Dreamcast Collection

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.

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