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Sega Ages 2500 Series Vol.23: Sega Memorial Selection
  PS2Action_VarietyJ  
  opened by paleface at 02:52:56 01/26/06  
  last modified by paleface at 17:33:32 06/12/24  
  paleface [sys=PS2; cat=Action_Variety; reg=JPN]
           
Sega takes five of its less well-known arcade games of yester-year, emulates them on PS2, and throws in updated versions to go along with them. Is this a good idea? Welll... Maybe not so much.
 
The games have little in the way of options. The new versions are high-res, but there is no progressive-scan option. The old versions lack vertical screen options ("tate") for the vertical games, and don't allow you to remap the controls. All of the games do this really annoying thing with auto-save where it insists on autosaving every time you on in and out of the pause screen menu.
 
Let's go through the game pairs one-by-one, shall we?
 
  paleface 03:02:38 01/26/06
           
Download added: head_on.gif (17980 bytes)
  "I do believe this is one of Sega's worst games ever."
 
Head-on is a real car-crash of a game. You hold down a button to go fast as you whip your car around a nasty blue, multilane track, while another car comes around from the opposite direction. You can change lanes at certain points in the track, but so can your opponent, who seems to want to commit suicide by ramming you--you guessed it--head-on. Now, I'm sure there's a way to clear the stage, but I'll be darned if I'm going to stick around and try to figure it out, because I am sick of getting stuck in a lane with inevitable death bearing down on me. Besides which, the graphics and sound are awful.
 
  paleface 03:05:49 01/26/06
           
Download added: head_on_new.gif (94531 bytes)
  "The new Head-On is really quite pointless."
 
The new Head-On isn't much better, but it sucks for slightly different reasons. The graphics are kinda pretty now, but they no longer have anything to do with cars (the tire screeches in the first game were kind of cute, until they get irritating anyway), and have become some sort of abstract Tron thing that nobody can relate to. But the really funny thing is that the AI is completely idiotic, rather than suicidal, and will happily loop around the outer tracks over and over while you collect all the dots in the level. It's like you're trying to play a game, but the CPU you're supposed to be playing against is out on a coffee break. Ridiculous. But careening counter-clockwise around the mazes over and over would suck even if the AI was paying attention.
 
  paleface 03:10:38 01/26/06
           
Download added: tranquilizer_gun.gif (26786 bytes)
  "That gorilla is gonna be snoozin' for about thirty seconds."
 
I kind of like the old Tranquilizer Gun. It's stodgy as heck, with really bad sprite overlap problems, but your rifle makes this really sharp cracking gunshot sound, and it's sort of satisfying to take down a rampaging bull elephant with a flurry of darts. Well, okay, so they don't really rampage--they sort of pop out of some bushes, cross the path, and disappear into some other bushes. Anyway, if you can catch them as they cross the path, you dart them into la-la land, then drag them back to the cage on the back of your truck before they wake up. Wow, this game is so non-PC.
 
  paleface 03:14:02 01/26/06
           
Download added: tranquilizer_gun_new.gif (104710 bytes)
  "Elephant takes exception to my dragging off his drugged lion buddy."
 
The new Tranquilizer Gun has quite the nice, bright, cartoon look to it, and preserves the basic visceral dart rifle action of the original--although the shooting sound isn't quite as cracking. Anyway, the new one throws in bonus creatures, a road running around the jungle level that you can charge around on with your truck (yes, you can shoot darts while driving), and dart gun powerups. The controls are slightly more complicated than in the original, since now you go into a shooting pose before shooting, and can't move with your rifle out. Pretty fun, although a lot of the sound effects are horrible (hint: do not let your truck run out of gas, unless you have earplugs).
 
  paleface 03:15:46 01/26/06
           
Download added: border_line.gif (37645 bytes)
  "This game really doesn't deserve a memorial."
 
The original Border Line is a really bad scrolling shooter in which you play a truck. The thing has about five colors, and scrolls in big jerky chunks, with crappy sprites and horrible sound. Weird flying things fly at your truck, and later tanks and stuff shoot at you. It sucks.
 
  paleface 03:19:44 01/26/06
           
Download added: border_line_new.gif (99391 bytes)
  "Blow stuff up in style in the new Border Line."
 
The new Border Line, on the other hand, is far and away the highlight of this package. Some genius realized that it should bear as little resemblance as possible to the awful original game, and instead made a very smooth dual-analog tank battle game. You swoop your sci-fi tank around a succession of large, multi-directional scrolling levels, blowing up everything in your path as you take out the enemy's generators. You get three weapons (all-purpose machinegun, armor-piercing short-range beam, and anti-personnel flamethrower) with which to carve your way through the hordes of gun turrets, enemy tanks, and ground troops guarding the generators. Everything blows up real good, and the sound effects are mostly quite nice. Fast and furious destruction really hits the spot.
 
  paleface 03:22:21 01/26/06
           
Download added: congo_bongo.gif (28296 bytes)
  "Congo Bongo is still a real pile."
 
I had what was probably an unlicensed version of Congo Bongo way back on the C64. It sucked. I had high hopes that the arcade version, ported here, would be way better, but while it has more colors and animation, it still sucks. The isometric movement confuses me no end, and really, who wants to play a white imperialist being plagued by monkeys and coconut-tossing apes? Horrible sound effects, and were they *trying* to induce seizures with that rapidly flashing blue/red title screen?
 
  paleface 03:25:44 01/26/06
           
Download added: congo_bongo_new.gif (110768 bytes)
  "The new Congo Bongo looks nice, but it still blows."
 
