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Today's Best Dreamcast Games 98

Retrogaming with racketboy has up an interesting feature, a piece intended to discuss the best and most relevant Dreamcast games available today. Not intended as a 'top ten list', his goal is to suggest titles that will resonate with gamers of today who are likely to own other consoles. By suggesting titles that haven't been topped by further works, or that may have been the basis for other popular games, he's hoping that today's gamers will still stop and play the classics once in a while. From the article: "Not only is the gameplay in Jet Grind Radio compelling and unique, but the audio and visual qualities stand up extremely well to today's standards. First of all, the graphical style hits you like a brick in the face (in a good way) with its well-executed cel-shaded models and landscapes. Jet Grind Radio was one of the pioneering games in the cel-shading movement before mainstream games like Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker made it popular for cartoon/anime-style games. The Jet Grind Radio soundtrack is also one of the most popular gaming lineups of all time featuring an array of eclectic songs combining the musical genres of J-pop, Trip-hop, Hip-hop and Electronica. This is one game that is not done justice on TV speakers -- you should definitely try to hook up some decent speakers in order to experience it at its best."
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Today's Best Dreamcast Games

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  • 1999 called.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Stormwatch ( 703920 ) <<moc.liamtoh> <ta> <oarigogirdor>> on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @10:20AM (#16468203) Homepage
    ...and it wants its radically innovative, visually outstanding, amazingly fun videogames back. ;-)
    • by mgblst ( 80109 )
      Never played a game to match Soul Caliber - I new that this would be on the list. Greatest fighting game ever!

      Cervantes wins.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MBGMorden ( 803437 )
      Excellent point. I really fail to see why the Dreamcast wasn't more sucessful. Even before the crazy clearance prices (didn't they eventually make it down to $19.95?), the system was very reasonably priced ($199 at launch) and had some incredibly fun games (Grandia II, Soul Calibur, and RE: Code Veronica being standouts). When I went to college in (1999) I left the N64 at home for my younger brother to play, and bought a Dreamcast on release day to have something to play. It served me very well as my on
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Saffaya ( 702234 )
        "my X-box I won for free in a drawing at a Microsoft presentation on Visual Studio - even swearing that I'd never buy one I *STILL* ended up with one of things :/ "

        Climb down from your high horse and look at the reality.
        Did you like Jet Set Radio on the DreamCast ?

        The studio behind JSR, Smilebit, subsequently did Jet Set Radio Future, Gunvalkyrie, and Panzer Dragoon Orta on the Xbox.

        Just play the games, not the brand/system politics.
        • I've never played any of those games, and never heard of half of them.

          That aside, I think brand/system politics can be a very good thing. Microsoft has a history illegally establishing monopolies and doing everything it can to maintain complete control of a market (note I'm not saying generating a profit - Microsoft actively attempts to destroy it's competitors).

          I'll not be so shortsighted as to gleefully hand over my money for the newest shiniest thing "just to play the games", knowing full well that the
          • by Osty ( 16825 )

            That aside, I think brand/system politics can be a very good thing. Microsoft has a history illegally establishing monopolies and doing everything it can to maintain complete control of a market (note I'm not saying generating a profit - Microsoft actively attempts to destroy it's competitors).

            Ah, you suffer from a fundamental lack of economic knowledge. Let me try to fix that. Building a monopoly is not illegal. In fact, maintaining a monopoly is not even illegal, though it's frowned upon. What is

            • by k_187 ( 61692 )
              you sir, are my hero. That is the ONLY level headed examination of Windows and Microsoft that I have read on /.
            • *sigh* I know you were looking for an opportunity to spout off two paragraphs worth of irrelevant knowledge. Sadly this wasn't that time.

              I state that I won't buy their stuff because they're going to try to establish a monopoly in the video game market (using funds generated by their operating system and office suites), just as they previously tried with the browser market.

              You basically say "Yabut, that only applies if they're using it in a different market.". Kinda like that IE monopoly that built ain't i
              • by Osty ( 16825 )

                I state that I won't buy their stuff because they're going to try to establish a monopoly in the video game market (using funds generated by their operating system and office suites), just as they previously tried with the browser market.

                First, all firms strive towards monopoly. It's the end-goal of a capitalist market. It rarely works, though, because most goods are elastic enough that multiple firms can successfully compete. That said, of course Microsoft is going to try to build a monopoly in the

        • Except that with microsoft it's ALWAYS about the "brand/system politics." xbox is an attempt to spread the windows monopoly into the living room and lock users into inferior systems with inferior interfaces forever.

