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Old 07-30-2004, 08:50 AM   #751
Icarus4578
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Vert1, I have to review Sonic Jam tommorrow. I'll do Bionic Commando at some point this year when I get in the mood for it.

And DS, my rating wasn't determined by how much better FFVII was. I just illustrated the situation because that's what had happened. If you really look at it, WILD ARMS is just an average RPG that was obviously trying to mimic Square's FF series, particularly FFVII.
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Old 07-30-2004, 12:54 PM   #752
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No offence but Just for the record why would anyone be interested in your reviews? Are you a reviewer of some sort? Since these are your reviews they would obviously be based on your personal opinions, which in the end ends up being biased. You could write about games and so on but a review just sounds odd, anyway that’s my opinion I guess you write one since you are bored and there isn't any news to write about.
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Old 07-30-2004, 01:44 PM   #753
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Man...you could say the same thing about every reviewer on the 'net, regardless of where they post their reviews.
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Old 07-30-2004, 02:14 PM   #754
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alistein
No offence but Just for the record why would anyone be interested in your reviews? Are you a reviewer of some sort? Since these are your reviews they would obviously be based on your personal opinions, which in the end ends up being biased. You could write about games and so on but a review just sounds odd, anyway that?s my opinion I guess you write one since you are bored and there isn't any news to write about.
I'm interested in reading them, that's if he reviews Power Stone for the Dreamcast. Just kiddin Icarus, I have enjoyed reading a lot of your reviews, except Halo and FFX.
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Old 07-30-2004, 04:22 PM   #755
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Alistein, remember that nobody is forcing you to read a single one of my reviews. I do it because I want to do it, that's all. If you don't want to read them then so be it. I'm not here to win any popularity contest.
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Old 07-31-2004, 10:33 AM   #756
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A compilation you'd be foolish to pass up

Sonic Jam - Saturn (import) - Rating 8
Let me be frank. I don't own the US version of Sonic Jam but the Japanese version, so there might be differences between the two which I'm unaware of. Nevertheless, the content should mostly be the same, so let's dig in.

Sonic Jam is one of the finest compilations that I've ever played, period. There, I said it. Not only does it allow you to play every Sonic title for the Genesis--Sonic 1, 2, 3 and Sonic & Knuckles (sorry, no Sonic Spinball... oh wait, that's nothing to be sorry about )--it also includes a stage called Sonic World in which you control Sonic through a 3D environment (with analog or d-pad - your choice). In Sonic World you will come across several small buildings and Sonic may enter any of these. These buildings include most of the game's extras, and I'll describe each of these to you~

Character House ~ View an Eggman (Dr. Robotnik) gallery, plus galleries of the enemies from each Sonic title.
Music Shop ~ Listen to all of the BGM & S.E. from all 4 Sonic games and Sonic Jam's 7 tracks + sound effects. (And no, you don't pay to listen.)
Movie Theater ~ Watch various Sonic videos, including the opening and ending animations from Sonic CD, a few animated features and CG stuff, plus tons of Japanese commercials for the Genesis, Sega CD, and Game Gear Sonic games.
Hall of Fame ~ View the history of Sonic up to Sonic Jam ('97). It includes every game box cover from Japan, US, and Europe. At the end it says "And, SONIC is rolling to the future. Nothing will stop him." Yeah.... nothing except Yuji Naka and Sonic Team. If games like Sonic Heroes represent the future of the blue blur, I think Sega would be doing a favor by not even bothering.

In Sonic World, there's not much else to do. Sonic can run around collecting rings (up to 100) and jump around, but little else. There are hidden codes scattered about which you can find and use on the Sonic titles. You can also find Tails flying around and catch a ride, but for no real purpose. There are no enemies to dispose of in this area, and there's little purpose to it except to look around at what is obviously Sega experimenting with a 3D Sonic world.
Obviously, the four Genesis titles are the heart and soul of the compilation, so let's cover them.

