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Thursday, February 25th, 1999
Shenmue
In the latest Japanese Dreamcast magazine, Dengeki DC Mag, Yu Suzuki talks about the free movement mode of Shenmue, and indicates that in this mode you can punch, kick, and throw your enemies, and even make any combos that you wish. Similar to SEGA's Model 3 arcade game Spike-Out, but different in that it will have a lot more depth. As much depth at VF3tb! It looks like SEGA have put peoples worries to rest, over the game having just QTE (Quick Timer Event) mode.
(Source: Howard Shih, and Dengeki DC Magazine)
 
Wednesday, February 24th, 1999
Power Stone
As you may have heard, Capcom's new fighting game Power Stone was released this week, and CEX has movies and screenshots! Go here to check out their page on Power Stone, where there are three movies (2 QuickTime and 1 MPEG), and 15 screenshots.
(Source: Mat Simpson by email)
 
Tuesday, February 23rd, 1999
Shenmue Videos
Dreamcast is clearly way more powerful then I could have ever imagine! Game-Online has three Shenmue videos that show that SEGA's AM2 division is the greatest development team the world has ever known! The first video at Game-Online shows snow falling down in a street scene, and this is snow that exists in the entire scene, and not just a few feet in front of you so as to give you the impression of falling snow. The second video which is the most impressive, shows hundreds of cherry blossom petals falling off of a tree, that has hundreds of branches. Amazing that all of this is being done in real-time as it looks so incredible! The third video shows the main character conversing with others in the game world.
(Source: Darkfalz)

Japanese Sales Chart
Only one Dreamcast game in the top 30, for the second week of February:
 

This Week
Last Week
Name
Sold This Week
Total Sold
#9
#4
SEGA Rally 2
18,130
254,940

Both Sonic Adventure and Evolution fell off of the chart this week.
(Source: Sonikka, Game Japan Top 30 Chart)
 
Monday, February 22nd, 1999
Famitsu Rates Power Stone
Here is the rating for Power Stone, Capcom's fighter due to be released this Thursday on the Dreamcast. Also included is comparisons with other Famitsu rated DC games.
 

Rank
Title
Score
Total
#1
Sonic Adventure 
9 10 9 10
38/40
#2
VF3tb
9 9 9 9
36/40
#2
SEGA Rally 2
9 9 9 9
36/40
#3
Power Stone
8 9 8 9
34/40
#4
Evolution
8 8 8 8
32/40
You can also check out the Power Stone press release here. This game is due for world wide release in the arcade in early March. As you can see Naomi to Dreamcast conversions take very little time, as the DC version will be released before the Naomi version! I can't think of another game ever released on console first before being released in the arcade. Naomi to Dreamcast conversions will contribute greatly to the Dreamcast's success!
(Source: NGO article, Japan's Weekly Famitsu's - March 5th issue)
 
Saturday, February 20th, 1999
Dream Passport
From FGN Online:
Sega of Japan has announced it will offer a new Dream Passport v1.03, free of charge to all Japanese Dreamcast owners, which attempts to remedy bugs present in previous versions. Gamers need to have registered their Dreamcast to receive this upgrade via the mail.
A number of people told me that you cannot register anymore with the orange colored Dream Passport GD-ROM disk, as you have to use the blue colored disk, which is at least version 1.00. As you can see by the above quote, it might be difficult to get the latest version, as SEGA will not mail it outside of Japan. Here are two links to help you register you Dreamcast with SEGA's servers in Japan, so that you can go online with your Dreamcast, if you manage to get a hold of the blue disk: Those above links are in the links section for your future reference. Thanks to the two Italian gentlemen who emailed me with the above links and information on the blue disk.
(Source: FGN Online, Massimiliano Calzolari, and Davide Fugazzola)

AOU Show
The Japanese Amusement Expo (AOU Show) 1999 took place at the Makuhari Messe in Chiba prefecture this week, and it clearly showed that Naomi is well on it's way to dominating the arcades like no arcade board has ever done before. SEGA along with quite a number of 3rd party developers are firmly behind the new board! List of Naomi titles shown at the show:

  • Crazy Taxi (SEGA) - Due in Japanese arcades Feb. 25th, '99. Gameplay is very similar to SEGA's Model 3 title: "Harvey Davidson & L.A. Riders" where you can drive all over a huge city. In Crazy Taxi you have to pickup passengers and race them to their destination. Hopefully this will be released in North America soon!
  • Airline Pilots (SEGA) - Three Naomi boards, with three monitors. A flight simulator made with help from Japan Airlines (JAL). Due in Japanese arcades this March.
  • Zombie Revenge (SEGA) - 3D action. This is also due in Japanese arcades at the end of this month.
  • Giant Gram: Zen Nihon Pro Wrestling 2 (SEGA)
  • Kurutto Stone (SEGA) - A puzzle game that looks like it could have easily been done on the Saturn ST-V arcade board!
  • Derby Owners Club (SEGA) - Horse racing.
  • Ferrari 355 Challenge (SEGA) - Yu Suzuki/AM2 racing game shown only on video. This game uses 4 Naomi boards! The visuals of the video were described as being pre-rendered quality! As videogames.com said: "The cars during the race look astonishingly real." 
  • Boat Race 2 (SEGA) - Shown only in early form. Due sometime this summer.
  • Dead or Alive 2 (Tecmo) - Was not playable, and only shown on video. A game that clearly will beat the current king of the mountain in the visuals department VF3. This game looks stunning!
  • Power Stone (Capcom) - A very beautiful and colorful fighting game that will be released next week on the DC: Feb. 25th, '99.
  • Gun Beat (Treasure) - A game that looked very poor graphical, but hopefully makes up for that in playability. A game where you race an animal and you can blow things up as you go along.
The biggest news to come from this show was that SEGA indicated SNK will support the Naomi board! It makes sense that SNK would come around to supporting the Naomi, as it absolutely destroys their NeoGeo64 arcade board in performance and visual effects. I guess with so many 3rd party companies supporting Naomi, SNK did not want to be left behind. All this Naomi success will help propel the success of the Dreamcast!
(Source: videogames.comarticle1article2)

Japanese Sales Chart
Three DC games in the top thirty sales chart at Game Japan, for the week Feb. 1st, '99 to Feb. 7th, '99:
 

This Week
Last Week
Name
Sold This Week
Total Sold
#4
#1
SEGA Rally 2
36,247
236,811
#26
#14
Evolution
8,685
101,259
#29
#23
Sonic Adventure
8,105
350,132
(Source: Sonikka, Game Japan Top 30 Chart)

Shenmue
Yu Suzuki gave some details of Shenmue in a Japanese newspaper, Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, where he indicates that the game will not be ready for a spring release as the game is only 60 percent done. Yu Suzuki did also indicate that there will be a sequel to Shenmue. Hopefully the Shenmue series will rival the popularity of Square's Final Fantasy series! Now if only SEGA would release a sequel to Panzer Dragoon Saga!!!
(Source: videogames.com article)
 
Wednesday, February 10th, 1999
Get Ready 2 Rumble!
Midway shows strong support for the Dreamcast with the announcement of "Ready 2 Rumble" boxing game in this press release. A quote from the press release:

"We are excited to be one of the first developers to show off the technology of Sega's Dreamcast game console and allow players to take advantage of the system's Internet play capabilities" said Paula Cook, director of marketing at Midway Home Entertainment. "With Blitz-style, over-the-top gameplay, Ready 2 Rumble Boxing showcases the stunning 128-bit graphics capabilities of the Dreamcast, and the addition of Michael Buffer's trademark battle cry makes gamers feel like they're ringside."

In Ready 2 Rumble Boxing, players can compete as one of 20 boxers, each with their own fighting style. Each boxer is hyper realistic with an unlimited number of punch combinations for both realistic and over-the-top boxing styles. Players can compete in arcade-style mode, contending for a championship belt, or play head-to-head on the system or via the Dreamcast's modem. 

