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Old 02-25-2003, 07:04 PM   #91
Icarus4578
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A must for old-school arcade players

Final Fight CD - Sega CD - Rating 7
The Sega CD is one of the most underrated systems ever made, having a great variety of quality titles - some which people outside of Japan have never had a chance of playing or even seeing. Sega made a lot of bad decisions like changing the soundtrack to Sonic CD for its US release into the "Spencer Nilson soundtrack". Although Sega CD only had the same amount of colors available as the Genesis (64) it could hold more memory at once, and so Sega was able to take a classic Capcom arcade game, Final Fight, and make the best home conversion available anywhere.
Unlike the SNES FF games (Final Fight and Final Fight ~ Guy) this version is fully faithful to the arcades aside from slight loss of colors. All of the opening, sound and voice, all 3 playable characters and all 6 stages are fully intact and full-size. As many of you know, Final Fight was very popular in the arcades and on both SNES and Sega CD around the world. In fact, in one of my older Japanese game magazines they even included a small booklet with all the stages, enemy bios, and artwork. Japanese game magazines were a lot 'cooler' back then, so to speak, because they would make layouts with tons of strategy guides, maps, enemy and item info, etc. for games of all types (more like mini strategy guides/artwork collections than a game magazine would be expected to be) and the layouts themself were very cool to look at even if you didn't know what game you were seeing. Final Fight got great coverage in Japan and received good coverage in America too. That is except for Final Fight CD which got mostly ignored or just flew by in the pages of the game books. No wonder Sega CD wasn't getting the attention it deserved, although not all the attention it DID get was, shall we say, "positive". 'Games' like Marky Mark or Kris Kross Make Your Own Music Video, Sewer Shark, etc. didn't exactly work wonders for the Sega CD. However, what about Sonic CD, Popful Mail, Shining Force CD, Snatcher, Lunar 1-2, Bram Stroker's Dracula, Joe Montana/Sega NFL games, etc?
Anyway, Final Fight is basically a carbon copy of its arcade counterpart (with T's Music arranging all the music, which is absolutely great to hear :cool guy: ). Also, Sega added a time attack mode where you try and beat as many enemies as possible within the time limit or until you've died. The story is nothing incredible ~ Mad Gear has taken the city and Mayor Haggar's daughter hostage. Cody is her boyfriend, and Guy is his buddy. So all 3 of them (Haggar, Cody and Guy) set out to get her back and restore order to the city. One or two players select from the characters and you're off kicking Mad Gear butt. You can do standard combos which automatically come off by rapidly pressing the attack button on the opponent, jump attacks of which there are three per person, grab attacks and throws, special moves which deplete energy from your life meter, and various weapons (2x4s, lead pipes, and more). There's the standard health/point items lying about the stages hidden in barrels and such.
Basically it's six stages of beat the thugs up, move forward a little, beat up more, repeat, etc. Good, simple fun - though it's a little repetitious but since stages aren't super-long or plenty (the game lasts about 30-40 minutes) it's worth the time invested. The graphics are among the very best for Sega CD with large character sprites, plenty of different areas, and even some effects/animation in some areas like the train ride. It still looks good to this day. And hey, Rolento is in this version (neither he nor his industrial area are present on the SNES carts).
The music is truly spectacular stuff with lots of guitar-driven, bass pounding rock arrangements of the Capcom FF tunes performed extremely well and crystal clear to boot. The music is performed by T's Music which is also responsible for many other game soundtracks, including Lords of Thunder. And all the sound effects and voices are intact from the arcade.
If you own the Sega CD, get this game and add it to your collection if it's not already in it. It's easily one of the best games for the system and one of the best conversions of an arcade game in the 16-bit days. Once again, a great effort by Sega. Why am I not suprised?

