Tagged "Sega"

Aug 02
By Matt Gander In Blog 1 Comment

Sega Sammy has made a loss of £17.4m for the first quarter of the financial year. “In the home video game industry, the demand was generally weak in the US and European markets due to the headwind like sluggish personal consumption,” they said.

I don’t know what “headwind” means but it’s no surprise that demand for their titles has been weak. Apart from a few exceptions, like Vanquish, Yakuza 4 and Football Manager 2011 on PC, Sega’s output has been mostly middling.

Thor and Iron Man 2 were both typically poor movie tie-ins. You can’t tell me Sega expected Thor to turn out to be a ‘triple A’ title – it was by the people who made the mediocre Rise of the Argonauts and was being put together on a very tight schedule.

Super Monkey Ball 3D was woefully light on content, Sonic Free Riders was rushed out for the Kinect launch and was deemed unplayable by some reviewers, while Dreamcast Collection was panned by fans for featuring just four titles and no extras.

Virtua Tennis 4 did make it into the top ten, but only once the price was slashed heavily. And when Wimbledon was on the TV. Regardless, rival tennis sim Top Spin 4 was touted as the one to go for by the press.

Then there’s their Wii output to take into account – a crusty port of Gunblade NY and LA Machineguns, the forgettable Tournament of Legends, and The Conduit 2 which was delayed and then shoved out on the sly.

Early reviews suggest that Captain America is actually pretty good, but with review copies not sent out to the monthly press in good time and a history of poor Marvel movie adaptations behind it, it has sunk without a trace.

Fortunately Sega’s future looks a whole lot rosier. Going by what has been shown of Sonic Generations and Aliens: Colonial Marines so far, they’re the type of polished product that Sega should have been putting out to the public all along. Guardian Heroes hits Xbox Live Arcade soon too, and unless something terrible happens I can’t see that being too shabby either.

But why the boost in quality all of a sudden? It seems to me that Sega has only just realised that putting out crap and hoping it sells isn’t a particularly profitable business strategy.

Jul 25
By Matt Gander In UK Charts 3 Comments

I don’t know what’s worse – Zumba Fitness holding #1 for the sixth week in a row, or Call of Juarez: The Cartel – which currently has a Metacritic score of 51% – taking #2 in the top 40 UK chart. The distinctly average Harry Potter: The Deathly Hallows Part 2 is up from #7 to #3 too, making this one of the more depressing charts to grace us recently.

But it’s not all bad – Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon makes a not too shabby #15 placing. Dungeon Siege III makes the top 10 again too rising from #11 to #6. GAME were selling this for £11.98 on their website last week – a ridiculous price for a new game that’s only been out for about a month. Reviews were alright as well.

Last week’s movie tie-in, Cars 2, has managed to do a whole lot better than Sega’s Captain America. The Captain still hasn’t managed to break the top 40 while Cars 2 skids in at #8 in the all format chart and races in at #6 in both the Wii and DS charts.

Jun 29
By Matt Gander In Blog No Comments

New games for old systems aren’t as uncommon as you may think. There have been a few RPGs localised and released on cartridge for the Mega Drive recently and the Dreamcast still receives a new shoot’em up every few months. Even the Atari Lynx has had a new release recently in the form of the penguin-laden shoot ’em up Zaku.

However, Digger Chan marks the arrival of the first Sega Master System game since 1998. It has a lot in common with Namco’s Mr. Driller, only here Digger Chan is on a worldwide mission to repair milk pipelines buried deep beneath the ground.

It’s not a totally new game to the Sega Master System community – it was first released as an entry for SMS Power’s 2006 coding competition – but since then new levels, music and an ending sequence has been added. And of course, it’s now available to buy on cartridge, using all new components.

The first batch of cartridges has already sold out, but a second run is on the cards. Get your order in quick if you’re curious.

Jun 29
By Matt Gander In Cache in the Attic 2 Comments

Loose copies of Taito’s Little Samson on NES can fetch up to £100 due to its rarity. You’d think that a complete copy would only fetch a little more, but not so – this new and sealed copy netted a US seller $5,500.00 (£3,444.39) after 29 bids. What is it with Americans paying stupid amounts of money for NES games? Still, $5,500 is nothing compared to what that infamous copy of Stadium Events sold for.

