By: Chris Hodges, editor-in-chief
With the PlayStation and the Dreamcast sharing a (North American) birthday today, rather than choose just one to focus the weekly top five on, I’ve worked them both into a single list! These games are titles that are most widely associated as being PS1 games but actually had their best (and in most cases, lesser-known) versions on the Dreamcast. The only real criteria I had was that the games weren’t released for both systems at the same time or within just a month or so of each other, but long enough apart that it’s pretty clear the game was made for PS1 first and then ported to DC rather than both being made at the same time. Oh, and not all of these games were necessarily PS1 exclusive prior to coming to DC, just that the PS1 version is the best-known and/or “lead” version of the game.
At any rate, happy birthday to two of the best consoles of all time!
#5 – Test Drive: V-Rally (PS1 version was called Need for Speed: V-Rally 2)
Confusing naming inconsistencies aside, this is simply the second installment of the V-Rally trilogy. The Colin McRae Rally series may be the more well-known (and longer lasting), but many rally racing fans preferred the V-Rally series while it lasted, praising this installment in particular. And with no Dreamcast Colin McRae games, V-Rally 2 also held its own next to that series not only against its PS1 games but even into its PS2 era.
#4 – Spider-Man
Even in a post-Batman: Arkham world, Neversoft’s Spider-Man is still among the best comic book games ever made, arguably better than any of the webslinger’s later game offerings. If there is anything important to making a comic book video game visually true to the source material, it’s color, and the added horsepower from the Dreamcast made Spider-Man‘s colors pop that much more over the already-visually-impressive PS1 original.
#3 – Dino Crisis
Capcom loved bringing over its PS1 games to the Dreamcast, but in the cases of games like RE2 and Nemesis, the extra crispness of the DC’s graphical capabilities actually made the polygonal character models look worse against the pre-rendered backdrops. Having an entirely polygonal game world, Dino Crisis’ environments actually legitimately benefited from the move to the DC, giving the somewhat sterile environments an extra shine.
#2 – Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater
THPS2 also has a superior DC version, but it came out much closer to the PS1 release. Hitting just three months prior to the sequel’s PS1 debut, it may have seemed like an easy cash grab to still put the “old” THPS on the DC, but the vastly improved texture work more than justified its better-late-than-never existence. Plus, part 1 remained worth playing even after the sequel’s release, and this was the go-to version for those who stuck with it.
#1 – Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver
Soul Reaver did things that the PS1 shouldn’t have been capable of…and it sometimes showed in the game’s occasional framerate chugs and game-breaking glitches. All it really needed was another six months of developmental polish, which it got for the DC version. No, it won’t immediately hit you over the head with how much better it looks, but it didn’t need to look that much better. It just needed a little nudge of 96 extra bits.
No, I didn’t forget Bleemcast!
Although I didn’t consider Bleemcast!-compatible games for this list since they weren’t technically ported to Dreamcast, I’d be remiss if I didn’t call attention to the three PS1 classics that looked tremendous when played through the sadly short-lived and far too limited emulator (the original plan was for it to run any PS1 game on the DC with improved visuals). Enjoy the gallery below of how much better Metal Gear Solid, Tekken 3, and R4: Ridge Racer Type 4–the only three commercially released Bleemcast! discs–looked on the Dreamcast.