Ready 2 Rumble Boxing also features Championship Mode, in which players can take on the role of boxer and manager, assuming control of managing money used to sign boxers and buy equipment for the gym. Players use the equipment to train and build up power, speed, stamina, punches and durability.

Excellent news, in that this game will offer internet play! Kudos to Midway! You can check out the screenshots for the Dreamcast version of this game at IGN's N64 site.
(Source: Cornel, Yahoo press release)

Japanese Sales Chart
Three DC games in the top thirty sales chart at Game Japan, for the week Jan. 25th, '99 to Jan 31st, '99:
 

This Week
Last Week
Name
Sold This Week
Total Sold
#1
New
SEGA Rally 2
200,564
200,564
#14
New
Evolution
16,208
92,574
#23
#14
Sonic Adventure
11,816
342,027
(Source: Sonikka, Game Japan Top 30 Chart)
 
Tuesday, February 9th, 1999
Naomi Games Due in 1999
  • Power Stone (Capcom) - Fighting
  • Spawn vs Street Fighters (Capcom) - Fighting
  • Justice Academy 2 (Capcom) - 3rd Fighting
  • Strider Hiryu 2 (Capcom) - Action
  • All Japan Pro Wrestle 2 (SEGA) - Action
  • Dead or Alive 2 (Tecmo) - Fighting
  • Zombie Revenge (SEGA, AM1) - Action
  • Crazy Taxi (SEGA, AM3) - Racing
  • Ring Out 4 X 4 (SEGA, AM1) - Racing
  • Derby Owner Club (Sega) - Horse Racing?
  • Gun Bead (Treasure) - Racing
  • Great Stone (SEGA) - Puzzle
  • Virtual Fighter 4 (SEGA, AM2) - Fighting
  • Ferrari F355 (Tenative Name) (SEGA, AM2) (4 Naomi boards!) - Racing
  • Airline Pilots (SEGA) (3 Naomi boards!) -  Flight SLG 
  • F1 World Grand Prix (Video System) - Racing
  • Drift Out (Visco) - Racing
17 games for SEGA's Naomi arcade board this year!!! It is nice to see 3rd party companies like Visco, Video System, Tecmo, and especially Capcom developing games for the Naomi board! Thanks to Howard Shih and Bydo-X in providing the translated information above from this Japanese website.
(Source: Howard Shih, Bydo-X, Japanese website)

Artwork and Screenshots
Game Over, the German multi-console site has updated their Dreamcast section with:

  • Evolution - artwork
  • VF3tb - artwork
  • Shenmue - screenshots and desktop wallpaper
  • Climax Landers - desktop wallpaper
  • Monaco GP2 by Ubi Soft - article (in german)
(Source: Tyger of Game Over) 

Modem Registration Problems!
It seems that SEGA of Japan have implemented a system where international calls to their server will not allow any Dream Passport registrations to take place anymore. I have already received email from someone who indicated that they could not register their Dreamcast, even though they followed the very clear instructions at the Registering Dream Passport website. Here is what Dreamcast IGN had to say about this also in their news section yesterday:

Sega blocks foreign DC registrations?
We're beginning to receive reports that Sega Enterprises may have instituted some form of "firewall" against Dreamcast owners outside of Japan registering their systems on its specialized servers, and, as a result, making the use of any currently-unregistered machines online completely impossible. We've yet to corroborate these reports, but they may very well explain why import DC owners who've attempted to register their systems within the past few days have met with nothing but failure. Expect a follow-up to this developing story later this week. 
So it seems that no more international calls to SEGA's server will be accepted! :(
(Source: Massimiliano Calzolari by email, Joe Musashi, Dreamcast IGN)
 
Monday, February 8th, 1999
Powerstone Press Release
Capcom's Power Stone Rocks the New Naomi Board  (BusinessWire)
Feb 08 - Capcom Coin-op today announced plans to release its highly anticipated game Power Stone(TM) for the arcade game market.
(Source: Suneet Shah)
 