          There isn't much to play on xbox (halo blows, get over it), but all things being equal it's definitely my favorite system to play sports games on, especially Winning Eleven and the new Fifa 07, that plays almost as well but has much nicer presentation and a lot more clubs and leagues.

          If the xbox
      • Sony whipped the console market into such a frenzy over the PS2 that by the time it was released, the Dreamcast was pretty much dead in the water. Even though the PS2 was arguably an inferior unit (and most early games sure demonstrate this), EVERYONE wanted Sony.

        Rampant piracy also had something to do with it, although not as much as people think. It was still mostly us "geeks" doing it - you couldn't just burn any old Dreamcast game with your $59.99 CD burner, you needed special software (or a boot CD) wh
        • Plus, a gaming market that for 25 years had not cared about backwards compatibility, suddenly wanted to play their 5 year old games again. Whether this was a true shift in the gaming demographic, or just more marketing hype, I leave as an exercise for the reader :)

          It was a big attraction for me. I did not have a PS so the option to buy a PS2 and get access to PS games was very attractive. I already had a Dreamcast, so this way I could get one more device and cover many years worth of games with one more p

      • The PS2 killed it.

        The Dreamcast really had it all at launch. Sony froze the market by talking about the PS2 which would have the best of everything. People forget the level of hype for the PS2 over a year before launch. Remember how the PS2 was to have graphics like Toy Story, but in real time? (BTW, Sony is making that claim for the new PS3 as well. Did Toy Story get better animation?)

        The PS1 was already popular, people figured they'd wait a few months and get the new PS2 instead. And Sega was bleedi
        • Remember how the PS2 was to have graphics like Toy Story, but in real time?
          That was the XBox, not the PS2.
          • by de Siem ( 840522 )
            That was the XBox, not the PS2.
            No no, Sony did say it in when explaining the graphical prowess of the emotion engine of the PS 2. see here []
    • by edis ( 266347 )
      FUN games, that's it! Never other console, occasionaly seen on display, got me hooked like DC. Actually, my children and their friends and classmates are often spending time in front of it - almost daily activity for quite some years now (so good, dad had second console in place to repair dead one, actually, started looking for third, in case). All four controllers are connected and ready to multiply FUN. And that is not dull personal sitting in front of PC, it is joy and emotions - natural for most, if not
  • Haven't we already had a topic like this once or twice in the past?
    • Yeah, but sooo many new Dreamcast games have been released the list needs to be updated...
      oh wait
  • F355 Challenge is one of the better racing games out there. It's a must-have if you have a DC and are into racing games. Pretty good port of the arcade version. I also recommend Silent Scope. Another unique game that ported fairly well from the arcade. Man, all this thinking about the Dreamcast makes me want to go home and fire it up tonight.
    • I never played F355 Challenge, but did play most of the others. For all the racing games that came out on DC, most actually weren't very good. My favorite racer was Test Drive V-Rally. It got everything right, as opposed to the pitifully done Sega Rally 2, which had the misfortune of being programmed for WinCE rather than directly to the hardware. The strength of consoles lies in not having to go through an OS first. Sega GT could've at least matched Gran Turismo (and custom building your own car was a
  • not a buttonmasher. can be played as such, but not well.

    i'd consider it somewhat revolutionary, because dreamcast made the game look AWESOME, the controls were intuitive, the load times were very short in comparison with the other consoles. it was vastly superior to the efforts on the other consoles and, imho, showed why the dreamcast was relavent.
    • Not to mention the other fantastic ports of arcade fighters like MvC, CvS, CvS2, GGX and arguably the SF3s, SFA3, and DarkStalkers Collection.

      Sega Saturn also had a very impressive collection of ported 2D arcade fighters. And it also didn't do so well in all regions :-/
      • Yeah, but the Saturn did poorly because although it has twice the raw horsepower of a PS1, it's much much harder to code for (SuperH instead of MIPS; Two processors instead of one) and the PS1 had hardware transparency, a feature the saturn lacks. It has 2d alpha but not 3d transparency. If you [can] remember back to this era, transparency was all the rage. Also there's the fact that as pricy as the PS1 was, the saturn cost even more. The Dreamcast died because A> pirating games became trivial for the f

        • I'd say the Saturn did poorly because it was twice as expensive as a PS1 ($400USD) and had inferior 3D capabilities. That and almost none of the really amazing 2D shooters ever made it to the US.

