Shin Force | Sega Dreamcast Review
Shin Force
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Shin Force ~ Dreamcast ~
 Sega Rally 2
AM2 / Smilebit
Jan 14, 1999 (Japan)
Nov 24, 1999 (USA)
1st/3rd Person
Backup 61 +20 +17
Network (Japan)
Racing Wheel
         > With a string of exceptional racing titles under Sega's belt dating back to the original Hang-On, could there be little doubt that a racer would be one of the first games available for the Uberconsole in Japan?  The power of Dreamcast is utilized by Windows CE to bring home all the arcade racing minus the sit-down cabinet.  Aside from the conversion, Sega added 12 tracks, 3 modes, and tons of cars (many of which must be earned).
         > In case you're the one that doesn't know or reads the DFPs almost exclusively, Sega Rally 2 is the Model 3 follow-up to the smash-hit Model 2/Saturn game.  Realistic graphics and excellent gameplay are the hallmarks of both games in the series.  Basically, you have to pass the checkpoints before the timer runs out.  After a faithful translation of the first game to the Saturn, Sega follows suite with the same results for Dreamcast on the second of the series. 
         > The menus and game screens are presented in English.  In addition, this is a racing game...  Which means even if it were in Japanese, it would still be instantly playable.  Also, note that the Japanese version is network playable while the US version is not...
         > Everything about the graphics is very good -- easily better than anything you can buy for the home.  Clean, detailed, colorful, smooth and just plain beautiful!  As compared to the arcade version, the Dreamcast version seems a bit faster than its arcade brother. About the only gripe with the game is the occasional loss of frame rate.  However, this does absolutely nothing to the gameplay or enjoyment since when it does happen, it lasts for only a split second.  Additionally, I'm happy to report that Sega of America has improved the frame rate quite a bit, although it's still not rock solid at all times.
         > The home version has extras that aren't in the arcade version as well.  For instance, you get 8 immediately selectable cars and 12 that you can earn.  Also, there are 16 tracks in the home version which include Desert, Mountain, Snowy, Riviera, Muddy and Isle.  The weather plays a big part as well and includes things like snow, ice, rain and fog.
         > The special effects in the game are really impressive.  Imagine your car burning down the track and you see reflections coming off the windows...  yup, Dreamcast has it!  When you go through water, dirt and snow you'll see transparent debris get kicked up which I think looks better than the arcade version (although some people disagree).  Then there's the tailpipe flames/sparks...  they look much better than the arcade version!  To top it off, this game takes full advantage of the VGA Box for super high resolution on a monitor!
         > This is the part that really worried me.  I wasn't sure if Sega would be able to make the game highly controllable using the standard pad.  Well, much to my pleasure, the game's control is absolutely perfect in every way!  For those interested in a bigger learning curve, Sega Rally 2 utilizes the racing wheel. 
         > From the slippage to power slides (drifting) to calibration, everything is better than you've experienced anywhere else.  As a matter of fact, I believe this home version's control is not only better, but more realistic than the arcade version.  This is because I believe the arcade version doesn't feel as connected to the ground.  At any rate, the controls you'll deal with are steering, accel, brake, up/down shift, hand brake, and view change -- they're customizable too.
         > The title music is really good as is the in-game stuff.  It consists mainly of guitar rock tunes which are really in the background during races anyway.  I'm not completely sure, but at least some of the songs are the same as the arcade. 
         > The sound effects are solid and include all your favorites from the first Sega Rally -- only now they sound even better thanks to the awesome sound capabilities of the Uberconsole...  By the way, the engine sound effect is great...
         > What do you get when you mix Sega, AM2, hardware and software???  Simple...  The best racing game you can buy for the home!  You get Arcade, Practice, 10 Year Championship and Time Attack modes to keep you busy.  Also included are tons of cars (some must be earned), tracks and the best gameplay money can buy!  There's even a two player split screen mode... oh yes!  If you're into arcade racing games, then Sega Rally 2 is the game for you...
     > Sega Rally 2 is by far the best looking and playing arcade racer you can buy for a home console.  Some will say it's not the arcade...  and they're right!  In some respects the home version is better.  There's really only one problem -- the inconsequential frame drop (more so the Japanese version ).  Overall, Sega Rally 2 sets yet another software benchmark for the gaming industry.
Overall: 9.6 | Graphics: 9.5 | Control: 10 | Sound: 9.0 | Fun: 10
~ Shinobi ~

Note: These are all gameplay screens, not CG cut-scenes.