Dreamcast Hands-On

Dreamcast Hands-On

by April 15, 1999

First, let’s start off by saying why this is not in the Sonic Adventure section. Well, it is because I was not granted the opportunity to actually play Sonic Adventure. But, be as it may, I still had the opportunity to see the Dreamcast console and a game at work. Let’s start, shall we?
On Sunday, I went to my local mall after hearing NetRaptor say that Sonic Adventure is playable in all Software Etc. stores. (That’s one of the reasons there was no Sunday update.) Of course, the only two video game stores where I was were Electronics Boutique, and Babbages. Some of us already know that Babbages is a sister store of Software Etc. So that’s where I headed first.

And, really, to my surprise, I saw the only two store clerks on duty, playing the Dreamcast there. And I looked for the console. And it was on the desk. Let me tell you, the pictures you have seen on the Internet do NOT tell the atual size of this console. If you were to put the Saturn and the Dreamcast side by side, the Dreamcast would most definitely be smaller in comparison. And so I looked at the television screen to actually see what was playing. Also to my surprise, it was a 2D Capcom fighter!!! Yes, it appears that, in Japan at least, there still will be 2D titles on the list.

This game was titled “Marvel vs. Capcom” (thanks Ender). Since I’m not familiar with these type, I will only say that the game featured Rockman, Dr. Wiley, and (what appeared to be, don’t quote me on this) Spider-Man, plus some other comic characters.

Anyway, the two clerks were playing a two-player VS match, one had 5 wins (which soon became 7), and other had only 1. A lot of eye-candy was used in the making of this game. The special attacks that were made were graphically excellent, even for a 2D fighter. But, of course, this is Dreamcast we’re talking about.

After the 1st clerk got his sixth win, it was my turn to challenge him. First, let me speak of the controller–once again, the Internet pictures do no justice to the actual size, as the controller is as big as a Saturn 3D Control Pad. However, the design seemed to be a little thinner than the 3D control pad. And then there’s the buttons. Like the N64 pad, there are four little buttons for certain actions on the front, in a diamond shape. People who have used the Saturn 3D Control Pad will feel right at home. In fact, just like what I do with my S3DPC, I used by left thumb for moving, and my right fingers for the buttons.

So now it was time to begin. This was a tag-team scenario, so I chose my 2 characters (one of them was Rockman, BTW). And I began to start the fight with the one clerk. Once again I can stress that the special attacks (harnessed on me) are some of graphical excellence. In some attacks, the backgrounds change for a short time, depending on the attack. Suffice to say, I lost. Big time.

Of course, I kinda deserved a handicap, I have never touched a Dreamcast controller before, and I’m not familiar with the Capcom fighters at all.

Perhaps the most interesting things were 1) The clerks told me that the Dreamcast they had was NOT a company one, but one the two bought. And when late 20s/early 30s buy a Japanese console months before it hits the US market, they know and I know that this will be big. 2) They WERE talking about the supposed “SatCast” emulator coming for the Dreamcast. This is information that they may have received from the ‘Net, OR it’s possible they heard this from a source close to Sega, so the SatCast could be confirmed at last! And 3) There was literally no line. Just the clerks. So some Babbages/Software Etc. stores may be (much) less crowded than others. So go around malls and see how things are going.

Another interesting fact from my 5-minute experience was the fact that were was a price set, $199.99. This leads me to believe that this is the CONFIRMED PRICE for the Dreamcast console. You can put 10 bucks down and pay the other 190 on September 9, 1999, another date that appears to be CONFIRMED.

CLARIFICATION ALERT: Those coming from Sonic HQ and other sites, the above info is OFFICIALLY CONFIRMED, except for the SatCast emulator. Bernie Stolar addressed the press today, saying the price and the date is confirmed. So I was right all along…