Dreamcast Collection • Page 2

Cast-iron classics?

The harsh truth, I'm afraid, is that Sonic Adventure wasn't ever very good. Evidently the speed and graphical sheen were enough to fool many of us back in the day, along with the sheer thrill of seeing Sonic in 3D, but the controls are dreadful, the camera likes to torture you for fun, the level design is wilfully convoluted and the cast is deeply uninspiring. And the voice acting is hateful. Not even funny-bad. Just hateful.

This should have been the series' Mario 64 moment, but instead it was the first of a great many failures to successfully translate the Sonic formula out of its original 16-bit language. It's just horrible to play the experience of controlling Sonic and his far-fetched acquaintances is in itself infuriating. If you've still got fond memories of this, please do yourself a favour and never play it again.

SEGA Bass Fishing is a bit of a surprise hit. It's intended to be played with a fishing rod peripheral, of course, but in the absence of one, you use the left stick to direct the rod and the right to reel in the line.

Everything you need to know about the game is in the title, really you head out onto lakes and catch fish for points, making use of various different lures to tempt the biggest bass out of the depths.

There's a series of tournaments outside the straightforward Arcade mode but you have to learn how the lures work before you enter. Each requires a different method of control reel and stop, twitching the rod, slow but constant reeling, and so on but during tournaments, no helpful explanation is offered.

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The best thing about three of the four games on this disc is the voice acting. 'Enjoy your fishingu!.'

Like Crazy Taxi, though, SEGA Bass Fishing was an arcade title, and as such it's really only good for one or two tries. When you can just press Start to Continue and get to the top of the scoreboard, a lot of these games' appeal is lost.

Really, it's all about Space Channel 5 Part 2. It's one of the most delightfully mad games ever made, and my love for it is almost limitless. If you've never played it before you probably already know that it's a fairly simple Simon Says rhythm-action game developed under the direction of Tetsuya Mizuguchi. But it's also so much more.

"Oh no! The Space Bird Mistress is being forced to dance!" exclaims a TV announcer, as Ulala bursts into a room with a troupe of liberated dancers to save the world with cheesy choreography and a laser gun. Later, Michael Jackson joins you on your quest to save the Space President, complete with signature moves.

Helpful explanatory captions say things like "Space Cheerleaders, Dancing Unwillingly", and the voice acting often has a wonderful Engrish touch. (As the famous refrain goes, "Go Go Go Go Space Channeru 5! Let's Dancing! Let's Shooting! Sexy, Ulala, YEAH!")

Nothing about it has aged badly especially not the outfits, which now look like something you might see in Shoreditch. If anything, it's gotten better, if only because this sort of thing is so rare nowadays.

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I had hoped so much for Jet Set Radio but I'd hate to see it treated with as little care as the games on this compilation.

This is the kind of wonderful Japanese loopiness we're not exposed to much any more in an increasingly Western-dominated games industry. It's hard, though extremely hard. If you want the Achievements, expect to spend a good few hours trying to get your fingers around trickily syncopated dance rhythms.

It's things like Space Channel 5 and Shenmue, and Seaman, and Jet Set Radio and Rez that generate such fondness for the Dreamcast. All that games like Crazy Taxi and Sonic Adventure do now is slap you around the face with the cold, moist fact that the Dreamcast wasn't actually made out of fairy dust and gold sparkles, but was instead a game console like any other, with its fair share of overrated successes.

But it's the quality of the ports as much as the quality of the games that lets this collection down. They aren't just unimproved, they're actively worse. If you absolutely must experience any of these games on your 360 or PS3 in crippled-but-playable form, this bundle is better value than buying each of the games separately but Sonic Adventure and Crazy Taxi, at least, are better left in the past.

The fact this is the best SEGA can come up with after years of waiting for Dreamcast re-releases does not say much for the publisher's ability to evaluate the worth of its own back catalogue. We can only hope for better in the future.

5 / 10

Read the Eurogamer.net review policy Dreamcast Collection Keza MacDonald Cast-iron classics? 2011-03-31T08:00:00+01:00 5 10

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