A virtual pet simulation from the mind of Yoot Saito, Seaman is quite unlike any other video game you'll play. Player interaction is actually quite limited; the aim is to check in regularly on your 'Seaman' creature, which you can communicate with via the Dreamcast's microphone accessory (the game is unplayable without this device). Despite showering your creature with love, you'll often find that his reactions and responses are amusingly insulting. In a masterstroke, Leonard Nimoy is on hand to narrate the 'action', and it all adds up to a truly unique video game experience. A sequel was released on the PlayStation 2 in 2007.
Pulling together every track from Daytona USA and the Saturn-exclusive Championship Circuit Edition and marrying them with visuals from the arcade-only Daytona USA 2, Daytona USA 2001 perhaps came a little too late to satisfy long-time fans of the franchise, but it's one of the best racing games on the Dreamcast. The controls take some tinkering before they work as expected (the analogue 'dead zone' is, by default, practically non-existent, but you can boost it in the options menu) and this is a game that really does benefit from a steering wheel, but fans of the coin-op will be well pleased with this.
Sega's attempt to muscle in on the action-adventure genre popularized by the likes of Metal Gear Solid, Headhunter places you in the shoes of the titular mercenary Jack Wade and is set in a near-future where the organs of criminals are harvested for wealthy patrons, and weapons are designed to incapacitate the victim rather than cause them physical harm. Mixing third-person sections with driving segments, Headhunter is one of the best examples of the genre on the Dreamcast and was duly ported to the PlayStation 2 in 2002. It was followed by a PS2 / Xbox sequel, Headhunter Redemption, in 2004, which was a critical flop and caused Sega to shutter Amuze, the studio behind the franchise.
Unlike Visual Concept's NFL series, which only lasted until 2004 due to EA snapping up exclusive rights to the brand, NBA 2K has been getting yearly updates since 1999's Dreamcast exclusive NBA 2K. NBA 2K2 was the final game in the series to launch on Sega's console, and is one of the best sports titles of the era. Slick controls, eye-catching graphics and deep, rewarding gameplay make this a must-have for any self-respecting basketball fan – or anyone with a desire to play a decent multiplayer sports sim, for that matter.
Published just two days before the Dreamcast's official discontinuation on March 31, 2001, Segagaga can rightly claim to be the console's swansong. It's a JRPG which places you in control of Sega itself as it struggles to compete with the evil DOGMA corporation, which is clearly supposed to be Sony. Pulling in characters from Sega's history – including a rather forlorn Alex Kidd, who is reduced to working in the company's retail outlet following his fall from grace – Segagaga is something of a cult classic and was sadly never localised. Fans are currently hard at work on an unofficial translation, which should bring this hidden gem to a wider global audience.
ChuChu Rocket! is the game that was built to 'sell' the idea of online gaming to the masses, and was seen as Sega's way of testing the potential of the Dreamcast's online servers. In Europe, it was even given away free to those who subscribed to the company's Dreamarena service. Four players compete to see who can 'save' the most mice by ferrying them into waiting rockets and avoiding the hostile cats. Infectiously playable and a real blast with friends, ChuChu Rocket! would also come to the Game Boy Advance, and was more recently released on smartphones.
Shipping alongside a pair of bright orange maracas, Samba De Amigo is Sega doing what it does best – releasing commercially-doubtful arcade-based titles which are a hoot to play but sadly don't find the audience they deserve. At a time when the games industry was obsessed with 'mature' action titles rendered in several shades of grey and brown, Sega was producing games like this; an explosion of colour and sound that's an utter joy to play (even if setting up the control system is a pain in the backside). A Wii successor used the motion controls of that console to good effect, but sadly, it seems that the original Samba magic is likely to remain in the past.
The original Sonic Adventure was billed as the Dreamcast's killer app, and while it was enjoyable, bugs, control quirks and camera issues held it back from true greatness. Sonic Adventure 2 – released to coincide with the mascot's 10th birthday – fixes some of these issues, introducing more thrilling set-pieces, playable characters and locations. The camera is still a pain to wrestle with, of course, but this is a much-improved outing that was subsequently ported to the GameCube as Sonic Adventure 2: Battle.
