Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Dreamcast selection.


The Sega-blue european DC logo. Coolness.

Hey guys!
Little Dreamcast-post today!

The Dreamcast was Sega's last gaming system.
Our beloved cult Sega machine which gained a fantastic cult status as big as the Megadrive over the time.
Yes, over the time, and that may be the Dreamcast's problem afterall... People didn't buy it over the future release of the PS2 at the time...

I wouldn't call the system underrated, since by now, many people collect DC stuff and a lot of gamers own a Dream' post-128 bit era (Dreamcast/PS2, Xbox, Gamecube) even in second hand.
No, I would call the awesome Sega Saturn an underrated, but not the Dreamcast!

Anyway, I'm not here to talk history with you guys and gals, nope!
I'm here to present you, since 2 or 3 of you guys already asked me some games suggestion on deviantArt, a little Dreamcast selection. Some games, decent, cult, awesome or just bizarre enough to be quite interesting!

Also, some games may not be available in pal/ntsc - depending on the system you own (example, Headhunter, Shenmue 2...) So to be able to play these and even the rarest and exclusives only in Japan, I might suggest you to find an Action Replay CDX. It's quite easy to find one pretty cheap nowadays (ebay, game stores, ...). It's a combo: CD to boot the Dream + Action Replay which goes in the VM port.

Let's start the recommendation list:

Platformers -
There's a very nice selection of platformers on the Dreamcast.
I won't do the usual expected stuff, like recommending both Sonic Adventures since if you have a DC, you probably already own those.
In the 3D platforming genre, the Dreamcast has some very unique and original games.
Magnetic Neo, for one, is a platformer not unlike the Crash Bandicoot series. Very fun, cartoony and colorful. The gimmick in this one is that you play as a magnetic character and has to use your brain to defeat some clever puzzles using both polarities.
Also in the same spirit as Crash Bandicoot is Kao. A kid friendly platformer, pretty simple and easy. Better than its sequel Kao: Round 2 on the Xbox.
Floigan Bros. is more adventure orientated. Very cartoony, with some unique clever puzzles to solve using both character. A cult favorite of mine.
Rayman 2 was the 3D sequel to a 2D classic game. It has been released since then on a lot of other systems but the original Dreamcast game (not a port!) is by far my favorite!
I'm a huge Prince of Persia fan, if you didn't knew it already before. Prince of Persia 3D aka Arabian Nights is not a perfect game, far from it! But I like it. It's better than some later Tomb Raider games of the Core design era for sure! (be sure to check this one's entry in my PoP VGReviews)

Action games -

The Dream had a lot of great action games. Be it shooters, FPS and many other action genres.
I loved playing the Quake 3 Dreamcast port at the time. Mainly because I only had internet on my Dream and not on the PC and couldn't play Quake 3 there. That port was pretty accurate and excellent, but since the internet isn't an option on the DC anymore now, let's have a look at some other type of action games, shall we?
MDK 2. I love this one. I'm a big fan of Shiny and Interplay and MDK 2 was the perfect successor to the classic MDK 1. Bioware made this one, and brought back all the fun from the original and a more nervous gameplay not far from Shiny's other classic series Earthworm Jim. Try it! Much better than the watered-down port the PS2 had under the name MDK2: Armageddon.
Cannon Spike is a very original arcade type of shooter from Capcom. It also uses a lot of elements from the Street Fighter series (just check its name!), a shooter SF spin-off!
Outtrigger is a great AM2 developed game. Not very far from other games like Unreal or Quake 3. The graphics were great, the solo mode is quite enough and the game really used the Dreamcast in a smart way both in gameplay and visuals.
Speaking of which, this Spawn was a smart Quake 3-like arcade game. It's quite huge to explore, tons of levels and unlockables. I wasn't even that big a fan of the comic Spawn at the time anymore!
Finally, Headhunter here ended up exclusive to the Pal Dreamcast, which I didn't even knew at the time! One of my all time favorite Dreamcast games. The game's beautiful, very original, loved both the stealth part and the bike sequences. Some people didn't like it at the time, calling it a Metal Gear rip-off, but I'd much rather compare it to a survival horror gameplay-wise. The story was quite movie-like and epic! A great Sega franchises that needs to be brought back! Try this spy-fi/survival horror game! Speaking of survival horros...

