||home / april 2002 / chasing otakuism
You Have No Chance to Survive Make Your Time
By Jake Forbes
Fire and brimstone coming from the sky! Rivers and seas boiling! Forty years of darkness! Volcanoes! The dead rising from the grave! Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria! Sega games ruling on every console!
These were all once signs of the apocalypse, but there's one item you can now strike from that list. Volcanoes! They're just normal tectonic phenomena. Nothing supernatural about that. Oh? What's that you tell me? Well, it appears you can now strike two items from that list. That's right. Sega, the giant of the early 90's who became the perpetual game console underdog for the last 8 years, has risen from an early grave to become the leading software provider on EVERY console. Watch out for brimstone. The end must be near.
Consider this- the best fighting game on the market is from Sega (VF4, natch!). The best game of the year (and I'd say EVER) on the Xbox is from Sega (JSRF) as is the second best (Gun Valkyrie). The best Game Cube game of the year is from Sega (Soccer Slam), and the best Gameboy Advance - Game Cube linked game is from Sega (Sonic). The best sports games on the market are from Sega (NFL 2k2, NBA 2k2). The best shooter in years is from Sega (Rez). Practically the only areas that Sega doesn't rule in are RPGs, 1st person shooters, and strategy games. And all that from a company that 1 year ago was flat on its face after their machine died an early death.
For true gaming Otakus, this should come as no surprise. Just as Nintendo has always shined because of its first party support, so too did Sega. Remember Golden Axe, Altered Beast, and Space Harrier, not to mention Sonic and Phantasy Star? If Sega could capture the hearts of gamers for over a decade based on the success of its first party titles, it's no wonder they're so successful now when we have three gaming companies who haven't released a single decent 1st party game since Christmas (where's the love, Nintendo?).
Sega games have a certain feel that really sets them apart. They're a little grittier than the competition. Graphically, they are usually not as advanced as the competition, but they feel meatier. Sega music has always been the best on the market. JSRF features the best soundtrack EVER (IMHO), Rez is the most innovative use of music, and going back to 16 bit days, Phantasy Star II-IV, Sword of Vermillion, the Sonic games and others featured the best music of their era. Sega also takes risks (32X and Sega CD anyone?) and thinks well outside the box (maraca simulator? Seaman?). But in the end, it all comes down to the games, and there Sega delivered (and continues to deliver) in spades.
Recently Sega announced that they are developing updates of old franchises for release on the X-Box and other consoles. This is great news indeed! Imagine how wonderful a game we'd have if Sega did to Golden Axe what Capcom did to Ghosts and Goblins with Maximo. There are quite a few titles that I (and every other game otaku with any sense) would love to see updated:
Herzog Zwei - The ORIGINAL and best Real-Time Strategy game.
Panzer Dragoon - The RPG is great, of course, but the rail shooters were the best of their kind.
Crystal Warriors - A great Strategy RPG on the Game Gear.
Toejam and Earl - Rumored to be in development for the Dreamcast, this duo disappeared again. Not for good I hope!
Altered Beast - The first Genesis game, and one that brings back many fond memories. It's slow as all hell and very repetitive, but great atmosphere!
Shinobi - Throwing stars. Need I say more?
Sega's been doing so well since their hardware went bust that I almost want Nintendo to go software only! Perhaps not having to worry about developing unique hardware freed Sega to focus more on what they do best- games? Whatever the reason, the end of the world is here, and it's a great time to be a gamer.