That's interesting about the DS version being preferable as well as the 'darker' setting.
Well preferable to me at least. One could make distinct arguments for the PC, Wii, or DS version being the best. I almost went with the Wii version, but you aren't able to skip through character dialogue quickly in that iteration. The DS version lets you get through dialogue the fastest of all three versions, and doesn't have the slow loading between scenes of the PC version. From what I've read, the PC version starts the player on the brighter happier side of the island, but you eventually make your way to the darker meaner side. You do the opposite in the Wii and DS versions. I think the developers wanted to give returning players a reason to buy this game on DS or Wii again, so just doing a straight port wasn't advantageous in that regard.
Yesterday I got my sixth gen gaming area all cleaned up and ready to go. Mainly for some GameCube summer times. I tested my copy of this yesterday, it worked perfecto:
That'll be the first console game I play through for this thread. Gonna make my own team and name them after you guys. Xeogred better not screw up the spikes.
I spent two hours on the ol' 'Cube tonight and played some stuff...
Beach Spikers: Virtua Beach Volleyball, originally released for arcade as Beach Spikers, is a beach volleyball sim released in Japanese arcades in 2001, followed by home ports in all regions for the Nintendo GameCube in 2002. It was published by Sega and developed in-house by Sega AM2. I played through the "arcade" mode, which took 30 minutes to beat and see the credits. There's plenty of nuance to the gameplay, but I figured out a way to exploit the AI. I just hard served at max power to the rear left corner, 90% of the time that would cause the computer to fumble their return. Rinse repeat until victory. Arcade mode works like a tiered tournament, whittling down to the final teams. You can create your own team as well, and edit their appearance. Only girls though! There's no dudes here. Which if we're honest, that's the obvious draw; scantily clad pretty girls playing volleyball on the beach. If you're a fan of AM2's arcade sensibilities, and you like girls playing volleyball, this is a good pick up. But ultimately the fun is short lived, this is a very simple arcade game with no depth. Ex' score: 7/10
Next I hit up 2001's Wave Race: Blue Storm. This is a jet ski racer developed and published by Nintendo. The only positives I've got to say about this one, are the water graphics are pretty good. The rest of the experience was very meh. This feels like a rushed out the door rough draft of what could have been a good game. The content is very thin, the courses are boring, and the water racing physics are just awful. It's very difficult to get a "feel" for how to control these vehicles in waterways of unresponsive jello. I've played fun jet ski racing games before, which had adequate controls and believable aquatic physics. Blue Storm is not one of them. I expected a lot more from a first party Nintendo game. After thirty minutes spent on this half-baked, half-ass disappointment, I'd had enough. 5/10
Lastly we have Pool Paradise. This is a billiards game developed by Awesome Developments, and published by Ignition Entertainment, in 2004. This game really got around when it released. Pool Paradise came out on GameCube, PS2, and PC, in USA and Europe. There was an Xbox version being worked on, but it ended up being canceled.This was the fourth billiards video game to be endorsed by professional snooker and pool player, Jimmy White. It's also notable because Archer Maclean worked on this; he's a well respected British video game programmer. This game was re-released in 2006 under the new title Pool Paradise: International Edition, only in Europe for the PS2.
The player controls a virtual pool player at a beach resort, with pool tables inside different huts. The player has to work their way up the tournament ladder in order to unlock features and complete the game. This is done by betting money against rival players (there's over 30 rivals), but the player will need a lot of money to challenge the top ranking rival; Jimmy White. Every kind of pool game you can think of is in here, from classics like 8-ball and 9-ball, to snooker, and 6-ball. Besides standard tables, there also exotic tables with crazy angle configurations. The player can spend their money to buy upgrades and trinkets. (I bought a laser sight right off the bat.) There are also mini-games to unlock like beach darts and a skee-ball ramp, but the coolest is being able to unlock the classic arcade game Dropzone.
After spending an hour with this, I had defeated three opponents, and lost to one. I was very impressed with the billiards physics. This game's engine is spot on. The tropical island theme comes across well, and there's a wacky sense of humor throughout the entire setup. For example, you initially get your betting money from a literal loan shark. One of the characters you can challenge is Freddy Krueger. I can safely say after an hour with Pool Paradise, this is easily one of the best pool games I've played on consoles. If you really got into the experience, it would take quite a while to beat all 30+ opponents. So the longevity is certainly there. And I enjoyed the downtempo electro-lounge OST. I'd give Pool Paradise a solid 8/10 for what it is; a unique billiards game for a niche demographic.
The Ocean Hunter is an arcade rail shooter developed by SEGA AM1 R&D Division, and published by SEGA in 1998. This arcade release is extremely rare, being only widely distributed in Singapore arcades. (Unfortunately although SEGA was considering a Dreamcast port, it never happened.) I was able to play through this game on PC via the Supermodel Model 3 emulator; I used the r775 release with the Sega Model 3 UI interface on top. (Otherwise the emulator is all command-line based.) For the most part this game emulated very well, with the exception of one boss fight which glitches graphically. Once you blindly shoot yourself past that part, the rest is smooth sailing, er shooting.
"The Ocean Hunter" an underwater-themed lightgun rail shooter played from a first-person perspective. Ships are being attacked and sunk by enormous sea creatures in all of the seven seas. Bounties were put on the heads of the monsters responsible for these disasters. Now two young men (player 1 and player 2) are after them to make the seven seas safe again. The gameplay moves the character automatically while enjoying the underwater scenery, including ancient sunken cities and shipwrecks. Players have to gun down various marine themed enemies and bosses, with a turret style light guns mounted on the arcade cabinet. This can be played solo or with a friend. The players go through various levels fighting sea creatures and collecting treasure, eventually going against the level's respective boss. The bosses were all themed after famous sea beasts. Some examples are a megalodon, a kraken, and a plesiosaur.
The gameplay is super simple, given that it's a rail shooter. Point and shoot! Players only have a primary attack, no secondary bombs. The real draw is the unique aquatic theme and the super great graphics. I mean, for being over twenty years old, these 3D graphics are truly impressive. The underwater environs look convincing, and the marine creatures are both beautiful and fearsome. (Albeit the OST is kinda lackluster.) That classic late '90s SEGA sense of charm and humor is in full effect here. This is just pure aught fun. If you enjoyed SEGA's "House of the Dead", just imagine that, except with sharks and jellyfish, instead of zombies and demons. It's a real shame this game remains an arcade exclusive. I think Sega missed a good opportunity to port this to Wii, let alone the Dreamcast. I had a fun swim with The Ocean Hunter; if you're a rail shooter fan and don't mind tricky emulation, suit up and dive in.
I bet I'd enjoy playing that with the proper light gun peripheral. I don't think I'd ever heard of it, either. I'm glad you were able to enjoy it even with a standard controller (I assume). It's not as big a deal if you don't mind credit-feeding, but playing that way is harder, too.
Also, you wrote that emulation was fine - no audio issues, either? The one Model 3 game I tried to emulate, SpikeOut, had that issue where the audio would skip and a loud, unpleasant sound would come out at regular intervals.
Sorry to hear Wave Race wasn't that great. Did you ever play the N64 game? How does it compare? I honestly don't have much grasp on how boat/water racing games are supposed to handle.
I haven't played Wave Race 64 since 1997, so I honestly can't remember how it compares. But I've played other water ski racing games that had far superior control/water physics versus Blue Storm. Games like Splashdown, Wave Rally, Jet X2O, and Carve come to mind.