More Dreamcast Game Impressions

TOKYO – More impressions of the many Dreamcast games found in the Sega booth at TGS.

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TOKYO – The Sega booth at the Tokyo Game Show was filled with promising games for 2000 – plenty that really hooked us. Here's a rundown.

Dee Dee PlanetReminiscent of Lobotomy's Death Tank and Team 17's Worms game, Dee Dee Planet is a Vib Ribbon-looking, simplistic shooter that is Internet compatible. Featuring vector-esque graphics and straight forward gameplay (read: aim your targeting arc, fire a bomb, hope it lands on your pal), Dee Dee Planet is a cute diversion, but one that won't likely set any wild new trends in the video game world.

Rune JadeDiablo variant? Record of Lodoss War fraternal-twin brother? From what we've seen, Rune Jade looks like a humble console version of Diablo. We haven't had a chance to explore this one much, but will get more game time today. Check back for further impressions.

Record of Lodoss WarWe got our hands on a playable version of this Diablo-esque action-RPG developed by Kadokawa Shoten. We'll be playing more of this interesting title throughout the day and will return with movies, screenshots, and a full report later.

Network GolfGolf, which is part of Sega's network library and Internet strategy, looks like the golf title developed by Bottom Up and released in the US as Tee Off. But we are unsure if this is the same title tweaked for network play. In any case, it appears as if Sega's hoping to brew up an online community of casual gamers on virtual greens. More on this one soon.

Network Derby RacingLike Sega's network-ready golf title, its horse racing game is also playable online. Sega has entire arcade floors in Japan dedicated to virtual on-track betting, via virtual derbies, which are wildly popular in Japan. Sega looks to be tapping into that particular market with a 3D Derby Stallion-esque game that plans to unite dozens of track fans online. We're unsure as to whether or not some sort of gambling aspect will be available, but considering the nature of the game, a point exchange or reward system is likely to provide initiative.

Fish LifeFish Life is not a Dreamcast game, but rather a virtual fish tank with a Naomi board driven digital display of extremely realistic looking fish swimming in a variety of exotic environments. Fish Life, which was first shown at CSK's Isao Okawa Foundation event last fall, is unique in that it uses special monitors to provide you the option to interact with the fish. By tapping on the screen, you drop food into the tank and then the fish flock to wherever you tapped. We're unsure as to whether or not Fish Life will be an official Sega release or just a little vanity project for display purposes only, as purchasing a monitor that will respond to such prompts and taps would likely make this an expensive piece of software. According to Sega, Fish Life is being planned for release in places where people gather, such as coffee shops. Either way, it's one of the most beautiful screen-savers ever made. We'd like to see Sega include it on future revisions of the Dream Passport software.

AnimastarAnimastar, the first DC game offering Game Boy Color compatibility, is half racing game and half Monster Rancher. The Animastar graphics are better live than they appear in screenshots, and this title may make it over to the US in some form. Sega is offering a nifty giveaway at the show if you play the game against other participants -- one of the company's special VMU's, each with a unique monster on it. More on this soon.

Typing of the DeadTyping of the Dead, another one of Sega's weirdo game concepts amply displayed by two ladies with blindingly fast fingertips, is a laugh riot when played by people with actual skills. As in House of the Dead 2 TotD sends wave after wave of monster at you, while words appear on-screen. As you type the word, each letter disappears, shooting the monster once you've spelled the entire word. Your speed and accuracy contribute to your point total. What's funny is that during cutscenes where game characters would usually brandish guns, the ones in TotD are wearing Dreamcasts strapped to their backs and have keyboards bound to their chests. While TotD is a good a reason as any to break out that DC keyboard, we're not sure whether or not Sega of America would risk bringing this bizarre title to the States. Judging from the letters we receive from readers, the average gamer could probably use a game like this! If SOA makes a decision on whether or not to bring this out, we'll let you know.

Metropolis Street RacerDespite all the PR hype, Metropolis Street Racer is still failing to impress us. Sure the cityscapes are accurately detailed, and the graphics are okay, but stacked up next to the GT2000s and RRVs of the day, Metropolis Street Racer had better be pretty amazing in the gameplay department to make people forget about those other two games. Scheduled to release first in Europe, and then later in the rest of the world, MSR has a lot in the way of game features that are hush-hush as of this writing, but we'll reserve full impressions until we get a playable demo.

Napple TaleWe're not quite sure what Napple Tail, easy to dismiss as a cutesy RPG, is all about. It is definitely cute though and comes across like an Evolution-lie as far as the graphics are concerned. We don't know much about this title yet, but we'll get hands-on game time later today.

Grandia IIGrandia II, shown at TGS only on video, is one of Sega's trump cards for the year. When this game releases, we think Final Fantasy IX will have some serious competition in store. Grandia II, in our opinion, is guaranteed to move systems for Sega this year, and they do need it in Japan, where software sales pale in comparison to those of PlayStation titles. As a gift, an inflatable animal arm-balloon was given to press and passers-by, much like last year's Morolians. More info on this one soon.

Eternal ArcadiaWe scored a playable demo of this amazing title by the original Phantasy Star team. Look for more media and impressions througout the day.

Rent A Hero No.1Sega's Rent-A-Hero No. 1 (R-A-H was last seen in Fighter's Megamix), while not nearly as bad looking in person as it looks in screenshots, loosely borrows from the Spikeout engine with mixed results. RAH No.1, essentially an action RPG, lets you play as either Rent-A-Hero or Rent-A-Hiroko. The game will land in stores by this summer, although hands-on play revealed decent controls with graphics of sub-Shenmue quality. Still, the game moves at 60fps and looks to be a lighthearted alternative to Sega's other epic AM2 RPG.

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