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Planet Ring (+Microphone Game) (DC)

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1 Review

4 mini games at present: Dream Dorobo, Bubble Ball, Splash, Soar.

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      08.01.2001 04:37
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      Planet Ring, quite possibly the most advanced console game to date, and yet no one I know offline has actually got it (except for me of course). Hmmm. I'll have to assume that you don't know what this is, so let me tell you all that I know in my opinion of this amazing adventure! I got my issue 15 of ODM back at the end of November, but unfortunately I didn’t pay enough attention to it (due to my being busy), and so I completely ignored the free extra CD game that was surplus to the standard demo disc. I think it must have dwelled in my mind that I hadn’t really bothered to try this ‘free’ game, and I usually wouldn’t have done so because I don’t expect free games to be any good, but I remembered the word ‘Online’ somewhere on the magazine, and so, in my 5 minutes of free time, I managed to try the game out. After taking a good 5minutes extra to register I was welcomed by a colourful spherical miniature world – and I was this round ‘morph’ time of clay looking virtual character! There was cheery upbeat music, and so I explored this small world whilst the Dreamcast connected to the Internet! I was then told to go to the information centre directly, where I could then reappear into the world and start playing – after changing my colours (of the virtual character) and making completing all the settings like ‘kindness’ ‘looks’ and ‘intelligence’ levels, which I am sure have no effect whatsoever, so I put them all to highest J! I tried a game called Soar, Splash and Bubble ball, and didn’t really have a clue as to what I was doing, but managed to win resoundingly at bubble ball! I tried to enter the other online game called ‘Dream Dorobo’ but I couldn’t enter because I needed a microphone to enter! Obviously Official Dreamcast Magazine didn’t give the microphone away, and so I had to find
      one, and fast! During this first adventure on Planet Ring I chatted to a few people using message chat via the keyboard, and put some people into my ‘friends’ list, and explored the whole planet – I found it all quite peculiar, but ever so funny. Who could have possibly thought of this? Sega of course… After reading about a competition in the magazine ODM enabling 50 lucky people to win the microphone I thought I’d try and enter, in the hope that I might be lucky for a change, but unsurprisingly all the microphones had been won within a couple of hours, and I’d missed the deadline anyway! My hunt for the microphone continued – Dream Dorobo awaited, and I was itching to play it even though I had no idea about the game at all! I ventured up to Milton Keynes on Christmas Eve for some last minute Christmas shopping, with the Microphone being my priority. I found that in GAME a store assistant was discussing the game to two customers who clearly didn’t know what he was talking about, and I overheard him saying something ‘ the game is superb, simple and great fun with the microphone but sometimes can be confusing when you’re playing with foreign speaking people’. I didn’t really care what he was saying and so proceeded to the counter after picking up the second to last game in the shop – complete in a Dreamcast controller size box, which accommodates the Dreamcast microphone. At only £19.99 I thought this was a bargain, although I had already got the game… All my Christmas shopping later, I got home and found that the Planet Ring game was actually in a full Dreamcast box, and packaged very well indeed – something that I now consider the normal from Sega products. I tried to go online, and managed to connect! I slotted the microphone (and simple, yet stylish VMU shaped device with a stick at a right angle that plugs into the main part, and a t
      urquoise foam ball at the end) and was told to go to the information centre, which is used to see all the information on the attractions, Online rankings and really as a starting point where everyone can chat to each other. I found that I was stuck in the info centre along with around 30 other people! I was told ‘attraction is under maintenance’ and so couldn’t play online in any of the mini games L, maybe someone had fallen off one of the rides or something, and they were fixing the track! I kept trying to leave to the world, but the same message kept appearing. This didn’t really bother me because I wasn’t really ready to talk to complete strangers in whatever game I was about, or not about, to play. I talked to ‘SteveUK’ and ‘November’ via the keyboard messaging, and was pleasantly surprised to here that Dreamcast sales were very high this Christmas from Steve (who worked/works in a retail gaming store). But the best part about not playing any games online was to run about around the information centre as the little virtual character! There was no point in this, but the info centre resembled a kind of space pod – superb lighting effects inside, subtle as they were they still impressed me. I change my virtual colours a few times, and tried to get out yet again into the Planet Ring world, but no luck. Line Disconnect… I tried testing to see if the server was still down on Christmas Day, it was still down, and so I left the game on the shelf until and got down to some serious Christmas food eating and present giving/receiving! I tried the game again on the 29th and at 1:30 am I was delighted to see that the server was up and running! I played online for around 2 whole hours, and the microphone worked! I went straight to Dream Dorobo and played the game with ‘Big Tom’ from Merseyside – seeing that I had never played before we did appallingly! I could hea