One lucky seller is also ending this month a whole lot richer after selling two new and sealed Nintendo Game & Watch LCD handhelds. Octopus sold for £2,999 on Buy it Now while a panorama view Mickey Mouse went for £2,000 on a Best Offer. I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks he’s a taking the Mickey to charge £10 postage on top of those prices. Just to confirm its actual worth, another complete Mickey Mouse recently sold at $999.00 (£625.63) with one bid.

Because Sega released Sonic & Knuckles in a cardboard case it can be hard to find a boxed copy. And when they do turn up boxed it’s usually in bad condition. Not this French copy that sold for €511.56 though (£453.80) – it’s new and sealed in a blister pack. He also got €121.00 (£107.34) for a copy of Sonic 3 in similar packaging. Blister packed games are common in France. They were often used as it allowed toy shops, supermarkets and the like to display and sell games without fear of the contents being stolen or damaged.

Seeing as it’s Sonic’s 20th this month, here are a few other hedgehog related items. A Brazilian TecToy release of Sonic Spinball on Master System spun £49.99 out of somebody on Buy It Now, this Tomy Sonic Pinball game went for £29.99 while somebody thought £41.37 was a fair price to pay for a Sonic costume. Gosh!

With The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D riding high in the charts now is as good as time as any to give Link some loving too. A signed copy of Ocarina of Time on N64 went for £155 (13 bids). Obviously it was signed by Shigeru Miyamoto, and not the seller’s mum. A Zelda Game & Watch also netted £205 (8 bids), and proving that there are a lot of mugs out there a Zelda edition Game Boy Advance SP sold for £200 on Buy It Now. That said, another went for £109.99.

There hasn’t been much of note going on in the world of PlayStation collecting – apart from a sealed fishing game selling for an absurd $90.00 (£56.36) – so we’re going to have to turn to the obscure stuff.

How’s about this? A development copy of Trevor McFur in the Crescent Galaxy on Atari Jaguar which ended at $75.00 (£46.97). The seller was unable to find buyers for his 8 other development cartridges though. Random fact: Trevor McFur made up 50% of the Atari Jaguar’s US launch line-up. The other 50% was the pack-in game Cybermorph.

Then on NEOGEO copies of Super Sidekicks 4, World Heroes Perfect and the brilliantly named Bang Bang Busters sold for £887.08, £637.90 and £520.00 respectably.

The NEOGEO – the only console that you have to sell a kidney to be able to buy new games for.

Jun 14
By Matt Gander In Blog No Comments

There’s always a sense of excitement when one of the big three console manufacturers release a list of what’s due out on their consoles from now until the next six months or so. Part of this excitement comes from the fact that often there are games mentioned that haven’t been officially announced, or haven’t been previously reported as being released outside of Japan or whatnot.

This time round it’s Nintendo, with a list of what’s being released in US this year.

For Wii and DS owners it isn’t very good news. Nintendo’s own titles aside, the majority of games for both platforms are either licensed or child friendly. In fact, every DS and Wii game from Activision, Disney, Sega, Konami, D3, THQ, Ubisoft, Take-2 and Warner Bros has a license attached.

Incidentally, WB lists LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 for release on DS and 3DS but not on Wii. A mistake, surely?

EA’s Wii line-up makes for even more depressing reading – four titles based on board games and this year’s Madden and Need for Speed updates. Looks like they aren’t even going to bother releasing FIFA 12 in the US.

There are of course a few exceptions: Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 on DS should be worth an import. Two new WiiWare games are on the list too: La-Mulana and MotoHeroz. On DSiWare meanwhile there’s the excellent sounding Pro Jumper! Chimaki’s Hot Spring Tour Guilty Gear Tangent.

More exciting is the list of titles for the 3DS’s eShop – five GameGear games from Sega, Let’s Golf 3D from Gameloft, something called Picture Lives! and confirmation that The Rolling Western – shown at E3 – is an eShop title. That’ll explain why it looks so barren in the screenshots.

After a few months of silence, Nintendo are unleashing three big titles on 3DS – Kid Icarus: Unrising, Mario Kart and Super Mario are all due in time for Christmas while Starfox 64 3D is out in September. Paper Mario and Animal Crossing still have ‘TBA’ next to them. It’s not long until Kirby Mass Attack on DS though – that’s due in September as well.

Anything else? Ubisoft are stinking up the 3DS with no less than four virtual pet games – Petz Fantasy 3D, Cute Puppies, Horses 3D and Imagine Babyz. Shudder. It would also seem that Sega are holding back Thor on 3DS to tie-in with the DVD/Blu-ray release – it’s not due out until “Fall”. The DS version gained some favorable reviews; this could turn out alright too with the extra development time behind it.

