With all these new releases – shouldn’t we look at hardware production?

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As the title of this article questions, we here at Dreamcast Today are pondering the future of the Dreamcast – namely it’s viability in an ever decreasing circle way. It’s been a busy few years for Sega’s long-discontinued hardware, we’ve come a long way as a small community since 2001, anyone whose ever contributed to funding the latest game release or spreading precious word of mouth serves a hand in keeping the legend alive in today’s market, but as anyone who has bought a second-hand Dreamcast knows; they aren’t particularly reliable as they get older to which the newest example is probably 15 years old at this point.

We’ve seen machines that can easily be fixed from resetting and there’s a work around for the common controller board issues but what about the GD-Rom drive? Sure, there’s the expensive and illusive replacement board allowing for SD and HDD support on the machine neatly circumventing the need for physical media, but this in itself poses a unique situation when it comes to supporting the machine and playing the latest software in the way the developers intended, sure we’ve got many DC owners who will pick up physical copies of new software but as time moves forward, less and less hardware is going to be available and thus forcing current owners to stock pile working units and often meaning the machine isn’t accessible to new generation players and collectors.

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We’ve seen the barriers in authentic packaging broken down firstly with Watermelon’s stunning efforts with Pier Solar, using the box designs and logos for all three regions, something that wasn’t attempted on a wide scale before this point but this is something we’ve seen repeated with recent releases like Xenocider, Alice Dreams Tournament (minus the logs design) and JoshProd’s latest 5 PAL releases, to which one of these games, Breakers, will also see a Japanese style release via Play-Asia.

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One has to consider the possibility of the Dreamcast hardware being reverse engineered to allow these new and future disc releases being played and enjoyed far into the future. Surely there must be a way, some clever tech expert who could either get a bootable disc drive to replace the aging GD drive or ever better, a machine capable of emulating the console 1:1 with support for ‘retail’ games, it may seem a reality that’ll never occur but it’d sure be a shame to see these brave developers working on Dreamcast games to not have their work fully enjoyed due to hardware shortage and a lack of a growing market for what is considered one the the finest consoles of it’s time.

 

We strongly recommend picking up the high quality PAL releases by JoshProd with the hope that we will see future output, these games just look wicked in any retail collection!

http://joshprod.com/

https://www.rushongame.com/actualites/cinq-titres-dreamcast-exclusifs-by-joshprod-et-rushongame-87.htm

Sturmwind gets second print run.

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Back in 2013, the Dreamcast development scene looked a whole lot different to how it does today, we didn’t have many games in the pipeline and it looked almost certain that Dreamcast business was winding down. We didn’t have developers creating new games every six months or so for the console but one such game we were all looking forward to was Duranik’s Sturmwind; an impressive space shooter which started out life as Native on the Atari Jaguar 64-Bit console many years previously.

At the time, Redspotgames were the big players in the DC scene and they handled publishing on a good few titles, sadly Sturmwind would be their last due to a rather botched product shipping method when it came to the collector’s editions of the game. Many of the plastic craft toys were broken and many editions of the game never made it to their owners forcing RSG to go under.

What we have in 2016, is Dragonbox Shop stepping up to the distribution plate this time around, with the game being sold on their website, you may recall them selling Fruit’Y earlier in the year too which unsurprisingly sold quite well with them also re-releasing Wind and Water Puzzle Battles, one of the finest independent Dreamcast releases too.

Sturmwind is available now for 35 EUR and is worth every single penny, you owe it to yourself to pick up this fine effort.

GOAT Store Publishing celebrates 15th Dreamcast anniversary in style.

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As many a keen fan is aware, the legendary date on 09/09/1999 sticks in our minds as the North American launch of the Dreamcast, the console’s legacy is still felt today and although the machine launched in 1998 in Japan and October 1999 in Europe, it’s the American date that sticks with us when celebrating.

We’re talking about a console that got so much right for Sega, record launch fanfare, brisk sales and an amazing lineup of games ready on the day. The Dreamcast didn’t suffer from the software ‘drought’ that we are used to now, the games were coming in a timely fashion and Sega were making big bucks from the console – mistakes made from Saturn, 32X and Mega CD looked to be a forgotten shade but this wasn’t to be the case for long, by the end of 2000 Sega were in deep financial problems, previous half-baked hardware attempts left them without the war chest of cash that was raised from successful products such as the Genesis and to a lesser extent in Europe, Master System and Game Gear, for every step the Dreamcast was making in keeping Sega relevant, there was a tonne of cash that was needed in reality.

