The Best Dreamcast Games For Today: The Top Titles That Still Matter

The Best Dreamcast Games

It’s pretty easy to find a list of “The Top 10 Dreamcast Games” or some similar ranking, but most of them were written back when the console was still on the retail scene and almost all of them only compare the games against other Dreamcast games.

This is all fine if the Dreamcast is the only console you own and ever plan to own. However, I know for a fact that most Dreamcast owners now are hardcore retro fans that happen to own a few different consoles — both old and new. There may also be a few gamers out there wondering if they should bother adding a Dreamcast to their collection. Because of this, I thought it would be a good idea to develop a list of games that are still relevant in today’s gaming market because of their unique gameplay that has not been improved upon on other consoles.

I hope to keep this list up to date as the years go by so that it is still a reliable resource for those getting into classic gaming. I also intend to provide similar guides for other older consoles as well. And finally, if you have a game for the Dreamcast that you still think holds up, please post in the comments section (or join in on our forum discussion) along with your reasoning and I will consider adding it to the list.

 Jet Grind Radio
I have a hard time creating a list of recommended Dreamcast games without mentioning Jet Grind Radio, so I might as well get it out of the way. Why do I love it so much? There are numerous reasons to pour out affection for this unique title. First of all, it is not your typical action/platformer game, so it actually gives you a reason to play it when there are so many impressively modern action games on the newer consoles. The gameplay is built around a number of interesting play mechanics and situations that will break you away from the norm.

Not only is the gameplay in Jet Grind Radio compelling and unique, but the audio and visual qualities stand up extremely well to today’s standards. First of all, the graphical style hits you like a brick in the face (in a good way) with its well-executed cel-shaded models and landscapes. Jet Grind Radio was one of the pioneering games in the cel-shading movement before mainstream games like Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker made it popular for cartoon/anime-style games.

The Jet Grind Radio soundtrack is also one of the most popular gaming lineups of all time featuring an array of eclectic songs combining the musical genres of J-pop, Trip-hop, Hip-hop and Electronica. This is one game that is not done justice on TV speakers — you should definitely try to hook up some decent speakers in order to experience it at its best.

Between the slick graphics, upbeat and quirky audio, and intense gameplay, Jet Grind Radio is a gaming experience that completely envelopes you when given the chance. It is a gaming experience that cannot be missed and has not adequately been reproduced on any other system.
Full Review of Jet Grind Radio
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 Ikaruga
By the end of the 20th century, the 2D shooter genre was all but dead (Some may argue that it still is). Before Treasure’s masterpiece, Ikrauga, hit the scene only the most hardcore of retro gamers bothered to play shmups. However, Ikaruga’s unique color-based gimmick (similar to that found in Treasure’s platformer, Silhouette Mirage) along with its notorious difficulty (but ability to be memorized) renewed interest in a forgotten genre and helped kick-start the Dreamcast’s extensive shooter library.

Ikaruga also had some powerful heritage behind it as it is a pseudo-sequel to Treasure’s Radiant Silvergun, this mind-bending shmup is one of the holy grails of the Sega Saturn library. The challenges in Ikaruga are nearly endless, and Treasure did an unbelievable job of presenting the player with all sorts of interesting and unique situations. While every gamer will not be up for this gaming wonder, it’s definitely worth looking into if you want a challenge.

Ikaruga was only released in Japan for the Dreamcast, so picking up an original copy may be a little pricey. It is worth noting, however, that Ikaruga was later released in other regions on the Gamecube and is a bit more affordable. However, the Dreamcast version is compatible with the Dreamcast VGA adapter so you can get optimal video quality and the ability to hook it up to one of those sweet rotating LCDs for vertical mode.
Full Review of Ikaruga
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 Power Stone
The Dreamcast has a lot of fighting games at its disposal, but none is quite like Power Stone. It unique style of gameplay that features that well-executed party fighting of Super Smash Bros franchise from Nintendo and the free moving fighting of the cult favorite Poy Poy on the Sony Playstation.

In PowerStone characters can move around in a fully 3D environment could not only use traditional attacks on their opponents, but also use items in the play field (furniture, poles, etc) to do extra damage. What makes Power Stone really stand out however, is the strategic element found within the game’s Power Stone gimmick. If a certain player gets 3 Power Stones they are temporarily overtaken by a unique super-human power. So players will not only want to beat the crap out of their opponents, but also try to keep them from getting Power Stones.

Because of all this frantic action, Power Stone is an awesome game for a one-on-one match. If you need a full party game with support for up to four players, check out Power Stone 2. Power Stone 2’s designers greatly expanded upon the battle arenas of the original Power Stone, but It’s almost too much chaos to handle. Nevertheless, both installments of the Power Stone franchise are essential for any serious Dreamcast owner.
Full Review of PowerStone
Full Review of PowerStone 2
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 Rez
Many Sega fans were disappointed that there was not a sequel to the popular Panzer Dragoon series on the Dreamcast. However, late into the Dreamcast’s lifespan, SEGA’s United Game Artists division, (which contained several former members the team behind the Panzer Dragoon series, Team Andromeda) released a long awaited on-rails shooter that focused on what is known as “synesthesia,” the association of different senses and stimuli with each other (which is commonly experienced by users of certain hallucinogens).

Rez lets you glide over psychedelic, abstract, futuristic landscapes to the hypnotic beats of electronic music. The game is tightly integrated with sight and sound with a thumping vibration in the Dreamcast rumble pack that keeps time with the music, and literally every onscreen action synchronizes with the beat. As the player progresses further into a level, the music becomes more layered and intense, as do the visuals. Needless to say, it is a game you absolutely must experience — especially if you have a good AV setup.

Although the original Dreamcast version now reaches inflated prices on eBay, the differences between it and the later PlayStation 2 version are very slight. The Dreamcast version offers cleaner visuals free from the “jaggies” that are present in the PlayStation 2 version, as well as the ability to experience it on the increased video quality of the VGA adapter. The Dreamcast also benefits from a twice as powerful audio card as the PS2 — a significant difference considering Rez draws heavily from the audio experience. The only advantage the PS2 version has is an increased frame rate (30 to 60fps – not extremely noticeable to the human eye), but even it has times of slowdown.
Full Review of Rez
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 Samba De Amigo
Let’s face it, Dance Dance Revolution has gotten a little long in the tooth. Wouldn’t it be great to have a rhythm party game that not everybody has played, but will still rock the house? If so, you really need to take a look at Samba De Amigo. This Latin-flavored title involves waving/shaking maracas in certain directions to match the upbeat music.

