Essential Imports: The Best Import Dreamcast Games

 As we all know, Sega gave up fairly early on its last two consoles. In the case of both the Dreamcast and the Saturn, many of the great games came at the end of their life and many didn’t make it to the US. Here’s a rundown on ones that we missed out here in America. (FYI: here’s how to play imports on your Dreamcast)

Japan-Only Titles
Bomber Hehhe!! – Action
Ever wanted to blow up buildings? This unique import will allow you to watch building go down from multiple angles with 3D sound effects.
Review of Bomber Hehhe!!

Napple Tale – Platformer
It’s a shame this 2.5D platformer couldn’t make it out of Japan. The amazing world, oddball creatures and numerous moments of humor and surprise seem to take root in Alice in Wonderland.
Review of Napple Tale

Border Down – 2D Shmup
G.Rev’s first post-mortum Dreamcast shmup featured a new twist on the shooter genre. Your performance actually determined the branch of each stage you would play in.
Review of Border Down

Capcom vs SNK 2 – 2D Fighter
While the first Capcom vs SNK game made it to the States, the 2nd Dreamcast iteration stayed in Japan. This one really raised the stakes in terms of character selection.
Review of Capcom vs SNK 2

Castle of Shikigami 2 – 2D Shmup
The sequel to “Mobile Light Force 2″, as it was know in the Western territories. This shooter enables players to control flying humans instead of ships. It isn’t ground-breaking in any respect, but is a good game to pick up for shooter fans.
Review of Castle of Shikigami 2 (PS2 Port)

Chaos Field – 2D Shmup
This vertical-scrolling shooter puts its own interesting-but-flawed spin on some aspects of the you-against-the-universe formula. Pure Its challenging levels pit you against one boss opponent after another adn gives you three fairly different ships to choose from.
Review of Chaos Field

Cool Cool Toon – Music/Rhythm
SNK broke away from its 2D fighter rut and brought this cel-shaded music game to the Dreamcast as it’s last project for a Sega platform. It scores lots of points for uniqueness, but can be quite a challenge.
Review of Cool Cool Toon

Frame Gride – 3D Action
From the creator of the Armored Core this mech-combat game, similar to Armored Core, except that there are no objective-based missions. Frame Gride is most closely related to Sega’s own mech-combat arcade game, Virtual On. Frame Gride distances itself from Sega’s title by adding loads of customization options, the very same options that gave the Armored Core series its fanatical following.
Review of Frame Gride

Guilty Gear X – 2D Fighter
This beautiful high-resolution 2D fighter series was a hidden gem on the Dreamcast but never received much attention until later iterations came to the arcade and Ps2.
Review of Guilty Gear X

Ikaruga – 2D Shmup
A pseduo-sequel to Treasure’s Radiant Silvergun, this mind-bending shmup is incredibly popular and combined high-precision shooter action with the color-matching gameplay element found in Treasure’s adventure game, Sillhoette Mirage.
Review of Ikaruga

King of Fighters 2000, 2001, 2002 – 2D Fighters
SNK’s legendary series saw quite a popular following in Japan, but the later chapters never made it to US shelves until they were ported to the PS2.
Review of The King of Fighters 2000
Review of The King of Fighters 2001
Review of The King of Fighters 2002

Psyvariar 2 – 2D Shmup
Forget the disappointing original – this is superior in every respect. You can gain experience and power as your level increases, and retain your power even if your machine is destroyed. The Buzz system returns to this game. Saw later releases on the PS2 and XBox.
Review of Psyvariar 2

Puyo Puyo Fever – Puzzle
One of my favorite puzzle games ever started out on the Dreamcast as a late Japanese release. You can now find it on a number of newer platforms and on my list of “Games Nobody Played – But You Should
Review of Puyo Puyo Fever (GC Port)

Rainbow Cotton – 3D Shmup
I believe this is the Cotton series’ first transition into the 3D environment. The gamplay isn’t full 3D as it is more akin to the Space Harrier of Panzer Dragoon formula.
Review of Rainbow Cotton

Space Channel 5 Part 2 – Rhythm
The sequel to the popular rhytm game featured enhanced graphics and 2-player gameplay. Unfortunately the story is hard to follow without knowing Japanese.
Review of Space Channel 5: Part 2

Super Puzzle Fighter 2X – Puzzle
Capcom made Puzzle Fighter an excellent entry into the puzzle genre. It features solid 1P and 2P gameplay and miniture versions of popular Street Fighter characters.
Review of Super Puzzle Fighter 2 (PSX port)

Super Street Fighter 2X – 2D Fighter
This is arguably one of the best versions of Street Fighter 2 you can get on any platform. It’s old-school fighting goodness at its best.
Review of Super Street Fighter 2X

Trizeal – 2D Shmup
From the makers of XII STAG, Trizeal is a vertical shooter ported from the Naomi board arcade version, combining 3D graphics with classical 2D gameplay. Your spacecraft can be morphed into 3 models supporting different shooting types, including front missiles, homing rockets and wide shot.
Review of Trizeal

Twinkle Star Sprites – Puzzle/Shmup Hybrid
A port from the Neo-Geo original, this game wonderfully combines gameplay elements from both the shooter and puzzle genres to make one charming game.
Review of Twinkle Star Sprites (Neo-Geo game)

Vampire Chronicles – 2D Fighter
Chronicles combines the character and gameplay features of the Darkstalkers trilogy into one wonderful fighter. The best console game of the series away from the Sega Saturn.
Review of Vampire Chronicles

