Five Dreamcast Games Better Than Street Fighter V

It’s no secret that the launch of Street Fighter V has been more than a little disappointing; an unfinished story mode, no arcade mode, a broken online component and the implementation of a quite frankly scary pay-to-unlock system.

While 'real' journalists have mostly rated the game highly, giving it the benefit of the doubt and assuming that because the core gameplay is solid, it will one day live up to their review scores, many fans have been extremely vocal in expressing their displeasure at the direction in which Capcom has taken the series. After spending a few days with the game myself, I’d mostly agree with them.
Probably not the best place to practice your drumming.
My first impressions were somewhat positive. The core gameplay and mechanics are certainly up there with the best in the series (if perhaps a little too similar to SFIV), but unfortunately it's been released in a drastically unfinished state. The general presentation and structure feels more like a free-to-play MOBA than a new entry to one of gaming’s biggest and longest running franchises. That’s all fine and dandy with me, many MOBAs are of high quality, but where they crossed the line was by charging full retail price. Capcom, you can’t have your cake and eat it. Either market and price the game as a free-to-play entry, or wait until the game is complete and release it in a finished form that warrants the price tag.

Unfortunately, this is the direction in which modern gaming seems to be moving these days. Welcome to the future...isn’t it just splendid?

Thankfully, as Dreamcast owners we have a wealth of Street Fighter games that, as crazy as it sounds, were actually completed before being pressed and immortalised onto GD-Roms. It’s insane the efforts these devs went to back in the day. Didn’t they realise? We’d have happily chucked money at any old half-baked turd. If only they’d shoved them in cheap metal cases and slapped the words 'limited edition' on the front, we’d have paid double! They must be kicking themselves at the potential lost earnings from the past couple of decades but fear not - they're making up for it now. And then some.

Anyway, I digress. Here are the DCJY team’s favourite Street Fighter-related Dreamcast games...OF ALL TIME!

Tom – Marvel Vs Capcom 2
I'll be the first to admit that I'm something of a novice when it comes to 2D fighters. I can remember the first time I played the original Street Fighter on my Amstrad CPC 464+ all those years ago and I was never taken with it. This didn't really change when Street Fighter 2 came to the Super Nintendo. I recall borrowing it from a friend at school and playing it on my sisters' SNES for all of about 10 minutes before losing interest. I know that probably sounds like sacrilege now, but that's just how it was. The same was true of most 2D fighters to be honest - Mortal Kombat, Eternal Champions, Rise of the Robots...actually, even the most fervent fighter fan would struggle to enjoy that last one so forget I mentioned it. I had a few notable titles on the Saturn (and Rakuga Kids on the N64) but it wasn't until the Dreamcast era that I really started to enjoy the 2D fighting genre, and the game that opened my eyes to how awesome they could be was Marvel Vs Capcom 2.
Twenty to two and people are fighting in the street. Shocking.
The bright, well animated sprites mixed with the impressive polygonal backdrops - it certainly looked unlike anything I'd seen in a fighter of this ilk previously. I know it wasn't the first game to mix these effects, but I was ignorant back then. Recently, I have warmed to the fighting games on the Dreamcast, launching myself into stuff like Guilty Gear X, the KOF series and JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. The thing is, even though all of these titles ooze quality, none of them comes close to Marvel Vs Capcom 2 in the 'pick up and play' department. The way in which you can just choose a team of three characters from the fantastic roster and instantly start hammering out all kinds of insane pyrotechnic specials is nothing short of brilliant. I'm not one to sit poring over manuals or lists of moves so I usually just resort to trying the old fail safe combos and button presses in order to make something awesome happen, and due to the control scheme in Marvel Vs Capcom 2 I do manage to get some enjoyment out of it. Actually, I manage to get a lot of enjoyment from it.
She's laddered her tights.
And that, in a nutshell, is why I chose this game for this list. Marvel Vs Capcom 2 allows even the most cack-handed of gamers (that's me, folks!) to look and feel like they're actually half decent at it. For me Marvel Vs Capcom 2 is the complete package - it's got a ton of amazing characters, some brilliant music and the way it plays is a great mix of n00b-friendly button mashing and expertly timed combo administration. Personally, I don't think it can be beaten on the Dreamcast.

