I hope that everyone had a very merry Christmas. I would have been nice if we all got Dreamcast's from Santa but as well all know his factories are running at full capacity to supply systems the children of Japan. I guess there's always next year.
More information has been released about Sega Rally 2 in the latest official Dreamcast Magazine in Japan. Apparently there will be four player network play. Playing over the internet will be free for one year beginning on the games release date of January 14th 1999. The game modes for Sega Rally 2 can be seen on the screenshot from Sega X below.
The same issue of the Official Dreamcast Magazine has reported that Shen Mue will feature 3 game modes. These are: QTE Mode, Exploring Mode (letting you do whatever you like), and Viewing Mode.
More information has come in about the very promising Psychic Force 2012. Taito, the games developer, have produced a lot of anime style movies for each character. A new character Golden Emilio has been created for the Dreamcast version. Taito have also included a VS mode, Team Battle mode, and practice mode. A release date has been set at March 4 1999.
SNK have pushed back the release date of The King of Fighters '98 from Q'2 1999 to Q'3 1999.
More Dreamcast sales figures. Sega managed to sell another 30,983 Dreamcast units, still hampered by the shortages, but VF3:TB has dropped out of Top 10 after 3 weeks, it's in 13th position, with 28,461 copies of the game sold, and 188,590 copies sold in total.
Rumours on the Magic Box web site are that Namco currently has 4 Dreamcast projects on hand, they are a racing, baseball, action and a fighting game (one of each).
SegaNET have reported that Dreamstone Entertainment's first Dreamcast project is a RPG titled Shiken Takeshi: Evenstar. Evenstar is a console style RPG which began it's life on the PC. The Dreamcast version will be built from the ground up using the SegaAPI for development rather than the Windows CE OS. Dreamstone also plans to utilize the GD-ROM capabilities as well as the DC Modem.
What will Yu Suzuki be doing when he finishes Shen Mue? Well apparently he, and the AM2 team, are planning a new arcade driving game for the Naomi arcade board. No information about the type of game is known, but you can expect more details in late 1999.
From Software, who are developing Frame Gride on the Dreamcast, announced that they are working on Kings Field IV, the sequel of their popular RPG series. Although they haven't announced any platforms yet, a Dremacast conversion is a good bet considering they are already developing other titles on the system.
Just thought that I'd let you know that the 50th game preview is now online. The game is Geist Force and along with the other 49 previews can be accessed via the Coming Soon page.
Katana Edge have posted news on their site that From Software's Frame Gride will support online play. After Sega Rally 2 this is only the second game announced to support the online gameplay.
Recently Climax have released some pictures from their impressive Climax Landers. This game will push the VMS as it replicates 3D dungeons and draws in the monsters. It's looking pretty impressive at this stage.
Waking up on Sunday the 20th is something that I've been dreaming of for some time now, well not really dreaming of, more like anticipating. This was the day that Sega finally unveilled Shen Mue, Yu Suzuki's masterpiece. I managed to watch the whole unveiling, all 2 hours of it. From the opening orchestrial music to actual Shen Mue gameplay, everything was exceptional. However, not being able to understand Japanese was a bit of a problem. However, the graphics in the game spoke for themselves. The four screenshots below are real time screens from the game. Plenty more screenshots and info can be found on the Shen Mue page.
Some more reviews of upcoming Dreamcast games have come out from Japan. Sonic Adventure is excellent however I would have expected higher scores from Tetris 4D.
DC Mag : 9 9 10      (9.33)
DC Fan  : 9 9 9        (9)
FamiTsu : 9 10 9 10 (9.5)
DC Mag : 7 4 5     (5.33)
DC Fan  : 5 6 8     (6.33)
FamiTsu : 7 5 5 7  (6)
DC Mag : 6 7 7     (6.67)
DC Fan  : 8 7 7     (7.33)
FamiTsu : 4 8 7 5  (6)
Recently announced is the fact that Sonic Adventure will have an online portion. Apparently on the menu screen there is an Internet option which takes you to the Dricas site. Yuji Naka indicated that from there you will be able to download information and add it to the game. The primary download will be Chao(s?) characters that can be traded with others on the net. Chao(s?) characters are the A-Life creatures in your VMS.
Magic Box Gaming has posted more sales figures for the Dreamcast and VF3:TB. In the week following the launch 34,726 Dreamcasts were sold bringing the total to 175,556. A further 30,242 VF3:TB games were sold bringing that total to 162,130. From these figures we can see that around 92% of gamers buying Dreamcasts are also buying VF3:TB. The reason more systems weren't sold is because it's a complete sellout across Japan.
The very first review of Sonic Adventure is out. It was done by Weekly Famitsu, a Japanese games magazine. The score. Well Sonic Adventure got a whopping 38/40. This is even higher then the brilliant VF3:TB.
The Shen Mue website is now set up fr the December 20th unveiling. (Yes that's tomorrow people). The site can be found by going to http://shenmue.by.arena.ne.jp/.
