Easily one of the best, fastest and weirdest action games on the Dreamcast, MDK2 featured a cast of three bizarre heroes – mad scientist Dr. Fluke Hawkins, his four-armed, gun-crazy dog Max and his janitor/stealth super-agent Kurt Hectic – who were tasked with freeing Earth from alien invaders. And you’d play through their adventure as all three, as Max blasted everything in sight, Kurt used a combination of shooting, sniping and stealth and Dr. Hawkins alternated between experimenting with random items and turning into a giant atomic monster.
If you need additional proof that the game was pure, unadulterated awesomeness, consider that it was developed by BioWare, the same studio behind Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Mass Effect. Even so, we can see how the presence of a multi-limbed dog and a mustachioed old man on the cover might have failed to move units. It’s worth noting that MDK2 got a second chance at life with PS2 and PC ports, neither of which did well enough to ensure the existence of a third Mission: Deliver Kindness.
Current value: Two twenties to bag a sealed copy, though the $10 “like new” package is more than adequate.
For some publishers, the Dreamcast was a testing bed for weird new experiments that defied established genres, and few games embodied that better than Cannon Spike. A weird two-player blend of beat ‘em-up and shoot ‘em-up, Cannon Spike’s menagerie of playable characters included Cammy and Charlie from Street Fighter, B.B. Hood from Darkstalkers, Arthur from Ghouls ‘n’ Ghosts and Mega Man.
Oh, and all the characters were wearing roller skates, giving them the freedom to move and maneuver extra-quickly as they battled waves of zombies and faceless goons. Betcha this one just flew off the shelves.
Current value: Almost $75 for a new one, roughly $40 for a used copy. It’s a weirdo Capcom title that’s never been reprinted, so it ain’t gonna come cheap.
No wait, don’t run away! Underneath the barely tolerable Hanna-Barbera shell lies a damn decent Mario Kart clone, produced in a time when kart racer clones were merely annoying instead of irredeemably obnoxious. There’s nothing overtly spectacular going on here, it’s just a shockingly competent entry in a genre that repeatedly sees piles of garbage passed off as games.
Notable vehicle differences, varied power ups, super-smooth racing, all the key things that make a kart game a joy to play are handled respectably, and when compared to its rivals (Looney Tunes Space Race, Disney’s Magical Racing Tour, South Park Rally), Wacky Races may just be the system’s best cartoony kart racer.
Current value: Wacky Races hasn’t exactly stood the test of time, so prices exceeding $20 are exorbitant to say the least. We wanted to point it out because it, along with Maze Madness, may have snuck past without even turning your head.
A fast, slightly goofy arcade-style third-person shooter, Outtrigger was fun even in spite of the weirdly soulless vibe it shared with all of Sega studio AM2’s games. Asking players to take down terrorists in online battles and quick, objective-based skirmishes, Outtrigger looked strange and dated next to two other, better games that had already made splashy debuts on the Dreamcast: Quake III: Arena and Unreal Tournament. But then again, neither of those games started you off with a rocket launcher as your default weapon.
Current value: Begins in the $10 area for pre-owned copies, then gets into the $40-50 for something untouched by human hands. Do Sega a favor and give one a home, will ya?
Elemental Gimmick Gear
EGG is the quintessential Dreamcast game. Its title makes no sense whatsoever, the gameplay has barely any mainstream appeal and the box art would convince absolutely no one to pick it up (except maybe fans of choose your own adventure books). Any rational publisher who saw this come up on their list of potential games to port over from Japan would strike it down and run away.
Someone at Hudson stuck with it, and now we have this unholy marriage of 3D polygon battles and 2D overhead dungeons, narrated by tiny movie files and a thick, text heavy script. It’s an odd blend of ‘90s and ‘00s design, and as such we urge everyone to give it a moment’s notice. Hell, if nothing else the soundtrack should impress.
Current value: Not many takers for EGG, as we see two copies going for less than $8, though one sealed is still begging for $34.
Within the shooter genre there rests a mini-genre of the multi-directional shooter, and Bangai-O was one of the best. You piloted a mech, flying around in 2D stages brimming with enemy fire. Like Smash TV, you used separate controls for movement and firing.
A unique element was the super-bomb ability which increased in power depending on how many enemy missiles were really close to you, so you had to risk near death to unleash your ultimate weapon. If you can’t find this old classic, you can always try Bangai-O Spirits, the recent DS sequel.
Current value: Still commanding a high price. A sealed copy is asking $90, others around $50, and the lowest we saw on eBay was $24.99 without a manual. Maybe try the newer DS version?