Yu Suzuki Gameworks – Arcade Compilation
Filled with a handful of arcade-accurate ports of many of Yu Suzuki’s greatest works. You may find them very similar to the versions that can be found in Shenmue’s arcade.
Review of Yu Suzuki Gameworks

Zero Gunner 2 – 2D Shmup
This helicopter shmup is both beautiful and is not overly challenging. I would recommend this game to those looking to get started in the shooter genre.
Review of Zero Gunner 2

Radiligy – 2D Shmup
Much like Chaos Field, you also have three different ships to choose from and the gameplay is said to be like a cross of Chaos Field and Mars Matrix. If you’re just playing for survival, it’s not a very tough game for experts. The graphical style is very unique for a shoot-em-up as it sports a anime-style, cell-shaded look that some have compared to Jet Grind Radio.
Review of Radiligy

Under Defeat – 2D Shmup
This late Dreamcast release takes many of the gameplay elements and design concepts of Zero Gunner 2 and takes them to the next level. As one of the most beautiful shmups on the Dreamcast, it’s also a pleasure to view.
Review of Under Defeat

Trigger Heart Exelica – 2D Shmup
Another great looking shmup that has both a balanced difficulty level and some unique gameplay elements that make it stand out from the crowd. Locking onto enemies and pulling them in as a shield or flinging them at the next wave of enemies is always a treat.
Review of Trigger Heart Execlica

Made It To Europe But Not The USA

Cosmic Smash – Sports
This hidden gem can be best described as a hybrid of Virtua Tennis, Breakout, and Rez. If you like playing squash or just like unique games, you must give Cosmic Smash a try.
Review of Cosmic Smash

Headhunter – 3D Action
This was bascially Sega’s attempt at a Metal Gear Solid-type game. Its a respectible title, but obviously not a MSG-killer. Eventually saw a PS2 release.
Review of Headhunter

Rez – 3D Shmup
This trippy shooter featured musical elements to make one of the biggest cult classics of the 128-bit era. Rez also saw a limited PS2 release.
Review of Rez

Shenmue 2 – 3D Adventure RPG
Shenmue II took the epic adventure and engaging environment that the original game brought Dreamcast owners and expanded it many times over. The US release was cancelled in order to make it an XBox exclusive. And we’re still waiting for Shenmue III — and I’m not holding my breath.
Review of Shenmue II

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17 Comments

  1. Mozgus says:

    Fantastic list! I think you got them all.

  2. AoiSatan says:

    WHAAAAT!

    YOU MISS “NAPPLE TALE” OH MY GOD!

    I THINK THIS GAME SHOULD HAVE A MENTION, ITS SO GREAT, A NICE 2.5D PLATFORM GAME WITH MANY RPG ELEMENTS , A VERY WEIRD WORLD AND A BEAUTIFUL SOUNDTRACK….BEAUTIFUL.

    A NICE GAME! HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN

    and…mmm i was just almost to add this comment but i forgot something.

    SAKURA TAISEN

    ok at least there goes to be mention to SAKURA TAISEN 3 AND SAKURA TAISEN 4 (the other two are just remakes if you count that) and the SAKURA TAISEN HANAGUMI COLUMNS 2 A TOP PUZZLE GAME

    OK…i think thats all

    but out of that i wanna say this is a good list im happy you included rainbow cotton….i know some people hate it because the aiming that really hurts in some way the gamplay but when you surpass that its a fine game

  3. I don’t recall Cosmic Smash being released in Europe. I thought it was only released in japan as a limited ediion in that DVD case.

  4. Anonymous says:

    no giant gram3? the virtua tennis of wrestling games….

  5. blib says:

    RoomMania #203
    Rent a Hero
    Dancing Blade 1 & 2
    Advanced Daisenryaku
    Advanced Daisenryaku 2001
    Panzer Front
    Castle Fantasia
    Super Robot Wars Alpha
    Super Producers
    Nanatsu no Hikan Senritsu no Bishou
    Densha de Go 2

    and one title I can’t believe you missed.

    SEGAGAGA

    To be fair some of these games require a bit or a fair bit of japanese knowledge or a faq. But they are all great games. There are plenty of others, but I guess it depends on the kind of games you’re in to.

  6. Anonymous says:

    where is “tokyo bus guide” in your list :) ?

  7. Anonymous says:

    ^^me again:)

    “tokyo bus guide” is one of the ****ing best games, i ever have played.

  8. Davs says:

    Don’t forget Pop’n Music! I don’t think that’s been released in any form in the US.

  9. moe says:

    Dance Dance Revolution: Club Edition (Japan)

  10. moe says:

    Sorry! I meant DDR 2nd Mix, not Club Edition.

  11. none says:

    Evil twin!!!

  12. guy says:

    Demolition Racer: No Exit is a very good US game that never made it to Europe or Japan.

  13. Rammna says:

    I donĀ“t see Black Matrix anywhere.. amazing game!

  14. Hunter says:

    Don’t forget Cool Boarders Burrrn! It’s Amazing!

  15. Colicub says:

    Cosmic Smash never made it to PAL.

  16. Al says:

    Cosmic smash was definately never released in europe

  17. gameofyou says:

    Your list is missing a really excellent game: Gundam Federation VS Zeon DX. This is an awesome arcade/action game , made by Capcom, and only released in Japan.