27. TrickStyle (Acclaim/Criterion Games)SL: TrickStyle is perhaps overlooked when the subject of Dreamcast games comes up, but it was good fun. I have fond memories of staying up late, trying to beat the hardest races and challenges of the game. More importantly, as a Back to the Future 2 fan, it brought hoverboards into gaming - sadly there wasnt a Hill Valley 2015 course...
Futuristic racers used to be ten-a-penny in the 1990s (Extreme G
, Star Wars: Episode One Racer
) and this hover-boarding riff on that formula made a decent edition to the sub-genre for early Dreamcast adopters. Made by the specialist racing game developer Criterion, who would later go on to make the infinitely more successful Burnout
series, TrickStyle was a self-consciously hip affair. The cover of the European box loudly boasted a soundtrack by DJ and hip hop producer Kurtis Mantronik, whilst the characters either wore fluorescent Cyberdog-style trance garb or looked like Gregg Alexander from New Radicals. But if you look beyond the dated styling and slightly ugly design of the boarders, TrickStyle was an accomplished and fast-paced game which required skilful use of tricks to gain the advantage in races over futuristic versions of London, New York and Tokyo.
26. Wacky Races (Infogrames)
Another racer, this cartoon license game was surprisingly good. Making effective use of the cel-shading techniques pioneered by Jet Set Radio
(more to come on that later), playing it really made you feel like you were part of an episode of the 1960s Hanna-Barbera cartoon series. As you might expect from the source material, insane power-ups are the order of the day in the tradition of Mario Kart
. All the familiar characters were there - from Penelope Pitstop to the Ant Hill Mob (above) - with the same voices (or else damned fine impressions) as those heard in the series. Likewise, the races had commentary from the unseen announcer that narrated the show. As with other cel-shaded games, it's aged well too - as gorgeous today as it ever was, aided by immaculate presentation. Whilst the platform had its fair share of decent simulation/arcade racers, this was by far the best of the kiddie crowd, with a really good four-player split-screen and a none-too-shabby single player mode too. Even by Dreamcast standards, this is a cruelly neglected treasure.