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The Sega Dreamcast Survival Horror Library – RetroGaming with Racketboy

Video Best dreamcast horror games

Presented by Ack

See also: Survival Horror 101 and Survival Horror Games and Franchises That Defined the Genre

The success of Resident Evil for the PlayStation really brought horror games to the forefront of gaming, finally giving them a genre name to call their own. Unfortunately, much like the success of Street Fighter during the 16-bit era, it would lead to a slew of clones, ranging from decent to garbage. Even the next generation would see their share, and the Dreamcast is no exception. But what were the survival horror games on the Dreamcast? How do they play? And were they any good? I decided to take a look to find out.

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Before we begin, it’s important to note that any time “Tank Controls” are mentioned, it means the Resident Evil movement scheme that so many have complained about over the years. Up is forward, down is back, left and right rotate the character. The majority of horror games would still be using them at this time, though the practice would largely drop after the death of the Dreamcast.

Also, though this is everything I found for survival horror, these are not the only games with horror elements. Titles like Shadowman, Typing of the Dead, and Zombie Revenge all incorporate horror imagery and themes, though their gameplay really doesn’t lend them to the SH category, at least not in my mind.

Resident Evil 2

Synopsis: Umbrella Corporation’s bio-weapons experiments are let loose in Raccoon City. A rookie cop, Leon Kennedy, and the younger sister of a S.T.A.R.S. officer, Claire Redfield, must team up to survive as they attempt to understand what is going on in their town and escape it before it kills them. Release Date: December 15, 2000 (USA) Developer: Capcom, Angel Studios Publisher: Capcom, Virgin Interactive (EU) No. of Discs: 2 Controls:

  • A = Run/Cancel
  • B = Status Screen
  • X = Action/Fire Weapon When Raised
  • Y = Map Screen
  • START = Options Menu
  • L TRIGGER = Change Targets
  • R TRIGGER = Raise Weapon

Movement Style: Tank controls. Camera: Fixed VMU: Displays name of current weapon, loaded ammunition, and status. Save Blocks Required: 8 Personal Opinion: This is my absolute favorite Resident Evil game. It took everything done well in the first game, then increased the scope from a house to an entire city and let me play as a couple of greenhorns as opposed to specially-trained police officers. In fact, Resident Evil 2 on the PlayStation was my first foray into the genre, so the game is very heavy with nostalgia, so please pardon if my opinion is a bit skewed. I do have to knock it in comparison to other Dreamcast games, since graphically it was designed on a weaker console, but the trade off is that it comes with all the artwork and unlockables of the PC version, including concept art. Seriously, if you’re new to the genre, or if you’ve never gotten the chance to play it, this is an excellent starting point. Highly recommended. Notes: Arranged game available from start. Video: Intro / Gameplay Shop for Game: Amazon / eBay

Resident Evil 3: Nemesis

Synopsis: Jill Valentine returns in the third installment of the official Resident Evil storyline. This time she must escape a Raccoon City overrun by hordes of the undead while being hunted by Nemesis, an enormous bio-weapon sent to kill the members of S.T.A.R.S. team. Release Date: November 17, 2000 (USA) Developer: Capcom Publisher: Capcom No. of Discs: 1 Controls:

  • A = Run/Cancel
  • B = Status Screen
  • X = Action/Attack When Weapon Is Raised/Zooms Map
  • Y = Map Screen
  • START = Game Config Screen
  • L TRIGGER = Dodge/Change Target/Raise Weapon
  • R TRIGGER = Dodge/Change Target/Raise Weapon

Movement Style: Tank controls. Camera: Fixed. VMU: Shows current status, including poison. In pause or inventory screens, shows portrait of current character. Save Blocks Required: 12 Personal Opinion: While I do think this is where the series starts to go downhill, it’s only because Resident Evil 2 was such an awesome entry. This game is still good, and Capcom did an excellent job with the locales. I actually feel like I’m wandering city streets, though in reality the game’s not nearly as open as I would have liked. Still, there’s solid gameplay here and Nemesis doesn’t fail to impress. Running from him is tough, but exhilarating. I should note, much like RE2, the graphics were not improved from the title’s PlayStation version. Notes: Alternate costumes and mini-game unlocked from the start. Video: Intro / Gameplay Shop for Game: Amazon / eBay

