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22 brilliant Dreamcast games doomed to die

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All week we’ve been wallowing in Sega-soaked self pity, lamenting the Dreamcast’s tragically short lifespan. From 1999 to 2001 it managed to go from “Sega’s big comeback” to “whoops, out of business” despite a strong, diverse lineup of first and third party titles. With only so much cash to dump onto a system that had mere months to live, thousands of gamers were forced to pass on anything but clear-cut system-sellers like Sonic, Soul Calibur and 2K Sports.

Naturally this led to dozens of “also ran” titles that cried out for your attention, only to be sentenced to mass bargain bin graves the likes of which we wouldn’t see again until Rock Revolution. Collected here are 22 of the very best Dreamcast games that met such undignified ends.

Contributing editors: Brett Elston, Henry Gilbert, Matt Keast, Joe Newman, Mikel Reparaz


Alien Front Online

Packing online play and a goofy 1950s B-movie vibe, Alien Front Online enabled players to wage war as either tanks or giant, crab-like alien walkers. But its real draw was that it was the only online game to really utilize the Dreamcast’s microphone, enabling static-filled voice chats with screaming children on the other side of the globe years before we hated it on Xbox Live.

Current value: Ebay has listings that start at $1 and peak at $5 with zero bids, so anyone in the know can swoop in and start a rather powerful Dreamcast library, starting with Alien Front Online.


Sword of the Berserk: Guts’ Rage

Pretty, gruesome and based on a fairly obscure anime, Sword of the Berserk was a medieval-fantasy adventure about a large man (named Gatsu or “Guts”) with an even larger sword, which he used to chop shambling plant-monsters in half.

Focusing on Guts’ ham-fisted efforts to free a kingdom from a strange, zombifying virus, Berserk mixed exploration with gory, brawler-style sword combat years before Devil May Cry or God of War were household names. To this day, we’re not entirely sure why it didn’t do better – although the unwieldy name might have had something to do with it.

Current value: The general price seems to be around $10, and one guy’s pushing a sealed copy for $75. Never gonna happen.


Rayman 2: The Great Escape

It’s hard to consider Rayman 2 a “missed” title, as it was one of the most highly regarded platformers of its day and backed by a reasonably large marketing push. Out of all the various releases, the Dreamcast’s stood at the top, with at-the-time gorgeous visuals, smooth gameplay and genuinely inventive level design.

So why did it die? Even though the Dreamcast was selling quite well, thousands weren’t sure if it was the right choice just yet. The impending PS2 cast a long shadow over Sega’s entire operation, so even strong reviews and word of mouth can’t sell a game to people who don’t own the machine it plays on. The best version of Rayman’s best game, sadly destined to slip away.

Current value: As of this writing, there are absolutely zero auctions for a DC copy of Rayman 2. All we could find are several “Buy It Now” options that range from $8 (well worth it) to $50 (you’ve got to be kidding).


Super Magnetic Neo

Pao Pao Park is under attack by the evil baby Pinki and her gang of pink-jumpsuit-wearing misfits, and it’s up to Neo - a robot with the power of magnetism – to stop them. The ability to propel yourself through the environment using similar or opposite polarities adds a nifty puzzle element to the platforming, and the colorful graphics still hold up nicely today.

Be warned, though – beneath Neo’s cartoony exterior is one of the most unrelentingly hardcore games on the Dreamcast, which consequently makes a well-executed speed run a thing of beauty.

Current value: One auction is sitting at $1 (as of this writing), the rest are complete copies that peak at $35. Strange, considering we recall piles of this filling bins in retailers across the country.


Ooga Booga

Strange though it may seem, the minds behind the 2K Sports series had a creative side. A really creative side, one that wanted to make oddball games about masked witch doctors pelting each other with shrunken heads on tiny deserted islands while a mellow surf-rock soundtrack blared.

Ooga Booga – so named for the volcano goddess for whom the witch doctors, or Kahunas, battled – was an online-enabled, four-player party-combat game (something you don’t see so much these days) that encouraged players to take on the guises of Fatty, Twitchy, Hottie and Hoodoo and ride wild boars, hurl fireballs and generally smack their friends around for points. It was simple, it was silly and it was a lot more fun than its dismal sales imply.

Current value: For an allegedly “rare” title, Booga doesn’t command much in the aftermarket. Good news for you though, as $5 for a sealed copy is too grand to pass up.


Tech Romancer

Much of the Dreamcast’s lineup was delightfully niche, but we felt no shame enjoying this Capcom classic slathered in love for mecha and anime. Sure, the giant robots in this fighter technically weren’t Gundams, Escaflownes or Mazinger Zs, but fans could tell that nearly all the fighters were loving homages to those iconic Japanese heroes. Even the finishers matched stylistically to the series they were referencing.