Sunday, February 7th, 1999
European Dreamcast News
This information comes entirely by email from Tyger of Game Over. A German multi-console game site that covers the Dreamcast. Tyger went to the "Nuernberger Spielwarenmesse Show" (Nuernburger Toy Show), which is taking place now from Feb. 4th to Feb. 10th. This will be the first time that the European broadcast standard (PAL) Dreamcast version will be shown. All the information comes from Sega of Europe and Ubi-Soft.
  • SEGA of Germany's PR representative said that the Dreamcast logo will be blue, as this color is more popular then orange in Europe.
  • The world wide (outside Japan & parts of Asia) release will be September 9th, 1999 (9.9.99).
  • Regional lockout for games with Europe, Japan, and North America being the regions. SEGA indicated that defeating this lockout will be very difficult, and they do not think that it will be possible.
  • Godzilla, Tetris 4D, and July will not be released outside of the Japanese market.
  • SEGA Rally 2 will feature new (European) cars for the PAL version of the game.
  • The European DC will ship with an analog modem like the Japanese DC, and they also plan ISDN (G.Lite) modem as an extra accessory at a later date. SEGA is communicating with Germany's biggest internet provider T-Online to provide flat rate access to the SEGA network.
  • Get Bass fishing controller will not be available outside of Japan, except at your local import shop.
  • The Dreamcast harddisk expansion will be 1 GigaByte in size, and will greatly increase the flexibility of the DC. Some things planned for the device is the transfer of saved game information from the VMS to the HD and SEGA Rally 2 owners will be able to download additional songs, cars, and tracks from the net. No word yet on other games using the harddisk.
  • SEGA indicated that there will be 15 games available for the European launch, with 8 titles being in-house and 7 being 3rd party. Some of the games are well known, while others are top secret:
     
    In-house
    1) Virtua Fighter 3tb
    2) Sega Rally 2
    3) Sonic Adventure
    4) House of Dead 2
    5) ?
    6) ?
    7) ?
    8) ?
    3rd Party
    9) Blue Stinger
    10) Pen Pen
    11) Incoming
    12) Monaco GP
    13) Buggy Heat
    14) ?
    15) ?
  • Shenmue and Blue Stinger will be released for both the North American and European markets this year!
  • UBI's Monaco GP will slip back one month. Here is what Tyger had to say about the game:

  • "I played the game on a development system (after a SEGA official booted the DC with a special GD-ROM). The graphics are a bit like F1WGP for the N64, but the frame rate and the game control are superb. It is great fun playing this game! All the tracks were playable, and only the arcade version was not implemented yet. The menu presentation is great and the loading times are 4 to 6 seconds per track."
    Game Over will have an in-depth preview of this game at a later date.
This week Game Over will show some artwork and screenshots from the show. A big thanks to Tyger at Game Over for all this very fascinating information!!!
 
Monday, February 1st, 1999
A Couple Press Releases
Sega sees Dreamcast sales of 2 million by June/July
TOKYO, Feb 1 (Reuters) - Sega Enterprises Ltd Executive Vice President Sadahiko Hirose said on Monday that the company expects sales of its Dreamcast game machines to reach two million units by June or July. He also told a news conference that the company expected Dreamcast sales to reach four million units by the end of the business year to March 31, 2000.
Sega sells 500,000 Dreamcast machines by end-Dec
TOKYO, Feb 1 (Reuters) - Sega Enterprises Ltd said on Monday that it had sold 500,000 of its new Dreamcast home video game machines as of the end of December. The 128-bit Dreamcast was launched in late November.
UnderCover
Pulse Interactive, Inc. has a website for their upcoming Dreamcast game "UnderCover AD2025 Kei", where you can checkout the characters in the game, the story (in Japanese), and the screenshots, which show a 3D game with large environments that you can explore. Some of the screenshots show impressive lighting! Expect more from their website in the future, since a lot of the links are not active yet.
(Source: DC Prophet)