noiseredux vs.

Posted on Mar 30th 2013 at 07:27:57 PM by (noiseredux)
Posted under Sega, Sega CD, Dreamcast, Neo Geo Pocket Color

Alright so this past month my wife and I moved into our first home. As you might guess this means that March was super-busy, and I really didn't have much time (or disposable income) for collecting. But I did manage to pick up some stuff actually. Let's take a look...

First up was a couple of found surprises. The Sonic comic my wife found while packing. I guess she got it free a few years ago when we went to a video game store on Comic Book day. The Game Gear was mine from childhood and my parents happened to find it in their basement. It works and even has Sonic 2 inside it, though the speaker no longer works. Oh well.

I finally decided to use some Barnes & Noble gift cards I received for Christmas. These are two of the items I purchased. The PSO guide was huge for me as I've been so absorbed in that game lately. Sadly the poster wasn't included in it. The Sega Dreamcast Official Games Guide is a cool book that has tips and tricks for various games.

I also used up some eStarland credit I had been sitting on since before the move. Capcom Vs. SNK has been one of my go-to games this month, and I'm so excited to finally have Grandia II.

Also from eStarland credit was these two complete Neo Geo Pocket Color games. I know NGPC isn't technically Sega, but I consider it the Dreamcast's little sister seeing as how it had connectivity with the console.

While moving I also boxed up a lot of random video game junk I didn't need and finally brought it to my local shop to trade in for credit. So I scored some common Dreamcast games along with Virtua-On which I've actually never seen in the wild before.

...and also got this CIB Make My Video: Marky Mark And The Funky Bunch. an awesome Blue Mary figurine!

So yeah, all in all a pretty good month and not a dollar of my own money spent on any of it. And really the best addition to my collection this month was that I finally have my own dedicated game room!

Posted on Jan 31st 2013 at 08:19:18 PM by (noiseredux)
Posted under Sega, Sega CD, Saturn, Dreamcast

So post-holidays meant I had a bit of mad-money to blow. And I had no problem finding a whole lot of awesome Sega stuff to buy with it. Let's take a look...

Some Sega CD games. I'm especially happy to have a copy of Fatal Fury Special.

I found this boxed Lethal Enforcers gun for $10 locally... except look! The box actually has two of them!

A few games for my US Saturn library. Puzzle Fighter FTW!

These Saturn promos were from my RFGen Secret Santa, Tynstar. I've always wanted that Virtua Feeling sampler.

JJGames had an after-Christmas sale, so I nabbed a bunch of US Dreamcast games on the cheap.

A couple of indie games from Goat Store. The Irides is the limited edition which came with that coin and a nice poster (not pictured).

A couple of Dreamcast Japanese imports, also from Goat Store. They were dirt cheap so I couldn't pass them up. July was a Japanese launch title.

Fellow RFGenner dsheinem sold me these -- the one in the sleeve is the less common Version 2.62 Web Browser.

Planet Ring was a PAL exclusive, and the box set comes with a microphone. There's been rumors of this game getting a private server, so I'm all set if it does. This was also snatched from Goat Store at the very reasonable price of $14.

This fight pad is not so good, though I guess some folks like the programmable buttons. However, it was only $3 and I already had the box to complete it. Also from Goat Store.

Another boxed VMU, along with a sealed US one. The sealed one came from JJGames, and the blue one I found locally. It's so hard to pass up boxed DC stuff if I see it in my travels.

A boxed US keyboard! I had a loose one, but I really wanted a boxed one to match my Japanese one. The box isn't in the best shape, but again I found it locally at a good price so couldn't leave it behind.

And finally a boxed US controller to match my PAL one. This was also from dsheinem.

Posted on Jan 12th 2013 at 06:29:19 PM by (noiseredux)
Posted under Sega, Sega CD

Of all the sports games out there, I doubt I've spent as much time on a single one as I have NHL '94. And really that's pretty impressive, as I've never been a hockey fan in real life. The only sport I've ever really followed is basketball. Though I've played many basketball games on various consoles, I can't even guess the hours I had sunk into NHL '94 before I even got to high school. Of course that was the Genesis version. By the time the Sega CD rolled around I actually did upgrade to the new disc-based port of '94, but by then I had sort of played my fair share of the game and wasn't as interested in sinking as much time into this new version. Which brings us to almost two decades later, as I have been building up my Sega collection pretty seriously with all of the focus on disc-based libraries. Though I've played a good handful of hockey games since (most notably NHL '06 on PlayStation 2 and NHL 2K on Dreamcast) it was a no-brainer that I should reacquire the Sega CD port of NHL '94 post-haste.