First, you select which Sonic title you'd like to play. If you choose Sonic and Knuckles you'll have the option to attach any of the three other titles onto the top of it, just like you could with the actual cartridge (e.g. connect Sonic 2 and you can play through it with Knuckles). Once you've selected the title you'd like to play, you can choose to play the game and select your difficulty, play the Extra Games incorporated in each title (the bonus stages from each and competition mode races from Sonic 3), an options mode in which you can view the complete US and Jap. game manuals, and it even includes a zoom feature(!), turn the timer on/off, or even turn Sonic's Spin Dash on/off in Sonic 1. Oh, and it's worth noting that you can now save your progress in every installment. Once you've made your choice, the game begins....

Sonic the Hedgehog - Genesis - Rating 8
Still my favorite Sonic title along with Sonic CD, Sonic 1 was a mesmerizing experience the first time I experienced it. Everything was cutting-edge: insanely colorful graphics with tons o' parallax scrolls and great animation, incredible stage design, 'blast processing' , flawless gameplay, and a perfect soundtrack. It all adds up to one of the greatest action/platformers ever conceived.
To say that Sonic has become a world phenomenon is no understatement: Sonic is probably more well-known than Nintendo's moustached Italian plumber. He's been the recipient of cartoons, toys, games, posters, clothing apparel, lunchboxes, and even a Macy's Day Parade float. Sonic's huge? More like gargantuan. Sega struck gold with the blue hedgehog. Anyway....
Each stage is divided into three zones with a boss encounter (Eggman) at the end of each third zone. Green Hill Zone is the perfect setting to get accustomed to much of the game mechanics. Blasting through a scenic tropical setting is the perfect invite to lure you in. Every stage is designed in a unique way. Marble Zone sees Sonic pushing blocks onto switches and pools of lava so that he can safely make it across. Spring Yard Zone features lots of springs (there's a surprise) and a lot of psuedo-pinball action. The Labyrinth Zone features a lot of underwater activity. Sonic must find bubbles so that he can acquire oxygen while underwater, take on underwater currents, avoid some rotating spikes, etc. One oddity is that there are these statue heads that spew fireballs.... underwater. Yes Sega, defy logic! Every game doesn't have to try and have a reasonable explanation for everything, you know. Star Light Zone is perhaps my favorite due to the amount of times Sonic gets sent flying at top speed down curved hills and enough loops to give your eye muscles more exercise than is included on any choice Tae Bo video. Afterwards, it's on to Scrap Brain Zone before taking on the final boss.
As mentioned previously, the controls are superb. Sonic can run, spin (tap down while moving), jump, push, get lauched off springs, acquire a shield, invincibility, speed shoes, etc. Rings work much like coins work in Mario (gather 100 for a free life, etc.), but the biggest difference is Sonic must collect rings to stay alive. If he gets harmed while without a ring or shield, he'll lose a life. No two stages are the same, ever. This ensures you always are occupied with new challenges and enemies. Speaking of enemies, they're designed very well and often serve as more of a roadblock than anything else. That's not to say they're not dangerous - they are, but Sonic has to worry more about environmental hazards and such. Eggman/Robotnik serves as the game's sole boss character and he's always using new inventions to try and stop Sonic dead in his tracks. But to be honest, he's never a true challenge. Also, there are bonus stages in which Sonic can acquire Chaos Emeralds and more rings. Gather all the Chaos Emeralds and beat the game for the best ending.

Perfect stage length, perfect game length, perfect replay value....

The music.... JOY! :bigsmile: Sonic's soundtrack is one of the best ever for a platformer. Every stage's song is impeccably conceived and sounds great to listen to. I'd go far as to say that each of the melodies is strong enough to put much of the music in other platformers to shame. In fact, Sonic's soundtrack is better than every Mario game soundtrack that I can think of! That explains why the earlier Sonic titles are so renowned for having exceptional music--Sonic and great music are synonymous. Too bad about the soundtracks in the more recent Sonic titles. Oh, by the way, great ending medley. :cool guy: The sound effects are all perfect.
Virtually every Genesis owner owns or has owned Sonic at some point. Therefore, there's no need for me to elaborate any further. If you're reading this review and you still haven't played Sonic, either go find a copy right now or get another hobby. Sonic is 100% platforming joy for your consumption. The game developers nowadays could learn by Sega's brilliant example. Heck, Sega themselves should learn from their own example and get back into good gaming. We need more original games like this.