CSK is working a new software called CRI MPEG Sofdec for Dreamcast. This software allows the Dreamcast to play MPEG1 encode movies. This software utilises only 50% of the processing power. Sonic Adventure will be using the Sofdec software for the CGI in the game. One great thing is that because it uses only 50% of the CPU the other 50% can be dedicated to drawing polygons and other effects. This will allow programmers to have video mapped onto polygons.
On the above point it is believed that the Dreamcast version of MK4 will use video instead of photo's for the games characters with polygon backgrounds.
Another score has come in for Incoming. Dreamcast Magazine from Japan gave Incoming a respectable 21/30.
It appears as if Sega have decided to hold off using the Model 4 arcade system. What impact does this have for the Dreamcast? Well it now means that many games will now use the Naomi arcade system which will result in rapid conversions to Dreamcast. The first title that may be shifted is none other then Virtua Fighter 4 which was originally going to be on Model 4.
Stormfront Studios are now confirmed developers on the Dreamcast. Stormfront were the developers of NASCAR '98 and '99, Mario Andretti Racing, and Tony La Russa Baseball. No Dreamcast titles have been announced yet.
Only rumours at this stage, but if they are true it would be a massive boost to the Dreamcast in Japan. Apparently, Capcom are preparing Marvel Vs. Capcom for release on Dreamcast in March/April.
Koei have announced their first Dremacast title, and it's not a simulation game at all. In fact it's a mahjong game called Happy Mahjong II. Strangely you can play mahjong with characters from their hit games such as Romance of 3 Kingdoms, Operation Europe, Ambition of Nabunaga.
Culture Brain are working on two Dreamcast titles. Both are fighting games with very strange names. They are SD Hiryunoken Gaiden EX Edition, due in May 1999, and Hiryunoken Legends, due in August 1999.
A couple of Capcom rumours from the Magic Box website. The first is that Capcom's latest CPS3 arcade game, Jojo's Venture will be heading to Dreamcast in Q'3 1999. The second rumour is that Capcom is porting Street Fighter EX + Alpha 2 to Dreamcast. Apparently there will be several new characters, including characters from Street Fighter III and Street Fighter Alpha 3. This game is also scheduled for a Q'3 1999 release.
The big news in releation to this site is that the first review is now up. The House Of The Dead 2 review can be found by going to the Reviews page.
The US launch date for Sega's Dreamcast is set for September 9, 1999. This is the same date as Playstation's launch 3 years ago.
Capcom's Power Stone will be released in the arcades across the globe in January. This 3D fighting game is said to be very impressive and runs on the Naomi arcade system. A Dreamcast version of the game will be out in February. The VMS will be used with the Dreamcast version.
Has Incoming been delayed? Well there is a chance of that. Apparently NCS, an online importer, hasn't been able to confirm the release date from Japan which is meant to be today. Rumours are spreading that the game may be delayed until January. Three more games, including the much anticipated Sonic Adventure, will be released in six days from now.
Not much news today except that there has been a lot of updates on this site. Have a look at the updates part back on the main page to see what I mean. And that's only the beginning.
How well has Incoming fared in Japanese press. Well Wekely Famitsu rated it 27/40. Not as high as I would have expected, but it is a very non-Japanese type of game.
Great news for this site is that I have 6 weeks off from my day job now and will be spending the Christmas break working on this site quite a bit. Expect more updates and new features very soon.
I purchased AFL 99 for PC the other day and have to say that it's absolutely brilliant, as long as you have a 3D card. Just a couple of notes for all you Aussies about to buy the game. Firstly, the saving feature of the game only works if you install the game into C:\AFL99 directory. Secondly the box says you need a P2-233 if you use a 3D card but it works fine on my P200MMX. Anyone that likes AFL should definately have a look at this game.
Want the sales figures for the Dreamcast. The number in the brackets to the right of the sales figure is the position on the Japanese sales charts. Not bad when the charts ran from 23rd November to the 29th November, allowing only 3 days for the Dreamcast. Many more units would have been sold by now.
Dreamcast Units : 140,830
Virtua Fighter 3TB : 131,888 (#2)
Godzilla Generations : 22,079 (#16)
Pen Pen : 17,079 (#21)
July : 14,013 (#25)
You may be surprised to see that the very average Godzilla Generations 2nd in Dreamcast game sales. The reason for this is that in Japan Godzilla has a huge following which ensures that any Godzilla game sells fairly well, no matter how poor the game is.
The brilliant Zelda 64 sold only 139,178 units for Nintendo's console during the sales period, just ahead of VF3:TB. If Sega had more Dreamcast's on store shelves on launch day then Sega certainly would have had the number one sales position.
Konami are set to release Pop'n Music on the Dreamcast. This game is a sequel to the popular Beat Mania series. Pop'n Music features more variety in the genres of music it offers then previous games. A nine-button pad for the Dreamcast will also be released for the game at 4,990 yen. The game is scheduled to be released on February 25th 1999 in Japan.