Resident Evil: Code Veronica

Synopsis: While search for her brother, Claire Redfield is captured by Umbrella Corporation and sent to their private prison and military training facility island. There she must fend off yet another zombie outbreak while also battling against the weirdest pair of twins on the face of the earth, an effeminate multiple-personality disorder sufferer who thinks he’s his sister, and a royal bitch with a God complex. Release Date: February 29, 2000 (USA) Developer: Nextech Corporation Publisher: Capcom, Eidos (EU) No. of Discs: 2 Controls:

  • A = Run/Cancel
  • B = Status Screen/Cancel
  • X = Action
  • Y = Map Screen
  • START = Options Menu
  • L TRIGGER = Change Targets
  • R TRIGGER = Raise Weapon

Movement Style: Tank controls. Camera: Fixed VMU: Shows current status, including poison. In pause or inventory screens, shows portrait of current character. Save Blocks Required: 11 Personal Opinion: It’s still Resident Evil, but the plot in this one is pretty bad, and after having watched the opening cinematic, I really just couldn’t sympathize with the characters. This game is one of the harder of the original Resident Evils to me, mostly because you start surrounded by enemies and the game just doesn’t seem to let up until you’ve made it to the second disc. I also felt that by this title the Resident Evil formula had grown somewhat stale, which is a shame as this is still a decent game. I’d definitely recommend it to fans who don’t mind a lack of real innovation, though newcomers to the series should start with an earlier title. Notes: Unlockable mini-game which allows first-person view. First Resident Evil to not use pre-rendered backgrounds. Video: Intro & Gameplay Shop for Game: Amazon / eBay

Dino Crisis

Synopsis: The Secret Operation Raid Team (SORT) has sent an operative to investigate a research facility on Ibis Island. The agent reports that the facility is conducting a secret weapons project. A team of four SORT members are sent in to capture the research head, Dr. Edward Kirk. Once the SORT members arrive, they discover dinosaurs have overrun the facility, so are forced to fend them off while attempting to complete their mission. Release Date: November 14, 2000 (USA) Developer: Capcom Publisher: Capcom, Virgin Interactive (EU) No. of Discs: 1 Controls:

  • A = Run/Quick Turn/Confirm
  • B = Cancel
  • X = Cancel/Action/Attack When Weapon Is Raised
  • Y = Inventory Screen
  • START = Pause
  • L TRIGGER = Change Targets
  • R TRIGGER = Raise Weapon

Movement Style: Tank controls. Camera: Fixed VMU: Displays name of current weapon, loaded ammunition, and status. The word VITALITY flashes when you are bleeding. Save Blocks Required: 8 Personal Opinion: It’s Resident Evil with dinosaurs. Seriously. You will be making Jurassic Park quotes before you finish this game. The only real strike against it that I have(beyond it technically being a Capcom-made Resident Evil-clone in every respect) is that it holds true to Capcom’s PS1 to DC ports: graphically it looks outdated, and there are some issues with polygon errors. But since when did that stop retrogamers? The inventory is also a bit of a hassle, but it does allow for the player to handle a larger quantity of items easier. If you can see past these issues, this is very much a quality title. By all means, pick it up. Notes: Does not work with VGA cables unless the VGA swap trick is used(still displays a black screen for FMVs). Unlockables include alternate costumes, infinite ammunition for one weapon, and an alternate game mode. Video: Intro & Gameplay Shop for Game: Amazon / eBay

Blue Stinger

Synopsis: In the year 2000 an island appears where the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago crashed into the Earth. Eighteen years later, the island is home to a biotech corporation performing various experiments. Meanwhile, a young ESER agent named Eliot Ballade is vacationing nearby when a new meteor collides with the island, forming an impenetrable dome around it. Now a mysterious creature named Nephilim is following Eliot around, and he must figure out with the help of his friends Dogs and Janine the secret of the island and why these events have taken place. Release Date: August 31, 1999 (USA) Developer: Climax Graphics Publisher: Sega (Japan), Activision (USA) No. of Discs: 1 Controls:

  • A = Action
  • B = Cancel/Swim
  • X = (Eliot)Attacks With Close-Range Weapon. Rapidly Press For Combo/(Dogs) Defends
  • Y = (Eliot)Fires Long-Range Weapon/(Dogs) Attacks With Equipped Weapon
  • START = Menu Screen/Audio-Visual Unit When Prompted
  • L TRIGGER = Zooms Map Out
  • R TRIGGER = (Eliot)Fires Long-Range Weapon/(Dogs) Attacks With Equipped Weapon/Zooms Map In

