From the mid-90s towards the early-2000s, Sega was no longer on top like they once were with the Sega Genesis. After all the consumer abuse of making them buy distasteful decisions like releasing add-on like the Sega CD, 32-X, and Sega Activator and releasing the Sega Saturn too early, the general public lost a lot of interest with Sega’s products. Sega of America was screwing themselves during their day in the Sega Saturn, by not releasing RPG’s in North America (fuck you Bernie Stoler), making games too expensive to develop for the system, and there were barely any good marketing for the Saturn. Towards the late-90’s very little video game stores were selling any Saturn products and there was no saving grace for any more life for the Saturn. Sega had to redeem themselves by releasing the Dreamcast and do a much better job (business-wise) in making a strong library of games and also great customer service. It was codenamed the Katana and it was promised to be the next step for video games. Sega was loosing the Market with the Saturn, so on 1998 the Saturn was disbanded and the Dreamcast was launched in Japan the same year. We didn’t get this system in North America until exactly 9/9/99 when this awesome gaming machine was finally released worldwide. Immediately, the Dreamcast library flourished with qualitative titles with so many good reception, positive scores, and great customer feedback. Despite the great success that the Dreamcast has made on its launch, everyone else (who didn’t get the Dreamcast) was anticipated for the Sony Playstation 2. Part of the reason why a lot of people wanted the PS2 more so than the Dreamcast is because it was the cheapest DVD player and everyone wanted a copy of the Matrix on DVD. Because the Sony Playstation had so many great titles and developers working on their library, it also left people for a cult following for the PS2. Even despite the fact that Sega decrease the Dreamcast price, made many more good titles, and even offered online gameplay that consoles never did before, they could not get any more success in the video game market. Towards mid-2001, Sega officially disbanded the Dreamcast and no longer became a console manufacture. It’s really sad to say that the Dreamcast had some of the best launch that any console has ever had. Because the system has done so much for the Sega community, it has left a huge impact for many gamers and it created a cult following that other forgotten console wishes they could have. The Dreamcast was innovative. It offered graphics that was way better than the PS1 and N64 combines (and those graphics lasted all the way to the mid-2000s), it offered online compatibility to play with other people online, and also some of the most impressive games that a short-lived console has ever had! It was more of a party-machine than the Nintendo 64, and it continues to create a sense of joy each time we turn this system on. Gone too soon, Sega pulled the plug on the Dreamcast a year and a half after its debut, due to financial difficulties and gamer interest in the coming PlayStation 2, but, in its brief run, it was the one of greatest video game consoles of all time. And here are the ten games on the Dreamcast library to prove why it’s so loved by many!
Number 10. – Crazy Taxi
It can’t be helped but to shout, “Hey! hey! Common over! Have some fun with crazy Taxi! Yah! Yah! Yah! Yah! Yah!” What a way to start this list by putting in the most addicting game on the Dreamcast! It was a near perfect port from the arcade and Sega still managed to make console port that equivalent to the arcades since the Sega Genesis. The reason why this game is so low on the list is that it’s incredibly short. It may seem a bit shallow or short-lived at first, but the more I played it, the more I wanted to play it. It is the closest thing to a digital drug we have ever seen. Think of it as gaming crack. At first, you’ll try it at a friend’s house cause he lets you give it a free spin. Then you go buy your own pipe. The next thing you know, you’re skipping work to take “just one more hit.” All of the sudden, you get fired for too many absences, you sell everything you own to sustain your habit, and you’re living in filth because all thoughts of daily hygiene and personal wellness come in a distant second to your new fix. Ah yes, there is nothing quite like picking up a game and realizing after a what seems like a few minutes that you just spent the last 7 hours trying to get just $1,000 more so you can get the coveted “Crazy License.” Playing Crazy Taxi not only reminded me of why I love games but why I believe Sega has some of the most talented designers and developers in the history of gaming. As a game whose greatness is matched only by the gaming ecstasy known as Soul Calibur, this is a must-have title for any Dreamcast owner. For that matter, it is the type of game that would easily justify a system purchase for the stragglers. So do yourself a favor, hang the fuzzy dice in the mirror, and get behind the wheel with amazing arcade translation.