Sonic 2 - Genesis - Rating 7
I reviewed this Sonic on Page #7. I'll just add that I played it again and it's still just as fun as it was when I first played it.

Continued~

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Old 07-31-2004, 10:34 AM   #757
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Sonic 3 - Genesis - Rating 7
For the first time in a Sonic title, Sega had incorporated a save feature so that you could resume from wherever you left off with whatever emeralds you may've acquired. Sonic is back with Tails to take down Eggman before he locates the Master Emerald and restores his Death Egg. This all takes place in a new location: Angel Island. Ready to do it all over again?
With the third installment we are introduced to Knuckles the Echidna, and so whenever Sonic and Tails encounter him he antagonizes them in some way. As a matter of fact, that's pretty much how the game begins: He steals all of the Chaos Emeralds from Sonic and runs off. Damn him! The first thing you'll notice is inevitably the graphics which are resplendent and almost as vibrant as Sonic 1 (part 2 used darker tones). There's more effects and parallax than ever before, but the burning question is whether anybody will care anymore now that there's more than enough '3D plastic' to go around. Although there's now only two zones per stage, you'll quickly find out why -- they're much longer. Also, there's mid bosses you'll come across.
So you're wondering what's new, what's been added that wasn't in Sonics 1 or 2? Actually, glad you asked. There's a myriad of new things for Sonic to interact with in each of the stages with a few familiar ideas present (e.g. using bubbles to breathe underwater). In Ice Cap Zone, Sonic sleds down steep slopes, takes out penguin robots and avoids stalactites, only to meet up with an irate robotnik who's most interested in trying to turn Sonic and Tails into popsicles. Carnival Night Zone is filled to the rims with tons of stuff for Sonic to do such as bouncing on balloons to reach higher ledges, cannons to shoot out of (Mario, eat your heart out ), and even a little pinball-esque action. What.... Sonic does resemble a pinball, does he not? Anyway, what's with the carnival music from hell? There's so much more that I haven't touched upon--a midair boss encounter which sees sonic being carried by Tails, the transforming landscapes of Marble Garden Zone, etc.--but this is a review, not a walkthrough, so I suggest you go play it.
There are some new gameplay additions for Sonic to take advantage of. The Spin Dash from Sonic 2 returns, and there are now three types of shields for Sonic to utilize. The Fire Shield allows Sonic to perform a fire attack in midair, walk on lava, and walk straight into fire (except for the engine flames coming from Eggman's boss inventions), but if you tocuh water the barrier will dissipitate instantly. The Thunder Shield allows Sonic to magnetically attract nearby rings, gives him an added double jump, and can deflect many shots. Finally, Water Shield encapsules Sonic in a bubble which you can use to make Sonic bounce very high and even breathe underwater. Also, there are new bonus stages in which Sonic must touch blue spheres in order to acquire Chaos Emeralds, plus a couple of other types of bonus stages for extra lives, rings, points, 1-ups, etc.
The music is pretty good but far from the splendor of the original. There are a few tunes which I enjoyed, including the song for the Chrome Gadget race in Competition Mode. I must bring up the Launch Base Zone theme. What's with this song? Parts of it sound reminiscent of Revenge of the Nerds and you'll keep hearing "GO!" spliced throughout the piece in a rhythmically annoying fashion. Quite stupid, but no matter. I sure do enjoy those Hydrocity songs. The sound effects are generally good, but ummm.... who cares?
Sonic 3 is indeed a worthy installment in the franchise. However, I was expecting a little more added gameplay features than what was offered. You can play as Super Sonic if you're good enough. He's quite fast and powerful. You must acquire all of the emeralds, then collect 50 rings and press jump in midair to transform. In order to get the best ending you must acquire all of the emeralds, as expected. The problem is that the standard ending and the best ending aren't very different at all, and both are weak as it is. Despite its few flaws, Sonic 3 is an enjoyable Genesis title and offers plenty of gameplay and variety.

