Happy 20th Anniversary Sega Dreamcast.
Back in October of 1999 I remember going over to my best friends house and watching him playing Sonic Adventure for the first time. I begged my parents to buy me one for Christmas, so on December 24th of that year, I got what is to this day one of my favorite consoles ever. (It’s neck and neck with the Playstation 2 but that’s a different article for a different day.) Six year old me was ecstatic to finally be able to get my hands on at the time was the most powerful console ever. 9/9/99 will be forever etched into the souls of Die Hard Sega fans as the day Sega’s last Console hit the market.
This commercial for the Dreamcast that aired back in 1999 pretty much sums up what people were thinking and why they were so excited.
Anyways to Celebrate the Dreamcast almost being old enough to buy Alchohol these are my top 20 Favorite games that the System had to offer.
#20 Shenmue 2
While this franchise got off to a rocky start with the first game Allegedly costing over $47,000,000 and being a cluster fudge of meandering ideas, the second one seemed to have a better sense of direction and purpose. While it is by no means a masterpiece the second installment in the Shenmue franchise was a big step in the right direction for this series and open-world games in general. Let’s just hope that after 19 years of Waiting Shenmue 3 won’t disappoint
This Shooting game was a blast both metaphorically and Literally. While the Dreamcast version received harsh criticism at the time for being inferior to the Windows version it was still a fun port that I could get behind.
The only game I ever played online with the Dreamcast, I have fond memories of Shooting Aliens and gathering resources with up to 3 other people over the internet with a 56k speed modem. The thing that held this game back the most was that despite making online interaction one of its key selling points, the game was only released in North America. Had this game been released all over the world I guarantee more people would have played it and the Dreamcast’s servers could have lasted longer.
#17 Resident Evil: Code Veronica
While I’m not a fan of Zombie games with certain Exceptions, Code: Veronica was an incredible adventure. The goofy voice acting and tank controls may detur some modern gamers, but at the time this was hailed as one of the best games in the genre. I would definitely put this game in a list of the best horror games. I also recommend checking out Resident Evil The Darkside Chronicles for Nintendo Wii and PS3 as it has a re-imagining of this game with better voice acting and a more cohesive narrative.
#16 The Typing Of The Dead
From quasi serious horror to complete Goofy Schlock The Typing Of The Dead did what I thought was impossible at the time; make educational games fun. I remember bringing my Dreamcast to my library when I was younger, hooking it up and playing this with other people. If only this game was ported to Steam, I’d buy it in a heartbeat.
#15 Grandia 2
While the third act to this game may have been a disappointment the overall amount of fun and unique gameplay made this a must-have for Dreamcast owners craving an RPG experience. This game was an oasis in a desert for RPG fans who had been dying for a game to call their own on the Dreamcast.
#14 Jet Grind Radio
The most colorful game on this list Jet Grind Radio’s Cell Shaded Graphics still hold up well to this day. Before websites like DeviantArt Existed this game allowed gamers to be creative and share their own art to people all over the world and import that art into your game file to use as Graffiti in the game. You play as a group of rebellious teenagers who try to take down an oppressive Japanese government who has a strict no-fun policy. To quote Craig Skistamas “This is almost like an alternative Universe that portrays what the world would be like if Japan had won World War 2.”
One of the Best Shootem up games ever Ikaruga offered a unique spin on traditional games in the genre by implementing a polarity system. You can switch between two polarities each one is weak against the other and you have to constantly pay attention to the on-screen action.
#12 Sword Of The Berserk Gut’s Rage
As a die-hard Berserk fan, I had to have this game. Taking place between volumes 22 and 23 of the manga this original story explores Guts’ inner turmoil as he is constantly trying to find a cure for his best friend Casca. The story is surprisingly deep for a game about a human murder machine. Guts; the one-eyed demon slayer is a tank, and this game shows it off. While the combat is nowhere near as refined say, God Of War, I can still appreciate what this game did. The rage mechanic. An ability that makes Guts invulnerable and has a rage bar that charges up just like in God Of War lets you unleash hell on everything around you. The games biggest drawback for me though would be that when you are not in Rage mode your sword will constantly bounce back whenever it hits a wall and make an annoying ‘Clang’ sound. Still, this is a very important game as it was North America’s first exposure to the Berserk Franchise. Also, although I’m not a graphics junkie it can not be overstated just how amazing this game looked when it first came out. At the time I would go as far as to say this was the best looking game on a console. The fast-paced action made this game feel like an arcade game, and I sometimes even found myself throwing Quarters at my Dreamcast just to emulate that feeling.