To only see one DS game from Ubisoft is a bit of a suprise and it looks like THQ aren’t releasing any more uDraw games now that the uDraw for Xbox 360 and PS3 has been announced. Odd.

The US Nintendo release list in full: (more…)

May 04
By Matt Gander In Retro No Comments

Slowly but surely, video games are starting to become associated with keeping fit. We have the extraordinary popularity of the likes of Wii Fit and Kinect to thank for this, and to be honest I’m a little surprised that fast food companies haven’t tried to get in on the act to help improve their images. A McDonald’s branded sports mini-game package for Wii, perhaps? Or a game which involves jogging down virtual streets from one Subway to the next? If you haven’t already guessed, my full time job isn’t as a game designer.

Fast food companies and video game developers have done deals many times before though. One of the earliest examples is Ocean’s Mr. Wimpy: The Hamburger Game, released on the likes of Spectrum and Commodore 64 back in 1984. For our American readers, Mr. Wimpy is (or possibly was) a giant hamburger dressed like a London Beefeater and has absolutely nothing to do with Popeye. The game itself? Not too bad, although it did leech quite a few ideas from Data East’s 1982 arcade game Burger Time.

Out of pure coincidence, Data East were actually responsible for the first McDonald’s game – Donald Land for the Famicom, released in Japan in 1988. The strange name stems from the fact that Ronald McDonald is known as Donald McDonald in Japan. There isn’t much to talk about – it was a pretty generic platformer with Donald/Ronald himself appearing in a rather badly drawn fashion.

The rest of the McDonald’s games have all been surprisingly good. That said, perhaps it isn’t a surprise given their heritage – Treasure made McDonald’s Treasure Land Adventure on Mega Drive, while Sega themselves published McDonald’s: Donald no Magical World (Ronald McDonald in Magical World) on GameGear. More on those in a couple of paragraphs.

McDonaldland (known as M.C Kids in the US) was released on an array of formats (NES, Game Boy, PC, Amiga and Atari ST) in 1992 by Virgin and had a couple of nice ideas. The best of these was the ability to walk upside down to access new areas. Much like Super Mario Bros. 3 there was a map screen allowing the picking and choosing of levels and the music was suitably jolly. You could choose to play as either Mick or Mack (did Virgin think McDonald’s is an Irish corporation?) who had different skin colours and hairstyles but no different abilities. Bizarrely, the Game Boy version was later re-skinned and released in the US as Spot: The Cool Adventure. That’s Spot as in the 7-Up mascot, not the dog from the kid’s books.

Mick and Mack then went to star in Virgin’s Global Gladiators. Although Game Boy and SNES versions were developed they couldn’t be released due to legal reasons, thus it only ended up on Mega Drive, Master System, GameGear and Amiga. It had a less child-like feel to it than McDonaldland with Ronald only appearing at the start of each level. It was so loosely based on the McDonalds brand, in fact, that in a recent issue of Retro Gamer, programmer David Perry – of Earthworm Jim fame – reported that McDonald’s were befuddled as to where the burgers were.

Ronald McDonald had pride of place in both Ronald McDonald in Magical World and McDonald’s Treasure Land Adventure. The first was a Japanese exclusive for the GameGear and a very colourful one at that, with a jaunty musical score. The story involved Ronald trying to rescue his friends who had been trapped inside a map by a wizard called Mr. Joke. The Mega Drive offering is also very colourful; even more so than any of the Sonic games. Despite the exterior it was quite a challenging game, and it is now harder to find than a McDonald’s apple pie served at a lukewarm temperature.

The McDonald’s games don’t end there. In 2001 TDK released McDonald’s Monogatari: Honobono Tenchou Ikusei on Game Boy Color. An adventure game in design, it had a graphical style and perspective very similar to Pokemon. There’s only one copy on eBay at the moment, suggesting that it too is quite rare.

The rather sinister King from the Burger King adverts starred in not one, not seven, but three Xbox games. These came to exist after Burger King ran a questionnaire asking what customers would most like to take home from a visit to one of their restaurants. The most popular answer was a video game and so a deal was done with Blitz Games.