While Samba may not provide you with quite as much of a physical workout as DDR, it will be less intimidating for new players, but still offer a challenge in higher levels. And while Dance Dance Revolution is only entertaining to watch from the sidelines if the player is highly skilled, Samba De Amigo is a riot to watch no matter the experience level. There is just something about watching people shake their maracas like there’s no tomorrow.

Hampered by the high price of Sega’s first party maracas, Samba didn’t sell very well initially. Now, cheaper third-party maracas can be found online, but I find the game to be highly enjoyable even with traditional controllers. Either way, if you have a Dreamcast, Samba De Amigo is an essential party game.
Full Review of Samba De Amigo
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 Cosmic Smash
This hidden gem can be best described as a hybrid of Virtua Tennis, Breakout, and Rez. In Cosmic Smash, you control a racket-wielding character (the Virtua Tennis element) rendered in an impressive semi-transparent pshycadelic technique (the Rex aspect) that must break blocks at the far end of the room you’re in before time runs out, using the racket to blast a red ball toward the blocks (the Breakout part).

To add to the challenge of the game, the blocks move and there are also unbreakable blocks you must avoid (or use to your advantage). You can send your ball careening off the floor, ceiling, or walls (similar to playing racquetball/squash), using the analog stick to direct your shots much like Virtua Tennis (it controls almost identically). There is a jump button, and a normal smash button, as well as a trick smash button. These trick smashes are more powerful than the regular shot, but eat up your time faster. When using a trick smash along with the jump button, you can even jump off the walls and do somersaults, resulting in some fantastic visuals.

Cosmic Smash is a welcome throwback to old-school gaming, updated with 3D graphics and delightful visual details you might not notice at first. The atmosphere is surreal, almost relaxing, and the moody techno-ish soundtrack fits it perfectly. It’s sparse on modes and extras, but the gameplay is so addicting and fun it doesn’t matter. Passing the controller amongst friends is highly enjoyable.
Full Review of Cosmic Smash
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 Virtua Tennis & Tennis 2K2
Having the essential quality of being easy to play and difficulty to master, Virtua Tennis was one of the sleeper hits on the Dreamcast. It is often overlooked as a killer party game — I have had many parties with both guys and girls of all gaming levels having a blast on a 4-player doubles tournament.

While other enjoyable tennis titles have come long since (Top Spin and Mario Power Tennis), Virtua Tennis still holds up as being possibly the best tennis game ever. The “sequel”, Tennis 2K2 is pretty much the same as Virtua Tennis except that the graphics are a bit more polished and it adds to the player lineup with a female roster (including the Williams sisters).

Not only is Virtua Tennis a great multiplayer game, but it also features an entertaining Soul Calibur-style single player game, where the player must progress through the ranks to become the world’s top player. Even if you don’t like tennis too much, this is still an essential game, and an example of multiplayer Dreamcast gaming at its best.

The beautiful PS3 version is on its way, but for now, is it really work THAT much money for slicker graphics? For now, I’ll keep recommending the original.
Full Review of Virtua Tennis
Full Review of Tennis 2K2
Find The Sega Tennis Series: (eBay / Amazon)

 Seaman
The moment you pick up Seaman (or even hear the title), you know something weird is in store. It could be the obscure packaging or the fact that a microphone is included that tips you off, but once you see that this “game” revolves around taking care of a talking fish-like creature with the face of a man, you can’t help but wonder what you might be getting yourself into.

Seaman is possibly the best “pet simulator” the video game world has seen so far. Sure, Nintendogs has its charm on the Nintendo DS, but Seaman offers a surreal experience and a bit more depth. Once you pick up the bundled microphone and begin conversing with Seaman through your Dreamcast, you know you’re in for a treat.

Seaman is an experience no Dreamcast owner should miss out on. Between Seaman’s rambling about the state of the world and religion to asking and remembering personal information gathered about you, Seaman is a remarkably display of game design and technology. Seaman lets us all experiment a bit with life and learn more about ourselves, resulting in a surprisingly satisfying experience.

Just a heads-up, there has been an announcement of a Seaman sequel coming out for the PS2. Will Sega out-do themselves? We’ll just have to wait and see.
Full Review of Seaman
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Bangai-O
 While most games developed by Treasure are on most people’s lists of favorite games, there will be many people who won’t like Bangai-O. While the game is a perfect example of vintage Treasure, it has a combination of initially-awkward controls, primitive gameplay, and Treasure-ish oddity pushed to the max. However, once you overcome these factors, you will realize that it compels you to have loads of fun blowing things up.

In Bangai-O, you control a small robot who has free roam of the 2D scrolling levels and is motivated to killing as many enemies with a single shot as possible. In fact, the power of your super weapon is dependent on how much enemy fire is on the screen. The more enemy bullets on the screen, the closer they are to you, and the faster they are moving, the more powerful your super weapon! If you enjoy chaotic action and blissful explosions, Bangai-O may be your shooter fix.

Bangai-O also sports 44 levels of shoot ‘em up mayhem, and each level is different from the next. Fundamentally every section of a stage can be classified as either wide or narrow. This increases the importance of knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your weapons. (The missiles are the weapon of choice in the spacious sections of each stage and energy rays are extremely powerful in the nooks and crannies of the levels).

Bangai-O is not recommended for casual gamers, but those looking for an old-school challenge will most likely fall deeply in love with this cult-classic.
Full Review of Bangai-O
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 Crazy Taxi
This arcade port was one of the main reasons I initially jumped on the Dreamcast. While it has been cloned a few times since its release, Crazy Taxi was a thrill that could not be found anywhere else. The music from The Offspring got a little tiresome after a while, but actually got you in the Crazy mood.

Crazy Taxi gives you control of a cabby racing around two San Francisco-esque cities, picking up customers and dropping them at their required destinations by any means necessary. It’s a race against the clock, resulting in no-holds-barred racing around the two cities, flying off hills and screeching around bends. Although some may argue that the game lacks some depth, they forget that this is a pure arcade game that compels you to beat your best scores.