The first Resident Evil game to debut on non-Sony hardware, Resident Evil - Code: Veronica stars Chris and Clare Redfield as they attempt to survive a viral outbreak which is (wait for it) turning people into shambling zombies. Notable for being the first in the series to ditch pre-rendered backgrounds for full-3D locations, Code: Veronica was hailed as a franchise high point at release and even today ranks very highly in the Resident Evil family. It was ported to the PlayStation 2 as Resident Evil - Code: Veronica X in 2001, and the GameCube in 2003 under the same name. Code: Veronica X would also come to the Dreamcast, but only in Japan, under the title Code: Veronica Kanzenban; this can be played in English thanks to a fan translation.
The Dreamcast may not have been blessed with quite as many shmups as its forerunner, the Saturn, but that's not to say that it didn't get some amazing ones. Border Down is a Japanese exclusive which is heavily inspired by Taito's cult classic Metal Black, and uses a unique difficulty setting. Each stage has three variations of difficulty, referred to as 'borders'. You begin on the easiest setting, with the game becoming increasingly harder as you lose lives. As well as being trickier to navigate, each 'border' offers unique enemies and stage layouts, adding to the game's replayability. Furthermore, the Dreamcast version has a special 'remix' mode not present in the original arcade edition, which enhances its longevity further. Border Down was never released outside of Japan and hasn't been reissued on any other system; this has contributed to it being one of the most expensive Dreamcast games on the secondary market.
Granted, this home port of Sega's popular arcade racer isn't perhaps as polished as it could be – it was clearly rushed to fill the Dreamcast's early window of titles – but Sega Rally 2 remains a blast to play. The frame rate can fluctuate at times but the power-sliding action remains intact; visually, it's a very close match to its arcade parent and is just as compellingly playable as ever.
The Saturn port of the original House of the Dead was never going to be arcade perfect, but Sega wasn't about to make the same mistake twice. House of the Dead 2 is practically identical to the coin-op, which means it looks fantastic, even by modern standards. Bundled with the Dreamcast light gun, this is one of the most thrilling examples of the genre – however, played with just the standard controller, it's a lot less compelling. Make sure you pick it up with a gun and play it on a CRT TV – light gun games won't work on modern LCD or OLED panels, sadly. It's also worth getting one of the Dreamcast's vibration packs, as this lends the lightgun some low-level force feedback.
Known as Get Bass in Japan, Sega Bass Fishing shipped with its own dedicated fishing rod controller, which transforms a potentially dumb idea into complete genius. Using the aforementioned controller, you must lure various freshwater fish using bait before skillfully reeling them in, using the controller's motion-sensing powers to pull your line in different directions. Given that it's based on an arcade game, it would perhaps be unwise to expect much longevity with Sega Bass Fishing, but it remains one of the most addictive Dreamcast titles. An updated edition arrived much later on Wii, and a Dreamcast-only sequel – Sega Bass Fishing 2 – turned up in 2001. Spin-off title Sega Marine Fishing would launch in 2000.
Sega may have pulled support for the Dreamcast in 2001, but that wasn't the end of the console by a long chalk. Thanks to the popularity of the NAOMI arcade standard, Dreamcast games were still released in the years following its termination, even if it was only a trickle rather than a flood. Under Defeat is one such title; a vertically-scrolling shmup from G.rev that arrived in arcades in 2005 and was ported to the Dreamcast the following year, and takes place in a World War II-style world where helicopters are the main weapon of attack. An updated version, dubbed Under Defeat HD, was released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2012, and made it to the west.
Part of the Fatal Fury series (it was even released under that banner in North America), Garou: Mark of the Wolves is held in very high regard by fighting game fans. Like Street Fighter III, much of its impact is down to the incredibly smooth animation, but underpinning that is one of the deepest and most rewarding fighting game systems the genre has ever seen. A cast of mostly-new characters is something else Garou shares with Street Fighter III; this is SNK at its very best, and a must-have fighter for the Dreamcast. You can get it on modern-day systems as a digital download, too.
