Saturday, October 24, 2015

Top 100 dreamcast games

     Sword of the Berserk          
      Starting the list we have this hack n' slash brawler based on the violent Manga by Kentaro Miura. Its a simplistic action game where you hack your your way through the levels with your huge, oversized sword. The game is quite short, having a lot of emphasis on storyline and cut scenes (which are written by the Manga author himself). Probably best suited to fans of old-school beat-em-ups or of the Manga itself.
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          SWWS: Euro Edition          
      There weren't many good Football games on the Dreamcast, but this one is pretty respectable. Confusingly SWWS is actually the successor to the World League Soccer (Michael Owen) series of games rebranded as a Worldwide Soccer title, so it has few similarities to the classic Sega Saturn titles, but its fun nevertheless. Avoid the earlier non "Euro Edition" version as its noticeably inferior.
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          4 Wheel Thunder          
      This was an exclusive game made for Dreamcast in Midway's "Thunder" series of racers. Gameplay in the series revolves around you boosting by picking up capsules littered throughout the levels. The games also have a lot of emphasis on learning the best routes and shortcuts. This one has you driving Monster Trucks over a range of indoor and outdoor environments, its a solid, though challenging racer with a good number of tracks and options.
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          Super Magnetic Neo          
      Here we have a tricky platform game similar in style to the earlier Crash Bandicoots games. You run and jump through the long, winding 3D stages, ride animals, and do the occasional 2D platforming section. The main thing which sets this game apart is its magnetism mechanic. In the game you can swap between two different colours, if you're the same colour as an object it attracts you (for rope swings for example), whilst if you're the opposite colour it repels you, allowing you to bounce around the stages. You need to change on the fly, and changing to the wrong colour usually results in death! its a fun game if you can get your head around it but may frustrate if you can't.
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          Revolt          
      A good version of the 4-player remote-controlled racer from the PC. Revolt plays kind of like a Kart racer, with you picking up a selection of weapons to sabotage your opponents as you race through the oversized environments. Its a fun game with quite a bit to do and see (there's a pretty good Track Editor, a stunt mode where you collect stars etc). The game was downported to PS1 and N64 but this version is obviously a lot closer to the original PC game.
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          Dino Crisis          
      The survival horror genre is very well represented on Dreamcast, in fact so well represented is it that I had to spend some time trying to work out which games I wanted to make the list and which I just had to cut. In the end I chose Dino Crisis to represent in the bottom ten, sure its a PS1 port, but with its cleaner visuals and more stable graphics its unarguably the best console version of the game available (unlike Resident Evil 3 for instance, which is arguably better on GameCube), and the gameplay and voice acting are a little more polished than the Dreamcast's own decent survival horror title, Carrier. The game itself is basically like Resident Evil with Dinosaurs (and at this stage that comparison is so overused its become a cliche), you explore a big facility solving puzzles and evading Dinosaurs whilst conserving ammo. The puzzles here are well done, and are actually a little different in execution to those of the Resident Evil games, and there's a lot of memorable set-pieces and events.
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          Silver          
      A solid action RPG that has you searching the globe for magical Orbs that are necessary to triumph over evil and rescue your kidnapped wife. The story here isn't that inspired to be honest, but luckily the dialogue between characters is very well done and whoever produced the music did a real first rate job, helping to give the title a lot of atmosphere and mood. The gameplay here is fairly simple, but good, it would've strongly benefited from a co-op mode but unfortunately there isn't one.
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          Stupid Invaders          
      Stupid Invaders is a humourous point and click adventure game ported from the PC. In the game you explore, pick up and merge items, and solve puzzles (usually rewarding you with cut scenes). The story of the game surrounds a group of aliens stranded on Earth who are being terrorised by a lunatic. The graphics and art design are nice and the game is quite funny, there's a lot of instant deaths but you can save at any time so save often.
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          JoJo's Bizarre Adventure          
      One of the lessor known Capcom fighters but don't let that dissuade you. JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is a 2D fighter based on the popular Manga of the same name. Other than the usual stuff the main gameplay mechanic here revolves around the "Stand" button. This button usually calls forth an Avatar of the player and changes your stance and move set, but requires Stand gauge energy to sustain. Like all Capcom fighters the game is well constructed, has excellent art design and graphics, and the stand gauge manages to add a little variety to the gameplay.
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          D2          
      This cinematic survival horror game garnered mixed reviews at the time but in retrospect is one of the more memorable titles of the era, including some fairly surprising content. The game has you playing as Laura, a woman who's airliner has crashed in the Canadian wilderness. She and the other survivors find that the area they are in is infested with strange plant-like monsters that take the form of humans, Laura sets out to discover what's going on. The gameplay is varied, there's both 1st and 3rd person exploration sections, random battles where you gain experience points (these play kinda' like lightgun games), lots of simplistic puzzles to solve, an a lot of emphasis on cut scenes. Its a flawed game, and not all that long either, but is definitely an interesting title to check out.

