In the Dreamcast library there are probably more quality games to be found in the fighting genre than in any other. That's not to say that its library is lacking in other areas, just that thanks to some great Japanese developers there was hardly a better time to be a fan of home fighting games. They gave us great 2D fighters (Marvel VS. Capcom, Last Blade 2, Fatal Fury: Mark of the Wolves), and, of course, great 3D (Soul Calibur, Project Justice, Power Stone). With so much to choose from however, there was one game in the latter category that unfortunately got passed over by many. That game was Tech Romancer, and you'll not find a fighting game like it anywhere else.
This game is a charmer, plain and simple; especially if you're a fan of anime. For despite not having a license attached to it, this is probably the most the anime-influenced games ever created. It has a fully animated intro (complete with catchy theme song), a fully voiced story mode complete with branching paths, and even commercial eye catches in between fights! It also features downloadable VMU mini games that are actually fun to play! The mechanized fighters are even inspired by popular ones in shows, from EVA to Gundam, the robot designs here are certainly inspired by the best. The graphics themselves are pretty good, some bad textures here and there, but most of what you'll see will be quite pleasing. Best of all are the completely over the top flashy special moves each of the combatants uses, especially the finishing moves which are guaranteed to eviscerate your opposition (if they connect) in ways never before seen.
Speaking of the moves, this game's fighting is like no others. You are given a 3D range of movement in fights that I would place somewhere in between Soul Calibur and Power Stone. The combos are fairly simple and easy to use, yet complex enough to the game some depth. For example, one combo a combatant uses is Left-Right-A+B, while in the air. That isn't too hard to do, but figuring out when to use the move so that it wont evaded (remember opponents can run in any direction also) is quite tricky. It's tough to truly explain all the unique quirks and nuances of the bouts in the game, just know that they are fast, fun, and don't usually let up.
My gripes with this are pretty few, but even still there are problems that hamper the fun a bit. To use items picked up in fights you must press the A, B, and Y buttons at the same time, which makes them quite cumbersome. In most fights I didn't even use any of the stuff I picked up simply because in these fast fights working that combination into your rapid presses is hard to do. Another issue is how the game lets players continue to hit opponents a few times after they're down. Believe me it's frustrating when you're finished off after you're already down anyway and aren't able to defend at all. The biggest flaw with this game has to be the final boss fight. You may think you know hard final bosses but if you haven't played against Goldibus -- you ain't seen nothin'. In this fight he has four life bars to your two, you don't recover in between rounds, and he gets harder you take off a bar! It is as hard as it sounds and be prepared to lose to him ... A LOT.
Despite my aforementioned gripes, this is a game that deserves a spot in your collection if you have even the slightest inkling towards fighting games. It's sort of a tough find these days, so you might end up paying a lot. Even with this in mind, Tech Romancer is one game that is worth searching the world for.