The Dreamcast is finally available in Australia. At 12:01am I lined up outside Electronics Boutique at Pacific Fair and by 12:35am I had my system in my hands. There were quite a few expletives heard as people realised there was hardly anything available for sale. None of the Ozisoft games (Sega Rally 2, Sonic Adventure, Soul Calibur, Virtua Fighter 3tb etc) were available for purchase with the sales assistants putting it down to shipping problems. According to EB these games will be available on Wednesday. In fact the only games which were available are Aero Wings, Ready 2 Rumble, WWF Attitude, and Trickstyle. Ready 2 Rumble was by far the most popular game on sale, probably due to the game being displayed on the demo unit on the store. There were no VMU's to be found either, not even 3rd party models.
Upon getting the system and opening up the box it was very disappointing to see that there was no internet browser disc included with the system (I was suspicious when I spoke to Steve a couple of days ago). But there was a bigger shock, no demo disc. What the hell is going on here...? Hopefully, as the EB rep stated, when you fill out your internet registration card the demo disc will be forwarded to you but I am still awaiting confirmation of this from Ozisoft.
Needless to say I have been impressed with the system. I will do full reviews of the games soon and last night I tried several games including Blue Stinger and Speed Devils. I must say that Speed Devils is more then I expected and should be considered when you all pick up your Dreamcast. Without a VMU it's hard to make a lot of progress in Blue Stinger although from a couple of hours gameplay it's an excellent game as well.
Sega GT has been given a release date of February 24th (my Birthday) in Japan. The game will retail for 5,800 yen. Although no date has been set for the PAL version I would expect it soon after the Japanese version.
Developers Zed Two have confirmed that they have completed development on Wetrix + on the Dreamcast. The game is scheduled for release in America by the end of the year with a PAL release set for early next year.
Namco have once again confirmed that they will be releasing 2 Dreamcast games during the year 2000. The first game is expected sometime after March. The hot tips for the games are Tekken Tag Tournament and new Ridge Racer game although this is still to be confirmed.
Rumours are beginning to surface on the internet that Namco are working on Soul Calibur 2 for the arcades with a Dreamcast port being considered. After the success of the original game on the Dreamcast Sega will be preying that the rumours turn out to be true.
In some great news for PAL Dreamcast owners it appears as if Capcom's Resident Evil 2 will be coming to Europe (and therefor Australia). The game is set for release early next year. No word yet on an American port of the game.
It looks like I'll have to wait a bit longer for my most wanted game, Sega Bass Fishing. The European version has been pushed back from early December until next year. It is believed that there are problems with the rod production.
According to Gamespot a Dreamcast conversion of Quake 3 : Arena isn't far off. The best news is that the game will make use of the online gameplay through the Dreamcast.
Japanese Famitsu magazine has reviewed some of the latest released for Japan and although the scores aren't spectacular they are pretty good across the board. The much delayed Maken X received 32/40 (80%) which is the same score as Sega's Zombie Revenge. Capcom's Jojo's Bizarre Adventure received 31/40 (77.5%) while UbiSoft Speed Devils was harshly dealt with a 29/40 (72.5%). There were a couple of other scores such as Hello Kitty's Lovely Fruit Park 25/40 and Death Crimson 2 19/40. I would be surprise to see wither of these games outside Japan.
Dreamcast sales in America have shot past the 1 million mark already. In what can only be seen as astonishing sales for the system there is still Thanksgiving and Christmas to go before the end of the year. Puts to shame earlier estimates of 1.5 million units by March 2000.
Well we've all been wondering when the ads will begin for the Dreamcast an now there is a definite date. According to Michele Bell the Dreamcast ads will begin on December 5th. That's almost a week after launch but by looking at the pre-orders for the Dreamcast they are hardly required for launch.
Visual Concepts have confirmed that there will be sequels for NFL2K and NBA2K. That shouldn't be too much of a surprise but the best news is that online gameplay is promised for the sequels.
