Alice Dreams Tournament Cover Art Revealed.

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Remember when the guys developing Dynamite Dreams took to Kickstarter and managed to raise well above the initial asking pledge for their newly renamed Alice Dreams Tournament? Did you Pledge?

Of course you did! Well, today the team have revealed what the cover art for the upcoming game will look like. Things are looking pretty darn fine in first impressions, the covers look very much in the style of Senile Team’s work specifically with the cover art for Rush Rush Rally Racing coming to mind.

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Alice Team have lifted the lid on all three designs (JAP, US & PAL) we have to say that the PAL special edition looks absolutely lovely and we hope that the Dreamcast text and swirl will be used on all the versions which it should be since Pier Solar released with all the logos and typefaces present.

Alice Dreams Tournament releases later in the year and is being distributed by Watermelon.

 

What Ever Happened to? Part 4 : Legacy Of Kain Soul Reaver 2

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When looking back to casualties of Sega’s software only approach of 2001, you’d be hard pushed to remember a dormant series like Legacy of Kain, this was a series of titles released originally starting with Blood Omen on PlayStation and eventually concentrating on Raziel in Soul Reaver which found it’s way on to the PlayStation, PC and Dreamcast – it was this game that kicked started the popularity of the Legacy of Kain series which would spawn a few more games on Xbox and PlayStation 2 before being mostly put to bed in 2003.

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Legacy of Kain : Soul Reaver 2 is perhaps the most interesting prospect in this universe of games because it was the first entry solely developed with 128 bit consoles in mind, the Dreamcast version was in development first with the PlayStation 2 version in development slightly after when PS One support was shifted, this was an exciting franchise that was a killer app for the Dreamcast back in 2001, it’s often debated how much work went into this particular version before development shifted again to just the PS2, some images across the Internet show the game with what looks like Dreamcast control schemes but sadly we won’t properly know. Is there a beta sat in someone’s collection? Probably. Will it ever get leaked? Not likely.

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It’s a massive shame that this game didn’t make it’s release, the Dreamcast was crying out for these sort of story-driven titles to bolster out Sega’s arcade output, and we think that this game would have sold well on the console and perhaps would have exceeded the PS2 version in terms of visual output as many early dual releases did.

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You can play Soul Reaver 2 today on the PlayStation 2 and PC these versions released between September – October 2001 with a Steam version released in 2012.

Whatever Happened To? Part 3 : Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

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Back in 2001, the Dreamcast was awash with mixed tidings, the console had just been discontinued but considering how easy the machine was to program for, plenty of support was still in the pipeline for the console.

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As the months came and went, it became painfully clear that really, only Sega were producing games worthy of purchase for the console as support was slowly being striped away, one such title was Fox Interactive’s Buffy The Vampire Slayer. By all accounts, the game was meant to be with us in Summer 2001 but all went quite and well, it never happened. To this day, no beta or even alpha game play has been seen and apart from two screenshots shared in Dreamcast Magazine in mid-2001 it’s unclear if any work even happened on the Dreamcast version of the game. What we can see in the screenshots is that the HUD is different to the Xbox version released in 2002 plus the graphics appear closer the multi-platform released Chaos Bleeds rather than the aforementioned Xbox exclusive.

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So what’s the real reason behind the games demise? Sure the announcement of Sega’s hardware discontinuation didn’t help matters but probably considering the power that the Xbox could provide to the game in addition to the buzz of exclusive IP making or breaking a console back then could prove to be the reason, of course, if this is indeed the reworked Dreamcast game then Electronic Arts picking up distribution rights most likely sealed the deal.

What’s your views?

James And Watch : Tooth Cracker Now Available

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A few months back you may have remembered that an obscure title by the name of James And Watch : Arm Breaker came quietly out for the Dreamcast, this budget title played in the same sort of set up as the old Nintendo Game And Watch units from the 80’s, well the developer is back with James And Watch : Tooth Cracker which being aptly named, requires the player to crack teeth – based on true events apparently this is where the inspiration for the game came from.

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The game is quite cheap at only £15 and if you missed the first installment, it can be added to your purchase for only £5 extra.

You can purchase both titles from the link below.

http://www.retrogamingroundup.com/games/jw_toothcracker/buy_dreamcast.php

Classic NG:Dev.Team titles re-released.

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This is probably another first for the Dreamcast post-discontinuation, NG:Dev.Team, the team behind some highly rated and sought after Neo Geo and Dreamcast titles have decided to re-release a few of their classic games again to satisfy further demand.

This move is quite encouraging considering the small install base the Dreamcast commands in 2016, a total of 999 units of Gunlord, Last Hope Pink Bullets and Fast Striker will be manufactured in new jewel case packaging rather than the original DVD case versions.

The games vary from 32 EUR up to 36 EUR and if you’ve not bought any of these games previously, the company are offering a 3-game bundle for 79 EUR.

Here’s the official announcement :

Newsletter: Jewelcase re-issue of Dreamcast titles.