Mostly the Sega CD upgrade is the sort of shovelware that many gamers complain the console's library was full of. That is to say, it's basically the same game you already owned on Genesis with a few bells and whistles thrown in to justify it being re-released. That isn't entirely false. And it isn't entirely a bad thing either, at least now. Perhaps at the time it was disappointing to get what is pretty much just the same game again. But nowadays, there's no reason to not play this as it is still an excellent hockey game and the Sega CD version is still dirt cheap. In fact the only real negative I can come up with is that there are loading screens, although they're kept to a minimum and never really disrupt any of the games' flow.

Indeed this is still the same great NHL '94 you remember. It still controls wonderfully with a Genesis controller. It still rewards you for playing dirty -- is it just me or do the refs totally look the other way when you beat the tar out of your opponent? I mean I seriously brutalized every team I came across with the ultimate intention of injuring as many members of opposing teams as possible. By the end of the Playoffs I had still not sat a minute in the Penalty Box. And there is something really satisfying about hitting those computer plays hard. But I digress... the game also still has the same AI you remember as well. In some aspects '94 is a game that you can break pretty easily, at least against the computer. You can pretty much always just go to the right of the net, then head to the front of the net and the goalie will drop leaving it wide open for a shot. Because of this many of my games ended with 20-2 victories.

The back of the box boasts "500 megs of new features," so let's take a look at those. The Authentic NHL Footage is there. It's grainy, but it's there. And it really doesn't add much to the game itself. The Digitized Speech is pretty cool though. It's not in-game, but you get some nice spoken commentary before the games rather than just text. The CD Sound Effects are... well, I'm not sure they're any better than the Genesis game's sound effects. And the Real Organ Music is of course the usual selling point for a Genesis game ported to Sega CD. Yes, it's CD quality music. But of course it's not exactly a huge selling point in a game where it's used so sparingly. So ultimately the upgrade to CD isn't exactly necessary, but as I stated earlier you still can't really go wrong with a game like NHL '94 so I'd still recommend it to anyone looking to beef up their Sega CD collections.

Posted on Jan 1st 2013 at 05:00:43 PM by (noiseredux)
Posted under Sega, Sega CD, Saturn, Dreamcast

Happy New Year everyone. Let's see how much my collection grew in December...

The lone addition to my Sega CD library was Thunder Strike which I picked up cheap locally.

Strikers was another cheap local find, but the rest of the Saturn additions were Christmas gifts. Awesome stuff!

Some Dreamcast commons -- Airforce Delta and NBA 2K1 were gifts. The rest I picked up either locally or online. Psychic Force 2012 seemed like something I should play in 2012.

Three amazing Dreamcast games under the Christmas tree! Zombie Revenge was a surprise from my wife, and it seems like a really great game.

Dreamcast imports! Shikigami No Shiro II is a favorite of mine I've owned on GameCube and PS2 in the past, but felt I needed the DC port as well. Frame Gride was a gift from a friend, and Guilty Gear was from eStarland and includes the bonus mini-CD soundtrack.

An Ascii fight pad! I've wanted one of these for so long and managed to grab it from eStarland. It's super comfortable for fighters and shmups as well.

These two books were Christmas gifts. The Hardcore Gaming 101 book I read in just a few days, and although I had read much of it on the website prior, it felt perfect in book form and organized as it was. The Service Games book seems really great so far, though I'm less than a hundred pages in still.

My wife also found me this Sonic shot glass. He's chasing rings all the way round the glass.

Posted on Nov 30th 2012 at 07:23:58 PM by (noiseredux)
Posted under Sega, Sega CD, Saturn, Dreamcast

Another month and more additions!

A couple Sega CD games... I've wanted to play Eternal Champions since it was released on the Genesis, so it was awesome to score the expanded SCD edition. Trivial Pursuit I'm pretty excited about. I love the board game. I'm a trivia fan. That one was a toss-in as part of trade with WildBil.

And holy crap! A friend of mine hooked me up with the SCD backup cart at an outstanding price! This is from the same dude I got Eternal Champs from.

Saturn games! All of these acquired via trade on this very site. Some notable stuff like Duke 3D, Fighters Megamix, Bubble Bobble and... a shmup! Galactic Attack!

And a new Saturn. My Model 2 late October, so a friend of mine came through and sent me a Model 1 for $10 plus shipping. Unreal. I put a new battery in it and it's in even better shape than my first system.