#11 Lost Blade 2 Heart Of The Samurai.
The Best 2D Fighter on the Dreamcast Last Blade 2: Heart Of The Samurai is a stunning work of art in motion. If you’re a fan of SNK fighting games and haven’t played this you are missing out.
#10 Worms Armageddon
One of the best Strategy games I remember playing as a child, Worms armageddon was a perfect game for simplistic fun while also being deep and engaging. I spent hours on end playing this game with my friends. I remember as a kid trying to complete the campaign but for some reason the game never saved. So one day I plowed through the 20 Plus hour campaign over the course of 5 days and left my Dreamcast running all those days. Eventually, the disc reader in my Dreamcast burnt out and I had to get it fixed but it was worth it.
#9 Sonic Adventure 2
IGN said it best, the Dreamcast didn’t go out with a bang but with a Sonic Boom. While not the zenith of the 3D games in the franchise as many Sonic fans claim it is it still was a great platformer with a fun story and melancholic ending. The kick-ass music, Unlockables, and mini-games made it so that there was lots of reason to go back after completing the main story.
#8 Tech Romancer
This hidden gem got almost no exposure when it came out on the Dreamcast, despite being one of my favorite fighting games ever. This robot fighting game had so much to unlock in this game. You could import mini-games to the Dreamcast’s VMU and earn points in those mini-games that you could use to buy cool stuff in the main game. You could unlock concept art and character bios, and even a 90-second Original Video Animation alternate opening of what was rumored to be a planned animated series. It’s a shame this game never took off, I would have loved to get more of this kind of game from Capcom.
#7 Toy Commander
One of the best games that went completely under the radar Toy Commander offered you an incredible amount of unique vehicles to play as, as well as dozens of well-crafted missions that require you to be creative in how you tackle them. The amount of creativity put into this game is just astonishing, check it out for yourself and tell me if you think I’m overhyping it.
#6 Elemental Gimmick Gear
I’m probably one of the only people on the planet who even knows of this game’s existence, but that only makes this game all the more charming. This Action RPG developed by Birthday is a Steampunk game fans dream come true. Though the main quest will probably only take about 12 to 15 hours to complete, there is so much endearing charm to the look of this game with its hand-drawn backgrounds and 3D Character models, that you would be depriving yourself half the fun if you just rushed through everything. A true gem if there ever was one.
#5 Ecco The Dolphin
I remember when I was a little kid and my Grandmother would play this game with me. We spent hours just being wowed at the beautiful scenery and underwater aesthetic of this game. It wasn’t until years later when I finally went back to playing this game that I finally beat it. It’s a shame that this franchise has remained dormant for over 20 years. I would love to see this franchise get a sequel or a reboot someday.
#4 Sonic Adventure
From the colorful visuals to the kick-ass music to the Chao Garden to the incredibly fun levels Sonic Adventure had it all when it came out. While it might not be the life-changing masterpiece many Dreamcast owners remember it being, Sonic Adventure is still fun to play. I recently wrote a retrospective on this game, go check it out.
#3 Soul Calibur
The best fighting game on the Dreamcast and one of the best fighting games ever, Soul Calibur was a behemoth of a game when it came out. Not only did it improve apon the arcade version in its visuals, but it also introduced challenges and unlockables that could potentially take hundreds of hours to get.
#2 Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2
The pinnacle of Skateboarding games Pro Skater 2 offered so many hours of fun gameplay that I could play this game for weeks on end and still have fun with the same levels I’d been playing over and over again. One of the best games ever made; Pro Skater 2 is a Genre Defining masterpiece
#1 Skies Of Arcadia
I already wrote a review of this game so there’s no need to talk about it in-depth again. Skies Of Arcadia truly soars above everything else that came out at the time. We are talking over 80 hours of exploration, combat, and fun. If Grandia 2 was an oasis in the desert for RPG fans who owned a Dreamcast then Skies Of Arcadia is a lake of freshwater surrounding a five-star resort.