Happy New Year/Happy New Games!

A happy new year to all DreamcastGaga readers, I hope you all enjoyed the holidays and received some nice gaming goodies. Myself, while its never nice when the holidays to draw to a close, it does give me a chance to reflect on the games I was fortunate to try out during the holidays. On Christmas morning, I was treated to a bumper pack of gifts from Santa (i.e. the wife) with the following inside.

No matter how many titles you own their are always new ones to enjoy!

Firstly, I received a mint copy of Cosmic Smash, a game which due to its relatively rarity and high price, I had never gotten round to playing before and I’m really happy to have finally gotten hold of it. To summarize, the game plays like a modern version of breakout crossed with tennis, and the whole experience is just so effortlessly cool and addictive that I ended up putting a significant amount of time over the holidays into it; so much so that I would probably say it is my most memorable gaming experience of 2012! Definitely recommended to any Dreamcast fans who are yet to pick it up.

Like most good arcade games the challenge of CS lies in pushing up your high-score!

I also got a copy of Sega Tetris, a NAOMI-based adaptation of the classic Tetris we all know and love. Presentation wise the game is typically Sega, i.e. colorful sandy beaches and ridiculous animal characters, but there is something that put me off straight away, and that is that the game is just so excruciatingly difficult! While the first couple of stages are relatively enjoyable, it’s not long before the difficulty and speed of the game becomes overwhelming and unplayable. Unfortunately, changing the difficulty level doesn’t really seem to alter this and the whole game was a big disappointment.

The inviting visuals do not match the gameplay in Sega Tetris

Santa also brought me a copy of J-League Spectacle Soccer, a game originally released in Europe as 90 Minutes, and re-branded for the Japanese market. Despite the naff title, this was Sega's last football game for the Dreamcast and in fact, one of the last games ever for the system (released February 2002 in Japan) so I was interested in seeing ever finally manage to get the monkey off their back and release a decent footy title for the system. Graphically the game looks the part and feels more like football than most of the other Dreamcast games. However, like most retro sports titles, these types of games tend to age more badly than most, and overall J-League Spectacle Soccer was a bit of a grind to play. Nowadays, it's probably more of a curio than something you would play to be honest. Still, to have a game featuring Japanese clubs is quiet cool and I'm guessing that most people back in the day would have been fairly pleased with it after all the previous dross. 

JLSS, probably the best football title for the DC?

Finally, and most excitingly for me was a sealed copy of Street Fighter Zero 3: Saikyō-ryū Dōjō for Matching Service. The game was Capcom’s final hurrah for the system and originally only sold through Dreamcast-direct and although I’m quite a Street Fighter fan, I never got round to buying this particular edition due to the fact that I already owned the original Street Fighter Zero 3: Saikyō-ryū. All the game really adds is RGB support and now defunct online play but I love the artwork on the case, and the CD also features a sweet image of Juli and Juni. 

There are plenty of reasons to get into SFZ3, one is R.Mika!!
Anyway, ripping open the seal and going back to this game has just been so much fun and I think that it is probably my favourite Street Fighter title of all time. I do love the structured balanced style of Zero 2, but this game has just so many options and characters, as well as just looking like a million dollars, that it’s hard not be attracted by its charm. It has a ton of great bonus modes like World Tour mode & Dramatic Battle and Capcom really put a lot of effort it. In fact, playing through Zero 3 reminded me just how much 90’s Capcom was killing it. Nowadays, they seem to have lost their way both stylistically and gameplay-wise, and I hope they can get back to their old selves before it’s too late!

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