Gundam Side Story          
      Strategic shooter based on the popular license. This has you giving orders to a team of mech's whilst you attempt to complete a range of mission objectives. Overall its a polished game with good presentation and lots of blasting action.
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          Tokyo Extreme Racer 2          
      In this series of racing games you freely drive around a large city looking for other racers to compete against. Essentially you have a list of the local racing gangs and their members and have to find then, beat them and knock them off the checklist, opening up more of the city along the way. The game has a lot of customisation options for the car, with shops and money etc and has a good pickup-and-play vibe. This sequel represents a big improvement on the original.
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          Worms World Party          
      Turn-based strategy game where your team of Worms need to wipe out the competition using a variety of wacky weapons. The game was originally online but I believe this has long since ceased. Worms World Party Is much like all the other Worms games really, except with better graphics and a few more options, being that the Worms series are multiplayer classics that's really not that much of a issue though.
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          Wacky Races          
      A respectable Kart racer in the vein of the ultra popular Mario Kart series which uses the very apt Wacky Races cartoon license. Thankfully the game tries a lot of its own things, and as such deviates from Mario Kart enough to make it notable in its own right. Here at the start of each race you get to allocate three different moves, the moves range from homing attacks, to shields, boosts, and flight (as well as others), you collect coins along the route to pay to use these moves. This set-up lends some strategy to the game, as some courses may have shortcuts made easier by using the flight ability for instance, whilst others may benefit from boosting. The game is actually pretty good, there's tons of content and a very comprehensive single-player mode, it was made by the company that went on to produce the Sega Allstars Racing series.
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          Bangai-O          
      Enhanced port of Treasure's Japan-only N64 shooter. The game has you flying around the stages blasting enemies with 360 degree aiming, you get to swap between and homing missiles and bouncing lasers, and there are some minor puzzle elements here and there along the way. The Dreamcast version has much better backgrounds, and less slowdown than the N64 game, as well as having some additional gameplay tweaks, and being that this version was released everywhere its also translated. The translation is kind of nonsensical for the most part, fans of Engrish will probably love it though.
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          Sega Marine Fishing          
      An excellent Fishing game ported from Sega's arcade machine that uses the Dreamcast's dedicated Fishing controller for extra authenticity. Basically the game works like this, you place the bait, shake the controller to lure in the fish, pull up the controller to snag them, and use the reel to pull them in. It might not sound great on paper but in practice its good fun.
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          Bust A Move 4          
      Long-running puzzle series where the aim is to shoot and match up balls of a same colour to clear the screen before it fills. This version has some extra modes and options, its not really much different to other Bust-A-Move games but is still a lot of fun.
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          F1 World Gran Prix II          
      Comprehensive Formula 1 racing game with all the stuff you'd expect from the genre, such as various weather conditions, a good pit crew, and well done physics and handling (for the time) and all held together by some nice, detailed graphics. Overall a respectable and polished racer.
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          King of Fighters 2002          
      One of the best King of Fighters games and a huge improvement over the previous year's effort. King of Fighters 2002 gives you a huge character roster of old and new favourites from the history of the series, and returns to the classic gameplay of old, ditching the "Striker" system and replacing it with some new Desperation moves.
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          Armada          
      A 4-player RPG which plays kind of like Asteroids with experience points and shops, set in an explorable galaxy of planets and deep space. You start off on your home planet, and its here that you pick up mission objectives and plot points during the course of the game. The multiplayer is lots of fun, but less so the single-player.

GTA II          
      The second major release in the Grand Theft Auto series provided various improvements to graphics and gameplay whilst keeping the basic structure of the popular original. The game has you driving around the streets completing missions whilst avoiding cops and gaining respect from the local gangs. In comparison to later games in the series these earlier games feel very different, at this stage Its all a lot more straight-forward, arcadey and action-focused, with a lot more of a pick-up-and-play feel. The Dreamcast version is closer to the PC game in visuals and represents a big improvement over the PS1 port in regards to lighting and effects.
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          Tech Romancer          
      This oddly titled game is a 3D fighter from genre stalwarts Capcom, one of their more under appreciated titles. The game has you playing as a variety of Gundam-style mechs each with their own selection of weapons and moves. On top of the usual staples you can pick up and use items found on the ground that have defensive and offensive applications, as well as having access to a finishing move which can outright kill an opponent who's on low health. Definitely worth checking out for fans of both fighters, and big destructive mech's
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          Vanishing Point          
      Good looking arcade racer for the Dreamcast that starts off tricky with some of the earlier cars but soon pulls you in. The game is made up of a selection of championships set up for each car, completing races opens up new cars which in turn have their own championships to play through. This set-up forces you to get good with all the different cars, and keeps the game from becoming monotonous as you can't just pick one car for the whole game. Outside of the main modes the game also has some pretty cool extra's, such as the fun Stunt Mode that has you completing a variety of different challenges. Vanishing Point was originally designed for Dreamcast, but was later down ported to the PS1, avoid that version.
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          Red Dog          
      This one pleasantly surprised me, its from Argonaut, the team who created the Super FX chip for the SNES. Red Dog is an action game which has you controlling a tank, the game gives you a machine gun shot, as well as rockets which work in a similar manner to rail shooters (you hold the button and sweep the cursor across multiple enemies, let go and it fires off a volley of homing missiles). The interesting element of the gameplay here though is a reflective shield, if you can bring it up in time it will reflect enemy shots back to their source, and mastering this move is crucial to progressing. Some respectable graphics and nice boss fights also help to make it worth checking out.
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          NHL 2K2          
      Whilst the first NHL2K game on the Dreamcast was solid, it didn't quite live up to its siblings in quality, this however changed with the 2002 edition which represented a huge improvement. The AI here has been improved, the controls are deep, and the game is smooth and responsive. A great game for Ice Hockey fans.
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          Castle Shikigami II          
      One of the later official games released for the system (2004), Castle Shikigami is an excellent vertically scrolling shooter and a must for fans of the genre. Here the main gameplay mechanic involves purposefully cutting it close when evading the bullets, as when you are close to touching a bullet your firepower is hugely increased and you can gain more points. Its a graphically impressive game with nice aesthetics and a lot of replayability when striving for score.
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          Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear          
      Tactical first person shooter where you need to come up with a plan and direct a whole squad through the various missions. Unlike the first Rainbow Six on Dreamcast this supports the much-needed Mouse and Keyboard controls, creating a much more in-depth experience.
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          Maken X          
      Under appreciated First Person Adventure from the Atlus team most known for creating the Shin Megami Tensei series (and it shows). The game has you sword fighting in a first person perspective, allowing you to both block and rebound shots back at enemies (if you get the timing right). During the course of the game you can choose to take control of different characters, each of which have different strength and weaknesses and each of which lead you down different branching pathways. Unfortunately the localisation team made rather a mess of the game for its western release, its poorly translated and dubbed, has a lot of censorship, and has even been made harder, with the localisers removing health packs and adding health penalties for using certain moves! The US/Euro version definitely loses something, but is still worth checking out. The Japanese version isn't too difficult to play through as the menu's include a lot of English, but you won't know what's going on in the story.
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          NBA 2K2          
      Graphically impressive Basketball game from Sega and Visual Concepts which admirably lives up to the high pedigree of the the rest of their 2K series of sports games.
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          Sega Rally 2          
      Sequel to Sega's beloved arcade racing game that adds a lot more tracks, options, and modes. Sega Rally 2 is very much an arcade game at heart so don't expect an ultra realistic experience here, this game is all about sliding around corners at high speed and racing against the clock. The port to Dreamcast is respectable but visually disappointing (which is why it dropped a lot of placing's), its an early release and it shows still manages to be a lot of fun