Movement Style: 3D movement. Camera: Varies(see notes) VMU: Shows picture of character currently selected. Save Blocks Required: 4 Personal Opinion: It’s fun, but the massive amount of firepower and infinite healing items kinda kills any fear I might have had of this title. There are a few parts that can be difficult, though for the most part the game’s pretty easy. I did love the monster designs, and the Christmas decorations made me laugh. Some of the little touches were kinda freaky, like the bloody supermarket or having to navigate exposed pipes after an earthquake. It’s still a great action game and definitely worth a look. Notes: Camera style changes depending on region. Japan fixed, America free-floating behind character. Unlockables can be obtained by beating the game in under specific amounts of time. Video: Intro Shop for Game: Amazon / eBay

Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare

Synopsis: After the murder of his best friend, Edward Carnby heads off to Shadow Island to get revenge and recover three stone tablets that his friend was searching for. He is joined by Aline Cedrac, a young archaeologist with a possible hidden agenda. On the way their plane is attacked by something not seen, and the two are separated. Release Date: September 24, 2001 (USA) Developer: Darkworks Publisher: Infogrames No. of Discs: 2 Controls:

  • A = Action/Attack When Weapon Is Raised/Walkie Talkie In Equipment Menu
  • B = Switch Flashlight On/Off
  • X = Run/Map In Equipment Menu
  • Y = Equipment Menu/Actual Equipment Menu
  • START = Options Menu
  • L TRIGGER = Deactivate Auto Lock
  • R TRIGGER = Raise Weapon

Movement Style: Tank controls. Camera: Fixed VMU: Shows title of game. Save Blocks Required: 12 Personal Opinion: I had played both the PlayStation and Game Boy Color versions of this title before ever trying the Dreamcast version, and both had left negative impressions on me, so I really wasn’t expecting much. After a few minutes, I have mixed feelings. As far as controls, there was a need for a lot of buttons in this game and the Equipment Menu handles it well. I also like that the analog stick is used for flashlight control. Graphically it’s very nice, and while I’m generally annoyed with jump scenes as a horror device, this title’s good about their placement. Voice acting could use some work, but not as bad as some other titles. It’s the quirks that get me, like a 2-cylinder, 12-shot revolver and a 3-barrel shotgun. Also, ambiguous names like Shadow Island don’t exactly thrill me. All in all, I feel the Dreamcast version is the superior of the three I’ve tried, and it’s not a terrible game. Not perfect, but you could do a lot worse. Notes: Analog stick controls flashlight beam. Video: Intro / Gameplay Shop for Game: Amazon / eBay


Synopsis: Eriko Christy is a normal high school girl who also happens to be president of the Horror Movie Research Club. After giving a speech about how her father used to test his horror theme-park traps on her, she meets with several friends and learns that one of them has scored tickets to the latest horror park, Illbleed. While her three friends decide to go and win the $100,000,000 prize, Eriko decides against it and says she’ll see them later. Three days later, Eriko’s friends haven’t returned. So she heads inside Illbleed to see if she can find them. Release Date: April 25, 2001 (USA) Developer: Climax Graphics Publisher: Jaleco No. of Discs: 1 Controls:

  • A = Action
  • B = Cancel
  • X = Jump
  • Y = Map Screen
  • START = Status Screen
  • L TRIGGER = Centers camera behind player
  • R TRIGGER = Activates Horror Monitor(use analog stick to look around).

Movement Style: Full 3D movement. Camera: Third Person behind the player. VMU: Displays game title. Save Blocks Required: 7 Personal Opinion: This has got to be one of the most unique survival horror games I have ever played. It’s campy, but in an ’80s B-horror movie kind of way. Unfortunately this makes the game more funny than scary, though the large resource system is probably meant to make up for it. This system is too complex, leading to frustration and aggravation as minimum levels must be maintained to progress through each section. The controls also need work, specifically the run and jump commands. Jumping just seems poorly executed, and running requires players to hammer down on the analog stick. If you don’t hit it hard enough, you walk, and must let go of the analog stick and try again. The game’s unusual, but not much fun, which I think is pretty sad as I really want to like it. Notes: Items, enemies, and trap locations are randomized each time you play. Video: Intro / Gameplay Shop for Game: Amazon / eBay