Here are shots from the arcade version. Think 'slightly less colors' and you've got the Sega CD version ~ http://www.klov.com/game_detail.php?...F&game_id=7794

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Old 02-27-2003, 07:20 PM   #92
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Here.... try this

Mendel Palace - NES - Rating 7
Whenever I ask someone who owns an NES whether or not they've played Hudson Soft's Mendel Palace the answer is almost always "no". In fact, most had never even heard about it until I told them. That's because Hudson Soft didn't publish that many copies in the US due to the fact that the NES was on its way out the door. Amazing.... This is one of best latter-day titles for the system and remains much fun to this day. Most of the software that was released on NES during its final years sucked, aside from a few games such as Kick Master (and here's the end level password for it ~ VT6XGP YN5M9diamond).
There are 8 dollhouses for you to choose from, each 10 stages long with a particular doll that tries to kill you in many different ways. Candy has been trapped in her own dream by her dolls which have been suddenly brought to life. They've taken her to Mendel Palace. Her only hope is her best friend Bon-Bon. The object of the game is for Bon-Bon (that's you) to flip tiles on the ground to send dolls standing on them into the walls to kill them, and underneath tiles there are different things to collect such as 1-ups, stars, points, walls, sun icons which make every tile in the room flip, access to bonus areas, etc. There's around 15 different types of panels. Watch out though because in some areas the tiles can become a 'lock panel' and you won't be able to flip them anymore. There are usually 4-6 dolls to defeat per stage, though sometimes more can show up if for instance you flip a tile to reveal an 'enemy tile' which will make a new doll. Of the 8 different doll-types there are Wasser that swim on the tiles, Sumo that can pound down on the tiles making a row of them flip, Vinci that draw things on tiles like more enemies that come to life (and the tile becomes unusable), Mira which mimic you when you're moving and stop (with the song) when you stop, etc. There is also the occasional boss fights, and they can turn you into enemies (fully playable!) for a short while. After you've finished all 8 dollhouses Mendel Palace becomes available and once inside you'll have to re-fight every doll-type before you are transported over to another palace which sits in the sky. Here you must face a new type of doll and the final boss. This game can be played two-player simultaneously so you and your friends can get in on the action, though if things get way too hectic the screen tends to slow down a bit.
Each dollhouse has its own song, and the songs fit the personality of each doll very well. I enjoyed some of it; light-hearted, fun sounding melodies that are high-quality for the NES. Very memorable. The sound effects are well-done but often take the backseat to the music.
So there's 100+ stages of doll-destroying, item collecting, bonus stagin' fun and replay. Sign me up! I wish they'd make a sequel to this for GBA or better yet one of the new systems (this would be a welcome addition to the GC lineup). Hard to find but well worth the time, buy Mendel Palace the first chance you get.

Cheat: Extra Stages ~ Simultaneously hold Select+Start while turning on the game or pressing reset while it's on.

Here's a couple of screenshots ~ http://www.vgmuseum.com/images/nes/01/mendel.html

Last edited by Icarus4578; 05-07-2004 at 11:35 AM.
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Old 03-02-2003, 12:09 PM   #93
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Is this the end?