It’s a story we all know very well, some will attribute the PlayStation 2 to the fate of the DC, myself, I put it solely down to Sega’s lack of focus between the Eastern and Western divisions and a dwindled pot of resources. One thing is for certain, the Dreamcast was a moderate success for how long it was on the market, 10.6 million units across a few years is nothing to balk at and considering games are still released for the console versus it’s piers –  I believe we got the good end of the bargain in the long run, this leads us to the article :

Goat Store Publishing has once again returned to the Dreamcast to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the console, the company revealed SlaVe, a retro inspired FPS that is currently being ported to the machine by Isotope – the guys behind upcoming releases, Scourge and Hypertension both also for the Dreamcast.

The game had been kept under wraps for some time to surprise the DC fan base and was available to pre-order straight away from http://www.goatstore.com

There is a grand total of 400 Limited Editions that contains the game and one mini-poster. Only 400 copies will be made available – once the stock is sold there will be no more made. Those that pre-ordered early were able to secure one of 84 limited, limited releases which contained an over-sized coin, this particular edition sold out very quickly.

The game is due for release in April 2015. What’s your view? Are you buying or do you have your sights set on other upcoming titles?

Elysian Shadows Team Release Latest Chapter of Their Popular VLog.

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You could never for one minute accuse the team behind Elysian Shadows of being in the shadows about their development process for the hotly-anticipated Dreamcast and OUYA title. The team have just release chapter 25 of ‘Adventures in Game Development’ which centres around the 3D particle effects that have recently been implemented into the game, additionally, the team go into greater detail in regards to the battle engine, dynamic camera system and platform mechanics.

You can catch the video below, the team are currently working towards a Kickstarter campaign towards the end of Summer 2014. It’s wise that the team are using this time to get the title in the hearts and minds of gamers before the campaign considering word-of-mouth is half the battle won. Dreamcast Today are beginning to wonder if there is now publisher interest in the game or if the team will even publish the game themselves, our money would be on either GSP or Watermelon picking up publishing duties for the title, the later being the more likely due to GSP’s involvement with Hypertension : Harmony of Darkness and Scourge by Isotope and rumoured publishing of Dynamite Dreams by the Alice Dreams team.

Elysian Shadows continues the trend of different genre software for the Dreamcast, in the past 5 years we’ve had mostly shoot-em-ups which is certainly no bad thing if the Dreamcast wants to live up to the legacy of the Saturn when it comes to that particular library of titles, but it’s good to see role-playing and even first person shooters making their way over to the aging 128-bit Sega console.

 

Elysian Shadows is beginning to step out of the darkness with new information!

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Many Dreamcast fans are no doubt awaiting the hotly-anticipated Pier Solar HD due this year for the Sega Dreamcast, this game was successfully funded for a magnitude of formats via Kickstarter in 2013 but it could be easy to tunnel-vision ourselves into thinking this was the only old-school-inspired RPG title making it’s way to the machine this year; Elysian Shadows has been in development for the 128-bit Sega machine for a good number of years now, gaining a massive underground following in that time from the early days of Dreamcast-Talk to the harsh critique of Reddit, Elysian Shadows development has been one that has grown in substance and maturity along with it’s development team fronted by Falco Girgis, who has recently given some new information as to what we can expect from the game and also an action plan on how the game’s developement cycle is going to be completed.

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Falco and his co-artists have been working hard on getting the media together for a Kickstarter for the promising title, they’ve re-modeled the website for the game which now features plenty of information surrounding the technology powering the software, the game mechanics and the story elements that include the combat system, game world and population.

The team also sent over some Dreamcast-specific information which is quoted below :

“Our engine is highly optimized for the DC and can do some really impressive 2D/3D things on the console. We also developed our own Toolkit, which lets you “send your current levels” to the Dreamcast and play through them as you make them…

 

The engine is fully extensible through Lua, and can be used for any 2D and even 3D application…

 

A stretch goal of ours is to release this to the DC community and open up our own game and engine to being fully moddable (through loading custom content from swap discs, coder’s cables, BBAs, or the flash drive). We think this could be huge for the Dreamcast.”

