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Re: Metropolis Street Racer (MSR) Review

Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 11:31 am
by elmagicochrisg
Wikipedia wrote:The PAL version of MSR was released three times in total. In order to meet a November 2000 deadline in the UK, the first release had a number of major bugs. Sega Europe subsequently recalled this first batch and released a second PAL version that eliminated most of the major bugs, but not all (see below). They also offered replacements disks free of charge to those who had purchased a bugged copy. The North American release and the final PAL version were both free of major bugs, although some minor ones remained.

Known MSR Bugs

Completing Street Race challenges without the required number of Kudos would be considered successful nonetheless (first PAL version);

The game would sometimes corrupt VMUs (first PAL version);

After some time of playing, Tokyo races would always be at night (first PAL version);

When using a keyboard to enter names etc., the keys were mapped incorrectly. Pressing C would give B, pressing B would give A etc. (first PAL version);

The "Quick Race" screen in the multiplayer mode would be blank and thus impossible to play (first and second PAL version);

The Alfa Romeo GTV cannot be gained legitimately as the 'time to beat' was set too low at 31 seconds (first and second PAL version);

The Street Race in Chapter 17, Challenge 8 cannot be beaten legitimately as it was mistakenly set to infinite laps (first and second PAL version);

During wet conditions, it still rains inside tunnels and under bridges (all versions);

Ghost cars loaded from a VMU can become corrupt and crash into the sides without reason. This includes ghosts saved within Time Trials (all versions);
Two Time Attack records (Asakusa Eki-Iruguchi and Koen Minami) are pre-set to 0.000 (all versions);

Creating a Time Trial with 'misty' or 'foggy' weather will default to 'clear' weather once a ghost car is saved (all versions);

When selecting a personal music playlist as the default choice, MSR reverts to its own preset list when resuming a game (all versions).

Re: Metropolis Street Racer (MSR) Review

Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 12:21 pm
by rjay63

Sorry the TV show (DOF6) is actually error! :oops:


It was actually myself who updated MSR's bug list on Wikipedia! I've spoken to someone who owns the 3rd PAL version and the serial numbers are the same as the 2nd version. I own 3 PAL copies and all are the 2nd version, therefore I bought the US version.


Back in the day there was a lot of criticism as well as praise for MSR. The US reviews were generally more sceptical and certain DC fans were very damning, especially after Sega Europe had hyped this game so much in the DC press. I'll post some links and discuss this in more details later (at work at present).

Re: Metropolis Street Racer (MSR) Review

Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 5:44 pm
by rjay63

A lot of pointers for my review can be found in the original Planet DC write-up from 2001...same score as well!


There are only a couple of tunes I find truly awful, namely "I Can Still Believe" and "Don't Wait". The majority of the others just don't compliment MSR, especially if you're speeding along in Time Attack. Even my chosen 3 tracks sound dated to what was being played in dance clubs circa '99/00'. As I stated in my review, MSR's soundtrack has always divided opinion and continues to do so. Mind you, I'm not as scathing as this paragraph from Electric Circus's review:

"....And although it really has nothing to do with MSR’s gameplay, we do have to make special mention of the soundtrack because it is so immeasurably, shockingly, paint-peelingly bad, it almost defies description. Cheesy guitar rock, cheesy R&B and cheesy country so bad it would make roast chicken magnate Kenny Rogers turn in his grave, if it weren’t for the fact he’s still alive. It’s as though one week on Star Search they gave all the runners-up a consolation prize of being able to record a song for the MSR soundtrack. Even generic, mindless Racing Game Techno (TM) would have been better than this. The worst of the worst are a country song that includes the line - no lie here - "She had to buy some underwear....And asked if I would take her there", and a desperately pathetic Will Smith wannabe whose name, and I hope I misheard this, sounded like MC H*m*.

The most ferocious comment about this game came from a post on Bizarre Creations old EZboard forum circa 2000. It was written by a hardcore Sega Rally 2/F355 fan:

.......Bugs or not, I think MSR has been hysterically overrated by all and sundry. For me, it doesn't have 128bit quality. The graphics appear nice at first, but after you play it for a short while you notice some alarming discrepencies (apart from the dull car models) - the way the cars look when it's foggy or misty is almost embarrasing, and there is severe slowdown (particularly on night-time races) when there's a lot of cars onscreen at once. Rainy weather & tyre smoke slow it even further. Another thing, the night races are far too dark - you can hardly see where the hell you're going! This might be realistic..I dont know, because I don't live in London, San Fransico or Tokyo..but the gameplay shouldn't suffer at the cost of being realistic. Even when playing MSR in daylight races, it appears very DULL - is there no sunshine in these cities for god's sake?!

