Climax Co., Ltd

Climax Entertainment logo ©Climax Co., Ltd.

Climax Entertainment logo ©Climax Co., Ltd.

Climax Co., Ltd better known as Climax Entertainment are a recently defunct Japanese developer & publishing studio who were established in April ’90. At the time of their Dreamcast releases they had their management offices in the Musashino-Shi district of Tokyo, Japan. They also operated a satellite development studio in the Shinjuku-Ku district of Tokyo. According to their archived homepage Climax listed their primary business interests as “computer planning, development & Production  and the planning and production of television and radio products” © Climax entertainment.

While i haven’t been able to locate any information about the company’s involvement in any television projects Climax were certainly involved in broadcast radio. The company had it’s own radio show which was initially called ‘RAIDIONS’ which seems to have evolved over the years. By the amount of information i could find the show’s most popular incarnation was ‘TV GAME RAIDIONS R’ which seems to have been a variety show featuring articles about game software & karaoke as well as other topical elements. According to the archived ‘TV GAME RAIDIONS R’ webpage the show was broadcast every Sunday from 5:30~6:00 on radio Osaka & on Radio Japan every Wednesday from 00:00 ~00 :30. Not a lot of information still exists for the show but below you’ll find the archived webpage for ‘TV GAME RAIDIONS R’ which features some basic information. © Climax Entertainment.

https://web.archive.org/web/19970605020506fw_/http://www.climax.co.jp:80/staff/kan/tvg.html

Climax Entertainment are probably best known for their early games on the Sega Mega Drive which includes prestigious titles like Shinning & the Darkness, Shinning Force The Legacy of the Gods & Landstalker. While the company had been established for over thirty years by the time they became defunct Climax Entertainment were never a prolific developer or publisher with less than twenty titles attributed to the company.

After the success of the 16Bit era Climax Entertainment’s most successful franchise would  undoubtedly be the RUNABOUT series. The first instalment of which was released for the Sony PlayStation in ’97. The game was both well reviewed by critics and seemed a popular title at retail. While Climax Entertainment developed the game, it was published by YANOMAN games which in all honesty, i’m completely unfamiliar with as a publisher.

After the relative popularity of the first game it was hardly a surprise that Climax intended to capitalise on its success and they issued a press announcement that stated they intended to release the sequel RUNABOUT 2 on the 18th of November ’99. What was surprising is that only one week later after Climax had announced that the sequel was coming to the PlayStation they announced the next instalment of the franchise was headed to the Dreamcast.

Little actual information was released in the press announcement apart from confirmation that the game wasn’t a port of the upcoming PlayStation sequel and unusually Super Runabout’s intended release date of the 25th of May ’00. Generally release dates aren’t confirmed in such a precise manner so far from their scheduled release. You’ll find the archived announcement of Climax’s Dreamcast exclusive instalment which at the time had the tentative title of Super Runabout linked to below. (C) 2000 Climax Entertainment All Rights Reserved.

https://web.archive.org/web/20000407112529/http://www.climax.co.jp/game/srb/srb_1.html

The first of Climax entertainment’s titles to be published for the Dreamcast was Super Runabout which was released on the 25th of May & retailed for ¥5,800. The game also contains a two VMU downloadable game called “Runabout” which requires 128 blocks free to download & Climax Editors which i believe takes eight blocks per edit. Below I’ve linked to the games entry on the Dreamcast catalogue. © 2000 CLIMAX © SEGA

http://web.archive.org/web/20140804024234/http://sega.jp/dc/000508/

Super Runabout pre-release logo © 1999 Climax

Super Runabout pre-release logo © 1999 Climax

To help promote the game before release Climax distributed a 非売品 trial at the Spring Tokyo Game Show ’00. This trial was displayed in a lanyard that attendees could wear around their necks which would’ve had the bonus of advertising the game to passers by. Climax don’t seem to be listed as an exhibitor at that years TGS so i assume they displayed their software on another company’s booth unfortunately, i haven’t managed to find who that was. Climax pressed 10,000 Not for Sale disc’s and those not given away at the Spring TGS ’00 were in a jewel case & distributed to game stores across Japan to promote the games impending release. My personal copy of one of the jewel cased ‘Not for Sale’ versions of Super Runabout is shown below in the relevant 非売品 section.

