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The Sega Dreamcast appreciation thread


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Great story wools.

Anybody know if the dc-xploder or utopia boot disc will allow US & JP imports to play on a standard PAL console?

Wev is incorrect on the Xploder.

DC-X is different to the Xploder but both discs do load import games.

All the games listed in this feature we did work with the Xploder on a PAL Dreamcast. DC-X can automatically force games into 60hz as there are one or two games that will boot into 50hz with the Xploder but most boot into 60hz.


Don't use utopia boot disc but I understand it does. Best to get all three discs as different games work with different ones

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I knew I'd written a detailed post about my Dreamcast memories before now - but upon searching the forum, I found that it was back in 2008! :o

Here's that post again (with the RIP Bleem image restored, but I have no idea what that first imageshack.us picture was). I can't really think of much I'd add to this now...

The first time I heard about the Dreamcast was probably the announcement that Sega would be working with Microsoft on their next console, which would be an incredible 128-bit!!! From that, my first assumption was that it'd be like a PC - it would do things like word processing as well as playing games, and rather than running games from the disc, you'd install them, and run them from desktop icons. Hmmmm... :D

I remember going into Electronics Boutique and, while browsing through Saturn games, mentioning to one of the staff that I'd heard that Sega were working on a 128-bit console. He responded that if Sega didn't succeed with this new console, that would be it for them. Prophetic words. :(


I started browsing through Sega Saturn magazine, following the name changes from Saturn 2, Black Belt, Dural, Katana, to finally Dreamcast. As I was planning on getting a Saturn that Christmas (1998), I eventually started buying the mag. Unfortunately the two issues I bought happened to be the last two issues of a magazine I wish I'd started getting earlier. But I did get to read some great previews of games like Sonic Adventure - to think that back then, the four years since Sonic & Knuckles seemed like a long wait for a good Sonic game! There were also things like D2, Pen-Pen Tri-Icelon, Godzilla and July, which got coverage purely by virtue of being launch games. Another game that got a big preview feature was a Tron disc-type game called Dronez. And there was an article about some company called Bizarre Creations who were planning to make a racing game set in a real-life city, with animals and pedestrians...

Back then, I kept up with the news about the console on Dreamcast.co.uk, on the PCs in the school's computer rooms. At the time, C&VG and Sega Saturn Magazine's sister website was game-online.com, and Dreamcast.co.uk was their DC-specific site. Later, Swirlvision and Sega Dojo were the other sites I remember following.

I remember Shenmue starting off as "Project Berkeley", a Virtua Fighter RPG which was supposed to have a world as big as the real world. What other game has been previewed in magazines using screenshots of TV aerials? :D

On the Japanese launch date, I remember one friend at school spending a good five minutes winding me up that he was going to import a DC with Sega Rally 2. :lol: But it wasn't that unrealistic - at that time, Gamestation actually sold imported Japanese DC games on their shelves! Later, quite a few school friends got PAL machines - how long they stuck with the console was more variable...

Soon after launch, there was the announcement that Sonic Team were working on four games, which they announced one a week - Sonic Adventure International, Chu-Chu Rocket, Samba de Amigo and Phantasy Star Online.

The Dreamcast was finally launched in the UK on 14 October 1999 (a slight delay from the original September date). But how was it advertised? Soul Calibur's astonishing graphics? No. They had... Euro-baiting adverts projected onto the Houses of Parliament, and a TV advert featuring the exciting view of someone typing into the DC's on-screen email interface. Er. This campaign focused on the online capabilities was done no favours when Watchdog moaned about the complaints from people unable to get them working. Forget piracy and people waiting for the PS2 - it was Anne Robinson that killed the Dreamcast!

I got the first issue of DC-UK, but the magazine I chose to collect was Paragon Publishing's Dreamcast Magazine (which ended up being the longest-running DC magazine, even if the last few issues were mostly reprints). Anyone remember the kiddie "Mr Dreamcast" magazine?

I swapped to Official Dreamcast Magazine in mid-2000... the issue that contained Ed Lomas's glowing review of the long-awaited Metropolis Street Racer. In retrospect it was more a list of the game's features than a review, but I still haven't read a magazine feature that's got me as excited about a game as that one did. Also, the review was introduced by two double-page spreads designed to look like postcards of London landmarks - the first constructed out of real photographs, the second from in-game screenshots. Now why didn't Sega use that concept for their own ads?