The Dreamcast version also featured the “Crazy Box”, a set of minigames that features challenges such as stopping by hitting a pole, bowling using the cab as a ball, and popping giant balloons in a field. Not only are these challenges a fun change of pace, but it also helps you polish the skills necessary to improve your scores on the main game.

There are ports of Crazy Taxi on newer consoles, but they aren’t improved in any way. The Dreamcast is still the prime console to get your Crazy fix and is incredibly affordable.
Full Review of Crazy Taxi
Full Review of Crazy Taxi 2
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 Soul Calibur
Any fighting fan knows that the Soul Calibur series is one of the best franchises in the genre. It has traditionally been relatively deep for a 3D fighter and sports a wide variety of characters. However, with both Soul Calibur 2 and 3, your average game may wonder why they should bother with this 7-year-old game. You would think that the newer installments running on much more powerful hardware would be far superior, but that isn’t necessarily the case.

Sure, the newer installments have a few more character customization options and some enhanced game modes, but the original Soul Calibur holds up incredibly well in terms of gameplay depth and graphical quality. Soul Calibur on the Dreamcast is absolutely gorgeous and is even more breath-taking when combined with a VGA adapter and a high-definition TV or computer monitor. There is also some debate regarding the animation quality in the series. Some still contend that the original Soul Calibur actually has more natural character animations in comparison to somewhat choppy moves in the newer installments.

As with the later sequels, the original Soul Calibur is filled to the brim with great fighting gameplay. Each of the game’s warriors is armed with a different deadly weapon and an assortment of special moves all tailored to that specific weapon. At first, the huge number of possible moves and combinations available for use can be a bit daunting, but it keeps you wanting to learn more. There are also a number of different play modes to keep you involved for quite a while.
Full Review of Soul Calibur
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F355 Challenge
Sega has always been one of the kings of the arcade and has routinely had a handful of excellent racers in its arcade portfolio. The main arcade racers you may remember are Outrun, Daytona USA, Hang-On, and Sega Rally Championship. However, there is one racer that never received much mainstream exposure, but still holds up as a high-quality racer.

Instead of boasting a large car lineup like Gran Turismo or Sega GT, Sega’s F355 Challenge focuses on just one model of vehicle and tweaking it to perfection. Much like the Gran Turismo series, Sega paid great attention to detail to create an accurate representation of one of Ferrari’s most treasured cars. (The sound alone is enough to get any car enthusiast worked up)

Unlike Gran Turismo and Sega GT, F355 Challenge keeps the complexity of the game down (similar to most arcade racers) while maintaining an excellent driving experience.
Full Review of F355 Challenge
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Street Fighter 3:Third Strike
Much like shooters, the 2D fighter genre is still heavily targeted towards hardcore old-school gamers. But if you would like a fighter that is incredibly deep for even th e not-so-hardcore, you definitely need to take a look at Street Fighter 3: Third Strike.

The Street Fighter franchise took a dive in the mainstream scene after Capcom tried to bring it into the 3D world and kept recycling the Street Fighter Alpha over again. While most gamers loved Street Fighter 2, they lost interest in the later installments and moved onto 3D fighters like Virtua Fighter and Tekken.

With Street Fighter 3, however, Capcom took the advantages that 2D games had (precise movements, quick reflexes, and strategy) and pushed them to the max. The result is a fighter that has tons of depth and is a hardcore fighting fan’s dream.In addition to other great moves like Hyper Arts and Combos, Street Fighter 3 introduced the Parry system, which when used successfully, will interrupt the opponent’s attack and open him/her up to your best efforts. Each of these fighting elements contributes to the heavy strategy element found in the game. Third Strike also included a grading system that rated your fighting skills based on your style and strategy. You’ll feel that it’s not just the win that counts, but also how you did it.

As if the wicked gameplay isn’t enough for you, Street Fighter 3: Third Strike also has some of the best 2D sprite animation that you will ever see. The sprites are so much bigger and detailed that Capcom’s previous games and the characters featured many more frames of animation than before.
Review of Street Fighter 3: Third Strike
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 Fatal Fury – Mark of the Wolves
Possibly the best SNK fighter ever, Fatal Fury: Mark of the Wolves takes place well after the events of the previous games in the series. Because of this and the modernized fighting system, Mark of the Wolves is is basically SNK’s counterpart to Street Fighter 3: Third Strike.

Mark of the Wolves is set 10 years after the memorable Real Bout Special. And much like in Street Fighter 3, all the older fighters have now gone and have been replaced by new ones. However, while Capcom throws in a lot of weird, unknown characters into SF3 at the expense of the plot, SNK’s new characters are related in a way to someone from the past cast and the few that aren’t are involved with the original Fatal Fury plot in some intricate way.

These new characters give SNK the opportunity to explore their creativity in bring fresh characters with a new style in terms of both fighting and aesthetics. The new additions to the gameplay engine in MOTW include the T.O.P. (Tactical Offensive Position) system for offense and the “Just Defended”, system (again similar to Third Strike’s parry system) on defense.

Much like Third Strike, Mark of the Wolves delivers a top-notch experience for fighting fans that were bored with the stagnation of the 2D fighter market. However, you need to keep in mind, these games aren’t for button-mashers — you need to take your time and learn the mechanics of the game well to truly enjoy it.
Review of Fatal Fury: Mark of the Wolves
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Re-Volt
This racer is a lower-budget gem that got lost in a confusing transition between 32-bit and “next-gen”. As opposed to driving full-size cars (that tend to be a bit more complex), Re-Volt puts players in the driver seat of small remote-controlled cars. You can think of it as a cross between the NES classics Super RC Pro-AM and Micro Machines, but in 3D.

Like the classic Micro Machines games, Re-Volt has a number of fun courses that are set in environments from everyday life and use everyday objects, big and small, as obstacles. These fun environments (like a neighborhood playground or a grocery store) not only served as entertaining tracks for traditional races, but also served as great battlegrounds for the multiplayer mode known as Battle Tag. Battle Tag is a mix of Hide & Seek, Tag, and Hot Potato that is incredibly addicting and can be great for parties.

