allowed the honour of being able to join the ranks with the current big three, and as such these games are now put under the term of "Retro"and that is an unfair heading to put the DC and its range of games under. What JSR offers us is cell shading in its infantcy, and a Jet Set experience at its most harsh and un-refined. While Jet Set Radio Future offered a fairly easy (yet enjoyable) range of thrills, the original is a difficult, furious game with a more of an arcade slant placed on the gameplay. Gameplay: While many considered Future to be a "dumbing down of a niche title"in its defence it is a well put together game that balances the need for urgency with action. The original title tho verges on the unbalanced side. In playing it I found myself beginning to tire of the consistant objectives. In terms of gameplay the title does keep drawing you back, but in my experience for all the wrong reasons. I was compelled to play just to get past the section I was on not for personal pleasure but just to teach the dam thing a lesson. You are placed in a number of frustrating situations and locales. On many occassions you will find yourself creeping around, spray painting a wall and then having to flee to a safe are because you have been discovered by the Columbo-esque gun totting police cheif and his army of officers. At some points, while you are still getting to grips with the gameplay, the game sinks into no more than a hide and seek, Simon Says game. While my comments my sound negative it remains that the game has a charm there that compells you to come back for more but something that really did become a hinderance was the controlls. While movement and action commands feel fluid undertaking accurate and tricky jumps cn become a problem because at high speeds the game works fine, but when things slow down the characters take on a more twitchy tendency Graphics: Truely mind boggling! The way the cities and locations are created is beyond me. They just feel so co-herent and natural in both structure and layout. Jet Set Radio introduced the technique of cell-shading to us, and a large number of two-bit developers who had 'jumped on the band wagon' with no just cause. The game is still a spectical to behold and much like the 2D exploits of Sonic, Mario and Zelda in the 16bit era, it retains a charm and look that means it has aged well in comparsion with the more traditional 3D polygon titles. The character design is perhaps the second greatest achievement of the game, behind the cell shading. Sega's Smilebit have really captured a sense of living grafetti in the art and character models. They all, NPC included, have an individual look that many developers have failed to grasp. From the 'scratchy' outlining on the art to the fluid cartoon-esque 3D models this is a true sight for sore eyes. Music: Another success in the game is the music. The music and the way it has been integrated into the gameplay to create an intense feeling of atmosphere is a definate bench mark in how to produce an excellent soundtrack. And that is exactly what it is, the music is the soundtrack unlike many titles where music is a mere backing accompaniment. The varied and expertly produced tunes in JSR add so much to the overall package. The voice acting is also impressive and is the icing on the auido cake. Closing Comments: While there is no denying that JSR's content and ethos is both original in exicution and engaging it sometimes suffers under the weight of the sheer style. At times the game falls into repetitive mundane gameplay while at other times the thrill of seeing a cut scene or undertaking an impressive array of tricks can up your enjoyment and view of the game in a big way. In retrospect it is easy to say JSR was never a classic. The game is a classic, tho, in terms of presentation and as an overall package. It does so much right and it is the classic gaming of yester-year re-encarnated in true next generation beauty. Since its release back in 2000 a large number of games have used the cell shading technique, but two games have turned what JSR started and turned cell shading into an art form. These games are of couse JSR's sequel Jet Set Radio Future and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. The sad fact is, is that JSR will be remembered as the game that started cell shading, the fact remains tho that when viewed from a pruely gameplay perspective it has nothing above 'very good' and that isn't always enough especially now for it to be considered a classic. In conclusion it is a perfectly solid game wrapped in an amazing package which does itself no favours by being so dam swish, in that it has no hope of offering an experience to much it's style. It is still a whole lot more engaging than 90% of the games available at the moment. It is a successful excercise in style over substance but it is an undiniablly impressive package and now that it can be picked up for as little as £5 there is no excuse. SCORES: GAMEPLAY: 6 MUSIC: 9 GRAPHICS: 8 OVERALL: 7 (in no way an average) I don't like giving scores but I have to say that a 6, for example doesn't mean 60%. 1: Disgusting, Unplayable 2: Playable but to the point of desperation 3: This game will stand up against the best 3DO titles in terms of quality, not good! 4: Below Average 5: So Average 6: A Solid title, with a few nice parts 7: A well put together title that will keep you engaged and playing 8: Very Good 9: Amazing, a definate buy 10: AMAZING, UNPARTABLE, UNSPEAKABLE QUALITY, A GAME THAT YOU WOULDN'T STOP PLAYING AFTER ONE RUN THRU. A TOTAL CLASSIC
