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   PlanetDreamcast | Community | Mailbag | 3/17/00
    Community - Mailbag

03/17/00 - Be gentle, I'm a virgin.
- by BenT

Hey, BenT here. This is my first mailbag, as well as the first one for PlanetDreamcast. As such, if I suck, cut me some slack, eh?


Oh, sorry about the "eh", I assure you it's not how I normally speak. The reason is that just last week we had Pappy-R, PlanetQuake's resident Canuck, wheeling around the offices like a madman. Unfortunately, I think I caught a bit of Canadian from him.

Thankfully I'm getting better. But still, what a hoser. Anyway, if you don't mind, I'm "aboot" ready to get to the mail.

From: Feather
Subject: Mailbag?

I was a huge fan of Fragmaster's weekly mailbag at Planethalflife. When I found out he moved to Planetdreamcast I quickly hopped on over to check things out. I was horrified to see that there wasn't a mailbag! Am I just blind or is the great Fragmaster not doing a mailbag?! I mean he's the only funny guy on the entire gamespy network!!! WE NEED A MAILBAG WITH FRAGMASTER!!! That's all. Thanks for your time.

Fragmaster is dead.

From: Vile the deadly
Subject: Half-Life Dreamcast

I was wondering how you feel about Hl for the Dreamcast. I find it slightly unfair that Dreamcast users will be getting many more features, including that single-player add-on, than PC users, who were the games original supporters. Now, I have nothing against the Dreamcast. I don't own one, and I tend to look down on consoles. When I saw it at my friend's house, I admit that it was a very impressive console, but it's a console. A good PC can do so much more than any console. Consoles have very limited (if any) hard-drive, which is basically the biggest difference between the Dreamcast and a PC, and this factor makes quite a difference. I just don't find it fair that I'd have to buy a new system to get extra features for a game I already own. Let me hear your thoughts on this.

Well, I think your attitude about consoles is a little off. You mention that they don't have many of the features that a computer offers, and that's true. But it's also OK, since consoles are not computers. Sure, a PC can do "much more than any console", if you count things like word processing, data storage, and graphics editing, but consoles have the PC completely beat in at least one area: variety. The breadth of genres available for consoles is breathtaking, compared to the offerings available on PC. It's my opinion that the PC does a few genres better than consoles, such as First Person Shooters, Flight Sims, and anything that requires writable storage or networking, but overall there's just more variety (not to mention Japanese-y joy) on the console side. And we haven't even started talking about reliability and ease of use. Both PC and console have their place in the serious gamer's life, I think.

As for Half-Life.. well, the Dreamcast version will have some original content, but is it really "unfair" when it's coming out almost two years after the original game? And then you have the Dreamcast version's inevitable control issues, the possibly spotty (56k) networking, lack of the console, lack of user mods, lack of level editing, etc. etc. Although the Dreamcast version of Half-Life is not out yet, I can say with a fair amount of certainty that I'll be much happier sticking with the more full-featured PC version.

From: Rob
Subject: Speed Devils Review

I just read the review on Speed Devils at several locations including the PlanetDreamcast website. It seems like the person reviewing the game was holding back something in anticipation of a title that hadn't been released yet (aka Sega Rally 2). Therefore the game suffered a rating hit based on somebody's future expectations of another product. That seems a bit ridiculous. If I was reviewing a game, I would compare it to what is out NOW, not what is coming out a month or two or three down the road. Apparrantly, Speed Devils wound up getting a better rating than Sega Rally 2 at most sites anyway. Just something I noticed in the review that needed pointing out. Thanks.

I would hardly say that Speed Devils took a rating hit, as it got an extremely good score of 8.5. The text of the review in question does indeed compare the game to the then-forthcoming Sega Rally 2, and I think this is valid. Why? Well, if you want to buy a game and have the choice of an OK one now, or a possibly great one next week, what are you going to choose? Mentioning Sega Rally 2 in the Speed Devils review merely informed the reader that stiff competition for the game would soon be coming. And like I said, in light of Devils' high score, I don't think mentioning this hurt the final grade. Speed Devils is certainly not a 9 or higher.. is it?

From: Silverhd48
Subject: Serious NHL2K Gameplay error and the (non)responses from Sega

One serious technical error in regard to this game is that if you pull your goalie (something very common in this sport), you can not then put him back in as the period ends and the OT, or next period starts. You start that period with no netminder, and unless you win the faceoff and get a stoppage in play, the other team has an empty net to shoot at. You would pull your goalie when either trailing by a goal with time running out, or in a tie game with a few seconds left and the faceoff occurring in the opposition end. How could Black Box as well as Sega overlook this in testing? I can deal with flaws such as the wrong man going to the penalty box, or a puck being hit when it appears the swing doesn't even come close to contact, but this really hurts gameplay. I am 51 years old and had the Dreamcast on order months before it came out. When 9/9 hit, I was there at 12:30a.m. and by the time my number came up, it was 3:00 in the morning. I've been telling my friends that for now, this is the system to have with NFL2K, NBA 2K, Soul Calibur, Soul Reaver-Legacy of Kain, and the upcoming Sega GT, RE-Code Name Veronica, etc.

