Posts tagged Sega Ages
Sega is currently porting a 3D version of the arcade classic, Space Harrier, to 3DS. It hasn’t been revealed if this is a new 3D port of the arcade version or if it’s the 8-bit Master System release that supported the 3D glasses but I’m hoping for an arcade port. The Master System version was a decent attempt at an 8-bit conversion but it doesn’t hold a candle to the arcade original. Maybe that’s because it doesn’t have any hands to hold a candle with. I guess you could use some tape or sticky tack to have the game hold a candle but I’d probably still think the arcade game is better.
In addition to this 3DS port, Sega is also re-releasing the SEGA AGES PS2 Space Harrier Collection on PSN today… in Japan. Maybe they could bring this over as a Vintage Collection sometime soon for the West?
The range of retro-games available for Sony of Japan’s ‘Game Archives’ will shortly be expanded to include several classic PS2 games including some of the Japan-only Sega Ages 2500 titles. The Sega Ages 2500 series originally comprised of classic Sega games being re-imagined in 3D, with later additions to the series being simple compilation discs. One of these games, Dragon Force, will be released on the 25th of this month, with Sega posting the above video to promote it.
Sony have also stated that more PS2 games will be made available following the first line-up and will include Dynamite Deka (Die Hard Arcade) and the Gunstar Heroes Treasure Box; the latter of the two also containing Treasure Mega Drive classics Dynamite Headdy and Alien Soldier. Exact release dates for these two games have not been announced.
Well it’s that time of the week again! Are you listeners ready for another thrilling episode of The Sega Addicts Kids Table? Are you hyped up to hear Stevie, John, and Josh talk about vaguely important Sega news for about an hour? No? Well get out of here and bring in the real fans, goddammit! I’ll wait until you’re gone.
Is that guy gone? Ok awesome. So anyways in this frankly gross episode we tackle the very serious topic of just what’s been going on with Sega’s financial status as of late (it’s a lot of talk about rumors to be honest), and the more positive topic of the Sega Ages collection! Well it’s mostly talk about the former so get strapped in guys. It’s kind of grim.
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Oh and special thanks to Jiggerstick for the awesome header!
Sega have announced that they will be reviving and renaming their ‘Sega Ages’ brand to ‘Sega Ages Online’, as well as shining light onto the true nature of the previously reported re-releases of Wonder Boy in Monster Land, Wonder Boy V: Monster World III and Monster World IV, and Alex Kidd in Miracle World, Super Hang-On and The Revenge of Shinobi which will be be released in Spring as two separate ‘packs’ on XBLA and separately on PSN.
Each game will come in their domestic and international versions and will also include a jukebox-style music playback mode, the obligatory achievement/trophy support and, perhaps the most exciting part, automatically updating, world-wide ranking and replay data based on speed and points. The individual games will be priced at ¥600 for PSN, and 800 Microsoft fun-bucks for each ‘pack’. Check out the source for loads of juicy screens!
Originally titled Dynamite Deka, for the Japanese release, the US/EU version of this Saturn title was tweaked when the game was pretty much completed for the American release to capitalise on the resemblance towards the action movie. Namely, the main character bears a striking resemblance to John McLane and it takes place around a hostage crisis in a large tower building, but with no villainous Alan Rickman or, well, any actual relation at all with the movie bar that, how does it stand as on one of the very few beat’em ups on the Sega Saturn?
Released in 1997, the arcade port is almost entirely a straight conversion. I say almost, because the main menu does allow you to play an old submarine arcade game called Deep Scan to earn extra credits for the main game. Other than that it’s a faithful recreation, which is actually a bit of a disappointment. The game itself is a 3D Beat’em up, perhaps even the first of its kind, where the fighting feels a little more like the original Virtua Fighter games, albeit with only two playable characters. Standard for a beat ‘em up, but it’s the weapons here who’re actually the star of the show, as you’ll find any number of items you could use to crush your foes, be it a fire extinguisher, a 9mm handgun or a heavy artillery cannon. Of course, you can also beat enemies up to steal their weapons, so regardless of what you end up nabbing, getting to finish an enemy off with his own weapon is as always immensely satisfying. Even more so if he was carrying a rocket launcher at the time.