While Revolt originally showed up on the N64 the Dreamcast version is still your best choice since Sega’s little white box has the power to keep a 4-player split screen race running silky smooth. It can still be found dirt cheap and is an essential party game for the casual gaming crowd.
Full Review of Re-Volt
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Skies of Arcadia
 Something about Air Pirates gives the RPG genre a breath of fresh air. With an upbeat quest and some innovative and fun ideas, Skies of Arcadia lets you venture off to distant islands to uncover a number of secrets.

Unlike other RPGs which wait until the mid-point to give you an airship, Skies of Arcadia does it right from the bat by bequeathing Vyse and crew with a ship of their own to sail the turn-based combat infested skies. The world is comprised of floating islands, and you use your air ship to travel among them while playing Robin Hood with other pirates.

The story may be similar to traditional motifs such as those in Lunar: The Silver Star, but it still feels new in this age of anti-heroes and whiny main characters. The ship warfare provides for a great alternative to standard RPG character combat, and the characters are a joy to watch with their many facial expressions and animation.

While the battle system isn’t completely innovative, it is still quite modern and provides solid gameplay. The excellent characters, story, and environments complete the package, resulting in what many consider the best RPG on the Dreamcast and possibly one the the best of the console generation. A Gamecube version of Skies of Arcadia was also released with a few tweaks, but it does not negate the fact that it is an essential game in a Dreamcast library.
Full Review of Skies of Arcadia
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Grandia 2
 The Dreamcast didn’t exactly have a big lineup of RPGs in its library, but Grandia 2 was one of the few that shows that quality is more important than quantity. It also takes a different approach to making a good RPG game when compared to the majority of the PS2’s RPGs (aka the Final Fantasy series). Grandia 2 focuses more on gameplay via an innovative battle system instead of devoting time to a in-depth story and over-the-top visuals.

Grandia II simply possesses the best turn-based battle system ever to grace an RPG. The ingenious system utilizes more than just the attack options. It takes into account everything about your character. It depends upon how fast your character can act, run, and attack. Every attack must be physically completed, so once an enemy’s time bar is filled up and he chooses an attack, he has to physically walk up to your character and bash them in the face. This can lead to a number of interesting scenarios.

In the same lure of Final Fantasy VII and VIII, the magic system allows your characters to be completely customizable and can allow you to pretty much use any character however you want to. You can let your deadliest fighter at the same time be your most powerful magic user. Or, you can let your powerhouse warrior be your healer. The gameplay is, however, riddled with a few flaws. It is somewhat unfortunate that if you take the time to put an extra 10 minutes into leveling up at each dungeon, the game will be ridiculously easy. And by ridiculously easy, I mean that you will go through the entire game without using items.

Back to the story element… yes, Grandia 2’s story does need some work. Game Arts can’t seem to decide what kind of game they were making when they designed the story. Grandia II’s story seems torn between trying to be one of these “deep” epics like Xenogears or Final Fantasy VII by throwing in all of this questioning of God and power, while at the same time acting very light-hearted like Lunar. This flaw in the story is the main issue keeping it from surpassing Skies of Arcadia as the Dreamcast’s best RPG (which is always a heated discussion).
Full Review of Grandia II
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Shenmue
 As one of the most beautiful and revolutionary titles for the Dreamcast, Shenmue combined elements from Adventure, RPG, Simulator, and Fighting games into an epic journey that brought a fictional community to life and compelled you to find the killer of Ryo’s father.

It’s no wonder that Yu Suzuki’s pet project became an amazing game after years of development and a hefty $20 million budget. Shenmue brings games one step closer to reality via its time scale and attention to detail. All non-playing characters actually have their own lives to lead, and enemy encounters are presented realistically. You can also interact with nearly every object and learn and master several different martial arts.

The atmosphere in the city of Shenmue is simply amazing — each building, sidewalk, table, chair, crate, and every other environmental nuance has been rendered and calculated with an insane amount of detail and elements such as the color and intensity of the lighting is carefully reproduced for each environment.

I must give a fair warning, however, Shenmue is not for everyone. It’s not especially appealing for people like me who have a relatively short attention span. Shenmue requires patience (the first disc or two spends most of its time setting up the story as opposed to letting Ryo bash some skulls. ) and a good amount of puzzle-solving in order to get into the game. Individual gamers will either love or hate Shenmue — and will love it or hate it for the same reasons.
Full Review of Shenmue
Full Review of Shenmue II
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 Space Channel 5
While some other rhythm games like PaRappa The Rapper attracted more attention, Space Channel 5 topped the charts with Dreamcast owners. Both the graphics and the music had a phenomenal retro-futurist (reminds me of a hip Jetson’s atmosphere) feel to them and kept Space Channel 5 from becoming just “another” simon-says-type game.

Space Channel 5 has a handful of simple game elements that make it unique and the game does a good job of starting out easy and gradually getting more difficult. While SC5 isn’t especially deep or long, the music will keep you coming back From start to finish, Space Channel 5 rocks the house.

Even when the moves become so complicated you get angry and want to hurl your controller across the room, the quality of the music helps bring you back. A little techno here, a little rock there — the music has a great style that’ll have you tapping your feet.

Space Channel 5 is another one of the essential games that are dirt cheap, so there is no reason not to pick this gem up.
Full Review of Space Channel 5
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 Chu Chu Rocket!
This little gem from Sega was extremely popular and recognized by most gamers who had actually played it and virtually unknown otherwise. Chu Chu Rocket is a unique puzzle game that not only served as a good brain-teaser in single-player mode, but also has solid multi-player features.

Chu Chu Rocket takes a cue from Lemmings, in that you must guide hapless creatures to safety. The goal in Chu Chu Rocket is to guide mice to the safety of rockets, past the dangerous cats and bottomless pits. The blazing competition and deep strategy easily make up for Chu Chu Rocket’s simple (but pleasant) graphics. The only downside is that the brain-numbing multiplayer mode can be hard to describe to newbie friends.