Lack of Love          
      A very strange import game from the people who would go on to make Chibi Robo for the GameCube. In the game you play as a life form that is trying to survive and evolve, you do this by helping other creatures with their problems by using four different actions (speak, attack, sleep, and urinate), pressing the start button shows you which animals to focus on. Its a high-concept game that requires patience as there's rarely any obvious clues to follow, you just need to observe these creatures to try to get an idea of what they need from you, as such getting stuck is quite common. Definitely one for diehard game fans who like to try something different.
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          Demolition Racer: No Exit          
      This is a very enhanced update of the earlier PS1 game Demolition Racer. No Exit is a racing game built around destruction (its made by some of the same people who worked on the Destruction Derby series). Coming first here only gives you a points multiplier, its the points themselves that you need to win each race, and its smashing cars and causing pile-ups that afford you said points. So you essentially hang back gaining points off your opponents until the last lap, and then make a rush for 1st place. Its a novel idea that gives the game a nice level of originality and makes for some exhilarating races and action.
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          Cool Cool Toon          
      Import-only rhythm action game from SNK where you hold the analogue stick in specific directions whilst pressing buttons in rhythm to the beat. Its a good game with a lot of catchy tunes and nice aesthetics and backgrounds and is also one of the few titles to support Samba De Amigo's Maraca controller (though its still a lot of fun with or without it).
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          Record of Lodoss War          
      This is a great hack n' slash Diablo-style RPG based on the popular Anime. Whilst the story unfolds you essentially run through the dungeons hacking at the hordes of monsters and recruiting AI-controlled party members to help. The deeper part of the gameplay involves searching out and collecting runes, these runes can be combined with the equipment for various effects and stat boosts. Its a good RPG for fans of the more western-styled RPGs but may disappoint those looking for a more familiar, cinematic JRPG.
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          Mr Driller          
      Puzzle game from Namco where you need to drill through the ground, being careful not to get crushed by falling rocks. The main element of the gameplay here is to not just survive, but to work out the best way to collect all of the air as you make your way down, maximising points, and its this element that adds longevity to the experience. The Dreamcast port is higher resolution, and slightly higher colour than the PS1 game, but unfortunately that's about it for extras.
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          Shadowman          
      Creepy Action-Adventure game based on the comic book from Valiant. The game has you traveling through the underworld searching for Dark Souls, once collected these souls power-up the character and allow access to previously blocked areas. Its an atmospheric game with good puzzles and a memorable setting. Out of all the ports this is the best console version of the game available, better than the respectable N64 version (which has worse sound and framerate), and leagues ahead of the poor, rushed PS1 version.
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          Cannon Spike          
      No-nonsense 2-player top-down shooter from Psikyo and Capcom that stars a variety of their characters, (Mega Man, Cammy, Arthur from Ghost's n' Goblins etc). You get 360 degree firing with a target-lock, a screen clearing move to get out of dangerous situations, melee moves and a powered up attack. For the most part its simply all about dodging bullets and destroying bosses. A polished and fun arcade game.
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          Elemental Gimmick Gear          
      2D Action Adventure that's in the vein of earlier Zelda titles, except with 3D boss fights. In the game you play as a stranger who was found long ago in suspended animation inside a strange mech-suit, after a long period of sleep you suddenly wake up with total amnesia. As mentioned earlier the game plays like earlier Zelda games, you explore, you find health upgrades and new equipment and gain new abilities to progress. You get a punch move, as well as a very useful spin attack which uses up energy. Its a well made game that's a good example of its type, with good aesthetics, music and art design, unfortunately though the translation work here is poor, its not so bad that it detracts too much from the gameplay but it's noticeable.
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          Outtrigger          
      A first person shooter from Sega that is similar to Deathmatch fps games like Quake 3 and Unreal Tournament (though really its very much its own thing). The game doesn't really focus on weaponry much and is mainly about power-ups, straight action, and collecting coins. In the game you get a point for each kill, but another can be gained by picking up a coin that's dropped after the kill. The cramped, layered design of the levels facilitates a lot of last minute coin steals from other players, thereby lending the game a slightly different feel to the other first person shooters out there. Outtrigger looks good, plays well in 4-player and runs extremely well, with the framerate staying consistent. There are a plethora of control options, with "D1" representing the standard Dreamcast FPS controls.
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          NFL 2K2          
      Acclaimed series of American Football games that introduced on the Dreamcast to high praise. NFL2k games represented the high point of the time in the sport, with great gameplay, graphics, and impressive (for the time) AI. The game is full of excellent options including a lot for player customisation, and the Dreamcast version has support for VMU play calling, so you can choose tactics without your opponent knowing.