Breath of Fire IV - Playstation - Rating 7
If you've read about or played the BoF on PS2 you'll notice that it's no longer 2D, no longer an RPG with an overworld you explore (it takes place underground in what appear to be sewers... goodbye colorful animated worlds of yesterday, hello cold emptiness) and is in fact rather downgraded from all previous installments. It almost seems like Capcom decided to make a spinoff moreso than a sequel. Too bad Capcom, too bad.
With Breath of Fire IV we are given one of the best RPG games available for PS. It features a vast world filled with over 90 areas, over 120 enemies (some CG but most are 2D animated), great characters, a nice soundtrack, and a great story that shifts between being light-hearted (occasionaly cutesy comedic) stuff and a deep, often times dark plot that exploits each of the 6 characters (7 when you count Deis) as well as the other main characters. The areas are in full 3D and I recommend playing BoF IV with the PS2's polygon smoothing on because it makes everything look even better. The game loads everything up pretty quick so it doesn't matter much if you turn on the PS2's fast loading. Oh, and don't turn both effects on at the same time on PS2 because sometimes the game will freeze or screw up. Least, it did to me.
As I was saying, the areas are in 3D with 2D characters (like Grandia and BoF III) and while this is nice some towns/areas get crampy, requiring you to adjust the always angled camera. Also, some treasures/items are only visible when the camera is set at a certain location. It's no big deal; you get used to it. Some items are cleverly hidden in such a way. And hey, at least in most areas the camera can be spun around in full 360 degrees (at 90 degree intervals) unlike BoF III's 180 degree limit. The dungeons/battle areas are often times small to medium sized areas due to system limitations and the amount of detail/textures on everything. What is remarkable indeed is how Capcom fit so many different fully 3D areas in with all the character/enemy animation all on one disc. What is especially nice are all the enemies which tend to get rather large and animate very well. My only gripe with the graphics is that it looks a little strange to see 2D animated characters up against the occasional 3D boss. Oh, did I mention the dragon summons you can call during battle? They suck (there, I said it). They look plain and stupid, like almost everything is a terrible rip-off of Bahamut from Square's latter-day Final Fantasy titles - and definitely not as impressive. After you've watched a summon's attack once it can be skipped every subsequent time it's used. I prefer how in the former BoF titles all the dragons were 2D and animated, and also there were more in previous installments. Not only that, the dragon gene-mixing idea in BoF III was so much cooler. Despite this shortcoming, which you'll get over, the rest of the battling is rather impressive, animated to Capcom lovin' goodness. Bosses are not quite as hard as in former BoF titles but the last bosses are very difficult, and then there's the worst enemy in the game who is harder to beat than any of the hidden bosses in FF titles -- his name is Rider and he's one bad mutha. Consider -- if you get to the last boss fights with a party of characters at level 40 it's a pretty long battle. Your characters will be at about 1,800-2,700 HP and you can deal about 7,000-10,000 in a good round of attacks... each form has 60,000 HP. So that's 120,000 HP that need to be taken away. Well, the Rider has 400,000 HP, can hit spells that can kill your party off in one or two turns, and automatically heals itself of 20,000 HP after every round of combat. Hmmm... how to beat him....
The cast includes the obligatory Ryu and Nina from every other BoF title, along with newcomes Cray, Ershin, Scias, Ursula, and the enigma Fou-Lu, plus Deis from the original BoF. While I liked the character design for Scias he doesn't have backbone to his subplot. Same goes for Deis.
The quest is 40 or so hours long with plenty of hidden areas and other objectives for you to investigate. If you want EVERYTHING expect to add about 20-30 more hours. There's the habitual fishing side-quests from previous BoF games, back and better than ever with many hidden fishing spots each with different fish. There's the 'build-a-fairy-village' just like in BoF III but this time it's done a bit better. It plays similar to SimCity or Actraiser; you build the town, make X amount hunt for food, clear areas for building, place houses wherever and assign jobs to houses (item and weapon shops, art, music, troops, games, inn, etc.). The more fairies you place in one house (limit 3 per household), the faster the job attributes grow and make more things available. However, the fairies have individual personalities and so you have to make them happy or they won't like you. There's even a racing/stunt part in the game you can always play when you get the sandflier.
The music is often the typical fanfare of Capcom. Some songs are rather nice such as 'Truth and Fiction', a couple are groovy like 'Turismo', and some more solemn pieces like 'For the Princess' which is actually a reworked version of 'Pavane For A Dead Princess' by the famous composer Maurice Ravel. Make of it what you will. I enjoyed some of it but not as much overall as BoF III and certainly not as much as the first BoF which was the best of the series.
This game starts off a bit slow but once you get into it you don't want to put it down. It's jam packed with much Capcom goodness and you would be wise to pick it up, especially if you're bored and want to get into a good RPG to kill time. It's not the massive production of a FF title nor is it really meant to be. It's just meant to be exactly what it is - an enjoyable, interesting RPG with good style and lasting value.

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Old 03-04-2003, 01:13 PM   #94
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Mendel Palace sounds very interesting. I think I will try it. I mean if I can find it locally it should be maybe $5 at the most. I see it on ebay for about$6 + shipping. I will find it locally. Thanks for the review Icarus.
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Old 03-04-2003, 03:38 PM   #95
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Yo, not to burst your bubble, but I heard that Super Ghouls n Ghosts on the SNES is much harder than the Genesis version.
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Old 03-04-2003, 04:37 PM   #96
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Oh, did I mention the dragon summons you can call during battle? They suck (there, I said it). They look plain and stupid, like almost everything is a terrible rip-off of Bahamut from Square's latter-day Final Fantasy titles - and definetly not as impressive. After you've watched a summon's attack once it can be skipped every subsequent time it's used.

