Dreamcast Collection - ReviewCraig Snow, posted on 20 March 2011 / 4,557 Views
You could be forgiven for being excited when SEGA first announced their intention to revive some of their classic Dreamcast titles. After all, the Dreamcast is undoubtedly one of most revered consoles in recent gaming history, and it had a stellar library to go with that reputation. Unfortunately, it was all too easy to overlook the sad possibility that these revivals would be nothing more than bare-bones ports. And so it has turned out to be. We’ve already seen the results of the [url=http://gamrreview.vgchartz.com/review/43778/sonic-adventure//]Sonic Adventure[/url] and [url=http://gamrreview.vgchartz.com/review/44768/crazy-taxi//]Crazy Taxi[/url] ports, now we get to see those same two titles again, alongside Space Channel 5 Part 2 and SEGA Bass Fishing, in SEGA’s Dreamcast Collection.
First of all, yes, you heard the correctly. Just four games. Understandable, perhaps, if the selection were stellar, but I’d be hard pressed to argue the case for these particular titles being the ones to showcase the best of what the Dreamcast library had to offer. Jet Set Radio, Shenmue, Soul Calibur and Crazy Taxi 2, perhaps, but not these four.
Don’t expect a graphical upgrade either. These are simple ports, not HD remakes, so they very much look their age, particularly on large screen TVs. Sonic Adventure doesn’t even support widescreen, so those borders you see in the screenshot are present in-game. The lack of attention SEGA have given these ports is disappointing to say the least.
In fact, the only thing that actually marks this out as a bona fide retail game is the game launching screen, which seems to have been developed by someone on work experience. It’s ugly, for starters, but hey at least it works... just don’t expect be able to return to it when you want to change games; you have to exit out to the dashboard and reboot the game. Dreamcast Collection is actually just four separate XBLA games packaged together (further evidenced by the separate gamerscore lists).
Now on to the games themselves:
First up, there’s Sonic Adventure, the very same [url=http://gamrreview.vgchartz.com/review/43778/sonic-adventure//]Sonic Adventure[/url] port we reviewed here. The beginning of that dark period in Sonic’s history, Sonic Adventure is extremely clunky by today’s standards, with an annoying camera and disjointed pacing. The presentation is similarly dated. On the plus side, the game manages to achieve an impressive sense of speed without any framerate hitches.
The other game from the collection that’s already been released on XBLA (and reviewed [url=http://gamrreview.vgchartz.com/review/44768/crazy-taxi//]here[/url]) is the original Crazy Taxi. A racer in which you pick up and drive paying customers to their chosen destinations before the time runs out. The gameplay was never stellar, and the passing of time hasn’t made it any better, and its repetition makes Crazy Taxi little more than a brief distraction in this day and age. It was its personality which made Crazy Taxi stand out from the crowd, and for the most part this port manages to retain it. The one controversial omission is that of the original Offspring/Bad Religion soundtrack. The new soundtrack is pretty good, all things considered, and allows the game to retain its offbeat personality, but the wholesale change of soundtrack will undoubtedly be a deal breaker for many.
Next up is SEGA Bass Fishing. As the title suggests, the aim is to catch fish across four different locations. It’s surprisingly accessible, taking a faster paced, arcade approach to fishing that avoids what I imagine to be the mind-numbing boredom of the real thing. The controls are simple and easy to learn, but much like Crazy Taxi it feels quite shallow and extremely repetitive, so it’s more suited to the occasional brief play.
Finally, there’s Mizuguchi's Space Channel 5 Part 2, the main figure behind the upcoming game Child of Eden. Space Channel 5 Part 2 is essentially a music and rhythm game with a blast of wacky Japanese influences and a proper (albeit barely comprehensible) storyline based around a fashionable news reporter who’s saving humanity one beat at a time. Of the four games it’s easily best stood the test of time. There’s something quite quaint and refreshing about playing a music/rhythm game on a console with just a standard controller, and as soon as I’d adjusted the control settings to account for the Xbox 360’s horrendous D-pad the gameplay was a joy. Space Channel 5 Part 2 even holds up well in the presentation department. Artistically, at least, the graphics far surpass anything the Guitar Hero franchise has thrown up this generation, the storyline elements give you a reason to keep returning, and the music is quirky camp fun. Simple, but enjoyable, Space Channel 5 Part 2 is the best of the bunch.
If you were hoping for something akin to Sonic’s Mega Drive/Genesis Ultimate Collection then you’re going to be sorely disappointed. At a cost of $30/£30 Dreamcast Collection consists of a mere four games, two of which have already been critically savaged and are available on XBLA separately, loosely brought together in what amounts to literally nothing more than an unattractive game selection screen. A poor selection of games, the most basic of ports, and no added extras; it’s hard to recommend Dreamcast Collection to even the most devoted of Dreamcast fans.
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