When contacting Sega with this problem, the first response from "Wolf" was that he did not have "any game play information available to me in this department. For hints, tips, or game play assistance on Sega made games, you can call Sega's Game Play Line at 1-900-200-SEGA. You will be charged $.95 cents per minute for pre-recorded messages and $1.50 per minute if you would like to speak with a live representative." I wrote back and explained this was a technical error in the game and recived from "Edge" a reply that said "Thanks for your e-mail! Truth is, every game out there contains a certain number of bugs. Sorry if you feel that the bugs outweigh the game. We feel that the awesome gameplay makes up for any possible headaches caused from a few bugs. Feel free to write back with any other questions." I then received a reply from Black Box Games Kimberly Manns who replied "This is no longer in our hands. I can only suggest you deal with Sega regarding this matter." Does anyone care anymore about the person buying their product? Sony put out Gran Turismo 2 with some bugs and released the statement below to apologize and offer a new copy as they went back to remaster the game. They said even in their extensive testing they missed some things. What a novel idea to produce a game, realize there are some glitches and then go back and fix them. If you have any contacts at Sega, can you please get this to someone who at least would tell me, we appreciate your comments and though we can't do anything this year we'll have it fixed next time. I'm also going to be buying Playstation 2, and will be purchasing more of their games than Sega's if their attitude towards consumers remains the same. Thanks for any info.

Welp, that seems like a typical response from Sega. I wrote them a while back, and received a similarly lame response. Unfortunately, as individuals, there's not much we can do about it, short of starting a boycott or something similar. I would do that, except I have to do laundry this weekend.

From: Joshua Shagam
Subject: Legacy of Kain review

Two things:

First of all, since when is the Matrix exactly a benchmark of plot twists? Maybe I've read too many good, intellectual science fiction novels, but anything which could be construed as a "twist" was incredibly predictable and cliche. At least, I hope you were implying that the Matrix had a lot of plot twists, since otherwise it's not a very flattering comparison. :)

Secondly, and a bit more seriously, why does it take 50 blocks for a savegame, and why isn't that listed as a bad thing? As you stated, it's extremely linear, and there can't be *that* much savestate to keep. Hell, Sonic Adventure has a LOT of state to save and it take what, 12 blocks? (I left my Chao Adventure-playing VMU at home today, and I don't spend all day memorizing stats about everything Dreamcast. :)

As far as the game itself, I've been waiting for this port ever since it was announced. It's disappointing that they didn't beef up the models, but at least they've improved the graphics past the PSX version (which was the main reason I didn't get the PC version, and opted to wait for the Dreamcast one instead). Now if only DC games would come down in price a bit... $50 is just too much for my budget.

First, about the Matrix.. Subskin wrote that review, but I'll speak for myself. I found the major plot twists quite surprising, but when it comes to movies I'm not exactly a Roger Ebert. *shrug* It sounds like you have a decent sci-fi background, so perhaps that accounts for the disparity between our views.

As for saves.. I often wonder just how much the save files for various games could be optimized. I agree that some games just seem to take way too much. Seventh Cross: Evolution is a great example.. 172 blocks! Insanity. In Kain's case, it's probably just something the reviewer overlooked. It happens.

From: Jeff Turkelson
Subject: Cool VMUs

Hey! sup? My friend told me about how he got a 4X VMU, it holds 800 pages! I went to to check it out, and it was true, it was a 800-page VMU, although it had no LCD screen, it's still worth it. Anyways, I went there a couple days ago and now they have a 16X!!!! Still no screen, but for only $34 I think it's cool. 10 dollars more for the space of 16 times the normal VMUs-3200 blocks. Mine arrived 2 days ago and I like it a lot. Also, with a cable for an extra $2 you can hook it up to your computer and Store files for an actual unlimited amount on your HD, and you can post them on websites and upload/downlaod Files. I think you should just recognize them or something, maybe a pic in your Inventory of VMUs, I see it needs a larger library =) (by the way, I dont work for them I just think it's cool)

Wish granted.

From: DJ Saiyance
Subject: Just wondering why you knock off points for this...