Romancer also embodies Capcom’s general stance towards the platform – rather than port over established series, it tested new idea after new idea, none of which (save maybe Power Stone) caught on. It didn’t help that Capcom was competing with itself on Dreamcast, as a game called “Tech Romancer” couldn’t hope to stand up against several Street Fighters, Project Justice and either Marvel vs Capcom.

Current value: One intrepid eBayer is attempting to charge $208.59 for a sealed copy, which could have paid for an entire Dreamcast console at launch. More sensible sellers are ready to part with a copy for $15.

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53 comments

  • sandylewis90 - June 13, 2012 12:58 p.m.

    Man I remember all of these games. I don't get why Dreamcast gets such a bad rap. I'd LOVE to spend a rainy weekend inside playing all of these games and the so many others. http://www.ranker.com/list/all-dreamcast-games-list-of-sega-dreamcast-console-games/video-games-by-console has a pretty good list of all of the games and I can only count about a dozen that don't look absolutely fun. I vote we bring back the Dreamcast.
  • deadendeavor - March 4, 2011 3:13 a.m.

    No mention of Shenmue? Grandia II? The original Soul Calibur?!
  • Mirako - September 16, 2009 9:58 p.m.

    I've got most of these games and yes they were brilliant, who cares if it died? It had some amazing games while it lasted. Also I still think that Power Stone 2 was better then the first one.
  • IRIsH - September 15, 2009 11:42 p.m.

    love my dreamcast and chu chu rocket still gets a good long spin with a monthly tournement between me and my friends. to the dreamcast may you live long in our memories R.I.P
  • RandomIdoit - September 14, 2009 10:29 p.m.

    Hmm... I don't really know what to say about the Dreamcast... I never had one, and always thought that it had only about 13 games, I was obvioslly wrong. Funny thing though, one of my friends at the time had a Dreamcast, and said that it would beat all other consoles, I said he was wrong. I was right, but at what cost?
  • Hydrohs - September 14, 2009 8:35 p.m.

    You're right... EGG does remind me of Choose Your Own Adventure...
  • jar-head - September 14, 2009 8:18 p.m.

    Nintendo kicked All ass...
  • JohnDD - September 14, 2009 12:10 p.m.

    I remember going into Game when the PS2 just came out, and asked "what good games are there on the PS2?". He couldn't answer, he had to keep looking back at the shelves of PS2 games. This truly shows what strong marketing means to companies (not just games related ones) and what it means to the general popluation.
  • coolbeans - September 14, 2009 1:51 a.m.

    Bomerman, crazy tax, and power stone... ahhhhhh good memories...
  • sato - September 14, 2009 12:43 a.m.

    Well, not exactly the start.
  • suicidali - September 13, 2009 2:08 a.m.

    I found a copy of ChuChu Rocket for £1 a couple of weeks ago I was tempted, but I didn't take it... Slightly regretting it
  • AuthorityFigure - September 13, 2009 2:05 a.m.

    They seem like an odd bunch of games. Dreamcast 2 would be a treat to us all...
  • TreeWhale - September 13, 2009 12:49 a.m.

    @Terro you just got burned! Oh Snap! I am a Whale!
  • Terro - September 12, 2009 9:26 p.m.

    Why do doomdoomdoom and YOURMUM insist on fighting on every article I've been in today? Maybe it's their way of showing their sexual attraction to each other?
  • Xplosive59 - September 12, 2009 3:01 p.m.

    i wouldnt of minded a dreamcast but people always told me that they chewed up discs so i didnt get one.
  • wrapdump - September 12, 2009 1:21 p.m.

    tuto11025...you are a pillock.
  • SwishiestB0g - September 12, 2009 3:39 a.m.

    Worst come back ever doomdoomdoom also tuto, most of these games kicked butt. Go play the DC games and remember this came out BEFORE the ps2. They weren't the best games ever, but they were innovative and FUN. Something that lacks from a lot of games today.
  • Embolado - September 12, 2009 1:39 a.m.

    Never played any of these games, and looks like for a good reason. And Seaman was the worst title for a game. EVER. That fish faced creep looks like he would spoon you in your sleep.
  • Johnny6Gun - September 12, 2009 12:50 a.m.

    For Treasure fans, stick to the DC version of Bangaoih. Far superior to the DS entry. Lovely article. I really ought to hook the DC back up.
  • gmcb2011 - September 12, 2009 12:42 a.m.

    Can we ban doomdoomdoom? Please?

Showing 1-20 of 53 comments

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