Survival horror -
Strangely, a great number of SH games came out on the Dreamcast. And amazing ones at that! Forget the lame-o The ring adaptation! Those are the need-to-owns ones...
I didn't really the genre at fire. But thanks to Capcom and the Resident Evil games, I've been really sucked in and love it now! Both Resident Evil 2 and 3: Nemesis ports are highly recommended! Don't miss the (exclusive at the time) Resident Evil Code: Veronica! Made on and for the Dreamcast, it really shines to this very day, a must own! (be sure to check my Resident Evil VGReviews)
The Alone in the Dark installement on the Dream is also considered one of the bests in the series!
Illbleed is a pretty unique and original take on the genre. You're in a deadly park, you have to take a look on your heart rate at all times. Very frightening and tight gameplay!
Okay, I won't force you to buy both the Japanese and International releases of Blue Stinger like me. This one looks a bit dated by now, but it didn't lose it's appeal to me, in a grindhouse-like retro-ysh love. Mutant, monsters and dinosaures! Who wouldn't like this one? The story is a bit cheesy but fun nonetheless. The original japanese game used a Resident Evil-type of control, view and gameplay, but it was changed for Pal and Ntsc in a more classic 3D overview and control. Check any or both releases if you dig it!
And finally, don't miss the best Dino Crisis game. Forget the average sequel and the awful third episode. The original's the best one! Mostly the same game as the PS1 version, only a bit better looking, cleaner CGi scenes and all costumes unlocked from the go.

Arcade conversions -
Sega, being an arcade constructor and developer, there's a lot of great Sega arcade conversions on the powerful Dreamcast, just like the Megadrive and Saturn had a lots of them (and the Master System as well on some level..).
The Virtua Tennis series, many AM2 games, Sega sports games, etc..
I always loved playing some Crazy Taxi. Both Dreamcast CT games (even the CT3 on the Xbox). Never gets old for me.
There's a ton of SHMUPS, great ones, on the Dreamcast, like there were on the Saturn. Not being a huge connoisseur of the genre, I'll just suggest some to you. Giga Wing, Border Down, Mars Matrix or Gunbird are all good in my book. But Ikaruga's the best one, the classic, the Dreamcast ultimate Shmup! Though it may cost a bit now...
The great MSR, the excellent Sega Rally and the okay Sega GT have been only surpassed by Daytone USA. If you like driving games check this one out! Also have a look at AM2's F355!
Silent Scope was kinda surprise for me back then. A snipe-game? How fun could that be? A lot. Tons of fun in fact! I even bought the Dreamcast-mouse for this one, which doubles the fun.
Dynamite Cop/Dynamite Deka 2/Die Hard Arcade's sequel. Call this one how you like. A Street of Rage game for Sega's 128 bit system? Coolness!
I love rail shooters game, one of the best arcade genres ever! House of the Dead 2 and the over the top Confidential Mission have only been surpassed by one game. Typing of the Dead! Buy a Dreamcast-keyboard for this one (aslo playable without it!)! You won't be disapointed I promise! Killing zombies by typing words on the keyboard, not only will you revisit HotD like never before but you will also totally masterise your keyboard. A great way to learn how to type without looking at the 'board. This game is also really fun and something you'll comeback for more playthroughs anytime!

