E3 2000 Wrap-Up
A look at Sega's showing at E3 - By BenT and Fragmaster
Game Room is a port of one of those bland-looking Sierra Sports titles made for middle-aged 30-somethings. The final game promises to feature darts, ping pong, air hockey, shuffleboard, pool, and pinball(!). Unfortunately, the revision shown at E3 only featured pool. The graphics were decent enough, probably comparable to Doukyu Billiards on the PS2 (minus the jaggies). Unfortunately, the framerate was mysteriously hurting. Hmm. It's only pool, guys. Anyway, it played a decent game of pool, and the final version will offer both 8-ball and snooker. More interesting, Sierra plans to support online play, adding to the ranks of Dreamcast titles to offer this feature. Game Room is expected to appear in November.
Evil Dead: Hail to the King
I was expecting the worst for this one as I headed to my TH*Q appointment, and it was with cautious politeness that I greeted a member of the game's programming team. He picked up the Dreamcast controller and started showing me the ins and outs of the game, and I was surprised at how well things were shaping up. It's clear that the developers are taking the movies as canon, which is sure to please Evil Deadheads. ED:HttK is basically a Resident Evil clone set in the Evil Dead universe. You play Ash (of course), and it's your job to clear 10 or so levels of 20-odd different varieties of deadites. The cabin acts as the hub, to which you return after each level. Graphically the game is adequate. The camera angles are prerendered, although some have FMV-like animation. The character models are alright, although I think they could definitely make their Ash look a bit more Bruce-like. The best part so far is the combat, which allows you to wield the shotgun and chainsaw simultaneously. The chainsaw was a riot, drawing forth literal geysers of blood after every frenzied stab into an enemy. Thankfully, Bruce is recording lines for the game, so we can look forward to a bunch of new, quality one-liners. There aren't any screenshots from the Dreamcast version yet, but click on the picture to the right to check out the awesome logo art. Great pic. Anyway, Evil Dead: Hail to the King is due for release in the fall.
Looks like a bad PSX port designed to cash in on Tony Hawk's success. The playable version on the show floor had frozen so I didn't actually get to play it, but the graphics looked straight out of an old Playstation game.
WWF Royal Rumble
Yeah, WWF Attitude sucked, but THQ's first shot at a Dreamcast WWF game is looking pretty promising so far. The graphics are much more realistic and the special effects are flashier. The gameplay is also much improved, with over-the-top moves and more frantic action. There's a whole bunch of new moves, weapons, improved tag team capabilities (and tag team moves like dual suplexes), and a crazy looking Royal Rumble mode, along with a whole bunch of other enhancements. The gameplay still needs some work, but with a little polish this could be a must have for all you WWF maniacs out there.
Ubi Soft's underwater submarine dogfighter was on display and playable, but based on the little I played it was kind of hard to tell exactly what the gameplay entails. So I spent most of my time scouting around the underwater environments looking for something to do. The graphics are pretty nice, although there is a lot of fogging at work. Deep Fighter is currently scheduled for a mid-August release.
Supposedly a great 3D platformer, Evil Twin really disappointed. The framerate was often in the teens, and the control was *horrendous*. I'd have to hit jump four times before the character would respond. Evil Twin was just awful in every way, and this version probably shouldn't have even been shown. Ubi has their work cut out for them on this one.
Evolution 2: Far Off Promise
The sequel to Sting's rather average Dreamcast RPG is headed our way courtesy of Ubi Soft. Graphically, the game is a bit of an improvement over its predecessor, but the characters still look pretty much the same, and it still runs at only 30 fps. Apparently the storyline is going to be a bit more involved this time around, with less in the way of random dungeons; all I can say to that is thank god! Random layouts are the scourge of Dreamcast RPGs, so I hope this marks the end of the whole random dungeon mini-trend. Sorry for the rant, there... ahem. Anyway, the game should be available in June.
Yep, Ubi Soft has snagged the rights to the US version of Grandia 2! Let's just hope they don't bungle the translation like they did with Evolution. As for the game, it's the sequel to the immensely popular Saturn title by Game Arts. Of course, this time around the game is fully 3D, and the graphics are just stunning. Unfortunately, there wasn't much to play at the show, but I think it's safe to say that the splendor of Grandia 2 will be rivaled only by Eternal Arcadia.
Due to be released in October, it was clear that Pod 2 wasn't quite ready for primetime yet. Like the original Pod, the sequel is a futuristic racer in the grand tradition of Wipeout, although the sequel plays more like a Hydro Thunder clone with futuristic hover cars. The version I played had some clipping issues, but the track design looked interesting at times and the graphics were pretty good overall, except for the wildly fluctuating framerate. The game will have 8 player online play, interoperable with the PC version. Hooray. With some polish and some tweaks to the gameplay, it should be able to eclipse its rather bland predecessor. Pod 2 is due this fall.
Next: Picks of the Show, and Conclusion