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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Dynamite Cop Review

Original Release:
Japan: June 1, 1998
North America: November 3, 1999
Europe: October 14, 1999

Game Details:
1-2 Players
VMU enabled
Standard Controller, Arcade Stick

Dynamite Cop is a Beat Em Up sequel to the arcade and Sega Saturn release of the aptly titled “Die Hard Arcade”.  The only thing that separates the sequel from its precursor is the lack of the “Die Hard” license. Dynamite Cop builds upon the formula set by its predecessor and further builds upon the gameplay mechanics with rather commendable results. Players can now select between 3 distinctly unique protagonists before selecting 1 of 3 missions (of various length and difficulty) to journey through, ultimately leading to the same final boss of the game (Wolf Hongo!). The games control system is what to be expected from the genre with 3 buttons that control Punch, Kick and Jump actions. With this simple button configuration at your fingertips lies a wealth of options to which you can execute various moves and techniques. This is where the games true charm of DC lies! The amount of ways to deal damage onto your enemies is rather impressive. There are extensive amounts of combos, holds, throws and various advanced maneuvers to explore as you tear a new one onto any pirate dumb enough to stands in your way. Weapons and interactive objects set about each area only sweeten the deal to this aspect of the game. The games controls are practically perfect making all such actions at your disposal a breeze to do.  

You have to invade the ship! Clear the pirates and rescue the hostages, especially the presidents (ugly) daughter!

Originally released in the arcade using Sega’s Model 2 hardware, the games visuals, while state of the art perhaps for its time, wasn’t up to the standards that can be seen on the Dreamcast console. Graphical enhancements were in fact made to the Dreamcast port which include full CG cut scenes to the cinemas (as opposed to the in game graphics that were utilized in the arcade version) a more vibrant color palette to the games 3D environments and slightly refined character models. Even with these improvements, the Dreamcast port still looks dated and does not harness the power of the console. Still, while the games visual presentation won’t wow even the most jaded Dreamcast gamer, it still manages to get the job done. With that said, I would like to note that game visuals look vastly more appealing through the use of a VGA adapter. The games color and sharpness looks SO improved, you’ll never want to go back to standard video connections again. Trust me on this, the game looks way better than it should on a VGA signal for some reason! 

Nothing special but all the audio that you were treated to in the arcade version has been reproduced on the Dreamcast version flawlessly which is always a positive in these arcade to home conversions!

No bones about it, I love this game! Perhaps it’s simply due to my undying love for the under-appreciated genre. Perhaps it’s because it’ll be the closest thing I’ll ever get to a Street of Rage 4 on my Dreamcast. Or maybe because it takes the fundamentals which make up the genre, and crafts it to perfection so well with flawless intuitive control, a very deep fighting engine, and weapons galore to explore as well as exploit, creating a Beat Em Up so perfectly sound, it makes me wish all others in this territory were as solid as this offering. The game is not perfect! Much of its apparent flaws are a result of the genre it represents as well as its arcade heritage. Even with these setbacks, the masters at AM1 threw in enough extras to keep you coming back for more if the heart of the game doesn't already evoke that.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Dreamcast Scene Bullshittery

I really wish I had more positive things to blog about but unfortunately, it doesn't seem like there's anything positive that comes out of the Dreamcast scene anymore.

Today, we have more money grubbing, coming from They've decided to start charging money for each download of "rare" Dreamcast releases. This isn't a direct download either, this is a torrent site, where peers have to share the files. In other words, stay the fuck away from this site.

Even if there's something there you for some reason think that you absolutely can't find, look harder. It's out there. They got it from somewhere. Hopefully ReviveDC stuff is spread around well enough that they don't decide our releases are rare, because we do this stuff for free. We don't make any money, some asshole running a tracker shouldn't either.

So, there's your heads up. Stay smart and don't waste your money.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Capcom vs. SNK Millennium Collection Review

Game Details:
1-2 Players
VMU enabled
Standard controller, Arcade Stick
Jump Pak enabled
VGA box

In honor of Revive DC’s impressive 100th release run, the group is at it once again, making an attempt to outdo themselves with an offering that can only be found within the ambitious efforts of RDC. “Capcom Vs. SNK Millennium Collection” chronicles Capcom’s entire legacy of one of the industry’s most monumental crossovers. On this disc you’ll find the likes of Capcom Vs. SNK Millennium Fight 2000, Capcom Vs. SNK PRO and Capcom Vs. SNK 2 Millionaire Fighting 2001 as well as few little extras thrown in for your enjoyment. Considering that Comrade Snarky and I have already reviewed each of these games individually thru their respective RDC release, I will attempt to shed additional info to the games provided on this collection to the best of my ability.