Fighting games -

I luv fighting games. I'm already doing a Fightin' Marathon for my regular VGR for a reason!
The Dream had a lot of great fighting games ported from the arcade from both greatest old school developers Capcom and SNK but also a tons more!
I'll mention other Capcom 2D fighters such as Street Fighter EX/Alpha 3, Marvel vs Capcom 1&2, Capcom vs Snk 1&2 or Street Fighter 3 Double Impact. Those are all good. But my favorite Capcom 2D fighter of all time is Street Fighter 3rd Strike, a Dream' exclusive back then. Fantastic 2D animated sprites in high resolutions and a fantastic perfect gameplay. Perhaps my favorite SF ever!
On SNK's side, there's a lot of great King of Fighters of that era. If I'd pick only one, it would probably the KOF 98 Dreamcast port called KOF: Dream match 99 (not to be confused with KOF 99!).
One of the most unique 2D fighters is on the Dreamcast, and it's called Last Blade from SNK as well. This one's quite unique in gameplay. A more realistic take on Samurai Spirits I would say. With better atmosphere.
Another one from SNK, Mark of The Wolves is the last Fatal Fury/Garou game. This last one still is to this day the best lookin 2D game ever made! On that note, Guilty Gear X is also available on the Dreamcast, GGX was one of the last decent GG before they went to gimmicky (see the latest ones on the PS2/Wii, with brawl-like fights).
Have you ever tried Rival Schools? Capcom best attemp at a 3D fighting engine? Well, the second one, called Project Justice is a Dreamcast exclusive! One of the funniest fighting games, both in gameplay and story-wise. Yep, the story's insane and quite interesting.
They were two brawlers from Capcom made for the Dreamcast. Power Stone 1 & 2 are fantastic games who were best sellers and even got an anime back then! The first one is more 1 on 1-type while the 2 is closer to, say, Smash Bros.
DOA2, a highly recommended installement from the well known series!
I've played all Soul Calibur games (Soul Edge, SC1, 2, 3 and 4). My favorite still is to this very day this one on the Dreamcast. Not just for the Dream, but the game itself, the music, the gameplay, the character roster, all the content and all the available modes... It never gets old and it was in my eyes the one with more depth. No need for cameo-guest stars, this one had a soul!
Finally, Ready 2 Rumble wasn't as well crafted or emblematic to the DC, but still is a rich experience and something you have to play at least one! (Micheal Jackson vs Bill Clinton? It's possible thanks to R2R: Round 2!)

Puzzle -
There's a bunch of neat Puzzle games on the Dreamcast, be it arcade conversions or original ones. Let's have a look at some little pearls!
I like Puyo Puyo, it's a pretty fun franchise! Since Sega (and specially the Sonic Team) recovered the series, they've made some great ones and kept the series alive. Puyo Puyo Fever may just be my favorite Puyo ever done! Great, easily understandable without knowing japanese (not a lot of menus to "learn"). Also one of the latest japanese released Dreamcast games (2004! And still around in japan!)
There are a lot of Tetris games on the Dreamcast, just check it out! Tetris 4D, the Next Tetris, Wetrix, etc..  Sega Tetris is the best take on Tetris. Very fun and quite catchy.
Worms, that classic series that spawned from the mind of the Lemmings creators, are also on the Dreamcast. I prefered Worms Wolrd Party back then, cause I could play it online. Now, I prefer Worms Armageddon for all the challenges it has.
Sonic Shuffle might not really be a puzzle game, but I wanted to include it here. A truly underrated Sonic game, I loved playing it for hours, to unlock every character. We even had some "Sonic shuffle parties" at the time, I remember inviting some friends over and with my bro' playing hours of it over Mario Party one of us had. Good times...
Mr. Driller is a great puzzle game by Namco! The original inspiration, Dig Dug, is also available on the Namco Museum Collection on the Dreamcast as well.
Chu Chu Rocket was a classic at the time. A fun new take on the puzzle genre that you could play online for more challenging games! I remember people giving it with the modem, the Dream-passport for the net, or at game stores. I even have two copies of it actually!

Adventur-ysh games -
Alright, so you'd probably expect me to put both Shenmue 1 and 2 in this genre. But I won't. If you have a Dream, I'd expect from you to already own those. Now let's have a look at some other ones.
Evolution was a simple Dungeon-RPG on the Dreamcast, that wasn't that much noticed originally... But it is quite a nice game! It had a sequel also on the Dreamcast. (and a compilation on the Gamecube)
I've never really been into japanese RPG... Well Grandia 2 really got me bad. Probably the best Grandia game, fans will tell you. A perfect story and great combat mecanic (far from the classic FF turn based fight mecanic).
Silver is a real unique surprising game. Different from many other similar Zelda-ysh games..
Stupid Invader is a classic point-and-click adventure game which reminded me a lot of classic LucasArts and Sierra adventure games. I love this one! Magnific 3D graphics, long and entertaining hilarious story, clever puzzle and many many many death scenes! Based on a relatively well known french cartoon. (no need to know it to enjoy it, since it's basically a reboot/retelling of the show)
And finally Skies of Arcadia. Skies pirates, Highly recommended.