Sonic Team's Chu Chu Rocket has shot to number 1 on the Japanese sales charts with just over 35,000 units sold in the first week. You might also be interested to know that Seaman : Forbidden Pet is still in the Top 10 with 20,000 units sold (total 240,000).
I rang up my local Electronics Boutique on the Gold Coast today to enquire about the Dreamcast and the pre-orders. According to the sales person they will be receiving 240 machines with over 200 already pre-ordered. Strangely, EB's are still of the opinion that they will be receiving 240 VMU's at launch as well which contradicts Ozisoft's report a couple of days ago.
It's interesting to see just how much Ozisoft are trying to reduce potential shortages of Dreamcast units. Ozisoft are holding off in-store demo units and machines for the press until next year so as to have as many units available for the public. Although I will now have to fork out for a system myself, I can only applaud Ozisoft for thinking of the consumers first.
Acclaim have confirmed that South Park Rally is coming to the Dreamcast. The game, which features all your favorite South Park characters, is a cart racing game similar to Super Mario Kart. No release date has been set yet.
SNK have confirmed that King Of The Fighters 2000 is headed to the Naomi arcade chipset as well as Dreamcast. The arcade version will include around 56, yes fifty six, combatants to select from. The game is scheduled for release in arcades next July.
Less then a week to go now. Woo Hoo!
Shiny's highly anticipated Messiah is heading to Dreamcast. David Perry has confirmed that the game is on the way and should be released a few months after the PC version which is due by Christmas. Messiah has one of the most impressive graphics engines ever seen in a game and should be an excellent addition to the Dreamcast lineup next year.
Power Smash Tennis has been renamed to Virtua Tennis. The R&D 3 game is nearing completion for the arcades with a Dreamcast conversion expected soon after. Several big name players including Jim Courier and Australia's own Mark Phillipousis.
Midway have confirmed that Rush 2049 is headed to the Dreamcast. But don't expect the game on the shelves until September 2000 at the earliest. Midway are enhancing the graphics to run at 640 x 480 at 60FPS with no fogging at all, unlike the Nintendo 64 version. But the best part is that Midway are planning 4 player online play for the game.
GT Interactive have confirmed that they will be distributing Felony Persuit in Australia. The game, which is being developed by Polygon Studios in Europe and should be released in Q'2 2000.
Yaar Baby. Take Two have secured the license to produce a game based on Austin Powers, one of my all time favorite movies (it was my second DVD purchase only the other day). Anyway Take Two are currently looking at the Sega Dreamcast as one of the console for the game to be released on. Don't expect it anytime soon.
It looks as if Capcom have decided where their future lies, and the Dreamcast is a big part of it. Recently a company spokesperson stated that "the Dreamcast would be a success, even if Capcom had to do it alone. Following this comes the news that Capcom have 11 Dreamcast projects in the works and set for release in 2000. While some games, such as Resident Evil: Code Veronica are known most titles are yet to be announced.
Rumour is growing that Capcom are currently developing Marvel Vs Capcom 2 for release on the Naomi architecture. Apparently the arcade version is slated for release next March.
The Dreamcast is down under. Steve O'Leary confirmed to me today that the Dreamcast has arrived from Japan and is ready to roll out to stores. The good news is that the internet software is complete and will come with the system when it hits store shelves.
I managed to contact Michele Bell at Ozisoft today in regard to the peripheral delays in Australia and this is what she had to say:
Q: Can you confirm or deny the rumours officially about the non supply of peripherals for the Dreamcast such as the VMU, RF Adaptor, Keyboard and provide new release dates.
A: There have been difficulties in getting supply of some peripherals. There will be VMUs and RF units but likely not the day of launch....shortly after. I know there are 3rd party versions around that will fill the gap. Keyboards will be end of December.