Dear Dreamcast customers,

due to popular demand we decided to re-issue some of our past DC games in a Japanese styled Jewelcase edition.

Gunlord, Fast Striker and Last Hope Pink Bullets.

999 units where produced.

This is mostly aimed at new customers but some people probably want to switch from DVD to CD cases too.

The game data is identical to past versions. Only the print artworks were changed.

We created an attractive bundle that saves up to 23 EUR. It’s limited to 333 units.

Shipping is scheduled to start between April 20th and 25th.

You can find the items here:
http://www.ngdevdirect.com/index.php?cPath=21_23

Best regards,
NGDEV

Flappy Bird Released…. On VMU.

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Developers working on software for the Dreamcast can never be said to lack creative talent, we’ve had many excellent games and emulators released for the machine since 2001 and plenty of ports to keep us entertained for hours, what may come as a complete surprise though is Flappy Bird being released for the humble Visual Memory Unit.

The game was made popular on mobile devices back in 2014 and has been subject to many clones since, this marks the first time the game has been released on low power hardware like the VMU and also marks a first for a popular commercial title to be ported to the device.

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You’ll need an SD reader to load the game onto the VMU but it’ll sure be worth the effort to take the unit out and about for a quick play.

What’s your views? Would you like to see more Visual Memory games released? Maybe a commercial loader disc?

Could Super Noah’s Ark 3D Be Heading to DC?

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Take this as a potential rumour at this stage but we’ve got wind that Wisdom Tree’s infamous first person action game Super Noah’s Ark 3D could be making it’s way to the Dreamcast in the near future. The game  was originally conceived as believe it or not, a Hellraiser licenced first person shooter for the Super Nintendo which later lapsed to become the game released in 1994. Super Noah’s Ark 3D is perhaps best known for not being licensed by Nintendo and was sold mainly in Christian bookstores leading to dismal sales.

Super Noah’s Ark was a very sought after title, it was considered to be amongst the top valued games for the Super Nintendo and Piko Interactive – who now own the rights to the game, re-released it a few years back.

The Dreamcast version would no doubt be outsourced by Piko and developing duties would fall to Isotope Softworks, perhaps best known for their recent work on SlaVE for the Dreamcast. It’s unclear if the 128 bit version would be much different to the later Steam / OSX port of the game, but Isotope would be using their 3DGE Engine which would suggest the game would indeed run and look better on the Dreamcast.

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SlaVE running on stock hardware, finally.

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We haven’t heard too much about Jay Townsend’s SlaVE project for the Dreamcast for what seems like an age now, sure we’ve had GOAT keeping us informed here and there with the pitfalls in the project and one would assume that Dan Loosen’s latest email would be filled with a similar deflating feel. It turns out that SlaVE is actually now up and running on stock retail Dreamcast hardware meaning that the bugs preventing progress are near enough gone and the game is pushing forward for release soon, albeit still unannounced.

It would appear from the communication by Loosen’s publishing house that the game has also been improved here and there, namely the frame rate and graphical touches. Below is the full email sent to all those that pre-ordered the game.

 

Hey everyone,

We have a major update for Jay Townsend's SLaVE today, followed by a more in depth history of what happened. But first, the major update...

Jay Townsend's SLaVE is officially up and running on Dreamcast hardware without giving any errors!

This is a huge milestone, as we are now moving into final bug testing and production. Please do not misunderstand this announcement to be that the game has officially gone "gold" and is being actively produced, although we expect that these next steps will happen quickly, barring any other discovered problems.

If you want to hear more of what has happened and the benefit this gives to the game, read on!

When we announced Jay Townsend's SLaVE, we were under the belief that the game was at the same point as it is now as it was running properly in emulation. In our rush to announce the game on 9/9, we ran out of time to do physical tests. Unfortunately, emulated hardware and regular hardware are a little bit different, and it was discovered that the game had a memory overflow problem which crashed it at the menu. Obviously, unacceptable.

Originally, we figured that a few small fixes to the game engine would be enough to solve the overflow issue, and we would still move into production quickly. It was discovered that the bugs were more difficult than we expected. At the same time, the lead programmer left the project for personal reasons.

We immediately brought in a new programmer who started to dive into the code, and due to how it was written he found it very difficult to fix the problem. After attempting different things with the code for a couple months, it was determined to rewrite the engine, thus the longer delay.

The good news is that the rewrite of the engine allowed us to go back through and make a number of upgrades to it - the game displays more frames per second making the experience smoother. We were able to eliminate some sprites and make them into 3D models. The new engine is a considerable step up that improves what we already felt was great gameplay by adding another coat of polish to it. I can say without any hesitation that you will be getting a better game due to this delay, which is a nice bonus.

I expect to be putting the coin for the LLE version of the game into production later this week, and we will move toward full production as quickly as possible. Due to the uncertainty of the final bug test, we still are going to wait to make an announcement about when we expect to put the game into production. Please do not make any projections about the final shipping date for the game until we have updated you.

I cannot wait to get this amazing game into your hands, and we remain committed to developing outstanding products for the Dreamcast and other systems like it!

