January 1, 2001

2000 FUTURE GAMEZ AWARDS

There can be no denying that this last 12 months has been a great year for gaming, but disappointing for sales. The Dreamcast is now one year old and the PS2 barely a month however that won't stop the first annual Future Gamez awards ceremonies. The awards will only be given to games that have appeared in the last 13 months, from November 30 1999 to December 31 2000, and will only include the systems covered on this site (Dreamcast, Playstation 2, Xbox and Dolphin). Obviously this year is going to be heavily leaning towards Dreamcast as it was the only system with games available for the majority of the year. Also while a game may have been great 12 months ago.

Biggest Disappointments in 2000

1. Lack of consumer interest in the Dreamcast
There can be no denying that the Dreamcast is a magnificent machine. With games such as Soul Calibur, Jet Set Radio, ShenMue, NBA2K, Crazy Taxi and Rayman 2 the system has a stunning lineup of games. The developers love developing games on it, it's easy to port games from the PC, but it just isn't selling. Sales in Australia are still only around 35,000 units which means the system has only sold 20,000 units since launch weekend 13 months ago.
2. No NFL2K in Australia
This is one of the biggest titles on Dreamcast in America, and yet Europeans and Australians are still waiting for a release, which now looks like it will never happen. The game was even released in Japan where NFL isn't huge either. Hopefully someone will come to their senses and release the sequel, NFL2K1 soon, although at this stage according to Ozisoft "there are no plans to release that game either".
3. Delay and high price of Playstation 2
The Playstation 2 is one of the most wanted pieces of gaming hardware in history. The news of the delay for the PAL machine was a disappointment but it was the announcement of the $AU749 pricepoint that was the big shock. At the time of announcement this price is equavalent to $US450 which is 50% higher then the US retail price.

Most Anticipated Events/Peripherals for 2001

1. Playstation 2
There can be little doubt about the coolness of owning a Playstation 2. Even after it's release it's limited availability and high price means it will still be a highly desired item for many months to come. With DVD playback as well as awesome titles such as Gran Turismo 3, Metal Gear Solid: Sons Of Liberty and Final Fantasy X all expected soon this is one hot piece of hardware.
2. Broadband Gaming
Until you start using broadband you probably won't realise what you are missing on the internet. With speed around 10 times the analogue modem and significantly reduced lag times there is no doubt that this is the future of gaming. The only problem is the cost. At the moment $AU70 per month may be a little high for the average gamer. That will soon drop however as more people get online.
3. Xbox
With $US500 million in marketing in the first 18 months there can be no denying that the Xbox will be on everyone's lips. Doubt still remains whether this will or can be seen as a games console rather then a PC however the specs surely are impressive. With more and more developers hopping on board every day the Xbox should be an exciting prospect although the PAL release has just been pushed back to Q'1 2002.

Coolest peripheral

Fishing Rod
Released with Sega Bass Fishing this is one of the hottest peripherals on the market. If you don't think so give it to a couple of friends to play with and wait to see their reaction when the damn thing vibrates. It's a blast. Now if only there was more games...
Runners Up: PS2 Vertical Stand, PS2 DVD Remote Control.

Best Driving Game

Le Mans 24 Hours (DC)
What's this? An Australian made game as the best of the year. Yep, it's true. Test Drive Le Mans is an awesome game. The graphics are pushing the Dreamcast further then ever before while the amount of detail while racing is stunning. Fortunately you don't have to sit down for 24 hours to complete the race, although you can if you want to. The only way this game could have been better is with online gameplay. Then again that would have delayed the title for months here in Australia.
Runners Up: V-Rally 2 (DC), Speed Devils (DC).

Best Fighting Game

Soul Calibur (DC)
This is probably the closest category to pick a winner. Both Soul Calibur and Dead Or Alive 2 are stunning titles and both should be in every Dreamcast owner's collection. Personally, I prefer the fighting style and graphics in Tecmo's Dead Or Alive 2 however the number of fighters and options in Namco's Soul Calibur gives that title an ever so slight edge. It's just a shame that Namco are so reluctant to support the Dreamcast with a lot more titles.
Runners Up: Dead Or Alive 2 (DC), Marvel Vs Capcom 2 (DC).

Best Platform Game

Rayman 2 (DC)
It's stunning. That's all that needs to be said. If you haven't played or owned this title then get to it. Rayman 2 is a great title with superb graphics, stunning music and a terrific sense of humour. I can only hope that yet another sequel will appear sooner rather then later. Mario 64. Bah! That's a game. This is a masterpiece.
Runners Up: Sonic Adventure (DC), MDK2 (DC).

