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Wednesday, March 31st, 1999
MDK2
Here is some new information on the game from this page at Interplay's (publisher) site:
The critically acclaimed pioneer of stealth games continues in MDK2. Kurt and his distinctively-shaped sniper helmet enter an all new 3D world. In this action-thriller, you revisit this reluctant hero, the dangerously brilliant Dr. Fluke Hawkins, and the ever-helpful 6-legged Uzi-toting dog, Max. 

MDK2 includes tons of new items and gadgets for enhanced gameplay, more humor, and a totally new experience. Bioware, creators of the best-selling RPG Baldur's Gate and the critically acclaimed 3D action game, Shattered Steel, are taking MDK to all new levels of wacky action!
 

  • 8 levels of 3D action tell the story of the Streamriders' return to take over the Earth
  • Experience environments as diverse as Dr. Hawkins' Subspace Art Gallery and the surface of an asteroid spinning through space.
  • Larger rooms, outdoor environments, trickier enemies, and more overwhelming odds.
  • Loads of new gadgets and weapon additions!
  • Target your shots with enhanced Sniper Mode that lets you enjoy limited movement to avoid enemies, and includes new ammunition like Bouncing Sniper shots to catch enemies around corners.
  • Improved stealth abilities with Kurt's new suit's Cloaking Device and Chameleon Power features.
  • Fly, jump, and glide using the amazing ribbon chute.
  • Combat the enemy with such unorthodox munitions as: 
    • The Smallest Nuclear Bomb
    • The Portable Black Hole
    • The World's Most Interesting Bomb
    Here is some information from this page at Bioware's (developer) site:
    MDK2 is currently in development by BioWare for both the PC and the SEGA Dreamcast.

    Interplay is publishing MDK2. We are aiming for a September release. watch this location for more information.

    Three screenshots showing the game for the first time can be seen here at Gamecenter's site.
    (Source: PsychoDCFan, Luya, Interplay's website, Bioware's website, Gamecenter's website)

    More Metropolis Street Racer
    NGO had a representative at the Metropolis Street Racer press conference yesterday in the UK, and here is a quote from an article at NGO:

    The demo shown was the Time Trial mode from Classic Arcade; the team was reluctant to discuss Gang Battle, though it seems there will be some story elements involved. The showcase was nothing short of amazing. The level of realism shown was almost indescribable. Bizarre showed the Shibuya level in both day and night modes - you should pray this gets a US release. At night, buildings are lit from the inside, trains pass over your head that may as well be real trains, balloons float up from the road in such an authentic manner, it was simply shocking. The Alpha Spider rattled around Tokyo with the driver responding to the cars movements, lighting effects were seen that literally blew the assembled crowd away; this is pre-alpha, and the Bizarre team was nervous about showing the game. They needn't have been. The mind boggles at what the finished game will look like. Fireworks exploded in the sky as the car raced round corners, handbraking as it went; headlights shone with beams visible in exactly the same way they would if you were driving the car yourself. The brake calipers visibly grab the brake discs, which glow after rough treatment. Jaws dropped. Journalists slavered. Bizarre and Sega won the day. No question. 
    (Source: NGO article, Jim)

    Japanese Top 30 Sales Chart
    Two titles this week, and both are new releases: 
     

    This Week
    Last Week
    Name
    Sold This Week
    Total Sold
    #12
    New
    To the North: White Illumination
    23,833
    23,833
    #24
    New
    Yukawa's (Managing Director)
    Treasure
    14,034
    14,034

    You can tell that the Japanese really like games involving lots of dialog with onscreen Japanese girls, as To the North: White Illumination is one of those relationship games, and sold quite a number of copies. Last weeks Psychic Force fell off of the charts after being on it for two weeks, and Monaco Grand Prix - Racing Simulation 2 also fell off of the charts also after being on it for one week.

    Total sold this week is 37,867 compared to 23,964 last week. Revenue for the week is 151.9 million Yen compared to 137.43 million Yen last week (1.2 million US dollars compared to 1.6 million US dollars last week). Yen revenue was a bit higher than last week, and the reason why it is not twice as high, as reflecting units sold, is because Yuhawa's Treasure game sold only for 980 Yen. White Illumination sold for the standard price of 5800 Yen. The Yen also fell over the week, so profit in US dollars is even lower than last week!
    (Source: Sonikka, Game Japan Top 30 Chart, Title translation by Jim Breen's website, Yahoo Currency Conversion)
     
    Tuesday, March 30th, 1999
    AOU Pictures
    Here are a few pictures taken at the Japanese Amusement Expo (AOU Show) 1999 of Crazy Taxi and Zombie Revenge. Great news is that these two games are now available for play in Japanese arcades! 
    (Source: Gary Evans)

    Blue Stinger
    OMC Games has put up an interesting preview of Blue Stinger along with 28 screenshots of the game. If you are having difficulty in the game, you may want to check the FAQ file that they also have provided.
    (Source: James Garvin by email)

    Metropolis Street Racer
    Code name before as Metropolis, and now called "Metropolis Street Racer". SEGA and Bizarre Creations have released more information on Metropolis Street Racer today, which is a racing game that will emphasis realistic physics for the gameplay. Tracks will be based in three cities:

    • London
    • Tokyo
    • San Francisco
    Each city will have three areas that you can race through, with each area covering two square miles. Over 32,000 photos were taken of these cities to try and replicate them as closely as possible. The game will feature 20 licensed cars, and 8 hidden ones. The cars will be from these 12 manufacturers:
      Japanese
    • Mazda
    • Honda
    • Mitsubishi
    • Toyota

    • British
    • Rover
    • Jensen
    • TVR

    • French
    • Renault
    • Peugeot

    • Italian
    • Alfa Romeo

    • German
    • Mercedes

    • American
    • Ford
    Cars shown so far:
    • Ford Mustang
    • Honda NSX
    • Toyota Celica
    • Rover Mini
    Game play modes:
    • Arcade
      • Championship
      • Time Attack
      • Head to Head
    • Gang Battle
    (Source: FGN online, Game-Online article, Stephen Fulljames)

    MDK2
    Interplay has annouced MDK2 for the Dreamcast with this press release, and here is a quote from it:

    MDK2 uses the "Omen" engine, a true multi-platform game engine developed internally by the team at BioWare. While both the engine and the game are being developed for the PC and Sega Dreamcast, BioWare is taking great care to provide maximum quality for both platforms. Perhaps the most powerful and unique features of the Omen engine include a realistic lighting engine which provides diffused and specular highlights and an animation-driven development system which allows segments of the game world to be dynamically modified in real-time. Additional features are the realistic object physics and complex scripted AI which provide inhabitants with intelligent interaction and mannerisms.
    Links: Developer: Bioware corp, MDK2 website (Javascipt needed), Pubisher: Interplay.
    (Source: Bloomberg.com, sonicfan)

    Famitsu Ratings
    One new title this week:

    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
    House Of The Dead 2
    9 8 8 8
    33/40
    #4
    Marvel vs. Capcom
    9 8 8 8
    33/40
    #5
    Evolution
    8 8 8 8
    32/40
    #6
    Monaco Grand Prix 2
    8 8 8 7
    31/40
    #7
    Aero Dancing
    7 7 8 8
    30/40
    #8
    Blue Stinger
    7 7 7 7
    28/40
    #8
    Psychic Force 2012
    7 7 7 7
    28/40
    #8
    Get Bass
    8 6 7 7
    28/40
    #9
    Super Speed Racing
    6 7 7 7
    27/40

    (Source: Weekly Famitsu magazine, Gary Evans)
     
    Monday, March 29th, 1999
    Dreamcast Magazine - Issue 4/2 1999
    The Japanese are very lucky in the amount of video game material that they get to read each week. This issue of Dreamcast Magazine is 168 pages thick and covers a huge amount of games, going into great detail, and providing many screenshots. Check out what is in this issue. A big thanks to Gary Evans, for his generosity in sending me this magazine.
    (Source: Gary Evans, DC Mag)

    GameFan Retraction
    HoTD1 is not in HoTD2:

    We have finally received confirmation from the lead programmer of House of the Dead 2 that the final version of the game does not include a hidden version of House 1. This comes as a huge disappointment to Hi-Fi and the legions of other HOTD fans who had hoped the game would contain this killer "Easter Egg."
    Thursday, March 25th, 1999
    House of the Dead 2
    GameFan has a review of the House of the Dead 2 that you may want to check out. Here is an interesting quote from that review:
    Basically, what you've got here in House of the Dead 2 is the complete package. Two very sweet, arcade-perfect shooting games on one disc, satisfying all true fans of the arcade originals. A killer light gun which can be calibrated in the options menu for excellent accuracy. Multiple paths throughout the game which increase the replay value to mind-blowing levels. This is far and away my favorite Dreamcast disc so far. I'm as disappointed about the relative failure of past Sega consoles as anyone, but with a few more games like this, the Dreamcast will restore any lost faith you might have had. Any company that doesn't support this thing is run by lunatics, and that's all I've got to say about that.
    As you can see, the Naomi/Dreamcast synergy is starting to pay off big time, especially looking at the fact, this game was ported over in no time at all!
    (Source: GameFan)

    Marvel vs Capcom
    Big Boys Toys has pictures and a QuickTime movie of Marvel vs Capcom on the DC as their home page says:

    Marvel vs Capcom has arrived on the scene to flex the Dreamcast's all-important 2-D muscle. You couldn't ask for a better conversion, right down to the complete absence of load times. Take a look at our gallery of images and our movie that spans over one minute in length!
    (Source: RK by email)

    Custom VGA Audio/Video Connector
    If you know your way around a soldering iron, then you might want to make your own VGA connector for the DC. You will certainly save a few dollars in the bargain, as SEGA of Japan's VGA connector is quite expensive. Check the technical section for the details as provided by one very clever German lad Marvin, who is a technical guru extrodinare!
    (Source: Marvin by email)
     
    Wednesday, March 24th, 1999
    CRI's Video and Sound Software Development Tools
    This was already reported on quite a while back in this news section, but I have just now added it to the technical section. The two development tools are a MPEG1 video decoder and sound compression. Quite a few games are already using these two tools.

