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Game Profile
INFO BOX
PLATFORM:
Dreamcast
PUBLISHER:
Sega
DEVELOPER:
Visual Concepts
GENRE: Action
PLAYERS:   1-4
RELEASE DATE:
September 13, 2001
ESRB RATING:
Everyone
 Written by Akash Suri  on May 25, 2001

First Impressions: Sega isn't talking baby gibberish with this online multiplayer game!


Visual Concepts, Sega's premiere American based game house. Mention their name to the hardcore and the amazing Sega Sports lineup will be at the forefront of their thoughts. The 2K games like NFL, NBA, WSB, and NHL are the jewels in Visual Concepts' crown. But contrary to popular belief, these guys aren't just sports fanatics. They can also create meaningful and profound games like?..Ooga Booga?!

No, that's not Ryan reverting to baby talk. It's Visual Concepts' very original and very wacky new game. Though it's classified as a strategy game, this game would probably be more at home in the First Person Shooter genre. No, you aren't running through beautifully textured arenas, carrying a railgun, and blowing the stuffing out of anything that moves. Rather, you're taking on the role of a witch doctor, representing your tribe, and throwing powerful voodoo spells at anything that moves. Perplexed? Read on?

Ooga Booga (you never get used to saying that) sports a fairly straightforward story line. You live on a tropical island seemingly akin to Hawaii, on this island is the volcano goddess appropriately named Ooga Booga. You, the player, will be a member in one of four tribes; these tribes will compete in various contests to appease Ooga Booga. Simple, right? Well, so is the rest of the game. It seems that Visual Concepts is taking an approach to this game similar to that of Sonic Team while they were working on Chu Chu Rocket. Meaning an extremely simple game, which is MEANT to be played by 4 players, either 3 of your friends in your living room or 3 complete strangers from across America. That's right, as with their sports games, Visual Concepts will also include full online play?and people say Dreamcast is dead.

Visual Concepts has a different type of dream for this game, rather than just online play, VC wants to build an online community. Not just with the same old bulletin board system, chat rooms, and buddylists. Ooga Booga will allow gamers to create their own tribes and recruit friends to join them. You can then schedule clan events and competitions; perhaps even a little Survivor will be thrown in the mix. If VC succeeds in this bold attempt, Ooga Booga may even replace Phantasy Star Online as the premier online console game. Well, we know the game is online, and that's all nice and good ? but what else does Ooga Booga have to offer?

Gamers will have a many different modes to choose from in this Sega Net game, thus far only a few have been confirmed, but rest assured that the minds at VC are adding more everyday. The first mode is obvious, death match. But this isn't any ordinary death match, the weapons and methods of destruction are all as goofy as the title and maintain a very non-violent nature. The main weapon at your disposal will be your magical powers, throw fireballs and hurl he elements upon your enemies. Then laugh shamelessly as they run towards the ocean to extinguish their, ummm, buttocks. You can also use an item called a ?tiki-head? which seems to be the Ooga Booga version of the land mine. Place it in an inconspicuous area, and when your enemy comes near it, it'll fire projectiles and send your adversary fleeing. You'll also be able to control a few different types of animal life, such as the boar, which can be ridden and driven into enemies. Also, you can use birds to fly around the island. Not too flashy, but still pretty cool, and guaranteed to be fun. As mentioned above, the point of all this is to win the Heart of Ooga Booga, can you do it? I know I'll sure have a heck-of-a time trying. Another confirmed mode is the tribal soccer game, in which you use all of the above weapons (and then some) to push a large soccer ball in your enemy's goal. Also acting as the goalie by keeping the ball away from your own goal. Here's hoping the other modes are just as crazy as this one. Some other modes that have been mentioned are Boar Racing, Tiki Wars, and a Scavenger Hunt among others. Sounds good, BRING IT ON!

Of course, VC has thrown in a few extra things to keep you busy. For example, as in a few recent Sega games, you have a character design mode. Customize your character- or kahuna, as they're referred to in the game ? by designing their mask and body structure. Then show off your character to all your on-line friends, a la Phantasy Star Online. Again, the online mode will be a lot more than just playing online, and the guys and gals over at VC should come up with some pretty unique ideas.

From what we've seen so far, the game is quite beautiful The island setting looks pretty great, and while it doesn't flex the power of Dreamcast too much, the game could hold it's own in a beauty contest. Its got a cartoon-y feel to it, not to the extent of Jet Grind Radio, but you can definitely feel that it is there. You'll get a variety of different islands to compete on, and each promises to be different in look and feel. But remember, this game isn't about looks, or sophisticated gameplay, it's about having fun with your friends, on or off line.

We haven't got to sample much of the sound yet, but it's pretty fair to expect a tropical soundtrack. VC may surprise us with some pop-culture music, but it may not fit the atmosphere of the game. Sound effects are pretty much guaranteed to be good, after all, you can hear every crunch in NFL2K, so why not every, uhhhh?tribal chant in Ooga Booga.

Final Thoughts
This may not be the most hyped game, but Sega is pushing it to a certain extent. In fact if you head over to Sega.com and check out their event page, you'll find an Ooga Booga contest, and the grand prize is to have your likeness published in the game. I'm sure that's the dream of gamers everywhere. This game is set to release sometime this summer, and may very well be a sleeper hit as Virtua Tennis was last year. I know I'll be eagerly awaiting Ooga Booga, and the chance to whoop on all you unsuspecting gamers, so Watch Out!


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