We reported earlier on in the week that the Sega Dreamcast is celebrating its 15th year since release in the North American on the 09/09/99 that we thought it would be fitting to have a round-up of nine games that made this short lived yet cult 128 bit games machine so much fun to play. Here they are:
After Sonic’s lack of Sega Saturn games (Sonic Jam, Sonic Fighters and Sonic R notwithstanding) there hadn’t been much happening with Sega’s mascot so it came as no surprise that quite a bit of fanfare surrounded the release of the Sonic Adventure. It was sonic back to doing what he does best but this time in 3D and whilst Super Mario 64 showed games developers how to make a great 3D platformer it was Sega that injected that all important speed factor back in again like it did in its Megadrive days. Lots of characters with different powers helped Sonic along the way which back in 1999 was one of the best looking games out and was responsible for selling many a Dreamcast.
Where would we be without Yu Suzuki’s awesome Shenmue. Billed as a multipart epic following Shenmue as he tries to find out who killed his father in 80’s Hong Kong. The four GD Disc game was massive for its time and raised the bar on what a true adventure game is about. The game lets you explore and interact with lots of characters in the game; you could also get a job and buy things and play an arcade perfect version of Hang-On in the arcades. Shenmue also introduced Quick Time Events (QTE’s) whereby you have to react to the onscreen action when prompted such as when you are in a fight or need to dodge out of the way adding further depth. The graphics were for its time fantastic and the Dreamcast really showed what it could do. However, Shenmue was also hugely expensive to make and even though it got a sequel the remaining parts were never made. Even today fans are calling on Sega to continue the story.
Sega Bass Fishing:
The Dreamcast was home to quite a few quirky games in its time one such game that proved to be popular was Sega Bass Fishing. The game was simple; catch increasingly harder and stronger fish to become the Bass fishing champion. Sounds a bit limited but the catch was you could do it with a dedicated fishing rod controller, cue lots of fun. The game had the usual Sega blues skies graphical style that epitomised the consoles era and was played with much merriment.
The Typing of the Dead:
Everyone knows House of the Dead 2, a great lightgun game that was pretty much as close to the arcade version as could be was a great game on the Dreamcast, however there was also a version that took advantage of Sega’s keyboard that was typically used for surfing the web or penning an email as the console had a built in modem.
The game followed the same path as its light gun cousin but instead of aiming a gun at the screen and blowing zombies to pieces you did it by typing words that were said and shown on screen. Zombies were dispatched when words such as ‘Dolly’ and ‘Bullish’ were typed but when it came to the bosses the words got bigger and the pace to type them increased as well. Make a mistake and you have to type out the word again, do that too many times and you’ll get attacked. How about that for tension? This game could probably also be responsible for teaching those who played it how to type quickly and accurately. Who says games can’t improve life skills!
Sega have been known to come up with some hugely innovative ways that games are played and Rez is one of them. On the surface it’s an on rails head on shoot ‘em up where you shoot the enemies coming towards you, nothing new there expect every enemy shot done creates a part of a song. Chain hits produce crescendos and create a unique player experience. This game also came out on the PS2 quite soon after Sega stopped making games for the Dreamcast and became a classic on that system too and definitely one for the clubbing generation and its also great to kick back and watch as well as play.
Whilst lacking in long term playability the original Crazy Taxi is still regarded as a great way to spend a few minutes. The premise is simple; collect fairs and take them to their destination before the timer runs out. Do well and you get a time bonus that keeps you in the game longer, do badly and no bonus for you so you’ll have to work twice as hard to please your next customer. You had a city to drive around that had plenty of things to find and you got tips if you drove in to oncoming traffic or did crazy manoeuvres whilst getting them to where they needed to be and all this to a great punk rock soundtrack from The Offspring that set the tone perfectly.
Long before World of Warcraft and other MMORPG’s there was Phantasy Star Online. Sega’s real-time hack and slash fantasy RPG was a huge hit and introduced gamers to playing online to embark on fight and chat with each other online. It was way ahead of its time and two parts came out for it and is regarded as many as being one of the best games to appear on the Dreamcast.
Power Stone 1 & 2:
Capcom was a keen supporter of the Dreamcast and released some great games, one of which is Power Stone. The game was set in a 3D arena where the player had to fight a number of players and could do so by using parts of the scenery such as boxes, lamp posts or gun emplacements along with special moves. The graphics were colourful and cartoony and the action intense. Four player matches were great fun thanks to the Dreamcast having four controller ports and further improvements were made in Power Stone 2. Alas the Dreamcast was the only place to play both games and are well worth picking up if you can.
When this game was first shown in the gaming press it literally blew people away with its coolness and Cel-Shaded graphics. The game was set in the near future whereby you had to skate around and spray your tag on walls to stir up rebellion in the city. Jet Set Radio’s character you controlled was on rollerblades so you could perform heaps of tricks and moves as well. A bit like on Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. The hip hop soundtrack added to the atmosphere immensely but it was the graphical style that will still invoke the strongest memories for most.
Bonus Game: Seaman
This game is, well, strange. It utilised Sega voice controller peripheral and let you communicate with your oddly human faced fish that you helped evolve, hence the name. This came out very late in the Dreamcast's life and had (and still has) many scratching their heads about it to this day. See for yourself.