Summer 2000 was also the time when the delays and cancellations started hitting. We had no news on exclusive games like Picassio and FPS Take the Bullet (which IIRC was intended to use the DC lightgun's built-in D-pad for movement). From then on, many games had their DC versions canned: Colin McRae Rally 2.0, Commandos 2... and of course Half-Life, which I didn't get to play through properly until a big PC upgrade a few years later.

Things like Bleemcast morphed from a device that would play all PS1 games, to packs that would play 100 games each, to dedicated individual discs for Gran Turismo 2, Metal Gear Solid and Tekken 3. The DreamEye was cancelled, as was the Euro release of Sega's official 4x Memory Card. (My own memory cards are one VMU and two Joytech 4Mb ones - they may be unofficial, but fortunately I've never had any problem with them, and most of my saves are duplicated across both devices just in case.)


So, I finally got my DC Christmas 2000. Being used to the Saturn, my first impression was how dinky it was! Chu Chu Rocket came with the machine. Sonic Adventure lived up my expectations. So did MSR - Sega promptly replaced my buggy disc with the slightly-less buggy revised version. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 was even better than the PS1 version, thanks to better framerate and draw distance. I bought Marvel vs Capcom 2 not long afterwards - good job I did, considering how sought-after it quickly became.

BUT THEN. The rumours started flying online, and at first there was a lot of confusion as the speculation was all mixed up. Then the Official DC mag's website came to the rescue with a thorough article clarifying everything: Sega were to stop production of the Dreamcast and become a multi-platform software developer (although they would still support the DC for a while yet).

Official Dreamcast magazine died not long afterwards. A great, clean design, passionate writing - yet for an official mag, its review scores were surprisingly close to the ideal average of 5/10. The last few issues contained fascinating making ofs - and the final issue was the one that reviewed Sonic Adventure 2. That is still the only game I've ever bought on launch day, and yeah, I'm still quite fond of it. Focus on the Sonic and Shadow racing levels, get past the unreliable controls that send you into bottomless pits, and it's quite a good time attack game...

Then there was Christmas 2001. I think that DC games had already stopped being released in the US (NHL 2K2 was the last, I think), but over here, they kept coming for a while longer. Several fantastic games were released over those few months, largely thanks to Big Ben Interactive (for that reason, probably the only game distribution company anyone - well, at least me - ever remembers). Virtua Tennis 2, Headhunter (bit buggy, but it features what's probably Richard Jacques' best game soundtrack), and Rez.

February 2002 gave us the PAL release of Phantasy Star Online version 2. It was a few months before I bought a DC keyboard (Poundland!), so in the beginning I had to make do with the emoticons and the game's manual phrase entry system (innovative for its auto-translation ability, but very slow to use). I remember first going online and joining a party going through the Forest, and seeing the dragon boss for the first time. When we beat it, I levelled up, and everyone congratulated me with smiley faces. wub.gif I only got to play online with friends from school once, but that was a memorable experience. So was the great welcome I got the first time I went onto a Japanese server.

Those friendly moments are the things I remember about the game, rather than the ever-present threat of cheaters like NOLers and VKers ("Visual Memory Killers"). No doubt modern PC MMORPGs provide experiences that are just as memorable and far more varied - but for some reason, I've never had the same desire to check out World of Warcraft et al that I did with PSO, and it's not just the subscription fees.

The new releases had stopped, but for a long time afterwards I continued to catch up with my backlog: Dead or Alive 2 (no Soul Calibur, but it made a nice alternative), Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future, Unreal Tournament, San Francisco Rush 2049, Sega Rally 2, Power Stone and JET SET RADIOOOOOOO! I borrowed a copy of Skies of Acadia by a friend from school, which he later said I could keep. Nice of him. I bought Bangai-O, but didn't immediately get into it, and, stupidly, traded it back in before I'd given it much of a chance. D'oh.

Probably the worst thing about the Dreamcast hardware itself is that it's a notoriously unreliable console. A couple of school friends had already had problems with either resetting, or dead controller ports. Eventually the system's unreliability hit me. On certain games (frequently on THPS2, less often on MSR) the disc drive would make unhealthy CLUNKING noises and, although it would keep playing the game (but with no streamed audio), it would die at the next loading screen. Several times I opened it up and cleaned out all the dust, but the problem came back. Since then, though, it seemed to fix itself, and (touch wood) I've had no problems with it since. Having said that... the scenery on Crazy Taxi has disappeared on me more than once when I was about to set a high score!

