- Dreamcast had a strong library of challenging games, covering various genres like RPGs, fighting games, and adventure games.
- Mortal Kombat Gold, Skies of Arcadia, and Crazy Taxi were some of the most challenging games on the Dreamcast.
- Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, Resident Evil Code: Veronica, Illbleed, Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future, and Ikaruga were also difficult games on the Dreamcast.
The Dreamcast was easily a console that never reached its full potential, as it was discontinued by Sega in 2001. Featuring a strong library of first-party games and some fantastic third-party sports titles, it was a console that everyone could find something to play on. But some of the best games that were produced for the console featured complex systems and challenging design, something that’s been a part of the fabric of Sega since the beginning.
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The Dreamcast had its fair share of classic games in its library, and while some show their age these are still just as fun all these years later.
What stands out about the Dreamcast’s most difficult games is the variety. Everything from RPGs to fighting games, all the way to shmups and adventure games, Sega made a point to cover all their bases when it comes to their hardest games.
8 Mortal Kombat Gold
GameFAQs Difficulty Ranking: 3.02/5
- Release Date: 1999-09-09
- Developer: Eurocom
- Platforms: Dreamcast
Sega and Mortal Kombat go way back, as it was the Genesis version of the original game that featured a blood code to restore the violence that other home console versions lacked. This updated version of Mortal Kombat 4, a Dreamcast exclusive, was keen on continuing the franchise tradition of offering a challenging tower of fighters to face off against.
Familiar faces like Sub-Zero, Sonya, and Raiden were joined by a few characters that had been absent from Mortal Kombat for a bit, such as Baraka and Cyrax. The AI is quick, forcing the player to fully come to grips with its impressive 3D engine. MK Gold is a tight, aggressive fighting game that is one of the most challenging fighters on the system.
7 Skies Of Arcadia
GameFAQs Difficulty Ranking: 3.05/5
Skies of Arcadia
- January 27, 2003
The Dreamcast was home to some truly fantastic RPGs, some of which could be counted among the best of the generation. But perhaps no RPG on the console challenges the player as much as Skies of Arcadia, as its large world and fantastic turn-based battle system tests the mettle of its audience like no other.
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Set in the eponymous kingdom known as Arcadia, this turn-based role-playing game puts the player in the middle of a dangerous world that is ripe for exploration. Battles often feel dangerous due to the open-ended feeling of the world, as players need to make use of airships to find better gear and fill out the map. It’s an intoxicating loop that will often put the player at risk, which still feels great to play to this day.
6 Crazy Taxi
GameFAQs Difficulty Ranking: 3.08/5
- February 12, 1999
Like so many of the greatest games on the Dreamcast, Crazy Taxi began its life in the arcades and was easily one of Sega’s greatest accomplishments during this generation. One thing that makes Crazy Taxi so fabulous to play is the amount of skill and memory required to achieve a high score, as driving through the frenetic streets and remembering the best routes is crucial.
So, while it’s possible to simply play the game by driving passengers from point A to point B, the true test of Crazy Taxi is to combine stunts, big jumps, and shortcuts to maximize time and get a higher score. It’s a simple concept with deep execution.
5 Legacy Of Kain: Soul Reaver
GameFAQs Difficulty Ranking: 3.13/5
Legacy Of Kain: Soul Reaver
- August 16, 1999
- Action-Adventure , Platformer , Fighting , Puzzle , Adventure
Originally released on the PlayStation 1 in 1999, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver on the Dreamcast featured numerous improvements and is still the definitive way to play it. As an early attempt at solving the 3D perspective issue of the 1990s, Soul Reaver took a chance by presenting a dangerous and challenging world to explore.
This dark, dreary world is complemented by the nightmarish enemies and monsters that inhabit it. Soul Reaver pits the main character Raziel against Lovecraftian creatures, as well as some fearsome bosses. The two battles against series villain Kain and the hideous Zephon are highlights, tasking the player with using all of their extraordinary abilities to survive.
4 Resident Evil – Code: Veronica
GameFAQs Difficulty Ranking: 3.42/5
Resident Evil CODE:Veronica
- February 29, 2000
- Survival Horror
Resident Evil is a franchise that has tended to find joy in challenging the player, either through tricky puzzles, boss battles, or overwhelming them with zombies and other creatures. And Resident Evil Code: Veronica, which originally started development as a way to bring Resident Evil 2 to the Sega Saturn, was not going to abandon that.
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By the time of its release, the franchise had started to ignore the survival aspect and had started transitioning into more action-focused adventures. But Code: Veronica started to eek back towards that philosophy, as conserving ammo was a huge part of the design once more.
GameFAQs Difficulty Ranking: 3.79/5
- Release Date: 2001-04-16
- Developer: Crazy Games
- Platform: Dreamcast
Illbleed was initially conceived as a sequel to the Dreamcast exclusive action game Blue Stinger, but it eventually became a survival horror title influenced by film contemporaries like Scream. This unique horror game stars a cast of six playable characters, each of them exploring theme parks based on fictional horror films.
Combat is not a focus of Illbleed. Instead, the game focuses on solving puzzles and getting rid of traps. Before games like Eternal Darkness popularized sanity meters, Illbleed tasked players with watching and maintaining multiple bars that, if left unchecked, could result in death.
2 Ecco The Dolphin: Defender Of The Future
GameFAQs Difficulty Ranking: 3.91/5
- Release Date: 2000-08-15
- Developer: Appaloosa Interactive
- Platforms: Dreamcast, PS2
As Ecco the Dolphin originated during the 16-bit generation of consoles, it was a franchise steeped in challenge, as the original games on the Genesis were quite hard. So, when Sega decided to bring the Ecco series into the third dimension, they brought the same degree of difficulty along with it.
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Those looking for the best fishing games have come to the right plaice, as these fantastic fishing sims really are the reel deal.
It’s rather easy to get lost, as the levels are fairly wide open and prone to misleading the player. In addition to getting lost, the variety of different underwater enemies is also quite aggressive in their pursuit of the player, as Ecco is under attack from sharks, turtles, and a pesky manta ray.
GameFAQs Difficulty Ranking: 4.22/5
- April 15, 2003
- Shoot ’em Up
If there’s any genre that has a well-earned reputation for difficulty, it’s the shmup. These quarter-munching games originated in the arcades, but their transition into home consoles kept the trademark high skill level requirement intact. One of the hardest, most difficult shmups on the Dreamcast, and indeed of all time, is Ikaruga.
Developed by Treasure as a spiritual successor to Radiant Silvergun, Ikaruga also sought to change the expectations of the genre, as it foregoes power-ups and instead relies on the player to make use of its unique mechanics to survive. By swapping between black and white, the player can absorb bullets from their current color to tee up a powerful laser blast. It’s a truly unique and often outrageously difficult game but is still just as rewarding today as it was back then.
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Sony really upped the difficulty for players with the following games which were released for the PlayStation 2.