Dreamcast CollectionWhen I was but an impressionable, somewhat culturally wayward teen, I used to have a crush on Claire from Steps.

And while that may not seem the most obvious way to open a review about video games, it’s important for the telling lesson I’ve since learnt.

Just because something looked amazing and brought you great joy as a youngster, it doesn’t mean you’ll look on it quite so favourably 10 years later.


Claire Steps

Yet SEGA’s decision to release a Dreamcast compendium should – in theory – be able to sidestep naff graphics and dodgy gameplay mechanics – after all, as far as retro consoles go, the Dreamcast is unarguably the most beloved of them all.

It had some cracking titles and an army of diehard fans, so surely packaging together a few high-definition Xbox Live Arcade games in a handy budget collection (only £15) is a great way to bring Dreamcast joy to a whole new generation of fans.

To some degree, it works. Except we can’t help but feel they’ve chosen a rather odd selection of games to showcase.

Sonic Adventure is as bright, vibrant and speedily fun as when it first hit the scene in 1998, ushering in Sonic’s first proper 3D adventure. While it didn’t quite revolutionise the 3D platformer as well as Mario 64, it was an unashamedly buzzing action game – it’s just a shame that SEGA also felt fit to leave the insanely annoying camera and glitch-tastic bugs in place too, which – at times – renders gameplay all but obsolete as your little blue hedgehog fits all over the screen.

Then there’s Crazy Taxi, which – as a wee youngster – was an arcade favourite of mine. There’s little to it – you literally bounce around in your bright yellow taxi, picking up and dropping off customers around a hub world to a punky rock soundtrack.

The gameplay is still as pick-up-and-play as it ever was, but it’s a bit of a shift adjusting to the pinball, rigid driving mechanics in light of the last 15 years’ worth of control innovation. To make matters worse, the brilliant Offspring soundtrack of yore has been ditched – a change that may not sound a lot, but to fans of the original is a glaring omission.

Space Channel 5 Part 2 is another curio – we’ll openly admit it’s a grand rhythm action game, as you button press combo your way to make reporter Ulala pow-pow aliens with her dancing skills and space raygun. While it’s a fun distraction, we just can’t help but feel that there were so many other Dreamcast games to showcase. Still, at least it ratchets the surrealness up to truly bonkers levels – just watch out for the ‘Space Michael Jackson’ cameo.

Finally, there’s SEGA Bass Fishing. It may sound the lamest of the bunch, but it’s actually the most fun. The original Bass Fishing Rod controller is obviously absent, but the control conversion over to using the right analogue stick to reel in fish is surprisingly effective, and there’s a level of depth and longevity you’re unlikely to find elsewhere in the package.

So, all in all, it’s an oddly bittersweet package. The retro vibe is well and truly alive, and there’s certainly a lot to admire, but you can’t help but think SEGA missed out on some easy Wins – Kinect controls, bug fixes, and just a better selection of games are all criminally missing.

Bring us Shenmue, Jet Set Radio, Power Stone, and Samba De Amigo in Collection 2, and you’re talking.


SEGA Dreamcast Collection is on General Release now, and available on Xbox 360 and PC.