DAR Games Retro: 8 Classic Dreamcast Video Games

By @Peagle05





9/9/99...on that day, we got one of the most underrated and quite honestly, legendary consoles ever, the Sega Dreamcast. A console well ahead of its time, it introduced online gaming and the VMU, a memory card plugged into the controller with a screen that could be interacted with (Basically the precursor to the Nintendo Switch). Here, I'll be focusing on 8 of the classic games/series released on this console..and there were quite a few besides these.

*Power Stone 1 and 2




-One of the best multiplayer games ever and definitely one of the best party games ever, Power Stone was similar to Super Smash Bros which is funny considering they came out the same year, with Smash Bros preceding it only by 8 months. That said, it's pretty clear to see that changes Nintendo made going into Melee were influenced by what was presented by Power Stone and its sequel. Both Power Stone games introduced the multiplayer arena fighter to the mainstream and did so incredibly well that it created an instant classic. The gameplay was centered around an arena with usable weapons and characters with their own special attacks as well as the titular “Power Stones”, where you collect 3 of these and your character would become an even more powerful version of himself/herself. Think the Smash Ball in Smash Bros Brawl. With the 3 Power Stones, you could do serious damage and the scramble to either collect or play keep away from someone who needs that last one created some of the most tense moments in the game. We got a remake in the form of Power Stone Collection for the PSP but let's be honest, how many of you actually owned a PSP? (I did). We need a proper chance to play this on consoles. It would take off in the same way Rocket League did in my opinion.

*Shenmue



-Open world adventure game with quick time events? You'd be forgiven for thinking of a Grand Theft Auto game or any of the many open world games released since 2000 but no. HERE is where it started, with a Dreamcast game about a young man investigating his father's murder. It is without a shadow of doubt the originator of the 3D open world adventure. Though there would be others that did it better, the impact of Sega's Shenmue cannot be overlooked. At the time, it was the single most expensive video game developed and along with the development and marketing costs of the sequel, it cost between 47 and 70 million to make. So why hasn't more of a big deal been made of it? The game only sold 1.2 million copies. By most standards, that's excellent, but by the standards set upon it by the cost of development? That just isn't good enough, especially for that time. And so we were left after Shenmue 2 with an unresolved story and a game that was considered a cult classic, but a commercial failure. Oddly enough, unlike many games that we cover in these retro articles, Shenmue will be seeing another installment as the third game in the series will be released for the PS4 and PC after a successful crowdfunding campaign following its reveal at E3 2015. Here's hoping that it remains just as classic as we remember it.

*Marvel vs. Capcom 2




-One of the other games that saw sequels, this is one of the most well known and classic fighting game franchises in gaming. This remains the best game in the series and the true expansion of the ideas and concepts brought forth in the original. Seeing some of the biggest characters in Capcom history fighting the most well known Marvel characters was weird and yet amazing. Remember, this was a time when Capcom was still a big deal in gaming and not just a fringe company struggling to stay afloat as its known now. The 3 on 3 gameplay and assist systems were amazingly innovative and changed the entire dynamic of the game, allowing for far more strategic fighting especially in the competitive space. This was also one of the games that helped push forward the fighting game community into the juggernaut we all see today. Capcom was at the forefront of that with this and Street Fighter and it's a shame to see how they fell off in recent years. However, they should be remembered for giving us this and many other classics and not the horrid looking Marvel vs Capcom Infinite that just released to much controversy.

*NBA 2K1




-We've reached halftime in this article so why not jump into the sports world for a bit? With NBA 2K1, we got the best of the Dreamcast offerings. We got streetball courts 17 YEARS BEFORE EA DID IT, as well as the tight gameplay we had been introduced to the year prior. Also the game had Redman in it. Yeah. Redman. Classic. It introduced the now standard Association and General Manager modes as well as the short lived (in the 2K series at least) Street mode. This was the beginning of basketball dominance and though EA would keep a hold on basketball gaming for a few more years, Visual Concepts game right out the gate with some fire and never let up.