--

Dan Loosen

Leona’s Tricky Adventures Review.

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Ah, Leona’s Tricky Adventures, how long were we waiting for you? It seems that KTX were finding it indeed tricky to keep us rabid Dreamcast gamers in the loop with what had become of the DC/Amiga crowd-funding project that failed to get the backing required back in 2013. Many assumed, us included that the game was to join Reticon’s Tahi in the vapourware drawer forever.

Fast forward to 2016, and what we now have is the first Dreamcast game of the year out of the gate., albeit, quietly.

So the question has to be raised, is the game worthy of your time? Well, I’ll be the first to say I’m surprised that the game made it to production, there was a time where it seemed that the money went down the drain without a trace, sure rough screens and the occasional Facebook status update from KTX made sure we knew it was still a ‘thing’ so I opened the package this morning and was greeted by the packaging of the game, I found this somewhat mixed bag, my leanings were towards liking the design of the artwork and usage of Dreamcast to show it was indeed for the this console but I also found the product design perhaps had the proposed Amiga version in the forefront of aesthetics rather than Sega’s packaging designs but as it stands, it still fits in with the various GOAT and RSG releases in CD jewel cases.

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The CD art is of a very nice standard and is actually some of the nicer designs out there; it isn’t too full-on with text and art but at the same time, isn’t spartan like some other late-era Dreamcast CD artwork can be. The back cover states a little about the story and background talent behind the game along with Sega’s North American peripheral chart icons which is a decent touch that perhaps could have been aided by using the black ‘curve’ design matching later North American Dreamcast products. The booklet for the game could have done with a few more pages and is somewhat the letdown on the packaging side of things.

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KTX has done a good job of making the Dreamcast read the game in a nature that doesn’t strain the GD-Rom drive inside the console, I found my first play actually very quiet from a pickup standpoint, the machine was clearly not under much load. You’re met with an intro screen which is pleasant enough and a decent touch to make the product a little more professional. I found the menu system try basic and although easy to navigate, it wasn’t very flashy compared to 2008’s Wind and Water Puzzle Battles but one would argue it’s less spartan than Irides : Master of Blocks from 2010.

I went into Leona’s Tricky Adventures expecting a basic Amiga-era no frills puzzle game which would be devoid of any real purpose as to what I was doing in the first place but I found in actual fact a charming introduction with a little bit of story and a clear objective of what I was meant to achieve, and although the over world graphics could be argued into the category of basic, I saw charm and thoughtfulness added to the residence of the game world and neat touches in the animation.

Sure, the graphics of such a game aren’t taxing the Sega’s 128 bit graphical prowess in the same way that games like Ghostblade may, but that isn’t the objective here. Leona’s Tricky Adventures really does benefit from it’s over world system and the actual puzzle side of the game has a unique edge over other similar genre games on the system, the title uses an emulate premise requiring the player to create the adjacent image that is required to progress through a set of puzzles leading to an opening in the journey road I found this daunting once the tutorial levels let you loose but I soon found myself getting to grips with it once I took the undo button into account.

Another feature that adds to the charm of Leona’s Tricky Adventures is the soundtrack, this really adds to the feel that KTX were going for when developing the game and isn’t repetitive to the point of becoming jarring – I found myself instantly reminded of Donkey Kong Country when making my way through the initial caves and was pleased to notice that the music changes depending on the area you’re in.

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Overall what we have here is the first Dreamcast title of 2016 and thankfully, it’s one fully worthy of your time if you are looking for a decent puzzle game with charm and depth, the game isn’t unfairly difficult and is presented nicely; the game may not be to the tastes of those looking for fast reflex and action orientated software .

PROS :

—>   Decent, inoffensive music.

—>   Lots of charm and character.

—>   Pick up and play qualities.

 

CONS:

—>  Packaging likely to cause a stir.

—>  Frontend very basic compared to other DC games

—>  Perhaps too tough for some later on.

 

7/10  GOOD.

Volgarr The Viking releases on disc, in secret.

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Some of you may remember in 2015 that a little-known Xbox Live Arcade title by Mad Viking Studios was ported to the Dreamcast as a free release by Marc Hall, this old school, tough-as-nails platform game was subject to a very interesting and dedicated following.

What we’ve learnt recently is that there was also a small quantity (100) pressed to disc which strangely, apart from a select few, nobody even knew about – bearing in mind that Dreamcast Today try and keep up with all the physical releases for the machine, this one totally slipped us by.

The reasoning behind this is that a small German forum called Circuit Board actioned getting 100 pressed copies made and lucky fans where able to buy these for 6.96 EUR and provide their own PAL blue case to house the game in. What we have here is a game which – if never re-printed, will probably be the rarest PAL game for the console.

We can only hope that in the near future, someone else can step up to publishing duties and get the game released. We’ve borrowed this image from Stefan Nowak to show you how beautiful the packaging is on this…

What’s your views, should this game see a more general release, maybe without the certificate to keep the initial batch worth something?

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