The Best Japanese Exclusive Dreamcast Games

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The Sega Dreamcast was Sega’s final competitor in the console race that, sadly, didn’t see many of its best games localized. Due to its early death, many amazing games didn’t reach anywhere outside of Japan.  It’s a shame really, many of these games definitely deserved some kind of localization. Thanks to recent projects by fans, some of these games have received unofficial localizations for Western audiences. These are mostly achieved through emulation though.

If you are looking for something to add to your physical collection from Japan, this list contains some of the best. Many of these can be hard to find and are an awesome addition for any collector. Titles like Frame Gride, Rent-A-Hero No. 1, and Napple Tale would have been big hits in the US, and are definitely worth playing.

Zero Gunner 2

Originally an arcade title, Zero Gunner 2 is a fantastic Japan exclusive shooter with an awesome, dedicated fanbase. This title requires quick reflexes and a keen eye for incoming fire. Zero Gunner 2 plays like your typical multi-directional shooter, where bullets are in high supply and power-ups are plenty. The player chooses one of three attack choppers for a high stakes battle against the evil conglomerate Igem.

There is also a two-player mode where two choppers can face hordes of machines. The great thing about this game is that you don;t need to know any Japanese to enjoy it. Zero Gunner 2 is a great game to import and just plain fun to play.

Frame Gride

Before Sekiro and the Souls series, FromSoftware developed an awesome mech adventure title that isn’t Armored Core. The main feature of this game is the customizable mechs. From the beginning players will be quizzed to determine which mech you start with. As the player fights bosses and other enemies, they will be awarded with crystals. These crystals are used to create additional accessories for the player’s mechs. Between the customization, leveling, and fun enemies, Frame Gride is a must-play.

Napple Tale

Napple Tale is a fun and strange platformer for the Dreamcast developed by primarily women, uncommon for the time. Playing similarly to Sonic Adventure, Napple Tale follows Arsia Poach, a girl who is mistakenly left in Napple World. The Napple World is called the “World of Daydreams” where time flows differently and seasons are locations.

As the game progresses, Poach explores the four seasons as well as helps the townsfolk of Napple Town. This title is perfectly crafted, from its art style to its characters, it's not hard to fall in love with this game. No matter if you’re a casual gamer or hardcore, there is something in this game for everyone.

Black/Matrix AD

It seems like many of the best JRPGs get left in Japan, and Black/Matrix AD is definitely one of them. Black/Matrix AD is an engrossing fantasy RPG that takes players to a world ruled by Hell, where love is evil and kindness is a crime. The player takes control of the “Messiah” Abel, who must rid the world of the hellish overlords and restore love to the enslaved people. The gameplay is a turn-based, isometric, strategy game that is somewhat similar to Final Fantasy Tactics. Gamers looking for a fun strategy title, Black/Matrix AD is a must-have.

Rent-A-Hero No. 1

Probably one of the most obscure games on this list, Rent-A-Hero No. 1 is a strange and fun Japan exclusive RPG. Originally, this title was a Japan exclusive Mega Drive game that was even more obscure. In this title, the player assumes the role of Taro Yamada, a part-time superhero. Through the use of the Creamcast, Taro is able to pick up high-paying superhero jobs across the city. Being a superhero means you’ll have to fight plenty of bad guys. The fighting is one of the best parts of this game, feeling like a third-person brawler. Fun gameplay plus masterful writing make this game an absolute joy to play.

  • Updated January 26, 2021