The CVS series was an attempt to fill the void of the exhausted Street Fighter Alpha series which was making its rounds in the arcade industry prior to the release of the CVS franchise. CVS1 as a whole seems to have a very clear cut, old school approach to gameplay. At its core, the fighting mechanics in this first installment are very barebones and limited in scope to what many became accustomed to in the Alpha series and the Marvel Vs. series. This intentional approach to fighting provided many with a return to basics of fundamentals of the genre, giving it that real nostalgic feel hearkening to fighting games of the early 90’s (gotta love that intentional slowdown as fireballs hit their foes!). CVS1 also appears to take cues from both company rulebooks, opting for an SNK button layout and an emphasis on KOF team structure as oppose to Capcom’s 1on1 or tag team battles, all the while adding some rather interesting features for the tried and true genre. The series trademark “Ratio” system was added to compliment team based battles with some added strategy while providing balance. The 30 plus roster is divided into 4 categories: Ratio 1, 2, 3, and 4. Higher the ratio the stronger the fighter. The kicker here is that a player has a maximum of only 4 Ratio points to build a team as they see fit. While very restrictive in allowing players the freedom of creating their own teams, it certainly calls for interesting decision making and promotes having to learn new characters that perhaps you would never have bothered to if it were not for the constraints of the Ratio system. All these features mentioned are also directly applicable to its successor CVS PRO! Less of a sequel and more of a minor upgrade, PRO is a very minor attempt to further tweak and balance its predecessors shortcomings. Alas it fails to achieve its goals. The only worthwhile additions made to PRO were the inclusion of Dan Hibiki and Joe Higashi which by default are thrown into the Ratio 1 category. With the true sequel, CVS2 took a different approach to just about every feature introduced by the first game. The 4 button layout was thrown out in favor of the more traditional Capcom 6. The games Groove system was greatly expanded with 4 additional grooves which allow you to play in styles similar to other popular fighting titles offered by both companies. The controversial Ratio system of old was replaced with a “Free Ratio” system allowing players to distribute those 4 Ratio points into teams of 3, 2 or just one character. All these additions and changes (as well as an expanded roster) give CVS2 a more up to date approach of the mechanics of the game and provide much broader possibilities than what its prequel could ever offer.

The supposed legend behind the creation of such a dream match was due to a popular Japanese video game magazine which was reviewing at the time SNK’s superlative KOF 98 release and Capcom’s ambitious Street Fighter Zero 3. The publication sported on their front page “King Of Fighters Vs. Street Fighter” in an attempt to pit each respective publisher’s offering against the other in the market. It appears that many readers misinterpreted the magazine header for an actual game which created an uproar of positive reaction among fans everywhere. After witnessing the fan clamor, both Capcom and SNK made a deal which then led to the creation of a handful of titles pitting both companies’ mascots against each other.

All CVS games where developed under the SEGA Naomi hardware tech which led to an assured port on the Dreamcast platform in an effortless arcade to home translation. CVS1 and PRO sport amazing pre rendered backgrounds with some amazing lighting and dynamic effects. All backgrounds are complimented with real cool intro sequences that are reminiscent of SNK’s prior efforts in their past games. The game also sports some real cool monitor and arrow motifs that really elevate the crossover dream match it envelops throughout the presentation! CVS2 feels slightly less ostentatious in this regard over its prequel but by no means a slouch in any respect. CVS2 has a more tournament gathering presentation going for it alongside a news broadcast theme. All backgrounds are redone and put the NAOMI hardware to good use by creating battlegrounds with 3D polygons. While they look nice enough, they appear to visually hurt the character sprites more than the former backgrounds that used a different graphical technique in their creation. While on the topic, the 2D characters sprites are a real mix of good and bad. The entire SNK cast has been beautifully redone from the ground up while the same cannot be said for a majority of the Capcom roster. For the best graphical results I would suggest an S-video connection to retro CRT TV or the purchase of a VGA adapter if you plan to play on at modern TV set or monitor! These games may not looks as gorgeous as say Guilty Gear X, but they still manage to look good enough thanks to some cool looking effects and 640x480 res backgrounds!

CVS series rocks out it this area and hits all the right notes for those that can appreciate the musical genres that are represented in this series! I implore fans of video game music to listen in on some of the tracks for these games via the options menu. You are sure to find some real catchy and downright awesome tunes! Audio effects also impress. Character speech and dialogue is spot on and everything sounds great thanks in part to the hardware’s modest audio capabilities.

The final part which deserves some mention are the extras that are packed into this collection. Much like RDC’s previous compilation, this one also offers some kick ass knowledge for all you young grasshoppers of the genre. All titles contain acceptable “How to Play” tutorials and “Command Lists” although the latter can be also accessed through each respective game via pause screen. Last but not least this dream collection also contains the much useful (and thankfully translated) “Capcom Taisen Fan disc” which was given out in Japan for those who preordered CVS2 for the Dreamcast. In this disc you’ll find some real cool character artwork galleries, VMU save files of some really sweet high caliber matches among Asia’s best “during CVS2s early days” and most importantly, unlockable save content files for nearly every Capcom JPN release on the Dreamcast with exception of Capcom/Psykyo collaborations, Resident Evil titles and a few other offerings that appeared on the platform before this fan disc was originally conceived. Regardless of the fact that these are save files for JPN Capcom releases, a few of them are cross compatible with their respective US versions! Here a convenient list of those games:
Power Stone
Power Stone 2
Spawn ITDH
SF3 Third Strike
SF Alpha 3
Marvel Vs Capcom
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure (use FMS version save and never overwrite!)

While the first CVS has long been forgotten by many, its sequel still enjoys some healthy tournament life in many parts around the globe even after all these years. Regardless of their positions today, these games are well deserved of your attention if you have a passion for fighting games.