Although MSR as a game, is quite playable, there is very little depth to it - because of the simplified physics employed in the handling routines, there are only a few ways to take a corner in the game. That, coupled with the fact that all of MSR's roads are perfectly flat - there's no height variations, small bumps, or undulations - these are the sort of things (and realistic handling physics) that were introduced three years ago (on a 32bit console, not a 128bit one) in Polyphony Digital's Gran Turismo. After playing GT/GT2, MSR comes across as being a rather shallow game by comparison, and seems as if it was developed with "casuals" in mind. Only the fact that there are hundreds of "tracks" and lots of races to take part in, saves MSR from total disaster in my opinion.

To play the real "Best Racer Ever", you still need a Dreamcast, but you need to buy a game that was made in Japan. Namely, AM2's Ferrari F355 Challenge. This is everything that MSR is not. Gorgeous to look at - rock-solid 60fps with no slowdown WHATSOEVER, beautiful weather effects, stunning car models... And a dream to play - accurate models of some of the world's finest tracks, realistic physics and handling characteristics which allow almost limitless depth to the gameplay, network race mode...F355 is a true 128bit game, and one which MSR will never live up to.

Re: Metropolis Street Racer (MSR) Review

Posted: Fri Dec 09, 2011 8:31 pm
by Neohound
I agree that F355 is a superb game. I think it's probably the greatest, certainly the purest, driving experience to be had on any console. But to compare it to MSR is disingenuous at best, and just plain ignorant at worst. They are two totally different animals, both in the way they play and also the people they attract.

F355 is essentially a driving simulator with a steep learning curve, not best suited to the casual or unskilled gamer. It had only one car(how hardcore is that !?) and the tracks were ones that had been previously used a thousand times before plus it was the end result of years of Sega honing it's arcade skills to perfection. Of course it may have been brilliant but it was in some ways a very simple formula rather than revolutionary, that's to say it wasn't a difficult concept to turn into a workable game. MSR was never intended to occupy the same ground. It was trying to open up driving games to a new audience and introduced several innovative ideas which have since been copied throughout the industry but at the time were out there and untried.

MSR isn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination, it is a flawed title that could have done with more development time (see the sequel on Xbox to see how it could have been|). However, on release it still managed to wow gamers, giving them whole cities to play in with a easy to learn handling concept that was both fun and deep. This fun factor runs throughout the game with everything putting a smile on my face from the drifting to the graphics to the radio. It was also edgy and exciting - you knew you were playing something new and different.

Oh, that reviewer said there were no height variations in MSR's tracks ? Well it may be over ten years since I played it but I distinctly remember going over bumps in the London sections and as for the US did he forget the hills ? lol

I must admit that no song from MSR has ever found its way into my ipod/cd player ! But I still say it's variety and the way the radio was part of the game lifted it up beyond the average
(for those days) fare. I guess we'll always arguing over that ! haha :D

One last thing. Which driving game had the WORST soundtrack of any game in history ?

That right, F355 !!!!! :lol:

Re: Metropolis Street Racer (MSR) Review

Posted: Fri Dec 09, 2011 10:29 pm
by rjay63

Thanks for the reply, I would certainly agree that F355 is a million miles away from MSR. It's only in full-on simulations where 'small bumps and undulations' matter (they make you fight with the steering). When the playable MSR demo was released, the handling may have been more realistic (you slid when you released the break and turned the car, same as most others racers) but player feedback suggested it was too punishing. Hence the rather unique accelerator-brake-handbrake physics in the final version, probably done to compliment the DC pad as it works better than a steering wheel!

As for Project Gotham, Bizarre Creation have stated MSR was a necessary first step so they could learn from their mistakes. So in a way, MSR's failings helped PGR1 become the success it was. In return the PGR series helped save the memory of MSR from obscurity. Basically the pheonix (PGR1) needed the ash (MSR) to rise up from! ;)

Om the subject of the soundtrack, you may not be aware but a 'hidden tune' seems to exist inside the game. *VERY* occasionally it will play after completing a race.


