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The 10 best Dreamcast games

In order! No. 1 will not surprise you.

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Eric Franklin
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1 of 10 Screenshot by Eric Franklin/CNET

10. Jet Set Radio

On the 20th anniversary of the Sega Dreamcast's North American release, we look back at its best games. Read more of our treasured Dreamcast memories here.

Publisher: Sega

Developer: Smilebit

Why it's on this list:

  • I still listen to that soundtrack. It's still incredible. 
  • The art style is still cooler than 99 percent of games released these days.
  • Fantastic level design motivated you to find new ways to pull off incredible tricks. 

Where can I play this today?

Xbox One, PC. 

Originally published Dec. 1, 2018. 
Update, Sept. 9, 2019: Adds North American release date. 

nfl2k
2 of 10 GameSpot

9. NFL2K/NFL2K1

Publisher: Sega

Developer: Visual Concepts

Why it's on the list:

Gameplay that felt familiar, but different enough from Madden to make an impact.

Incredible visuals for the time. The after-the-play animations were like nothing anyone had seen before. Really!

I saw Steven Spielberg visit the E3 1999 Sega booth to watch this game. It doesn't seem like it now, but at the time, it was amazing to look at.

The series wouldn't get online play until NFL2K1, which was surprisingly responsive even on a 56K modem.

Where can I play it today?

Not natively on any modern devices. Madden is apparently still good though. 

ika
3 of 10 GameSpot

8. Ikaruga

Publisher: Sega

Developer: Treasure

Why it's on this list:

Unique, color-switching gameplay added more complexity than your typical shooter.

Great use of the polygonal environment, and great enemy design.

Where can I play it today?

Switch, PC, Xbox One and PS4. 

shenmue
4 of 10 Gamespot

7. Shenmue

Publisher: Sega

Developer: AM2

Why it's on this list:

An amazingly realized world.

Having to beat up 70 dudes in a row at the end.

The slow burn of the unfolding mystery.

Where can I play it today?

On PC, Xbox One and PS4. Remastered and bundled with its awesome sequel. 

vt4
5 of 10 GameSpot

6. Virtua Tennis 4

Publisher: Sega

Developer: Hitmaker

Why it's on this list:

Perfect control.

The feeling of spiking the ball past your opponent.

Hitting "MAX" on the serving meter.

Authentic-sounding sound effects.

My favorite sports game of all time: Better than any 2K game, better than any EA Genesis hockey game.

Where can I play it today:

Not natively on any modern devices. Virtua Tennis 4 (pictured) was the latest in the franchise, released in 2011. 

rez
6 of 10 Gamespot

5. Rez

Publisher: Sega

Developer: United Game Artists

Why it's on this list:

The godly music, of course.

Those incredibly abstract graphics will never get old.

The Panzer Dragoon-inspired gameplay with a rhythmic twist.

Where can I play this today?

Rez Infinite is on PS4, PC and Android.

screen-shot-2018-11-26-at-2-53-39-pm
7 of 10 Gamespot

4. Resident Evil: Code Veronica

Publisher: Capcom

Developer: Capcom

Why it's on the list:

The first Resident Evil game with full 3D background and at the time, was the most graphically impressive RE game.

That intro, especially the gun catch move.

That moment when Steve has to get over his fear to "kill" his undead father is maybe the cheesiest and most awesome thing ever.

Steve's voice. That's kind of a negative, but also kind of not.

Where can I play it today:

Not natively on any modern devices. You can watch GameSpot play through the game though. 

skies-of-arcadia
8 of 10 GameSpot

3. Skies of Arcadia

Publisher: Sega

Developer: Overworks

Why it's on this list:

Airship combat was almost as cool as character combat. 

A loooong RPG that rarely hit a pacing wall. 

The level 4 super moves are still impressive in 2018.

Where can I play it today:

Not natively on any modern devices. 

pso2
9 of 10 Sega Japan

2. Phantasy Star Online

Publisher: Sega

Developer: Sonic Team

Why it's on the list:

A fantastic RPG even beyond the MMO aspect.

Online worked great -- when the servers were up.

Fun and meaningful character progression.

Before World of Warcraft, this was the best realized version of playing D&D with your friends from across the country.

The futuristic-medieval aesthetic was strong.

Where can I play it today?

Not natively on any modern devices. Phantasy Star Online 2 (that's where this screenshot's from) is currently available for PS4, Switch, PC, iOS and Android, but only in Japan. 

soulcalibur
10 of 10 GameSpot

1. Soul Calibur

Publisher: Namco

Developer: Namco

Why it's on this list:

Probably the best graphical showcase on the system. It still looks good today!

Gameplay is simple and tight without too many systems to bog it down (I'm looking at you, Soul Calibur 6).

Nearly every character is memorable and "quotable."

This is how you do polish in a game.

Where can I play it today?

Xbox One. The latest sequel, Soul Calibur 6, is on PC, Xbox One and PS4.

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