    MS Dreamcast Windows CE Pages Update
    Microsoft has updated their Dreamcast Windows CE pages at MS website. They have added a section called "Dreamcast Backgrounder", where they give an overview of Windows CE for the DC. If you are remotely interested in developing software for SEGA's uber-console, then WinCE is one of the best places to start, especially if you are not in a position to get a development system from SEGA at this time. If you are interested in getting a development system from SEGA, then check this page at SEGA of America's website.
    (Source: Sonikka)

    Shenmue Music
    Gaz reports from Tokyo that SEGA will be releasing on April 1st, a Shenmue orchestral CD, and a Shenmue 'single'. The orchestral CD will have 8 tracks, and the 'single' will have 4 tracks. The 4th track on the 'single' is a karaoke version. Famitsu magazine has reported that Yu Suzuki might use 100-150 tracks in all with this music coming from a 50 person orchestra. With so many tracks being used in the game, you can expect musical scores to add a lot of mood to specific scenes. If the quality of the main theme is anything to go by, we can expect the other tracks to be excellent! Here is a picture of the CD cover of the Shenmue orchestral CD.
    (Source: Gary Evans aka Gaz by email)
     
    Tuesday, March 23rd, 1999
    Japanese Sales Chart
    From five titles last week to only two titles this week: 
     

    This Week
    Last Week
    Name
    Sold This Week
    Total Sold
    #23
    New
    Monaco Grand Prix - Racing Simulation 2
    14,017
    14,017
    #30
    #7
    Psychic Force
    9,677
    54,486

    A very poor showing this week with Puyo Puyo, Aero Dancing, Power Stone, and SEGA Rally 2 falling off the charts. Surprising that Power Stone did not do better. Total sold this week is 23,964 compared to 133,948 last week. Revenue for the week is 137.43 million Yen or 1.6 million US dollars compared to 6.7 million US dollars last week. Maybe all those Dreamcast owners are saving their money for the games coming out this week, which will not be reflected on the charts for quite a few weeks.
    (Source: Sonikka, Game Japan Top 30 Chart, Title translation by Jim Breen's website, Yahoo Currency Conversion)
     
    Monday, March 22nd, 1999
    Game Developers Conference Presentations 1999
    NEC/SEGA/Microsoft gave some technical presentations at this years Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Jose, California (March 15th to the 19th) and now they are available online in the technical section. You need an Adobe Acrobat (PDF) viewer inorder to see these documents, which is available for free from Adobe's website.

    Dealing with Large 3D Worlds
    This paper discusses a number of techniques that can be used to make a single seamless world of considerable size. These techniques use prediction methods as well as systems similar to portals or "potentially visible sets" to determine in advance what 3D data is going to be needed and arrange to have it loaded before the player gets there.

    Accessing PowerVR 2DC Features Under Windows CE
    This document lists the PowerVR chip features, Windows CE details for PowerVR 2DC, and looks at enabling PowerVR features through Windows CE.

    Techniques for Creating Portals
    This document describes both the types and various techniques of implementing portal effects. Each of the basic types of portals covered include room portal, the mirror or TV portal, a glass pane portal for reflective and transmissive glass and a science-fiction-like transport portal.

    Portal Techniques for SEGA's Dreamcast
    Topics covered include:
    1) a very short overview of PowerVR 2DC relevant hardware features
    2) specifics on how to render special effects such as mirrors, "magic" windows and TV screens
    3) how to use portals as an efficient visibility determination method

    (Source: PowerVR.com downloads page)
     
    Friday, March 19th, 1999
    Shenmue
    GameFan reports from the Spring Tokyo Game Show (TGS), which started yesterday (Friday in Japan), and gives some details on Shenmue, where it will be broken up into different chapters.
    Shenmue
    "Chapter 1: Yokosuka" - August 5th, '99
    "Chapter 2: Mainland China" - late 4th Qtr. '99
    Each chapter will sell for less then a regular price game, which is 5800 Yen. Maybe 4800 Yen. Yu Suzuki indicated that he has 16 chapters in mind, and possibly expanding it to 48 chapters, but he does not know how many chapters will end up in the game.

    The Shenmue.com website has been updated with pictures in the "About Shenmue" section showing:

      Mode
    • Quest
    • Free Battle
    • QTE Battle
    • Quick Timer Event
    Also added to the Shenmue website is a TGS (Tokyo Game Show) section showing a VMS game with the main character on the screen.
    (Source: qa analyst, ElectricPhase, GameFan article)
     
    Thursday, March 18th, 1999
    Famitsu Ratings
    Four new titles this week:
     
    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
    House Of The Dead 2
    9 8 8 8
    33/40
    #4
    Marvel vs. Capcom
    9 8 8 8
    33/40
    #5
    Evolution
    8 8 8 8
    32/40
    #6
    Monaco Grand Prix 2
    8 8 8 7
    31/40
    #7
    Aero Dancing
    7 7 8 8
    30/40
    #8
    Blue Stinger
    7 7 7 7
    28/40
    #8
    Psychic Force 2012
    7 7 7 7
    28/40
    #9
    Super Speed Racing
    6 7 7 7
    27/40
    The biggest surprise to me is that SEGA's racing title Super Speed Racing rates lower than Monaco Grand Prix 2! Monaco Grand Prix 2 must be a decent game to get the score it has.
    (Source: Weekly Famitsu magazine, F5 Twister, SEGA-Zone article)

    Microsoft Actively Promotes WinCE at Game Developers Conference
    Here is an article at NGO with some interesting information:

    Windows CE has been "very specified" for the Dreamcast, and takes up 1MB, with all drivers.
    As you can see WinCE has been optimized to take up as little space as possible in the 16 MB of main memory of the Dreamcast.
    Another primary purpose for CE is Network Multiplayer. Currently, the only way to get a Dreamcast game running with network multiplayer is to develop it using the Windows CE environment. The Sega API does not do it. 
    There you have it. Online games need WinCE, unless SEGA has plans to add network code to it's "Dragon" OS.
    One of the most exciting things, Microsoft believes, about the Dreamcast CE is that they have been able to bring Visual C++ to the console world, allowing developers an ease of entry which Microsoft believes is unprecedented.
    Microsoft's compiler technology is one of the best in the world, so developers are going to love, that it is available for the DC. There is no question that with the clout that Microsoft has, SEGA could not have a better partner when it comes to convincing developers to makes games for the DC!
     