          Yeah, but the Saturn did poorly because although it has twice the raw horsepower of a PS1, it's much much harder to code for (SuperH instead of MIPS; Two processors instead of one)
          • PS1 was $300 at launch. You're right about the shooters though. I did talk about the inferior 3D capabilities - the PS1 supported transparency. (The Saturn would actually push more polys.) Although I am currently between saturn consoles, I still have a game shark and layer section I and II.
            • Which quickly fell to $200. As nice as the PS1 was at 3D, the Saturn had simply godlike 2D capabilities. Layer Section, Battle Garega, Terra Diver, Radiant Silvergun, etc. If you are into 2D shooters or tentacle porn, it remains the console to have. It's just too bad nobody outside of Japan ever got to see it for what it was.

              PS1 was $300 at launch.
              • It's still true, though, that the Saturn doesn't do hardware transparency and it seems like a waste of that second CPU to do it in software (which incurs a memory bandwidth penalty as well.) I hope someday someone comes up with a credible saturn emulator, I'm trying to get RID of game consoles (and sold my Saturn already, although I did keep my black light gun since they're so hard to come by in the US.)
  • I had many hours of enjoyment with Crazy Taxi on Dreamcast.
    • by Gulthek ( 12570 )
      Just be sure to run the audio through a band-pass filter to strip out the god awful narrator.

      "HEY-Y-EY it's time to make some CRAZY MONEY!" *mute*
  • by Saffaya ( 702234 ) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @10:45AM (#16468737)
    One is Phantasy Star Online.
    The very first online console RPG, with its servers around the world, compulsive gameplay, instanced dungeons, large chatting lobbies, multi language traduction system, etc .. etc ..
    Omitting PSO for the DreamCast is simply not understandable.
    Even more when it is making the news these day with its newest incarnation PSU, launching on PS2/PC and Xbox 360.

    Another is Guilty Gear X,
    which wipes the floor of any fighting game Capcom ever made.
    • Another is Guilty Gear X, which wipes the floor of any fighting game Capcom ever made.

      While I haven't played many other Capcom fighting games I have played GGX on PC and I found that it was extremely unbalanced. Still it's fun to play.
      • by Saffaya ( 702234 )
        "While I haven't played many other Capcom fighting games I have played GGX on PC and I found that it was extremely unbalanced. Still it's fun to play."

        Would you mind detailing a bit ? I never experienced such imbalance on the DreamCast version.

        Some characters require less practise than others (Sol Badguy, Ky Kiske for example) in order to be very effective.
        For example, my favourite character Jam is weaker than them, but more nimble. I am convinced that properly played, she can beat them.
        My recently acquired
    • The amount of innovation that came from sega seems to only be rivaled by Nintendo. Come to think of it like half of all games sega made for the DC seemed to be totally new things. Shenmue, jet grind, etc.

      DC had me much more excited in the past then either the ps3 or the xbox360. I've never been a fan of the nintendo style of games, although i've been entertained by quite a few.
    • PSO is no different from Diablo 1, a RPG that you can happen to play online. The only interaction with other players is in the form of rooms where everyone has to step on a switch at the same time, and knowing when to not attack when someone gets soul stealed on Dark Falz (of course people will probably ignore you anyway). Consider you've an input system where typing 5 WPM would be considered pretty fast, communication is all but impossible so you might as well be playing solo.

      The most innovative part of
      • by Saffaya ( 702234 )
        "PSO is no different from Diablo 1, a RPG that you can happen to play online."

        Re-read again.
        PSO was the first CONSOLE rpg, and was playable with a 33.6 modem from all over the world, including via satellite connections.
        Oh, and it was real 3D.

        I get so sick of all those PSO is just diablo comments. Let me add my own stupid comment then : "And diablo 1 was just yet another isometric game (like crafton & xunk, syndicate, populous, etc ..etc ..) that just happened to have an online part."
        • Just because the console never done something that was done on the computer doesn't mean it's somehow innovative. It'd be like saying that the first typing game on the console is innovative (Typing of the Dead? Mario Teaches Typing? Or maybe even older?) because it's never been done before. Does PSO gets cool points for inventing its own time system that no one uses? I don't think it's ever been done before, and there's a reason why no one's ever tried to reinvent the 24 hour clock in a game.
        • by qa'lth ( 216840 )
          Nah, Diablo was just Nethack + Moria with better graphics. Dungeons were static after you entered the level (NetHack), you had to return to town to buy and sell crap (Moria), had a town portal spell (also Moria).

