Although the production run of this “next-gen” console only lasted about three years, the Dreamcast produced a stellar game library with some classic titles. Each game featured incredible graphics, sweeping musical scores, and original gameplay. Most importantly though, each of these titles gave gamers a reason to come back and play some more. Each title is addicting. So, gamers beware. Put any of these games back in your Dreamcast, and you may not have a life for the next week.
5. NFL2K Series
EA declined to develop any Madden football games for the Dreamcast, and thus NFL2K was born. Much to the delight of gamers, NFL2K took Madden and raised the bar. NFL2K featured crisp graphics that showed off the power of the Dreamcast and took football video games to the next level, but it was in the play calling and game play that really gave Mr. Madden a run for his money. Play calling was simple, and in-game controls were very tight. In fact, when playing head to head, players could even choose their plays on the VMU to hide their play selections.
In later iterations of NFL2K, Sega allowed online head to head play, which was quite crisp over the 56k modem included in the Dreamcast. A very deep franchise mode was included in NFL2K1, which only added to this already great series. After the Dreamcast ceased production, the NFL2K series lived on in the Playstation and Xbox. The team behind the NFL2K continued to push the envelope of the football video game.
4. Phantasy Star Online
This title was a much-anticipated continuation of the popular Phantasy Star series on the Sega Genesis. The storylines did not overlap but the addictive RPG game play did. In Phantasy Star Online (PSO), gamers choose to play as a ranger, hunter, or force, each of which has different strengths and weaknesses. Throughout the game, characters gain experience and in turn will become stronger, more formidable fighters.
PSO was a horribly addictive game that kept you coming back again and again. Gamers were forever on a quest to gain more experience points and earn more "mesetas" (the Phantasy Star currency), and the online aspect of PSO only added to the addiction. Players could play with their friends or complete strangers, and playing online was the quickest and easiest way to rack up the experience points and extra coin.
While Phantasy Star Online was not entirely revolutionary, it was quite easily one of the most additive games on the Dreamcast console. Everything was beautifully rendered. Game play was fantastic. And the boundaries of online console gaming were crushed.
3. Resident Evil: Code Veronica
This game is considered by many to be the best title on the Sega Dreamcast. For many, the only reason it is not on top is because it was later released on the Playstation 2. Regardless of this fact, Resident Evil: Code Veronica is one of the easiest picks on this list. In Code Veronica the story follows Claire Redfield and her quest to sort out the shady dealings of the Umbrella Corporation who has left a mess of zombies and monsters on Rockfort Island.
Every last detail of Code Veronica is rendered in brilliant 3D that dropped jaws 10 years ago. To this day, the opening CGI movie sequence is nothing to laugh at. Simply, the graphics were amazing. But Code Veronica was much more than just a pretty game, it contained great controls, a deep and entertaining storyline, and enough creatures jumping out from corners to make you go crazy. The suspense and horror produced by this game made Code Veronica feel more like an interactive movie than a video game, and it was wonderful.
Just like other titles in the Resident Evil series, various characters, modes, and little extras could be unlocked throughout the game. And thus, Resident Evil Code: Veronica was a worthy addition to the Resident Evil series and easily one of the best games released on the Dreamcast.
2. Soul Calibur
At the time of its release, Soul Calibur was considered one of the best fighting games of all time. By the time the Dreamcast ceased production, Soul Calibur was still considered to be the Dreamcast’s best fighting title and with good reason. Even three years later, Soul Calibur’s graphics showed off the raw power of the Sega Dreamcast with nearly flawless level and character design. The weapon-wielding fighters of Soul Calibur carried a vast library of moves, attacks, and parries to keep hardcore gamers entertained for hours.
Soul Calibur had a number of different modes of game play to expand the appeal of this already nearly perfect game. New characters, levels, and art could be unlocked by completing various challenges while two player and team battle modes were great for parties. Never had a fighting game been created with this much depth.
Soul Calibur revolutionized the fighting genre and really put the Dreamcast on the map by selling over one million copies. To this day, Soul Calibur is considered by most to be one of the best games on the Dreamcast and quite possibly one of the best video games period.
Shenmue was the swan song of the noted Japanese video game producer Yu Suzuki and it did not disappoint. This title was part RPG, part action, and part puzzle game that Suzuki dubbed "FREE," for Full Reactive Eyes Entertainment. Players were put into a wide-open world and were free to interact with the people, places, and things they met along the way.
Everyday in this world of Ryo Hazuki, the game's protagonist, was played out as any normal day. People and places had their everyday routines. Sunrise turned into sunsets, and the seasons passed. All the while, Ryo must avenge the murder of his father. Players can be diverted within this make believe world to further the plot or to simply explore. Some did not like the ability to freely roam the world of Shenmue, which made the game oftentimes "boring." If non-stop action is your thing, then this game is probably not for you.
The sheer size and scope of Shenmue is absolutely incredible. All of the music for this game was recorded by an orchestra, making for one of the best video game soundtracks of all-time. In all, the game was spread out over four discs. The complexity and scale of Shenmue did not come without a price—a price of over $47 million—that made it the most expensive video game of its time. Since its initial release in 2001, other games have eclipsed Shenmue's sophistication, but Shenmue will always be known as a groundbreaking video game masterpiece.