Number 9. – Sonic Adventure 2
It’s really sad to see that the Sega Dreamcast didn’t last as long as it should have. Interesting to see they ended the game’s lifespan by releasing the sequel of the system’s killer launch title, Sonic Adventure. Sonic Adventure 2‘s stages are split in to three types: action (Sonic/Shadow), shooting (Tails/Eggman), and treasure hunting (Knuckles/Rouge) and are all divided into two separate teams; team dark and team heroes. The flow of the game gets rid of the “adventure” element from the first Sonic Adventure, opting for a level-to-level rhythm that truer to the nature of a Sonic game. Unfortunately, this rhythm is a staccato beat due to the forced switching of characters between levels. The choosing of one character and then sticking to that character in the original Sonic Adventure works out much better then jumping from one creature to the next in Sonic Adventure2. Fix one thing only to break another. Though playing as Sonic and Shadow is incredibly fast and straightforward (the best part of the game), the same cannot be said about Knuckles/Rouge hunting for crystals in order (the space level was the worst) and Eggman/Tails was just a mind-less shooter (seriously, Tails can fly, so why put him in a mech?). Despite the game’s flaws, there are a lot of improvements the game made over the original like the homing attack and ring dash is so simple, the Choa pet-simulator mode is much better, and there are some replay value with all levels of the game. The game’s Legacy will never die because the Gamecube version of Sonic Adventure 2 was released the following year to show what we all missed out.
Number 7. – Phantasy Star Online
Phantasy Star Online borrows largely from PC MMORPGs, such as EverQuest, Asheron’s Call, and Ultima Online making it the first MMORPG on console. And in this breath, the game does a very nice job of creating a well balanced yet challenging world that begs to be explored for hours on end. In my hours with PSO, I’ve also noticed a similarity to the classic Diablo, only the emphasis this time is on leveling up and acquiring that oh-so-rare item that everyone who ever goes online with this game looks for. Phantasy Star Online contains both an online game and an offline game. Both games are virtually identical to each other, and the offline game is ideal for introducing newcomers of the MMORPG to the style’s different mechanics and intricacies. Many see the offline mode as nothing more than as training mode, and in many ways they would be correct; the real meat of the game and the real enjoyment comes from embarking on your online quests. But the offline mode does prove quote addictive and it does serve a very solid purpose. Plus, the offline mode can be good for gamers who can’t connect to the Internet via their Dreamcast for some reason (whether it be bad connection, lack of funds to pay for service, or what not).
Online play is virtually the same as offline play; the three difficulty settings remain intact and the overall mechanics of play don’t change. Since you’ll likely find yourself communicating a great deal while online, it’s advisable that you pick up a keyboard for your Dreamcast; typing messages with the controller is too tedious and frustrating to be anywhere near effective. There are certain built-in phrases that the Dreamcast system can translate into several different languages, and while the translation can be off from time to time, it does a great job of breaking through the language barrier and letting gamers from all over the world enjoy the PSO experience together. Also, it can be frustrating to be level 60 and stuck on a server with people that are level 20, but this game is all about patience and teamwork; in order to properly enjoy PSO, you need a good deal of patience and you’re gonna need to use a good bit of teamwork. If that’s not your thing, then either go play the offline mode or give Skies of Arcadia a try. So much to do and all the time in the world to do it. So be good kiddies and show Sega that we appreciate thier hard efforts and give this tittle the sales that it deserves.
Number 7. – Jet Set Radio (Jet Grind Radio)
Now here’s a game that has more style as well as awesome gameplay. Back in the late-1990s and early 2000s, the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series was a huge boom for the extreme sport game genre and Sega wanted to make their own take on it with the roller-skate punk culture. You can decide if it’s either an extreme sport game or a 3D Platformer, but Jet Set Radio (or Jet Grind Radio) introduced cel-shaded graphics, tag spraying missions that are all so fun, and the many cool tricks you can do with low gravity. Jet Set Radio also includes a Graffiti Creator where you can design your own tags to use in the game. And when you’ve finally created your masterpiece, you’ll be able to share it with the world via the Dreamcast modem. Why confine yourself to local areas when your tags can be seen on DCs everywhere? Sega should be proud of their accomplishments with Jet Set Radio, a game that brings out the best of the Dreamcast. With its fresh attitude and fun gameplay, this is a great alternative to sniffing paint cans in the morning.
