Connect with us

Happy 20th Birthday Dreamcast! Here’s the 9 Must Play Games from Sega’s Final Home Console

Features

Happy 20th Birthday Dreamcast! Here’s the 9 Must Play Games from Sega’s Final Home Console

Skies of Arcadia

dreamcast, anniversary, best games

Skies of Arcadia, developed by Overworks and led by the legendary producer Rieko Kodama, is the first game I think of when someone asks about must-play Dreamcast games.

Although it was eventually ported to the GameCube, it debuted on the Dreamcast, and many still consider it to be the superior version because of the better sounding music (integral to the Skies experience), despite lacking in some extra content.

Skies of Arcadia follows the Vyse and Aika of the Blue Rogues, a group of Robin Hood-like sky pirates, as they explore the diverse world around them.

A mysterious girl from an unknown civilization eventually falls on their lap which draws unwanted attention of the powerful Valuan empire. Vyse, Aika and the rest of his crew vow to protect Fina and thwart the malicious plans of Valua.

The gameplay centers around traditional turn-based JRPG combat that takes place both on foot and in the skies in epic, strategy focused ship-battles. In both cases, team members all pull from the same bank of accrued points which forces players to decide when to save up, and unleash skills.

What pulls all of it together though is the scale of the game’s world and the music that makes every location feel unique and alive, and every battle feel important.

Sonic Adventure

dreamcast, anniversary, best games

Let’s get this out of the way: yes Sonic Adventure hasn’t aged super well. Still, Sonic Adventure is an iconic Dreamcast game that served as the blueprint for many 3D Sonic games to come.

It’s a landmark game for the series as it gave voice and personality to the Sonic characters for the first time in the games. There was a burst of enthusiasm following Sonic Adventure for learning more about new Sonic “friends.” It was strong enough that it had to eventually be toned down as it grew out of hand in future games.

In any event it was a blast at the time to explore Sonic’s world properly in 3D for the first time, and reviews at the time were incredibly positive.

While the 3D Sonic genre has had its ups and downs, if nothing else, 20 years later we’re still waiting for a new Chao Adventure game.

Grandia II

dreamcast, anniversary, best games

I vividly remember fans questioning the timing of Skies of Arcadia’s release as it was considered a risky move to release around the same time as Grandia II, a JRPG powerhouse franchise at that time.

Skies of Arcadia did just fine and so did Grandia II which ended up being worthy follow up to the hit original game.

Grandia II is remembered fondly for lots of things, but its combat is what stands out the most. At the time, and even still now, it’s very quick moving and fun to play compared to other turn-based JRPGs.

It’s dynamic as the party moves around the battlefield, but there’s an element of almost SRPG-like gameplay as players an enemies can plan out and counter each other’s moves as everyone knows what order everyone will be attacking in.

While the Dreamcast edition stills looks great, Grandia II benefits from being included in the recently released HD edition if you want to see how well everything can look with a modern touch, without anything about the story and gameplay being sacrificed.

Power Stone 2

While the original Power Stone game set the foundation, its follow-up, Power Stone 2, made is what helped put the series over the top.

Power Stone is total chaos but it’s so downright fun to play. It resembles Super Smash Bros. 64 somewhat in gameplay, but with a greater emphasis on wacky items and dynamic stages that are designed to just disrupt any semblance of balance or fairness.

Ill paint you a quick picture of a typical Power Stone 2 fight. Four players duke it out in an ancient tomb. Initially, they fight each other with just the basics: you know missiles, six-shooters, flamethrowers etc., but then as you’re fighting the floor drops out and suddenly you’re all running from a giant boulder.

Everyone is still fighting each other. Some people are laying down bear traps to try and slow people down, or they are dashing to skateboards and roller skates to stay ahead of the boulder. In either event it’s total chaos, especially when a player collects three power stones and begins firing of hyper powerful special moves.

Power Stone 2 is the best Smash game that’s not Super Smash Bros. and depending on who you ask, it might be the better franchise of the two, especially at the time of the Dreamcast.

Shenmue

The Shenmue franchise was billed as being an incredibly ambitious (and expensive) action RPG that was going to span games upon games.

The untimely death of the Dreamcast meant we only got to have two games ever make it to Sega’s beleaguered home console, but that promise and potential had a lasting impact. So much so that over 62,000 people donated over $6 million to make Shenmue 3 happen.

Shenmue and its sequel Shenmue 2, like the Dreamcast, was ahead of its time. It blended elements of the fighting game genre, with exploration and features that would become staples of the open-world RPG genre such as day and night cycles, and more life-like NPCs.

It perhaps was too ambitious for the Dreamcast’s limited hardware, but with Shenmue 3, we’ll get to see how creator Yu Suzuki will leverage additional horsepower to see his dreams for the Shenmue franchise – which were born on the Dreamcast – come to life.

Seaman

Calling Seaman a great game is extremely debatable. But it’s still a “must-play” just because it’s one of the most unique, and insane ideas for a game ever and it is inseparable from the Dreamcast.

It’s essentially virtual aquarium where you raise a baby Seaman fish into a fully grown, uh, adult Seaman. There’s not a whole lot you can do other than just look at it, care for it, and make sure Seaman is doing OK.

If you’re a good Seaman dad/mom you can raise it all the way to maturity and tearfully release it into the wild and begin the cycle anew again.

As it grows up, it becomes curious about the real-world, your world, and you can have limited conversations with Seaman using the Dreamcast microphone which still today is probably what people remember most about Seaman.

Crazy Taxi

The Dreamcast is well known for having a library of excellent arcade game adaptations. Crazy Taxi is arguably the best and most iconic of the bunch, and is recognized as such with BD Joe’s inclusion in the Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing franchise.

The Dreamcast version in particular is pulled together by officially licensing of real-life business and an amazing soundtrack which included tracks from The Offspring and Bad Religion that have become just as iconic as the game itself.

It’s hard to imagine driving people to KFC in Crazy Taxi without Ten in 2010, and All I Want playing in the background. Subsequent versions of the game that didn’t include all these features just didn’t feel the same.

Phantasy Star Online

Every new console has a game that is designed to just leverage every all of the bells and whistles that the hardware provides. Phantasy Star Online was the game to have if you wanted to show off what the Dreamcast could do.

Ahead of its time, the Dreamcast was the first game console that supported broadband internet, and those that were properly set up with modern internet could experience Phantasy Star Online to the fullest extent.

The original game would serve as the foundation for the new identity of the series that would grow into one of the most iconic online cooperative action-RPGs of all-time. In fact, dedicated fans are still playing PSO online, on the Dreamcast to-date.

Despite it kicking off a worldwide phenomena, until very recently, the west has been shut out from accessing Phantasy Star Online 2 (officially anyway), but that will finally change next year and a new generation of fans in the west will have an opportunity to play this classic franchise.

Soul Calibur

The Dreamcast has no shortage of great fighting games between the aforementioned Power Stone series, Tech Romancer, King of Fighters, Marvel vs. Capcom, Mortal Kombat etc. However, the best of the bunch was arguably the original Soul Calibur game.

At the time it instantly rose to be among the most polished, fun to play, and well-crafted 3D fighting games ever created. The 8-way movement system was revolutionary for its time, and it added a new element of strategy that still holds up quite well today.

Strategy revolving around timing and which weapon/character combination you would use reigned over complicated button combinations making it both a deep but accessible fighting game and is an element of the series that has remained even to this day.

While the Soul Calibur series now has a lot more competition in the 3D fighting space in 2019, it’s still an iconic fighting game franchise, and the Dreamcast’s version of Soul Calibur is what catapulted its rise fo fame.

Comments
Continue Reading
To Top