Dreamcast commons I got either via trade or a few for peanuts at my local retro shop.

GrayGhost81 managed to find me both DC Generator discs!

My same buddy who hooked me up with the Saturn also sent me Street Fighter Alpha 3 as part of a trade we're working on.

And finally a blue VMU for which I already had a cap for.

All in all, a pretty solid month of collecting!

Posted on Nov 1st 2012 at 08:28:51 PM by (noiseredux)
Posted under Sega, Sega CD, Saturn, Dreamcast

So this past month I decided to broaden my collecting goals. Rather than focus exclusively on Dreamcast, I started picking up Sega CD and Saturn stuff as well. I find this adds an even greater selection of interesting games to my library, as the whole early optical media days presents amazing variety from killer 2D games, awkward 3D games and even impressive arcade ports. What's crazy is that this month turned out to be perhaps the most I've added to my collection in a single month this year. Let's take a look, shall we?

First off, I picked up an X'Eye via trade with our very own Duke.Togo. This is actually my household's second X'Eye, though the first is my wife's and resides in our living room. I wanted this one for my main gaming setup. I love the X'Eye. Sure, the CDX is a bit sleeker, but it's also more expensive. Plus the X'Eye is a karaoke machine. Eat your heart out, CDX! Oh and I nabbed that 6-button controller elsewhere.

Some common additions to my US Sega CD library, but good stuff no doubt. Sonic CD is definitely an all-time favorite SCD game, and I was really excited to find Mickey Mania as Mickey's Genesis platformer games were great. Most of these were trades or cheap local pick-ups.

A few pack-in games... the more common edition of Sewer Shark along with the X'Eye pack-ins of Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia and a karaoke sampler.

And finally I've got a copy of Night Trap! It's the blue cardboard re-release version, and in great condition.

Now a pretty big haul of US Saturn games. Mostly commons, but some good stuff in there like D and Fighting Vipers. That 3-Pack is cool as well and came with a really awesome Saturn poster. Most of the Saturn games came from a cheap-o eBay lot.

Oh... and Shining Wisdom!

Not to mention the Nights boxset, which netted me an extra 3D controller. Got this and Shining Wisdom via trade with Ghost Soldier here.

Also managed to grab a copy of Dead Or Alive, which was only released in Japan. This was nabbed off eBay for cheap.

I picked up the Saturn Stunner lightgun for just $7 at my local retro shop. And got that Sega 3 button controller as part of trade with barracuda.

Needed a Saturn arcade stick, so grabbed this boxed Virtua Stick off eBay for $20 shipped. It's certainly nothing amazing, but it'll work for the price. Plus it's cool to have an official Sega stick.

And of course some Dreamcast US games. Definitely some good stuff in there. Most of these were trades or acquired through friends.

Plus a few stand-outs: Jojo's Bizarre Adventure and Marvel Vs Capcom 2 were both from a friend of mine, while the Dream Passport 3 I picked up locally. Dream Passport 3 was a Japanese web browser, but what made it interesting was it had Genesis and Turbo Grafx-16 emulators built in so you could download ROM's off of the Japanese Sega service. Think of it as an early precursor to PSN, XBLA or Virtual Console.

Another trade netted me the Seaman box set, complete with microphone!

And a good friend of mine gave me a great deal on the Dreamcast Agetec stick, which is easily one of my favorite arcade sticks of all time.

That same friend also found me a Japanese Dreamcast keyboard in Typing of the Dead box! He managed to nab it off eBay for super cheap and passed the savings right on to me.

I also picked up one of those Dreamcast SD card readers off eBay, though I haven't had a chance to try it yet. And GreyGhost81 here hooked me up with a free box for a VMU.

Locally I managed to nab five issues of Sega Visions magazine. They're all in great condition.

But probably the coolest swag I've found lately is this "Sega Swirl" t-shirt!

Posted on Oct 29th 2012 at 08:36:53 AM by (noiseredux)
Posted under Sega CD, Sega

I was twelve years old when Mortal Kombat was ported to home consoles one fateful Mortal Monday. Twelve was the perfect age to get sucked into the hype that MK had created. In fact I was even a bit of a classroom celebrity -- the kid who owned a Genesis game rated MA-13! Indeed Mortal Kombat was one of those huge games that caused you to suddenly have a lot of friends. Friends who wanted to come over after school and see some of these much talked-about Fatalities. And let me tell you, many afternoons were spent just like that.

