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Dreamcast - A Gen too early 

Sega's Dreamcast was a console with so much to offer to soon in my opinion.

With next Gen graphics ,online play , internet connectivity and a list of accessories as long as your arm, then add on all the triple AAA games and you have a games machine that's game heaven.

But due to the 32x debacle and the Saturn's Failure it was gonna be hard for this one to conquer all. 

In the end losing money hand over fist was to much for Sega and they pulled the plug in January 2001  just as the Dreamcast was starting to make solid ground. 

I really do reckon another year would have seen it's fortunes turn, as Early games on PS2 lacked impact and there was so many big titles in production for Dreamcast and the big hitters that got cancelled could have turned the tide.

Alas it was not mean't to be and while Dreamcast still got games in the West up to 2003 and in the East up to 2007. Playing all those titles that came to the other platforms like Virtua Fighter 4, Panzer Dragoon Orta, Gun Valkyrie, Monkey Ball, Beach Spikers  would have felt more at home on Dreamcast.


The Games you Should Really Play on Dreamcast

With so many top fighting games on the system, this is quite a hard one to compile,but in the end this is what I have come up with. You will Notice there are eleven games here ,well because the first one is the one game all martial artists should play as it encompasses the martial spirit. 

The Dreamcast Arcade Stick- Essential for Fighters

Sega new their joy-pads were  no good for fighting games , that's why these Monsters were available on day One.  Brilliant piece of kit and based on the actual sticks from Virtua fighter arcade machine. I actually picked up two of these on Launch day and even purchased a third used some time later.


Shenmue 1 / 2  - Sega Yu Suzuki

Shenmue was Not a game but a simulation of life of a young man out for Justice .You are Ryo A young man who gets caught up in a mystic tale of martial arts when his father ( a skilled technician of Martial arts ) is killed before his eyes by a evil man called Lan Di.

In your quest to find the reason behind to all Ryo will have to risk his life and learn new arts  to battle the many foes he will be up against.

Shenmue was a groundbreaking game that took over many peoples lives when it was released (including mine) .The sad part is the conclusion will most likely never be told as only the first two parts were released and the conclusion lies in limbo within the hands of Sega and it's creator (who has now left Sega) Yu Suzuki.

But even in the two parts we have available (the second part on Dreamcast is becoming rare ) it's still the Best Martial arts game ever made. FACT.

Of course with the advent of the Remastered versions out on Xbox One and PS4 many more have had the chance to experience the Shenmue magic. Plus their also work on the new Series X/S and PS5 consoles to.


Soul Calibur - 1999 by Namco

Hailed as the prettiest Video game ever made for a home console when it came out,Soul Calibur also set the standard by which all fighting games would be Judged.

A sequel to the Playstation hit Soul Blade ,Soul Calibur with it's hi rez-graphics and Intuitive game play hit the mark just right.On top of that it was a exclusive to Dreamcast and many thought at this stage that with games like this that the Console could not fail.

Soul Calibur put in control of a bunch of weapon wielding adversaries to choose from.What made it great was that you could move freely in all directions ,whilst previous 3d fighters you could only move in 3d by using a dodge button or side stepping motion . 

What made it perfect was that instead of just porting a great arcade game Namco improved the graphics and added replay value by adding modes like Team Battle, Survival, and Mission mode where you had to complete various missions to gain points, which in turn could be used to buy weapons and costumes as well as art work from the game. 

Namco even with the huge success of the game waited to release a sequel (normally it would have been out in six months) instead trying to captivate what made it so great, and how could they improve on it, unfortunately it was too late for Dreamcast by this time and the sequels ended up on PS2/GameCube and XBOX.

But one thing for sure, it looks as good today as it did then ,hook it up to a TV / Projector with a VGA lead for Dreamcast  or even a HDMI converter and you will see Next gen it was , and still stands up today as  a beautiful game. 

If your lucky enough to have the Dreamcast Full HD mod or a Open Source Scan Converter then you can experience the game in Full HD or line doubled at least .


Dead or Alive 2  - Tecmo - 2000

copyright ©2000 Tecmo/Team Ninja / Aklaim

Team Ninja from Tecmo in my opinion are one of the most talented martial arts game programmers out there ,purely because of their love of the arts. The sad news is that it's lead   Dead or Alive creator Tomonobu Itagaki announced that he was leaving Tecmo and Team Ninja on June 3rd 2008.(Tecmo say they fired him on the 18th June 2008).

On top of this in 2009 Tecmo merged with Koei and traded as Tecmo Koei ,but as of early 2010 it was announced of it's disbandment. So whether we see the word Tecmo on a game again is most likely rare, and if we do it will only be a name.

So (DOA)  Dead or Alive 2 on Dreamcast was a sequel to the original on Saturn and PS1. The one thing that's noticeable about DOA is the time spent on the animation of the female fighters breasts,they bounce around and jump up and down as they fight. In the original Saturn version there was a option to have the breasts moving or not.