Resident Evil 2          
      Classic survival horror game where you explore a city overrun with Zombies whilst solving puzzles and trying to avoid a gruesome death. You get multiple characters to play this time around and the plot is more interesting, with voice-acting that's much improved since the first game (which was so bad it was funny a lot of the time). Sure this is just a PS1 port, but that game was one of the best on Playstation, and this is the best port, featuring higher quality FMV's over the later Game Cube release, as well as more options and a VMU health display, which was a nice touch.
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          Soldier of Fortune          
      In the absence of a proper release of Half Life (near finished copies can be downloaded but the game was never officially released) I'd say this provides the best FPS campaign on Dreamcast. Soldier of Fortune is a no-nonsense shooter that was known at the time for its attempt at doing area-specific gore. The game has an emphasis on action, with you rushing through the levels dealing death and destruction. Soldier of Fortune isn't going to blow you away, but its polished, looks reasonable and plays well, and like all the best FPS games on Dreamcast benefits a lot from Mouse and Keyboard support.
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          Hydro Thunder          
      Hydro Thunder is a water racing game in the vein of Wave Race ported from the arcades. Like 4 Wheel Thunder the game is part of the "thunder" series of racers, where you collect capsules which give you energy to boost for a short period of time. Hydro Thunder actually looks pretty nice for an earlier title and plays well, with many shortcuts to discover and a good amount of re playability.
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          Guilty Gear X          
      Accessible 2D fighting game from Arc System Works that has some awesome graphics and art design. Guilty Gear X is a likeable, very combo-heavy fighter that's easy to pick up and play but isn't too shallow either. The Dreamcast version is pretty much arcade perfect.
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          Ill bleed          
      A quirky survival horror game that almost defies description! Ill bleed has all of the usual aspects you'd expect of the genre, puzzle solving, item management, and combat, but tries to do its own thing in other areas which results in a memorable experience. The game is set in an evil theme park that's broken up into levels, with each level being a pastiche of a horror film staple (crazed killers out for revenge after the death of a loved one, evil dolls, mannequins, Remorse worms etc etc its all here). In most levels is hidden something called a "Horror Monitor" this device warns you of danger spots, and can be used to mark them down thereby rendering them harmless. Where the title shines is in its offbeat nature, whether you're trying to help an evil cake find the perfect topping, of shooting at a ring-dropping demon version of Sonic the Hedgehog there's never a dull moment! Ill bleed is not for everyone though, there's certainly the odd misstep with the gameplay and some dodgy execution here and there, but personally I find it a flawed gem.
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          Rush 2049          
      Futuristic racer from Atari and Midway ported from their popular coin-op. The game has you racing through cities at high speed searching for elaborate short-cuts and flying off ramps into huge jumps. Midway did a very good job with the Dreamcast conversion, it looks great and has contains a lot of modes and extras, including an excellent 4-player battle mode.
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          Cosmic Smash          
      Import-only arcade port that plays kind of like a Tennis game mixed with Breakout. You hit the ball back and forth trying to destroy blocks, sometimes the blocks move, and sometimes they are obstructed by indestructible blocks, each stage has a time limit and when the time runs out its game over. The game is quite bare bones as an arcade port, but is fun, accessible, and has re playability.
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          Mars Matrix          
      A bullet hell shooter from Capcom, Mars Matrix covers the screen with almost ornate patterns of bullets for you to navigate through. The game gives you a normal shot as well as a Shotgun short-range blast, and allows you to grab the enemy bullets and throw them back (the longer you hold the bullets for, the longer the time for the next charge up will take so its worth grabbing and throwing them quickly). As usual Capcom provide a polished and well-crafted game.
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          Puzzle Fighter 2: Matching Service          
      Popular block-falling puzzle game with a Capcom Fighting game theme. Here you need to match the blocks up with the corresponding trigger to clear them, and as usual setting up combo's hurts your opponents even more. This is like the earlier release for Saturn and PS1, but with some nice additional modes that mix things up a bit, and an online feature that's unfortunately no longer functional.
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          Virtual Fighter 3tb          
      Early Dreamcast 3D fighter (a launch title in Japan) from the popular series. Like earlier games in the series, Virtual Fighter 3 is a technical fighter that rewards mastery. New additions here include sloping, uneven ground for the arenas, as well as the option of a team battle. Its a good game, but does sometimes show its status as a launch title and is strongly superceded by later games like Soul Caliber.

Sega GT          
      Sega GT was Sega's big attempt at a Gran Turismo competitor, overall its certainly no Gran Turismo but i'd say its a mostly successful endeavor in the genre. The game gives you lots of cars, good handling, and a plethora of options. Its a very respectable release and doesn't look too shabby either.
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          Confidential Mission          
      This is a great lightgun shooter with a very James Bond-esque theme. Its a balanced game, it looks pretty good, and it throws in enough other elements (such as objectives which lead to branching paths) to make it stand out as one of the better lightgun games of the time. On top of the main mode you get a lot of extra content here including a bunch of cool minigames and variants to try.
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          Bomberman Online          
      Criminally overlooked, no-nonsense bomberman game with surprisingly high production values and lovely presentation. In these games you have to place bombs to blow up your opponents whilst being careful not to die yourself, a perfect, and timeless concept for multiplayer shenanigans. Bomberman Online focus' completely on this multiplayer element, there's no half-assed attempt at a campaign mode here, just a big tournament of rounds with boss fights (much like the 16-bit games). Thankfully The designers didn't completely rest on their laurels though, there's loads of new modes here each of which put a new spin on the classic gameplay and complement the range of older maps well. The game is no longer online, but still plays fantastically offline.
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          Under Defeat          
      Polished vertical scrolling shooter where you can direct your fire to the right and left and lock your aim in place by holding the fire button down. Other than the aiming system the game gives you a helper that you can release by pressing the fire button when a bar to the side of the screen fills, this helper comes in a range of different types, and can be changed by picking up the relevant power-up. The game has very nice graphics and a huge amount of attention to detail, with very nice animation (watch as the trees on the ground react to the explosions around them for instance). A very good Dreamcast shooter.
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          MDK2          
      A challenging 3rd person shooter and sequel to Shiny's popular earlier PC title. This time its Bioware doing the development duties and thankfully they don't disappoint. The gameplay here has a lot of different aspects to it, the main character, Kurt's levels consist of running, gunning, sniping and throwing grenades and such, Dr Hawkin's levels are mainly platforming and puzzle solving, and a robotic Dog with a jetpack named Max provides short range gunplay. Its a tough game with a lot of twitch gameplay that's aimed at hardcore shooter fans so expect to do levels multiple times before you get them right. A later PS2 version arrived with an easier difficulty curve, but had inferior controls and graphics (resolution, lighting, filtering).
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          Zero Gunner 2          
      Another excellent Shoot-em-up from the arcades flawlessly ported to Dreamcast. Zero Gunner is an action-packed shooter that gives you full 360 degree rotation to deal with enemies that rush you from all directions. Great bosses, great graphics, and whilst hard at first the 360 degree movement works flawlessly with practice and is a very fun gameplay mechanic.
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          Puyo Puyo Fever          
     

