Review by TBranford

"A 9 for the 9/9/99 console"

The Sega Dreamcast was a rather hyped console that got a lot of attention when it was first released in Japan. The video game magazines talked about it like it was the next best thing to hit the gaming market, and everyone anticipated the 9/9/99 release date. I finally got my Dreamcast about a month ago and was immedietly enamored with it, mainly because of the graphics and the selection of quality games that the console had. I mean, there was a lot of great games released for the console, and if there continues to be a wide range of quality games released, then I will continue to be a fan of it. However, if the quality of these games suddendly decrease like what happened on Nintendo 64 for a while, then I would not be that big of a fan of the console anymore.

Graphical Capabilities (10/10)
Until the release of the Playstation 2, there had never been a system as powerful as the Sega Dreamcast when it comes to graphical capabilities. First off, the console runs at a very high frame rate, which means all of the games will probably have an outstanding frame rate. Also, the system has an unprecedented 128 bits of power, which is twice the amount that the Nintendo 64 featured. With all of this graphical power, you would expect the games featured on the console to look good, and they do, for the most part, as a lot of the games look much better than expected, with crystal clear graphics. Resident Evil: Code Veronica is one example of this. Overall, the graphical capabilities of the console are incredible and a lot of games are putting them to use.

Audio Capabilities (7/10)
I don't know exactly what the internal audio capabilites of the console itself are, but I do know from playing the games that the Dreamcast is capable of producing quality music and sound effects. First off, the console uses some special chips which adds to the quality of the music. Add to this fact, that the console is a GD ROM-based system. Therefore, the quality of the music and sound effects are increased based on the fact that it is a GD-ROM based system. Overall, the audio capabilities of the console are great.

Game Library (9/10)
Perhaps the best thing about the Sega Dreamcast as a console is not the fact that it has 128 bits of graphical power, or the fact that it uses GD-ROMS as a storage medium. No, perhaps the best thing about it is the wide variety of great games that the console offers. From fighting games (Marvel vs Capcom and Virtua Fighter 3tb, along with some game called Soul Calibur) to sports games (NBA 2K and NFL Blitz 2000), the Dreamcast has it all. Also, classic games such as Code Veronica and Sonic Adventure are featured on the console. The selection of games on the console remains unrivaled to this day, although it is still lacking in a certain area, just like the Nintendo 64 did, although it is certainly not as bad as it was on the Nintendo 64. If you have not figured out what I am talking about yet, I am referring to the role playing game genre. Most of the role playing games on the Sega Dreamcast have been rather lackluster up to this point, but there is hope on the way. Phantasy Star Online is just one of the games to be released on the console. Overall, the selection of games on the console is fantastic!

Strong Points of the Console
The strongest point of the console, as you may expect, is the fact that it is such a strong graphical powerhouse, featuring 128 bits of power, twice that of the Nintendo 64. But the console does have other strong points besides the strong graphical capabilities. The music and sound effects in most of the games are rather good, and I like how the console uses GD ROMs as a storage medium, I feel it has a lot of advantages over CD ROM and cartridge. Less loading times is just one of these advantages. Another strong point to the console is the fact that it has such a good selection of games to choose from, and the prices of the game are far less than the cartridges released for the Nintendo 64 (another good thing about the GD ROM storage medium). You can get all kinds of games on the Sega Dreamcast, from 2D fighting games to role playing games (although the quality of the role playing games is not top notch).

Not so strong points of the Console
For all of the strong points of the console, there are some problems with it too. First off, there have been a lot of subpar games released for the console already. Games like I Spy and Fur Fighters have already ''graced'' the console with its presence, and a lot more subpar games will be released before it is all said and done. Still, this happens to a lot of consoles, so I am not going to harp on it too bad. The controller design is terrible also, I am not a fan of the controller either.

Strongest Point: Wide variety of games from a lot of different genres.

Weakest Point: The controller design is terrible. I really did not like the design of the controller at all, and it was really bad in games like Marvel vs. Capcom

Overall (9/10)
One of the best consoles ever made, and it lived up to the hype, so far. As long as the great games continue to pour in, I will be a fan of the console. Because in the end, its not the graphics or sounds that make or break the system, its the games. Just ask the Nintendo 64. The game library of the Sega Dreamcast is much better than I expected, I will admit that. I expected a lot of games to be focused primarily on graphics and not enough on game play, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that most of the games on the console are rather good, like Code Veronica.

Would Terra Branford buy this console?
Well, let me see here. It cost a cool 200 bucks, then it costs 40 bucks for a game, and 20 dollars for another controller if you want to play two player games.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 08/02/00, Updated 08/02/00

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