True, true, not false. I would have given this game a 6. BOF 3 was much better.

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Old 03-04-2003, 07:51 PM   #97
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I gave it a 7 because when it comes down to it it's about the RPG engine and gameplay - though the mix of good 2D art with bad 3D bosses and summons hurt it and made me feel that Capcom got a little lazy or rushed that part of development. It would've been much cooler if Capcom made cinematic 2D summons and 2D bosses, wouldn't you agree? But the game itself, once you get into it, is very worthwhile and rewarding. Not quite as good as BoF III, but no slouch either.

Mendel Palace is a great game. ;)

And Super Ghouls 'N Ghosts is a deep, challenging game. I didn't find it harder than the Genesis version simply because before the SNES version came out I had already garnered up enough experience from playing through the Genesis one so many times. But overall it certainly is a 'harder game'.

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Old 03-04-2003, 08:59 PM   #98
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Stellar

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 - Sega Genesis - Rating 7
Genesis owners welcomed Sega's blue mascot with arms extended when he first came blazing on the screen. So there was much to get optimistic about with the sequel. The biggest addition was the introduction of Miles 'Tails' Prowler, Sonic's new companion -- a fox that can propel himself into the air by spinning 'round both his tails like a helicopter (hence his name). With his inclusion, Sonic could grasp onto him and get a lift to higher areas and float downwards. Thankfully, Sega made parts of this Sonic faster than the original. They didn't forget what made Sonic so special: Freedom of movement and simple, fun and challenging gameplay. Are those days gone forever?
I fondly remember the Christmas morning I got Sonic 2 (and Joe Montana NFL Sportstalk Football... what a game!). I had traded my SNES for my brother's Genesis about 2 months before--we were always going back and forth with systems. One morning, I had gotten a Genesis game magazine in the mail before my brother was awake and in it there was Mega Man and Sonic shaking hands (Capcom had signed with Sega for the first time in history). And what was the first game they showed? Street Fighter 2 CE. I had owned the SNES at this time with Street Fighter 2 and I was heavily into SF. So I made a trade that morning with my brother for his Genesis and then showed him the good news. Luckily, I traded back before the SF2 Turbo for SNES was shown in EGM (phew!). Close calls.... Anyway, Sonic was great but unfortunately at that time my brother got games like Super Adventure Island (with Yuzo Koshiro's samba/hip-hop soundtrack happily booming away) and it made Sonic 2 look and sound like playing a Sega Master System. In fact, when he came in my room to see Sonic 2 that's the first thing he said ~ "This looks like something on a Sega Master System." I felt bad but wasn't deterred. The graphics were dark and slightly downgraded from the first Sonic but it still wasn't horrible to look at.
Thankfully, Sonic 2 had lived up to its promises. The zones are longer and more complex, filled with secret items and traps (almost always involving spikes or similar) and there's a wealth of things to do. Sonic runs, dashes, jumps, can be grabbed by Tails to fly and hover, look up and down, push objects, swing on things, etc. The downside to all of this is the more you give Sonic to do, the less time he spends zooming and zipping around. Thankfully the zones that are specifically built around speed are FAST, possibly the fastest of any Sonic game ever made. There's the usual enemies here and there but they aren't too hard to deal with. And there's items like 1-ups, shoes that make Sonic go even faster, invincibility, rings, etc. And then there's Dr Robotnik (Eggman). These bosses are some of the easiest and hardest of any Sonic game. The final zone 'Final Egg' has possibly the hardest boss of any Sonic game ever made. Oh, and there's the half-pipe bonus stages to keep you busy trying to collect all the emeralds. If you collect them all you can be Super Sonic, the gold version of Sonic with super-fast speed and power! Also introduced for the first time is Metal Sonic who was more of an attraction in Sonic CD than here.
The music is that happy, bouncy stuff you all know by now. Overall it's not as good as the original's soundtrack but is still pretty good and some songs stand out. The sound effects are pretty much the same as the original. It gets the job done.
There's a lot of variety in Sonic games to get involed with. You've got Sonic 1 through 3, Sonic & Knuckles, Sonic Spinball (stay far, far away), Sonic Adventure 1 and 2 (though 2 was pretty bad), Sonic CD, Knuckles Chaotix, etc. etc. I recommend Sonic 2 only to those who have played through (and like) the original, and to those who don't mind a little nostalgia. Otherwise you may be better advised to start with another Sonic because this doesn't make the best entry into the series. However, all said and done, Sonic 2 is a good, well-balanced game.