The single player mode is also a great deal of fun that will keep your brain in tip-top shape. The game presents you with a variety of missions in which you must solve the single screen puzzles by guiding your mice to the rockets via the use of arrows. You are only given a specific amount of arrows, and with later levels it can be very challenging working out exactly where the arrows must go to guide your mice to safety. Much like more modern games like Super Monkey Ball, it makes you think creatively to reach your goal. A true classic.
Full Review of Chu Chu Rocket
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Honorable Mentions:

  • Bomberman Online – not as good as the 2D version of Bombmerman on the Saturn, but it has a number of interesting mulitplayer modes (eBay / Amazon)
  • Daytona USA 2001 – the best console version of Sega’s arcade racing classic, but some gamers might find a bit too unrealistic (eBay / Amazon)
  • Ecco The Dolphin – a beautiful ocean simulator that happens to have a puzzling adventure game included. (eBay / Amazon)
  • Marvel vs Capcom 2 – the 2D fighter with the monster-sized roster and the button-masher’s best friend. (eBay / Amazon)
  • Ooga Booga – another unique multiplayer game from the good folks at Sega (eBay / Amazon)
  • Rayman 2 – an excellent platformer, but wasn’t quite as good as the PS2 version (eBay / Amazon)
  • Ready 2 Rumble: Round 2 – a multi-platform boxing game that is always food for a few laughs. (eBay / Amazon)
  • Resident Evil: Code Veronica – the first Resident Evil game that wasn’t a PSOne port, but instead shows off the Dreamcast hardware a bit. (eBay / Amazon)
  • Sega Rally Championship 2 – an updated version of another Sega arcade racer. (eBay / Amazon)
  • Super Street Fighter 2X – possibly the best console version of the game that started the fighting revolution. (eBay)
  • Typing of the Dead – killing off zombies by typing random phrases on the Dreamcast keyboard. What more could you ask for? (eBay / Amazon)
  • Vampire Chronicles – Capcom mixes elements of all three Darkstalkers games into one customizable fighting package. (eBay)
  • Virtual On:OT – a follow-up to the Saturn classic featuring fast-paced, head-to-head mech combat. (eBay / Amazon)
  • Under Defeat – the final 2D shooter release in the long line of Dreamcast shmups. 2D eye-candy abounds in addition to sweet helicopter shooting action (eBay)
  • Toy Commander – a loveable action game that cross the classic Micro Machines games with a Toy Story atmosphere (eBay / Amazon)
  • Sonic Adventure 2 – this is still pretty much the best 3D installment of Sonic the Hedgehog so far.  I don’t think it is as good as the original Sonics, but it’s a solid game (eBay / Amazon)

Related Posts:
Games That Defined The Sega Dreamcast
The Best Graphics On The Sega Dreamcast
Make The Most Out Of Your Sega Dreamcast
Sega Dreamcast 2D Fighters Library
Dreamcast 2D Shooters Library
PDF: The Official Dreamcast Magazine Issue #1

91 Comments

  1. MattG says:

    Sonic Shuffle!

    Don’t worry, I’m just kidding.

  2. Rodrigo says:

    Propeller Arena is the coolest one. “But wasn’t it cancelled”, you may ask. Yes, but it was leaked. And it is awesome. It’s so cool that I made a fansite, check it out:

    http://propellerarena.gametribute.com/

  3. Anonymous says:

    FIRE PROWRESTLING ‘D’ FOREVER

    fireproclub.com

  4. Anonymous says:

    WHAT ABOUT RIVAL SCHOOLS PROJECT JUSTICE!!!!!?????? THAT GAME PWNED ALL THE FIGHTERS AT THE TIME!!….I love captial letters…

  5. Anonymous says:

    I cannot believe you left Phantasy Star Online out of the list! Someone obviously had a brain fart. PSO was, and still is, one of the greatest freaking online multiplayer experiences EVER!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I agree that the omission of Phantasy Star Online is unforgivable and uncomprehensible.
    The very first console online action-RPG, still unrivaled.

    Another omission is Guilty Gear X, which obliterates any fighting game made by Capcom.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Great list, but I can’t believe that you have Power Stone and not its amazing sequel, which trumps it in all aspects, be it visuals, gameplay, or lasting enjoyment.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Some games, like Chu Chu Rocket and Samba de Amigo, definitely belong on that list. (although I hope those two will get ported to the DS and Wii respectively, in which case they might not belong there any more) However, it seems like this list may be a bit too broad right now. You could make this list lean toward the best games that are still only available on Dreamcast and haven’t gotten improved sequels on other systems, or if they have ports the DC version is substantially better or easier to buy. (I think the PC version of Typing of the Dead is rare) If that were the case, I’d include good games that aren’t essential for everyone like Napple Tale, Cool Cool Toon, Border Down, and Under Defeat. A different direction would be to include games that are available on other systems, but because the Dreamcast version is the original or because the Dreamcast version isn’t worse than the ports, (as is usually the case) you might as well get the DC version. In that case, games like Crazy Taxi, Eternal Arcadia, Space Channel 5, and all of those 2D Capcom fighters belong on the list.

    I prefer the former of those two directions, although I find both interesting. Unfortunately, I think the current list isn’t as good as it could be because it tries to do both.

    And a note to the commentors who suggested Phantasy Star Online: Those games belong on pretty much any list of notable Dreamcast games except this one. Since other MMORPGs including Phantasy Star Universe have come out since 2001, the official servers have been shut down, and the Gamecube port has offline multiplayer, I would say the amount PSO “still matters” has dropped more than almost all other games on the Dreamcast.

  9. Matt says:

    So where can I purchase one of these “Dreamcasts” you speak of? In all seriousness, is eBay the only place to get one?

  10. Noel says:

    Four player boar polo in Ooga Booga is one of the best gameplay experiences ever.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Eh..I’ll give you PSO, but Guilty Gear? That fighter is absolute trash.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Great list.
    I am very happy to see F355 challenge on the list. I’m a huge Forza fan, but when I want a more realistic racer I always go back to F355(you must use manual gears).

    There are a couple on the list I’ve never tried. I’ll be sure to check them out. Since I agree with everything else on this list.

    “Great list, but I can’t believe that you have Power Stone and not its amazing sequel, which trumps it in all aspects, be it visuals, gameplay, or lasting enjoyment.”

    Powerstone 2 was great, but I prefer the original for sure.