Unclassifiables and randoms -
There are a lot more great and obscure Dreamcast games!
I can't cover everything here, ya know!
Some were remade or followed on the next systems, some never made it out of the Dreamcast catalog. Like Sega Bass Fishing or Seaman, the Dream had plenty of bizarre or strangely addictive games. Here's some more...
Do you know GTA? Now, not the sandbox 3rd person 3D game, the 2D top view ones! Well, GTA 1 is a classic on the PS1. GTA2 was a perfect sequel before being reimagined in 3D later on. Don't miss this one!
Both Jet Set Radio on the Dream and JSR Future on the Xbox are perfect funky, groovy, highly entertaining beautiful-looking games. This one isn't better nor worse than the sequel. Equally good but kinda different (segmented in levels over the free roaming of the sequel)
Samba de Amigo needs no introduction nor explication. It was surprisingly well remade on the Wii, but if you find this one out, don't miss the opportunity.
I love Space Channel 5. The last great music game before the avalanche of Guitar Heroes and Rock Band. Not very far from the cult classic Parrappa the Rapper. Groovy story with lovely leading lady Ulala. But I prefer the sequel Space Channel 5 Part 2 which had more songs, better songs, better tighter gameplay plus specially appearance of Space Micheal in his own level (no more a cameo like in Part 1) and lots of challenges to do! Up! Down! Up! Down! Chu Chu Chu!!
Sword of the Berserk is an adaptation of the manga Berserk. No need to know the manga to enjoy this hack n slash which incidentally was my introduction to the anime and then the manga. The story's quite insane and the gameplay pretty fun. This game kinda was the Golden Axe of the DC (no multiplayer sadly...)
Finally, REZ is quite a unique experience. Watch it on youtube, but even there you won't grasp how fun this one is to play! A must try!

Post Dreamcast games -
Sega may have declared the Dreamcast dead, but it wasn't for a long time and may still live on actually!
Even in Sega's own development teams (such as Yuji Naka believing to this day that instead of letting go they should have fighted to their death and continuing supporting the system longer), the love for the Dream machine has always been huged.
That's how and why Sega made Segagaga, or also known as SGGG. It's an RPG game, only available in japanese, but easily understandable (find a little guide online or a FAQ. I use the one from the french website Dream Storming - see links). It is also a Sega simulation, a parodic game and an hommage to Sega's hardware division. Sega may live on the arcades and as a software publisher but Sega's system are over. This one is highly recommended if you're a Sega fan at heart.
Then the system died and with it many unreleased games. Some found their way to the other systems (such as Crazy Taxi 3, ToeJam&Earl3, Gun Valkyrie...) Some others came out on the internet. Such was the case of Propeller Arena, an unrealesed fun arcade game from AM2, which was canceled shortly after the tragedy of september 11. But try it anyway! A fun Crazy Taxi-like meets Quake 3 in the sky. Fun, over the top. Sadly unreleased! So don't buy it over e-bay! The iso is easily available and run on the DC just fine without any modification. I even made a box for it myself!
Radigly was one of the few games that were still released in Japan, were the Dream had a better following anyway. It's a fun manga-like SHMUP with great tunes!
Then, one year later, in 2007, came the last official Sega released games. Karous and Triggerheart Exelica, two more last SHMUPS for the Dreamcast.
After that, the fan Dreamcast scene decided to keep the system alive. That's why such amateur developers as RedSpotGames continued publishing games for the Dream! You can buy those on their own website. The games are well crafted and original and made by various Dreamcast lovers across the globe. The final product are quite professional and won't degrade you collection, on the contrary! Last Hope was another shmup more in line with the classic R-Type than the Vertical Shooter genre. Wind and Water is a great new puzzle game, pretty original and with a fantastic story mode!
Finally Rush Rush Rally was one of the latest released ones, and it's a great top view driving arcade game!
And more of those are coming each year.

