Sega Dreamcast Is Still the Best Fighting Game Console
Sega Dreamcast: Gone Before It's Time
While the Sega Dreamcast was discontinued in 2001 in the United States, it held on much longer in Japan. This was Sega's last entry into the console world and was by far their most under-rated system. The system aimed to capitalize on online gaming before online gaming even became popular—Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 made online gaming popular—and had much better graphics than its competitors, including the Playstation 2, Xbox and Gamecube. Even employees of popular gaming stores have told me that games I previously played on Dreamcast will look worse on the PS2.
However, during its short run, Capcom really stepped up to the plate to show its support for the system. Some of the greatest fighting games of all time have been released for the system, and they still has a cult following years later. The Dreamcast is the only system I've ever owned that I never sold.
Marvel Vs. Capcom 2
Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 quickly became a collector's item for hardcore Capcom fans. After being released on the Dreamcast, it came into the hands of a lucky few Xbox and Playstation 2 owners. Due to a hardcore following the game became downloadable content for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles.
This game took full advantage of the Dreamcast's power and provided gamers with one of the best games ever delivered to a system. The super moves, the large collection of characters, and the massive amount of unlockables made this one fighting game you could play over and over with your friends without getting bored.
There's nothing better than watching Sabretooth tear into Ryu, or Magneto and Bison go toe to toe on the battlefield. The tag out system put this game a few steps above other greats like King of Fighters or Capcom Vs. SNK as you could pull out your wounded player and substitute them with a healthy one.
I have fond memories of going to parties with the Dreamcast on me where my friends and I would go find ourselves a television, plug it in and play.
Long before Link, Darth Vader, and Yoda made an appearance in the Soul Calibur universe gamers were enjoying a better than arcade perfect version on their Dreamcasts. Brought to us by the great people of Namco.
As with other Namco games Soul Calibur is a 3d fighting game in which players attempt to either A) beat their opponent or B) knock them out of the ring. What really set Soul Calibur apart from other fighting games was it's weapons (later slightly adopted by the Mortal Kombat franchise.)
Now while some may describe this as a button masher, it is far from it. Learning to execute combos correctly is what really sets the skilled opponent apart from the Cinderella gamer.
Street Fighter Alpha 3
Yet another great from the Capcom collection, Street Fighter Alpha 3 brought together many of our favorites from Super Street Fighter 2 together with characters from the Alpha series. Aside from the massive collection of characters what really set this game apart from other Street Fighters was the career mode in which you train and customize your own character.
Boss battle is also back from the original Street Fighter Alpha game (remember playing Ken and Ryu versus Bison?) which adds another element of two player fun. All your favorites are here from Fei Long and Dee Jay to Adon, Cody, and Guy.
King of Fighters Dream Match 99
This has to be the largest collection of SNK characters ever put together into one game. The best part about it is that you can actually play as Andy Bogart (Terry's brother.) There are in total 38 characters to this game and is the best in the series.
There are many other King of Fighters games available for the Dreamcast, King of Fighters 99 Evolution (don't get this mixed up with Dream Match) brings you 30 characters and an additional 4th character for your roster who plays as the "striker." This 4th character is used to assist you during the match similar to bringing in an assist in Marvel Vs. Capcom 2, only you never get to play as the striker.
Guilty Gear X
While only available as a Japanese import, the Guilty Gear X series has become incredibly popular in the states for the PS2. Blazblue for the PS3 is designed and created by the same company.
Guilty Gear X added an additional component to the 2D fighting genre: the instant death move. Yes, that's right you can pull off an instant finisher in this game to completely destroy your opponent. While some of the characters appear to be almost complete rip offs from other games (Axl looks identical to Billy Kane of Fatal Fury) its still a great, fast paced experience.
And the List Continues
Virtual Fighter 3 by Sega, Street Fighter 3, Jo Jo's Bizarre Adventure, Powerstone, Darkstalkers (Japanese import), Super Street Fighter 2 (Japanese Import), Capcom Vs SNK 2 (Japanese import), and SNK's Fatal Fury Mark of Wolves are all additional fighting games available for the Dreamcast.
The only bad fighting game (in my opinion) to make its ways to the Dreamcast was Mortal Kombat Gold (MK4) which was the turning point for the Mortal Kombat universe's jump into 3d fighting.
Let Retro Gaming Live On
Now if you already have a PS3 you'll more than likely look at this list of games and say, well I've already got SF4, downloaded Marvel Vs. Capcom 2, and have Blazblue so why on earth would I want a Sega Dreamcast?
For those of us over the age of 20 that still remember all the great things Sega brought us over the years it's a way of continuing to show thanks. It's a reminder that there used to be video game companies creating video game systems. Before Sony and Microsoft had jumped into the video game world we'd seen failed attempts by television companies before (3DO anyone?) and it was always a head to head bout between Sega and Nintendo. Atari would try to keep up but Sega was always the number one system for me.
Finding a Sega Dreamcast
in 2009 I had to pick up a new Dreamcast as the laser on mine was having difficulties. Half an hour on Craigslist and $30 later I had myself a working Dreamcast. They're available all over on Craigslist, eBay and Amazon. Gamers continue to pick up the system even though it has been dead in the states for almost a decade.
Just to prove how superior the Dreamcast was for its time take a look at the additional output you can use to improve the picture quality on your high def televisions.