Sonic & Knuckles - Genesis - Rating 7
Wha--? Did Knuckles become a good guy after the conclusion of Sonic 3? If I need to answer this question, you're reading the wrong review. S&K was notable because it was the very first game to incorporate Sega's Lock-On Technology.... and it's also the only game that I can recall that has this feature. What's the big purpose, you ask? You can connect other Sonic titles and open up new possibilities, plus experience the full Sonic 3 the way it was intended to be. How so? Well let's say you connect Sonic 3 to S&K. You can select to play as Sonic, Sonic & Tails, or Knuckles. First, you'll go through Sonic 3 albeit with some changes. But afterwards the game moves onward to S&K's zones, beginning with Mushroom Hill Zone. If you chose Sonic or Sonic & Tails and beat Sonic 3, you'll come across Knuckles coming out of a not-so-secret area. Gee, I don't know--was it that massive switch on the ground that gave it away? Anyway, if you go into that room and touch the huge ring you'll arrive in a new area where there are Chaos Emeralds. If yout want more info on that, I suggest you find a strategy guide somewhere.

::hops back onto bed:: Ok! Back to the review!

S&K is not Sonic 3 with a few added stages; it's a completely new title. You can select to play as Sonic or Knuckles at the title screen. Knuckles plays similar to Sonic but with a few changes. For one thing, Knuckles can float in midair by holding down the jump button. He can also punch through walls (atumoatically) wherever necessary, and he even has Sonic's Spin Dash at his disposal. Furthermore, Knuckles can climb on almost any wall that you come across, and all of his unique traits carry over to Sonics 2 and 3 when you play as him. This opens up an interesting explorative aspect which wasn't quite as prominent while playing as Sonic/Tails.
The stages in S&K are designed quite well and incorporate even more new features. For example, in Mushroom Hill Zone Sonic you can use certain mushrooms like umbrellas which allow you to float down (Knuckles doesn't need to ;)), bounce on top of huge mushrooms, and more. Flying Battery Zone features a lot of rotating action with Sonic being twisted and twirled inside of large rotating chasms. You'll come across spiked platforms which are elevated by magnetic fields from above, and there's even an area where the ground is rising and you have to avoid being crushed! Sandopolis Zone is home to flowing rivers of sand, switches to push in in order to open up passageways, and even sections where rooms fill with sand (so you have to be careful not to get crushed). As time passes by ghosts will begin to appear and it will get dark, so you'll have to find switches to hang on in order to restore light. Etc. Etc. The Sky Sanctuary Zone is perhaps my favorite as it reminded me instantly of Kid Icarus because of how at times Sonic/Knuckles has to jump on clouds. Once again, great stage design overall.
The enemies are more prominent in the latter Sonics and, hence, provide an elevated annoyance factor. After awhile, you'll begin to understand what's gonna come at you in each zone and take the appropriate precautions. Eggman boss battles are both typical (his flame throwing mechanism in Flying Battery Zone) and somewhat atypical (a huge statue which he hides behind in Sandopolis). Nothing presents a staggering challenge, but some zones have tricky spots.
The music is good but not really my style. I'd argue that its predecessors have better soundtracks because, well, that's my tastes. Not that it's bad or anything -- just nothing special. The sound effects.... need I go there?
S&K is a good installment in the series and is definitely worth a shot. It's not the crapfest that Sonic Adventure 2 and Heroes both are. Sega needs to realize that not every future Sonic game needs to feature a sidekick or team workout in order to be worthwhile.

Overall, Sonic Jam is a great buy and I wholeheartedly recommend it. If Sonic CD (with the Mega Drive soundtrack) was included, It would get a Rating 9.

On an off-topic note, I just thought about a cool Lock-on game idea~
Secret of Mana locks onto Streets of Rage! Viola!! You create Streets of Mana! Take Randi and friends and make the streets clean with charged swords swipes and elemental summons aplenty! So what do you think?

I'll just shut up now.