Doc Eggfan – Street Fighter Alpha/ Zero 3
Let me start at the beginning, I was there when the original Street Fighter II arcade machine was a big thing. I played it at my local bowling alley whenever I was there. I played it in the back room of my small independent local video rental store almost everyday on the walk home from school. Whenever I see an original World Warrior arcade machine and hear that iconic attract music, my nostalgia gland explodes into a rainbow of endorphic bliss. In the wilderness years, I envied my SNES owning cousin until the glorious day that Championship Edition was released for my dear old Mega Drive and I played it to death with all characters and difficulty levels. My skills were second to none, and as Ryu (I know, boring) I would spam fireballs with gay abandon and with well timed roundhouse kicks to counter any aerial manoeuvres or a sneaky leg sweep if my opponent stayed grounded, I was unbeatable. Yep, I was that guy. Everyone hated me, and life was good.
Gets me every time. Can you hear the music too?
As the world turned and everyone moved on to the 32-bit/64-bit era, my loyalty to the ageing Mega Drive/Mega CD/32X monstrosity that I had constructed was unwavering, mainly because I was a dirt poor country bumpkin back then. The local arcades closed down, so I had no access to the successive generations of 2D fighters that came after Super Street Fighter II. As the genre evolved, I became out of touch with the super bar, super combos, custom combos, air blocking, air counters, team play, assist characters, parries, guard parries, air parries, etc. When I finally came back to the genre when I picked them up for Dreamcast years later, I was rudely shocked to find out just how bad it had become. I used to be a Street Fighter god, why do I keep getting my arse handed to me on a silver plate? I loved Grand Master Challenge for the nostalgia factor, but the game was named appropriately, because it continually and brutally reminded me that I was nowhere near as good as I thought I was, and it made me doubt I was ever any good at Street Fightering at all. I really tried to get into Third Strike, as I hear good things about it once it clicks, but I continue to resist learning the new formal defensive mechanics. Back in my day, all you needed to counter was a well-timed offensive move. I stuck with it for a while and managed to get to Gill, but after hours of trying to defeat him, rage quit and never played it again. Ever since, whenever I hear the word 'resurrection' I want to punch someone in the face.
I hate you. So very, very much.
So, almost by default, my favourite Street Fighter game on Dreamcast is Street Fighter Zero 3. It allows me to ignore all the advances the genre has made in regards to defensive play by choosing the X-ism fighting style, which balances my inability to learn new things with a slightly more damaging offensive style. It also brings back all of my favourite characters from the Street Fighter II era, so it has a good mix of the familiar and the new.
The NAOMI version was one of the few arcade games that allowed you to plug in your
Dreamcast's controller and VMU to unlock playable characters.
The game also holds the best memories for me, as I ran a small tournament at work once with the NAOMI conversion Street Fighter Zero 3 Upper, and found some like minded players who also had fond memories of the old era. Maybe one day I'll try and get up to speed with the modern play style, but for now Zero 3 panders to my crotchety old sensibilities, and for me is the most fun.

Caleb – Capcom Vs SNK Millenium Fight 2000
I struggled to figure out what game to pick for this article so I just decided to go with the one that I put the most hours in. This is the game I pop in to test controllers and the case is so beat it up I refer to it as the 'black tape edition' because it's held together with electrical tape. Millennium Fight 2000 is an amazing port of the arcade release and is very good at introducing the ratio and groove system.
Combining Capcom and SNK fighters into one game was crazy at the time.

People do specifically hate on the ratio system, but kudos to Capcom for attempting to try something new. I have run many video game events in the past and this game is easier to pick up and understand than the 6 groove system in Capcom vs. SNK 2. Honestly though, 'Millionaire Fighting' is a way better title. My main team was Cammy and Sagat all the way! I felt their move sets really complemented each other and kept my opponents off their game. Let me know who you main in the comments.
Ryo, the original rip off of Ryu.
Gagaman - Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike
For all it's modern day graphical detail and art style flourishes like paint whooshing around the characters of Street Fighter V, there's still something about the third instalment of the mainline series that as an animator enthusiast appeals to me much more. The sprites in this game are still to this day some of the most beautifully animated ever seen in a fighting game, and unlike Street Fighter IV which is already starting to look a bit clunky, the look of this game hasn't aged a bit. Mind you, I did prefer the background art in Double Impact, the previous versions of SFIII.
Behold! Double Impact's beautiful backgrounds.
But all of that would be pointless if the game was not fun to play. 3rd Strike is definitely one of the more challenging to master games in the series, with the parry system that I have still never been able to get down consistently, but even as a complete 'scrub' that mostly just mashes buttons and wiggles the stick about I still have a great time with this game. The characters all have a really nice solid feel to how they move, I particularly enjoy messing about as Q with his meaty punches and chopping off opponents' heads with Chun-Li.

