Over the years there have been some real surprises in what programmers with a lot of spare time have managed to pull off on the Dreamcast, making it play games from consoles that no one thought it could. What’s more, the emulation scene for the DC is ever expanding, so there are bound to be more surprises around the corner. I’m dreaming of Mega CD and 32X emulation myself. For now though, these are the Top 5 emulators that have impressed me the most.
5 - AES4ALL
I only just got my hands on this yesterday, but already it’s blown me away. The Neo-Geo AES was the rich hardcore gamers console choice of the 16-bit era, providing direct ports of SNK’s quality arcade titles (there is also a emulator for the Neo Geo CD, but I have yet to try this) . This emulator pulls the games off very, very well, with it only slowing down on really hectic moments in very graphically intense games like Metal Slug. Over wise a good load of games work very well indeed, and the games you can get really are something of a hardcore gamers wet-dream. If you like your 2D fighters, scrolling shooters and Puzzle games, your in for a real treat by picking this up.Get it Here.
Favourites to play on it: Metal Slug X, and that disc-throwing game I forget the name of.
4 - MAME4ALL
Considering how this one is only in Alpha stages, this one has a lot to give. One of the real treats of this emulator is the variety of games you can load into it. Around two decades worth of arcade titles are at your grasp, from the oldies like Space Invaders and Pac-Man right up to the early 90’s games like Street Fighter II and Final Fight. While not all games run perfectly in it yet, there are so many that do that you’ll be playing it for hours.
Get it Here.
Favourites to play on it: 3 Wonders, Street Fighter II, all the old Namco and Atari stuff.
3 - Bleemcast!
The only emulator in existence that not only re-creates the graphics of a console, but enhances them. Bleemcast is something of a miracle that it was ever pulled off at all, even if we only got 3 complete game discs. Mind you, there’s nothing more enjoyable (and money wasting) than picking up old Playstation games at boot sales for a quid each and seeing what ones run in the leaked beta disc. You can also pick up converters for your Dreamcast that let you use Playstation controllers, so even the lack of L2 and R2 buttons is not a problem if you’re willing to splash out on one for around £15. If Bleem was released as it was originally intended, with compatibility for hundreds of games on just a few discs, and the save files didn’t take up an entire memory card, this would surely be in the top spot. A real shame Sony had to sue them into a early grave.
Get it Here.
Favourites to play on it: Tekken 3, Pepsiman, Parappa the Rapper
2 - Nester DC
With one of the biggest game libraries of any console, including more classics than you could possibly count, a NES emulator is a god-send for those of us who don’t want to keep blowing the insides of the cartridges and kicking the darn box for being so temperamental. NesterDC takes away the pain, and gives you oodles in return, including 99.9% perfect, full speed emulation, save features, Game-Genie codes, and many other bit and bobs. You may miss the small block controller, but if you really have the time and patience there’s even a way around that.
Get it Here.
Favourites to play on it: Punch-Out, River City Ransom, Gun Smoke, Excite Bike
As superb as NesterDC is, I’ve given t top spot of my list to..
1 - SMS Plus
Yes, this emulator not only emulates TWO systems, the Master System and it’s little brother Game Gear, but it does so with such devotion and class that it could make a grown man cry. Professionally presented, with countless options to suit your needs (adjust the screen, save a list of favourite games to your VMU etc) and with a menu design full of animations so good you’d think Sega themselves made it. As for the games themselves, they work a real treat, with 98% of them running at full speed with no glitches in the sound or graphics. This is just about the best representation of a console’s library the Dreamcast has seen yet. SMS Plus, we salute you!
Get it Here.
Favourites to play on it: Sonic Chaos, Alex Kidd series, Slider
DreamSNES (Which would be great if not for that slow game menu that makes the Dreamcast go nuts)
UAE4ALL (An Amiga emulator with great potential, and one of my all-time favourite systems)
So what are you waiting for? Hunt these things down and get down with some retro goodness!