    Wednesday, March 17th, 1999
    Bernie Stolar's Speech
    Here is the whole transcript of Bernie Stolar's speech, that took place this morning at the Game Developers conference. SEGA continues to do everything right!
    (Source: F5 Twister, Toole, 3Dgaming PowerVR message forum)

    Bernie Stolar's Keynote Speech at the Game Developers Conference
    Information on the Dreamcast launch in North America, courtesy of Gaming-Age:

      SEGA's Launch Titles
    • Sonic Adventure (SoJ)
    • Virtua Fighter 3tb (SoJ)
    • Cart Racing (SoJ)
    • House of the Dead 2 (SoJ)
    • Basketball (Visual Concepts)
    • Football (Visual Concepts)
    • Geistforce (SoA)

    •  

       
       
       
       
       
       
       

      3rd Party Launch Titles

    • Mortal Kombat 5 (Midway)
    • Castlevania (Konami)
    • Soul Calibur (Namco)
    • Power Stone (Capcom)
    • Ready to Rumble (Midway)
    That is 12 titles listed, and it is nice to see a game from each of the Japanese gaming giants. Those titles will be released on launch day, or soon after. The biggest news is that SEGA has finally announced the modem speed for North America, which will be 56K!
    (Source: Gaming-Age article)

    The Windows CE Advantage!
    WinCE continues to prove it's huge benefits to the Dreamcast by this quote from Acclaim:

    Using the Windows CE Toolkit for Sega Dreamcast, we were able to bring one of our key game engines developed with Win32 and DirectX APIs over to the Sega Dreamcast platform and get title development underway within the space of a month.
    Quote from this Yahoo press release:
    Acclaim and Microsoft Team Up for Sega Dreamcast-TM Development
    Acclaim Entertainment, Inc., a leading worldwide interactive entertainment company, today announced that it is working closely with Microsoft Corp. to use the Microsoft Window CE operating system for the development of an upcoming Sega Dreamcast title.
    (Source: Yahoo press release)
     
    Tuesday, March 16th, 1999
    Game Developers Conference
    Benie Stolar, who has shown a knack for heading out of the corporate office and trying to convert developers to the wonders of the Dreamcast, will be one of the keynote speakers, at this years Game Developers Conference, which is taking place now in San Jose, California from March 15th to the 19th. Here is a part of what Bernie is going to discuss as listed at the GDC website:
    With growing expectations from an increasingly sophisticated consumer, the gaming industry is set for a change in the way it does business. No longer can hardware and software developers hope to be successful by locking themselves into a static box that can't grow to meet consumer demands. 

    In this speech, Bernard Stolar, president and COO of Sega of America, addresses how the company is preparing for the new marketplace with its Dreamcast video game system. Dreamcast's unique architecture creates a machine that is up to 15 times more powerful than current consoles and can actually change and grow with the gamer. Stolar discusses the benefits of creating games for a platform that will actually evolve, not just with simple peripheral add-ons, but with significant technologies that keep the machine as fresh, current and competitive as the day it was purchased. 

    It will be interesting to see exactly what Bernie means by "platform that will actually evolve". Processor/memory upgrades or cable/ADSL/harddisk upgrades? Bernie will be speaking tomorrow from 8:30 am - 9:45 am pacific time.
    (Source: Game Developers Conference website)

    WinCE Toolkit From Microsoft!
    This is excellent news for the Dreamcast, and will help contribute greatly to it's success. Games developed on the Dreamcast can be easily ported to the PC, and vice versa. Developers love standards, and this will help them in keeping their cost down while producing a product for different platforms. Expect an incredible lot of PC games to be ported over to the Dreamcast in it's lifetime.

    Microsoft Announces Windows CE Toolkit for Dreamcast
    Microsoft Corp. today announced that the Microsoft Windows CE Toolkit for the Sega Dreamcast home video game system is now available to licensed Sega Dreamcast developers. The Windows CE Toolkit for Dreamcast provides a full-featured development environment including optimized DirectX libraries for 3-D graphics, sound and input, as well as built-in communications support designed to provide Internet access and networked multiplayer gaming.
    (Source: sonicfan, Yahoo News article)

    New Development Tools for DC
    Press release:

    Metrowerks Licenses CodeWarrior to Sega for Dreamcast™ Game Title Development

    Sega® to provide CodeWarrior for Dreamcast to Sega game licensees; Build Times up to 20 Times Faster with new CodeWarrior Technology

    Tokyo, Japan-March 16, 1999-Metrowerks, Inc., a leading supplier of software development tools, announced today it has licensed the suite of CodeWarrior Software Development Tools to Sega Enterprises, Ltd. for Dreamcast game title development

    CodeWarrior for Dreamcast includes the award winning CodeWarrior Integrated Development Environment (IDE) as well as Metrowerks’ new SH4 development tools for C and C++ development.