  11. Way back in 1998 I was the proud owner of a Japanese Dreamcast but I think at the time, I was just 14, I think I bit off more than I could chew with the limited launch line up meaning my first days of Dreamcast ownership were limited to Virtua Fighter 3tb and Godzilla sessions. Later on I purchased Sega Rally 2 and Sonic Adventure and while excellent games in their own right they didn't manage to keep me engaged enough to overcome the language barrier that I expected to come up against thru owing a Japanese DC. So at the tender age of 15 I sold up and took my dirty money and waited for the PlayStation 2 to come along. But in the Autumn of 2003 I rectified the error of my ways and spent at tiny £21.99 on a Dreamcast, and I stocked up on some classics. One of which was Space Channel 5, and to this day it still captivates me. Initial impressions: Upon turing on the DC you are greeted with a grainy FMV sequence, it seems that sometimes some developers have trouble with FMV on DC but Sonic Team and Capcom show it can be done and look perfect but hay-hoe. But once that has past you are greeted with the funk-a-dellic music that will become the hallmark of this title. Gameplay: The actual gameplay is relitively simple, copy the aliens movements in time with the beat. But here is where the fun begins. It starts off pretty simple. The first set of aliens you meet go thru the motions of simply making up go UP UP DOWN DOWN LEFT etc. Then the face buttons come into play. At certain points the aliens will say "CHOO" this is your que to press the A button. The B button comes into play as the trigger that controls a gun which can save hypnotised Humans. Further into the game you will be required to undertake complex button presses using all 4 directions on the Dpad and the A & B buttons, at the same time remembering which beat you came in at. Sometimes the bright visuals can distract you from the sound. Overall something so simple can become so addictive, and you can see how this paved the way for Rez (masterminded by the same top bloke) Graphics: The NPC models are showing their age (they share simularities with the NPC from Crazy Taxi, another look Sega used but have moved on from much like AM2's 90s games which employed chessy announcers and big silver lettering) but Ulala still looks very nice, her clothes especially looking shiny and 'nice'. All of the charcters in fact fit together so nicely with a style that makes you love them all. The backgrounds are all pre-rendered with limited movement involved in them. But they do look very grainy and the camera angle does change to different views quite often and sometimes the 3D characters emposed upon the backgrounds dont keep up with the changes of scenery. But they serve there purpose. What mistified me was that at the end of the game you are sucked into a TV to fight the Boss and the graphics change to a 2D cartoon style with cel shaded charcters, and these look so impressive, the entire game in this style would have kept a more timeless look IMO. Sound: My good god. This is definatly the highlight of the game. the whole gameplay of this title rests on the fact that the musci is soo good. Its funky, its rocky and its techno. It has a kitch retro feel that makes it even more appealing, it is so out of the ordinary. This explanation is simple: THE MUSIC IS THE BASIS FOR THE GAME AND SINCE THERE IS MUSIC THERE IS A GAME. Closing Comments: Something that struck me after completing it is that due to the games reliance on music there is little room for clever gameplay and tactics. There is one way to do something and thats it... no second way, no clever tactics (apart from downright cheating) this does play against the title, in that if you just can't get the timing you just have to learn and learn so other way, no personalised tactics. For a game that treats a certain aspect of the game, in this case the music, with such passion it is freshing to see that all the other aspects fall around it and sit comfortably to create a great little title. And to add some extra playability to the proceedings once you finish the game once you can play Extra mode in which you get to go around a different route (altho these sections feel cheaper and employ the more conventional gameplay found in the game). On any other console at the time of its release it would have been something truely original but on the DC i think we came to expect it from a Sega that was IMO on the best form it has been in a long while. It wasnt worth the £40 price tag that it cost when it was first released but from a price anywhere below £20 you will get a bargin (all look out for the PS2 version) IN SHORT THIS IS A GAME WHERE MUSIC IS THE GAME, ITS JUST GOOD THAT BENEATH THE GAME FLASHY TUNES LIES A FUN GAME THAT WILL ANNOY, IMPRESS AND UPLIFT ALL BUT THE HARD HEARTED GAMER. GRAPHICS: 6 GAMEPLAY: 7 MUSIC: 8 OVERALL: 7 I don't like giving scores but I have to say that a 6, for example doesn't mean 60%. 1: Disgusting, Unplayable 2: Playable but to the point of desperation 3: This game will stand up against the best 3DO titles in terms of quality, not good! 4: Below Average 5: So Average 6: A Solid title, with a few nice parts 7: A well put together title that will keep you engaged and playing 8: Very Good 9: Amazing, a definate buy 10: AMAZING, UNPARTABLE, UNSPEAKABLE QUALITY, A GAME THAT YOU WOULDN'T STOP PLAYING AFTER ONE RUN THRU. A TOTAL CLASSIC
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