Ironically, Blitz are based in the UK, but the trio of titles were never released outside of the US. Priced at $3.99 a pop, and only available if you purchased a value meal, two of these even featured online play. Big Bumpin’ – bumper cars with power-ups, essentially – was the best of the bunch, followed by the Mario Kart-style PocketBike Racer, and lastly the slightly twisted Sneak King, which involved sneaking up on people and surprising them with greasy treats. Although all three are incredibly common on eBay, and also very cheap to purchase, they are sadly region locked.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to eat some celery…

Mar 31
By Matt Gander In Reviews No Comments

The ability to charge good money for single retro titles on the likes of Xbox Live Arcade and Virtual Console has made publishers very stingy with their retro complications. The likes of Midway Arcade Treasures, Capcom Classics, EA Replay and Taito Legends on PlayStation 2 and Xbox were rammed full of content but so far this generation only Sega Mega Drive Collection and SNK Arcade Classics have rivalled them. Mario All-Stars Collection – which was literally just a SNES game copied onto a Wii disk – really hammered home how publishers can be, and although Dreamcast Collection has had slightly more effort put into it, it’s still a missed opportunity of epic proportions.

This is purely because when this collection was first announced forums and news sites were hopeful that it would feature the likes of Shenmue, Toy Commander, Headhunter, Sega Rally 2 and Virtua Fighter 3tb. But alas, all Sega have dished up here is four games that have been available on Xbox Live Arcade for some time. If you’re a Sega die-hard then chances are you’ve downloaded at least one of them already. Sonic Adventure, probably. Or maybe Crazy Taxi. The other two games present – Sega Bass Fishing and Space Channel 5: Part 2 – are pretty niche after all. Why Sega didn’t put Rez on here is a mystery. Maybe they forgot that they released it on Xbox Live Arcade back in 2008?

Presentation is almost non-existent – there’s just a single unattractive menu screen that lets you choose between titles. Crazy Taxi has had the licensed soundtrack removed which spoils the vibe somewhat and the branded locations, like KFC and Pizza Hut, have also (less noticeably) been omitted. It still plays well though and the Crazy Box mini-games are just as challenging as they were back in 1999.

The action sections in Sonic Adventure are still quite fun too and occasionally alluring visually. Time hasn’t been kind to the adventure sections but to be fair these were pretty rubbish in the first place due to poor signposting. Items of importance are often hidden away in the last place you’d expect them to be – at one point you have to find a key which isn’t even in the same level as the door. The graphics appeared to have been sharpened up but for some reason there are massive boarders around the side of the screen. None of the other three games have boarders, so to find them present here is a little odd. Big the Cat’s fishing sections are still deeply rubbish too, as are the embarrassingly poor cut-scenes.

Speaking of fishing, I thought Sega Bass Fishing might be on the fishy side but I ended up playing it for an entire evening. The tournaments take a while to play through and to finish the arcade mode with just one credit you’ll need to learn where the best fishing spots are. Achievements are for things like catching 500 fish, winning all the tournaments and unlocking all the lures so if you’re an achievement hoarder you might end up playing this one for a while.

Then we have Space Channel 5: Part 2. It was one of the better games to be released during the rhythm-action craze and holds up well, with some amusing lyrics and a surreal sense of humour. It’s not a game that’ll please everybody – it simply boils down to pushing buttons at the right time, with a great emphasis on timing – but it’s nice enough.

If dreams really did come true then this would have been a celebration of all things Dreamcast, packed full of video clips, images, interviews and a significantly more games. As it is, it’s a crushing disappointment.

Sega’s dream machine, God rest its water-cooled CPU, reserves better.

Mar 14
By Matt Gander In Blog 1 Comment

Japan’s biggest publishers have dug deep into their pockets to help assist those suffering in their home country. Nintendo and Sony have dug the deepest dishing out ¥300m (£2.26m) each while SEGA Sammy has given ¥200m (£1.5m). Thoughtfully, Sony has also supplied 30,000 radios.

Namco Bandai has closed their arcades to help save power as well as donate a modest ¥100m (£760,000). Also to help save energy Square-Enix and Konami have shut off many of their servers.

Irem has canned their survival sim Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories (pictured) for PlayStation 3 too. You may know the series either as Raw Danger or SOS: Final Escape, depending on which country you live in.

Outside of Japan, both Sony and Sega have decided to postpone two of their titles – Motorstorm: Apocalypse now as a release date of “TBA” in Europe while Sega’s Yakuza 4, which features a zombie outbreak and is set entirely in Japan, has been delayed.

© 2001-2017 Games Asylum