The 25 best Dreamcast games of all-time
The Sega Dreamcast had a short lifespan, but it made a big impact with its great selection of games. Sega put a lot of effort into making sure the console had some amazing titles. From Crazy Taxi and Virtua Tennis to Shenmue and Resident Evil – Code: Veronica, the Sega Dreamcast had a library filled with legendary arcade ports, influential single-player experiences, truly experimental games, and more. If you’re thinking of starting a collection now that the console is seeing something of a resurgence in popularity, this list of the best Sega Dreamcast games will help get you started.
Although the Sega Dreamcast is no longer produced, some of its best games are still expensive. This might be because the system quickly became discontinued after its release in 1998; just two years later, it was being phased out by the PlayStation 2. However, we choose to remember it for what it was: a machine that was ahead of its time– as you’ll see reflected in our pick of the best Dreamcast games.
For a more definitive history of SEGA games throughout the years, see our list.
If you’re looking for a stealth action game on the Dreamcast, Headhunter is a great option. You play as Jack Wade, a top-class bounty hunter who wakes up in hospital with amnesia. When he learns that his boss in the Anti-Crime Network has been killed, he sets out to solve both mysteries. The game has impressive graphics and an award-winning soundtrack by Richard Jacques. Plus, the plot is full of twists and turns that will keep you hooked until the end.
The Seaman virtual pet game from Yoot Saito is one of the weirdest games hosted on the Dreamcast. To raise a fish with a human face, make sure its tank is clean and properly heated, and communicate with it – which includes using your Dreamcast microphone to talk to it – Seaman requires you to maintain a clean aquarium and warm appropriately. Of course, the Seaman isn’t exactly beautiful to look at, but it can certainly be condescending and even insulting when conversed with. Also narrator is Leonard Nimoy.
23. Sega Bass Fishing
The Dreamcast years saw Sega’s arcade teams create just about everything entertaining, and Sega Bass Fishing – originally known as Get Bass in arcades – is proof of that. This game isn’t your typical fishing adventure. You feel the tension of being under a lot of pressure to reel in the fish quickly, with your fisherman urging it to “bite it!” And when you do, the game changes into a dynamic rock soundtrack that provides the ideal atmosphere while you battle to get it back on line. It’s fantastic while you play it however ,the fishing rod controller – yes, genuinely – makes it unforgettable.
22. Space Channel 5
Developer: United Game Artists
Space Channel 5 is an intergalactic news report-style game in which the player, as Ulala, must match the movements of invading Morolians exactly before zapping them. The catchy 60s music, retro-futuristic locations and characters, make for a fun and unique gaming experience. A true highlight of the game are the large groups of people that Ulala liberated, who joyfully dance along behind her. Although Space Channel 5 is relatively short compared to other games, it’s still sweet and entertaining– making it worth playing despite being unlikely to see any future ports due FMV-based background setting.
21. Quake 3 Arena
Developer: id Software
Because multiplayer gaming was becoming increasingly popular, Sega chose to market Dreamcast’s online gaming capability heavily. At the time, there was no first-person shooter game that could surpass Quake 3 in regards to online multiplayer gaming. The third game in the series concentrated primarily on the frantic multiplayer matches instead of Single player campaigns against bots, which is what the series had become known for. Dreamcast brought the console gaming experience to a whole new level, with online play that surpassed split-screen. And not just limited to other Dreamcast players; it was possible to also compete against PC gamers who had the Dreamcast map pack installed. Fans have kept the game alive by hosting servers so it’s still possible to play today.
20. ChuChu Rocket!
Developer: Sonic Team
Although it may appear easy at first glance, Sonic Team’s puzzle game is actually quite challenging. Your goal is to get the mice into the rockets while avoiding all of the hungry cats. However, this is easier said than done, as there are dozens of fiendish levels that you will need to overcome in order to beat the game. Although the game was designed for Dreamcast’s online multiplayer capabilities, it becomes even more exciting with four players fighting to get the most mice. Be prepared for sabotage though- your opponents may try to redirect your mice or point cats at your rockets! If you can’t find anyone online to play with, don’t worry- fans have set up servers so that you can also play locally with four people.
19. NFL 2K2
Developer: Visual Concepts
It’s a shame that Electronic Arts never brought its Madden NFL games to the Dreamcast, because Visual Concepts consistently delivered. With an enhanced running game finally matching the series’ signature Maximum Passing mechanic, NFL 2K2 was the final game in the series to be released for the Dreamcast. The prior installments always looked the part on screen and 2K2 was no different, with some astute commentary thrown in for good measure. The fact that it included internet play made it even better. Online gaming has now been revived by Dreamcast fans as a result of this title.