Another excellent addition in the puzzle series, Puyo Puyo Fever keeps all classic gameplay of the earlier games whilst adding in some new gameplay elements here and there such as the frenetic "Fever" mode to increase the tension and keep the game fresh. The Puyo Puyo games are a series of block-falling puzzlers, you have to match up Puyo's of a similar colour to clear them from the screen before they pile up and kill you, setting up a domino effect dumps more junk on your opponent. Other than the gameplay changes this goes for a new 2.5D look, with nice animation and some pleasant revolving background effects.
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          Fatal Fury: Mark of the Wolves          
      Beautiful 2D fighter from SNK that is often considered to be amongst the greatest fighting games they've ever produced. The game looks fantastic and plays well, dumping the plane switching mechanic of its forebears and putting more focus on feint moves as well as a "Just Defend" move which is similar to the parry move in Street Fighter III (if you push back at the exact moment of contact here you do a block which gains you a little health). Avoid the western release of the game if possible as the localisation created issues with the game's sound.
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          Tony Hawks 2          
      Enhanced port of the classic Playstation skateboarding game. Essentially you have to ride around exploring the environments completing objectives and racking up points by doing a variety of tricks, its a unique and addictive concept. This version has improved graphics for the Dreamcast but isn't exactly pushing the system so I dropped it a few places, make no mistake though its a phenomenal game and a lot of fun.
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          Daytona 2001          
      Pseudo sequel/remake of the classic sega arcade game. Daytona 2001 contains graphically revamped versions of all the courses from both the original Daytona and CE, as well as three new race tracks designed specifically for this game and a bunch more modes and features. For those unfamiliar with the series, Daytona is a racer with an emphasis on speed and over-the-top powerslides (done by quickly changing gears), its a bombastic game which requires a helluva lot of practice to fully master but is very rewarding to learn. Excellent with a steering wheel.

Headhunter          
      Stealthy action-adventure game that was billed as an answer to Metal gear Solid but came out just a little too late, only just getting a Euro release for Dreamcast. The game is pretty impressive for its time, with nice graphics and a big open world for you to travel around to get from mission to mission. Gameplay has you solving puzzles, getting involved in gunfights, stealthing lackeys (admittedly sometimes doesn't work as well as it should), and riding around on a Motorbike. The storyline is pretty good, with a lot of tongue-in-cheek satire and fake adverts (similar to the original Robocop movie) and there's many memorable set-pieces too. A good PS2 port is available with only a few minor downgrades to shadow effects and control as its only real detriment.
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          Ecco: Defender of the Future          
      After a long hiatus Ecco the Dolphin returned to gaming, and this time in full 3D. This is a challenging action-adventure game where you swim through the ocean exploring, solving puzzles and helping sea-creatures whilst traveling back and forth through time and to alternate future's in an effort to deal with "The Foe". The game has great graphics and is thick with atmosphere, its tricky to get a handle on at first but after some initial effort it grabs you in and you'll want to reach the next area to see what happens. There's actually a PS2 port also available which was made easier and more straightforward, those who tend to get lost in these types of games may be better off with that version to be totally honest.
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          Ooga Booga          
      Underrated 4-player title that stands as easily one of the best party games on the system. The game has you collecting fruit which can be used as projectiles or to take control of Totem poles littered around the levels (they basically act as your own personal guard towers). You get a melee attack, and are also able to commandeer animals such as wild boars or birds to help you lay the smack-down on your enemies. Outside of the main mode you get others, such as the equally brilliant "Boar Polo" that has you knocking a boulder through the opponents goal. The game has a weak-ish single-player, but the multiplayer is great fun, and the game is packed full of humour and charm.
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          Project Justice: Rival Schools 2          
      Capcom's manic and colourful sequel to their earlier 3D fighting game for Arcade and original Playstation, Rival Schools. The game plays a little like their "Vs" series, but in 3D, with you able to pull off aerial raves and call in back-up during the match from your two teammates in reserve. Its accessible, and over-the-top fun.
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          Ferrari F355 Challenge          
      Here's a nice racing game from Sega which manages to aim for realism whilst still retaining that classic Sega Arcade game look and atmosphere. The game looks great and has an inordinate amount of attention to detail in the cars and the way they handle. A slightly graphically downgraded version is also available for the PS2.
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          Starlancer          
      Good looking Spaceship game ported from the PC by the people who made the acclaimed Wing Commander series. Here you fly around following (and giving) orders, taking part in dogfights, and/or protecting defenseless ships from attack. The storyline changes as you progress and there are many branching pathways to see based on how well you do. The controls here are very complicated but work adequately well with practice and make for some exciting dogfights. Starlancer also has an online multiplayer component which plays well, and its actually one of the few titles which still works online today even after all these years!
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          Rayman 2          
      Port of the classic 3D platformer that had you jumping and grappling your way through the levels with Rayman, solving minor puzzles and riding around on rockets. This Dreamcast version is often considered the best version of the game available, sporting a rock-solid framerate and some improved texturing and additional environments over the PC version. An excellent example of how to make a 3D sequel to a 2D game.
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          Toy Commander          
      Quirky Mission-based game that has you controlling a huge variety of different toy vehicles, ranging from land-based tanks and jeeps to airplanes, bi-planes and helicopters amongst many others. You control these toys around a house completing a variety of novel missions such as dropping sugar into a cup or dealing with a rampaging monsters in Rabbit-costumes. The game also has a very good 4-player dogfight mode that gives you full choice of all the vehicles and a number of different modes.
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          Typing of the Dead          
      Sega coming out with yet another madcap idea for the dreamcast, here they have converted their well-loved lightgun shooter House of the dead 2 into an entirely different game that makes full use of the keyboard peripheral. In the game the usual Zombies lumber towards you, but now they each have a sentence hovering over them, you need to type the sentence out before they reach you to dispatch the Zombie. The concept actually makes for a very fun, intense, and original experience, all whilst improving your typing ability!
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          Soul Reaver          
      Another classic game from the PS1 generation that's been improved for Dreamcast. Soul Reaver is an imaginative and moody action adventure game which has you playing as the recently reincarnated vampire Raziel trying to get revenge on those who wronged him. The gameplay has you exploring the world gaining new abilities which allow you access to new areas, the combat is well done, with a lot of fun elements (you can throw the Vampire's into direct sunlight or carry them and impale them on spikes for instance), its full of well thought out puzzles and the storyline is interesting and well directed. This version sports improved graphics over the PC game, with slight improvements to texturing and polygon count, as such its the best version of the game available.