 

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Elysian Shadows has the potential to be a real gem of a title and certainly fills the gap for post-2001 Dreamcast RPG’s for the system, the game is also in development for other systems one would assume, these are yet to be discussed but the Dreamcast is certainly the lead format – something that has become increasing rare considering most recent DC releases are designed with other platforms originally in mind.

More as we get it, feel free to head over to the game’s official website for more information.

http://www.elysianshadows.com

 

Elysian Shadows showing progress.

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With so many new Dreamcast projects in the works, sometimes it’s hard to keep track of what is happening where. We’ve laid off reporting on Elysian Shadows due to our lack of knowledge of the title. Things however, are looking far clearer today with an update from the team’s Facebook page detailing their movements recently. 

The game is shaping up to be a fantastic old-school RPG title that Dreamcast fans have been yearning for since the consoles ‘demise’ in 2001. 

Elysian Shadows is described as ‘an Indie 2D RPG seeking to fuse elements of the old school 2D RPG classics with modern gameplay, dynamic lighting, physics and music”.

Below is a status report taken from the teams official Facebook, a link of which can be found below.

“Recruited a new web developer to help completely revamp our site and rebrand us, recruited a new core Engine/Lua developer to help offset Falco’s current low-level R&D role, we’re still discussing potential YouTube partnerships, and we are talking with two very good candidates for the iOS and Droid implementations of libGyro… We are also having a gigantic game development extravaganza spanning the entire weekend with a few local fans and some “old” faces showing up for AiGD 22… Please help us spread the word of our project and videos. We are starting the initial phases of growing our audience for an all-out Kickstarter campaign. Please help us make the game of our dreams… We want to deliver to you a true “next-gen” 2D RPG experience, and we are pouring our hearts and souls into this project”

https://www.facebook.com/elysianshadows

Redux : Dark Matters review.

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Today was a great day, having had a day off work; the postman rang the doorbell and there was a package from Hucast – it was my Kickstarter copy of Redux : Dark Matters! I quickly signed for the package and scurried upstairs to where my Dreamcast is located, when I opened the envelope there was a great combination of postcards and stickers included with the game, some of the artwork on these cards was mesmerizing enough to distract me from the main mission – playing and reviewing the game.

Redux : Dark Matters comes to you all shinkwrapped with love from Europe and artwork-wise, is pretty darn well presented, the box art is very clean and keeps everything to a minimum – which is certainly in-keeping with the ethos created by the 2009 release, Dux. This being said, Dreamcast Today would possibly like to see more visual cues to this actually being a Dreamcast release, since this is quite devoid from the cover.

Now, admittedly, my Dreamcast hasn’t seen much action since I reviewed Sturmwind last year, but she was ready to fire up again for this game once I’d messed around with my VGA settings – one thing is very clear when booting up Redux is that Hucast have certainly taken the time between Dux/Dux 1.5 to Redux : Dark Matters to brush up on their front-end presentation, the game feels more professional compared to the aforementioned titles, the new title screen really sets off the mood whilst keeping the time to pick the options to actually playing the game down to a bear minimum. This serves as a good taster of what to expect from the game moving forward, we have two gameplay difficulty options – Dreamcast Today opted for ‘Normal’ play.

So, the first level fires into life and on initial glance, the game is certainly far removed from the clinical dream world we found in Dux/Dux 1.5, Redux feels more like it’s in ‘space’ rather than a testing lab in the future, there’s plenty to see and enough going on to keep your eyes and fingers happy I really enjoyed what I played of the first level and although the first boss killed me a few more times than I cared for, I was happy.

The second level is arguably where Hucast start to show what they know with the Dreamcast, the watery caverns and enemy design are top-notch here and feel far less slow moving compared to the first level introductory pacing, this is perhaps where Redux starts to suffer a little though, the enemy designs for this level onwards seem to go somewhat against the design of the game, I found plenty of times where I was literally ‘hiding’ around debris to avoid how manic the action was on the screen, this is certainly an acquired taste and can be a fun play style until relentless enemies who sometimes follow you around the screen zap your lives before you’ve really had a chance to enjoy what’s happening in the game, I found a massive balancing issue halfway through the second level that threw many enemy ships at me within a narrow play area, some bullets were heading my way from the front, some from the back, although the bullet soaking mechanism was certainly keeping me from hot water, I couldn’t help but yearn from Sturmwind’s bi-directional shooting technique, sadly absent from Redux. This certainly caused me to lose lives considering the game will respawn you slap-bang back where you died – if there’s a load of enemies around you; you can expect to lose another one of those precious redemption tokens.

