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Even since before the announcement, itís been clear that Sega Europe donít treat Europe with the same respect as Sega America and Sega Japan treat their respective areas, which has lead to several things in European games if they make it to us at all. Well several of us at DCS have decided enough is enough with Sega Europe, and so, have decided to start importing our games, so just for you, here is a little FAQ into the world of importing.

 

Why Import?

Simple, you often get a superior version of the same game.  You can get games earlier than their PAL counterparts, you get extra modes, you can get it cheaper than it would cost to buy in the shops, and you can get games which wonít be released in Europe, including the niche from Japan such as SNKís uber hip, ďCool Cool Toon!Ē the best of American sports, NBA2K1 and NFL2K1 being the main games which spring to mind! Enough reasons?

 

What do I need?

Playing import games on your DC is simple, and there are a variety of options available to you. You can:

  1. Buy a US machine specifically for playing NTSC games if you got a good budget that is!
  2. The second, and probably best option is to purchase an Action Replay CDX. www.gameplay.com are one web site which stock them, and then mostly independent computer games shops stock them. It is simply a CD, and a special memory card, which cons your DC into thinking itís an NTSC console.
  3. Action Replay CDX Demo given with an issue of the now obsolete DC-UK will also boot up U.S. Games on a PAL DC
  4. Utopia Boot disc, this is the cheapest method, but also the least reliable, however if you donít fancy any of the above, or havenít got the CDX demo then you can download it from www.dcemulation.com and provided you have a CD-Writer can burn your very own Boot disc! Klass J

 

Where should I go for my Import games?

There are a lot of places in Town Centres, and many stores on the Web which retail Import games.  Beware of some internet sites though, make sure you know who youíre dealing with!  Simple rules to follow:

  1. If youíve never heard of them before, and donít know any Ďhappy customersí of theirs.. then we suggest you steer clear.
  2. If the price sounds too good to be true, then it probably is too good to be true!
  3. Make sure youíre aware of their international shipping prices, and any other charges that may be incurred.

We tend to use www.tronixweb.com for many reasons.  They are reliable, helpful, but most importantly fast! Average delivery time is around 4 days, which is faster than a lot of established UK mail order companies! They generally charge the US RRP for any games, and then $6 delivery, it can often work out cheaper than buying the PAL version despite this. Tronix arenít the cheapest, but itís worth the extra for the reliability!

If you havenít got a credit card, then donít worry, you can still get your import gaming goodness from the high street.  However, you will have to pay extra for most of the games as they take a charge quite a bit for importing, so no bargains here! There are several UK retailers which stock import games, however, they only tend to be found in larger cities,

2 of the major import retailers are GameStation, and Computer Exchange, which are both pretty good, on service and customer care  (the all important warranty on the product, remember the warranty that comes with the game doesnít count in the UK)

Problems you may Encounter

Although rare, there are some problems it is important you are aware may arise with importing games, so just to keep you in the know, here are the problems I have come across with importing.

  1. Some games only boot up in 50hz (a recent release being Daytona) unless you use a VGA monitor, or the NTSC mode the full version of CDX allows you to use. If you canít use either of these, then u cannot play the game online.
  2. Some games donít work with the SCART lead and so need to be played either through the VGA box, or with a standard RF lead supplied with every DC console. (Skies of Arcadia and Unreal Tournament are 2 games like this!)
  3. Some games only work through a VGA box or NTSC compatible TV no matter what mode you boot it up with through the CDX however this is an extremely rare problem and so far I only know of one game which has this problem (the game being Experimental Gimmick Gear)

Other than those above there should be no other problems at all with importing games, if you know of any others simply email them to me on the email address below!

Current Recommended imports

Hereís just a list of the titles we currently recommend you should consider importing, although donít worry about importing a game if it isnít on the list!

  1. Daytona USA 2001, well this HAD to be number one on the list, fantastic graphics, insane speed, and ultra hyper power slides! What more needs to be said, other than that the king of 3D racers is back, with style! If you donít believe me, then just check out our reviews here! Daytona USA costs around £30 to import including shipping!
  2. Unreal Tournament, we know the PC version was fantastic, but only if u had a ninja monkey of a PC to run it on! The superior console version surprisingly comes not onto PS2, but onto our very own Dreamcast with slightly simplified graphics, the frame rate (which was a dog at times on PS2) is now a lot smoother, and the DC US version at least, has an 8-player online mode, however ďdue to reasons beyond their controlĒ Infogrames had to remove it from the PAL version which isnít due out until June, (out now in USA)! Like Daytona USA, Unreal Tourney is about £30 to import, and for lessÖyou are getting more!!! With Online play included, youíd be a fool to miss either of these!
  3. Sega Smash Pack, are you a fan of the classic 16-bit Mega Drive hits? Or even a Virtua Cop 2 mad psycho-maniac? OR just looking for another excuse to dust down that DC light gun which you havenít touched since you finished House of the Dead 2? Well, if you fit into any of them, you might well want to import yourself a copy of Segaís retro Smash Pack, itís at a budget price too, less than £25 including postage to be more specific!
  4. Spider Man, for those of you who missed his classic outing on the PSX, Spiderman is back on the DC fresh from Tony Hawks 2 with the usual love and attention Neversoft games have been getting! In fact, the game is even ported to DC by the same company responsible for Tony Hawks 1 + 2, thatís Trey Arch to those who donít know, and theyíve done an equally good job of porting Spiderman to DC, well worth a look!
  5. Armada, this title was originally due to be released in the UK way back in March 2000, as youíve probably noticed if youíve kept up to date on the DC games scene the game just simply never appeared. Armada is a 3D Space sim/shoot Ďem up/RPG, packed with everything youíd expect from a Metro 3D game, you explore the galaxy (which is endless, you can go on forever, just as in space itself, without ever looping back around so thankfully there is a return to centre option!) Mixing classic shoot em up action, with a little bit of simulation from the physics, and RPG elements, Armada is a different experience from anything else on the DC, and at £15 including p&p from tronix, youíve got absolutely no reason not to import this little undiscovered gem!

 

Weíll add more games as the FAQ is extended, if youíve got a question about importing games then simply mail them to mike@dreamcastsource.co.uk

*NOTE This can lead to problems when trying to play online as the US games are running around 17% faster, which means you can be constantly disconnected. Something to think about when buying games purely for the online option (recent examples of why you might be doing this being Daytona USA, and more recently Unreal Tournament) but playing through VGA this is not a problem as the game still runs at full speed!

Michael Rogers, mike@dreamcastsource.co.uk

-- ďimport freak!"

Article by:

Mike

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