So the fighting is solid, and the weapons manage to keep things fresh throughout, but unfortunately that’s kind of where the game starts to lose its charm. The style of the game is pretty wonderful, it’s that typical 3D Saturn style of largely blocky but incredibly fluid characters, but the areas you fight through are woefully simplistic. Every stage of the game is really just a single room, where you beat everyone inside and then proceed through a swift QTE which determines somewhat how the next room will play out. That however is pretty much the entire progression of the game. You never get that wonderful sense of scale you do in Streets of Rage, where you start on street level battlings thugs, before wrecking a bar and its patrons and then finally ending up outside the back of the bar where you beat down the battle-ready bartender you saw earlier cleaning glasses before casually leaving to prepare for your inevitable encounter.
It’s such a shame really, because without that flow and transition between stages the whole experience feels incredibly truncated. The dull and unneeded cut scenes instead are introduced to break up the action, setting up the final encounter but never really serving any other purpose. Combined with the rather short length, even for a beat ‘em up, it doesn’t really come together as an overall console package. As an arcade title it was pretty great, but I couldn’t ever really consider it a must-own console title, especially at the price of a full retail Saturn game, and probably not worth the effort to try to find it nowadays either.
The reason I say that so casually, is that there was actually a PS2 port as part of Japan’s Sega Ages line up. Not only does it include the original Saturn style game, but also a version with entirely redone graphics and a great array of bonus modes that really switch up the experience, adding to the replay value missing from the original release. Easy Mode has you play as two stronger characters in the form of Ax Battler and Tyris Flare from Golden Axe, there’s an Altered Beast Mode which lets you play as two monsters fighting without any extra credits, instead scavenging life ups from all the enemies they beat down and a Deadline Mode where you have unlimited life but have to race to the end of the game under a strict time limit. The fact that these modes don’t simply slightly alter the gameplay like Zombie Revenge, but instead feature entirely different character models and cute Sega references pretty much makes the original Saturn release obsolete.
I don’t mean to completely berate the game, as I did have a lot of really fond memories of it as a kid, but looking back now I have a much higher appreciation for what Streets of Rage managed to accomplish as a home console beat’em up, especially on the technically inferior Mega Drive. Die Hard Arcade was a flashy, fast and exciting entry into the genre, but it doesn’t offer a whole lot of interest past your initial play through, and on a system that already by this point received the transcendent Guardian Heroes, that just isn’t enough. Definitely knock the score up to a B+ if you’re playing the Sega Ages version, but otherwise;
One for die hard beat’em up fans only. C+
The wonderfully inquisitive interviewers at Impress Watch bring hope to many unlucky gamers who missed the back catalogue of Sega Saturn games the first time around.
During the interview transcribed above, former Sega Ages 2500 collection producer Yosuke Okunari, also now responsible for the 60fps Dreamcast re-releases, had this to say when pressed about the possible neglect of the Saturn library as downloadable titles;
“What we announced this time is a project where we will have consecutive releases of titles that were debuted on Dreamcast. Separate from this, we’re of course thinking about ports of Saturn games. It’s the same as how Sega Ages and Virtual Console were separate existences. It’s not that we have no intention of porting Saturn titles, so please share your requests.”
So to summarise, Sega are actively considering re-releasing Sega Saturn titles on modern formats. The Saturn era is one of my favourite periods of Sega development, with fantastic arcade ports like Dyamite Deka and incredibly surreal original titles like Fighters Megamix which allowed you to pitch Virtua Fighter’s Akira against the palmtree from the AM2 logo. Seriously. That happened.
So, I’m sure a lot of people are excited about this, and naturally the next question for you faithful readers is this ; What games would everyone like to see first?