    CodeWarrior for Dreamcast will be adopted as part of the Dreamcast development kit, which is provided to software developers. The first CodeWarrior for Dreamcast tools will be released by Sega in the second quarter of 1999. The integration of Metrowerks’ powerful development tools, support for SH4 development, and Sega Dreamcast SDK will provide developers worldwide with an integrated tool chain for high performance and fast time to market with Dreamcast titles. CodeWarrior for Dreamcast is a GUI-based software development environment specifically targeted for Dreamcast. It is hosted on the Windows® 95/98 and Windows® NT operating systems, and includes support for Assembler, C and C++ programming languages. 

    "Sega is pleased to introduce a suite of powerful software development tools that enable faster and more efficient title development for Dreamcast," said Hideki Sato, managing director of Sega Research and Development. "The integration of Metrowerks’ development tools with other advanced development technologies from Sega provides game developers with the best integrated game title development environment for Dreamcast.

    "With CodeWarrior for Dreamcast, Metrowerks is launching our advanced fourth generation compiler technology. CodeWarrior compiler build speeds are now up to 20 times faster than traditional compilers," said John Cheuck, president, Metrowerks Co. Ltd. "Metrowerks is committed to meeting the needs of game title developers by providing powerful software development tools that help users create better games with faster turnaround. 

    (Source: NGO article, Metrowerks website press release)

    Japanese Sales Chart
    Five titles in this weeks Game Japan Top 30 chart! 
     

    This Week
    Last Week
    Name
    Sold This Week
    Total Sold
    #7
    New
    Psychic Force 2012
    44,809
    44,809
    #8
    New
    Puyo Puyo
    32,836
    32,836
    #9
    New
    Aero Dancing
    30,373
    30,373
    #11
    #3
    Power Stone
    17,572
    95,903
    #27
    #21
    SEGA Rally 2
    8,358
    288,516

    I was hoping that Sonic Adventure sales would pickup again, and this title would be on the list, but it looks like Sonic Adventure has run it's course. Total sold during the week in Top 30 is 133,948, generating revenue of 794.47 million Yen or 6.7 million US dollars. Every title except Power Stone is 5800 Yen. Capcom can charge a premium for it's products, by charging 6800 Yen.
    (Source: Sonikka, Game Japan Top 30 Chart, Title translation by Jim Breen's website, Yahoo Currency Conversion)
     
    Monday, March 15th, 1999
    Velocity
    Velocity (working title) is a futuristic hoverboard racing/stunt game, being developed by Criterion in the UK, and will be published by Acclaim. Here are some quotes from the videogames.com article:

    One track, for example, is a futuristic version of New York City. To say the detail and track design is astounding is to do it an injustice.

    Internet play is supposedly in the works, using the Dreamcast's modem for some online thrashing. Also, New York isn't the only amazing track - in fact, most of the major cities around the world make a futuristic appearance.

    While the recent announcement of the PlayStation 2's specs may have led some gamers away from the promising potential of the Dreamcast, it's games like this that will renew people's faith in Sega's mighty system. This game looks that amazing. Fortunately, it plays as well too. Whatever Velocity winds up being called, it has all the makings of a must-have game.

    This game is expected at this year's upcoming E3 show in Los Angeles. 
    (Source: Luya, videogames.com article)

    MDK 2
    Bioware, a Canadian company that is responsible for the amazing "Baldur's Gate" RPG on the PC is developing MDK 2 for the DC. A quote from a NGO article:

    What are your thoughts on other platforms, for example Dreamcast and the recently announced PlayStation 2?

    "In addition to Baldur's Gate: Tales of the Sword Coast (the Baldur's Gate expansion pack) and the possible sequel to Baldur's Gate, BioWare is also developing MDK2 for PC and simultaneously for Dreamcast. I can honestly say that as someone not too closely involved with that project that the graphics, humor, and level design that I've seen so far on that game blow me away. We're planning to have MDK2 done by year's end.

    "I think the Dreamcast is a fantastic system, by the way - it should have a lot of developer support, as it is very easy for PC developers to work with, and really has some great capabilities." 

    It was mentioned at an earlier date that the graphics engine Bioware has designed for MDK 2 has the capability to do curved surfaces.
    (Source: NGO article)

    Dreamcast Fan Japanese Magazine Ratings
    Preview scores:

    Title
    Score
    Total
    Percentage
    Marvel vs. Capcom 
    9 7 8
    24/30
    80
    Super Speed Racing
    8 8 6
    22/30
    73
    Blue Stinger
    7 7 6
    20/30
    67

    (Source: Andrew, GameFan article)
     
    Friday, March 11th, 1999
    Dynamite Deka 2
    The Japanese publication Dreamcast Magazine (Vol. 10, 1999, 3/19) has announced Dynamite Deka 2 for the Dreamcast. This game maybe considered 'old' by some people since it is running on SEGA's Model 2 arcade board, but this game has only been in the arcades in North America for about 4 to 5 months now. You can tell that this sequel to the original Dynamite Deka (Die Hard Arcade) was done by the same development team, as it is full of the same gaudy tacky looking textures that the first game had. Some of the combo's you can pull off in this game are down right hilarious. Like the first game, the gameplay is ace!
    (Source: Joe Musashi, NCS Dreamcast Magazine (Vol. 10, 1999, 3/19) cover page)