      r him clearly through the TV speaker, and obviously he could he me! I then played with Technophobe who had been most helpful in giving advice about the microphone before hand, but we still did poorly as he’d never played before, and this was my second go. I now knew what the actually objectives in the game were, and looked for some other people to play with. Sega’s idea is to get people communicating whilst playing the game, and co-operating in order to succeed – it’s all about teamwork, and it is superb! There are only two people playing at once, each of you are assigned a virtual character, different to the Planet Ring virtual character, and one person has to control their player round one of many different mazes in order to collect treasure! There are special pieces of treasure that can be collected, as well as smaller treasure. The virtual player can carry up to 3 special treasures, but gets a lot slower as the load increases. The player that is not controlling this virtual character has to direct the other player to get all of these treasures – you have to speak clearly giving instructions like ‘up, down, left…watch out!’ and so on, and has to direct the active player back to a car without them being caught by ‘police’ in the form of virtual dogs and whistle shaped characters! It is very strange, incredibly difficult for me to explain, but is great fun to play. When one player makes it back to the car, the roles of both people are reversed. When a player returns to the car the treasure is converted into $, which represents your score. I managed to find a player all the way in Holland called Tsunami, who was quite drunk I think, but still able to concentrate on the game. He had just had a party with all his mates there – shouting down the line a few times, apparently – he’d had his own ‘discotheque’ their! I think I must have played with them about
      15 times! Some of the time it was his friends, but they all spoke English well, so it was easy to play and understand – and really quite funny. After some great navigation on both our parts (you get a joint score) we managed to rank in at 5th in Europe! We rose from the grade ‘Mugger’ (a low grade reflecting a small amount of money stolen), to a ‘Robber’ (a ‘B’ grade) and made it to the ‘Thief’ (A grade) on many occasions, raking in a superb score of $3275!!! The game is absolutely hilarious thanks to the design and aspects of the game that happen during play – such as ‘heliuming voices’ this is the computer trying to make you get caught (where a police dog or whistle catches you and sends you back to the start, losing all you money on that trip), because your voices become really squeaky as though you’d just inhaled a few balloons worth of helium! This means that you can’t understand the instructions given, but is just so funny it doesn’t matter. Planet Ring is definitely a game that you have to play to appreciate! After reaching 5th in Europe, I disconnected, and will soon go back online to play some more! At present there are 3 other games in operation. To enter each one you must direct you virtual character to the chosen online game, which will be obvious to find, and then sit down at one of the online game tables. You can either hope that there’ll be someone sitting on their own, so you can join them, or you can send a message to anyone online at the time, and invite them to a particular online game! I have played all four games available now, but there should be some more arriving soon! · Splash! I was useless at this virtual 3D battleships game, and lost every single time – so I haven’t gone back there since! I think you can actually use the microphone in this game. It isn’t essential, although this option may be
      in the other game Soar. · Soar! There are many separate games in this online game: either have a Grand Prix, or play a game where you have to get to the top of a spiral thing in an air capsule/pod. This is very hard to control, but is available for many players – I think eight players can join in! · Bubble Ball: I couldn’t believe that I won this game on my first go! I have never played this since seeing that it wasn’t that much fun, and I didn’t have a clue what I was doing! This is for 4 players, but I really cannot describe what the game is about! I won though – yeah! · Dream Dorobo: As you can probably tell, I like this game, and think it’s one of the most original and innovative online games that has ever been created. It’s a treasure hunt type of game, with 8 different levels of difficulty – the higher the level, the higher the amount of money each piece of treasure is worth! The general overall presentation is excellent. It’s invitingly simple, and boasts bold, colourful lively graphics and a superb sound track! You can choose all your options including the virtual characters body colour and trousers colour; your age; the languages you speak (so that people can look at your profile if they are from another country – useful for communications purposes in dream dorobo); as well as your kindness, intelligence and looks levels. Planet Ring is a superb addition to the growing online world of gaming brought to you by Sega and is exclusive to Dreamcast. This is an experience that you simply cannot miss out on! It brings people from different countries together and makes them play together, which is a good thing. The actual world revolves as you move round it and one half is actually day whilst the other is at night! The little touches make the game that little bit more special than the rest, and shows the designers genial and creativity – from the fis
      h to the trees and actual gameplay. Even if the graphics weren’t that good it wouldn’t matter because the gameplay is superb, but the graphics are great – there is no time lag at all, and so it’s even better! The online downside is that my phone bill will rise each month rapidly! Superb. 10/10 100% Essential gaming! D1A1

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