I love reading your site, it's a very nice Dreamcast sites (one of the better ones out there IMHO), and your reviews are usually pretty tight, but I was just wondering if you could clarify this for me. The review of Westex states in the Lows that "It's a puzzle game, you may get bored of it quickly." Now, yeah it's a puzzle game, but it's obviously made for puzzle gamers. I mean, it's equivelant to reviewing Quake, being a puzzle fan and saying "It's a first person shooter, you might get bored of it." If you're writing to a specific audience (such as action gamers) then I could understand your view point you're trying to represent to your audience, but you're writing the review for Dreamcast owners, a very mixed group of gamers probably, so not giving the game that extra point or whatever you deducted might actually be unfair to the game. Every other review of this game has gotten 9/10's or higher, I find it strange that this (and other reviews) of games you have written in the past seem to state "You might get bored" when it's not in the action genre. Just my two cents, thanks for listening,

Yeah, I thought the same thing when I read the review. But Fragmaster's a little... odd, plus he's my boss, so I can't really say anything here. Well, besides that he sux0rs. Let's see what he has to say..

Fragmaster sez:

"What I meant to say was that there wasn't much depth... hmm... well, it's kind of tough to rate puzzle games in that area, since it is basically the same thing over again... but it's supposed to be. Does that make sense? Guess not. I was just trying to say that _usually_ puzzle games are something you play occasionally or for a little while and then never again. Hmm. Guess that review could use some work."
Anyway, I edit most of the reviews on the site now, and I tend to catch stuff like that. Thanks for pointing it out.
From: Victor Li
Subject: Comments

I visited your site thru a link from planetquake. I like your reviews, they are brutally honest, and it's nice to see that you're prepared to slug a game if it sucks. I just bought a dreamcast (they were released last Tuesday in Australia) and I absolutely love it... soul calibur is superb, Sonic Aventure and Sega Rally are great fun too. Well, keep up the good work, I'll be sure to visit your site on a regular basis.

A bad game is a bad game, there's no two ways about it. Besides, keeping it honest cuts down on the hate mail.

From: Mike
Subject: Excellent Reviewing Job

I rarely send emails to a site after I visit it, but I had to with your reviews.

I recently bought a DC and check out your great site recently; you guys really have great writing, intelligent reviewers and tell me exactly what I want to know and hear about a game.

I love hearing the good and the bad, so I can decide on a purchase. Take it from me, you guys right some of the best DC reviews on the 'net, and I've been to 101 DC sites.

Keep up the great work, you got yourself a new daily visitor and someone who will ALWAYS check your site for the reviews.

Mike, your check is in the mail.

From: K2comet146
Subject: (no subject)

I think that the reviews that you post on this site are very unacurate of what the game is really like. I think that you need to loosen up and look at the games in every aspect posible before posting it on the website. It cant be your own opinion becuase doesnt help the people who want to bye the games you must look at the games in a manner so that ue as thr readers can get an accurate rating on what the game is really like. Areowings is a good game at least an eight you didnt say anything about graphics or the frame rate or anything. I think that IGN is a much better place to get all the information i need thankyou.

I was following you until the bit about Aerowings being "at least an 8". Keeping with that ratings system, I guess Sonic and Soul Calibur are in the high 20's.

From: David Dechow
Subject: About Soul Fighter

Very accurate review, but do you really think it deserved a 1.5? Are you required to give it a score is what I mean... I'm not sure it earned a 1.5

Well, we didn't have a graphic for 0, so...

From: Hatta
Subject: Dreamcast and Windows CE

I ran across this article about Direct X and Windows CE, its got a good explanation of the relationship of Windows CE to the Dreamcast in the last thired of the article.

Thanks for the link, although it's just a bit over my head. ;)

I need some cheese..

From: Macho524
Subject: u losers suck mk4 was awsome and this one is to shut up

this review sucks

Damn, I can't argue with that logic. Oh, and this one is to sit down.

From: Perla Gallardo
Subject: that funky game

what about that funky game seamen, where you grow those little funky creatures?

Ok Perla, that's enough seamen jokes for one mailbag. Keep it clean, please.

From: PhREEK9mm

DREAMCAST SUCKS ASS, LIKE PoKEMoN!!!! ever noticed the pattern of all Sega systems: Genesis=obselite, Game Gear=obselite, Saturn=obselite, 32X=obselite, Sega CD=obselite..

my point..... every sega system has become Obselite only after a few weeks (32x and sega CD), months (sega saturn, game gear), and a year (genesis). all systems have become obselite cuz of Nintendo. SEGA DREAMCAST WILL SOON BECOME OBSELITE!!! DO NOT BURN YOUR MONEY ON THIS JAPANESE CRAP!!!! IT WILL BECOME OBSELITE!!!!! buy nintendo. at least nintendo lasts like 3 years or so.

Cool, I hadn't realized that all my Sega systems are made of OBSELITE. Well, except my Dreamcast, which will soon be turning into OBSELITE, apparently.

Until then, I guess it can just suck my ass while I burn my currency over Asian fecal matter. Thanks for your illuminating letter.

P.S. - I can not afford to buy Nintendo at the moment. I'll ask about a raise, though, and see what I can do.

That's all for this edition. If there's something really bugging you, you're feeling bored, or just need a shoulder to lean on, drop a message in the Mailbag, and we'll fix things right up. Or tell you how stupid you are. Alrighty then.. see ya next week!

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