18. Samba de Amigo
Developer: Sonic Team
Sonic Team created Samba de Amigo long before Guitar Hero and Rock Band came along and took over the market with their plastic instruments. The game is just as perfect for a party now as it was then –the on-screen action is colorful and compliments the Latin sounds perfectly, plus there’s plenty of music to choose from. If you buy the Ver. 2000 version from Japan, you’ll get even more songs – but be warned, it doesn’t come cheap!
17. Dead or Alive 2
Developer: Tema Ninja
If you’re looking for some really intense fighting action, Tecmo has you covered. Fighters are sent through windows, tossed into exploding walls, and sent flying off high ledges before getting back up for more. Just as victory appears to be certain, the fighter on the defensive side gets a punch and turns it into a devastating throw. Watching an excellent round of Dead Or Alive 2 is like watching a wild choreographed fight in a movie—but the true genius is that it’s extremely simple to learn with just one button and no complicated systems required.
16. Sonic Adventure
Developer: Sonic Team
The purpose of Sonic Team was to display the capabilities of the Dreamcast, which resulted in an innovative game beyond compare. The six characters go through distinct levels dictated by their individual skillsets; for example, one level has platforming elements for Sonic while another focuses on treasure-hunting for Knuckles. Even fishing is possible with Big! This 3D adventure may have some not-so-great graphics by today’s standards, but if you can look past that then you’ll see how much greater and more creative the stages are than in many other Sonic games.
15. Power Stone 2
What’s better than the disorderly brawls of Power Stone? Clearly, the chaotic four-player confrontations of Power Stone 2. The sequel offers the same chair-throwing, sword-slashing mayhem as its precursor, but it also adds a few more fighters per level to bring things even further down. Capcom created some innovative stages with platforming, chases, and skydiving that takes this multiplayer game to a whole new level. If you’re searching for a party fighter outside of the Super Smash Bros series, look no further–this is it!
14. The House Of The Dead 2
With the Dreamcast serving as a portal for Sega’s arcade games to come into your house, it was critical to have a fantastic gun game, and this zombie sequel was just what the doctor ordered. It’s still one of the greatest examples of the genre, owing to the relentless onslaught of zombies, and where the original game had suffered from a somewhat underwhelming Saturn conversion, this was an arcade-perfect port. Be warned that the American release of the game doesn’t support official Sega guns, but every other detail is right there to be seen beautifully. The dialogue, while unintentionally hilarious at times, was reproduced wonderfully.
13. Resident Evil – Code: Veronica
Claire Redfield, the heroine of our story, has been captured by the Umbrella Corporation and taken to their Rockfort Island facility. We all know what that means – another zombie outbreak is imminent. The tried-and-true formula of puzzle-solving gameplay, limited ammunition, and tank controls is still in place, but with the power of a new console generation comes stunning 3D environments that replace the flat pre-rendered backdrops of yore. Not only is this game important to the story, but it also marks the return of both Claire’s brother Chris and arch-villain Albert Wesker from the original game. This can be considered the true follow-up to Resident Evil 2.
12. Metropolis Street Racer
Developer: Bizarre Creations
The goal for Metropolis Street Racer was to create the most authentic street racing experience by digitally recreating parts of London, San Francisco and Tokyo with thousands of photographs. Although it became a great-looking game, its driving approach is what made it stand out among other games. Not only does it matter that you drive well, but driving fast also counts – winning is essential, but if you crash then you lose points. You gain them back by drifting stylishly, which means that “rival-assisted steering” is not tolerated. Many of the concepts that made the Project Gotham Racing series so successful originated from this game.
11. Street Fighter 3: 3rd Strike
Street Fighter 3: Third Strike wasn’t always popular when it first came out due to its lack of familiar faces and because 2D graphics were unfashionable at the time. However, it has been reappraised over the years, which is likely in part due to the unforgettable “Evo Moment #37” video of Daigo Umehara’s stunning comeback against Justin Wong. We initially didn’t give the exquisite animation and mechanics of this game the credit it deserved, but we realize now that it is one of a kind.
10. Skies Of Arcadia
If you’re looking for a traditional Japanese RPG for your Dreamcast, this is the game for you. You follow the Blue Rogues, a band of air pirates led by Vyse, as they attempt to prevent the Valuan Empire from conquering the world by reawakening the Silver Gigas, a powerful living weapon. The story is interesting and well told, especially because to an excellent localization job. Plus, you may participate in airborne battles against other airships as well as fight standard monsters – how nice is that?