Best Sports Game

Madden NFL 2001 (PS2)
It's been touted as the most realistic NFL game ever and it's not hard to see why. With some awesome graphics and great gameplay Madden 2001 is a must have game for NFL and sports fans alike. The only game that could have beaten this is NFL2K1 on Dreamcast with online gameplay. But that game isn't even a part of Sega Europe's or Ozisoft's plans for release in PAL territories at all. Well done Electronic Arts for bringing Madden 2001 out on such a new system.
Runners Up: Virtua Tennis (DC), SSX (PS2).

Best Action Game

Resident Evil: Code Veronica (DC)
When Capcom announced that they were developing a Resident Evil game for the Dreamcast few could have predicted that it would be this good. Not only does the game have some fantastic visuals but also manages to scare more then the previous games. The finer details are also amazing with cockroaches scattering around the sewers and some amazing settings. Resident Evil: Code Veronica is an amazing title that you must check out immediately.
Runners Up: TimeSplitters (PS2), X Squad (PS2).

Best Puzzle Game

Worms Armageddon (DC)
Worms is one of those game series' that has been around for years, but it's not hard to see why. The gameplay is almost unmatched as you line up for that final kill on your opponent knowing that if you miss they will kill you with the next shot. An increase in single player game speed would have been nice but this really is a multi-player game and will keep you occupied for hours.
Runners Up: Bust-A-Move 4 (DC), AquaAqua: Wetrix 2 (PS2).

Best RPG Game

Shenmue: Yokosuka (DC)
It really was a no brainer as there really hasn't been any RPG's released this year on Dreamcast and only the very poor Orphen: Scion of Sorcery on Playstation 2. Fortunately, AM2's ShenMue is a masterpiece. Yu Suzuki spent years developing this title and it shows. Superb graphics, a great storyline and some great action combine to make this one of the best RPG's ever.
Runners Up: Time Stalkers (DC), Soul Reaver (DC).

Best Multiplayer Game

Virtua Tennis (DC)
First there was Pong. It was simple and yet one of the most addictive 2 player games ever. Fast forward to the year 2000. Virtua Tennis is, in it's simplest form, Pong with some gorgeous graphics and unrelenting addictiveness, especially in multi-player mode. If you have a few mates constantly at your door wanting to play games I would strongly recommend you pick this title up immediately.
Runners Up: TimeSplitters (PS2), Worms Armageddon (DC).

Best Arcade Conversion

Soul Calibur (DC)
Soul Calibur isn't simply an arcade conversion, it's a conversion with many additions. Namco improved the game immensely prior to releasing it on the Dreamcast. The graphics are vastly improved with a higher resolution and the number of options was also increased with a great story mode and magnificent art gallery to unlock showing development and concept art for the game.
Runners Up: Crazy Taxi (DC), Marvel Vs Capcom 2 (DC).

Most Original Title

Jet Set Radio (DC)
Only just making it out by the end of 2000 here in Australia Jet Set Radio is one of the most interesting and unique games ever seen. Not only are the graphics a reminder of the old school days of gaming (everything is rendered with an unique 2D cell rendering) but the game sees you having to graffiti city walls to claim the turf as your gangs. It's a hell of a lot of fun, if a little controversial.
Runners Up: Space Channel 5 (DC), Crazy Taxi (DC).

Best Sound in a Game

Rayman 2 (DC)
Rayman 2 wins yet again. I don't think that I have heard more impressive music in a video game for years. This is one game where you can leave the music turned up, no matter how long you play. Ubisoft have now moved their aural talents up to that of Square who include some of the most inspirational music for their Final Fantasy games.
Runners Up: Resident Evil: Code Veronica (DC), Shadowman (DC).

Best Graphics in a Game

Dead Or Alive 2 (DC, PS2)
Dead Or Alive 2 has some of the most amazing visuals ever. The characters are wonderfully detailed while the arenas are split into several different levels. The backgrounds are varied with outdoor and indoor arena's to fight in. Tecmo have also included a 60Hz mode, even in the Playstation 2 version. Hopefully more developers will include this much-needed option in future for PAL gamers. This is eye candy at it's prime.
Runners Up: Shenmue: Yokosuka (DC), Rayman 2 (DC).

Best Game Of 2000

Rayman 2 (DC)
What can be said about Rayman 2 that hasn't been said before. It's awesome. An entire cartoon world like no other is packed onto one GD-ROM and it simply amazes. From brilliant graphics, to sound and gameplay this has it all. Sure the game may not be as long as some others, however the amount of enjoyment gained from playing this title is unmatched. Ubisoft can hold their heads high with this title. It's not just a game, it's an experience.
Runners Up: Soul Calibur (DC), Shenmue: Yokosuka (DC).

I hope you enjoyed reading this Awards for 2000. If you have any comments feel free to e-mail me at the usual address: phantom@winshop.com.au.