          I would have liked more interesting classes, though.
  • hands down, Capcom vs. SNK is the tops hyper-uppercut, -Twitchings
  • Why, you ask? Haven't played 3 yet, but I heard it was lacking in several areas. Even Penny Arcade made a point of it. And Grandia Xtreme for PS2 was more of a Gaiden title

    -American-pedigreed voice actors (the guy who played Leonardo the ninja turtle and that Ariel chick from the Little Mermaid).
    -Quick, fun battle system.
    -Sky Dragon Slash
    • Grandia games has always been about the gameplay, though Grandia 2 managed to accidentally get some story right compared to the rest of them, most notably the Eye and Horn of Valmar arc is actually really quality story while the rest of the Valmar arc is standard garbage. Grandia 2 is also the first RPG I can think of where you arguably don't need to heal the whole time even on boss battles as long as you know how to rotate your cancels. Sure it is fairly easy to pull off, and you always have the heals if
      • by 7Prime ( 871679 )

        Grandia 2's story is kinda second rate, but its characters and dialog are some of the best the genre has ever seen. We're talking Lunar/Lunar2 level dialog, or better. Sure, the basic character archetypes are all fairly cliche, but they're much more flushed out than any other RPG. As a RPG fan, I've sorta lost interest in "story", because it's almost always the same standard fare bullshit... but what really gets me is when they're able to bring about realistic and well crafted character personalities during

        • Well, any time you got a game where you consistently stick with one recognizable party throughout the whole game, the characters are bound to be more developed just because you stuck with them the whole time. It's not like Elena or Milenia are the most developed characters ever, but you're stuck with them for the entire game so you can identify with these characters. Because there is exactly one party composition it is obvious for them to say the relevant things on the relevant events.

          On the other hand, t
          • by 7Prime ( 871679 )

            I hear what you're saying about characters not being around, or parties being too large to concentrate on specific characters. Thinking back on it, many of my favorite RPGs have fairly small parties. I couldn't stand Chrono Cross because it was a gigantic-party game that tried, desperately, to be personal and intimate, and I think it failed MISSERABLY. People generally don't develop by having major epiphonies, they change gradually, over long periods of time. Games should be especially delicate, since they

            • FFX sort of just kept your party together at all times (with the mysterious restriction that only 3 people can be fighting at once) which works reasonably well. At any rate, there's a physical limit the size of your party can become before characters cease to have meaning. When you're lugging 30 guys around like Chrono Cross, there's just no way all the people could have meaningful things to say on everything you do. If they do it'd take 10 hours to just read through what everyone needs to say.
  • Skies of Arcadia (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Astarica ( 986098 )
    For proving that a good game, RPG even, can be founded entirely on graphics alone. Despite the dungeon crawl yawn-a-thons, the way too high encounter rate on the overworld, the insanely long airship battles, and a battle system where it is not possible to die once you can buy Riselem crystals or have Lunar Light, the gorgeous world somehow makes you forget about all the shortcomings and make the game good.
    • C'mon, it's not just the graphics. Granted, they're great given the hardware, but it's also the music, the characters, the wealth of optional material, and the story that just won't quit making you smile even as you tell yourself how thoroughly goofy it is. Oh, and the horribly bad "acting" of Ramirez. :)
      • I don't think Skies of Arcadia ever tries to present it as 'goofy' except letting you pick a dolphin as a logo of the Delphinus. It's a light-hearted but quite serious adventure story. The ending says something like "A girl had a mission, (forgot Aika's part), and a boy have a vision, and together they changed the world" and that seems to describe overall game tone very well. I'm not sure what you mean by the optional stuff to do. If you're talking about the exploring aspect, that part is entirely a by-
        • It doesn't try to be goofy, it is goofy in how earnestly it portrays its story. But, as I said, it's still damn good, and yes, the world is beautiful. As to optional content, you have (in the Legends version):
          * 4 optional "big bosses"
          * Discoveries
          * Cham sidequest
          * Moonfish sidequest
          * Crew collection
          * Bounties
          * Piastol sidequest
          * Trying to get every damn chest in the game to make Legend.

          the original version lacks Moonfish, Bounties, and Piastol, but has the Pinta's Quest VMU game, which is silly and entirely
    • Actually, I'm playing Guardian Heroes on the Sega Saturn. which has a nice mix of Action, RPG, and story.

      I agree with one of the first posters ... the '90's called, they want their fun games back.

      My uncle asked me a good question, "Why are the games from the 90's so much more fun?" Probably because they didn't get sucked into trying to make a 3D world that has low density, they concentrated on the things that mattered.

  • zerg (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lord Omlette ( 124579 ) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @12:17PM (#16470847) Homepage
    Powerstone 2 is a fun, frenetic game. Seriously, if you like Smash Brothers, you'll love this game.