*NFL 2K-2K2





-This was the series that really started the “2K Era". When I say that, I mean the point in sports gaming where 2K Sports became a thing and started its takeover of the sports gaming landscape and it all started with NFL2K. These games were head and shoulders better than their yearly Madden counterparts. The only real flaw being the overpowered cover athlete even by normal gaming standards. Randy Moss was UNFREAKINGTOUCHABLE in these games. We talk about Madden 04 Vick all the time, we talk about Tecmo Bowl Bo Jackson, we mythologize these video game counterparts but pay no attention to the run Randy Moss had as a gaming GAWD. Why? Because of the stranglehold Madden had on the console landscape up until 05. Randy was an absolute nightmare made only more annoying by the fact that even in real life if you “chuck it up there” he's going to get it. So of course the virtual version had to be equal. And that makes Moss the best Virtual Baller EVER. Yeah Vick was the man in 04, but you could actually throw with him. Vick is my dude but he was never a great QB in real life (except 2012, but that's my Eagles bias showing). But Moss? He was EXACTLY as good as the game made him. If anything, that reason and that reason alone makes this series classic.

*Sonic Adventure




-Ladies and gentlemen, we've reached the point of the article where my sadness shall come through. This is the ONLY classic 3D Sonic game. Nothing else in the 3D realm exists in the Sonic world and I will accept no arguments to the contrary. I will however, if you say there was another good one, give you the greatest Jim Halpert face since John Kransinski sat down in front of a camera and questioned the sanity of Dwight K. Schrute. Because THAT is what you deserve for having such an opinion. Anyway, this game was so well done from beginning to end and not only brought Sonic into the 3D world correctly, it continued the tradition of the Sonic franchise having some of the best music in gaming, bar none. Of course, the story is a bit weird but that isn't why we come for Sonic The Hedgehog now is it? Though it did give us the famous Eggman nickname for Dr. Robotnik, I'm more than happy with just chasing the Chaos Emeralds and kicking his ass. Don't really need a reason for it.

*Jet Set Radio



-Much like my Gamecube post, I'll be dropping two more obscure classics here at the end. Starting with the undisputed classic, Jet Set Radio. One of the first games to make use of Cel-Shaded graphics, an art style that made games look more like a cartoon. The more interesting thing about that style is that when done correctly, these games tend to age better than their strictly polygonal counterparts. This game focused on tagging certain areas with graffiti within a certain time limit, it was Tony Hawk's Pro Skater with an actual purpose besides performing tricks and it was amazing. You can still see this game's influence as recently as Insomniac's Sunset Overdrive for the Xbox One. THAT's how much impact this series had. It changed how we looked at traversal in video games and how important the feeling of getting from point A to point B was as opposed to focusing strictly on the method. With an impressive art style and soundtrack, it's no wonder why this game comes up on many “Cult Classic” Lists. It is certainly a classic and one of the true pioneers in gaming.

*Skies of Arcadia



-An RPG from Sega and Overworks, this was one of the true classics of the era and of the genre. Its gameplay and story is classic JRPG and it takes some of those familiar tropes and wraps it around a structure so tight that you don't even notice you've seen these story beats before. The biggest departure is the story focused on pirates. Now it's not pirates in the sailing around the world sense, these characters are called “Air Pirates”. I mean it is “Skies of Arcadia” for a reason. But that particular wrinkle in the story was more than enough to keep people interested. Despite damn near universal critical acclaim, it didn't sell well as is the case with a few of these Dreamcast gems. Sad because this was really a game worth playing the first time around. However, if you did miss it, it was re-released on the Nintendo Gamecube a few years later and the gameplay remains the same.

I still own my Dreamcast and a few of these games on this list. I haven't played them in years but its nice to have them in the collection. What's wild is that even with 8 games, I'm STILL missing a couple of classics on the system: Crazy Taxi, Dead or Alive, Ready 2 Rumble 1 and 2, Resident Evil – Code: Veronica, and SoulCalibur. See? I could have kept going. That's how good this console was. Think about how many truly classic games a console gets in a 5 year span, after all that is the average lifespan of a home console. The Dreamcast got these in 3. The death of the console was Sega's fault. It didn't do itself many favors because of its lack of support of the console, add to that the release of the PS2 and it was destined for death. But the fact remains that the Sega Dreamcast is one of the best and most influential consoles ever.

-Peagle

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