Now DOA borrows a lot from the Virtua Fighter series in terms of game play ,in that it has arenas with ring outs and the use of a 3 button attack system at it's core. The main difference is that instead of a block button(Virtua Fighter) you have the ability to grab and throw your opponent or parry and counter .

Also the game plays at a quicker speed  to VF, there's less thinking to do and the chess like scenario found in VF is not as prevalent.

This does not mean it's any easier to master though, though on easy settings the game is a doddle compared to VF. As well as the breast animation, the detail in the clothes and hair of our fighters is also very well animated with flowing locks of hair on the Girls, and Dresses and Jackets that flap about.

And there are a lot of clothes to choose from as costumes become available as you beat the game.

Another feature are the walls that give way while fighting leaving you to hurtle down to another level, thus losing your energy if you where at the receiving end.

Once again the Dreamcast had a top fighter on it's hands, released towards the end of it's life in 2000. It is one game worth tracking down if you missed it first time round.

A limited edition was released on Dreamcast later on in Japan which had extra characters and animations  and costumes,but even this was surpassed by a PS2 version which added even more content.

But i do remember reading in a certain top game editorial that the Dreamcast version  was a better game overall  in the animation stakes in their opinion.


Virtua Fighter 3tb - Sega AM2 / Genki - 1998


Copyright©1998 Sega AM2 / Genki

1998 and Sega's Dreamcast needed a fighter and Virtua Fighter 3tb (VF3tb)  fitted the bill, Now the VF series was Sega's biggest seller in it's homeland and people played it's arcade counterparts all the time.

The first two games on Saturn where a huge success with VF2 selling Saturns the world over,but with the demise of the Saturn Sega's new Dreamcast was the place the third in the series should be, but as the Saturn died in the West ,in the East it was still very popular, so AM2 where working on a port for the Saturn, this left the Dreamcast wanting so another developer was employed for the task to convert VF3tb to Dreamcast.

It was Genki who got the job and with the help of Sega converted the game as required.Now for the first time VF had new features such as a dedicated Dodge button (usually VF is a 3 button game , now it has 4) then on top of this add undulating surfaces such as stairs ,sloping roofs and Rafts on water to fight on and you have physics that change the way VF is played .

There was even a first person mode where you could fight through the fighters eyes just seeing his punches or kicks.

Now I remember when it came out in 1998 in Japan it was hailed as a great game ( I remember edges score was very high). And I also remember seeing it in action on import and thought it was good, so Genki done a Good Job.

Problem lies with the European and USA releases of the games, in Europe the problem lied with the fact that for most point Dreamcast games had a feature to run the games as there Asian counterparts at full speed full screen, but it had to be programmed in to the game.

So whilst Asia had VF3tb running at speed and enjoying it, what the West got was a rushed port (as Sega wanted it for the Western Launch line up) this main feature was not imposed and the game was not optimized for 50hz. So it ran a lot slower and with nasty boarders top and bottom which where overly large.

Now later games in the series did not include the undulating surfaces or the dodge button, on top of that the Saturn version was never released, so AM2's time was wasted trying to port it to Saturn.

But one thing for sure VF3tb is still a great game and one that is unique in it's approach. 

Just make sure you buy a Japan version and you will be playing it as it should be, unless you have  a VGA lead or HDMI adapter for your Dreamcast in which case your Pal version will run full screen full speed too, well at 59hz which is the VGA refresh rate.

A must own as it's the last Virtua Fighter game to appear on a SEGA console. 


Street Fighter Alpha 3  / Saikyo Dojo - Capcom - 1999


Copyright ©CAPCOM 1999

Street Fighter is a enormous franchise and choosing from the versions on Dreamcast was tricky,but in the end Alpha 3 won the day for me, I just prefer the way Alpha plays ,even though this version changed game play some what it still retains classic fight action.

Following Street Fighter Alpha: Warriors' Dreams and Street Fighter Alpha 2

The gameplay system from the previous Alpha games was given a complete overhaul with the addition of three selectable fighting styles based on Street Fighter Alpha (A-ism), Street Fighter Alpha 2 (V-ism), and Super Street Fighter II Turbo (X-ism).

As with the previous versions new characters were added , which in this version included Cammy (who only appeared in the Console version Alpha 2 Gold) , E,Honda,Blanka and Vega from Street fighter II.On top of that it also see Cody from Final Fight make his Alpha Debut.

Now the game was released originally on Playstation in 1998 ,but in July 1999 Dreamcast got it's on exclusive version  Saikyo Dojo ,this for me was the definitive Alpha and to this day supplies endless game play ,with it's world tour modes and more .plus where Street Fighter  excels is in two player and this is no slouch and will have you screaming at each other. 

Classic Gaming 


Garou Mark of the Wolves  - SNK - 1999


Copyright 1999 ©SNK

Yes it's another 2d fighter ,this time from Capcom rivals SNK. And one which i think is Dreamcasts best from SNK.Garou 'Mark of the Wolves' is the Ninth and Final game in the Fatal Fury series.