The new Congo Bongo has vastly improved 2D isometric graphics, but they don't help you deal with the crazy diagonal movement (quick quiz: is that rocky outcropping with the bag of money on it in the lower right of the screenshot just a step down from the ledge above, or is it actually separated from the mainland, with a deadly drop between? It's really quite impossible to tell!), and the new sound effects are even more excruciating than the old ones. The gameplay, ie wandering around trying not to fall off ledges while monkeys piggy-back on you and slow you down, has not improved, either.
 
  paleface 03:29:39 01/26/06
           
Download added: penguin_land.gif (31486 bytes)
  "Penguins protecting their eggs are allowed to crush polar bears with rocks."
 
The original Penguin Land is actually kind of okay. You dig downward through layers of ice, in a way that reminds me of Mr. Driller (see entry 388), as you try to find a new home for your precious, precious egg. Don't let it drop too far, though, or it'll crack, and your baby's an omlette for some lucky polar bear. You have to think ahead and plan your dual-descent carefully so that you don't get caught by animals, or get your egg wedged in a hole somewhere where you can't get it out without breaking it. The downward scrolling is super-jerky, but the game is solid. I can't really stick with it too well, though; I'm not so good at planning that far ahead. It's much slower, gameplay-wise, than Driller.
 
  paleface 03:32:25 01/26/06
           
Download added: penguin_land_new.gif (105528 bytes)
  "My poor, poor egg is irrevocably stuck. Omelette, anyone?"
 
The new Penguin Land has much more colorful graphics, and smooth scrolling as you escort your egg downward to safety. It's much easier, but you'll still get to some kind of tricky part of the descent fairly quickly; and I still get my egg broken in all kinds of stupid ways. Darn these puzzly games!
 
  paleface 13:02:01 03/17/24
           
Rip is tiny--.chd only 37.7 MB.
 
  paleface 23:09:26 06/11/24 [title updated]
           
OOPs the subtitle is "Sega Memorial Selection," not "Sega Memorial Collection." : PPP
 
  paleface 17:32:20 06/12/24
           

 
In PCSX2.
 
Oh! Sega Retro dot org says Head-On actually came out the year BEFORE Pac-Man, so its "dot" maze picking-up-action was NOT a Pac-Man rip-off; I mean I guess it's even possible Pac-Man is a Head-On rip-off which would actually be great because that would mean Namco made a great game out of a horrible game so good on them. ^ D^ Maybe that's not fair to Sega but the CPU out to have a head-to-head car crash with your car is horrifying.
 
Tranquillizer Gun (sic) and Borderline have a charming single-color sprite style and quite playable and intuitive shooting action, but I can't get past the awful drugging and enslavement of wild animals and military-industrial complex glorification so oh well.
 
Isometric white-explorer-in-the-jungle Congo Bongo has always been horrible say my C64 memories ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyF4BeL4Tx4 ) and I am still not down with this arcade version no matter how sort of cute its pixel art may be.
 
Wikipedia says "doki doki" is the sound of beating heart, and it seems to symbolize excitement; Google Translate gives "doki" as "thump" and "doki doki" as "excited" or "exciting"; Google results indicate it is often used in the romance genre. And Doki Doki Penguin Land (1985) fits that I suppose as it involves a blue penguin ("Adelie," says Sega Retro dot org) rolling and dropping a giant egg down icy holes and corridors to the subterranean(?) ice home of a pink penguin ("Fairy")...and the egg turns out to be not quite what I'd thought it was! That's the thumpy thumpy exciting part maybe, 'cause the gameplay is basically Lode Runner except besides yourself you now also have an egg to get stuck in the holes of your own making, or to get shattered in various ways, like from the really annoying moloids who rise really eerily out of the solid ice like ghoulish spectres.
 
The game was the first game designed by Hisao Oguchi (https://segaretro.org/Doki_Doki_Penguin_Land) who I happened to notice at the end of the credits as "Executive Producer" HMMMMM. ; D
 
Unlike the other games, which started in the arcade, DDPL was made for Sega's first home gaming system, the SG-1000 console (predecessor to Sega Mark II aka the Master System; and yes there was a II, the SG-1000 II in between); it got a sequel on the Master System (Penguin Land in the West, "Doki Doki Penguin Land: Uchuu Daibouken" in Japan) and on the Mega Drive ("Doki Doki Penguin Land MD"), and also had arcade, Game Boy, and MSX ports.
 
The main sprite is VERY similar to Penta the Penguin from Konami's "Antarctic Adventure" and "Penguin Adventure" MSX games that started in '83, which is also when a certain Suntory Beer ad campaign starring identical-looking penguin couple Jill & Mike went mega-viral in Japan https://selectbutton.net/t/game-vids-you-watched-today/12827/145 . Sega Retro credits the campaign as inspiring DDPL: https://segaretro.org/Doki_Doki_Penguin_Land#Development
 
The "Arrange" PS2 remakes are generally worse, feel cheap, and mostly lose whatever charm the original games have--although you can't get much worse than the original Congo Bongo so maybe the remake isn't so bad and I actually kind of like the main character sprite, and the DDPL Arrange version is less janky and punishing and more playable so maybe better than the original, although again that isn't saying much. The Head-On Arrange CPU is almost completely brain-dead, and Borderline Arrange is a completely different game--a gross dual-stick sci-fi shooter / running-down-guys ugh.
 
Credits say the Selection was by Japan Art Media Co., Ltd., who did a few of the other early 2500 Series PS2 collections, and ended mostly w/ brain training and Cooking Mama games on DS.
 
The constant auto-save for no reason is super-annoying, I guess that's why they defaulted it to OFF. : P
 
Since back in the day when I got this I thought it was called "Collection" not "Selection." ; D And back then--say my old notes--I actually thought Borderline Arrange was a great game. = ooo
    

 
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