The SEGA Dreamcast was a console ahead of its time, initially released in 1998 it was one of the first consoles to support online gaming. Its most popular titles were the Dreamcast fighting games, some of which are great and hold up even by today’s standards. For a console of its age, this is quite a feat that can also be attributed to its developers. This was the first video game console of the sixth generation and it preceded the PlayStation 2, the GameCube, and the Xbox. As the final console to come from SEGA, it has a special place in the hearts of many.
Fighting games are special to thousands of people due to their impact in the late 90s and early 2000s. Dreamcast fighting games have singlehandedly brewed thousands of friendships and touched the lives of many. Even if their peak was during this time
Our top 20 SEGA Dreamcast Fighting games
Here we have prepared a list of our top 20 best Dreamcast fighting games so get ready to take a trip down memory lane. Who knows you may learn a lot about the fighting game genre from its original roots and humble beginnings.
The first game on our Dreamcast fighting games list is Soulcalibur, a weapon-based 3D fighting game developed by Project Soul. It is the second game in the series originally released on the Namco System 12 and later ported to the Dreamcast. The port improved the graphics of the game and added a few well-liked features. Later on, it became an available title on the Xbox 360 soon before its sequel Soulcalibur II.
For most of the game, the focus is on the legendary weapon known as the Soul Edge. Which is currently in the possession of the antagonist known as Nightmare. The player is tasked to pursue him to either claim the legendary weapon or destroy it. Many players fondly remember the story and it is one of the reasons the game aged so well.
As for the gameplay, the title brought many innovations to the fighting game genre with its focus on weapons. Furthermore, its unique eight-way movement system was revolutionary at the time. Before this 3D titles had limited movement along the third axis, Soulcalibur was the first to break this and give the player a sense of freedom. Lastly, to top it off the game have players forgiving buffering to help out the experience for newcomers. This removed the relatively strict buffering requirements of companions in the genre such as Tekken.
18. Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes
A common trope for fighting games is the concept of crossovers between popular mediums. Marvel vs Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes is one of the Dreamcast fighting games that best pull this off. The game was developed and published by Capcom and was released in 2000 for arcades. During its long lifespan, the game received ports for the next 12 years on platforms like Dreamcast, PlayStation, Xbox, and even iOS devices.
In the game, players select a team of characters from the Marvel and Capcom universes to engage in combat. They have over 56 characters to choose from, which is one of the largest rosters in fighting game history. The core mechanic of the game is tag team-based combat like its predecessor. Furthermore, the game supported three-on-three gameplay and stunning looks. The unique visuals that used 2D animated sprites with a 3D background established the 2.5D visuals for the franchise.
17. Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike
As a 2D Dreamcast fighting game developed and published by Capcom Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike was originally released for arcades in 1999. A year later the game was ported onto the Dreamcast and in 2004 released on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. The game is the second follow-up to Street Fighter III, running the CP System III hardware.
The third and final installment of the Street Fighter III, it had an amazing cast of characters. Most notably bringing back a classic and loved character in the form of Chun-Li along with many new ones. The roster featured 19 playable characters, with all of the returning characters given special treatment. The bonuses revolved over new stages, endings, and most importantly a continuation of the overall storyline in the series.
For the gameplay, the leap attacks were changed along with the Guard Parry, improving their timing. A new system was introduced, which was a grading system that awarded great performance in all areas of the game. This gave players a new challenge crush, especially with special requirements that granted additional points.
16. Mortal Kombat Gold
Most people when thinking about fighting games refer to Mortal Kombat as a staple in the genre. Mortal Kombat Gold is one of the Dreamcast fighting games from the series and was published by Midway Games. The game was developed by Eurocom and released exclusively on Dreamcast as a launch title. Effectively it is an updated version of Mortal Kombat 4 and the first game on the sixth-generation platform.
Unsurprisingly the gameplay of the game is largely based on Mortal Kombat 4 and features several new characters. Additionally, there is a new weapon selection system and a few new stages to keep the game fresh. The game is amazing and easily one of the top Dreamcast fighting games.
15. Capcom vs. SNK: Millennium Fight 2000
Capcom vs. SNK: Millennium Fight 2000 is more commonly referred to as Capcom vs SNK and was released in 2000. The head-to-head fighting game was produced by Capcom for arcades and was ported to the Dreamcast. As the second game in the series, it has many advantages compared to the original.
With a setting at a special martial arts event set up between the two most powerful world organizations. The ultimate goal is to host an extravagant event that will ease political conflicts in the games universe.
The game utilizes a unique ‘’ratio’’ mechanic which determines a rating of a character’s strength. This offers up an interesting team-building strategy where you must pick characters without breaking the ‘’ratio’’ cap. This is a game many remember fondly and was a staple at arcades and one of the best Dreamcast fighting games.