I also spoke to Steve O'Leary at length about the launch titles and there is good and bad news. The bad news is that several titles have been delayed. The good news is that all the A++ titles such as Sonic, Sega Rally 2 and Soul Calibur are still on schedule as launch titles. Both Jimmy White's 2 : Cue Ball and Incoming have been pushed back until an unspecified date while Red Dog, the highly anticipated shooter from Argonaut has been pushed back until January. Core's Fighting Force 2 has also been pushed back until January. Sega Bass Fishing is looking a bit iffy for launch due to production of the fishing. When you look at it there is still a huge lineup of games scheduled for launch and I wouldn't be surprised to see a complete system sellout across the country.
There is some good news. Several games have been confirmed for release in Australia including Crazy Taxi and Virtua Striker 2 which are now due for release in January.
Sega of Japan have announced that Shen Mue : Yokosuka has been brought forward to the 29th December 1999. Yes, the game is now just over 6 weeks away from release in Japan and will be the last great game of the 20th Century. No word yet on the release dates outside Japan.
Thanks to the kind folks at Activision I have already received a PAL copy of Blue Stinger to do a review of as soon as I get my Dreamcast. For those of you who already bought this game, pop it into your PC and have a look at the files on the disc. There is a directory with several different pictures from the game, the most interesting being a women wearing a bunny costume.
Several new dates for Dreamcast games have been announced for Australia. Hasbro have confirmed that Worms : Armageddon will arrive here in mid December. UbiSoft's impressive Evolution has unfortunately been pushed back from December until February due to localisation problems, while Hereos of Might & Magic 3 has been given a March 2000 release date. UbiSoft's Arcaterahas been pushed back from March to April 2000, while Stupid Invaders has been pushed from March to May. Both Roadsters DC and Deadly Skies (new name for Air Force Delta) are due out in February 2000.
Rumours are once again starting to grow that the Australian Dreamcast launch is on shakey ground. I have received several reports that peripherals such as VMU, RF Adaptor, Keyboard and Light Gun won't be available at launch. I still haven't confirmed this with Ozisoft but if this is the case the launch of the Dreamcast in Australia could go down as one of the biggest shambles ever.
In a release schedule released by Activision Australia today there was a bit of a surprise on the Dreamcast list. Apparenently Toy Story 2 is now scheduled for release in March 2000. It is unclear if the game will be the same as the PSX game, although it is highly likely.
Eurocom and Midway have confirmed that there will be a sequel for Hydro Thunder. Don't expect the game anytime soon though as the original title is still being ported to N64 and PSX.
Tecmo have confirmed plans to release Dead Or Alive 2 as a Dreamcast exclusive. The games should be released in America in February/March 2000.
Sales of the Dreamcast in Japan have reached 1.6 million units. It has been almost one year exactly since the systems release.
The Link Cable for use with Virtual On : OT will retail in Japan for 3,000 yen. The cable will also be available in a bundle with the game and twin joystick for 11,000 yen.
Hudson Soft's Elemental Gimmick Gear is set for release in the US. The very Japanese styled RPG is due out next year. It is doubtful that the game will make it to Australia due to it's limited sales potential.
Evolution 2 has been given a release date of December 23rd in Japan. The original title is due for release in Australia sometime during December.
Street Fighter Alpha 3has been pushed back in America from November until late January. No reason was given for the delay.
Jaleco's highly anticipated action title Carrier has also been delayed in Japan, until February 2000.
Metropolis : SR has been delayed from 1999 until a 2000 release in Australia.
According to Amazon.com, who have just started selling video games, Resident Evil : Code Veronica is scheduled for release in America on March 1st, 2000. This is less then a month after the Japanese release, but would be great if it comes true.
The Popular Science Magazine has awarded the Dreamcast the Best of What's New award. This is a major achievement for Sega and their newest console.
Sega of Japan have shown off the latest peripherals. The Dreamcast ZIP Drive was shown with 2 additional USB ports for further connectability. The unit will run several times faster then the PC ZIP Drive, with speed reaching hard drives. SOJ also showed off an Ethernet adapter which will plug into the modem port on the Dreamcast. This is apparently the first step toward a cable modem. Finally a digital internet camera was shown off. The camera will provide 15fps full screen video with realtime audio.
