Cast Off Your Dream: Re-Volt

Does the Dreamcast have enough voltage to play a racer? We find out in Day 6 of our salute to influential or fun games on the beloved console.

I may get some flak for this recommendation but Re-Volt is a fun game to play. It didn’t feature stellar graphics, an amazing soundtrack, or audio effects. It wasn’t even a system exclusive as it appears on PCs and every major console at the time.

revoltDC1 What the game did offer was incredibly fun four player split-screen play. It did this well before the latest two iterations of Mario Kart.

Take the original NES title RC Pro Am and let the wild and crazy (and now defunct) developers at Acclaim redo it and this is what you get. Basically, you race an RC car across tracks made out of household objects and you’re the first to cross the finish line. Along the way, players may come across some voltage icons to run over that would dish out random weapons.

Personally, it wasn’t that fun to play alone, but this may have been one of the first games I played in a party setting and had a blast. Hence, my first party game.

The game is still available for all those old systems, and it can easily be found for the Dreamcast. However, the PC version is now considered to be abandonware and it can be found doing a simple Google search.

Cast Off Your Dream: Resident Evil Code: Veronica

The search for a missing brother and then the search for a missing sister dominates our title for Day 5 of influential Dreamcast games. Oh, and there’s a virus that makes things interesting. T-virus.

I’m going to share a personal opinion with you right up front. Resident Evil Code: Veronica is the second greatest Resident Evil game behind Resident Evil 4. Well, now you know where I stand.

resicvx_004-largeThe game starts with Claire Redfield looking for her brother Chris on an island owned by the Umbrella Corporation, and—I really don’t want to spoil anything if you’ve not played this game because it has possibly the best story of all the RE games. However, she does find Chris, but then Chris looses her and zombie hilarity ensues throughout the entire game. Even though RE4 had some of the creepiest characters, hands down Veronica is the scariest game. I don’t think I’ve ever jumped so much while playing a game.

This title featured rotating camera angles that greatly enhanced the cinematic thrills. It was no slouch in the graphics department either. If you’ve been reading the previous posts this is starting to become clichéd, but once again a developer was pushing the limit visually and aesthetically, and Capcom utilized the console to some of its best potential early in the console’s life.

This is one of those rare games that is must play. If you’ve not, you are in luck. It’s easy to find for the Dreamcast (the original and an enhanced version—Veronica X), but ports are also available on the PS2 and is easy to find for the Gamecube (Think Wii. Although the ‘cube version is the lowest reviewed of the three.) However, of all the older RE games, it holds up pretty well.

Trust me on this. Play it.

Cast Off Your Dream: Soulcalibur

Did the soul burn better at home than the arcade? We take a slice out of day 4 at our look of Dreamcast games to find out.

Following behind Sonic Adventure, Soulcalibur is the second best-selling game on the Dreamcast. A launch title, the game featured improved graphics, sound, and new modes over the arcade port. A launch title, it was the one game that sold consistently throughout the console’s lifespan.

Soul_Calibur_DC There were a couple of innovative features put into this fighting game. The player had a wider range of movement that gave the gamer a sense of real 3D. It also allowed players to “buffer” their moves.  You could basically plan out an attack while performing a defense, for instance.

The best feature I like was the ability for the winning player to keep performing moves on their opponent after they were K.O.’d. Being able to taunt with repeated kicks to the other person on the couch is a nice touch.

The game received near perfect scores and is considered by some to be one of the greatest games of all time. I wouldn’t take it that far, but it is one of best fighting games I’ve played (and I’m not a big fan of fighting games).

It’s spawned a slew of sequels but none have really attained to the status of the original title. If you’re itching to play it can be found on Xbox Live Arcade but a huge drawback is the lack of online play. There was a little HD updating and some basic leaderboards, but it’s not been well received because of this. However, being one of the most prolific titles on the Dreamcast it can still be found rather easily.

Nightmare was awesome. “Nightmare was seriously wounded, but the soul still burns.”

Cast Off Your Dream: Jet Grind Radio

Day 3 in our look at excellent Dreamcast games has all to do with a game of tag—with innovation.

When most gamers think cel-shading the first game that comes to mind is Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. However, Jet Grind Radio (Jet Set Radio sans North America) had that beat (pun intended) by almost four years. The visuals pioneered the use of cel-shaded graphics using a colorful pallet and a color style and that’s been rarely seen in games since.

img_8 You play as a character named Beat who must perform stunts across a J-Pop city and recruit a gang of people to help him in his quest to “tag” the city with graffiti. Once an area is conquered and tagged, the rival gang would secede the area over to Beat. While all this is going on, the player has to escape rival gangs and the city’s police. Although the controls were simplistic the first few hours of the gameplay were brutal to most gamers. Once that learning curve was over it was smooth sailing. A lot of joy was had in performing a fluid motion of tricks.

 

Featuring a wide range of music from J-Pop, hip hop, dance, and a sprinkle of futuristic jazz there was an ever changing variety of up-tempo tunes to listen to. The metallic sound effects seemed to match the look and style of play.

It seems as if Jet Grind Radio was to go the way of the Dreamcast—innovative and way ahead of its time. Like most of the titles we’ve featured it’s achieved a cult status. However—and here may be some good news—Sega  has recently renewed some legal rights to the game and it’s been rumored that the game may show up on XBLA or PSN.

This game can be easily found online at an affordable price. Definitely one to add to a collection.

Cast Off Your Dream: Crazy Taxi

Hey, hey, hey! It’s time to make some crazy money? Are ya ready? Here we go! It’s day 2 of our homage to the Dreamcast.

Released almost right after the launch of the Dreamcast console, developer Hitmaker had a hit on their hands with Crazy Taxi.

Who’d ever thought driving a taxi would be a blast? This game is all about style. Basically you pick up fares and get your customer to their destination as fast as possible. The catch? They tip you better the crazier you drive. This is a game all about stunts. The more you perform, the better your reward. The trade off is that you still have to deliver your fare in a certain period of time. This was an ingenious way to get you to memorize the layout of the city.

 

In regards to the city, this was one of the first games to have prominent in-game advertising. You’ll make deliveries to Pizza Huts (think about that one), Tower Records (uh, I guess the advertising didn’t work), Levi’s stores, and a couple of other restaurant and clothing stores.

Featuring unprecedented graphics for it’s time, this is one of those early titles where gamers preferred the console port to the arcade. See, arcades were where you went for the power. However, the Dreamcast delivered that with Crazy Taxi.

With lightning fast gameplay, excellent audio, and a great soundtrack featuring songs by Bad Religion and The Offspring, Crazy Taxi went on to become one of the few surefire hits on the Dreamcast. It spawned a sequel for the console that added a few twists on the gameplay and had a different soundtrack, but it didn’t really achieve the notoriety of the first.

It’s the original title that most gamers prefer. Because of it’s status, it’s one of the easier games to find on the system, but it can also be found on every other major system at that time.

If it was an XBLA or PSN title it would be a best-seller.