    March: Biggest Game Release Month
    Quite a few 'big' Dreamcast games are due at the end of this month:

      March 25
    • House of the Dead 2
    • Blue Stinger
    • Marvel vs Capcom
    • Super Speed Racing
    These games maybe 'big' in that a lot is expected from them, but we will just have to wait for the reviews, before seeing that they live up to that hype. House of the Dead 2 and Marvel vs Capcom look to be the safest bets, but only if they are equal to their arcade counterparts. House of the Dead 2 is insane in it's difficulty, and something you want to keep in mind if you are considering buying it.

    SegaHolic Update
    New screenshots of Crazy Taxi, Dead or Alive 2, Super Speed Racing, and Blue Stinger. Super Speed Racing looks much improved over the last set of screenshots shown. You can check out another screenshot of SSR here at NCS.
    (Source: Shinobi, SegaHolic)

    Nice Quote
    I thought this was a interesting quote from NCS DC product page:

    Sega's thrust into the next level of console gaming comes in the form of the Dreamcast. The DC, once known as the Katana, is capable of playing near pixel perfect arcade games. Playstation owners will scoff at that claim and lob the assertion that their venerable 32-bit console has been doing that for years. We don't argue the point, the Dreamcast just does it with more panache, more power, more pop. Get used to the next generation.
    Not only more panache, power and pop, but a lot more in quantity! Thanks to Naomi, the Dreamcast should see more arcade games in the next few years, then the Playstation could ever have dreamed of in it's entire life span.

    Ready 2 Rumble Launch Title
    Midway's Ready 2 Rumble boxing title will be available at the Dreamcast North American launch, barring any unforeseen delays that is. A spokesperson from Midway had this to say:

    Yes. We are planning our release to coincide with the US launch of Sega's Dreamcast.
    This game is also expected on the PlayStation and N64, and the Dreamcast version should be far superior than the versions appearing on those two consoles! There has been lately a lot of third party companies indicating that they will have titles ready for launch, and this just goes to show you, that SEGA has given 3rd party companies lots of time to have their wares ready for the launch along with SEGA titles. Kudos to SEGA in giving the 3rd party companies equal footing, and this can only benefit greatly to the Dreamcast's success!
    (Source: FGN online)

    Spring Tokyo Game Show
    Here is a list of the expected TGS DC games:

    Altus
    Maken X

    Capcom
    Street Fighter Zero 3
    Power Stone
    Marvel vs Capcom

    From Software
    Frame Gride

    Hudson
    EGG
    White Illumination

    Jaleco
    Carrier

    Koei
    Seven Secret Chambers
    Romance of 3 Kingdoms 6
    Ambition of Nobunaga w/ Power up Kit

    NEC Interchannel
    Sentimental Graffiti

    SEGA
    Shenmue
    Get Bass
    House of the Dead 2
    Professional Baseball Team Creation
    Professional Soccer Team Creation
    Gather! Dreamcast Hot Spring
    Super Speed Racing
    Blue Stinger
    Boy Kanipan

    Tomy
    Toukon Retsuden 4

    (Source: Magic Box Gaming news)

    Red Dog
    The strangely titled game will be coming from UK-based Argonaut, who are responsible for StarFox on the Super Nintendo. Red Dog will be some kind of "tank shooter", and is expected to be available at the North American and European DC launch.
    (Source: Dreamcast.ign article)
     
    Wednesday, March 10th, 1999
    Excellent News!
    News does not get much bigger then this:

    Namco's Soul Calibur for Dreamcast!
    As it says at www.namco.com:
    At a private show in Tokyo today, Namco Ltd. announced plans to release a Dreamcast version of the company's hit weapons-based arcade fighting game, Soul Calibur. No release date for Japan or the U.S. was given for Soul Calibur, although a 30%-complete version of the game was demonstrated at the show. This will be the first title Namco will release for Sega's Dreamcast system. No other titles for Dreamcast have so far been announced. 

    This Dreamcast version of Soul Calibur will not simply be an arcade conversion, but will feature improved graphics and animation. Soul Calibur will also feature all-new game modes not included in the orignial arcade game. Soul Calibur runs at 60 frames-per-second animation and features ten characters, all with full 8-direction movement and control.

    Three screenshots of the DC version can be seen here at Namco's site.
    (Source: F5 Twister)
     
    Tuesday, March 9th, 1999
    Famitsu Ratings
    One new title this week, worthy of mention, is Monaco Grand Prix 2, which is now the 5th top rated game on the DC according to Famitsu magazine:
     
    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
    #5
    Monaco Grand Prix 2
    8 8 8 7
    31/40
    #6
    Aero Dancing
    7 7 8 8
    30/40
    #7
    Psychic Force 2012
    7 7 7 7
    28/40

    (Source: Famitsu magazine, SEGA Otaku article)

    Japanese Sales Chart
    Two new titles on the Top 30 Chart this week:
     

    This Week
    Last Week
    Name
    Sold This Week
    Total Sold
    #3
    New
    Power Stone
    78,331
    78,331
    #11
    New
    Pop'n Music
    22,343
    22,343
    #21
    #10
    SEGA Rally 2
    12,169
    280,138

