games / Columns

The Top 8 Dreamcast Games: Soul Caliber, Marvel vs. Capcom 2, More

February 18, 2020 | Posted by Marc Morrison
Soul Caliber

Welcome all to another edition of The 8 Ball! This week I’m here to talk about Dreamcast games. The reason I originally wanted to write about this was my attempt at procuring a Dreamcast Kiosk, which didn’t go my way, sadly. Still, I did like the Dreamcast console, so here we are. I’ll make mention of Skies of Arcadia here, since I’ve heard its good but haven’t played it. Also, let’s be real: Sonic Adventure and Shenmue aren’t good games. Let’s begin:

#8: Space Channel 5

As a game, Space Channel 5 is basically a glorified version of “Simon Says”. You just have to press buttons in time with the beat, which has been done in other games, if not slightly better, in something like PaRappa the Rapper. The reason it’s on here though is because the game really oozes charm and personality. Ulala is a good precursor to someone like Bayonetta, a woman that is designed to be sexualized but really isn’t at all. The world of Space Channel 5 is unique and colorful. Lastly, the music just phenomenal, and though Mizuguchi didn’t do the music for this game, you can see it in his later stuff.

#7: Sword of the Berserk: Guts’ Rage

This is a weird one since at the time I played it, I didn’t know it was based on a manga series. I think I just picked it up because it was one of the few, mature, character action games on the platform. The gameplay itself was basic but decent. Swinging the big sword around felt great and there was some light dismemberment stuff, if I remember right. It was just kind of a hack-and-slash game with a weird story, since I didn’t know what was actually going on. I do remember the end of the game got really jacked-up hard and I never finished it, since it was an escape sequence that I just constantly failed at.

#6: Jet Grind Radio

The original Jet Grind/Set Radio is a great idea for a game. However, it wasn’t until Jet Set Radio Future that it really came into its own. The principle reason being that the Dreamcast only had one analog stick. SO…games that had a 3D camera were usually screwed. Jet Grind Radio tries to solve this problem by having a button dedicated solely to re-positioning the camera behind you, if it gets messed up, but it just doesn’t work. STILL, Jet Grind Radio rules with a great soundtrack, one of the most unique art styles around (still) and some interesting gameplay.

#5: NFL 2K

I think NFL 2K was probably the first sports game I got into. The biggest reason is because you could turn off all penalties, cross the scrimmage line and when the other team starts, you could just immediately tackle the other QB and get a sack. This was always hilarious to me. Also, it was just faster than Madden and it obviously was WAY better looking than anything the PS1 could pump out. Really though, I liked this game because it was the start of a game dynasty that EA had to muscle the NFL license away from, to keep them from threatening Madden.

#4: Armada

If Armada had been an online game, people still would be talking about it. Armada was a bit of a dual joystick game where you controlled a ship in the vastness of space. You undertook jobs to get money to get better parts for your ship. This is pretty standard actually. However, Armada just felt really good to play. It had an arcade-like feel that made it just fun to fly around and battle the various aliens.

#3: Resident Evil: Code Veronica

This might be the last of the “traditional” style Resident Evil game in the franchise. It took 5 years after this game out before Resident Evil 4 did, which was a huge departure for the franchise. Code Veronica wasn’t the best of the original games but it still was good. It had a more dynamic camera that occasionally moved around with the player. If you had two guns, you could attack two different targets independently. Also, it was a notable step up, from a graphics/production standpoint, owing to the new hardware of the Dreamcast.

#2: Marvel vs. Capcom 2

I talked last week about my love of this game and it remains here as well. I think it’s just a fantastic fighting game, especially with how varied certain characters are. Granted, I tend to use “Hadou” characters like Cable, Gambit, Iceman, and Cyclops, but that’s just my play style. I think the game might look a little chunky now, but it still animates well and sounds great. There’s rumors of a new Marvel vs. Capcom game, to erase the failure of Infinite. While that’d be nice, I’d settle for an HD port/remaster of this game as well.

#1: Soulcalibur

This is the best example of a ported game being better, MUCH better than its source. The arcade game is decent enough but the Dreamcast version looks leagues better. It has better backgrounds, one added new character, and a whole host of features to keep home players occupied. Really though, this was a well-balanced fighter that is still probably the best entry in the franchise.

For comments, list which is your favorite Dreamcast games and why.

Next Issue
Top 8 Games Needing a Port