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Alive 5


The king is dead, hail the king ! It's been more than a full year now since 
SEGA officially  announced they stopped  manufacturing their  Dreamcast console 
but for many good reasons, this  console will stay in real gamers hearts. While 
PS2, Xbox and Game Cube are ragingly  holding to their share of the market with 
games of great (or not  so great) quality but sometimes  questionable interest, 
Dreamcast still offers a lot of great games  that brought a new way of thinking 
to gaming ! 

Here comes a gamers tribute to Dreamcast  with a selection  of my favourite 
games as well as Paranoid's own top 10. Remember that today you can get a brand 
new DC for less than 100 euros and new or second hand games for less than 15E. 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>    My Own Top Ten (STS part) <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

1. SHENMUE (episode one and two) By Yu Suzuki (single player)

    This was actually THE game that pushed me to buy DC! Imagine a 3D adventure
game with a complete  city (well several ones) with lots  of streets, shops and
pedestrians all around. You can  either follow the storyline or spend your time
buying useless stuff, walking around and  talking to every character you meet !
Realism  has never  been that  close ! Days pass  by, some  sunny, others  with
clouded skies... Seasons are also part of the game  and snow will start flowing
the city as time reaches late December. It would take too long describing every
little detail  but let me  tell you something : SHENMUE  is a unique experience
and I'll never forget  how fun it  was to complete  both episodes ! Real gamers
will be happy to find  Arcade  Palaces in which  they will be able to play full
replicas of Super Hang On, Space Harrier, Out Run and Afterburner... 2 !

2. SOULCALIBUR by NAMCO (single or two player mode)

    This is the sequel to Souledge (aka Soublade) on PSX. A dozen of fighters
enter the  arena with  their own  weapons : sword, daggers  and all sorts  of
twisted blades. The game fully  plays  in 3D, unlike  some boring  Tekken Tag
Tournament, and enjoys high quality graphics and smooth animations. Maybe the
BEST fighting games so far, regardless of the platform. A MUST HAVE !

3. DEAD OR ALIVE 2 by TECMO (up to four players in tag battle mode)

    The other pretender also enjoys great graphical and technical features but
this time there are no weapons involved. Against all expectations, DoA2 proves
very subtle thanks  to a  rewarding counter  attack system that  allows you to
dodge every move and turn it back  against your opponent. The  tag battle mode
will throw four fighters (teamed by two) into the arena.

4. QUAKE 3 by ID SOFTWARE (up to four players with split screen)

    Don't ask for  storyplot, there's none ! The  game is  beautiful, fast  and
brutal to the extasy ! It  offers a wide  range of  characters, levels, options
and game modes. The funniest are also multiplayers and - once again - thanks to
the four pad slots, you'll be  able to play  split screen with three friends in
normal game, tournament, team or capture the flag competitions. A really great
game to share fun with friends at night !


    Take London, Tokyo and San Francisco. Reproduce 40 kms square of  each city
with loads of details, streets, curves, parks, whatever. MSR manages to bring a
real challenge  that  will involve  a lot of  style if  you want to make enough
money (kudos) to open new cars and levels... and there are +200 tracks in all !
Besides these original features, the game  uses the DC internal clock to decide
whether it's gonna be day or nightime when playing and that makes one hell of a
change : at last an ORIGINAL racing game !!

6. VIRTUA TENNIS by SEGA SPORTS (up to four players on screen)

    I've never been fond  of sport games  or even of  sports at all :) Football
sucks btw :) But  Virtua Tennis  looks  great and  plays great ! Tho  basically
nothing more than an awesome arcade games, it's another must have whenever some
friends  drop  by. Fun  guaranted ! I had a  chance to play  the sequel, called
Tennis 2k2 and it's even  better  looking, faster  and richer  with options and
challenges (don't have it now tho :)


    No need to  introduce Resident  Evil or then  you have  nothing to do here.
This fourth episode was originally an  exclusive DC game and was available soon
after the DC was  out. For the first time, everything is in pure 3D (unlike the
usual rendered backgrounds) and that  gives the game more dynamism and tension.
Surely the best looking  and almost hardest episode of Resident  Evil !! As you
think you've reached the end, you are  gently invited to  insert disc 2... some
nightmares never end :)

8. SONIC THE HEDGEHOG by SEGA (single player)

    SEGA's mascot had a blasting launch on the DC as it was the very first game
made available. Sonic goes  crazier than  ever and  speed will  almost make you
shed a tear ! Not only is this  episode (and the sequel) very  addictive but it
also offers to play the same adventure over and over with a different character
8 of them in all ! Tho I have never  been a  real SONIC  fan that 3D  adventure
really found  me  addicted and  full  of nostalgia !!! Btw music  is just great
with tunes you'll keep humming for days and nights.