The Dreamcast era may be finished but the flame still burns on to this very day, and only fans, such as yours truly, keep it alive now by talking about it, promoting it and playing it!
Mine's still plugged in, what about ya?

14 comments:

  1. I played the GBA version of Kao, and it was freakin' impossible. X_X. The mechanics were way off, all the badguys took multiple hits and you had to get so close they were practically bouncing off you to be within attacking-them range. As a result, I've been a little scared to give the 3D version a try, but I will
    I've actually got the PC version of Stupid Invaders and I've been doing a death-run- showing every possible death in-game.

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  2. Of course I couldn't put up all the great Dreamcast games I could think of. Like Toy Racer and Toy Commander, Phantasy Star Online, etc..
    But I think I managed to grab some very neat ones and often forgotten ones...

    There's also some pretty bad games but not that much like on so many other systems. The Dreamcast really had quite an excellent gaming catalog!

    I might put up some reviews about some of those games (like the survival horror ones)! I'll gladly take a look at the games you guys and gals might want to!

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  3. I believe we still have the PC version of Rayman 2 somewhere. Never finished the game at all. And I must muster up the courage to play RE:CV. Or just be bothered to play it.

    But all in all, it's the Capcom games that I've been wanting to get my hands on when buying a Dreamcast. I should try buying more of them online from eBay or somewhere, but I always will pick up a game if I find it and for a good price!

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  4. Hope you'll find some good stuff in this list then ;)

    (Cannon Spike? Rival Schools 2? SF3/SFAlpha3?)
    Capcom made that Spawn game!

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  5. @Battybuddy :

    I loved the GBA Kao at the time (and finished it easily)...

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  6. @LeSam:
    It's still really hard for me. I really don't know why though- I'm a pretty decent platformer, and to tell you the truth, Kao kind of made me think of my favorite Donkey Kong "Clone", Sun Electronics and Atari's "Kangaroo"(both having a yellow boxing kangaroo as the hero/ine), so given both of those I SHOULD like it and SHOULD be alright at playing it: I actually got it as one of my first GBA games. And as mentioned several times over, it's supposed to be for kids.

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  7. I think the dreamcast is the best console!
    great games, great graphics....
    Connect your dreamcast with a VGA cable to a crt VGA monitor and be ready for a great gaming experience :D
    And if you're a shmups fan...Dreamcast is a great choice!!! :)
    p.s. Sorry for my poor english...i hope you can understand me anyway....

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  8. I still play my dreamcast every week :P
    I have mine on my HD TV!

    You're english is okay^^
    Thanks for joining this blog!
    I'll check your's (and Add a link if you want to!)

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  9. Thanks a lot about my english :D
    yeah me too....i've a dreamcast videogame station in my room with a big VGA crt flat and i'm still playing 2,3 times for a week with my shmups and the modded arcade stick :D
    About the link...sure...i will be happy if you will add a link to my blog...i will do the same with yours ;)
    Ciao and long life to dreamcast and to all the dreamcast fans! :D

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  10. I've already added your website in my links! ;)

    Long live the Dreamcast!~

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  11. Thanks a lot man!!!! i've did the same for your blog :D ...i added its in my favourite blog/link too :D
    It's really a pleasure!!!! :D

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  12. yes, the Dreamcast is the best console period.

    I used to have 2 dreamcasts back in the day,
    but I ended up selling them because I needed the money.
    Just bought a 2nd hand one last week,
    had a few issues with the power randomly turning off but, somehow when I use the VGA adapter there is no problem.

    Im more into multiplayer games as I have a lot of friends over all the time.
    the top games 4 me are Bomberman Online, Unreal Tournament, NBA Showtime and the list goes on and on..

    Great post!

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  13. I still have 2 DC~
    But one of them does't seem to work anymore.. And I don't really remember why... :(

    I loved playin' DC games with friends. We used to play Quake 3, PSO, Sonic Shuffle and some others... Good times^^

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