Category Archives: console games

Jet Set Radio – Dreamcast game covers & the review from DC-UK (2000)

Some excellent news this week, that the EU PSN store now has Jet Set Radio available for download. A unique and ground breaking game (in terms of its cel-shaded graphics), it is regarded as one of the most important games on the short-lived Dreamcast console.. There is a great review from IGN here;

But how was it received during its initial release, for the Dreamcast, back in 2000? Funny you should ask, as here are the magazine scans of the review from DC-UK issue #16;

and here is the cover of that magazine;

Jet Set RadioJet Set Radio

here is the PAL cover & back of the game;

and this is the (superior and stranger IMO) Japanese cover art;

and while we are on the subject, here are 5 things you probably did not know about JSR;

And by the way, ‘Jet Set Radio’ sounds do much better than ‘Jet Grind Radio’ (which was what it was named in the USA, though I prefer the cover art to the PAL version);

Dreamcast 10 years on – Japanese Dreamcast Game Cover Art (1999 – 2001)

Not a lot needs to be said about this, other than;

if you were in the UK, near a Gamestation shop or numerous other indie gaming parlours in the late nineties, Japanese imports were the epitome of gaming coolness. Not only, if you had an import Dreamcast, could you play games months before your friends and colleagues, but also everyone outside of Europe has an Orange Dreamcast symbol, as opposed to the Blue one we had. It just looked cooler. Also, lots of Japanese writing down the side of the covers!

Here we are, in order – Biohazard 2 Value Plus, Typing of the Dead, Power Stone 2, Vampire Chronicle, Sengokuturb, Carrier, Illbleed, Zombie Revenge;

Post Apocalypse XIV – The Abandoned Towns and Cities of the Soviet Union

The eerie and disquieting beauty of abandoned settlements.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the disintegration of its sprawling administrative, financial and ruling infrastructures, some outposts of the Empire were abandoned as the need to find work resulted in mass migration of some communities. This settlement is in the Magadan region. The town is situated on the Kolyma highway, 90 kilometres from the town of Susuman. It is about 700 kilometes from Magadan itself. The Kolyma highway is also known as the ‘Road of Bones’ due to the number of workers who died during its construction. These pictures give us an idea of what a post-apocalyptic world would look like, a world without the people, just their constructs.

This sign reads “Work schedule 10am-10pm, Break 3-4PM. NO Holidays”.

More here, here and here. Last but not least, here. These pictures are amazing – they look like location scouting reports for a live action Resident Evil film (based on the original game, not the 2002 film)

Looking again, they look like they would serve a Metal Gear Solid movie well…..

Morecambe and Wise Atari advert for Christmas 1982

Just to get you into the Christmas Spirit – and seeing as we are in dire financial times and all that – I think that the Atari 2600 could be a viable alternative to the Wii this Christmas. Of primary interest is the price – observe the listing below as a guide;

Then, just show your kids this advert from a long time ago (1982)and they will understand everything – like the Wii, the 2600 is about playing with friends and family, a communal exxperience. Like the Wii, the Atari games are not so much about the cutting edge in Graphics technologies – rather than that, and better than that, it is about pure playability (who can deny Pac-Man (albeit not the Atari version) is a true gaming classic and deserves its status as such?). Finally, the 2600 is a discreet, charming addition to any household, unlike the monolithic PS3 and Xbox 360. Anyway, here is Morecambe and Wise to seal the deal;

and if you want to see a non-Christmas advert with Morecambe & Wise, an Atari console, Ernie Wise gamely playing the legendary ball-breaker that is Defender, and Eric Morecombe taking the opportunity to cop off with a woman on the sofa, then have a look below;

Finally, for no other reason than that I like it, here is a flyer for Defender, the timeless and still hard-as-nails shooter from Williams (so many buttons!!)

Flyer was sourced from here;

Link – a fantastic Atari 2600 resource

and this is just…….genius. Words nearly fail me;

Best ever Game Intros No.3 – Resident Evil: Code Veronica (2000)

The Return of Resi

Released in 2000 as an exclusive for the Sega Dreamcast, Resident Evil: Code Veronica was the fourth entry in Capcoms Resident Evil series. The game is set three months after the events that occured during Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3 – Nemesis. The plot takes the player from the besieged Raccoon City and into a whole new environment – Rockfort Island, an Island owned by the Umbrella Corporation. As the game progresses the latter sections of the game take place in a transport terminal in Antarctica owned by Umbrella.

The game begins with heroine Claire Redfield raiding an Umbrella Corporation facility in Paris after having left Leon and Sherry in search of her lost brother. This is the scenario of the intro film, which makes for one hell of an action scene;

Best ever Game intros – No.1 – Silent Hill (1999)

After Capcoms monumental success with ‘Resident Evil’, several companies followed up with their own take on the ‘survival horror’
genre. Konami produced a game that turned into a franchise, also incorporating a Hollywood film (released in 2006)and an arcade game (2007). Silent Hill tells the story of Harry, who following a car crash, ends up in the seemingly deserted town of the title, looking for his daughter, missing since the accident. The town soon becomes a waking, living nightmare, with grotesques trying to stop Harry from finding his daughter.

The game employs similair mechanics to Resident Evil, with an ‘over the shoulder’ controlling view of your character. While the focus on puzzle solving and fighting is similair to the Capcom classic, there is more of a focus on building an air of tension in this game. Surrounded by fog, you walk through deserted streets with the static hiss of Harrys radio breaking the silence. If enemies are approaching, although you cannot see them, you can hear them as the radio static gets louder. It is very effective at maintaining an atmosphere of dread and uncertainty. It eschews the frantic action of Resident Evil for something a little more slow-burning, and as a result, something that leaves you feeling far more unsettled than any other game I have played (though Fatal Frame for the Xbox has a similairly disturbing undercurrent.

Although the intro is just a collection of the ingame ‘movies’ that are employed to move the plot/game along, the way they are edited into the intro, propelled by the magnificent Silent Hill Theme by Akira Yamaoka, makes this a cut above the usual game intros of the PS1 era. If it was a trailer for a film, it would make me go to the cinema to watch that film. There are one or two other intros that also stand out (I loved Resident Evil: Code Veronica, Final Fantasy VII and Tekken 3) but this remains my favourite.

Click here for more information on this stunning game.

Review of the game from Gamespot here

IGN rated the game as one of its top 15 PS games of all time in 2000 (by which time the PS was reaching the end of its term as the dominant Console).

For more information on the superb soundtrack to Silent Hill (the game), then click here. While we are on the subject of the soundtrack, I think this is also one of the best ever album covers;

and why do I think this is one of the great album covers? Mainly because it encapsulates all that is superb about the game – the cover is a snapshot of happiness, but once you begin to enter the world of Silent Hill (in this case, the music), you know that there is something not right, in fact, something terrible, evil, is occuring.

You can listen to the soundtrack here.