This is the first part of a series of articles covering games released in the year 2000.
If you’re not already feeling old and irrelevant, then fear not! Here’s a list of all the classic video games that turn 20 years old this year. Feel that? That’s the sensation of time slipping away from you as everything you loved becomes overshadowed by memes, Fortnite and things you can’t comprehend.
Crazy Taxi (Dreamcast)
Release Date: January 24th, 2000
This traffic violating punk rock fest might be the most ’90s feeling arcade game of all time, yet it didn’t actually reach our consoles until the year 2000. The experience of Crazy Taxi is one that can’t be replicated – with high octane races against the clock to ensure you can keep that sweet money rolling in.
Originally hitting the arcades in 1999, this Dreamcast port is one of the best of its kind. Playing this game at home feels no different from playing at your local sticky carpeted amusement center, other than the fact that it’s not going to guzzle your quarters.
Of course, most fans will remember this series for the beautiful dulcet tones of The Offspring and Bad Religion, who feature on the soundtrack. Unfortunately, newer ports of this classic don’t have the original collection of tunes to burn rubber to, so keep the dream alive and use original hardware with this one.
Resident Evil Code: Veronica (DREAMCAST)
Release Date: February 3rd, 2000
As a franchise, Resident Evil has had its ups and downs, with a rather inconsistent mix of legitimate horror, B Movie fun and bargain bin trash being produced by Capcom over the years. Thankfully, we’re celebrating the 20th birthday of one of the best examples of the survival horror genre.
Resident Evil Code: Veronica was the first game in the series to depart from the original PlayStation One, setting up camp on the shiny, new and soon to be doomed Sega Dreamcast. Featuring impressive new 3D environments and a modern real-time camera. If you’re familiar with Resident Evil, you’ll be aware of the nail-biting survival horror and over the top thriller plot that the series is known for, which is only amplified in this fourth installment of this Zombie hazard masterpiece.
The Sims (PC)
Release Date: February 4th, 2000
It’s hard to believe that it’s been 20 years since we first started obsessing about interior design and murder via swimming pools. Regardless of whether you’re psychotic enough to partake in that latter crime, The Sims has defined its genre, unleashing its influence across the simulator genre as we know it.
The Sims provided us with an endless canvas of suburban creativity, allowing us to take all the pressure on us to succeed in life and place it upon a pixelated go-getter. By sending your Sims on a career path, creating your perfect house and manufacturing relationships, you can fill the void in your life no matter what it might be.
In terms of how much the original Sims has aged, it has arguably managed to retain some of its youth simply through its features. The newest edition of The Sims has been criticized for being mechanically sparse in comparison to its predecessors. Needless to say, the original title will have you playing god only slightly more than our capitalist overlords.
Vagrant Story (PlayStation)
Release Date: February 10th, 2000
Do you like over convoluted RPG plots and fabulous hair? Well, there’s plenty of those available on the original PlayStation, with Vagrant Story standing out as one of the best in its genre.
You play as Ashley Riot, an agent investigating potential corruption within the games political setting. Ashley is blamed for the murder of a senior parliament member suspected to be involved in said corruption, which of course sets our hero on the usual kind of convoluted RPG adventure in a world engulfed in civil war.
While Vagrant Story appears to be an ordinary RPG on its exterior, it actually features the unique trait of not featuring any interaction with characters, even to the extent of not facilitating any in game shops. Vagrant Story instead revolves around weapon crafting, puzzle solving and strategy elements.
If you’re a fan of Square Soft (Now known as Square Enix), then Vagrant Story is either already part of your backlog, or perhaps one of your favourite RPG’s of all time.
Dead or Alive 2 (Dreamcast)
Release Date: February 29th, 2000
Let’s be frank – Dead or Alive is better known for its intricate female ‘chest physics’ and Volleyball holidays than its fighting game mechanics. Despite having an aesthetics tailored around a teenager’s wet dreams, Dead or Alive 2 is a legitimate multi martial arts experience, with a diverse range of characters and it’s own take on the traditional 3D fighter.
Just like most fighting games, the plot to Dead or Alive is based upon ridiculous personal stories of revenge and glory. Each character’s campaign will lead players through a range of gorgeous stages and environmental hazards. This, of course, great for anyone who gets satisfaction from kicking their opponent off a cliff, no matter how unrealistic it is.
While other fighting games might claim legitimacy by being used in a competitive manner, such as is the case with Street Fighter, Dead or Alive 2 is definitely a great fighter that has stood the test of time. If you get the chance to play DoA 2 on an original Dreamcast at its highest resolution, you’ll be shocked that it’s a game from the year 2000.
Rayman 2: The Great Escape (Dreamcast)
Release Date: February 29th, 2000
You remember Rayman, right? That jolly little chap with limbless hands and feet that saves the day by strolling through colorfully themed levels? Bet you didn’t expect the sequel to be about slavery and oppression from a militant robot pirate army.
Rayman 2: The Great Escape takes a bold leap into the realms of 3D by ditching its Crayola aesthetics for something more gritty. While Rayman 2 is quite typical for a platformer, it stands tall by embracing its unique fantasy elements, with any flaws in its mechanics being mitigated. While the game has aged about as well as any other 3D platformer from 20 years ago, it’s definitely worth playing this one at least once, even if it’s just to experience the games own made up gibberish language.
*This game was actually released first in October 1999 for the Nintendo 64, but we felt it should be on this list anyway.
Pokemon Stadium (Nintendo 64)
Release Date: February 29th, 2000
What could be better than going on an adventure, catching cute monsters and making them fight until they faint? Well, Pokemon Stadium ditches everything but animal cruelty.
In a leap from the various Game Boy titles already in existence, Pokemon Stadium focuses in on the combat mechanics of the RPG series, using menu-driven moves to beat your opponent. The roster of Pokemon available within this game might be limited to the original 151, but you can also upload your own little critters to the game using your Game Boy cartridge and a Pokemon transfer pak. This fancy controller add on also allows you to play your Pokemon Game Boy game on the big screen, which was something of a novelty at the time.
The game will primarily have Pokemon trainers compete in Cup tournaments, as well as battle your way through the Gym Leader Castle. If this all seems a bit too stressful, you can always take some time out to enjoy the various Mario Party inspired mini-games included, which will make even the most miserable of gamers smile.
There’s bound to be some titles missing from this list, so let us know if you have any that also celebrate their birthday this year!
See you next time for games released between March – April