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SEGA GT Dreamcast: when prototypes win with Luigi!

SEGA GT, known as SEGA GT: Homologation Special in the land of the rising sun, is a racing game developed by WOW Entertainment and published by SEGA for the Dreamcast in 2000 and later, in 2002, for the PC. It is the first game in the SEGA GT franchise, which also includes SEGA GT 2002 and SEGA GT Online, both released exclusively for the Xbox.

With SEGA GT, SEGA's objective was clear: to demonstrate that the Dreamcast could do as well as Sony's future console, the Playstation 2, and the eagerly-awaited Gran Turismo PS2.

It's not just a question of following the curves. You'll also have to master the best cars in the GT category, pass the various licences and then achieve the ultimate joy: building your own car. What could be more exciting than fitting fitting a V12 in the chassis of a Mini?


Car settings must be as precise as possible to win on the 20 tracks available. SEGA GT is a true simulation, combining realism, fine graphics and an excellent sense of speed.

European pre-release cover (disc première press kit)

The power of the game's vehicles increases with each race and result. The first cars are easy to drive, then gradually, they don't drive in the same way. As they can be bought and earned as the player progresses, it's possible to build up a pretty nice garage, ranging from everyman cars to racing monsters like real GTs.

Based on the same principle as Gran Turismo, players have to pass a series of driving tests, requiring speed, dexterity and reflexes, to gain access to different categories (B, A, GT and an Extra Class featuring non-Japanese car models). As you move up the ranks, the cars become more imposing and the circuits more complex.

In the end, around 100 cars can be driven with the actual characteristics of the original models. They reflect reality both visually and in terms of driving sensations. In contrast to SEGA Rally and its Arcade approach, SEGA had chosen to focus its new license on Simulation. The vehicles are perfectly modeled, with Japanese automakers such as Suzuki, Madza and Subaru having contributed to the game's design.

SEGA GT's American beta-test phase lasted around 4 months. The cars needed a lot of attention from the testers to make their physics similar to that of real-life cars. SEGA GT underwent a great deal of fine-tuning during the tests.

The roar of motors, the smell of tire rubber, the pressure of a race, the adrenalin of driving at over 200 km/h...

Important: Before getting to the heart of the matter and presenting the prototype featured on the home page dedicated to my SEGA GT Dreamcast archives, it's important to know that although I'm the owner of the build analyzed below, its release does not belong to me. The ISO was donated to the Hidden Palace website as part of the special Dreamcast Deluge Project. It's hard not to mention this amazing SEGA GT build in this article...

By analyzing the prototype, the build was created on June 15, 2000 at 13:56:04. This multi-localized beta of SEGA GT Dreamcast was burned about 2 months before the final American version, dated August 10, 2000. In game, it's a mix between the Japanese and American versions. Modifications and additions to the NTSC version, as well as translation of the title, were in progress.  At first glance, the prototype seems close to a final version, except for a surprising discovery in the "Internet" option of the main menu!

SEGA GT Dreamcast Prototype video

Luigi is hiding here

Sony Gt2 Sega Gt Dreamcast prototype.jpg

Butchered names in credits


A consequence of Debug

Dreamcast prototype Sega Gt.jpg

What happened to the logos?

SEGA GT Dreamcast prototype.jpg

The text and grammar of the information displayed on the screen are different, indicating that the (literal?) English translation was a work in progress and not definitive.


Early prototype of Sega Gt Dreamcast.jpg



The "Grand Ending" credits accessible from the "Replay Booth" menu once the game is finished do not match those of the final Us version. Perhaps it's the Japanese vertical scrolling list of the people who worked on the game, or the credits were at this stage of the NTSC port unfinished, as might be suggested by profession names with missing letters such as "Program which will become Programmers", "Produce which will become Producer" or "Supervis which will become Supervisor". The text thanking the Sega of America Team (Peter Moore, Heather Kashner etc.) is missing. Thanks again to Heather for her testimonial about "The Sega Dreamcast Mobile Assault Tour" event!

In the "Car Dealer" menu, the American car brands "DODGE" and "FORD" don’t have their official logos yet. It's just a banal inscription with their name on the screen. This characteristic is repeated in the presentation sheets for American vehicles, which mention another manufacturer's name for the access road that can be read at the bottom of the screen. "DAIHATSU" temporarily replaces the real name "DODGE", while "TOYOTA" replaces "FORD". Car names and purchase prices may differ between the prototype and the final US version. In addition, since the Debug Menu option to show a car in the garage, some use the placeholder text "DUMMY".