One standout feature I have found with Redux : Dark Matters is the fantastic music quality, it really does set the mood for the game and is actually far better than the tunes found in earlier commercial shooters for the console, there’s never a time where the player thinks ‘why on Earth have they used that music to set the tone’ – everything fits in a retro shooter way, transporting me to the days of 32-bit shooters which is also reflected by the games sound FX too.

Graphically, Redux : Dark Matters is close to it’s predecessor which certainly isn’t a bad thing, Dux was not exactly lazy when it came to showing off the Dreamcast. The new background details really do make Redux feel like a new game rather than a re-imagining of Dux, I was impressed and commend the level of detail that the developers have bestowed on the game.

 

Overall impressions are certainly mixed, I wanted to adore Redux but I’ve walked away liking it rather than loving it. It’s a shame that some of the balancing issues found in Dux have crept through the core of it’s successor, I find that Redux could have benefited from a ‘peaceful’ mode where the player was given infinite lives to enjoy the work created by KTX Software and Hucast without the frustrations of an untimely death. Sturmwind went someway to rectify this issue by introducing a level select feature – something that could have been handy for this particular title, given that Redux at times, feels more like art rather than a late release shooter.

Pros :

+ Beautiful graphical design that improves on Dux

+ Brilliant mood-setting music and sound FXs 

+ Presentation of packaging and front end top notch

 

Cons : 

– Difficulty spikes rapidly after level one.

– Lack of overall Dreamcast branding / compatibility on the packaging.

– Could benefit from being more generous with lives to help everybody see what’s on offer.

 

 

 

Final Score 

6/10

 

 

New Twist It images appear on Project-Firestorm’s Facebook page.

It’s a little earlier than originally expected but, Project-Firestorm have now shown us early images of what to expect from Twist-It for the Dreamcast. The game looks like a fun puzzle title to add to the machine’s growing roster of games to be released.

 

What we know so far from the images is that the game will have a simple VS mode, a map-based progression structure and also bonus stages contained within the game.

Many fans will remember that Project-Firestorm were gauging interested in 2013 about the game via email and if at least 100 copies could be accounted for, the title would be produced, it would appear that the interest is indeed there – are you looking to add this sort of game to your Dreamcast library of games?

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Project-Firestorm/124632290917340

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Neo XYX coming to Dreamcast in February.

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NG:Dev.Team have just announced this week that Neo XYX will be shooting it’s way to the Dreamcast around February time, the team have stated that the game has gone ‘gold’ and is being pressed in the factory.

To celebrate this milestone, the developer has released a Dreamcast launch trailer which can be found below, and all the details of the highly-anticipated title taken from the official website :

 

 

 

NEO XYX is the first TATE Maniac Shooter on NEO·GEO™. Now on NEO·GEO™ and Dreamcast™

Game Features:

  • 6 stages with varied and colorful settings
  • 6 endbosses
  • 5 midbosses
  • 16-bit hand-drawn graphics (dot graphics)
  • Switchable between vertical (TATE) and horizontal controls (YOKO)
  • The HUD/score/lives/bombs etc. switch between TATE and YOKO too.
  • Maniac shooting gam
  • Professional printed CD

Supported Accessories (Dreamcast™) :

  • VMU
  • VGA (requires a VGA box) / LOWRES
  • S-VIDEO and RGB at 240p
  • Original pad
  • Arcade stick (buttons are fully customizable)

REGION FREE / 60hz both NTSC and PAL60

 

So, there you have it. Will you be buying Neo XYX? Is this the year of Dreamcast?

Order the game through the official page linked through here : http://neoxyx.ngdevteam.com/index.html

 

 

Redux : Dark Matters lands on January 27th.

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Hucast have recently announced that Redux : Dark Matters will be launching on the Dreamcast on January 27th, it’s been a long old wait for the game that was originally funded though Kickstarter in 2012, but as DC owners know, software for the machine is worth waiting for and Redux looks to be no exception.

 

Dreamcast Today will be looking to review the game in the coming weeks and as such is particularly looking forward to getting our hands on it. Conversely, it’s a positive sign that the machine is getting a release this early in the year, hopefully this trend will continue!