Border Down          
      This definitely has to be the best of the officially released horizontally scrolling shmups on Dreamcast, and by no small margin. Each level here has three slightly different versions (or borders), and every time you die you get booted down to a lower version of the level, drop off the bottom border and the game is over. As standard you get given a rapid fire shot (hold the button down) or a slower homing shot (press button) and its wise to swap between both moves regularly, outside of that you get the usual power-ups and some intense boss fights.
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          Test Drive Le Mans          
      Precise, sim-ish racer from Melbourne House that's packed full of attention to detail (you can even do the full 24hour race in real-time!). Le Mans is a well crafted game with some of the best graphics on the Dreamcast, with clean visuals and excellent reflection effects and filtering (reportedly being the only game to use the hardware's Anisotropic Filtering). A later PS2 port was also made but had a few graphical downgrades so if you have both systems go for the Dreamcast.
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          Capcom Vs SNK 2          
      Feature-rich 2D fighter from Capcom that has their main characters taking on those of rival fighting company SNK. The main gameplay inclusion here is the ability to choose from a large variety of "Grooves", you get different abilities depending on which groove you choose, so with one Groove you may be allowed to block in mid-air for instance, but not parry, whilst a different Groove will give you custom combos or a different type of Super. The game is one of the more impressive looking fighters on Dreamcast due to incorporating 3D backgrounds, and is pretty much arcade perfect due to the Dreamcast sharing hardware with the original arcade machine the game was from. Out of the ports the PS2 version is also very good, but less so the later GameCube and XBox versions.
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          Space Channel 5          
      Quirky rhythm action game where you try to keep in time with the onscreen prompts. The game has you playing a space reporter Ooh La La as she tries to save the station from aliens by taking part in a dance-off!
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          Unreal Tournament          
      An excellent first person shooter ported from the PC, and yet another excellent reason to invest in the Dreamcast's mouse and keyboard peripherals. The game is a very well balanced multiplayer deathmatch focused title, and its easy to see why it became so big on the PC. You get a lot of quirky weapons here, each with their own tricks and tactics, and a lot of balanced stage layouts (the Dreamcast port especially has stacks of maps). The online component of the game unfortunately no longer functions, but there's a good 4-player split-screen mode available and whilst some stages have lower-ish frame rates there are just so many stages that do run well (Damnation, Loathing, Paladin, Flux, Depot, Sector 9, Core etc, etc), that you're never short of smooth levels to choose from.
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          House of the Dead 2          
      Classic lightgun game that's a stalwart in arcade parlours the world over. Basically a town is overrun with zombies and its your job to clean up the place. The gameplay is the usual light-gun fare, the Zombies lumber towards you while you desperately try to put them down with a headshot, civilians with death-wishes jump out in front of you at inopportune moments and spout mildly risque-sounding Engrish, and the bosses are big and exciting to battle. Definitely one of the most important and popular Lightgun games out there, and the Dreamcast port has some nice extras too.
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          Virtual On: Oratorio Tangram          
      Dash around the environments shooting off volleys of shots, taking cover and charging into hand to hand melee's in this 2-player Mech combat "Vs" game from Sega. Its a complex, intense game that's best played with the elaborate "Twin Stick's" controller it was designed for, but can be played reasonably well on a pad. Supports split-screen and Link-Up
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          Fur Fighters          
      Large and imaginative platforming and shooting game from Bizarre Creations (Project Gotham Racing, Geometry Wars, the Club) that's in the vein of Rareware's N64 titles like Conker's Bad Fur Day and Jet Force Gemini. The game has you exploring the large environments searching for kidnapped babies. You get multiple different characters with different abilities and have to swap between them during the levels to progress (babies can also only be rescued by characters of the same species). Its just generally a smart, funny game that gives you lots to do and see. A later PS2 port is also available that had some added novelties (the most notable of which was voice acting), but was downgraded in pretty much all other areas (notably texturing, resolution, load times, controls, and draw distance), so I'd say its probably best to stick to the Dreamcast version.
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          Street Fighter III          
      It was a long time coming but when Street Fighter III finally did turn up it did it with style and panache. The main addition here over the earlier games is a system of parrying which allows you to take no damage if you push forwards at the moment an attack connects (as opposed to just blocking which still causes you some damage). The art design here is phenomenal, with the game being full of great backgrounds and fitting music. The Dreamcast actually had all three of the major iterations of the game released on it, with "Double Impact" including the first two versions, and "Third Strike" getting a standalone release. Third Strike is the more popular version, but Double Impact has its own look and feel and is very well ported so its also worth checking out. Final note, the DC version of Third Strike is based on a later, less popular revision of the Arcade machine that is rarely played in tournaments, so if you're looking to go out and play the game competitively you may be better off with one of the other ports.
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          Sonic Adventure          
      Whilst Sonic Adventure is probably one of the more dated of the games on the list (hence placing just outside the top 20), this launch title remains a very fun (though occasionally troublesome) experience full of hefty amounts of ideas, and some very imaginative level designs. The game gives you an overworld to explore, the platforming is dynamic and exciting and there's even a variety of different characters to use. The sheer scale and spectacle of this game running back in 1999 cannot be understated, it was mindblowing, there was nothing quite like it out there with this level of speed and exuberance.