By following the path "Championship" - "Memory Card", or simply in the "Memory Card" options of the main menu, a mini-game for the VMU can be downloaded. On the prototype, it's called HOMEPOCK and not POCKET GT. The localization of the mini-game hadn't even begun, since it's exactly the same as the one available for download on the Japanese version of SEGA GT. Moreover, its icon in the Dreamcast's main menu (without discs inserted) dedicated to save files corresponds to those deployed on Japanese consoles.

Where is Luigi?

The "Internet" mode hides a race selector ("Publishing Race Mode") specific to games in beta format, allowing players to teleport to the races of their choice. All tracks are available without the need to unlock them by progressing through the game. Two of them are played in environments unknown to the general public, as they are new races typical of the prototype:

Luigi, you're the best

Luigi Sega Gt Dreamcast.jpg

SonyGT2 COURSE: By separating the image, on the left of the screen (player interface), from the SonyGT2 COURSE track exactly in the middle on its vertical axis, Gran Turismo's Pikes Peak track appears twice, in its original form and then inverted, as if the race were reflected in water. All this forms the outline of an emblematic Nintendo character, Wario. The start/finish line, a red square on the mini-map showing the car's current position, is located in the Mario villain's posterior. Speaking of Big N, Luigi is also present. The character is modeled but has no animation. He holds the chequered flag to indicate the end of the race.

Go to know

Sega GT map test prototype.jpg

Developers were clearly having fun during the creation of Sega GT. This is the first known appearance of a character from a rival company in a Sega game, long before Sonic and Mario at the Olympic Games...

YURA COURSE: It's not really a race, but a kind of arena. It certainly corresponds to a test map used by the developers to evaluate the vehicles (modeling, settings, roadholding, etc.).

After selecting the race of one's choice, the prototype suggests choosing a vehicle and its color. They are all available without having to buy them in "Car Dealer".

By the way, Luigi was discovered literally 5 minutes before the prototype went online !

The Debug Menu

SEGA GT's Debug Menu is not easy to use, and takes some time to learn. To activate it, press the "Y" button on the main controller at any point except once a race has started. Then, a box on a blue background, reading "DRAM SIZE" and "DRAM FREE", appears at the top left of the screen.

The Debug Menu is made up of 26 different windows, allowing you to interact with the game in unconventional ways. The "Left" and "Right" triggers on the controller are used to move from one window to another. The directions of the "Dpad" or "Analog Stick", where permitted, are used to navigate within the blue menu box used by the developers. The "X" key acts as a validation/activation key from the Debug Menu, again when allowed. Information that may explain the function and usefulness of the selected Debug Menu window is represented by a succession of "X" letters, as if it were censored! The most important Debug Menu windows are:

Draw the selected car into the garage

Car Deal Sega Gt prototype.jpg

Go to real Internet options

Sega Gt Debug Menu beta.jpg

Win or lose license acquisition


Increase or decrease money (max = 100 million)

Debug Menu Sega Gt Prototype.jpg

Save a game directly without using the "Memory Card" menu

Save of Sega Gt Dreamcast Debug.jpg

Navigate through the different menus of the games where the window is activated.


To finish first in a race in a matter of seconds, and fake the best time on the track, simply press the "B" button on the gamepad plugged into the console's D port! Who knows, other development options may exist...

Conclusion: Some of the windows are undoubtedly related to pre-recorded car settings made by the developers during the SEGA GT tests, but it's hard to say whether this has any influence on the performance of the vehicles once in the game. Other Debug menus correspond to parameters specific to SEGA GT development, so it remains to be seen whether it's possible to navigate through them and modify the game accordingly...

SEGA GT (Jun 15, 2000 Dreamcast prototype).jpg

You can download this build of SEGA GT Dreamcast below

SEGA GT (Jun 15, 2000 Dreamcast prototype)

The other SEGA GT Dreamcast prototypes

These SEGA GT Dreamcast prototypes are close to the final version. As their features are minimal, they are available as direct downloads:

SEGA GT (Jan 13, 2000 Dreamcast prototype).jpg

Special Thanks to:

More than 200 prototypes, documents and press kits have been dumped or scanned, and are available for free download in the "Releases prototypes and documents" section.

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