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A wide variety of fantastic fighting games were released for the SEGA Dreamcast, with many pushing the envelope in both gameplay and graphics. Here’s a list of some of the best Dreamcast fighting games ever released.
For many, the SEGA Dreamcast was one of the best consoles for fighting games. Powerful for its time, the system had a great mix of innovative 2D, 2.5D, and 3D fighting games, including titles from iconic series like Street Fighter, Dead or Alive, Guilty Gear, and more.
Whether you’re a shameless button masher or a pro who insists on mastering every character’s combo list, discover our picks for the 10 best Dreamcast fighting games.
Capcom’s answer to Super Smash Bros, Power Stone 2 is a quirky arcade brawler where one-on-one or four-player battles occur in a 3D arena. While only shipping with 5 stages (and 3 unlockable bonus stages), each of those stages is packed with items and environmental features each character can interact with.
Like any good sequel, Power Stone 2 builds and improves upon the original game’s mechanics and, quite literally, takes things to a whole new level with multi-stage fights where the environment can change at any moment.
While very different from a traditional fighting game, Power Stone 2 is undoubtedly one of the best fighters on the SEGA Dreamcast. Just like Super Smash Bros, Power Stone 2 is at its best when played on the couch with friends.
Can’t find it on Dreamcast? Apart from the original arcade version, the game was also released on the PSP in 2006’s Power Stone Collection.
Guilty Gear is a cult-classic franchise beloved in the fighting game community for its fast-paced, combo-heavy gameplay. While countless versions of Guilty Gear have been released worldwide, Guilty Gear X was first released exclusively in Japan.
Guilty Gear X introduced the Roman Cancel, allowing players to cancel a move mid-animation to make another attack instead. Guilty Gear X also features the series’ controversial destruction moves that, if executed correctly, will end the match with a single devastating attack (which you might want to hesitate using against your buddies if you value your friendship).
Can’t find it on Dreamcast? The game was ported to the PlayStation 2, although the Japanese version is the most feature-complete. A PC version was also released in 2001.
The sequel to 1997’s Rival Schools: United by Fate, Project Justice is one of the more interesting Dreamcast fighting games released by Capcom. This team-based fighter has a distinct style that separates it from most fighting games of the era with its roster of exaggerated high school archetypes battling each other across Japanese schoolyards, classrooms, and sporting fields.
Project Justice is just as entertaining to watch as it is to play, with all the special moves being equal parts hilarious and bizarre. For example, one character’s Team Up attack involves them taking photos of their opponent for the school newspaper to confuse them, while another’s is to criticize their opponent until they drop unconscious from shame.
Can’t find it on Dreamcast? Sadly, the game does not exist on any other systems, so the original arcade version is the only other legitimate option.
Capcom vs. SNK: Millennium Fight 2000 is the first in a series of crossover games pitting the characters from SNK and Capcom fighting games against one another. In an example of art imitating life, the plot centers around a fighting tournament between two rival corporations.
The game features a massive roster of 33 playable characters from Capcom and SNK franchises and has a similar format to other team-based fighting games like Marvel Vs. Capcom. The game implements a ratio system that scores the relative strength of different characters to keep teams balanced.
Can’t find it on Dreamcast? You can always try to find a copy on PlayStation 2, but no downloadable versions of the game exist, unfortunately.
Developed by the team behind Street Fighter III, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is based on Hirohiko Araki’s famous manga of the same name. The roster comprises 22 heroes and villains that appear throughout the series.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure has a unique gameplay mechanic where players can activate the series’ signature guardian spirits for each character. Players can activate or deactivate their guardian spirit at any time, effectively giving players two different sets of abilities to master.
Can’t find it on Dreamcast? The game was also released on the original PlayStation, and a remastered version was released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2012. Unfortunately, the updated version of the game is no longer available on the PlayStation Network or Xbox Live.
Released in 1999, Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike is the 2nd follow up to Street Fighter III and remains one of the most popular fighting games played in arcades and tournaments to this day. The game has 20 characters overall (4 entirely new characters) and notably brought fan-favourite Chun Li back to the fold.
Third Strike features the precision gameplay any fighting game enthusiast can expect from Street Fighter games, and its impressively fluid animation is rendered beautifully on the Dreamcast.
While Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike didn’t enjoy much attention when it was first released (primarily due to the excitement over 3D fighting games like the Dead or Alive series), it’s now widely regarded as one of the best fighting games of all time.
Can’t find it on Dreamcast? The game was released on Playstation 2 and Xbox and eventually made downloadable on the Playstation Network and Xbox Live. 3rd Strike was also featured in 2018’s Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection
The second entry in one of the greatest universe crossovers of all time, Marvel Vs. Capcom 2: New Age Of Heroes features an immense roster of 56 characters from Capcom fighting games and Marvel franchises like X-Men and The Avengers.
Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 introduced three-on-three matches and was made more accessible with a character assist system and streamlined controls. It’s also the first in the series to feature 2.5D graphics, with characters rendered in 2D and stage backgrounds and visual effects rendered in 3D.
Can’t find it on Dreamcast? The game was also ported to the Playstation 2 and the original Xbox. Unfortunately, due to licensing issues with Marvel, downloadable versions of the game, including an iOS version, are no longer available, so the only way to play it today is to buy it second-hand.
The Dead or Alive series stands alongside titans like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat in gaming history, being honored with its own terrible movie in 2004.
Dead or Alive 2 (DOA2) expands on the gameplay of its predecessor by introducing stun attacks that can be chained to incapacitate (and frustrate) your opponents. One defining feature that separated DOA2 was the different weight classes of characters, which affected how easy it was to launch and juggle them mid-air. DOA2 also introduced a tag-team fighting system, similar to the Marvel Vs. Capcom series.
Can’t find it on Dreamcast? Dead or Alive 2 was also released on the Playstation 2, and a remastered version, Dead or Alive 2: Ultimate, was released for the original Xbox and is downloadable on Xbox Live.
Originally released on the Neo Geo in 1999, Garou: Mark of the Wolves made its way over to the SEGA Dreamcast and quickly earned a reputation as one of the most challenging SNK fighters. It has an incredible roster of interesting characters who all feel very different, giving players a lot of replay value as they try to learn everyone’s unique move set.
The game’s unique mechanic is the “Tactical Offense Position” (T.O.P.) gauge that gives characters life regeneration, increased damage, and access to a special attack.
While Garou: Mark Of The Wolves doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel in terms of gameplay mechanics, it’s a solid title that adds variety to the collection of any fighting game fan.
Can’t find it on Dreamcast? Garou: Mark of the Wolves is available on GOG, Xbox Live Arcade, and the Playstation 2, 4, and Vita.
Most retro gamers will agree that Soulcalibur is one of best Dreamcast fighting games (if not the best). A weapons-based fighting game, Soulcalibur was developed as a launch title for the Dreamcast and played a vital role in the system’s success.
Soulcalibur’s biggest innovation was introducing an eight-way run, which allowed players to move around the arena in any direction while still facing their opponent. Soulcalibur also has a more forgiving move buffering system than its contemporaries, making it easier to chain combos with less precise timing.
Can’t find it on Dreamcast? The original Soulcalibur is available through Xbox Live Arcade. There are also iOS and Android versions of the game you can play on your phone.
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