Phantasy Star Online          
      Ambitious attempt by Sega at creating an online console RPG. The gameplay revolves around forming a party of characters to take on the various dungeons as a team, whilst gaining experience and discovering and buying new items. The battle system is active and real-time, you simply run around the levels hacking, shooting, and casting spells, each attack has multiple strength levels and timing is important for combos. There's a lot of optimisation options here with a character editor tool as well as a decent number of different classes and races to choose from each with different strengths. Unfortunately these days whilst possible to play the game online its a bit of a pain as all of the official servers have long since closed down, leaving you only unofficial options, the game can be played offline but without the social aspects it loses something.
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          Dead or Alive 2          

      Fast-paced 3D fighting game from Tecmo with a system based around countering as its main gameplay mechanic. The game is fast, fluid, and well animated (ahem), it has the usual emphasis on combos and moves but does it all well and looks fantastic.
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          Quake III          
      Here is a very nice port of the fast and furious PC classic. The game looks excellent, runs well, and has all the required features such as Mouse and Keyboard support (a must if you want to play the game properly), 4-player split screen support, and even online deathmatch (which happily, like Starlancer is actually still functioning!). The game is a violent and intense first person shooter that is focused mainly on deathmatch, the arena's are well designed and the imaginative weapons are an absolute joy to use.
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          Virtua Tennis 2          
      Fun and accessible arcade Tennis game from Sega with an emphasis on being pick-up-and-play. The Virtua Tennis series are pretty much the most beloved series of Tennis games out there, perfectly straddling the line between realism and fun, whilst providing a lot of options longevity.
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          Grandia II          
      Sequel to the classic Saturn and Playstation RPG. Grandia II puts the game in full 3D and gives you a new cast of Geohounds (mercs) and Priestesses to meet. The RPG has a unique and clever combat system that's turn-based, but has the characters moving about in real-time by themselves, which leads to a focus on timing in addition to the usual RPG tactics. In comparison to the DC's other famous RPG, Skies of Arcadia, Grandia feels a little linear and straightforward, with Skies being the better game to explore, but I'd say Grandia is the one with the better battle system. The game was later ported to PS2 but avoid this version, unfortunately it was a buggy rush-job.
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          Powerstone 2          
      Awesome, underrated 4-player fighting game from Capcom. In Powerstone 2, players run around 3D environments fighting, and picking up and using weapons or vehicles whilst searching for the titular Power Stones. When three Power Stones are collected you are transformed into a more powerful form for a short period and given devastating moves. The game makes for an excellent party game, with its changing, evolving Smash Bros-esque stages keeping the gameplay tense and exciting while the Power Stones keep things interesting.
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          Samba De Amigo          

      Samba De Amigo is a bright and fun rhythm action game with good music and visuals that oozes with charm. The game comes with some special Maraca controllers which you have to wave and shake about at specified points to the rhythm of the music.
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          Marvel Vs Capcom 2          

      Frenetic 2D fighting game that pits the most popular characters of the two companies against each other. Marvel Vs Capcom follows the basic mold of most Capcom fighters such as Street Fighter, but is generally much more loose and over-the-top. The game pits two teams of three against each other, with the player being allowed to switch characters mid-fight, as well as call for help. MvC fights are anarchic, with huge screen-filling tag-team attacks, big combos, and aerial raves. The amount of content here is good, with lots to do and many characters to unlock. Many ports exist, but the Dreamcast version is the best of its time because (like Capcom Vs SNK 2) the game is from the same arcade machine that has similar hardware.
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          Crazy Taxi          

      Another weird and well-executed concept from Sega. Crazy Taxi has you playing a Taxi Driver trying to ferry passengers around a big city, as soon as you pick them up you're racing against the clock to get them to their destination as fast as possible and refill the timer. The game gives you a variety of different techniques to master, such as boosts and skids, and is very addictive, like many Sega games it just has that pick-up-and-play feel down to a tee. Out of the versions I'd say this is the best, with the GameCube coming very close, later ports lose licensed elements.
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          Shenmue          

      Hugely ambitious game for its era, Shenmue reportedly had one of the largest development budgets of all time at release, and by no small margin! The game is about Ryo Hazuki's search for his father's killer, and is essentially like a sand-box game, giving you full reign to explore your home town at your leisure. Gameplay mainly revolves around information gathering, 3D fighting, completing mini-games, and taking part in quick-time events. The game is very cinematic, and attempts to really immerse the player in its world, allowing you to work, buy trivial items, or even hang out at the local arcades playing full version's of Sega classics like Space Harrier and Hang-On. Out of the two Shenmue games on Dreamcast I decided to rate this one lower, but they are very different games with different strengths, the first Shenmue being more homely & personal in comparison to its louder and more bombastic sequel.