Here are cheats and codes ~ http://www.cheatingdome.com/genesis/437.htm
And here's some nice screenshots ~ http://www.oldskoolgames.com/reviews...g_2/review.php

'Till next time.

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Old 03-05-2003, 12:35 AM   #99
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Dang dude, you just whip these thing out. You ever check out da netjak?

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Old 03-05-2003, 09:02 AM   #100
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Icarus4578 Ive got to hand it to you, you work really hard to ensure us a steady flow of great reviews. Of course I do not always agree with what you say and sometimes I find your grading scale a little bit odd. However this is how you perceive the game so don't mind anyone else bashing your reviews.

I think we should feel lucky to have such a hard core hard working game reviewer on this forum. Keep up the good work Icarus4578:cool guy:
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Old 03-05-2003, 09:09 AM   #101
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Markavellie the link doesn't work so I have no idea what that site is.

Smurfbert, yes indeed. This is pure fun for me and I enjoy sharing my opinions and views on games of all sorts. I don't get paid a cent but that's cool with me because it's interesting twofold ~ one, as I write I become more inquisitive of myself - and two, it's nice to know people are reading my thoughts/opinions and I hope that even though we won't always see eye-to-eye on everything that I help instill some imagination in the reader and expect more from games. After all, where there's art, there's possibility.
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Old 03-05-2003, 10:37 AM   #102
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fixed da link, but here it is again http://www.netjak.com
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Old 03-07-2003, 08:09 PM   #103
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It'sa me! Mario!

Super Mario Kart - Super NES - Rating 8
No, this isn't a Mario 64 review. There aren't many racing games as exhilarating, as purely fun as SMK. Nintendo specializes in making great games that know how to sell themselves. Featuring some of Nintendo's most famous characters racing and battling each other on go-karts, it went on to become one of the most popular games on the SNES (in both the US and Japan) and it's not hard to see why.
There are 8 characters to select from, each with their own racing strengths and weaknesses - Mario, Luigi, Princess, Toad, Yoshi, Donkey Kong Jr., Bowser and Koopa. Basically, if you're a beginner player you should start with anybody other than DK Jr. and Bowser since they are harder to control (though they are fast). There are four cups to compete in (Mushroom, Flower, Star, and Special), each with 5 individual tracks. You can compete with a friend split-screen on any track you want, and there are even 4 special tracks in Battle Mode specifically made for you both to combat each other. Different tracks include Mario Circuits, Ghost Valleys, Bowser Castles, and more. As you gain victories you amass points which determine which trophy you'll receive at a cup's end.
These go-karts are all-terrain vehicles that transverse every kind of surface and it's important to know how each surface effects your kart's performance. What's equally important is knowing how to avoid obstacles and enemy projectiles. This is the key to your victories. If you're really good you can even figure out special shortcuts which often involve using the feather to super-jump over a certain borderline. Collect coins to help keep yourself from being knocked out of control, use koopa shells to attack other racers, etc. It's much more important to know how to avoid being hit than it is to attack yourself, and that's something best learned by (what else?) playing the game.
The soundtrack is actually very well implemented and fits the tracks very well. Two of my favorites are Rainbow Road and Vanilla Lake. As usual, the SNES sound chip (made by Sony) is in full effect and all the sound effects are crystal clear.
How can you own a SNES without owning Mario Kart? (And who HASN'T played Mario Kart by now?) If you are in the mood for some serious fun fire this baby up. It won't let you down.