Synopsis: All radio contact on the USS Heimdal, the US Navy’s largest aircraft carrier, after it is returning home from an attack on the terrorist group Southern Cross. A SPARC team is sent to investigate, though when communication fails, a second team is sent in. The second team’s helicopter is shot down by the Heimdal’s anti-air turrets, and now SPARC members Jack Ingles and Jessifer Manning must fight for their lives while attempting to carry out their mission. Release Date: January 31, 2000 (USA) Developer: Jaleco Publisher: Jaleco No. of Discs: 1 Controls:

  • A = Confirm/Attack With Raised Weapon
  • B = Cancel/First-Person Scope
  • X = Run
  • Y = Map Screen
  • START = Menu Screen
  • L TRIGGER = Change Weapon/Zoom Out Scope
  • R TRIGGER = Raise Weapon/Zoom In Scope

Movement Style: Tank controls. Camera: Fixed VMU: Current health displayed. Save Blocks Required: 42 Personal Opinion: Ultimately Carrier feels like a mediocre Resident Evil clone. I didn’t find it that original, and while the little unique touches like the targeting system are nice, they really kill the difficulty. Graphically, it’s hit-or-miss, and the audio varies in quality. The voice acting isn’t the worst I’ve ever heard, but it certainly isn’t great either. There are better survival horror titles out there, but Carrier is not a bad game, and if you’ve played the others, give this one a look. Notes: Instead of auto-aim, the game features a targeting system. Unlockables available after beating both scenarios. Video: Gameplay Shop for Game: Amazon / eBay


Synopsis: Laura Harris is falling asleep on an airplane flight over northern Canada when terrorists led by a cultist suddenly attack. A meteorite then hits the plane, forcing it to crash in the Canadian wilderness. Laura wakes up several days later in a cabin being cared for by another passenger. But they quickly discover that something is driving the other passengers insane and turning them into monsters. Laura must now go into the wilderness to find another survivor, a little girl. Release Date: August 2, 2000 (USA) Developer: WARP Publisher: Sega No. of Discs: 4 Controls:

  • A = Action/Attack/Take Picture/Ride Snowmobile
  • B = Face Enemies (Left)/Cancel
  • X = Face Enemies (Right)
  • Y = Item Search
  • START = Status Screen
  • L TRIGGER = Item Window/Targeting Zoom Out/Brake Snowmobile
  • R TRIGGER = Weapon Window/Targeting Zoom In/Accelerate Snowmobile

Movement Style: Track Indoors/Tank Controls Outdoors Camera: First Person Indoors/Third Person Outdoors VMU: Displays Compass Save Blocks Required: 7, 4-10 per picture Personal Opinion: Again, a game that I want to like, but just can’t force myself too. I will say that part of what keeps me from really enjoying this game are the large amount of problems I had with it, such as it freezing, videos slowing down, and at one point the game had a video get stuck in a loop that lasted several minutes. The game is expansive and encourages exploration, which while I enjoy it, I could see becoming very tedious. Battles operate like a combination of a first person shooter and an RPG, but leaves out a few elements that I would have liked, like the ability to move… The plot is also a bit nonsensical, though to be fair, survival horror games have always tended towards being a little strange. Notes: Combat is First Person, and the player gains experience after each fight to level up. The opening movie can be found on Disc 4. Video: Intro / Video Review Shop for Game: Amazon / eBay

Nanatsu no Hikan: Senritsu no Bishou

Synopsis: Reina Shiragawa and Kei Asuka attempt to visit their friend Dr. Ernest MacFerson at his research institute on a small island. But when they arrive, they discover their friend is nowhere to be found, and strange monsters are running loose. Reina and Kei must use their brains to navigate the institute and attempt to find the missing doctor. Release Date: January 20, 2000 (Japan) Developer: KOEI Publisher: KOEI No. of Discs: 1 Controls:

  • A = Action/Confirm Button At Terminal
  • B = Map Screen/Delete Button At Terminal
  • X = Change View Mode/Back Button At Terminal
  • Y = Subscreen Menu/Exit Button At Terminal
  • START = Pause Menu/Highlight Enter Key At Terminal
  • L TRIGGER = Aim Weapon
  • R TRIGGER = Attack With Equipped Weapon