Sonic Adventure will be released on 23rd December. Apparently the code is finished and the game will be shipped to stores this coming week. This is great news as Sega will now have a major title on the shelves in time for Christmas.
The next Tokyo Game Show will be held in Japan from the 19th to the 21st March 1999. Undoubtedly the TGS is the premiere games show in Japan, if not the world. You can expect a tonne of Dreamcast news that weekend.
An action/RPG game, Berserk is on it's way to Dreamcast thanks to the Japanese developer, ASCII. No other details have been released yet.
Fastest Gaming Network have confirmed 3 Midway titles they are Hydro Thunder, and arcade boat racer (Janruary 1999), a new Mortal Kombat (Early 2000), and NFL Blitz 2000 (US launch title).
The D2 demo which will be included with Real Sound 2 for Dreamcast on February 25th has a title, D2 - Shock. The demo will feature one section of the game and have you battle a boss and ride a snow mobile.
Minor news on Blue Stinger is that it will support the Puru Puru (rumble) pack.
How much will the Dreamcast cost in England. Well according to Sega of Europe a price is set at £199. This could drop to £150 by the time the system launches in September to be more competative with the Playstation and N64.
Is Sonic Adventure about to be delayed again? It's possible. Apparently Sega have told retailers not to take any advanced orders for the game because the December 23rd date is still not definite. Go figure.
ToeJam & Earl III seems almost certain to appear in the future. ToeJam & Earl Productions' Mark Voorsanger has revealed that his company's agreement with GT Interactive for publication rights to ToeJam & Earl III on Dreamcast and N64 "is a done deal. Of course, things could get off-tract during development, but the chances that a TJ&E III will actually happen just got a whole lot better!"
Sega will release the Dreamcast VGA Box on January 14 in Japan. The 7,000 yen device allows Dreamcast owners to plug the system into their computer monitors for better quality graphics. Unfortunately only certain game will work with it. In the first crop of game only VF3:TB and one other game will work.
Anyone want to buy Dreamcast. Well, Extreme Imports in Australia still have a few available. The reason I'm telling you? Well they have the best deal that I've seen in Australia, and it beats most overseas deals as well. Here are the prices.
Japanese Dreamcast System - $AU 699 ($US 435)
Virtua Fighter 3:TB Godzilla Generations - $AU 110 ($US 68)
Pen Pen Tri-Icelon - $AU 110 ($US 68)
July - $AU 110 ($US 68)
Extra controllers - $AU 60 ($US 37)
VMS Units - $AU 60 ($US 37)
Arcade Fighter stick - $AU 110 ($US 68)
S-Video lead - $AU 40 ($US 24)
220~240 Stepdown converter/adaptor - $AU 50 ($31)
The also have several packs. The biggest and best value one contains a Japanese Dreamcast system, any 3 launch titles, extra control pad, VMS unit, and a step down converter/adaptor for only $1050AUS ($US650), a saving of $150.
Resident Evil : Code Veronica has been delayed until the end of 1999. The official reason is that they want to sell 1 million copies of the game and need at least 3 million Dreamcasts in Japanese homes to do so. My belief is that they need a lot more time to finish the game. They would have only started it a year or so ago which means they would have only had a year to develop the game on new hardware for the company.
Oh No. Yet more delays. This is beginning to get a bit grim. Blue Stinger has been delayed from 14th January until March 1999. Evolution has been delayed from 23rd December to 21st January 1999.
This isn't funny any more. Yet another game, Climax Landers has been delayed by a month until February 25th 1999. Fortunately this is only to spread out the release of Japanese RPG's and not due to programming problems.
A definite release date for Monaco Grand Prix Racing Simulation 2 of 18th February 1999.
On the Sega of Japan website Shen Mue just has a release of 1999, and isn't listed in the March releases. Delays perhaps?
Strider may be resurrected on the Dreamcast. Apparently there is an arcade game already in the works and if this is being done on Naomi, as it probably is, there is a good chance of it appearing on the Dreamcast in the future.
Pictures of Game Arts Grandia 2 have started surfacing on the web and they are very impressive. I will post them on theis site when I find clean images without other site's logo's.
On the above point you will find that I very rarely post images that have other sites logo's on them. I believe that if a company posts images they should remain unaltered. Let me know what you think of this policy.
Seta have announced that they are also developing on the Dreamcast. Their first title? A chess game due in late 1999. Believe it or not these games sell pretty well in Japan.
Sorry about the lack of updates people. On Saturday I went to Brisbane for the Advent' Jah Dance Party. Unfortunatly, the one group that I wanted to see, Ultra-Sonic, cancelled last week and they wouldn't refund the tickets. Oh well. It was still an excellent night with about 5,000 people there. Paul Holden was absolutely going off and Ultra-Sonic's replacement, Ultimate Buzz, was equally impressive.