UPDATE: I scored 877 Rings in the Launch Base Zone in S&K.
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Old 07-31-2004, 11:57 AM   #758
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Good reviews but the original Sonic demands a 9 or 10.
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Old 07-31-2004, 04:25 PM   #759
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Yeah, it's a great game. I had to really mull it over for quite awhile (what I'd rate it). Overall, it's a great title which has aged gracefully, but the genre has seen better titles.
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Old 07-31-2004, 07:54 PM   #760
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Sounds like the import Sonic Jam is exactly like the US version, judging by what is in the movie theater. Notice the intro for the Sega CD is actually different in Sonic Jam, and I'm not talking about just the music. The animation as well. There are scenes missing from the Sega CD opening, and there are scenes that are not in the Sega CD version. But it sure looks and sounds a whole lot better on the Saturn! Do you have the Japanese version of Sonic CD, Icarus?

I have heard that Sega does not own the rights to much of the music in the original Sonic game. Has anyone else heard anything similar?

Also, about Sonic Jam, one area of deficiency is the sound effects. They are sampled with kind of a low quality. They actually recorded/digitized the sounds of Sonic grabbing a ring, etc which takes up memory. Why they did this is beyond me, especialy since the Saturn does have a few FM sound channels to play with. I guess instead of a sound taking up 8 bits (literally), they wanted it to use 64K. But it is nice to see the games in crisp, clear S-video as opposed to the composite-only Genesis.

Edit: Saturn has a few FM sound channels, but no PSG channels, I believe. Sonic grabbing the rings were done by one of the Genesis' 3 PSG sound channels.

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Old 08-01-2004, 01:31 AM   #761
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If there's one thing that I find great about reviewing games, it's the small technical details you tend to illustrate afterwards Joe. Anyway, I used to own Sonic CD (US) but don't anymore (I forget what happened to it). I never owned the Japanese version but I do have the music from it. As for the opening and ending animations, I haven't watched those in such a long time, I don't know if I'd notice any difference. I didn't know about Sega not owning the rights to the music in the original Sonic. Where did you hear that?
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Old 08-01-2004, 02:14 AM   #762
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There is a fan-made CD that you can buy that is called "The Very Best of SEGA". And yes, the "best" part can definitely be argued. Anyway they originally made a cover of the Green Hill Zone and Final Zone from Sonic 1. Since the CD is actually licensed by Sega themselves, Sega said they could not include those songs since they don't own the rights. I don't know any more than that.

Info on the Very Best of SEGA CD is available here. The Sonic tracks are available for free download in their entirety. Also be sure to listen to the "Super Sonic Racing" sample down on the page. The original music comprises the first half of the sample, then it switches to the "awesome" track from the CD which has to be a joke song!
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Old 08-01-2004, 02:45 AM   #763
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I've heard of that album before. There's also some Sega soundtracks over at www.gamemusic.com if you're interested. Or, you could take a look over at www.cdjapan.co.jp or www.jpophelp.com and see what they've got to offer.
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Old 08-04-2004, 11:31 AM   #764
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Racing junkie

Sega Rally Championship - Saturn - Rating 7
One of the genres that benefited the most from the transition from 2D to 3D has to be the racing genre. Hang On, OutRun, Rad Racer, Mach Rider..... Those were among my first forays into racing games. Man, I could play those games for hours. I can still hear Passing Breeze playing in my head from OutRun as I write this. What a great game! And then there were the 16-bit racers. F-Zero, Super Mario Kart, OutRunners, Virtua Racing, and so on. Come the mid-to-late 90's, Namco and especially Sega took the arcade scene by storm with their 3D-powered racing thrillers. Games like Excitebike and Super Sprint were a thing of the past--in just a decade, we had come a long way. While no self-respecting gamer would ever forget the older goodies, when Sega took over the wheel with their Model 2-powered games such as Daytona USA, Sega Rally Championship and Indy 500, nobody could deny the vast improvements evident in the genre. For the first time, gamers were able to experience thrills which were unthinkable just a few years previously. The sensation of performing tight hairpin turns and blasting through a tunnel at 127mph took many a gamer's breath away. However, the history of the racing genre really demands more attention than could be given in a mere review. It's my wish to illustrate the sound fact that 3D gave birth to many of the finest racers ever and truly did revolutionize a genre completely from head to toe, perhaps moreso than any other. Sega's technical mastery and craftsmanship in the arcade scene paved the way for all of the newest racing titles. And so I've decided to turn a few pages back and relive one of those defining moments in Sega's history.
Sega AM3 is responsible for Sega Rally Championship, one of Sega's most memorable racers. You won't find a plethora of tracks to master nor rally vehicles to drive. Sega's arcade racers weren't meant to be exhibitions in quantity of content. Then again, as an arcade racer it had to perform three key things~