14. Guilty Gear X
Guilty Gear X is our 14th pick for the best Dreamcast fighting games and is a fighting game developed by Arc System Works. The game was published by Sammy Studios in December 2000.
The game continues the story of its predecessor with new characters and gameplay features. Its fighting system has a four-button attack configuration that also features taunt attacks. The main objective is to overpower your opponent and reduce their health to zero. The caveat is that first, the player must accumulate two points, each earned for winning a round. The gameplay for what it is was quite advanced and offered players a great variety of combos and counterattacks. Lastly, the integrated tension gauge allowed for use of special attacks called Overdrive Attacks that spiced up the combat greatly.
13. Power Stone 2
Power Stone 2 is one of the Dreamcast fighting games that build on the innovative gameplay of the franchise. The game allows up to four players to choose one of many available characters and utilize items on the field in battle. Thanks to the game’s origins as an arcade game it was perfect for the Dreamcast. With some unique mechanics, it quickly became a great game for multiple people to enjoy.
This was further emphasized by the different modes available to players, mainly Arcade, Original, and Adventure. Each boasted a unique playstyle which gave the game much more replayability than some other Dreamcast fighting games. Furthermore, for fans of the original Power Stone, the game had a 1-on-1 mode, which was a two-character storyline game mode.
12. Dead or Alive 2
As a fighting game developed by Team Ninja and published by Temco Dead or Alive stands out amongst Dreamcast fighting games. It first debuted in arcades in 1999 and was ported to the Dreamcast in 2000. Dead or Alive 2 as the name implies is the second main entry in the Dead or Alive series. Thanks to its popularity the game had several enhanced editions including Dead or Alive 2 Millennium and Dead or Alive 2 Hardcore.
The game’s plot focuses on a world in between the tengu and the human world. The main Antagonist is an evil tengu Gohyakumine Bankotsubo. The setting gives an interesting perspective to players.
Dead or Alive 2’s fighting system focuses on a circular friendship between holds, throws, and blows. Each has its unique properties that give depth to the combat system, further emphasized with the stun mechanic. What lets the game stand out as one of the Dreamcast fighting games is the safety and non-punishability of attacks. Players have had mixed feelings about this mechanic which affected the game’s reputation a bit.
11. Virtual On: Oratorio Tangram
Virtual On: Oratorio Tangram is an arcade action game released on Dreamcast in 1998. It is a 3D game that lets the player control a giant humanoid robot, more commonly referred to as a mech. The game had very good gameplay and a good story to pair with it, which is why it is one of the best Dreamcast fighting games.
The game is set 20 years after the defeat of the mightiest VR and the final boss of the first game in the series. But now the threat is an unknown AI known as Tangram that has awakened and became self-conscious. Its goal is to destroy humanity and Tengram by infecting Earth’s mother computer. The player’s goal is to defeat all the VRs and finally destroy Tengram to stop its evil ambitions once and for all. Another great feature players loved was the two obtainable endings depending on the player’s actions.
10. Project Justice
Project Justice is a 3D fighting game produced by Capcom and is the sequel to Rival Schools: United By Fate. It was released in 2000 and prorated onto the Dreamcast a year later.
The game fighting system is lifted from the original with some notable and good changes. The game is still a team fighter with three characters per team compared to two in the original. This gives the player the ability to experience more Team-Up attacks and characters within the game. Furthermore, this opens up a new type of attack., the Party-Up, an attack that involves all three party members. This attack varies on what school the primary character initiating it comes from.
Compared to the original the game overall has more depth and gives satisfying fighting sequences in the game. With the ability to create your own fighters who can use all models from the games single-player.
9. The Last Blade 2: Heart of the Samurai
The Last Blade 2 is one of the best Dreamcast fighting games and was developed and released by SNK in 1998. The game is a weapon-based versus fighting game like many other Dreamcast titles originally released to arcades.
The Last Blade 2: Heart of The Samurai is set one year after the events of the first game and puts you in one-on-one combat against other players. The game has good mechanics and is fun to play even to this day. Back in 1998, it was hailed as the second most popular arcade game at the time according to Famitsu.
8. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is a fighting video game developed by Capcom and based on the popular anime and manga series of the same name. The game was originally released in 1998 as an arcade game and then ported to Dreamcast a year later. The game combines Capcom’s anime-inspired graphics with the characters of the anime series. Which created a unique look that has a highly stylized visual style.
The plot is based on the manga’s third main story arc Stardust Crusaders, a fan favorite. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure perfectly includes everything good about the anime in manga into the game. Perfectly retelling the story of the fan favorite and following a legendary protagonist, Jotaro Kujo.