  13. edis says:

    Sonic Adventure does belong there. Overall, refreshing list and excellent console with superior portfolio.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Great list! But I think the xbox version of crazy taxi is superior to the dreamcast versions.

  15. Anonymous says:

    No mention of the arcade classic Hydro Thunder?

    The Dreamcast version was fabulous, and took literally years before it was finally re-released on newer consoles in the Midway Treasures 3 title.

  16. henzenmann says:

    I would not call Ikaruga pricey, at least when it comes to SHMUP-imports :)

    On eBay, a new+sealed copy Ikaruga usually costs the same as a used copy of Mars Matrix (45-50€). I think Border Down takes the cake in that category (up to 80€).

  17. neobanzia says:

    What about Cool Cool Toon !?

    The predecessor to current games like say Elite Beat Agents ?

    The list is fantastic , lots of fond memories.

    *Dusts off Dreamcast*

    I think I might play though Rez..one..more..time…

  18. Brianj says:

    Where THE HECK is Phatasy Star Online? Remove Grandia II and put up PSO. Grandia II was ok, but not great.

  19. Anonymous says:

    NIGHTS?!?!?

  20. Sega_Lives_On says:

    I agree that Phantasy Star Online should definitely be in there, but what about Sonic Adventure 2? I know the first one was pretty crappy, but the 2nd was a nice step forward.

    Overall a nice compilation of Dreamcast games…too bad the system went under :(

  21. Anonymous says:

    Super Magnetic Neo:

    3D sidescroller with magnets. You have a magnet in your head, and it can interract with the level depending on the polarity of the magnet, which you could flip.

    Challenging to get right. Imagine trying to cross a level by slipping to opposite polarity to grab onto a swinging chain, then quickly go to the same polarity to bounce of a small platform (that you can’t stand on) then switch to the other polarity to grab another chain. It really caused you to THINK, and it was difficult. Very cool sense of style.

  22. racketboy says:

    Thanks for all your comments.
    I’ll try to address many of them…

    NiGHTS: It’s a Sega Saturn game, Dreamcast

    Phantasy Star Online: great game and is included on my “Games That Defined The Dreamcast” article (see links above) But now that the servers are off, it is not as useful today (which is what this article is about)

    Sonic Adventure: its been ported and has had numerous sequels on newer platforms — again, what I was trying to avoid with this article for the most part.

    Other games mentioned: I love the suggestions — some I will be adding to the list — others you will probabaly find on the “Dreamcast Hidden Gems” feature that is in development.

    Thanks again!

  23. Anonymous says:

    OMG! No Dead or Alive 2? That has to be one of the best DC games. >_>

    …Other than that I agree with the choices, except Street Fighter (just because every system has some Street Fighter vs. SNK vs. Capcom game, and they all are the same).

  24. NereusRen says:

    Excellent list. Brings back many memories… I finally beat Bangai-O this summer after hooking up my DC again. The final boss is HARD, as befitting its old-school style. That game has my vote as the best inclusion of the entire list.

    On PSO: This is a list for people who are interested in actually going back and playing these games. Since PSO can’t be played, well, ONLINE anymore, it definitely doesn’t belong on this particular list.

    On PowerStone: I was going to complain about lack of 2 as well, but it seems that entry in the list represents both games in the series.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so so much for putting Chu Chu Rocket in there, it’s a fantastic game, one of my favourites ever. Whenever the mention of Dreamcast comes up I always mention this game, usually to the response of a load of blank faces. Wish I could find a new version for my PC!!!

  26. Anonymous says:

    ‘Course no mention of homebrew and the fact that DC games are still being produced :) (both licensed and homebrew)

  27. Anonymous says:

    PSO was, and still is one of my favorite games, me and my friend actually started to play it the past weekend and remade our characters, my memory card got wiped and our lvl 130 char’s were deleted, so yeah, definately a greatest dreamcast title.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Test Drive LeMans was my favorite racer for the Dreamcast, and I still play it today. I feel that many of the comments you made about F355 could be applied to LeMans quite easily, and I feel as though it’s even better in many aspects (though not as customizable).

    An oversight, IMO.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Phantasy Star Online was the only game in the past decade to consume as many of my hours as the old Ultima games did back in the day… but…

    It doesn’t deserve to be on a “still matters” list because the online component is kaput on the Dreamcast. In fact, I’d argue, it died the day they started charging a fee for it.

  30. Anonymous says:

    My little Dreamcast gem has always been Super Magnetic Neo. Fun game, cute theme, and tough puzzles.

    While I own most of the games on the list. The only games I still get my Dreamcast out for are Neo and Soul Calibur.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Loved reading this.

    One question though:
    How did you get your VGA box to play nice with Rez?

    I’ve got a couple of different DC VGA adapters, and have never been able to get Rez to work through VGA.

    I’ve tried a few different Utopia discs, the ‘swap’ trick, some Import Game Player disc, and have never been able to run Rez on my PC monitor.

  32. Zidek says:

    PSO is still playable online, just not on the offical servers, unless you are in England, then it is.

    Crazy Taxi 3 had IMO some better music than the first two, but was terrible compaired to the Dreamcast versions.

  33. Anonymous says:

    I am stunned that MvC2 was an honorable mention. That was the greatest fighting game for that system and only that system. The port over to the Xbox was horrendous. It was a 9.3 rating for dreamcast and a 3.9 for Xbox. You gotta show the game a little more respect than that.

  34. Anonymous says:

    I would like to help with your VGA Rez problem, but my Rez is PAL and so is my DC .. Hence it just works in VGA for me.

    On the other hand, I could never get F355 to run in VGA *cries*.

  35. Anonymous says:

    I’m shocked Project Justice (aka Rival Schools 2) was not included. Wow..

  36. kevinski says:

    I was surprised when somebody offered to purchase my PC version of The Typing of the Dead a long time ago. I had no idea that it was so rare. The Dreamcast version is better, in my opinion, as the PC version has some rather annoying graphical issues. Also, the audio in the PC version isn’t balanced properly, so some of the dialogue is difficult to hear.