The Dreamcast later became the first console for which I bought an RGB cable. This gave all my games a new lease of life - even the lesser PS1 ports, like Spider-Man. It even made it worth playing Phantasy Star Offline!

So, the Dreamcast was a commercial failure - but look at that catalogue of games! OK, some of them have since been ported to the PS2/Xbox/GC, or been surpassed by later sequels, or aren't quite as good as their shiny graphics made them seem at the time, or are dated in other ways. But I can't think of any other console which ran up so many varied, interesting, innovative games in such a short period - it certainly took PS2 a lot longer to attain a catalogue of that many games I wanted to play.

There are some on this list I still haven't played (Le Mans 24 Hours (the DC version), Grandia 2, Street Fighter 3, Samba de Amigo) but they're all titles I was interested in:

Chu-Chu Rocket!

Crazy Taxi

Crazy Taxi 2

Daytona USA 2001

Dead or Alive 2

Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future

F355 Challenge

Grandia 2


House of the Dead 2

Jet Set Radio

Le Mans 24 Hours

Marvel vs Capcom 2

Metropolis Street Racer

Mr Driller

NBA 2K and 2K2

Phantasy Star Online

Power Stone

Power Stone 2

Quake 3 Arena

Resident Evil Code: Veronica


Samba de Amigo

Sega Rally 2


Shenmue 2

Skies of Arcadia

Sonic Adventure

Sonic Adventure 2

Soul Calibur

Space Channel 5

Street Fighter 3: Third Strike

The Typing of the Dead

Virtua Tennis

Virtua Tennis 2

And those are just the PAL games! No doubt shmup importers can add a lot to that list...

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Wev is incorrect on the Xploder.

DC-X is different to the Xploder but both discs do load import games.

All the games listed in this feature we did work with the Xploder on a PAL Dreamcast. DC-X can automatically force games into 60hz as there are one or two games that will boot into 50hz with the Xploder but most boot into 60hz.


Don't use utopia boot disc but I understand it does. Best to get all three discs as different games work with different ones

Very happy to be incorrect, Ive got an Xploder somewhere (or was there also Xplorer too?) and having lost my NTSC-J system to a laser issue I wouldn't mind having a boot disc

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Great story wools! :D

Although reading that back, I sound like a kerniving, lying little shit! I just really wanted a Dreamcast and saved up for it, just my parents would have never allowed me to spend that kind of money on games.

Yeah but what happened when they eventually found out?

As the Dreamcast had so many good games released in such a short space of time, it got to a point I could not hide it any longer. I think I just put it on display on my desk next to my TV and saw if they noticed. Once they did, I came out with the truth and luckily they did not confiscate it. Clean getaway!

My Brother kept quiet when I bribed him with 2 player Sega Rally 2. :)

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Very happy to be incorrect, Ive got an Xploder somewhere (or was there also Xplorer too?) and having lost my NTSC-J system to a laser issue I wouldn't mind having a boot disc

The Xploder is still fairly common these days and costs less then a pound on amazon.co.uk (plus supporting a small business), there was also a demo disc version given away with some magazines, which also acts as a boot disc. Just make sure you get a DVD style box with it and manual to know you have a proper version.

Reason I use the Xploder the most is it has minimum laser travel and is quick to get into game, only down side with the Xploder from all the games I've tested on it, is Ooga Boogie gets booted into 50hz and Langrisser Millennium refuses to load. That said someone who is a hex wizard might be able to fit both issue.

For those two games I just just the DC-X, but that causes a lot of laser wear as does Phanstasy Star Online Version 2 as Sega didn't optimise the disc for that one.

Utopia Boot was a pirate thing and is only available via download, note that some games will refuse to load with any boot disc, Rent-A-Hero No. 1 is one such game that is reported to not work with any boot disc and requires a Japanese DC to load.

Also as I recalled it's not a good idea to have more than one VMU plug in when using an Xploder as I think it would/could erase the others.

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The Blaze Xploder is the one I have/had didn't know it would allow you to play imports. I bought it when my lvl 44 RAcast was NOL'd for the second time on PSO

And yeah, the load times for the character screen on PSOv2 are atrocious.

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A couple of games my mates and I loved that don't always get alot of mention when reminiscing about the Dreamcast were Re-Volt and Red Dog.

The latter was fairly difficult to get to grips with I always felt, but was an excellent multiplayer shooter

As for Re-Volt, we all had a copy each and would make tracks, share them, try to beat each others times and have 4-player races on them.