Number 6. – Quake III: Arena
The true power of the Dreamcast is just starting to rear its head. The latest innovations are really impressive. From arcade and PC ports to the sheer joy of NFL2K1, the little white box holds more power than I had expected. With online gaming becoming available to the casual gamer who doesn’t want the nightmare of the constant upgrades and education involved with gaming on the PC, the console is breaking new ground. The Quake games have always had a major online following. The first two incarnations were gritty, industrial environments full of guns and realistic bloodshed, as well as a single player story line. For the third installment, developer Id Software went more for the arcade feel and dropped the single player levels, leaving behind arena after arena full of enemies and weapons in which to romp. The port from the PC to the Dreamcast is nearly perfect. Whether online or off there are the three standard types of game to join: Deathmatch, Team Battle or Capture the Flag. Another noticeable difference between the PC and Dreamcast versions is that the Dreamcast only supports four players in an arena at a time, where the PC supports up to sixteen. There are over thirty skins to choose from, each with it’s own look but no statistical differences (they all play the same); and nine different weapons. Ranging from the gauntlet to the BFG-10K (which can mow through enemies faster than Sonny through a box of Cocoa Puffs), the choice is yours. There are also a variety of power-ups to help you in your quest for final victory. Quake 3 Arena is a great game; it brings to the table strong online gaming for dedicated console gamers. The sharp graphics and fast-paced gameplay will keep your thumbs busy for hours on end. While PC owners will probably stick with their PCs, it’s brilliant of Sega to offer this kind of experience to console gamers…we have waited long enough.
Number 5. – Power Stone 2
The first Power Stone made its mark as a fighting game by placing more of an emphasis on using weapons and the environment than the traditional combos and super moves. The style of Power Stone 2’s gameplay is exactly the same as the first, but now with a four player multiplayer, best variety of weapons and maps, and so many more that makes this a dominate sequel. Since Power Stone 2 isn’t heavy on the moves list, a massive amount of weapons makes up for it. From the standard bazooka to the wacky bubble gun, this game has got more weapons than you can shake your magic stick at. A plethora of other objects, including gun turrets, tanks and hovercrafts, make fighting the enemy much more interesting. It doesn’t stop there. Power Stone 2 also contains an adventure mode in which players can collect the various items and weapons that are found in the game. After grabbing a few items, a trip to the store is in order. Here you can buy, sell, and even mix your items, turning them into something you’ve never seen before! This scheme is similar to Diablo II’s Horadric Cube and introduces more new weapons than you thought were ever possible. Power Stone 2 is easily one of the best party fighters currently out. The four-player matchups are filled with non-stop, frantic action. The single player game has some replay value with the adventure mode, but undoubtedly pales in comparison to the multiplayer madness. No wonder why this game is looked upon as the Dreamcast’s Super Smash Bros.!
Number 4. – Marvel vs. Capcom 2
It took Capcom throughout the 1990s to finally make this fulfilling masterpiece of a fighting game! It started with the X-Men SNES titles then Marvel Superheroes was turned into a fighting game. Since then they’ve kept reusing the same engine and added new fetters to it like X-Men vs. Street Fighter, then Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Heroes. Then we’ve got ourselves the awesome Marvel vs. Capcom. Letting Marvel to let Capcom use their established character into a fighting game was some of the most ingenious ideas ever in the gaming industry. With 66 characters being reintroduced and debuting to this Capcom fighter, players select three fighters from the roster of characters from both of the titular universes and fight one-on-one until one of the teams have no remaining players or time runs out. Each character has at least one super combo and the entire team shares a single super meter. The characters can draw on this (at a minimum cost of one level) to perform their super combos or other special super moves. Up to five levels of the super meter can now be stored during a fight. Players can tag out their characters at any time, switching control to another character while inactive characters can gradually recover some health. Anyone that loves Marvel, Capcom, fighting games or games should already have played this game! There is no other fighter that has given so much variety of characters and the craziest team combinations to execute the most chaotic attacks. That’s why so many has regarded Marvel vs. Capcom 2 one of, if not, the best fighting game of all time.
