The 25 best Dreamcast games of all time

Dreamcast forever

The Sega Dreamcast was the last console ever made by Sega. After 15 years in the console game, the launch of the Dreamcast in 1998 (in Japan) was to be the last major act from the home of Sonic. Shame, because the Dreamcast was actually one of Sega's best ever consoles, and a pioneer of modern features - like online play - that are now an integral part of any gaming machine. Its line-up of games was great too, mixing in stunning updates of classic franchises such as Sonic Adventure and Soul Calibur with fresh games like Shenmue and Powerstone. With the announcement of Sega Forever - an initiative to bring Sega's classic games to mobile, for free - there's never been a better time to check out the console's line-up. So, join us and celebrate one of the finest gaming consoles ever made, and one that never quite got the appreciation it deserved...

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25. Sega Bass Fishing

The Dreamcast’s lifespan proved to be unfeasibly fruitful for fans of weird games about fish, which might sound like the sort of thing people just say to be funny, if not for the fact that this was a major international gaming console for which a complicated “fishing rod” peripheral was widely available, so yes, really. And you can’t (or shouldn’t) talk about the Dreamcast without talking about this lovingly realized simulation of high-tech Old Uncle sports. A succession of tournaments offer plenty of variety in the places you’ll go in your search for the ultimate catch. Video game fishing usually boils down to dropping a lure and reeling in patiently enough to not break the line, but Sega Bass Fishing required a surprising amount of skill and savvy to conquer. Fish on! 

24. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater was immediately revolutionary upon its 1999 release, simulating skateboarding in full 3D with a trick-based score system that rewarded dexterity and daring in equal measures. But it’s this sequel, released just a year later by Activision/Neversoft, that is commonly regarded as the series’ high point. Indeed, THPS2 can be found near the top end of many best-game-ever lists. What makes this one so special? The original’s varied, trick-centric gameplay sees an overhaul here with a greater breadth of moves, areas, and characters, as well as a comprehensive skater-creator mode. The levels are naturalistic and the tricks based on reality--much more so than the subsequent ever-more-crazy sequels--meaning this game actually inspired people to take up real skateboarding. True fact.

23. The Typing of the Dead

Of all the totally out-there ideas that amazingly became Dreamcast games, The Typing of the Dead is easily the most laughable - and as such, one of the most spectacular of them all. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to convert The House of the Dead 2 - an excellent light gun game, it must be said - into a game where you kill zombies by speedily typing in words or phrases, but the reality is pure genius. Mixing educational gameplay with tongue-in-cheek sights and sounds (like special agents with keyboards strapped in front of them), you'll pound out letters to stay alive in an undead-infested city and have a blast doing it. Who said edutainment is no fun?

22. Space Channel 5

The Dreamcast is home to some of Sega's most daring and beloved franchise attempts, and Space Channel 5 is an absolutely prime example. Starring a galactic TV reporter named Ulala, you'll dance through colorful space stations in an effort to defeat aliens and rescue hostages. It really is as bizarre as it sounds, but that's a large part of its appeal--the game even features a cameo from Michael Jackson, who holds a larger part in sequel Space Channel 5: Part 2. Like many of the games created by Tetsuya Mizuguchi (of Rez fame), it's a one-of-a-kind affair (well, OK, two) with stellar mechanics, colorful aesthetics, and a soul all its own. Shoot! Shoot! Shoot!

21. Grandia 2

Grandia 2 was hailed as a champ upon its initial Dreamcast release in 2000, serving up one of the top single-player RPG experiences on the platform. Building off of the success of the Saturn and PSOne original, the sequel featured a turn-based system that let you move around a bit during battle, while the fantastic visuals and presentation made good use of the system's hardware. By the time inferior ports were released for PlayStation 2 and PC, it had been greatly overshadowed by Final Fantasy 10 and other cinematic genre heavyweights. But for Dreamcast diehards, it was one of the best games of its kind and a great experience on its own merits.

20. Power Stone 2

One of the saddest omissions from Capcom's post-Dreamcast repertoire is the Power Stone franchise, which took the fighting genre in a fresh direction with true 3D environments. Like the original, Power Stone 2 is an absolute gem of a multiplayer experience, but it ups the player count from two to four. Cue carnage. With a colorful, cartoonish aesthetic and highly distinct fighters (including a small boy named Pete... for no obvious reason), each match proves a whirlwind of fists, feet, and found items. It also adds environmental hazards to the mix, like a frantic dash away from a giant rolling stone ball and a rising fire, not to mention massive bosses. Both titles were ported to PSP, but a true revival is long, long overdue.

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19. Chu Chu Rocket

Much like the name on the front of the box, ChuChu Rocket! is absolutely beguiling at first glance. Hailing from Sonic Team, the comical puzzler features simplistic art design, but it's put to good use in an approach best described as 'controlled chaos'. The goal in each stage is to guide a mess of blue and white space mice to your rocket, but with holes and hazards (like dawdling orange cats), you'll need to drop navigational arrows on the board to guide your minions to safety. It's an absolutely bonkers four-player experience, with scads of arrows and mice scattered about the screen, and it was also the first online Dreamcast game, giving it an extra-special place in history.

18. Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver

While essentially an enhanced port of a six-month-old PlayStation game, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver made a strong impact on Dreamcast gamers, thanks to hugely improved visuals found on top of the same fantastic original release. Swapping between spectral and material versions of the game world, you'll guide Raziel - a badass wraith - through a hack-and-slash quest to take down the titular Kain. Soul Reaver is considered one of the best original adventures of its time, despite its abrupt ending, and the Dreamcast release stands tall thanks to the added horsepower helping the gothic world of Nosgoth come to life in an impressive manner.

17. NFL 2K

Visual Concepts' NFL 2K series helped push video game football toward a more modern, broadcast-style approach while also holding its own against Madden - and NFL 2K2 was its Dreamcast swan song before expanding to other platforms. Annual sports iterations tend not to age well, true, but when it launched, 2K2 felt like a tremendous recreation of the sport. Excellent player models and animations help anchor the action in reality, while the improved running game is noticeable, and the franchise and online play options offered plenty of lingering depth. It's testament to the game's quality that it still looks and feels so solid. At the time, it was nothing short of revolutionary.