The gameplay follows most basic fighting games but offers a unique feature in the inclusion of ‘’Stands’’. These powerful projections of a fighter’s energy are unique to each fighter and are integrated into their moveset. All this makes for an interesting game with great gameplay any fan of the JoJo series should play.
7. Plasma Sword: Nightmare of Bilstein
Plasma Sword: Nightmare of Bilstein is a 1998 3D weapon-based fighting game originally released for arcades. It is a direct sequel to Star Gladiator and was released for the Dreamcast as a prot in 2000.
The gameplay in the game is completely reworked and rebuilt from the original. Still, it has some remaining elements like the arsenal of four usable buttons. With a new combo system in the form of the Plasma Strike System in which players can store three levels. These charges enable super moves called Plasma strikes that give a refreshing feeling to the game.
Aside from the new changes to the gameplay, the story improves upon the original and grants players a satisfying journey. This makes this game easily one of the Dreamcast fighting games players should play to have a great time.
6. Street Fighter Alpha 3
Street Fighter Alpha 3 is a game released by Capcom for the arcade in 1998. The 2D fighting game is easily one of the best Dreamcast fighting games. It is the third and final installment in the Alpha sub-series, making its way onto the Dreamcast a few years after its initial release.
This game discards the ‘’Manual’’ and ‘’Auto’’ modes from the previous Alpha games opting for a new mechanic ‘’isms’’. The new mechanic works around three levels of Super Combo gauge that offers depth to the players. Alongside this gauge, there is a ‘’Guard Power Gauge’’ that depletes each time the player blocks. This makes each block valuable since running out of the block gauge leaves you defenseless. Lastly, several actions have been modified to fit the previously mentioned changes and smooth out the gameplay.
5. Spawn: In the Demon’s Hand
Spawn: In the Demon’s Hand is a video game developed and published by Capcom for the Dreamcast in 2000. The game is based on the comic book character Spawn from a popular comic book series.
The plot of the game follows a military operation that was murdered by his superior and sent to hell. When arriving at hell Simmons makes a deal with the demon to become a hellspawn to see his wife once more. Only to find out that his wife married his best friend. Apart from the story the gameplay has tons of playable characters and three modes. These modes are Boss Rush Mode, Team Battle Mode, and Battle Royale.
4. Psychic Force 2012
Psychic Force is a 1998 arcade fighting game and a sequel to the 1995 title Psychic Force. The games port to the Dreamcast is one of the earliest titles for the console. This self-published sequel was later on adapted multiple times.
The gameplay featured a fighting system that remained the same as the predecessor with some changes to the controls. The unique hud and camera gave a special experience to anyone playing the game. Furthermore, the simple game has great combat and a strong emphasis on skill. Players that have played the game at the time will know that nothing quite like it.
Psychic Force’s story takes place just two years after the original and gives players a deeper look into its world. Ultimately the player is put up against two world forces and works to do what’s best for the people.
3.Vampire Chronicle for Matching Service
As a game released in 2000 for the Dreamcast Vampire Chronicle For Matching Service is a diverse fighting game. This is because it allows players to select between for fighting styles based on each Darkstalkers game.
This title is one of the rarest and lesser-known fighting games due to it being mail-ordered back in the day. Nonetheless, it is a great experience for any fighting game fan to play through and we highly recommend it.
2. The King of Fighters ‘99 Evolution
The King of Fighters ‘99 Evolution is a 1999 fighting game developed and published for the Dreamcast. It stands as the sixth installment in the king of Fighters series and introduces a new story arc. The story follows a young man named K that is a former associate of a mysterious organization. This title keeps a lot of what makes The King of Fighters game unique and has remodeled stages in 3D.
This Dreamcast title is loved by many because it is a great port to the Dreamcast and part of the series. Additionally, the ‘’Striker Match’’ that allows players to summon teammates as a special attack is a fan favorite. This makes this one a must-play if you are interested in the series.
The best Dreamcast fighting game – Garou: Mark of the Wolves
Our final pick and the one that sits at the top of the list of the best Dreamcast fighting games is Garou: Mark of the Wolves. A 1999 game produced by SNK is the eighth installment of the Fatal Fury series. The gameplay features a wide variety of mechanics and features that give players the best fighting experience. From the ‘’Tactical Offense Position’’ to the ‘’Just Defend’’ system the game has quality offensive and defensive mechanics. Furthermore, it spots an Arcade Mode where players can hone their skills and challenge themselves against bosses.
Apart from the stellar gameplay, the game has a great story that follows a fighting tournament named ‘’King of Fighters: Maximum Mayhem. While other titles mentioned on the list are all worth playing this one stands out as a unique and amazing piece of history from the Dreamcast days.
Lastly, for those looking for the ultimate challenge, there are hidden bosses within the game that are quite challenging.