Speaking of the characters that's another thing I really like about this one: it's not the same old SFII cast all over again but a pretty bizarre assortment of misfits including an opera singing goblin thing, a shape shifting monster and a scraggly old git wearing a bin bag. This game always felt like a bit of an underdog with Capcom really going all out to try some new weird ideas, especially when you consider they were originally planning to not even have Ryu and Ken it it, which wouldn't have bothered me as I never play them much anyway.
Twelve and Oro, two of the stranger characters in SFIII.

The1Ross - Gunspike (Cannon Spike)
As the newest member of the Junkyard team, I place fairly low on the picking order which means that my favourite games (SFIII 3rd Strike and CvS2) were already taken by the time it got to my turn, so for the sake of giving you readers a wee bit of variety, I’ve chosen to go with the unlikely Gunspike (aka Cannon Spike in the west).

Gunspike, while published by Capcom, was actually developed by Psyikyo and bears more than a passing resemblance to their other Naomi-->Dreamcast shmup offering, Zero Gunner 2. The two games share similar mechanics to the twin-stick shooters that flooded the previous gen of consoles…only without the twin sticks if that makes any sense, arena shooters as some people call them.
Zero Gunner 2, possibly my favourite DC shmup.
Both include some of Psikyo’s trademark features, namely a second loop or the hard version of the game upon completion of the final stage, and the early set of levels appearing randomly with scaled difficulty. Graphically the games look very similar, as they appear to share the same engine, as such many of the the mechanical enemies could be shoved straight into either game without looking out of place. The biggest difference between the two comes in the form of Cannon Spike's melee attacks; landing close range strikes will do huge amounts of damage to enemies but of course leave you open to avoid enemy fire. A nice little touch that forces players to calculate the risk and reward aspect of moving in close for a kill.
I was able to get to stage 8 on one credit arcade difficulty, so 1cc-ing the game is doable.

While certainly a good game, Gunspike is not quite up to the quality of the Dreamcast's best shmup offerings, The aforementioned Zero Gunner 2 is by far the superior game, but I'd still recommend this one if you can pick it up cheap or find "other means" to give it a shot.

So what does this have to do with Street Fighter? Well, two of the selectable characters are straight out of the Street Fighter universe; Cammy and Charlie (aka Nash in Japan). Both characters fit well with the game's setting and atmosphere (once you get over them wearing roller blades that is. Yes, roller blades!) and the in game melee attacks are even taken straight from their famous Street Fighter move sets, the name of the game in the west was even renamed after one of Cammy's signature moves that features in the game, "Cannon Spike".
Other notable characters include Arthur from
Ghosts and Goblins fame and Megaman.

The Results of the DCJY FB Group Poll

Complete list of Dreamcast Street Fighter Games

Super Street Fighter IIX for Matching Service (CPS2)
Street Fighter III Double Impact (CPS3)
Street Fighter III 3rd Strike (CPS3)
Street Fighter Alpha 3/ Street Fighter Zero 3 (Naomi - Street Fighter Zero 3 Upper)
Street Fighter Zero 3 for Matching Service (Naomi - Street Fighter Zero 3 Upper)
Marvel vs Capcom (CPS2)
Marvel s Capcom 2 (Naomi)
Capcom vs SNK Millenium Fight 2000 (Naomi)
Capcom vs SNK Millenium Fighter 2000 Pro (Naomi)
Capcom vs SNK 2  (Naomi)
Super Puzzle Fighter IIX For Matching Service (CPS2)
Capcom Taisen Fan Disk
Cannnon Spike/ Gun Spike  (Naomi - features Cammy as a playable character)
Taisen Net Gimmick: Capcom vs Psikyo Allstars (Mahjong game feauturing characters, among others, from the Street Fighter Universe)
Tech Romancer/ Chokou Senki Kikaiou (Capcom Sony ZN-2 Hardware - Shizuka bares more than a passive resemblance to Karin Kanzuki)


jackef92 said...

Never a massive fan of the street fighter games but I loved ready to rumble awesome game

TheSkillJim said...

Tech Romancer is amazing!

DCGX said...

Great article. Some of the best fighters, still, are on Dreamcast!

How playable is the mahjong game without knowing Japanese?