Here's perhaps the best site on Mario Kart (and even includes all the others) ~ http://www.planetnintendo.com/mariokart/ Wonderful site.

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Old 03-07-2003, 08:15 PM   #104
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You know, while I don't always agree with you (Your review of Halo is just wrong, wrong, WRONG :2happy: ) you write well, you have the balls to post strong opinions, you have a large knoweldge of many games from many regions and genres, (sans Sports, but most sports reviews are shallow) and you have hints and tips for games (good to have a catalog ) so keep it up. I'll try to read as many of them as I can.
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Old 03-07-2003, 09:06 PM   #105
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Da-e-TO-NA! Let's go away!

Daytona USA - Arcade - Rating 8
Rolling Staaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaart!!! Yeah, that's right baby! Sega/AM2's Daytona USA is one of the best arcade racing games ever made. It was released for Sega Saturn shortly after the system's launch. The home conversion on the then-new Sega hardware was fantastic. It had 15-20 FPS fully texture-mapped polygon graphics which didn't look as good as the Model-2 arcade board's obviously superior graphics, but was still amazing to see at home. The Saturn launch in general (Virtua Fighter, Panzer Dragoon, Clockwork Knight, etc.) was one of the last special game system launches ever. In fact, it was one of the last good systems! The new system war (GC, X-Box and PS2) is more a corporate battle than a game war. I SORELY miss those 8-16-32 bit days when games were what mattered the most. Sorry if my reviews tend to be retrospective; that's just the way I am and I'm proud of it.
Yu Suzuki really outdid himself with Daytona USA. It became one of the most popular racing games to ever hit the arcades. There's only 3 tracks but what was there was excellent and challenging. In fact, Daytona is one of the harder racing games out there (arcade and home) with racers that compete like there's no such thing as tomorrow. You really had to master braking and powersliding at precisely the right moments, knowing how to cut off a corner perfectly into the straightaways and even utilizing perfect handling to fit in-between an opponent and a wall, just edging past in perfect timing with approx. 1.2 seconds left to execute the perfect powerslide into an upcoming U-turn. Challenging, engaging, FUN. The graphics in the arcade are crystal clear and the tracks are designed to be both impressive and challenging. There are much better-looking racing games these days, but so what? Do they contain the sheer arcade 'feel', the simple 'pull-you-in-effortlessly', 'have-a-good-ride' attitude that Daytona exhibits? No, they don't. You have to go to a store and think about whether or not you want this or that racer. There are a few that are of any significance (Gran Turismo and Ridge Racer series) and most of the others just don't get the job done.
The heartbeat of Daytona lies in its stellar-beyond-compare B-Univ soundtrack. Featuring a wonderful selection of themes with some rather memorable lyrics "Day-to-naaaa! Let's go a-way!", "Bluuuue, blue skies I seeee!!!", and of course "Rolling staaaaaaaaart!!!" In fact, you can get Daytona Chapionship Edition on Sega Saturn with improved graphics, more courses and remixed songs without lyrics (and a new opening theme done by ......Mr. Big). There's also the Daytona for Dreamcast with more remixed versions of the songs and more tracks.
So there you have it. Daytona is just another great addition to the Yu Suzuki/AM2 library of software. With such titles as OutRunners, Virtua Fighter, Virtua Racing, etc. AM2 set standards in arcade/home conversions. Nobody can deny that Sega was perhaps the prominent, innovative force in arcades in the 80's and 90's. One of Sega's greatest strengths in the 90's was its arcade library, and their ability to replicate them at home was its core foundation. When the arcades died down late 90's/early 2000 it left Sega weaker than ever before, and it harmed their home console Dreamcast so much that it could barely stand (along with lack of third-party support from the likes of companies like Konami who are becoming rather selfish). But Sega should've seeked to secure a deal with then-supportive Capcom to work together, and Sega themselves should've had more commitment to Dreamcast with a Panzer, Clockwork Knight, NiGHTS, a real Phantasy Star, etc. But it's too late. For now, we can enjoy their past accomplishments and hope for a brighter future.

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