In 1999 SEGA unleashed their new console, the Dreamcast, in North America to much anticipation. The manufacturer come developer and publisher was still reeling from the poor performance of the Saturn, which debuted four years earlier, and needed a homerun. Unable to keep up with Sony’s behemoth, the PlayStation 2, SEGA withdrew the console from the market in 2001. Yet in its short lifespan, the Dreamcast amassed an excellent, if limited, catalogue of titles and here’s ten you need to play.
This arcade racer had you assume the role of taxi driver in a timed based fare frenzy. Collect and deliver passengers before the timer runs out in order to earn money. Bright visuals were accompanied by a thumping soundtrack that featured The Offspring. Yar, Yar, Yar, Yar, Yar, Yaaaaaaaa…
Power Stone is best remembered as a Dreamcast title, but for a brief time in the very late nineties, it was also a radical 3D arcade fighter. Power Stone was a slick, pick-up and play brawler that allowed combatants to make use of their environments as weapons to ensure a hard-fought victory.
Sonic and 3D generally don’t sit well with today’s gamers. Sonic Adventure sees the titular blue devil and gang on the hunt for seven Chaos Emeralds in order to stop the evil Dr. Robotnik, sound familiar? It was Sonic Team’s first attempt at a fully 3D world and for the most part, it worked. By adding a limited open-world with RPG-like elements this was a fresh take on SEGA’s mascot and introduced the super cute Chao virtual pet creatures to the world.
JET SET RADIO
Graffiti gangs zipping around Tokyo on rollerblades. That’s it. That’s the game, and it’s insanely addictive. This fast-paced and colourful game was subsequently ported to multiple systems and eventually received an equally amazing sequel. Part of the charm came from the focus on music, with a powerhouse of a soundtrack. The world needs more Jet Set Radio.
SHENMUE I & II
Shenmue is a story about revenge, slowly brought to life by the day to day things that you have to do in order to achieve it. With remasters on current-gen consoles and the third chapter recently published, now’s as good a time as any to refresh your memory on Ryo’s journey from a sleepy town in Japan to bustling parts of China. The games incorporate so many different elements to the mix, like a robust fighting system and slice-of-life simulation. Try not to spend too much time buying capsule toys!
SAMBA DE AMIGO
Many people will have missed out on this thumping party hit as it was released near to the end of the Dreamcast’s lifecycle. It’s a rhythm action game with a Samba soundtrack that came complete with an impressive maraca peripheral in a time before Guitar Hero and Rock Band. It received a port onto the Nintendo Wii but wasn’t the same using a Wiimote, so if you can find an original copy anywhere buy it.
What do you get if you mix Bomberman, Pac Man, Lemmings, and Krusty’s Super Funhouse? This insane little title from the genius mind behind Sonic the Hedgehog, Yuji Naka. Released in 1999, ChuChu Rocket! has you in the role of a less bloodthirsty Pied Piper as you place a series of arrows across a game map to help direct a gang of mice to a rocket ship that will blast them away into orbit and away from the feline danger that lurks around every corner.
Even at its death, the Dreamcast was being gifted quality releases and none-more so than off the wall on-rails music shooter Rez. Developed by United Game Artists and published by SEGA you play an avatar inside a malfunctioning AI system. With simple but elegant visuals this game was all about the awesome soundtrack.
SPACE CHANNEL 5
Space Channel 5 was another bizarre yet innovative game that graced the Dreamcast. From the mind of Tetsuya Mizuguchi, it followed space reporter Ulala investigating an alien invasion via rhythm-based gameplay set to a musical score. Looking back at Space Channel 5 today you can its massive influence in Ubisoft’s monster hit series Just Dance.
SKIES OF ARCADIA
Skies of Arcadia is a game about sky pirates which automatically makes it a cool concept. Thankfully the gameplay and story backed back up that promise while sticking to the tried and tested saving the world scenario. Combat felt fun and even today the visual holds up. We are desperate to see a remaster, HD port, or sequel.
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