When Sega announced that Dreamcast games were going to be making a return to the 360 and PSN, nostalgic happy memories flooded my brain. But Sega's (assumedly) first collection of games isn't exactly the premier choice of Dreamcast fans.
No, you will not find Chu Chu Rocket, Power Stone, Typing of the Dead, Shenmue or Jet Grind Radio on this disc. Instead, Sega just re-re-released Sonic Adventure and Crazy Taxi onto disc format along with Space Channel 5: Part 2 and Sega Bass Fishing. Space Channel and Sega Bass Fishing are currently scheduled to be released on XBLA and PSN later this year, but obtaining this disc is the way to play them now. All four of these games will eventually cost you a $40 downloadable price tag, or you can purchase this disc for $30.
I will not go into the details of Sonic Adventure or Crazy Taxi as the full reviews of those games can be read by clicking the links above. But just like these original DC classics, Space Channel 5 and Sega Bass Fishing received no additional features or upgrades. In fact, the game's menu presentation, the only new feature added to these titles, is probably the worst aspect of this collection disc. When you first pop the game into your tray and load it up, the player is presented with a very generic splash screen in which one of the four games can be selected. But once you select a game, the only way to access another game on the disc is to back out to the dashboard with a full re-load. This would be more tolerable if there was an option to install the games on the harddrive, but users would surely abuse this feature by simply renting or borrowing from a friend.
Besides the low quality menu presentation, Space Channel 5 and Sega Bass Fishing were popular DC titles but ultimately have not really stood well against the test of time.
Before the music game popularity boom, Space Channel 5 was one of the niche music games available. But instead of playing music, the player is tasked with pressing the right buttons at the right time to make Ulala dance to the game's music. In short, Space Channel 5 can probably be best compared to the light-up boardgame, Simon – you have to repeat button presses and if you miss, you lose. The concept isn't exactly original, but Space Channel did receive a higher amount of publicity when the game first launched. Unfortunately, I found the entire experience frustrating when playing on the 360 mostly due to the junky d-pad. Hitting the four directions often resulted in needless misses just because the hardware isn't as functional as you want it to be. Space Channel is also a difficult game because there are no visual clues as to when to hit the right button. Sure, you are only hitting the four directions on the d-pad and two face buttons, but there is no correlation to the sounds Ulala makes to the buttons they are assigned to. In comparison, what if you had to play Guitar Hero without actually seeing the notes travel down the highway and could only rely on music alone? Yeah, it would be a lot more difficult.
In my opinion, Sega Bass Fishing is probably the most entertaining game on this disc. Normally, fishing games can be so realistic they become a fault because of the sport's natural slower pace and complexity, but Sega Bass Fishing applies the Sega coat of arcade paint to this sport. With a timer constantly haunting you, the player must try and reel in as many fish as possible using different lures. There are only a handful of stages in the game and the player only has the option to change their bait; rods, reels and fishing line customization has been completely left out. But having only the bare minimum options really makes Sega Bass Fishing more of an action game than a fishing sim. Although there is no option to play with the DC reel controller, using the analog sticks and shoulder buttons do a decent job of hosting the play control. The Leaderboards are also a great incentive to keep catching fish and to search for that lunker hiding in that deep forgotten corner.
If you missed out on the DC era back in the late 90's, then this disc will be a good learning tool. On the other hand, fans of the DC might be a disappointed to find out that their favorite games might not have held up as well as they remember. The disc's overall presentation values are terrible but this is currently the only way to play Sega Bass Fishing and Space Channel 5: Part 2 on your 360. The $30 is technically saving you $10 from the full download price of these four games. But for some fans, I think playing through the full demo version might be enough to re-live your Dreamcast memories.
Dear Sega, now that these games are out of the way, can we please have Chu Chu Rocket and Power Stone 2 with full online matchmaking support?
– All Dreamcast fans
Not As Good As: other Dreamcast games
Also Try: Samba De Amigo Wii
Wait For It: Dreamcast Collection 2
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