Movement Style: Varies depending on View Mode(View 1 is Tank controls, View 2 and 3 are 3D movement). Camera: Three modes(first is Third Person, second is over-the-shoulder, third is First Person).e VMU: Displays title of game. Save Blocks Required: 7 for Story Mode, 3 for Training Mode Personal Opinion: My ability to play this game is unfortunately tainted by my inability to read Japanese, so please understand that I really didn’t get very far. But from what I did play, I came to some interesting conclusions. First, the game gives you lots of control. Multiple view modes, which effect how you fight. Lots of options for appearance. A training option. There’s a lot of power in the hands of the player to do what they want in this game, which I think is really cool. Unfortunately what little I saw of combat did not impress me, and I did notice a few little bugs that could easily be exploited. But I enjoyed the time I spent with it, so I figure I’ll be coming back…with a guide so I know what I’m doing. Since this is an import title, I’d say hold off on purchasing it unless you’re really interested, but if you understand Japanese or can figure a way around it, give it a look. Notes: Only available in Japanese. The game features multiplayer. Shop for Game: eBay

Evil Dead: Hail to the King

Synopsis: Ash returns to the cabin in the woods in an attempt to finally destroy the Necronomicon and finish off the Deadites once and for all. But things don’t go exactly as planned, the Deadites kill his girlfriend Jenny, and he must once again fend them off while collecting the Necronomicon’s lost pages. Release Date: December 17, 2000 (USA) Developer: Heavy Iron Studios Publisher: THQ No. of Discs: 1 Controls:

  • A = Use Chainsaw
  • B = Use/Activate/Confirm
  • X = Use Left-Handed Weapon
  • Y = Taunt
  • START = Inventory Screen
  • L TRIGGER = Turn Chainsaw On/Off
  • R TRIGGER = Run(while holding press direction)

Movement Style: Tank controls. Camera: Fixed VMU: Nothing shown on the VMU. Save Blocks Required: 23 Personal Opinion: I really like the Evil Dead films, but unfortunately I really didn’t care for this game. The controls feel overly stiff, and the combat system just doesn’t feel very good The respawning enemies are also very annoying, though thankfully they drop healing items. I suppose it doesn’t help that one of the most common enemies seems to be one of the most annoying as well. If you’re a fan of the Evil Dead series, there are better games on other consoles, but if you really need a fix and only have access to the Dreamcast, don’t go in expecting much. On the upside, Bruce Campbell did do the voice acting for Ash. Notes: Based on Evil Dead property. Video: Commercial / Intro Shop for Game: Amazon / eBay

The Ring: Terror’s Realm

Synopsis: Meg Rainman’s boyfriend Robert is killed by a mysterious virus that…well, you never find out what it does. Meg then starts at the Center for Disease Control, apparently as Robert’s replacement. From there she discovers a computer game called The Ring, which will apparently kill her in seven days. I’m not making this up. Release Date: September 9, 2000 (USA) Developer: Asmik Ace Entertainment Publisher: Infogrames (USA), Asmik Ace Entertainment (Japan) No. of Discs: 1 Controls:

  • A = Confirm/Attack With Selected Weapon/Physical Attack When No Weapon Equipped
  • B = Cancel
  • X = Run
  • Y = First Person Look(use analog stick to look around)
  • START = Inventory Screen
  • L TRIGGER = Turn Flashlight On/Off
  • R TRIGGER = Raise Weapon/Ready Physical Attack When No Weapon Equipped

Movement Style: Tank controls. Camera: Fixed VMU: Nothing shown on VMU. Save Blocks Required: 29 Personal Opinion: No way around it, this game is terrible. All the audio is terrible, the plot nonsensical, and the enemy design is bizarre and out of place. Graphically I constantly found myself comparing it to PS1 games, which isn’t a good sign. If you read the review of it over at Planet Dreamcast, I think the reviewer was crying. Seriously. I couldn’t recommend this title to anyone, even die hard survival horror fans or Ringu enthusiasts. Notes: Based on Ringu property. Hold down on the D-Pad while executing a Physical Attack to Kick. Hold Run button and press back to leap backwards. Video: Intro / Gameplay Shop for Game: Amazon / eBay

Related Guides

  • Survival Horror 101
  • Survival Horror Games & Franchises That Defined The Genre
  • The Playstation’s (PS1) Survival Horror Library

BTW, if you’re a Dreamcast owner, be sure to check out the Dreamcast VGA cable in the Racketboy Store

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