Tecmo's Dead or Alive may have become a platform-spanning series today, but it's important to remember that it actually began life as Sega-focused game, as it used the same arcade hardware that powered Virtua Fighter 2 (the first home port was for the Saturn, too). It therefore shouldn't be that shocking that the sequel arrived in the home first on a Sega console, with Dead or Alive 2 pushing the Dreamcast to its limits. Even today, it's a feast for the eyes, not least thanks to the female fighter's gravity-defying chests. The ability to force opponents into other parts of the arena is another welcome addition that means Dead or Alive 2 is a real blast to play, and always has the potential to offer up a surprise. Later ported to the PlayStation 2, the game feels more at home on Sega's machine, if you ask us.
Ported by Raster, the Dreamcast version of Quake III can't quite compete with the PC original (you can only have four players at a time, whereas 16 people can compete in the computer version), but that doesn't mean it's not worth a look. When judged in the context of its time, it's downright remarkable that a console which cost a fraction of what a PC would retail for could replicate this kind of visual performance. Side-by-side, there's not a massive difference between the two versions in terms of presentation. The four-player split-screen mode might not be the ideal way to experience Quake III's deathmatch mode, but it's bloody good fun regardless.
This 'bullet hell' blaster began life on the Nintendo 64, which saw only 10,000 copies produced for the Japanese market. Thankfully, Treasure spruced up Bangai-O and released it on Dreamcast, too, ensuring that its missile-heavy gameplay could be enjoyed by a wider audience. You control a mech – which looks tiny on-screen – and must navigate a series of levels while taking down enemies and avoiding their incoming fire. The diminutive nature of the graphics means that there's loads going on all at once, and nothing beats the thrill of unleashing your robot's missile attack, which fills the entire screen with projectiles.
One of the many accessories Sega produced for the Dreamcast was a full QWERTY keyboard, a peripheral that was a requirement for any system that intended to access the internet. One of the upshots of this accessory was Typing of the Dead, a spin-off of House of the Dead 2 which sees players rapidly copying words to take down zombies. As the game progresses, the words become more complex and your touch-typing talents are seriously tested. Like so many of the console's best games, Typing of the Dead feels totally unique and blissfully accessible.
It's well known that the first wave of Dreamcast titles didn't quite turn out as Sega would have hoped, and Virtua Fighter 3tb is no exception. It still feels rough around the edges, but it's easy to forgive these shortcomings once you actually play it. A highly technical fighting game with many layers of complexity, the 'tb' in the title refers to the game's 'team battle' mode, which was no doubt inspired by the popularity of SNK's King of Fighters series.
When did the Dreamcast launch?
The Dreamcast's release date was November 27th, 1998 in Japan. It was released in North American on September 9th, 1999 and in Europe on October 14th, 1999.
Is Dreamcast stronger than PS1?
Yes. Dreamcast arrived in 1998; by that point, PlayStation and Saturn were both four years old. Dreamcast was also more powerful than the Nintendo 64, which launched in 1996.
Because it launched when the PlayStation and N64 were still current, there are many games which were released across all three systems, with the Dreamcast version usually being the best in terms of visuals.
Was the PS2 or Dreamcast more powerful?
PlayStation 2 is more powerful than Dreamcast. As a platform that was released "between" hardware generations, Dreamcast wasn't as powerful as the PlayStation 2, GameCube or Xbox, all of which would arrive a few years later.
Why was Dreamcast unsuccessful?
There are multiple reasons for the Dreamcast's failure. Because Saturn flopped in the face of the PlayStation, Sega released Dreamcast earlier than it perhaps would have done; in 1998, PlayStation and N64 were still current systems and were getting amazing games. Dreamcast was technically superior to both, but couldn't boast its own Metal Gear Solid, Gran Turismo or Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and therefore struggled to tempt away enough Sony and Nintendo fans.
In addition to this, Sega was in dire financial trouble and needed Dreamcast to be a runaway success from day one. In Japan, sales began to dry up, and while the North American launch was successful, it ultimately wasn't enough; many people were happy to stick with their PlayStation and wait for the PlayStation 2 to arrive.
What was the last official Dreamcast game?
Shmup Karous arrived in Japan in 2007, and is the last official Dreamcast game – although homebrew and indie titles have been published on it since then, including Xeno Crisis.