Reicast is a Dreamcast emulator for Android following the precedent of PSSP emulator for iOS & Android, GBA4iOS for iOS, and EmiGens for Windows Phone 8, but Reicast is more than just an emulator; it is part of a legacy. Some of you may or may not know that SEGA was once a powerful contender in the console market. It was the first console with a 128-bit vector graphics engine, and also the first to feature online connectivity. Dreamcast was eventually shut down along with Sega’s console manufacturing business, however its fans refuse to let it die. Reicast is an opportunity for long-time fans to carry their favourite Dreamcast titles with them on their Android devices.
Disclaimer: You should legally own the games and the console to create your own ROMs and BIOS for this emulator. Alternatively you can purchase the original games and previously owned console from certain online stores. Addictivetips neither condones nor takes any responsibility for the use of pirated software.
The emulator does not ship with a Dreamcast BIOS, which you will need to dump manually (one you legally own). The BIOS file should be saved as ‘dc_boot.bin’, and the flash file ‘dc_flash.bin’. Finally, save both files to your ‘sdcard/DC/data’ folder and you’re ready. The minimum requirement to run Reicast is a Cortex-A9 dual core 1GhZ processor or better.
Given that Reicast is an Alpha build, its interface is visually similar to most file managers. The App has haptic feedback always on, which is an impediment to the experience. There are no configurations yet, though the developers have promised to add some options in future builds.
The virtual controller’s buttons are semi-transparent and hover over the screen. They try not to get in the way, but these games were not designed for touch screens and some elements end up hidden under your hands during gameplay. It features a virtual analog stick, while every other buttons (d-pad and triggers) are located on-screen roughly where they would be on the original Dreamcast controller. The trigger buttons cannot be used with the d-pad using the same hand due to inconvenient placing, which adds to the unfortunate experience. We don’t know if there is support for an external controller yet, but it should be part of the long-term strategy. Considering how these buttons are virtual, custom placing would not go amiss. In one of the tested games – a shooter (MDK2), aiming with the virtual analog control was very difficult as it only responded at the edges, making the view skew wildly between the ceiling and the floor alternatively.
In this build, the effort clearly went into perfecting graphics performance. There wasn’t a lag in sight and everything looked picture perfect. It even adjusted the game to the higher resolution on my device making the end-result even more crisp, and that’s quite an accomplishment. Had the controls been helping, it could have created a very enthralling experience.
The sound is quite good, except that the opening FMV in one of the tested games was lagging, but the sound normalized as soon as the actual gameplay started. From there on, there was neither lag or delay, and if it weren’t for the phone’s small speaker, it might have been nice to hear throughout.
We decided to take the emulator on a spin with a couple of our favorite titles, and here’s how our experience went.
Upside: Looks better than it did when it originally came out.
Downside: Takes an age to center the camera; trigger buttons are hard to manage.
Legacy of Kain – Soul Reaver
Upside: Amazing game; camera not a major factor, making it fun to progress in the game.
Downside: Sound lag in opening sequence; trigger buttons hard to manage.
That vibration is, as the phrase goes, “a buzzkill”; it breaks concentration and the battery plummets. As far as the actual emulator is concerned – if this is just the Alpha stage – then Reicast has a bright future ahead. If they can also manage to create a platform offering original Dreamcast games for legal purchase, they might have a whole new ecosystem on their hands. If you are a Dreamcast fan, you should definitely give it a shot; just seeing the emulation run will take you back. Though even if you haven’t played the original, you’ll recognize that the emulator boasts better graphics than even most modern games available on the Play Store. If you do try it out, don’t forget to let us know how your experience went by dropping a comment below.