As the name suggests, Evolution 2 is the sequel to the rather formulaic RPG Evolution: World of Sacred Device. Released in 2002, Evolution 2 was one of the last games to be released for the Dreamcast before Sega pulled the plug and as such it sold fairly poorly. Presumably because everyone was too busy rushing out to buy Wild Wild Racing on PS2. Urgh. I haven’t played Evolution 2 personally, but from reviews and videos online I have deduced that it is quite similar to the prequel in design – it’s a fairly decent-looking dungeon crawler that incorporates turn-based combat. According to the game’s Wikipedia entry, Far Off Promise was only available in the UK through GAME stores, so this undoubtedly limited sales even further, as back then there were a couple of alternative chains that also sold Dreamcast titles - Gamestation and Electronics Boutique have both since been assimilated by GAME in a fashion similar to that of the Borg. A combination of low sales, limited availability and the demise of the Dreamcast have inevitably lead to Evolution 2 becoming a highly sought after title.
Imagine Mario Party but with Sonic and his furry/spiny chums instead of the famous non-plumbing plumber and you'll have a good idea what Sonic Shuffle is all about. It looks fairly nice, with it's cell-shaded character models and bright, vibrant background visuals. The problem I've heard many times whenever Sonic Shuffle comes up in conversation is that it's actually a little bit dull. Sonic Shuffle is by no means the rarest or most valuable game in this list, but it still fetches some silly money.
Project Justice: Rival Schools 2
Here's a story for you. I got my first Dreamcast a few weeks after it launched in the UK in October 1999. I kept that system for the entire time that Sega was still supporting it, and only got rid when I eventually traded it in along with about 60-ish games for a PS2 and no games (yes, I'm an idiot). One of those 60-odd games was Project Justice, and it was amongst my favourite fighters back then. The copy I have now only exists as part of a CD-R 'fighting collection,' and the reason for this is the amount of money the game costs to buy as a legit version. While the quality of some of the other games mentioned here is questionable, that of Rival Schools 2 is not - it is a superlative fighting game from Capcom and features some great characters, artwork and - above all - game play. The presentation is brash and loud and the characters are big and chunky and are able to perform some really outlandish moves on each other - Rival Schools really is a fantastic game.
A game that needs no introduction, Rez is one of the Dreamcast's most original titles. Playing like a stylized version of Panzer Dragoon, this on-rails shooter allows the player to switch the view from front, back, left and right while letting them target multiple enemies and basting them all at the same time. It is quite a lot of fun and the visuals are very interesting but again, it is a game that will see you digging deep into your pockets if you want an official copy. Rez is a bit of an exception to the rule of this list in that it isn't especially rare per se - it is just sought after, much like Conker's Bad Fur Day on N64. There was a PS2 port that you can pick up for pittance these days, but if you want the original Dreamcast game you will be lucky to pay less than £40 for it.
I remember going into a branch of Gamestation back in the day and seeing MoHo on the self. I thought it looked a bit guff so I didn't buy it (incidentally, I got Project Justice: Rival Schools 2 that day), but if I'd known just how valuable and sought-after it would later become, I would have bought a couple of copies and put them in a vault. Well, probably just a box under the bed...but you get the idea. Moho was released on both the PS1 and the Dreamcast, but for some reason the latter version garnered 'rare' status, possibly down to the fact that it didn't sell many copies. The premise in MoHo is what turned me off buying it all those years ago in that branch of Gamestation in Bolton town centre - you play as a robot with a ball where the legs should be, and you basically pootle around various skatepark-esque levels collecting tokens before the timer runs out. It looks fairly nice on the DC, but that's about as much as I can say about MoHo, having never played it personally.
Possibly the rarest PAL game on the Dreamcast, Taxi 2 is a France-only title that coincided with the release of the French action movie Taxi 2. As far as I know, Taxi is a pretty big brand in France and the movie series is fairly popular over on the continent – there are four films in total and it even received a Hollywood makeover a few years back starring…um…Queen Latifah. The game’s rarity is presumably down to low sales in a fairly restricted market: I don’t know exactly how many Dreamcasts were sold in France, but I can imagine that the number was fairly small. The game is apparently pretty bad – you simply drive a Taxi from point A to point B before the timer runs out. The routes are enclosed, meaning there is no Crazy Taxi style free-roaming, and the graphics look fairly ropey in all honesty, like a hi-res PS1 game. I suppose the appeal of Taxi 2 is that it was only ever released to the French gaming public and that it’s a PAL-only title. If you do own a copy, then hold on to it as you have a pretty rare and desirable game on your hands…probably don’t play it though, as the illusion that rarity equates to quality will be smashed to smithereens.
The rarity and desirability of the games listed here more than likely has a direct link to the numbers that were sold when they were available to buy on the shop shelves. Any inventory that was left unsold was likely destroyed, meaning the quantity of physical copies is limited to the number actually bought by Dreamcast owners at the time. Sales figures I've seen for even the highest-selling Dreamcast games are still woefully poor compared to PS1 and even N64 in the same time frame, so the price and scarcity of any of the titles in this list is likely to continue to increase as time goes by.
I've only focused on the PAL region in this article because it's my own area of expertise, but if you can shed light on the rarer and more valuable games in either NTSC-J or NTSC-U libraries, be sure to let us know in the comments.