    Sonic Adventure fell off the chart since last week.
    (Source: Sonikka, Game Japan Top 30 Chart, Title translation by Jim Breen's website)
     
    Monday, March 8th, 1999
    DoA2 English Page
    Tecmo has put up an English page at their website on Dead or Alive 2. The game that will be coming out on the Naomi board, and then later for the Dreamcast.
    (Source: Galford)

    A Couple From Gaming-Age
    A couple interesting items at Gaming-Age:

    Review of the VGA Box
    Here is a quote from that review:
    When I first turned it on, my jaw dropped...and has yet to snap back...  Every little detail, every texture, everything is improved upon. No more jagged pixels when looking at a straight line on your TV, since it's perfectly smooth on your monitor! The colors are exactly the way that SEGA intended, so no more fooling around with the color on your TV...this is how it was meant to be.
    Soul Calibur Shines on Dreamcast
    Here is a quote:
    Over the weekend, some Japanese sites reported that Namco is developing a Dreamcast version of the popular arcade game Soul Calibur.
    Excellent news indeed, and an announcement maybe forth coming on March 10th as confirmation!
    Pictures From Tokyo
    Some pictures of SEGA's marketing of the Dreamcast games in Akihabara's Electric town in Tokyo. As you can see in the pictures, SEGA has given these shops lots of Kiosks so that Dreamcast games can be promoted. As Japan does not have a rental market in order to try a game out, it makes perfect sense for these gaming shops to allow you to play the game for awhile, in order to convince you to buy it. Thanks to Gary in providing these pictures!
    (Source: Gary Evans aka Gaz)

    Sony's New Console
    Here is a very interesting article from BusinessWeek Online entitled: "Sony's Stealthy Shot against Sega in the Video-Game Wars" subtitled: "Left behind in the race for a knockout 128-bit console, Sony "announces" one of its own. Someday, it will exist". A quote from that article:

    The event had all the marks of a rushed technology announcement. (If this were software, the word "vaporware" might spring to mind.) There was no real hardware prototype on display, although the crowd did get treated to some very slick 3D graphics.
    Sony's machine does not exist yet, except in development form. They are clearly jumping the gun, and worried about the Dreamcast, and the solid lineup of software that it has. Sony has every right to be concerned, as the DC has a huge number of 3rd party companies that have pledge support for the "easy to program" DC! Another quote from the BusinessWeek Online article:
    At this juncture, the threat Sony faces is real: By the end of March, in Japan alone, Sega expects to sell 1 million units of its Dreamcast machine, which also processes data in 128-bit chunks. In September, Sega hopes to launch the console in the U.S. That would be a disaster, from Sony's perspective. Hence the hasty announcement of PlayStation II, or "PS2" -- as the technology platform has long been code-named.
    SEGA is well on it's way to selling 1 million DC's in the first four months of it's existence! This is incredibly good news, because 3rd party developers will then see that the DC has reached a critical mass. A million in sales is usually seen in this industry that a console will be successful, and for the DC to pull this off in 4 short months in a single market is nothing short of amazing!

    Sony knows very well, that in the console business, it is very hard to maintain dominance for long, and has pulled all stops, including stating unrealistically high specs in order to out market SEGA, and to try a dampen the incredible strong starting sales of the DC.
    (Source: traycerB, BusinessWeek Online article)
     
    Friday, March 5th, 1999
    VF3tb To be Perfect
    In my opinion VF3tb already looks perfect, but SEGA will fix the very minor 'flaws' that were present in the Japanese release, as this quote from EGM indicates:

    As for the release plans in the U.S., they're still shrouded in secrecy inside Sega's new San Francisco offices. What we do know, as revealed by Sega Enterprises VP Tadahiko Hirose, is that Sonic Adventure, Sega Rally 2 and Virtua Fighter 3 are definite launch titles. No big surprise, but what is surprising is the conformation that Virtua Fighter 3 will be enhanced above and beyond the Japanese release. [note by Kevin: can we say: "model 3 perfection"?] -source EGM
    (Source: Kevin Rutherford by email)

    Conference Call
    SEGA of America had a "listen in" conference call today, where Bernie Stolar listed how things stand with the Dreamcast at the moment. From GunneR:

    • Already 7000 preorders at Babbages have been sold 
    • Another 4000 preorders at EB have been sold 
    • Sega hopes to have Dreamcast units in over 15,000 to 20,000 storefronts across America
    • Sega will make a DVD device for Dreamcast but only when the time is right
    • Sega hopes to evolve Dreamcast (upgrade) based on the needs of gamers
    • Advertising will begin in mid April
    • There will be 8 to 12 launch titles
    If you wish to hear the conference call yourself then dial 1-800-685-9482. Pass code 1999. This 800 number may only be available in the US. The upgrades that SEGA of America is most likely referring to above is harddisk, faster modems, etc., and not processor or memory upgrades, as SEGA has learned its lessons from the 32X fiasco.
    (Source: GunneR of Dreamcast HQ)
     
