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mars 27, 2013

Dead Or Alive and Virtua Cop 2 for Saturn

Yesterday I received this item from Japan.

I have had hundreds of Saturn games and dozens of consoles, but never seen a Video CD card.  It allows you to watch Video CD (VCD) on your Saturn. What VCD is? It is a format developed in 1994 to view full length MPEG movies on CDs, before DVD came.


You shove it into the back just above the battery. It will also improve the video of a few games. I tried the intro of GunGriffon and it is a noticable difference. The animation or more fluid and you don't have the top and bottom borders. But it doesn't make any difference for gameplay so it isn't really useful.

A list of games show some other games. http://segaretro.org/Video_CD_Card
The list says it may not be complete, so I got this idea that maybe lots of games had VCD support. I thought that if it said "TrueMotion" on the back, it could have VCD support. 

I found that Dead Or Alive and Virtua Cop 2 said TrueMotion, so I set out to try... I was wrong! But I got to play a lot of Dead Or Alive and Virtua Cop 2.

Dead Or Alive is probably my second favorite fighting game, after Street Fighter II Turbo. I also played it on the PS2 once. I don't think adults should waste time with modern consoles like PS2 or Xbox, but I was at a friend's house, and the gameplay is alright. Coincidentally, the two games have the same rating on gamefaqs: 8,6.

I haven't tried other games in the DoA so I can't compare with for example the Dreamcast version. I assume they are all well playable. Though as usually with fighting games expect the Sat version to play better than the PS1 game if you get to chose between just those two.

I like that the basics play is simplistic: you block and counter attack. The game doesn't depend on long combo moves or weird meters and complicated special moves. You can start off by some button mashing, and after a while you'll find special moves and combos that work.

The characters are also appealing, I mean they are well animated. Here is a random video I found.
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The manual lists the special moves and they don't seem too complicated. When you improve you can combine your moves. The graphics is nice and the gameplay is fluid. I think you'll enjoy this game. I wouldn't mind playing it some more but as usually with fighting games it will take a while to get the hang of all the moves.
Good thing with CD games that in 95% of the times you will get a manual with your game so you'll get the special moves.

After that I played Virtua Cop 2 with my normal controller. I felt that it was easier to play with a normal controller than with the light gun. Maybe I'm a bad shot. However, I don't think it is technically possible to avoid getting hit with the controller because it moves too slowly. But since the enemies are always in the same spot, you'll be able to memorize them after a while. If it is too hard, you can increase your lives and continues.

As with other arcade ports, your goal is to get a high score. It gets saved to battery memory. Most likely you'll play it just to enjoy shooting around. The game is not that different from Virtua Cop 1, if you happen to own that.

You have to hold the controller like an arcade stick sort of. The A button shoots, B-button speeds up the controller (probably keep this pressed all times), and the C button reloads.

I admire the fluid action and the arcade feeling. It is also fun to shoot all around the place to hit the items and see what happens... 

When I get the Saturn mouse I'll report how it plays with it.

As for the video card, I think it was a good idea, but I think there were these problems:
* The developers would need to put both a VCD version and a normal version on the CD, which require extra space.
* Slightly improved cut scenes doesn't improve a game much.
* The Dreamcast was being developed so why bother.

Of course the DC is a much better machine with full 3D graphics, but retro freaks like me continue their dedication to crippled consoles like the Saturn and all their weird accessories.

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