Dreamcast Collection Review
As if the Dreamcast hasn’t already suffered enough, Sega launch one more attempt to destroy its legacy entirely. Were Sonic Adventure, Crazy Taxi, Sega Bass Fishing and Space Channel 5 really the best the console had to offer? Oh, wait, sorry. Make that Space Channel 5 PART 2!? Okay, now I understand it! This is all supposed to be a joke.
It has to be a joke. Where’s Jet Set Radio? Where’s Shenmue? Where’s Powerstone? Where’s Space Channel Five Part 1 for God’s sake?
Sonic Adventure and Crazy Taxi are available on Xbox Live, and no one in their right mind would want Space Channel 5 Part 2 over the original, so I guess main reason someone would buy this is for Sega Bass Fishing? Yeah, that’s worth the asking price…
I’m going to move on and talk about each game individually because talking about the ‘Dreamcast Collection’ as a whole is getting me angry.
I suppose Sega believe that the recent good work they’ve done with Sonic 4 means that we’re hungry for anything with the spikey-blue rodent in it? They’re wrong. Personally, I haven’t forgotten the muddled, irritating mess that was Dreamcast launch title, Sonic Adventure.
Unsurprisingly, Sonic Adventure circa 2011 as part of the Dreamcast Collection is a muddled, irritating mess and, given how our expectations have heightened over the past 12 years, the game’s flaws are even more difficult to ignore and/or work through this time around.
Uninspired (often damn right idiotic) level design, sloppy pacing, frame rate issues and, among many other things, an utterly horrible third-person camera result in the game being more apt at teaching you how to get through torture sessions than it is at providing entertainment.
Plus, it’s a personal rule of mine to stay well away from anything involving ‘Big the Cat’.
Sega Bass Fishing
While it’s hardly an exercise in exhilaration, Sega Bass Fishing is probably the best thing about this underwhelming package. That point of view is probably a result of me not having played it back when it first arrived amongst all the hoo-hah surrounding its fishing rod peripheral.
The game is the very definition of a ‘grind’, there are a lot of fish to catch and once you’ve worked out how best to land each type it’s just case of repeating the process for as long as you can bothered with. Despite that however, the controls are neat (reeling in your line assigned to the triggers) and the laid back nature of it all soakes you in odd sense of calmness and serenity.
It’s probably a bit of a stretch to describe Sega Bass Fishing as ‘fun’ but, it is satisfying in a mind-numbing kind of way. Similar to watching the X-Factor I suspose; little effort for just enough reward.
Anyone who played Crazy Taxi on Dreamcast is likely going to feel nostalgia pulling at their heartstrings upon racing around the kaleidoscopic city once again. Unfortunately, the feeling is fleeting as, after half an hour or so, it becomes abundantly clear that this is a game that has not aged well.
The handling model may have been fun all those years ago but it’s not now. I suppose I’ve been spoilt by the recent glut of grade-A arcade racers (Hot Pursuit, Split/Second, Motorstorm etc) because I expect a lot more from my cars than a back end that fish tails all over the place at the slightest flick of the analogue stick.
It’s still silly, it’s still out of the ordinary and it’ll probably still appeal to anyone looking for a simple pick-up-and-play, against the clock racer but there’s just not enough game here (both in terms of content and gameplay mechanics) to make it worth a recommendation.
Space Channel 5 Part 2
Easily the most mysterifying of the Dreamcast Collection’s ensemble, Space Channel 5 Part 2 is, as a result, the most difficult to like (yes, even less likeable than Sonic Adventure). The problem is that you feel cheated as soon as the thing loads up and throws that ‘part 2’ bit of the logo in your face.
Why couldn’t you have just given me part 1? Why couldn’t you give me that game I actually played back when I had a Dreamcast? Why do you have to tease me by giving me the sequel that most people don’t even know exists?
Where the original Space Channel 5 provided a genuinely fun and unusual experience, this sequel manages only one of those labels (hint: it’s not fun). The problem is that it tries too hard, it attempts to replicate the whacked-out weirdness of the original by forcing itself up to eleven – the result is muddled, tiring and predictable.
Version tested: Xbox 360