Sonic Adventure 2          

      Excellent sequel that was a lot more polished than its predecessor. Like the original this has you playing with multiple characters, with the main campaign being split between three different game types; Sonic's high speed platform stages, Knuckles' exploration stages, and Tails' shooting and platforming levels. All three modes are fun (though there are certainly a couple of duds), with Sonic's twisty, turning paths, gravity changes, set-pieces and rail grinding creating a lot of exhilaration, and Knuckles' big open, atmospheric levels being memorable to explore (meteor herd and the Mario Galaxy-reminiscent Mad Space being the standouts here). The game has lots of replay value as you're graded on your competence and given nice extras for full A-Ranks, and there's also a plethora of fun multiplayer options and even a "Virtual Pet" mode that has you raising and leveling up the game's cute "Chaos" creatures. A good GameCube port of the game is also available, but there's some tradeoffs between the two versions (GameCube has higher polygon counts but worse lighting, more multiplayer race maps but downgraded Chao gardens etc).
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          Metropolis Street Racer          

      Brilliant racing game that is pretty much the prequel to the highly rated Project Gotham Racing series. The game has you racing around tracks based on London, Tokyo and San Francisco, but the big difference here is its incorporation of a system based around "kudos". Essentially you not only have to win races, but you have to win them with style by taking risks, skidding around corners, and avoiding collisions. Whilst very similar to the later PGR titles MSR still retains some personality of its own, its a harder game for one, and its soundtrack from Sega Stalwart Richard Jacques gives it a very different, bright and breezy atmosphere. Other features such as a real time clock that changes the time of day in the game based on what the actual real-world time is are also welcome, and likeable ideas.
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          Resident Evil: Code Veronica          

      Getting the eagerly anticipated "next gen" Resident Evil game was a real coup for Sega at the time, with the game creating its fair share of hype. Happily it didn't disappoint, Code Veronica was the longest and most ambitious of the older Resident Evil games. It was a huge undertaking, with lots of emphasis on storyline and tons to do, cinematics were impressive for the time and the game represented the series' first foray into true 3D backgrounds as opposed to the earlier 2D backgrounds. For anyone searching for a meaty adventure to sink their teeth into.
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          Ikaruga          

      Very clever vertical shmup from Treasure where your ship can swap between two different colours at the press of a button; you can absorb enemy bullets of the matching colour whilst the opposite colour will kill you. This leads to some nifty navigation and colour swapping to make it through the tougher sections of the game and is a cool idea that breaths some new life into the genre. Outside of the gameplay mechanics we have the usual hallmarks of the genre, lots of action, lots of dodging, lots of set-pieces, and memorable boss fights, all complimented with great art design that creates an epic feel.
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          Chu Chu Rocket          

      This definitely has to be one of the best, and most elegantly designed puzzle games of its era. The key to a good puzzle game is in creating a simple and accessible concept with layers, and Chu Chu Rocket achieves this effortlessly. The game has you leading mice to your base by placing three arrows on the ground at a time (during the puzzles there are often other limitations), whilst making sure to lead cats away from your base (and preferably into your opponents bases). Every now and then a rule change will occur forcing you to adapt to the new status quo. The 4-player here makes for an excellent party game, with friends vying for top place, re-routing each others careful planning, and disposing of cats in enemy bases.
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          Skies of Arcadia          

      The Dreamcast didn't have a hell of a lot of RPGs during its short lifespan, but luckily this excellent steampunk RPG from Sega's Overworks team (the makers of the Phantasy Star games) was a real standout in its day. Skies has you playing as a band of pirates who fly airships to and from floating islands. The game's battle system is respectable, giving you both on-foot battles and memorable, large-scale ship to ship battles, but its the exploration elements and excellent dungeon designs and clever puzzles that are the real success story. As usual presentation and storyline are also top notch, with likeable characters and well done music.
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          Jet Set Radio          

      This is a very stylish platform game which has you forming your own gang of graffiti artists and then competing with rival gangs in tagging the city. At the beginning of each area you are given a map showing various points, the aim is to reach these points and spray out some art whilst avoiding police and keeping stocked up on spray cans. The game is a ton of fun, is a unique experience, and helped to popularise Cell-Shading with its superb art design and presentation.
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          Rez          

      Yet another Dreamcast game with beautiful art design where you can really feel the love and attention to detail that the developers have heaped onto it. I'm not going to try to ramble on about "synesthesia" here, so I'll just say that this is a brilliantly artistic rail shooter that combines audio and video perfectly to create an exciting, imaginative, and unique experience. Every true fan of gaming should try this game out at some point.
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          Soul Calibur          

      One of the most stunning games of its time, Namco went the extra mile with this critically acclaimed arcade port from their Soul Blade fighting series. The game has you fighting 1 on 1 with melee weapons in a 3D arena, like all such games you need to learn each character's specific combo's and work out the best tactics. Not only did Namco improve the graphics here from the arcade version, but they really packed this with content and extras, there's an astonishing amount of modes available, characters to unlock, and things to do here.
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          Shenmue II          

      After the groundbreaking Shenmue Sega came back with this, an even more big and ambitious game. Shenmue II eschews the more laid back hometown of the first game and throws you into a huge, bustling city full of crime and intrigue, with gangs and opportunistic individuals around every corner. The main gameplay here is similar to the original, being largely about information gathering, mini-games, 3D fighting and quick-time events, but it feels more focused, and does a better job of pushing you in the direction you need to go (which could be considered a good or bad thing depending on the player I guess). Like its predecessor the game really excels at immersing the player in its world, and characters.

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