You don't have to use a keyboard, but it sure as hell makes the game so much more authentic and true to the original experience. I remember playing this game my Freshman/Sophomore year in High School, and I beat it like 7 different times. Playing on the Dreamcast with my nice 5.1 Kenwood surround sound system back then was quite an experience. Set the mood right, plug in a wired xbox360 controller, and put on a thumpin pair of headphones, and prepare for one hell of a ride. The game looks great. SEGA did a nice job with this one.