You see, we can easily recall the monumental highs of Shenmue, Soul Calibur, Crazy Taxi and the other genre-defining software titles that make up the star-studded top tier of the software lineup; however just like every other console, the Dreamcast has a number of sub-par titles. Games that are just plain bad for any number of reasons. Games that should really be avoided unless you're one of those 'full set' collector types (you know who you are). To this end, we thought it was about time that we looked to the other end of the spectrum and brought you a run down of the most insipid and downright reprehensible games ever to 'grace' a Dreamcast. And by 'grace,' I mean be deposited onto the console through the weeping anus of a particularly unpleasant and malodorous giant.
|Yep - LJN returned from the grave for one last troll on the Dreamcast|
Spec Ops II: Omega Squad
There's no denying that the Spec Ops franchise got pretty good in later years - Spec Ops: The Line is one of the better shooters of its generation and presented a unique perspective from which the tragedies of war are viewed in games. It wasn't always like this though, as is evidenced by the atrocious mess that is Spec Ops II: Omega Squad on the Dreamcast. The game begins well, offering you a host of missions to attempt in a plethora of locations from around the world, with a nice level of variety in objectives. You also get the usual choice of operatives to control, each with suitable weapon load-outs and abilities - snipers, demolition experts, grenadiers etc.
90 Minutes: Sega Championship Football
It's no secret that the Dreamcast never really got a world class football (soccer) title, and this is mainly due to the lack of support from either Konami or EA in my humble opinion. A true Dreamcast optimised port of either FIFA or Pro Evolution Soccer would have helped the Dreamcast out no end, but instead we had to make do with the average-at-best offerings from Silicon Dreams (Sega Worldwide Soccer/Dream Soccer), Virgin Interactive (European Super League), Rage (UEFA Striker) and Sega (Virtua Striker 2). Towards the end of the Dreamcast's life, another football game sneaked onto the shelves though, and it came from a development team with quite some credibility: Smilebit. If you're not familiar with that name, go and play Jet Set Radio for a bit and then come back.
Spirit of Speed 1937
The first slightly dodgy thing I noticed about Spirit of Speed 1937 when playing it again for this feature, is that the title screen announces the game as The Spirit of Speed. There's no mention of the year 1937, and while that may not seem like too much of an oversight, this lack of attention to detail is indicative of pretty much every other aspect of Broadsword Interactive's vintage vehicular pile-up. The setting for this racing game - the year 1937 - is certainly original and while motor racing in this pre-World War II era wasn't as technologically advanced as modern Formula 1, it was every bit as exciting and far more dangerous for those taking part. Safety measures in the early days of motor racing were something of an afterthought and the vehicles were basically missiles, so I can totally appreciate why a developer would want to base a racing game in this period. In reality though, Spirit of Speed 1937 is a masterclass in how not to make a racing game.
While it is commendable that Mucky Foot Productions and Eidos chose to release a game with a black female lead character in an era where white male lead characters (with the exception of Lara Croft, naturally) were di rigueur; that they chose to stuff her into a game so critically substandard relinquishes any praise due. Urban Chaos originally launched on the PC and received some pretty respectable reviews, but when it was ported to the contemporary consoles it appears that quality control was thrown to the wind. Playing like a pre-GTA 3 GTA 3 clone, players are tasked with controlling a rookie cop named D'arci Stern (or a vigilante called Roper on occasion) and taming the crime ridden streets of Union City. It's an ambitious title if truth be told and there are a lot of interesting aspects to the adventure - indeed on paper it all sounds rather appealing. You have free reign to go anywhere you want in the city, you can engage in hand-to-hand combat or firefights with weapons and you can climb into vehicles and drive around. Sadly, what comes across on paper is not really what you get in practice.
Nightmare Creatures II
The graphics are virtually identical to the PlayStation version (including the heavily pixellated environment textures) and the number of glitches is astronomical. Hit detection, warping scale of enemies, invisible walls, unappealing character design, illogical swimming and climbing controls and some painfully formulaic 'find the key to open this door' gameplay make Nightmare Creatures II one to avoid at all costs.
ECW Anarchy Rulz
I suppose this entry could cover all of the Acclaim wresting games on the Dreamcast and not just the final one in the whole shoddy series. That's because WWF Attitude and both ECW Hardcore Revolution and Anarchy Rulz are essentially the same game with slightly different front ends and character textures. Everything else is just reused from the previous game, WWF Warzone. And while Warzone was considered something of a looker on the previous generation of consoles something went awry when it was ported to the Dreamcast.
Star Wars: Demolition
Here's an idea. Take the winning formula from Vigilante 8, take out all the good stuff and replace it with a bunch of nobodies from the Star Wars universe. That's essentially what Star Wars: Demolition is. It's a vehicular arena shooter that sounds like a corking idea on paper but once again the actual game falls well short of what is being promised by the guff on the back of the box. You'd think that being able to fly around in a Snowspeeder or take control of an AT-ST would result in some great battles, especially when set in such iconic locales as Hoth or Mos Eisley.
Exhibition of Speed
Another game we've looked at recently, Exhibition of Speed is anything but. The only thing it's an exhibition of is, is how to make a fucking reprehensible game. If you'd like to look at the full article, then go here...but once again I realise this is the internet and people don't like clicking away from what they're reading so I'll save you the abject stress of opening another browser window. I'm being totally and depressingly honest when I say that Exhibition of Speed is literally one of the worst racing games ever made - and that includes Spirit of Speed 1937...and every other bad racer you can recall.
this video) and leave it festering on eBay where you saw it. Yes, it's a PAL exclusive so many people in other territories may not have had the displeasure of sampling it, but you really aren't missing anything. If I had the resources, I would buy up every copy of this game and fire the entire shipment into the sun so nobody had to play it ever again.
As a real life motorcyclist I've always been envious of those bikers who can afford a machine from Ducati. Most of my bikes have been Japanese models from either Honda or Suzuki, but a Ducati...well, that would be a dream to own. That said, if real life Ducati ownership was anything like the simulation presented by Ducati World, I feel I've dodged a bullet. For that, I am truly thankful.
Jeremy McGrath Supercross 2000
One of the most glaring discoveries I've made while creating this article is just how many of the games on this list were either published or developed (or both) by Acclaim Entertainment, or Acclaim pretending to be LJN. It could appear at first glance that I'm actually singling the defunct studio out but this really is just a coincidence, fuelled by Acclaims consistently poor output on the Dreamcast...and McGrath Supercross 2000 is just another example of this lacklustre portfolio. It's really odd when you think about it, because back during the N64's heyday Acclaim were one of the biggest and most respected publishers around thanks in part to stuff like Turok and the Extreme G series. That said, once the Dreamcast arrived Acclaim's output as both a publisher and developer got even more erratic in terms of quality and in-house titles tike Supercross 2000 show just how shoddy its games could be.
As mentioned briefly in the introduction, I'm aware that there are other games that should probably be included in this list; but there are a couple of notably poor titles I personally haven't experienced at the time of writing (Centipede, Frogger, Taxi 2 and MoHo all spring to mind). Ultimately though, all of this is just my opinion. You may disagree, and in that case which games do you think should be condemned and transported to Australia to dig ditches in the outback with Scott 'Doc Eggfan' Marley? Please feel free to let us know in the comments. Right, I'm going for that lie down now.