are these guys DIRTY. They're trashing my truck!
Let's start this review with an apology. Waaay
back in April I would've reviewed Milestone's Karous.
There's a couple of reasons this review fell through. One
of them was the general lack of time I had, another was the
tiring nature of the 'Dreamcast 2D shooter review' process.
I didn't really enjoy Karous much, even while it
was better than Radirgy. Should you be looking for
quality 2D blasts on the Dreamcast make sure to pick up games
like Ikaruga, Zero Gunner 2 or Under
Defeat. If you're incredibly desperate for more 2D blasting
action you might want to look at Castle of Shikigami 2,
Psyvariar or Border Down next. If your hunger
for 2D shoot 'em ups still isn't satisfied after
that..well fine, go and pick up Karous. It's not
terrible, just kinda mediocre, keep that in mind.
Right, now we got that out of the way, we're
taking a look at..Lost and Found volume 2, a Saturn
release by Oldergames. Better still..it's not a 2D
shooter! Now we're talking! Oldergames is a company
that actively looks for unpublished software and new developments
and releases them on classic platforms like the Sega-CD,
3DO and in this case the Saturn. Lost and Found
volume 1 was released back in 2004 and only saw a run
of 25 copies! It featured an early version of an FMV adventure
'Rebellion' and a disc containing some unknown FMV footage.
Not exactly the most shocking release ever, especially because
you needed a modded system to run them. Still, that didn't
stop people looking and paying loads of money for them after
the sale ended.
Recently Oldergames announced a L.A.F.
vol 2 and I was one of the fifty lucky people to be able
to obtain it (at $29.95, not too bad a price) If it turned
out to be rubbish, I'd be able to sell it to a lunatic for
a tenfold! (just kidding there).
When L.A.F. 2 came in last week I was impressed with
the overall package. Sure it's just a DVD case with some labeled
discs and stuff, but overall it's a quality job by Oldergames.
The package -once again- contains two discs. One of them holds
an early development prototype of Three Dirty Dwarves,
the other contains the same Rebellion proto that
featured on volume one (as another chance for people to see
you spill my pint?', 'What's a pint'?
these damn dogs offa me!!'
Three Dirty Dwarves: Early development prototype
Three Dirty Dwarves, a scrolling beat 'em
up, was released on the all Saturn markets (1996 USA &
PAL, 1997 JPN). And boy did it get a hard time from the gaming
press. It was deemed 'unfunny', 'frustrating' and 'poorly
designed'. Now, to be honest, most of the criticisms pointed
at TDD were justified and most of them could be re-used
in this review. You see, as early as this prototype might
be (or not, but we'll come to that) most annoyances already
made it in. TDD features three characters running
around city themed surroundings, beating up freaks, rats,
spiked balls (?!) and mostly even more freaks. One of the
'dwarves runs around with a baseball bat and set of balls,
another wears a (American) football helmet and tosses bowling
balls (!) and the third dwarf simply uses a pump-action shotgun
to dispose of enemies.
The dwarves themselves look funky and I must say I love the
way Segasoft and Appaloosa used all the
Saturn's fancy sprite effects like scaling and rotation on
the backgrounds. It gives TDD a fresh look and I
still think it looks really rather cool in places. The enemies
in TDD are definitely on the weird side. The bosses
certainly aren't any different, ranging from a guy covered
with aggressive dogs to a full-blown gym-building walking
around on loads of tiny feet (don't ask me).
So why is TDD such a let-down? First of all, it is
-indeed- incredibly frustrating. When one of the
dwarves is hit, he will be stunned and will need to be bashed
by another dwarf to re-enter the game. When all three dwarves
are stunned at the same time, the game will be over and you'll
have to start over the level from the beginning. As most levels
are rather long and feature a large amount of nasty obstacles,
it's incredibly annoying to see your last dwarf being knocked
out near the end of the level while you're desperately trying
to knock the others back in. Most of the hazards you'll encounter
seem to be created simply to annoy you, with loads of fast
surprise attacks being launched against your slowly moving
dwarves. It's hardly a fair battle. TDD desperately
could've used some restart points and life bars, but the developers
probably wanted to break the trend set by games like Streets
of Rage and Final Fight, which -all things considered-
wasn't a wise decision.
could tell what's going on here but it would only frighten
this reminds you of Clockwork Knight 2, then
well done to you.
So what are the differences between the retail
copy of TDD and this? I'm not too sure, really. The
old Appaloosa logo looked a bit peculiar during the
opening screens, but other than that? Haven't got a clue.
All the levels I tested (roughly eight of them) seemed exactly
like those found in the retail copy. Even the password screen
and cheat modes are available. If you were looking for scrapped
levels and different sprites (like me) you might be disappointed
because there's really nothing much to be found.
Three Dirty Dwarves isn't a total
loss, though. Some of the levels are rather excellent (such
as the cart chase one seen above), there's some very humorous
bosses and the special attacks you'll be able to perform (after
picking up enough power-ups) are rather cool. If you have
a lot of patience (or better, a couple of friends, as this
game is a lot more fun played with three) there is a chance
you might have some enjoyable moments with it.
I never really came across any information
on Rebellion before, to be honest. All that I could
gather is that this version was in development around the
time of the USA Saturn launch and that it was possibly SEGA
(Segasoft) themselves that
were developing it. The game starts without any title screen
or front-end and if you don't press a direction fast enough,
the story starts with you being thrown out of some sort of
base. By using the d-pad (do not try the analogue pad, it
won't respond, regardless of its setting) you'll be able to
move around. There's no directions, no story, no hints, no
nothing. You just seem to wander around aimlessly, looking
for some vital clues that might help you.
to that door shouldn't be a problem..
'Aaaarghhhh!!' etc. Didn't I kill this guy in Corpse
The base consists of all kinds of futuristic
materials and loads of different doors that seem to take you
nowhere. If you're not careful enough, you'll come across
one of the various enemies who take great pleasure in electrocuting
you, performing various karate moves on you and 'dragging
your sorry ass' out of the base. Should you be able to able
to avoid them, there's a number of different chambers to explore.
Sadly, most of these chambers have little function and all
seem to loop into each other, even while that clearly seems
There's a couple of interactive puzzles to be found, but none
of them seemed to do much. After some serious exploring I
finally came across some sort of hidden passage, but at the
end of it there was nothing but another wall. That's basicly
the feeling you get when playing Rebellion; you're
going everywhere but you're not getting anywhere. There's
some 'fun' to be had trying to access all different videos
available but that's about all you're going to get out of
Rebellion is a trip down memory lane,
back to the days of Truemotion video, Digital
Pictures, people dressed up as zombies and infinite ways
to die. An era I didn't really enjoy to re-visit, to be honest.
not safe'. Yeah, thanks for telling me that now.
the odd puzzle to be 'solved'.
know they used the set of The Goonies. "Choqwlate!!"
Apart from the impressive packaging,
there's not much else of interest about Lost and Found
volume 2. The Three Dirty Dwarves 'early development
prototype' disappointed me with its completeness (i.e: it's
nearly the same as the retail version) and Rebellion
was perhaps a little too incomplete to get much out
of (it crashed multiple times). Still, I'm not disappointed
I bought this release, if only for the exclusive look at an
unreleased game and perhaps it helped to secure more Saturn
releases from Oldergames.
Nicely done packaging including screenshots, each copy contains
number from 1 to 50. The discs aren't printed but look decent.
leaflet or manual with controls wouldn't have hurt, though.
TDD is pretty much complete, Rebellion should
'last' you about an hour.
$30 would be much to pay in retail but in this form it's worth