Japanese game designers have used the Dreamcast for years after it was discontinued to release ports of their arcade shoot-’em-ups, and Ikaruga is the finest of the bunch. Ikaruga was as much a puzzle game as it was a run-of-the-mill blaster, since it required players to alternate between black and white polarities in order to inflict serious damage on opposed-colored foes and take attacks from others. Few Dreamcast games can match Ikaruga visually, with its stirring soundtrack giving the game a truly epic feel. When it was released, Ikaruga was hailed as an essential import, and it’s just as enthralling two decades on.
Developer: United Game Artists
Rez has an eye-catching appearance that hasn’t faded in 20 years. The game’s wireframe environments have a timeless look, perhaps due to the fact that they still appear remarkable in today’s HD updates. However, there’s a lot of substance here to back up the style, as Rez is a competent rail shooter with not only memorable stages but also fantastic boss fights – go check out Area 4’s “running man” boss right now if you don’t know what we’re talking about.
7. Jet Set Radio
Jet Set Radio’s unique selling point is its focus on style, and it doesn’t disappoint. From the skate punks to the graffiti turf wars, everything in the game is cel-shaded and set to a funky soundtrack. The GGs, Jet Set Radio’s DJ Professor K, and the antagonistic police led by Captain Onishima are all represented in this colorful world. Even if you’re familiar with Jet Set Radio Future, this is a very different experience that emphasizes arcade action with constant police persecution, time limits ,and trickier graffiti mechanics.
6. Phantasy Star Online
Developer: Sonic Team
Back in the day, the most entertaining way to rack up huge phone bills at Sega’s online RPG. While the single-player game was rather bleak, assembling a party of four people to combat Ragol’s wild animals was an unforgettable experience, whether you were adventuring with friends or making new ones in Pioneer II’s lobbies. We’ll never forget trying to take down Dark Falz or looking for those incredibly hard-to-find bottles. It’s still feasible to play the Dreamcast versions of Phantasy Star Online today thanks to the efforts of enterprising fans.
5. Virtua Tennis
The first Virtua Tennis was a great, accessible game that screamed summer fun. If you’re in North America, its sequel is called Tennis 2K2– and it’s even better than the original. Not only does it look nicer, but the controls have been improved too. Now you can more easily do slice shots, for example. Plus, the World Tour mode now comes with extra training mini-games and a character creation mode! Also, there are more real players on the roster, including Venus and Serena Williams, who have joined for the first time. It’s still one of Dreamcast’s best sports games to this day.
4. Marvel vs Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes
Capcom’s earlier crossover fighting games were hectic, with big combos and aerial clashes supplemented by powerful super moves that would take up most of the screen. Marvel vs Capcom 2 amps this up to an unnecessary extreme, giving players 56 characters to pick from including household names like Street Fighter’s Ryu and Darkstalker’s Morrigan, as well as more obscure choices like Mega Man and Jill Valentine. You also have a wide variety of X-Men, Avengers, and other noted marvels at your disposal. The game’s three-on-three tag team battles are exciting for any fighting game enthusiast, but it’s also a legendary tournament game, having been a mainstay of high-level competition for a decade.
3. Crazy Taxi
If you’re looking for an adrenaline-pumping, fast-paced game, look no further than Crazy Taxi. It’s impossible tomisunderstand the concept of the game – just get your passengers to their destinations as quickly (and recklessly) as possible. While it might not take long to master the basics of the game, there are hidden complexities in how the vehicles handle that will take some practice to perfect if you want a high score. Whether you’re playing for a good time or trying to beat your personal best, Crazy Taxi is sure to provide hours of fun.
Yu Suzuki was the mastermind behind many riveting arcade games, but Shenmue gave players a new type of RPG experience. While other RPGs focused on intrusive features such as managing numbers and levels or being pulled into random battles, Shenmue made sure that player were fully immersed in its captivating world. From the weather changes to the everyday routines of NPCs, there was always something to explore and keep players hooked.
Developer: Project Soul
Namco’s fighting game stunned audiences in 1999, and for good reason. It looked considerably better than the original arcade game and was perhaps the most visually stunning video game ever at that time. But it wasn’t just a pretty face; the game refined on the excellent weapon-based combat of Soul Blade while adding more diversified fighting grounds and the new eight-way run movement. It’s great today whether you’re playing with friends or alone, since Mission Battle mode offers numerous customized situations to make fights harder while honing your skills as a player.