  37. i kind of expected MSR to be in this list, or at least mentioned in the list where DAYTONA USA 2001 is. but no. why ? this game looked amazing, played almost as amazing as it looked, and (as far as i know) is the only game that has citty’s mapped like the orginal.

    i spended a lot of time with the game, and even now sometimes i still put it in to think back at those days when they first anounced the game to be a first release game, but it kept on pushed back untill they got the game right. altough i now love PGR 3 the most, still MSR was a trend setter, and way ahead of its time.

  38. racketboy says:

    While MSR is great — it’s sequel-of-sorts Project Gothem Racing (and its sequels) far outdoes it.

    It is one of the best Dreamcast racers for the Dreamcast, but when you compare it to more modern games (which is the point of this particular list), it doesn’t quite hold up.

  39. will bamber says:

    shenmue was the best game ever on dreamcast and still is on the xbox with the re-release of shenmue 2 but wen will yu-suzuki ever get the rest of the saga finished is my question :(

  40. RaMPz says:

    What about Project Justice!!! Thats probably the best fighting game I’ve ever owned(besides 3rd strike)

  41. Anonymous says:

    Where is Project Justice? The fact it was not included on your list is disheartning.

  42. Anonymous says:

    Street Fighter Alpha 3 is worth mention on this list. They have a mode where you and a friend can team up and go through all 34 characters in a survival one round fights where you get decreasing amounts of power back in between rounds. Me and my buddies have created a “list” for pairs of characters that manage to win all 34 rounds. It is very hard to clear when you crank up the game difficulty to full. Also makes for some great drinking games on the weekend! Try one drink in between rounds for some real fun

  43. gulzar says:

    hi.. where can i get the collection of sega dream cast game disc. as it is rarely available in in india.. i really want all the games cd listed on the above collectoin.. please reply fast

  44. ken says:

    ei…i am also a collector of dc games…if u felt that ur cd’s were some piece of crap kindly pm me coz it is very precious to me.. I am disapponited that PSO were not in d list….i think it is one of the best game ever created in dc…

  45. mac says:

    uhmm…cn i ask if grndia is not available in dc?(not tlking bout grandia 2) uhmm…

  46. Juju says:

    VERY GOOD list, trying to understand the dreamcast replay value compared to modern consoles is something very challenging and i loved it. thanks

  47. David says:

    thanks for the list. i’ll be getting a dreamcast again soon so this will help

  48. ssv says:

    Yeahhh!!!!…. I had almost played all the games of dreamcast… I have new latest consoles … but theres only one game that impresses me most by doing it in most detailed and most patience… THE SHENMUE series… Most games i played now are boring when comes to graphics and loops… I think they are low budget games… I bow to the makers of Shenmue…

  49. Phil Newton says:

    PSO can still be played online with a little effort using the free SCHTHACK servers (http://www.schtserv.com/). I’m not sure how popular the DC server is, but the PC one always had plenty of people to play with.

    Great list btw. There are some truly classic games for the Dreamcast, and the fanbase still seems to be strong.

  50. ray says:

    dude.. psychic force 2012 :P

  51. zerox says:

    where is rush 2049???, spawn in the demons hand??? and gauntlet leyends??? you can spen hours of yours life playing this games in the multiplayer mode.

    But, still good list =P

  52. firefly2000 says:

    One of the most amazing games I have ever played on the Dreamcast is RED DOG , this has a Metroid Prime feel to it , sweet graphics and great gameplay , just one of those games that people always pass up and it never ends up on anyones fav list ??

  53. Melo says:

    I really like Skies of Arcadia on the Dreamcast, so much when it came out on Gamecube I bought it for that too.

  54. Jeffmanley says:

    I agree with the few people that remember Super Magnetic Neo. This game was super fun… and super hard. It looked totally like a kids game, but was way to difficult.

    I also have never ending love for Ooga Booga.

    My wife still talks about how Typing of the Dead is really the only video game she ever really likes. And it’s been 5 years since she played it.

    The reason I bought a Dreamcast was because it had the best looking version of Tony Hawk proskater… and I have always liked Sega better. So when I finally wanted to upgrade from my Saturn, what choice did I really have.

  55. racketboy says:

    We played a bunch of Typing of the Dead at Momocon at it was probably the biggest hit of the classic gaming room. That game attracted such a crowd all day long it was hilarious :)

  56. ArcteOnline says:

    i played many games on the dreamcast but the only thing i found nice was the emulator for super nintendo :D no i’m too bad many games are nice but i prefere nintendo wii or xbox360… in the end

  57. Silver_Knight says:

    every single one of you is shameful!!!!!!!! WTF UMMMMMM……

    THE NOMAD SOUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! not eaven a mention!!! look it up LEARN something

  58. Bryson says:

    Damn man, you pretty much covered everything. Besides leaving out Sonic Adventure and PSO, as others have stated.

    I’d have to include Cannon-Spike by Capcom, awesome shooter with Capcom characters. Zero Gunner 2 was awesome as well, think the same company that made Zero Gunner.

  59. citizin says:

    Bryson, How the hell would an outdated online game be “good for today” at all unless your a fanatic. Also, Sonic Adventure was horrendous. Pixel perfect 2D Sonics would be much easier on the eyes and ears.

  60. BtotheR says:

    Disagree about Sonic Adventure. While the voice acting was laughable, Sonic’s segment was a great part to play and has the biggest storyline.

  61. Shekti says:

    these games should definitely be on:
    PSO
    MDK
    rayman: the great escape
    POD: speedzone

  62. Hawk says:

    Did you just leave out Marvel vs. Capcom 2 or did I just miss it?

  63. racketboy says:

    It’s in the honorable mentions — partially because it on so many other platforms now…

  64. mebizzle says:

    Well by that logic, Crazy Taxi, Rez, Soulcalibur, and Fatal Fury all need to be honorable mentions because they’re on the same platforms.

  65. Anonymous says:

    In his previous posts he stated that he put games that were either first on the Dreamcast or the better version is on the Dreamcast.

  66. Anonymous says:

    Great article btw, very informative.

  67. inkor says:

    please continue your article thanks for perfect website

  68. asgsaf says:

    what about the Legacy of Kain?

  69. Team Xlink says:

    Hello.

    I would like to bring attention to a game that I think should be on your list, Omikron : Nomad Soul.