Number 3. – Soul Calibur
In 1998, SoulCalibur in the arcades was so advanced in the department of graphics, gameplay, and presentation that not even the Nintendo 64 or Playstation could handle such a game. The Dreamcast not only handled it well, but it went above and beyond from the arcade version in levels like we’ve never seen before, making it one of the biggest reasons to get a Dreamcast when it first launched. While Tekken 3D perfect 3D fighting games, SoulCalibur perfected weapon-based fighters and the whole franchise still remains the best of its kind. actual martial arts forms are used and just waiting for a demo to come on is amazing because it shows you every character performing their styles just as if you were watching a kung fu film. Each character’s moves are unique and there are plenty of them you’ll want to use. An impressive array of combination moves is not too difficult to perform after trying a few times. There was a sense of realism where actual martial arts forms are used and just waiting for a demo to come on is amazing because it shows you every character performing their styles just as if you were watching a kung fu film. Each character’s moves are unique and there are plenty of them you’ll want to use. An impressive array of combination moves is not too difficult to perform. Tough to say it, but even though Street Fighter II started the fighting game boom, SoulCalibur was the peak of this era!
Number 2. – Shenmue II
Shenmue II is like a long satisfying evening meal. It starts off with a tasty introduction to whet your appetite, and then slowly eases you in till you can’t help but indulge yourself in the delights of what you have been presented. Then there’s the ending which might leave you bloated and uncomfortable but will have you simply wanting more. Shenmue II is epic in every sense of the word, from the sprawling cities to the achingly beautiful musical score; the game just oozes quality and is arguably one of the most important releases in the Dreamcast’s limited lifespan. Being the sequel to one of the most loved and loathed titles of the generation 6, there were a lot of expectations and excitement leading up to release. This added with news that the title wouldn’t see the light of day in the USA; made those last remaining fans feel special that they would be able to experience the game in its original form before anyone else. Everything you loved about the original has been taken and refined with the result being one of the most daring and epic adventures of last generation. A fantastic cast of characters (well, maybe not Delin), seamless interaction with everything around you, a gripping Hollywood style narrative and a blockbuster musical score make this an experience like no other. Yes it has its flaws, but what game doesn’t? One part of the title completely blocks progression till you have a sufficient amount of Yen, this means finding employment or spending hours gambling only to end up with as much money as when you started. This is quite easily the lowest and most tedious section of the game but it doesn’t detract from the overall experience, the rest of the title is just too enjoyable to be broken by such a petite issue. The Dreamcast version of the game only carries the Japanese voice track and English subtitles, however there is also an Xbox port which contains a localized dubbing. It’s generally advised against this version though as it contains some of the downright worst voice work ever recorded. Overall, Shenmue II is for the fans, it’s not likely to attract new fans nor has it broken new ground in the genre but it’s undoubtedly a memorable and special experience.
Number 1. – Sonic Adventure
The Sonic franchise has a very long struggle in getting into 3D ever since gaming was able to jump to 3D graphics; from Sonic 3D Blast to the likes of Sonic X-treme’s cancellation. It’s very true that one of the downfalls of the Sega Saturn was the lack of good Sonic titles which is what all Sega fans wanted. If they weren’t going to put it on the Dreamcast it will be too late for Sega, but finally we got what we asked for. This is Sega’s Super Mario 64 because this is where Sonic was forever changed to what he is today. From his sharp look, homing attack, new style of level design and atmosphere, soundtrack. This was a brand new era of Sonic in ways that we could never imagine before. Sonic Adventure still remains the best 3D Sonic game today for the sake that not only you can play Sonic, but also Tails, Knuckles, Amy, Big, and E-102 Gamma who each and everyone of them have different gameplay and also have their own adventure in this nonlinear storyline that’s happening within the timeline. I wonder why no other 3D platformer could ever do this game’s narrative as well as Sonic Adventure. Not only that, but you have so much content like raising Chao as a pet simulator, beat the time replay modes, and so much more. It is easy to see why Sonic Adventure was declared as the killer app at the Dreamcast launch. Bearing all this in mind revisiting Sonic Adventure has been a pleasure and it’s worth a few hours of anyone’s time for a slice of Sega history.
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- Top 10 Nintendo 64 Games