    Just ignore the Island of Penises they used for the title screen.
    • Heh, I will have to admit on going on small Powerstone 2 binges every couple of months or so on my DC. That game as well as: "Ikaruga" and "Gauntlet: Legends" keep my interest.
  • I inherited a DreamCast from a friend who never played her console, and I must say its one of the best I own. Whereas I don't like Sonic Adventure (gave me massive headaches), the other games it offers are supurb (I especially like the DC's sports games.. the controls just seem intuitive.. much more so than a PS2). Sigh, if only there were enough time to build up a substantial library, what with the next gen upon us...
  • The article only mentions The Typing of the Dead [] as an honorable mention, but I'd have to say that it's probably my favorite Dreamcast game. It sounds really odd -- using your typing prowess to battle zombies -- but it's surprisingly fun. It's particularly fun if you have two keyboards, so you and a friend can scream at each other as you're frantically typing.

    Also, if you're like me and have a bunch of PS/2 keyboards already sitting around, there's a Dreamcast-PS/2 adapter [] you can get. It doesn't cost much
    • I remember playing that with a friend back when it came out. We were both self-proclaimed fast typers so we would go at it hardcore. I think we were partly motivated by the amount of coin we dropped in House of the Dead units... were we enacting some kind of revenge? The dreamcast keyboards were the clear losers, however.
    • by Cybrex ( 156654 )
      Damn skippy! I think I'm gonna have to go home and dig it out now. I've been on a retro gaming kick lately anyway. May as well brush up on my "mad zombie-busting typing skillz" while I'm at it. :-)
  • Maybe now I'll get a straight answer as to what exactly was so great about Rez.
    • I actually own REZ for the DC; while I may not speak for everyone here, the most common answer I hear from people who have also played REZ is because of the amazing music. REZ is probably the only game that I have seen that seamlessly incorporates music with actions in the game. Example being If you "shoot" (not truely a shot persay but close enough for this description), said shot will actually sound as if it were part of the musical score. It's really quite interesting. The graphics are nothing out of thi
      • Aye, I've played Rez, but I think Lumines mixes the experiences of music, sound and gameplay better than Rez. Rez has always seemed to be to be a cut-down very easy version of E-102 Gamma's levels from Sonic Adventure. (Hold to target... 8 locked, release) (Repeat)
        • The firing system is yes, easy.. however when you have ( as in the last level) many many many targets on screen it can get a bit intensive to try and shoot every target down... as well as the shots fired at you as they count towards the 100% shot down rating.
  • Really, any of the games that can be played with four players simultaneously are great, but Bomberman and Chu Chu Rocket are a riot with groups. They're both frantic and kinetic, with plenty of "screw your buddy over" factor to keep everyone on their toes.
  • Samba de Amigo 2000 (never made it to the US just the original Samba de Amigo) and a couple sets of maracca controllers. Best game to play at a party ever. More alcohol = more fun with this game.
  • When we organize game parties with friends, we usually still play the DC instead of the PS2 or xbox.

    We mainly play Chu Chu Rocket and Worms armageddon. And even the girls want to play these games.
  • Begun deliberating this a while back, and I've since got Halo for the PC so instead of an Xbox me thinks I'll get myself a Dreamcast for christmas, and track down Shenmue, Metropolis Street Racer and probably some of the others on this list
  • To this day, I'm not sure there's been a bigger, more immersive game experience. The sense of REALITY in the game (and its sequel) is absolutely incredible. Yes, it's a bit slow-paced. Yes, it can become (in the words of one reviewer), "the world's greatest soda-drinking simulator." But that is, I think, the point. Out of innumerable games that promise new experiences, or to transport you to a new world, or suchlike, Shenmue is the only one I know that really DELIVERS on that promise.

    Also, it's intere

  • Jet Grind Radio is great, but there are a few others you might want to check out.

    1. Toy Commander. Probably the best single player game on the Dreamcast. I've probably put in more playtime on this game than World of Warcraft over the years. It's just that good. Don't let the "kiddie" theme fool you.

    2. Super Magnetic Neo. EXTREMELY cheesy art style, mixed with the hardest 3d platformer ever. If you're a real platformer junkie, you need to pick this game up. If you beat this, you've really accomplished
  • Rical Schools Project Justice.
    • by mink ( 266117 )
      Er. Rival. Almost made the same typo again in the correction.

      Back to school for me.

The best book on programming for the layman is "Alice in Wonderland"; but that's because it's the best book on anything for the layman.