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The Sega Dreamcast appreciation thread


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So now with five Atomiswave conversions available (Knights of Valour IV being the latest one) and all of them having been tested I have a few thoughts:

 

These games have exceptional 2D pixel art. Really stunning. Every single one of them.

 

Even Knights of Valour with its meshing of 2D sprites over dynamic 3D backgrounds; it doesn't come across a weird mishmash, rather something that feels more like a 1930s Disney or Fleischer studios animation (but at 60fps) and plays like a cross between Golden Axe Revenge of Death Adder and Guardian Heroes. It's a full blooded, 8 playable character laden, many multiple branching story brawling beast. 

 

My experience with classic SNK fighting games is pretty limited outside of a few early Neo Geo games and exceptions like Garou Mark of the Wolves, and I wasn't expecting the visuals found in the two Dreamcast Capcom Vs SNK or Guilty Gear games to be topped - but the little I've experienced in KOFXI seems to set a new standard. It's really fun to play too (at least at the difficulty the version I grabbed is set at). The graphic design flourishes are as relentless as they are luscious. 

 

Neogeo Battle Coliseum seems to be of a similar (really high) quality to KOFXI, but I've yet to have a proper session with it. I did however greatly appreciate a few visual gags referencing other SNK properties, particularly Metal Slug, and got the sense that this game is every bit the celebration of a parent company's legacy than other games might have tried to pull off in previous generations. 

 

Anyway I think it goes without saying that if you use a GDEMU you absolutely must try these essentially brand new perfectly playing conversions of (mostly) lost arcade gems that date from well after Dreamcast hardware was retired. They're uniformly magnificent.

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Catching up with the latest Atomiswave conversions, we've now got:

 

Dolphin Blue

Faster Than Speed

King of Fighters Neowave 

Maximum Speed

Fist Of The North Star

Demolish Fist

 

Faster Than Speed is a night-time street racer against an opponent, with checkpoints, underground sections with pseudo exploratory elements. Not really my thing but man is it shiny, silly and slick.

 

KOF Neowave is another huge-rostered team-battle Vs fighter. I'm out of my depth with it but again it's great to have another visually arresting, gorgeously animated fight fest. I forget how much amazing art gets pumped into these games, probably because it's a genre I've not really been into since the actual Dreamcast era.

 

Maximum Speed is a Daytona-esque track racer been with a few combinations of car types and simple courses. Unlike Daytona however it plays really well on a standard pad. The settings on the initial release I played might be a touch forgiving as I've managed to win my races with relative ease. 

 

Fist Of The North Star is wild. I'm aware this got ported to the PS2 and is something of a legendary game..and it's pretty apparent why. It's breathtaking in its speed, feel, sound design, presentation..it's a game I know I'm going to come back to a lot and I can't wait to play through it with another human. It's really seriously awesome. 

 

With Demolish Fist I was expecting another one-on-one fighter, perhaps with an original cast of characters, maybe of the lower budget variety (all going purely on its name)..but it not that at all. It's a unique take on the 3D arcade brawler with four substantially different player characters, waves of enemies, pick ups, weapons, combo options, nimble moves which allow for effective crowd control even whilst being swarmed from all sides..it's great. The camera hangs back fixed yet floating and let's you do your thing, for better or worse; I found myself overwhelmed a few times and masked by enemies - but not in an unfair way despite the arcade difficulty. Being tied together with story sequences and and being a lengthy playthrough (each stage having numerous sections and a proper boss encounter) it seems like a real gem.

 

Dolphin Blue is outrageously good. I've been hearing about the brilliance of this game for years and it lives up to the hype of being a post-apocolyptic waterworld Metal Slug 2.5D on steroids. Unfortunately it's the one initially released Atomiswave conversion which is broken, with only the first two levels being playable before a section on level three endlessly loops without enemies spawning. But it packs so much goodness into those early levels it's still well worth having the GDI at hand. With some luck - perhaps after the other conversions are completed and more knowledge is gained about what could be going wrong - it'll be fixed.

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20 hours ago, Mars said:

I've recently got hold of a decent enough PC to handle emulation and have started playing Metropolis Street Racer again. One of my all time favourite games :wub:


Sorry but is this easy to do?

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1 hour ago, Ketchup said:

So how have all these ports been able to be done? Is an atomiswave basically just a dreamcast?

 

Yeah, it's the same hardware though instead of taking GD-ROMs it takes cartridges, has slightly fewer button inputs per player, and writes SRAM files for saving purposes instead of writing to a VMU.

 

It was erroneously thought of as being somewhat souped up Dreamcast hardware (similar to Naomi) but turns out it's identical in terms of key components.

 

This twitter thread summarises it

well:

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, dumpster said:

Sorry, just to be clear, can I download these Atomiswave games and play them on a real Dreamcast from a CD?  Also  can these be played on Redream?

 

Some of them have been converted to CDI which can be burned onto CD using IMGburn and played (provided you haven't got a very late gen console revision) - but only those.

 

They're all being released as GDI files which require either GDEMU or MODE ODE solutions, or alternate methods (like a Serial-to-SD dongle).

 

The plan is for them all to be eventually converted to Dreamcast, confirmed to be as bug-free as possible and then 'officially' have burnable, optimised CDI versions released alongside the 'finished' GDI originals.

 

This is the main hub for the project:

 

https://www.dreamcast-talk.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=5

 

Looks like Metal Slug 6, Samurai Shodown 6 and King of Fighters 11 are available as CDI at the moment. You can grab these here:

 

https://www.dreamcast-talk.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=13612

 

Probably worth noting this post by the main dev in the thread linked above about burning the current CDIs though:

 

"friends be patient, at the moment there is no point in creating a CDI
current ports contain bugs and / or deficiencies
there is no point in wasting discs, the games will be improved
If you are anxious to try it, but you do not want to remove the GDROM or modify the console, then I recommend purchasing an SD adapter for the serial port, especially since you can play most homebrew games without burning them to disk"

 

I read something about Redream needing to be updated by its dev, so your mileage may vary with that. Demul seems to be the emu of choice (and currently required as part of the process of adjusting dip switch settings) but I don't personally have experience with using either emulator (or a Serial-to-SD adaptor).

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On 22/11/2020 at 07:56, klargon said:

I guess it might make more sense to just emulate the original Atmomiswave hardware and play the original rom rather than playing a port on a Dreamcast emulator.

 

Indeed, this is what some people are missing.

 

It's extremely cool that they're able to be played on DC, but there is already an Atomiswave emulator. Some people are double-dipping emulators, which is weird, but so long as people are having fun, who am I to judge?

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2 hours ago, Spoonman said:

 

Indeed, this is what some people are missing.

 

It's extremely cool that they're able to be played on DC, but there is already an Atomiswave emulator. Some people are double-dipping emulators, which is weird, but so long as people are having fun, who am I to judge?

 

Playing these on DC is/will be far better than using any emulator or previous solution outside of actual Atomiswave hardware though, especially once the few games exhibiting the odd data-access bugs (and Dolphin Blue) are fixed...

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