Whoops! Sorry. I forgot to upload the excellent Evolution covers the other day. They are there now in all their glory.
I have received pictures of most of the Dreamcast covers for Australia, but this cover really caught my eye. This is the cover for UbiSoft's Evolution : The World Of Sacred Device which is due out in December this year. This cover should grab a lot of attention with it's anime style. Well done UbiSoft and ESP.
I spoke to Michele Bell, the Dreamcast Business Manager, today with regard to the Dreamcast ads on the Dreamcast. Apparently the ads will begin around the launch date. Final dates and time slots are still being decided by the marketing agency. The ads will be unique for the Australian market.
Rumours are beginning to surface in Japan again about the DVD add-on for the Dreamcast. Latest reports are that the unit will be released in America only for the extremely low price of $US50. Apparently SOA may announce the device as early as March next year. Sounds too good to be true to me but you never know.
Capcom have confirmed they are working on a new RPG for release on the Dreamcast. No other details are known at this stage.
At long last the Ozisoft web site has been update. It's not just a minor update either it's a full website for all Ozisoft's happenings. The URL is : http://www.ozisoft.com.
Another Dreamcast title has gone on sale this week. Activision's Blue Stinger is now available at some retailers, including Electronics Boutique. This game joins several Midway titles including Ready 2 Rumble and Mortal Kombat Gold which went on sale on the 25th October. (The initial launch date)
Apparently Eidos will be making an announcement this Thursday that Legacy Of Kain : Soul Reaver will be coming to the Dreamcast. Rumours have been around for quite a while and apparently the game is almost complete.
Great news for NFL fans is that IGNDC are reporting that they have a beta version of NFL2K in PAL format. This is the first solid indication that Visual Concepts' NFL2K is heading to Europe and Australia. Unfortunately IGNDC don't have a release date for the title yet although Q'1 2000 seems very likely. It is interesting to note that the game is now on Ozisoft's release schedule on their web site.
SOA have confirmed that the Dreamcast ZIP Dive will be coming to America. Although only a 2000 date was given I wouldn't expect the unit until late in the year. The system will have a capacity of 100MB and will be used to enhance gameplay. (ie extra levels and downloadable mods to games)
Sega's much delayed Shen Mue : Yokosuka has been delayed once again. The game, which was meant to appear in March 2000 has now been pushed back by a month until April 2000.
I have had several e-mails asking me for more details in regards to the Official Dreamcast Magazine to be published by Next Media, in particular in regards to a demo CD. Well, there will be a demo CD on the magazine and although the contents of the first CD couldn't be confirmed it is likely that it will be the same CD as found on the European magazine.
Many of you have been asking about what has happened to the official Dreamcast magazine in Australia. Several months ago EMAP (makers of Playboy no less) obtained the rights to the official magazine in Australia. But several weeks ago, EMAP gave up the rights due to a lack of profit potential from the magazine. But there is some good news at hand. An e-mail from Steve O'Leary has confirmed that the rights to the magazine have now been handed to Next Media. (This is the company behind Hyper@ctive and PC Powerplay no less.) The first magazine is now scheduled to hit the stands on December 8th 1999.
Street Fighter 3 : W Impact will be coming to Australia. The game, which is due for release in Japan this December, is expected to hit Australia early next year.
Sega of Japan are working on two new Naomi arcade sports titles, named Virtua NBA and Striker Basketball. It is rumoured that one of these games is in fact Visual Concepts' NBA2K updated for release in Japanese arcades. No release dates have been mentioned.
Sonic Adventure 2 is a reality. Yes, the game is currently in development and should be released late next year. This news came in an interview on IGNDC with Charles Bellfield.
Sales of the Dreamcast are still going strong in America. Up until the 31st October 750,000 units had been sold across the country. Sega have upped their projected sales with 1.5 million units by the end of this year and 6 million by March 2001 in America alone.
Sega are apparently working on Dynamite Baseball 99 for release in Japan during Spring (Q'2) next year. There hasn't been any word about Dreamcast enhancements yet.