Climax Entertainment continued to support the game post release and promoted the game with an official Super Runabout replay contest on the 13th of June 2000. I’ve linked to the contest below & by using the link you can see the winners of the competition. (c) 2000 Climax Entertainment All Rights Reserved.

https://web.archive.org/web/20010501203733/http://srb.dricas.ne.jp/srb/contest.html

Super Runabout is essentially a mission based driving game which is set in a  imagined representation of San Francisco. Initially your given the choice of two  scenarios. The first of which is scenario A “The poor have no leisure” which tells the games story through a family auto repair business & scenario B “Bad news has Wings” which is from the perspective of the local police department. The actual difference between the two scenarios isn’t that great but each feature emblems which allows you to unlock new vehicles exclusive to your chosen scenario.

The game features thirty-two widely different vehicles to use in the game while they are not licensed they are similar in nature to actual real world vehicles much like the games representation of the city of San Francisco. The modes of transport that feature in Super Runabout varies greatly from an old style pick-up truck, a tank & an Italian style sports car even through to bizarrely a pig.

Super Runabout as you can imagine is not a serious driving simulation and the games genre is listed as ‘Drive Action’ which complements the game perfectly. The game is essentially a mission based driving game which encapsulates a real sense of fun in it’s design. Unlike more traditional objective based racing titles the missions on offer in the game range from driving round the city picking up ingredients to make hot dogs or stopping a runaway cable car to locating bombs that have been placed around the city which you disarm by driving into them.

A general sense of fun prevails throughout Super Runabout and the game has many little touches which enhance the games experience. Things like every time your car does a jump the distance is displayed on screen to the sheer destructive mayhem that you can cause just while trying to complete your current objective. Almost everything in the game features destructible elements which while at first, you’ll try to avoid crashing into other vehicles or objects it soon becomes addictive to destroy as much as possible while your navigating the games city. The destructibility of the city environment is celebrated with the inclusion of a counter which tracks the amount of damaged you’ve caused updated in realtime. This is strangely satisfying as you try to cause ever greater amounts of damage which in turn generate massive amounts of cash on the ‘amount’ meter.

The second and final title that Climax Entertainment published for the Japanese Dreamcast is slightly unusual in that it’s actually the slightly enhanced western version of Super Runabout. After the games western debut it was re-released in Japan on the 21st of June ’01 & retailed for ¥3,800. The game featured different colour vehicles compared to the original Japanese incarnation of Super Runabout as well as some bug fix’s. The main improvement over the previous release is a improved handling model as well as more VMU downloadable games which haven’t been translated into Japanese. You’ll find the games entry on the official Dreamcast catalogue linked to below. ©2000,2001 CLIMAX @Sega

http://web.archive.org/web/20140804021943/http://sega.jp/dc/010606/

The first time the Japanese public got to experience Super Runabout ~ San Francisco Edition ~ for themselves was at the Sega “GameJam in ZeppTokyo” which was a promotional event held between the 14th & 15th of April ’01. The focus of the GameJam was to showcase upcoming titles that were planned to be released early in ’01. You’ll find the list of titles exhibited at the GameJam event which includes Super Runabout ~ San Francisco Edition ~ linked to below. © SEGA CORPORATION 2001.

https://web.archive.org/web/20010702155823/http://www.sega.co.jp:80/dreamcast/gamejam/title.html

Personally, I’ve not actually played the Japanese incarnation of Super Runabout ~ San Francisco Edition ~ but i have & played the European edition of the game Super Runabout: The Golden State. Apart from a basic localisation and the previously mentioned  improvement’s I don’t think anything else was added for the Japanese re-release of the game but i can’t be certain. So i’ll include a link to Climax’s archived site for Super Runabout ~ San Francisco Edition ~ which details the changes from the original version. (c) 2001 Climax Entertainment All Rights Reserved. 