    It is amazing, an fps, fighter, and adventure all in one, an insanely in depth storyline, a whole universe awaits you on this DreamCast game, if you play it you are bound to believe you have to complete it, it is truly a one of a kind gem, that I have never seen anywhere else. Nothing comes close to it on any system, new and old.

    It truly is a must have.

    Thank you.
    Sincerely
    Team Xlink

  70. Dabel says:

    >At 4/18/2010 12:16 AM, Team Xlink said…
    >Hello.
    >
    >I would like to bring attention to a game that I think should be on your list, Omikron : Nomad Soul.

    …and it’s got David Bowie in it!

  71. matt says:

    thanks for your article. it reminds me that the dc kind of sucked because there just wasn’t that many good games for it.

  72. Chris says:

    … Where’s Marvel VS. Capcom 2…? The Dreamcast had the best version of it…

  73. Niels says:

    Great article, this helped me immensely setting up my collection.

  74. Dave says:

    I disagree as well about MvC2 and Guilty Gear X, since they were designed for the NAOMI arcade (which is basically a Dreamcast that has more video and system memory and runs GD-ROMs off a loaded DIMM upon booting) it is the original and truest port. And besides the controller is even better on the DC anyway (unless you get the controller adapter for the dreamcast and play with the sega saturn controller) or the arcade pad

  75. RdoubleM says:

    Hi guy’s i have a dreamcast with four pads, lightgun, 3 vmu’s, component cable, av cable, Project Justice (Rival Schools 2), Marvel Vs Capcom 2, Streetfighter 3rd Strike, Street Fighter Alpha 3, Out Trigger, House Of The Dead 2, Shenmue, powerstone, Plasma Sword, Virtua Tennis, Worms World Party, And some others. It all works perfect and all are pal games. with cases and manuals Email RdoubleM@hotmail.co.uk if anyone is interested. We can do the sales through ebay if you are not near London uk.
    Regards Robert

  76. Patrick BBE says:

    Capcom + SNK + Sega Dreamcast = Killer gaming experience!

  77. scofield says:

    no metropolis street racer?

  78. hcmak says:

    Красивые номера VELCOM, MTS, LIFE, ICQ, Пары, тройки номеров. Одинаковые номера.

  79. Sandy says:

    Man, I want all of these games. It blows my mind that Dreamcast gets a bunch of flack when really some of the games are pure awesome. Just looking through the list of the hundreds of games (http://www.ranker.com/list/all-dreamcast-games-list-of-sega-dreamcast-console-games/video-games-by-console has a great list of all of them), I can think of so many great memories playing those titles years ago. I’d SO love to pick up a Dreamcast console and waste a rainy weekend playing.

  80. My top list includes: Tomb Raider 4, San Francisco Rush 2049, Dead or Alive 2, Quake III Arena, Resident Evil Code Veronica.

  81. MZAdotcom says:

    Very informative list, thank you for compiling it! I bought a Sega DC the 1st day it came out @ 9.9.99 & got hooked right away. Was always a Sega Fanatic growing up, starting with the Sega Genesis. I own pretty much every game worth owning that was releases on this side of the pond for the DC & have always wanted to put together something online showcasing one of THE most innovative systems to ever come out & it’s fantastic collection of must-have games. Your list inspires me to one day do that. Cheers.

  82. Jake says:

    [Note: I accidentally posted this comment elsewhere, apologies for the mistake.]

    Racketboy, I don’t know from personal experience (I’ve never played the PS2 version), but the overwhelming consensus of fans that I’ve talked to is that the Dreamcast version of Rayman 2 was the best. I checked Wikipedia, which is not always a reliable source, and it states that only the N64 and DC releases were actually developed by Ancel’s team at Ubisoft Montpellier. That alone raises suspicion that the various ports and special editions may be inferior. Furthermore, Ubisoft publicly emphasized that they were using the DC version as the basis for Rayman 3D, presumably because fans liked it the most.

    Many of the fans I spoke with claimed that the DC version had a noticeably smoother framerate than the PS2, and Wikipedia says the same thing. According to Wikipedia: “The frame rate is lower than the 60 frames per second rate of the Dreamcast version. Also, whenever the player revisits levels, the music in most parts of them is replaced with ambiance, nor are players allowed to revisit The Woods of Light and The Cave of Bad Dreams.” If true, those flaws might outweigh the “benefits” of changes to the original level design by a different team and English voices instead of Raymanian.

    GiantBomb.com asserts: “The Dreamcast version is considered the best version of the game with higher resolution graphics, fast framerate, and extra features including online downloadable content such as mini games and a 4 player multiplayer mode. Levels are given additional geometry and effects to take advantage of the hardware. This version added 6 Globox Crystals hidden in a few levels that could be taken to the Globox Village to unlock bonuses.” I think we can all agree that the N64 and PC versions were inferior, as are the iOS/Game Boy Color/DS releases. The 3DS version is another question, but GiantBomb criticizes it: “The game was poorly adapted to the hardware to make it in time for the system’s launch and has numerous faults. The framerate is wildly inconsistent and sluggish at more intense areas, sound effects are missing or cut out during normal gameplay while music sounds overdriven, certain skybox textures alias incorrectly, certain scenery and objects are incorrectly scaled, and texture work sometimes appears stretched or missing. Reports indicated prior to launch that the 4 player mini game would return for local wireless multiplayer, however it does not exist in the final version as the Dreamcast DLC, Globox Village and collectables associated with it have been removed from this version.”

    Therefore, the PS2 version seems to be the only real competitor with the DC release, and it’s not clear that one is definitively superior. GiantBomb, like Wikipedia, notes that the PS2 version suffered from slowdown and sound glitches; Wikipedia also claims that two of the levels were misnamed. GiantBomb acknowledges that the graphics in the PS2 release were “given a substantial upgrade” over the DC version, but I don’t know that you can completely dismiss the DC version’s claim to the throne. It may very well be up to personal opinion, unless everyone is just blinded by their love for the DC.

  83. Aaron Charron says:

    I would want to see DoA2 and Test Drive: LeMans on this list.

    TDLM was my favorite overall racer and F355 my second. I loved MSR but PGR is the epitome of the series.

    Great list. Nothing says nostalgia like the DC