9. PHANTASY STAR ONLINE by SEGA (multiplayer online)

    Dreamcast was the first console to offer online gaming but you all know
that SEGA didn't manage to offer such games before long and then it was already
too late for DC :( Still one game reached us (and its sequel was released some
months ago) : Phantasy Star Online aka PSO. This 3D adventure game is set in a
near future when mankind  had to  flee its own  devastated planet to look for a
new shelter. A first colony was settled and you are among  the second wave when
suddenly something totally  blows out  the colony ! First you  will create your
character from  A to Z : choose his, her class, face, hair, skin color, clothes
and so on. This  is  just  amazing and  allows you  to meet  with  thousands of
different looking ppl !! The offline part of the game is based on the 'dungeon'
principle : you enter the first area, wipe out all nasties and collect pickups.
then you move to another area and  start it all again. The  environment is huge
and great looking and so  are the monsters. Tho quite limited, this part of the
game allows  to strenghten  your character and  gain experience before you play
online. There you will play missions and/or  full levels with three other human
players and I had  a great  deal of  fun playing online I can tell you ! btw if
you want to  play online you need  to buy PSO v2  since the former inet browser
doesn't work anymore :((

10. RAYMAN 2 by UBI SOFT (single player)

   It took many years before Rayman actually hit the gaming market again ! This
time of course the game is in full polygons and still enjoys high quality gfx !
To be honest I went thru the whole game  a bit too  easily  esp compared to the
first episode that had kept me busy for weeks on  PSX. Still this is a pleasant
game in a funny and  dreamy  world. Not the  best game, but something of a nice
snack when you feel hungry :)

What about the rest ?

   Actually when writing this chart, I found *very* difficult to name no more
than 10 games (even putting  one before another seemed  unfair) so let's name
other games I like a lot : house of the  dead, crazy taxi 1&2, MDK, Bomberman
Online, Extreme Sports, Bangai'O, Skies of Arcadia, Worms, Le Mans, oki let's
stop it now or it'll never end :)

                               PARANOID'S PART

My personal 10 favourite Dreamcast games:

1. Sonic Adventure
   Remember Sonic the Hedgehog on the MegaDrive ? What was the essence
   of this game ? Exactly, speed, speed and some more speed. Sonic was
   faster than basically any other jump'n run game of that time - plus
   graphical and acoustical  gizmos that were  supposed to demonstrate
   the superiority of the MegaDrive.
   Sonic Adventure is just that in 3D on the Dreamcast. Fast, furious,
   colourful and yet a whole lot of fun to play.

2. Ooga Booga
   An Ego-Shooter with a twist. Instead of  bloodily murdering a lot of
   innocent people with nailguns and rockets, you maneuver a polynesian
   medicine-man  in a 4-player  battle, utilising  extra weapns as fire
   and lightning spells, or riding  boars to  knock  each  other  over.
   Pure fun, technically  well  done and a definite hit on every party.

3. Dead or Alive 2
   Many 3D beat'em up  games have  been released on  many systems, but
   this is one of the best. Easy to learn controls, quick and reactive
   gameplay, conter-moves, hold  moves, quick but  fair fighting  with
   interactive  background  and  beautiful  polygon  characters   with
   terrific motions clearly stand out of the crowd.

4. Shen Mue II
   The saga continues. The 3D adventure movie that  took place in
   Japan named Shen Mue is now being continued in Hong Kong. Even
   more  stunning  scenery, mini-games, interaction  with   other
   characters   to  gather  information, money, help  and hints -
   Shen Mue II is a good mixture of everything.

5. Jet Set Radio
   A booming sound track and the clever combination of a skate-game
   with a twist, along with perfect cartoon graphics make this game
   a winner. Too bad it is too easy to play once you solved it.

6. Space Channel 5
   Aliens invaded with a "dance-beam", hypnotising  all  humans to
   dance ? A pink-haired, sparely clothed 3rd class reporter named
   Ulala rescuing the hostages by out-dancing the aliens ? And all
   that in  colourful  plastic  environment  resembling the sci-fi
   style of the 70s TV  series ? Yes, that is Space Channel 5. Far

7. Phantasy Star Online version 2
   A back to the  roots  role  playing game. Even  though a  fascinating
   scenario and  decent plots accompanies you over this  game, the focus
   lies on realtime-battles, winning of experience points and additional
   weaponary and exploring  the dungeons. The best  extra gadget however
   is it's online function to play with other PSO fans worldwide.

8. Virtua Tennis 2k2
   Sports games were never on my hitlist, but Virtua Tennis 2k2 is so
   well done, it just cannot fail. The controls are easy to learn yet
   difficult to master and the ability to have 4 players at once make
   it even fun for little game parties. Stunning 3D graphics just add
   to the final ranking.

9. Metropolis Street Racer
   London, Tokyo, San  Francisco. Racing  with standard  cars in an
   awful lot of tracks in these 3 cities in real-time, with perfect
   and fluent 3D graphics, very realistic  car handling and best of
   all, Kudos, style points for sensible driving. It is not how fast
   you drive, it is about how you drive fast.

10.Fur Fighters
   Cute little animals, roughly fighting against their arch enemy.
   This game has everything a good 3rd person shooter needs: Lots
   of extra weapons, ammo, puzzles and levels to explore, it just
   lacks one thing: The blood. This  is all  about fights, but in
   a very fluffy way. Even sports 4 player fluff-deathmatches.


Alive 5