https://web.archive.org/web/20010714081522/http://www.climax.co.jp/game/srb2/srb_sfe.html

I’d recommend picking up a copy of the game if you’re after a fun driving game that doesn’t take itself too seriously you could do a lot worse than picking up a copy of Super Runabout in either of it’s Dreamcast incarnations. I suspect with how easy & cheaply it is to acquire a copy for the most complete version of the game you should probably choose Super Runabout ~ San Francisco Edition ~ but in all honestly there’s not much difference between the two versions of the game.

While Climax Entertainment only published two titles for the Dreamcast they did actually develop four games for the system. The first title was クライマックスランダーズ or Climax Landers which is an early RPG title for the Dreamcast which uses characters from previous Climax games & was published by Sega themselves.

クライマックスランダーズ

Link not active yet

The final title that Climax Entertainment had a development credit attributed to them on the Dreamcast was Sega’s  バーチャアスリート or Virtua Athlete. The company’s logo is displayed at the very end of the games credits but i’m unsure what part they actually played in the games development.

バーチャアスリート

Link not active yet

 

 

T-22101M Super Runabout

 

T-22101M Super Runabout front

T-22101M Super Runabout front

Back

T-22101M Super Runabout back

T-22101M Super Runabout back

 

T-22102M Super Runabout: San Francisco Edition

 

Front

 

T-22102M Super Runabout: San Francisco Edition front

T-22102M Super Runabout: San Francisco Edition front

Back

T-22102M Super Runabout: San Francisco Edition back

T-22102M Super Runabout: San Francisco Edition back

 

SAMPLE covers

 

SAMPLE T-22101M Super Runabout

 

Front

 

SAMPLE T-22101M Super Runabout front

SAMPLE T-22101M Super Runabout front

Back

SAMPLE T-22101M Super Runabout back

SAMPLE T-22101M Super Runabout back

 

SAMPLE T-22102M Super Runabout: San Francisco Edition

 

Front

 

SAMPLE T-22102M Super Runabout: San Francisco Edition front

SAMPLE T-22102M Super Runabout: San Francisco Edition front

Back

SAMPLE T-22102M Super Runabout: San Francisco Edition back

SAMPLE T-22102M Super Runabout: San Francisco Edition back

 

(NOT FOR SALE) 非売品 discs/media

 

According to the official Climax site the company produced 10,000 trial discs to promote Super Runabout. The trial is available in two different sorts of packaging the first is a lanyard that contains the disc that was distributed at the Tokyo Game show. The last known is a more traditional jewel cased variant that was either given away by retailers or used in a storefront advertising campaign. I currently only have the jewel cased version & that is pictured below.

610-7803 Super Runabout

610-7803 Super Runabout

 

The only other media i could find relating to Climax’s Dreamcast titles was The Surf Coasters, Super Runabout Original Soundtrack which was released on the 25th of November ’99 & retailed for ¥ 2160.

WGCA-1 The Surf Coasters Super Runabout Original Soundtrack

WGCA-1 The Surf Coasters Super Runabout Original Soundtrack

The Surf Coasters Super Runabout Original Soundtrack catalogue code is WGCA-1 & it has ten tracks and it’s genre is listed as surf rock.

Unfortunately, i’ve been unable to locate any guide book for either of Climax’s Dreamcast Super Runabout games. I would’ve expected one for the original game as both previous instalments on the PlayStation had guide books published for them.

Thanks for taking the time to read this entry about Climax Entertainment & their two self published Dreamcast titles. If you have a picture of the lanyard trial i’d be grateful if you’d allow me to use it on the site. If i’ve missed any more titles that the company either received development or a co-development credit for on the Dreamcast please get in touch either directly through the site or on Twitter @dreamcastcollector

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