Re: Metropolis Street Racer (MSR) Review

Posted: Fri Dec 09, 2011 10:42 pm
by rjay63
Here's the low-down behind the bugged PAL versions.

Bizarre Creations (BC) rewrote the game from scratch after E3 1999. Over a year later, the new build was ready for testing however Sega Europe (SE) were overstretched at the time. So instead they sent a single lead tester to BC's studios who formed a team from anyone he could recruit and train. It was a decision that would cost both SE & BC dear........

The game was released in Europe on Friday November 3 2000. Almost immediately UK DC forums began filling up with complaints that races/chapters were being unlocked even though players hadn't earned enough Kudos. When people began contacting SE they initially denied there was a problem and that no policy was in placed to issue replacements. After complaints began to swell, SE eventually admitted certain copies were bugged and people should send their defective discs in exchange for a bug-free copy. Unfortunately these bug-free copies would not be ready until December 12, over a month since MSR was first released!

In the meantime DC fans were blaming both SE and BC for the faults and denouncing magazines reviews from EDGE, DC-UK and Official Dreamcast magazine for not making them aware such problems existed. A lot of forum criticisms have been lost to history however you can read some from the Usenet archives in Google Groups:

Although players did eventually get their bug free copies, two things had happened by that time...both on November 24 2000. Firstly the PAL release of Shenmue; at launch it sold twice as many copies as MSR and became the main focus for European DC fans. Secondly the PAL release of the PS2 console became the main focus for everyone else. My guess is once MSR's bugs were discovered, a lot of potential buyers were put off and thus invested in one of the above instead.

Note: The US release of MSR was pushed back after Christmas to January 17 2001 as a result of PAL bugs. While sales were much better there than in Europe, a few days later news came in that Sega was ending Dreamcast production. :cry:

So was this saga the fault of Sega or Bizarre? Well, at the time Bizarre certainly 'hinted' on their forum and in emails to fans that Sega (as publisher for MSR) were responsible for quality control issues. In EDGE magazine #100, during a preview for Project Gotham, a senior employee at Bizarre Creations denounced the test team as "a room full of monkeys"! Personally I don't know or really care for that matter, it's all part of the MSR soap opera. Bizarre & Sega kissed and made up however, when they collarborated on The Club back in 2006.

I'll conclude with the following: if you are looking for the final, mainly bug free PAL version you have the best chance with discs stamped with mastering code MK-51022-0146SB (data side). The only way to really tell is to plug in two controllers and select 'Quick Race' in Multiplayer. If it actually lets you race instead of skipping staight to the results screen you have been successful! Or just buy the US version! :D

Re: Metropolis Street Racer (MSR) Review

Posted: Fri Dec 09, 2011 11:37 pm
by elmagicochrisg
Nice one. Thanks... ^^

Re: Metropolis Street Racer (MSR) Review

Posted: Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:12 am
by Neohound
Thanks for the info rjay, very interesting stuff.

That mystery tune, I've never heard that ! Does it always play over that vid ? I've never seen that either. Pretty cool seeing those London buses and taxis tearing round the streets and the lawnmowers.......well that's was just nuts lol :)

Re: Metropolis Street Racer (MSR) Review

Posted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 10:10 am
by rjay63

No, that video of the bonus cars is something I made. The tune only plays on the post-race menu screen. The lawnmower might look silly but according to archives actually it was a popular choice for fast times (especially on the smaller twisty courses).

I hope to update the Wiki page at some point as I have the 'making of' article and old news stories about MSR. My last edit was the 'online functions' section. You can view some of the official Dreamarena homepages here:*/*

No rankings were archived but I doubt they would have been credible, considering how easy it was to exploit the kudos system and hack MSR saves. According to an email I received from an ex-player, Sega actually stopped giving out mini-prizes as a result! :lol:

Re: Metropolis Street Racer (MSR) Review

Posted: Fri Dec 23, 2011 4:05 pm
by pcwzrd13
Hey rjay, I just noticed your video is being featured on the Dreamcast Junkyard blog.

http://the-dreamcast-junkyard.blogspot. ... racer.html

Cool stuff! :D