D-2: Judgement Day
D-2, the sequel to the Saturn/PS horror game D, had a twisted, development schedule. Originally planned for a console, that never came to market. The game then found it’s way to the Dreamcast courtesy of Warp.
In D-2, you assume the role of Laura Parton, the silent heroine from D, as well as the Saturn horror game and “Alien” rip-off Enemy Zero. In D-2, we find Laura on a flight to Canada. The plane is taken over by terrorists, as a shaman incants a strange spell. If you think this is weird, just wait things are just beginning. The 747 goes down in the icy wastes of northern Canada.
Laura, now unable to remember much of anything, meets fellow survivor, Kimberly, and sets out to find more survivors. But now hideous monsters not unlike those seen in John Carpenter’s The Thing, roam the wilderness.
The plot thickens as more people are found, and the survivors work their way to safety. The game spans 4 GD-ROMS, but is only about a 12-15 hour game.
In D-2, you roam the wilderness, finding items, for healing and use in puzzles and the like. You explore cabins, mines, and the wreak of the 747. When you are traveling out in the open, you are randomly attacked by monsters, as in an RPG.
In battle you use guns and grenades to kill the monsters before they get you. You can also heal wounds in battles. It gets tricky when facing multiple opponents. As you will either have to hit “X” or “B” to face them. And switching between the targets can get more than a little hectic. Bosses add a whole new level of challenge. Victory earns EXP points, that allow Level Up’s. These increase Laura’s HP as well as other attributes. There are many weapons in D2, a pistol, grenades, shotgun, and machine guns. However you will find that the machine guns are the best, as they have unlimited ammo, and fire at the fastest rate.
Aside from finding First-Aid Sprays, you can hunt for game, with a hunting rifle, it cannot be used in battle. You hunt rabbits, geese, and the occasional elk, you then cook the meat on a portable grill. Keeping well stocked on game, will greatly help your chances of survival, as it helps you save the rare first aid, for when you really need it. You can also heal by resting and leveling up. Taking time to do some hunting is often a nice diversion, from killing aliens.
The different areas you travel are huge. Thankfully, by the second disc, you get to make use of a snowmobile. The controls take a little getting used to, but it is better than having to walk great distances. Your snowmobile can get stuck, which is a pain in the ass, however if this happens, you can just load a game. You can also save your game anywhere.
The plot is well paced, if a little weird, it is also very Japanese. However it is not without Western influence, as it is clearly inspired by American horror films.
The sound department excels in D-2. No small task considering that more often than not Japanese horror games have terrible voice acting, and bad writing. D-2 is an exception. Sega did an excellent job translating the game, and hiring voice actors that give an excellent performance. The lip synching is also done well.
The music is good too. It is creepy and eerie. And fit’s the game very nicely. The sound effects are up to par as well, from the gunfire to the cries of the monsters.
The Graphics in D-2, as we would expect from a Dreamcast game are great. Even today they still hold up. Monsters and humans alike look great. The environments are repetitive by nature, I mean you are in the snowy wilderness. But the building interiors look nice.
D-2 suffers from the problems that many horror game suffer from. Such as constant back tracking, and the occasional obtuse puzzle.
Your snowmobile can get stuck permanently, which is very annoying. And being on it does not stop random attacks, it just slows them.
The game is also very Japanese, more so than most horror games, this may deter some, but they would be missing out.
The Bottom Line
Overall D-2, is one of the best horror games for the Dreamcast. As well as one of the best of the Asian horror games.