However when the sequel was released a year later it all but made the original obsolete. Mortal Kombat II was an improvement in every way. It looked far better graphically, had a much bigger roster and many more moves and Fatalities. Indeed the second game would remain my favorite of the series, probably even to this day.

Over the past few years I've encountered ports of the original game a couple times. Probably most substantial were the PS2 (via Mortal Kombat Deception's Premium Pack) and
PSN (via the Arcade Kollection) ports. These were both intended to be arcade-perfect versions of Mortal Kombat. And playing them seemed to only reinforce the idea that the original MK was really not a very great game. Perhaps it was all the blood and guts that made it fun at the time? But it seemed to me that it was really a clunky mess.

But recently I happened upon the Sega CD version and felt a compulsion to add it to my collection post-haste. The odd thing; I've sunk hours into this game in the past couple weeks. Maybe it's just the arcade version that I hate? The arcade's AI could certainly be a big part of it. Or maybe it's just that playing Mortal Kombat with a Genesis controller just feels right? Whatever it is, I'm actually having a surprisingly good time re-living the excitement, blood and guts of those elementary school days.

The Sega CD version is basically just the Genesis port with a few differences. First I'll start by saying that yes, load-times are present due to the optical media. You will have short waits between rounds but this is only really bothersome when you are greeted with loading between enemies in the endurance rounds. Personally, I'm not one to find loading all that big an issue, so let's move on to the improvements. When first load the game up you'll get a nice blast of nostalgia in the form of the original Mortal Kombat TV commercial. Remember flocks of kids running down city streets screaming the title of the game? In fact as a bit of an awesome easter egg, if you throw the game in your CD player Track 17 is actually one of the techno tracks by The Immortals. But perhaps thee reason to own the Sega CD port is that entering a "blood code" is no longer necessary. Yup, this version is rated MA-17 and has all the gore unlocked from the get-go.

It's funny how your opinion of a game can change over time -- and sometimes it even changes back. Mortal Kombat is really good example of this, and I'm glad I stumbled upon it once again and found myself having so much fun with the smaller roster and more limited move-set.

Posted on Oct 7th 2012 at 10:39:38 AM by (noiseredux)
Posted under Sega CD, Sega

I've always had a bit of a soft spot for the Sega CD. Perhaps because I was one of the kids that bought into the hype and begged my parents for the pricy add-on that Christmas season. And although its library is riddled with some pretty awkward and crappy games, they are often also quite interesting. Case in point, Bram Stoker's Dracula -- an attempt at combining classic side-scrolling action with the digitized actor craze of the Mortal Kombat days as well as the Full Motion Video craze that the Sega CD brought with it.

Certainly you're all aware of the film from which this game was adapted. Bram Stoker's Dracula was huge in 1992 -- directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring the likes of Gary Oldman, Keanu Reeves, Anthony Hopkins and Wynona Rider. The film went on to win three Academy Awards. But why should we care about any of that here? Well because whereas earlier games licensed from film properties simply took characters from the movie, made some sprites that looked like them and asked you to platform around collecting stuff, Sony Imagesoft actually used clips of the film and digitized actors. (See if you can guess which of these pictures below is the film and which is the game!)

Now here's the thing -- Dracula isn't completely terrible. But it is bad.

First let's take a look at what this game did well. The first thing that jumped out to me was the music. Thanks of course to the CD-ROM format, we're blessed with wonderful gothic chamber music throughout the game. It's really a fantastically fitting soundtrack that couldn't have been replicated via chiptunes. There's also some very cool 3D scrolling effects where you change direction of the path you're taking, all the while continuing on a 2D plane. It's a bit hard to describe, but looks impressive when you experience it unexpectedly in the game.

However if there's one major downfall of Dracula, it would be that Sony was just a bit too ambitious with this project. Really they had some great ideas, and were perhaps really onto something which is great when talking about a licensed property. They were smart enough to at least attempt to emulate another great vampire-killer game (that was no doubt inspired by the Dracula story itself), Castlevania. But the problem here is that Castlevania and all its primitive sprites controlled so much better than this. Indeed the digitized actor here moves incredibly slow. And his jumping, punching and kicking are also slow and clunky, which seems pretty unfair when enemies are moving quickly and swarming at you from all directions on the screen. Sadly though you'll be inclined to want the game to better than it is and see it to the end, you'll often find yourself frustratingly losing all your fifteen lives before the second level is even over.

With that said, I'd recommend Bram Stoker's Dracula to fans of the macabre who must horde such games, or those curious about the Sega CD format's growing pains. But beyond that this is probably one best left overlooked.

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