I really can’t quite explain it, but despite never owning a Sega console growing up, I’m a sucker for their very last hurrah in the business, the Dreamcast. Perhaps it’s due to its quirky library of games, like Crazy Taxi and The Typing of the Dead, or maybe I just have nostalgic memories of renting the machine out and trying to finish Resident Evil CODE: Veronica without anyway to save. In any case, today marks the 15th anniversary of the launch of the console on North American store shelves, so to honor the dead, I’m going to rank the comic book themed games on the Dreamcast from worst to best.
4: SPAWN: IN THE DEMON’S HAND
A lot of games on the Dreamcast started their life in the arcades, like the above mentioned Crazy Taxi and the break out hit Soul Calibur, and while some took the transition to home consoles gracefully, others like Spawn: In the Demon’s Hand maybe should’ve stayed in the arcade’s. While not a bad game per say, ITDH is a game that screams quarter muncher with the ratio of death to life skewed more towards the former category. Today’s gamers eat arena based multi-player shooter games up like they’re going out of style, however Spawn’s shooting mechanics and awkward camera angles were laughably primitive even by Nintendo 64 standards. Still, if you are a fan of the character and have a friend along for the ride, there’s a huge roster of characters to unlock and taking a nostalgic trip back to a simpler time could be a fun way to spend an evening.
3) MARVEL VS. CAPCOM
The “Vs.” games were always played best on a Sega console, however ask anyone what 32-bit system they played them on and nine chances out of ten they’ll say PSOne over the Sega Saturn. With the PS2 not quite out, and both the PSOne and the N64 on their last legs technology wise, the Dreamcast was the perfect fit for Capcom’s blazing fast 2-D fighter that pitted their roster of characters against Marvel’s super heroes for the first time. Though technically arcade perfect, the thing that really holds this game back from being truly excellent is having to play it on the awkward Dreamcast controller. Those looking to get the most mileage out of this game should track down either a fighting game stick or a six face button controller.
2) MARVEL VS. CAPCOM 2
There’s a reason this game is still beloved by both fans and non-fans of fighting games today: It has gigantic roster of over fifty characters, a series first 3v3 match set-up, and its streamlined control scheme makes it not only accessible to those who aren’t the best at Capcom’s fighters, but a perfect fit to the regular Dreamcast controller. Whether you’re playing on the Dreamcast, PS2, arcade or via download on a newer system, pick up a controller, grab a friend or two and let this insane fighter take you for a ride.
It’s kind of ironic that the best Dreamcast comic book game is one that made it to every other system first, but Spider-Man nabs the top spot for not only being a great game, but also because the Dreamcast is the best way to play the game. The controls, though comprised a little due to the lack of two trigger buttons, still work great and the graphics both in-game and during cut-scenes are better than on any other system. I’ve spoken in length about this game in a review as well as in other articles, but to sum it up briefly as to why you should play it, it’s a great action game that did Spider-Man right for the first time in the third-dimension and features a story that does justice to the character as well as the most popular members of his rogues gallery. Great boss encounters, hidden comic cover collectibles, new costumes to hunt down, this is where Spider-Man as a video game character really came to life for the first time.