    Wednesday, March 3rd, 1999
    Dreamcast Finished?
    With all the hoopla and hype surrounding the Playstation 2 introduction yesterday, you had many people writing off the Dreamcast. It seems some people have come to the conclusion that the video game market is won or lost entirely by the specifications of the machine. Things are nowhere near that simple, and if they were, there would be no Gameboys available on the market today. Here is an article at Game-Online where they indicate how well SEGA's launch has been so far in Japan:
    Actually, we think it's going rather well for Sega in Japan. According to our reports, Sega has sold in one million units, sold through a four-fifths of that, and has overcome its manufacturing problems (which can be laid at the door of NEC). In terms of game quality, it has had a better start than either Saturn, N64 or Playstation. After a shaky start, the machine has four 'AAA' titles; VF3, Sonic Adventure, Sega Rally 2 and Powerstone.
    800,000 sold so far! Well on their way to selling a million in Japan by the end of March. It nice to see that a third party company has a 'AAA' title in there, as it will be the number of third party 'AAA' titles that will largely determine the success of the DC, along with effective marketing. SEEGGAAA!
    (Source: Arthur, Darkfalz, Game-Online article)
     
    Tuesday, March 2nd, 1999
    Japanese Sales Chart
    Sonic Adventure makes it back on the list after spending one week off the list. SEGA Rally moves one place down, for the third week of February:
     
    This Week
    Last Week
    Name
    Sold This Week
    Total Sold
    #10
    #9
    SEGA Rally 2
    13,049
    267,969
    #30
    Off List
    Sonic Adventure
    4,927
    360,693

    No DC games fell off the chart since last week.
    (Source: Sonikka, Game Japan Top 30 Chart)
     
    Monday, March 1st, 1999
    Power Stone
    Game-Online has ten 640x480 screenshots of Power Stone, which really show the beauty of this game. They also have a preview on the same page, and here is a quote from that preview:

    Powerstone is a real novelty amongst fighting games, although you can see similarities between it and Square's Ergheiz. Certainly it's the best-looking and fastest moving, making Virtua Fighter 3 look tame by comparison. The development seem determined to make use of all Dreamcast's fancy effects features, with a litany of huge explosions, and special moves to die for.
    Game-Online have also indicated that a lot more screenshots will be put up soon.
    (Source: Game-Online Power Stone preview)

    Famitsu Ratings
    This week we have CRI's impressive looking Aero Dancing flight simulation, and Taito's Psychic Force 2012 arcade fighter. Psychic Force 2012 has done very well in the Japanese arcades, but has not received widespread distribution in North America.

    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
    #5
    Aero Dancing
    7 7 8 8
    30/40
    #6
    Psychic Force 2012
    7 7 7 7
    28/40

    A couple of mediocre titles based on the marks that these two games have received.
    (Source: FGN Online Friday news, SEGA Otaku article)

    Peter Molyneux Speaks
    A quote from Peter Molyneux of Lionhead Studios, from this NGO Online article:

    The success of any hardware - be it a sound card, video card, new PC or new console - is solely dependent on the software that runs on it. In the case of Dreamcast we have yet to see a killer title which makes it a must buy.
    What about Sonic Adventure! I for one will be buying the Dreamcast next September solely to play Sonic Adventure. Another quote:
    "I think it matters less and less to the consumer, especially the mass market, what technical specifications and speed any new machine can attain,"Molyneux continued, "and more and more about the brilliant and innovative games that are published for that system. I recently saw Shen Mue which I thought looked absolutely stunning - I believe there are upwards of 200 people working on this game."
    200 people working on Shenmue!
    (Source: NGO Online article)
     
    Monday, March 1st, 1999
    Power Stone
    Game-Online has ten 640x480 screenshots of Power Stone, which really show the beauty of this game. They also have a preview on the same page, and here is a quote from that preview:
    Powerstone is a real novelty amongst fighting games, although you can see similarities between it and Square's Ergheiz. Certainly it's the best-looking and fastest moving, making Virtua Fighter 3 look tame by comparison. The development seem determined to make use of all Dreamcast's fancy effects features, with a litany of huge explosions, and special moves to die for.
    Game-Online have also indicated that a lot more screenshots will be put up soon.
    (Source: Game-Online Power Stone preview)

    Famitsu Ratings
    This week we have CRI's impressive looking Aero Dancing flight simulation, and Taito's Psychic Force 2012 arcade fighter. Psychic Force 2012 has done very well in the Japanese arcades, but has not received widespread distribution in North America.

    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
    #5
    Aero Dancing
    7 7 8 8
    30/40
    #6
    Psychic Force 2012
    7 7 7 7
    28/40

    A couple of mediocre titles based on the marks that these two games have received.
    (Source: FGN Online Friday news, SEGA Otaku article)

    Peter Molyneux Speaks
    A quote from Peter Molyneux of Lionhead Studios, from this NGO Online article:

    The success of any hardware - be it a sound card, video card, new PC or new console - is solely dependent on the software that runs on it. In the case of Dreamcast we have yet to see a killer title which makes it a must buy.
    What about Sonic Adventure! I for one will be buying the Dreamcast next September solely to play Sonic Adventure. Another quote:
    "I think it matters less and less to the consumer, especially the mass market, what technical specifications and speed any new machine can attain,"Molyneux continued, "and more and more about the brilliant and innovative games that are published for that system. I recently saw Shen Mue which I thought looked absolutely stunning - I believe there are upwards of 200 people working on this game."
    200 people working on Shenmue!
    (Source: NGO Online article)