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Wonder if anyone can help. Just switched my Dreamcast on, its been plugged in for a few weeks now, but I'm still having to set the time and date. Does this operate from a battery like the Saturn? And is it replacable? If so hiw do you do it? Its nothing major but it is a minor annoyance to be greeted by the settings screen when I switch it on.

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Yeah, if you open it up you'll see the battery exposed down front behind the controller ports. It can be replaced although I've never done it. You need the whole thing rather than just the battery. Something like this:


It only charges while the system is on, maybe it just needs a good 24 hour run. Set LeMans on real time and see how far you get ;)

Alternate hacks:



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Yeah, you have to leave it switched on for a good few hours for the battery to recharge. To see if it's working, set the time,leave it off for 10 mins, power back on. If it asks for the date and time, it needs replacing.

The really annoying thing is the battery is not charged at all if its switched off, so even if you don't play for a week, it's likely that the date and time will need to be set.

Real step back from the Saturn design, IMHO

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Might have to pick up a copy :-)

Did the quick check re the battery that's mentioned above, its remembering the date and time so will just leave the console on for a while. Re-introduced the other half to ChuChu Rocket and intend on showing that to my eldest daughter when she gets home and can see her wanting to play the puzzle modes (especially the 2player puzzle mode) when I'm at work

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Picked up copies of Jet Set Radio and Soul Cailbur for around a fiver each on eBay. Man, what great games. Still look and play great.

I'm slowly getting round to buying my favourite games, having had just copies for years.

Would love to get Outtriger, but it seems quite expensive.

The DC is still a great console for those pick up and play games.

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Le Mans is a lovely game. Decent number of cars and tracks, lovely graphics, decent gameplay, innovative 24 hour mode, 4 player split screen. Definite worth a look if you like racing games

Is the DC version significantly different from the PS2 version? I remember the official DC mag raving about the game (doing a tag-team realtime 24 hour run!), but I never found a copy of the DC version. Later I bought the PS2 version and I remember finding it really disappointing, and never got into it at all - couldn't see at all why ODM rated it up there with MSR and F355 Challenge.

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I quite literally got into the DC for the first time about 4 years ago or so as I just started to slip behind on consoles around the time it came out. I think I picked up the N64 around the break of 2000 so was a few years behind on that and didn't get a PS2 until mid 2005. Aside from briefly seeing a kid I knew (friend of family) who always got the new consoles as they came out, I didn't really get to experience one properly.

A mate of mine gave me his and I'd lent mine to a friend for about 8 monnths or so, which I think he had this time last year. I eventually got it back at some point about 6 months ago and it was broken, so I'm guessing I'll need a new one if I'm to get back on it again. It was working absolutely perfectly before I lent it him as well and he's the type of person that has broken consoles in the past and phones because of games. Fuckin' irks me off whenever I think back to it. Take it they aren't too expensive to get these days? I think the issue is the laser.

Anyway of what I've played so far some of my favourites have included Code Veronica, Silver and a personal favourite, Shadowman. It is one of the few games that literally I almost view it as a classic as though I played it when it came out back in the day, but it wasn't even long ago. In fact, when it was originally out the first time I'd seen reviews and things about it but didn't think I'd be particulary interested in it. It was a bit of a slow starter and there were plenty of dead end moments, but that's what made it work when I eventually sussed it all out and it all came together. The whole music behind it was excellent too and the inner Asylum or what ever it's called was special indeed. It bled atmosphere.

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Popped into an old haunt of mine yesterday. Games Masters in Edinburgh. Man, apart from having newer generation games, it hasn't changed.

And what a great place to go browsing for old games!

Loads of Master Systen, Megadrive and dreamcast games - a fiver each, lower if they weren't in thre original box.

Picked up Tokyo highway challenge and Tonky Hawk Skateboarding. That's right, not Tony Hawks Pro Skater... But Tony Hawk Skateboarding. I suppose us Europeans had to have it spelled out for us.

Although Tokyo Highway Challenge threw up another issue with Sega. It says it's VGA compatible on the back, but put it in and it says "this game is not compatible with this AV output, please swap the cable and restart". Which is exactly the same with Iron Aces.

Anyway, it was fun just looking through the games. Had plenty of 360, PS3 and Wii/ GC games. All good prices. Couldn't see any SNES or N64 games, but I'd imagine they were there somewhere. I used to get loads of used N64 games from there 15+ years ago...

What's sad is that it's the only shop I can think of like that in Edinburgh now....

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