Warp have confirmed that their much delayed action/adventure game D2 will be released in 3 different packages on December 23rd in Japan. No details about the differences have been announced yet.
Interplay have confirmed that a version of their soccer game, VIVA Soccer will be released on the Dreamcast. Although there has been mention of a December 7th release this seems unlikely due to the amount of work required on the game still.
In case you haven't noticed yet there is a new poll on the main page. If you haven't voted make sure you do so immediately.
Although Eidos are not commenting, the developers of Omikron have confirmed the game is being ported to next generation consoles, including the Dreamcast. The PC version was shipped to American retailers this week.
Acclaim, who grabbed the rights to Taito's fighting game, Psychic Force 2012 have set a release date in America of November 9th. The game is confirmed for a release here in Australia through Acclaim on launch day, November 30th.
Sega have set a release date of January 27th 2000 for their highly anticipated action adventure game Under Cover AD2025 Kei in Japan. The game has been in development for 3 years now and a release outside Japan is likely for sometime in 2000.
Sega X are reporting that the Australian ISP will be none other then Telstra. I still haven't received official word from Ozisoft about this although it has been widely known for some time that Telstra is the ISP here. The first 3 months of internet access will be free and after that time a hourly rate will be payable.
Virtual ON : Oratorio Tangram will have 4 stages not found in the arcade version. Three of the levels are from the original arcade game while the fourth level is brand new for the Dreamcast. The game is scheduled for release in a little over a month in Japan, on December 9th.
Majesco's Rainbow 6 is still in development hell in America. The game, which was meant to be a launch title in America has now been pushed back until at least late November. The reason is problems with the WinCE Operating System. What a surprise.
A new device called a Dreamstation has been release. This peripheral allows you to hook up and use your Playstation pads on the Dreamcast. Even the vibration in the Dual Shock controllers work. No word yet on a release for Australia but most importers should stock the device.
US developers, FOX Sports, won't be developing games for the Dreamcast. Instead they are developing games for the Playstation and Playstation 2 only.
NFL2K has been confirmed for release outside America, but only in Japan!!! Yes, you read it right. The American football game which isn't scheduled for release in Europe or Australia has been deemed acceptable for Japan with a release date of January 20th. Rumours have been growing recently of a PAL release and hopefully an announcement will be made soon.
In what will be a major disappointment to many people Resident Evil 2 won't make it outside Japan. IGNDC, in a recent interview with Capcom America, discovered that the release is unlikely because it would clash with the expected release of Resident Evil : Code Veronica.
More information is beginning to surface about Sega GT. The game is currently around 50% complete and a release in February/March 2000 is now almost certain.
Densha De GO! 2 - 3000 has been delayed in Japan from December this year until January 2000. The game will retail for 5800 yen.
IGNDC have reported a way to use the VGA Box with games that aren't compatible with the system. Apparently if you set the box to TV mode and a couple of seconds after turning on the Dreamcast switch it to VGA mode. Hey Presto!, VGA graphics in a game which isn't meant to be compatible. Apparently this trick works with all games.
Hasbro has been forced to delay the release of Centipede for the Dreamcast in America. The game was scheduled for release on November 9th, but is now scheduled to hit the shelves in the last week of November. The reason is apparently due to some SOE approval problems.
Worms Armageddon has been given a release date of December 7th in America. Hopefully and Australian release won't be far behind for this addictive puzzle game.
Eidos/Core have confirmed that there won't be a Dreamcast version of Tomb Raider in the future. It's highly likely that Sony have extended the console rights to the franchise until well after the 2000 date of the previous contract.
Sega's web site has added some downloads to change the graphics in Sonic Adventure to a halloween theme as well as a Christmas theme.
I guess most of you have noticed the changes to the site by now. I was hoping to move to a new server but both offers so far haven't come to fruition. As you may have noticed there are probably a few broken links around the site. I would appreciate it if you could report any broken links to me at the usual address.