What Sega Dreamcast Games Were Way Ahead of Their Time

Sega love a good platform game, and Sonic was the stand-out game

The console was perhaps the greatest ‘what if’ story in gaming history, Sega’s swan song and a last-ditch attempt to keep the Sonic ship afloat in a world of bandicoots, Italian plumbers, and green hatted forest children (if you need help on deciphering those three games, then there’s no hope).

It sits in second-hand gaming stores like a mysterious object in a fantasy quest and prompts strange looks from children, a constant reminder of what Sega could have gone on to achieve had they got the formula right.

Many consider the Dreamcast to have been way ahead of its time, especially with the removable VMUs that are now used by many aspiring modifiers and the fact that it was the first console that could connect up to the internet.

620 games were released for the console, a lot of which are incredibly innovative and fun to play, but sadly without the longevity needed to make the Dreamcast a house-hold name today.

Still, if you are thinking of completing your retro console collection and looking for the best Dreamcast games ever made, then you’ve come to the right place.

Ethereal and unusually calming for an on-rails shooter, Rez utilized enhanced vibration technology to help immerse the player in its world. The vibration works with its rave-techno score to build a trance-like state, letting you chill while saving the world from a rogue AI.

The result is a video game homage to Altered States: a film that also worked ahead of its time to mimic a psychedelic state in its viewers. It was a unique and powerful enough experience for this oddity to become a franchise. Rez survives in remakes and remasters, like Rez Infinite, and in the spiritual successor by the same director, Child of Eden. Though this achievement was shared with Sony and their less-unwieldy DualShock controllers, the Dreamcast version of Rez is still a technical and artistic accomplishment for a system not lacking in such accomplishments.

Sonic Adventure

Selling 2.5million copies, Sonic Adventure wholeheartedly deserves the top spot in our list of the best Dreamcast games of all time!

The first fully 3D Sonic adventure – it’s what we all dreamt of during the side-scrolling days of the Sega Mega Drive, and Sonic Adventure certainly didn’t disappoint.

All of the usual suspects including Tails, Knuckles, and Amy are back, as is Robotnik who just doesn’t know when to give up! I spent hours playing this game back in the day, raising my Chao’s and making them win races to bring me eternal glory.

Make me proud, my little odd-shaped minions!

The premise is tried and tested – collect rings, stop ol’ ‘moustache face’ from using the Chaos emeralds for his own evil gain, and run as fast as hedgehogly possible everywhere you can.

Seeing Sonic in a 3D adventure was absolutely amazing and finally put the blue wonder at the same level as Mario and Spyro.

Sonic was always a gaming hero, but being able to move him in any direction and having the ability to revisit certain areas felt so good.

It wasn’t just about speed anymore (ok, it’s always about speed with Sonic), and many people saw this game as the one that would bring Sega back to the forefront of the console market (how many times have I written something like that so far in this article!).

This will always be one of the best Sonic games in my opinion, and I hope that you agree with my choice!

Marvel VS Capcom 2

What could be better than seeing Captain America face off against Ryu, Wolverine fighting Blanka, or Spider-Man taking on Chun-Li? It’s the stuff that dreams are made of, which is why Marvel VS Capcom 2 takes the Number 10 spot in our list of the best Dreamcast games of all time!

This could possibly be one of the most influential fighting games ever made and one of my favourite titles when I fancy a bit of ‘beat em up’ action.

It’s the ultimate nerd frenzy, with every kick-ass character from film and video gaming history taking part in the biggest clash of muscles, superpowers, and egos.

The game works very much like any Street Fighter title and indeed the previous titles in the Marvel VS Capcom series. All characters have special abilities as well as button-mashing attacks, and the player can choose to call in a sidekick for tag-team style action throughout the fight.

‘Oi, Hulk; give us a hand will you?’

The Dreamcast port of this game looked superb and played incredibly well, and it’s one that you should definitely include in your collection.

Jet Set Radio (Jet Grind Radio)

Strangely, it seems like 2002’s Jet Set Radio Future tends to get more credit for being one of those great games most people have forgotten about. A Japanese launch title for the unwieldy monolith that was the original Xbox, that sporty action game featured a slick, cel-shaded aesthetic and a vibrant soundtrack. Unfortunately, the Xbox’s struggles in Japan contributed to the game’s failure in that region. Then again, it didn’t do very well in North America either.

Yet, so much of what made Jet Set Future a future cult classic began in that game’s 2000 predecessor, Jet Set Radio. That game’s cartoon style and kickin’ soundtrack made for an unbeatable experience, showcasing what the underrated console could accomplish with a team focused on delivering their absolute best. It controls like a dream, allowing players to zip through twining streets, leaving graffiti tags to piss off their enemies. For gamers that think The World Ends With You is the best showcase of the bold Shibuya street style, know that there’s an ancestor worth meeting.

Crazy Taxi

Everyone around the world has probably had a go at the next title on our list of the best Dreamcast games.

You might have played Simpsons Road Rage or other similar titles, but Crazy Taxi was the first and best game of its kind. It went on to spawn various sequels on different platforms and was super fun to play.

As well as the original map that you could play on the arcade version, the Dreamcast port featured a MASSIVE San Fransisco map where the player could really explore and get completely lost (something that you don’t want to do when you’re trying to get a lot of points and keep that clock from running down!)

The premise of Crazy Taxi is simple – take passengers to their destination while pulling off cool tricks and destroying stuff. Get them there quickly, and you get more points and cash.

It’s so simple it hurts, making it one of those games that anyone can pick up and play no matter how much gaming experience they have.

Seg used this title to show off the fact that their new console could hold 60 frames a second, and it received positive feedback from game reviewers the world over.

Skies of Arcadia

If, after hundreds of hours of Xenoblade Chronicles 3 and its predecessors, you’re still jonesing for more to explore, try Skies of Arcadia on a buddy’s working Dreamcast (or find the game’s oft-forgotten GameCube port). In terms of its gameplay and style, it feels like the spiritual cousin the Xeno games deserve.

Skies of Arcadia is a world of floating continents featuring a secret history of advanced technology turned apocalyptic. Naturally, history is about to repeat, and a young pirate and his eccentric crew get involved with powers and problems beyond their comprehension. That set-up is already pretty Xeno-y, but add in a surprisingly rich character recruitment system that makes your airship base feel ever livelier, and an enormous world to explore, and you’ll soon be begging for more. Of course, so much of the game’s brilliance can be traced back to the creativity of its producer, Rieko Kodoma. Kodama, who was also the artist who gave the Phantasy Star franchise its lush sci-fi aesthetic, tragically passed away this year. This game was her proudest achievement, and it’s still a gift to JRPG fans everywhere.

Resident Evil – Code: Veronica

The next title in our list of the best Dreamcast games is one of the most well-known survival horror games around. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that it’s the ruler of the genre.

Code: Veronica is set three months after Resident Evil 2 and follows on from the destruction of Racoon City that occurs in Resident Evil 3.

This game was the first in the series not to debut on the PS2, and it’s also one of my favourite.

In Code: Veronica, we experience stunning real-time 3D environments and dynamic camera angles for the first time in the Resident Evil series. It makes the whole game so much better, and consequently a lot scarier!

Code: Veronica sees Claire and Chris Redfield kicking Zombie ass once more.

The game is split between a remote prison and a research facility, two of the most creepy settings on earth. You split between the two storylines as the game progresses, keeping things fresh and the player hooked.

The gameplay, controls, and puzzle-solving elements are all similar to the previous titles in the series. As is the sheer volume of braindead, undead cretins trying to take a chunk out of your face.

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Stevie Flavio
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