1) Grasp the attention of all passer-bys with instant appeal (visual flair).
2) Showcase engaging tracks which challenged all comers
3) Technically surpass previous arcade racers in every way

Sega Rally did all of these things and more. Since so much of Sega's appeal back at that time was located in the arcade scene, Sega knew that they had to port these titles to their 32-bit home console, the Sega Saturn, in order to remain a successful first-party. And so Sega Rally was converted meticulously to ensure their hardcore fanbase would not be disappointed, to lure in undecided gamers, and dispel the doubts raging that Sega's console was no match for Sony's PS. Sega Rally wasn't alone during the 1995 holiday season -- Sega also brought home two other popular arcades: Virtua Cop and Virtua Fighter 2.
What does Sega Rally have to offer? Four excellent courses (desert, forest, mountain, and lake side), two rally vehicles - Celica and Delta in both AT and MT (plus the hidden Stratos), an excellent soundtrack of a quality which simply cannot be found in today's racers, and all running at an impressive 30fps with fully textured locales. While that won't impress most people today, back when it first came home it impressed the socks off of every Saturn owner.
There's the obligatory Arcade Mode which features both the Championship in which you must compete on every course (and earn your way to Lake Side and the ending) and Practice which is self-explanatory. There's also Time Attack, 2 Player Battle, Car Settings (you can customize various aspects of each vehicle to your satisfaction such as transmission, handling, tires, etc.), Record and Options. Championship is the epicenter of this game. You must surpass 14 other vehicles, and doing so isn't as effortless a chore as you might believe, unless you set the game on the easy difficulty setting like a lazy bum. :thumbdn: While you rally there's a co-driver who'll warn you of upcoming turns and bumps. Courses offer mud, sand, tarmac, grass, and gravel surfaces. Buildings and other such exteriors are textured very well in regards to what the Saturn is capable of. The controls are excellent, as expected. You can change between two camera views: one from the cockpit (though not really--it's just a full-screen perspective) and a view from behind the vehicle. Powersliding is of the essence--the front of your car should be able to caress the inner recesses of corners while drifting at a steady pace without oversteering or collision. And, in certain instances, you'll have to study and memorize how to prepare for certain apexes and which corners to cut a path through. If there are easy turns, you can trim down your total lap time if you're good enough by hugging those sides of the course and turning into them without incident while maintaining a high top-speed. U-turns are impressively difficult to master. Oh, and you must get time extensions by reaching certain checkpoints within each course.
The soundtrack is one of Sega's best ever for a racing title. Sega Rally boasts some rockin' tunes that are both tension-filled and simply great to listen to. Also, for each course there is a unique replay song. These are also well done. Of course, there's the unforgettable "Game Over Yeaaaaaaah!!" which makes it sound as if losing is a good thing. The sound effects are also excellent.
While there have been superior rally titles (RalliSport Challenge 2 for one), Sega Rally owns a special place in this gamer's heart. It's sleek style and individualistic charm just works wonders. Plus, the challenge kept me addicted and made me want to achieve victory, and that is an attribute which every racer should hope to achieve. I'm happy to say that SRC has aged rather gracefully and is an essential addition to any Saturn library, just as Namco's R' Racer titles make for essential additions to the PS library, particularly Rage Racer and RRT4. Sega's racing expertise was second-to-none and their racing works are very important benchmarks on which the genre has grown exponentially.

Cheats~
Mirror Mode: On game select screen, hold Y and press C.
Hyper Car Mode: On car select screen, hold X and press C.
All tracks: On options screen, press X, X, Y.
More codes ~ http://www.cheatcc.com/pc/segarallychamps.html

Blaze on
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Old 08-06-2004, 09:54 AM   #765
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I'll have up another NEO GEO review this weekend. Until then, check out these awesome sites. Here is one of the best NEO GEO-dedicated sites that I've ever seen ~ http://www.neogeoforlife.com/
Old school 2D loving the right way ~ The OPCFG
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