Originally made for the Neo Geo it pushed that console to it's limits, but the Dreamcast was made for this and this version is fantastic with animation to die for .

The two-plane system in which characters would fight from two different planes was removed from the game. 

The game introduces the "Tactical Offense Position" (T.O.P.) which is a special area on the life gauge.


CAPCOM vs SNK 2 - Capcom- 2001

copyright © 2001 CAPCOM

Released at a time when in the West the Dreamcast was on it's last legs ,this sequel to the combined CAPCOM vs SNK was a triumph of game play and substance that no Dreamcast owner should be with out .

It combined the alternative fighting styles from both publishers games and a roster of fighters that makes other fighting games pale in comparison.

Yes the emphasis in the fight system is more on Capcom's six button system as the previous game game was based on the 4 button system of SNK's games, though there are modes which let you take on the two companies fighting styles.

And in opinion the Dreamcast version seems to be the best version out there.

Later on new versions called 'EO' came out on other consoles which gave the option of pulling off special moves on one button, which in my opinion butchered the game, but then may be they were trying to sell to younger casual gamers who new nothing of hardcore 2d fighting. 


The King of Fighters 2001 - SNK Playmore -2001

copyright 2001© Eolith/SNK

The Dreamcast was host to quite a few KOF games and this edition released in 2001 was the first game in the series on the system that came out after the closure of SNK.

For those in Pal region countries the only way to play these were by Importing and using a Import loader .

Mostly the SNK games on Dreamcast where only released in Japan and Asain regions though a couple were released in the USA. 

The game was produced in Korea by Eolith and developed by Brezzasoft which were made up of past SNK employees.

 Like in the previous game, the battles are once again between teams of four. Instead of a strict "three fighters and one striker" format, this installment introduces the Tactical Order System, which allows the player to select which characters will they control in combat and which characters will serve as strikers.

Once again the roster of fighters is vast giving ample replay value and variation.

 With some 42 characters including ,

  • Ryo Sakazaki
  • Robert Garcia
  • Yuri Sakazaki
  • Takuma Sakazaki
  • King
  • Mai Shiranui
  • Hinako Shijo
  • Li Xiangfei

Ready 2 Rumble - Midway -1999

copyright 1999© Midway

Ready to Rumble boxing was a Dreamcast launch title ,which was a welcome one in the West as the Pal edition of VF3TB was a rushed conversion ( see above) and a fighting game was needed to satisfy those button bashers in us .

Reminiscent of Nintendo's Punch Out it had array of boxers with crazy names like 'Afro Thunder' and Boris 'The Bear ' Knokimov.

A great feature that using your basic punches you could rack up points and fill a meter (that was the word Rumble).

Once full you could unleash a flurry of hard hitting speedy hits to knock out your opponent.

With colorful cartoon style characters which actually got bruised as they fought, Rumble was a fun game in both one and two player modes.


Project Justice ' Rival Schools 2' - Capcom - 2000

copyright 2000© Capcom

Possiblly one of the rarer fighting titles on Dreamcast, Produced in limited numbers and especially in the West the title can demand a high price now second hand. 

Coming as wacky as you can get Capcom's sequel to their Playstation hit was again a team battle game, this time with three characters instead of a two.

Like the prequel the characters in the game use their academic skills as their fighting style with crazy special moves taken from Swimming, Soccer,music and more.

The game revolved around groups of teens from high schools that would enter contests to fight ,with pupils from Taiyo High School  / Gorin High School / Gedo Hoih School and Pacific High school . add to this a few unlockable characters and fun could be had by all.


Guilty Gear X -Sammy Corperation - 2000

 copyright 2000© SAMMY Corperation

Released in Japan in 2000 SAMMY'S 2D brawler lent a lot from Capcom's and SNK's fighters. 

Featuring seventeen characters ,eleven of which starred in the original game plus six new characters.

Each of the characters had their own weapon based attacks that added a twist to the 2d fighting genre and the game was aternative to the likes of Marvel Heroes or Fatal Fury, as hard core players would always stick to Streetfighter or King of Fighters.

But saying that it was fun and still is to this day and has spawned many sequels and updates across other systems over the years and has it's own following now..

Sammy would go onto develope a Arcade system in association with Sega and SNK  based on the Dreamcast after the systems demise by the name of Atomiswave.

Then in around 2005 Sammy would go on to buy the controlling stake in Sega, thus in a way stifling Sega in many ways for years, and it's only in the past three to four years that Sega has had the chance to shine again with the release of a more varied catalogue of titles. 


DREAMCAST Commercials - Worldwide



Resident Games Expert for Kick'em in the Ghoulies.com

This article was compiled by our Resident Games Expert ,Bruno B

Bruno has been a avid games-player since the early 80's and has experience with many format's and Genre's. Though on site  we concentrate on the Beat'em up Genre .

For more on Bruno.B check out his Twitter account where he posts about all types of games.