Saturn Reviews F-L

Fighters Megamix
Grade: B+
Publisher: Sega (1997)
Reviewed: 2004/3/31
Rating: Teen (13+)

screenshotSega combined their two best fighting games, Virtua Fighter 2 and Fighting Vipers, to produce this all-star extravaganza. Fighters Megamix offers eleven characters from Virtua Fighter, eleven from Fighting Vipers, and ten hidden characters. Having 32 characters in a fighting game was absolutely unheard of in 1997, although it should be noted that some of these extra characters only have novelty value, like the big teddy bear wearing a cowboy hat. There's a lot to like about Fighter Megamix. Not only is it literally two fighting games in one, but it enables some exciting match-ups. You can toggle between each game's distinct style of play, and I enjoyed using Virtua Fighter 2 characters in the faster, less "floaty" Vipers style. Since both games utilize the same three-button scheme, the controls are consistent with the original games. One flaw I did notice is a slight bit of slowdown in certain stages. Some may consider this game to be a bit of a rehash, but if you just want to kick some serious booty, Megamix delivers the goods. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.

Fighting Vipers
Grade: B-
Publisher: Sega (1996)
Reviewed: 2004/3/31
Rating: Teen

screenshotCombining the simple controls of Virtua Fighter with the frenetic action of Toshinden, Fighting Vipers gave Saturn fans the action-packed 3D brawler they were thirsting for. The cast of edgy characters includes a rocker named Raxel, a teenager with a skateboard, a hefty police officer, and a few hot chicks. The soundtrack is hard rock all the way, and the backgrounds have an industrial theme. The intro music really gets your adrenaline pumping - it rocks! Fighting Vipers also introduced several innovative concepts to the world of 3D fighters. First of all, the matches are held in enclosed areas, and not only can you knock your opponent into the wall, you can sometimes send him flying through the wall. The fighters wear armor plates, and small diagrams on the screen indicate where they are most vulnerable. To be honest, I really didn't buy into this whole "armor" business, and wish Sega had left it out. Let's face it - these scantily clad women look silly with those chunky plastic coverings all over them. Other original touches include Candy's innovative "butt attack", and the fact that fighters begin sudden death rounds with zero life (first hit wins). Despite using only three buttons used (block, punch, and kick), there are still about 100 moves for each fighter, all listed in the manual. The graphics and animation are terrific, but the backgrounds are largely obstructed by the tall fences surrounding the fighting areas. Blood is splattered during each hit, but those little red squares are hardly convincing. Sega included just about every option you could ask for, including a training mode, a team mode, and the ability to backup your records. This is one of the better fighters on the Saturn system, and it should satisfy both button mashers and serious fighting fans alike. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.

Final Fight Revenge (Japan)
Grade: C+
Publisher: Capcom (1999)
Reviewed: 2014/1/17

screenshotFinal Fight Revenge is notable for being the only Final Fight title on the Saturn and also the last game released for the system. Those expecting a side-scrolling slugfest will be disappointed to hear Revenge is a one-on-one 3D fighter along the lines of Tekken (Playstation, 1995). The characters include Final Fight favorites including Haggar, Cody, Guy, Andore, Sodom, Rolento, and a hottie named Poison with pink hair. Some of these characters actually appeared in Street Fighter titles as well. Interestingly enough, Poison was identified as a transgender fighter by the game's designers trying to sidestep any domestic violence implications. The title screen of Revenge boasts an awesome electrified die-cast metal design, and the character select screen is also slick. Prepare for a letdown however when you actually start playing. The characters are rendered with chunky polygons, no textures, and lousy definition. Revenge also feels dog slow next to comparable Playstation fighters like Rival Schools. Weapons are lying around and you can position yourself over them using the side-step button. Grabbing weapons seems like a good idea but most are surprisingly ineffective. You'll need to perform a special move just to shoot the gun, and the damage is minimal. Don't hestitate however to snag any "bludgeoning" weapons like the iron pipe or hammer, as you can really lay into your opponent with those. Revenge isn't the best Capcom has to offer, but its deliberate pace gives it a more strategic quality. I love the attention to detail, like when you run out of bullets and your character throws his gun. After getting defeated by the cop, he writes you a ticket. The game is full of bizarre surprises, including special moves that spawn police cars and helicopters. Andore's hand can become huge (reminiscent of the Foo Fighters Neverlong video) and bitch-slap the hell out of his opponent. There are even bone-crunching "x-ray" attacks (!) like those used later in Mortal Kombat (Xbox 360, 2011). But my favorite part of the Final Fight Revenge are its stages, which include a city park, Chinatown, an icy meatpacking plant, and a junkyard at sunset. The scenery looks digitized, and the night stages are downright spectacular. The jazzy musical score calls to mind classic side scrollers like Streets of Rage, and the arcade mode records high scores. Final Fight Revenge won't win any awards, but I found it a lot more interesting than your garden variety fighter. Note: This Japanese import requires the Action Replay Plus 4M cartridge. © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.

Frank Thomas Big Hurt Baseball
Grade: D+
Publisher: Acclaim (1996)
Reviewed: 2006/9/29
Rating: Kids to Adults


screenshotThis is a pretty marginal baseball game, especially compared to Sega's superb line of World Series games. Big Hurt's graphics are less than exciting, with a wide-angle view of the field that makes the players appear small and pixelated. The large digitized batters look pretty nifty, but the pitching controls are counter-intuitive and the bat controls are not responsive enough. When anticipating a fastball, you'd better start your swing as the ball leaves the pitcher's hand, or you'll never get around on it. The fielding isn't so bad, with tight controls and realistic animations like first basemen that stretch for errant throws. In contrast to the fielders, the base runners look positively awful. Not only are they incredibly pixelated, but they scamper around like they're running on ice! After each play there's an uncomfortable pause as the computer attempts to figure out if the play is really over. I find it interesting how the CPU player will pause the game and peruse the menu options right before your eyes (to manipulate his bullpen or rosters). That's pretty cool, but at first I thought my controller was broken! Big Hurt's commentator does a respectable job, but his sentences tend to be disjointed - a common issue for early CD games. Actually, it's quite humorous to hear stuff like, "At the end of. The third inning. Baltimore. Four. Toronto. ZERO!!" There's also a PA announcer who inexplicably doesn't know how to pronounce many players' names (John Olerud is a prime example). Worst of all, there's no instant replay - a definite no-no for a game made in 1996. Don't let this game put the big hurt on your wallet. To be frank, I'd stick with World Series Baseball instead. © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.

Galactic Attack
Grade: C+
Publisher: Acclaim (1995)
Reviewed: 2005/7/31
Rating: Kids to Adults (animated violence)

screenshotIt's no classic, but if you're into 2D shooting, this low-profile title can be a lot of fun. In many ways, Galactic Attack's visuals and gameplay are so conventional that you'll feel as if you've played it before. Ported directly from the arcade, the screen is narrow with black bars on each side. With stages set in deep space and over the various planet surfaces, you take aim at the usual space ships, jets, robots, cannons, and tanks. You'll also strafe large battleships, wearing them down until they explode. One distinctive feature about Galactic Attack is the large size of your enemies. Even the smaller ships are positively huge and take up more real estate than I would prefer. Your rapid-fire guns are effective, but "lock-on" missiles play a more crucial role. As enemies scale in from the background, you can move your cursor over several targets and then unleash a torrent of missiles to take them all out. It feels like Panzer Dragoon (Saturn 1995), and the explosions are satisfying. My question is, what happens when an enemy leaves the screen before my locked-on missile can strike it? Does it escape or is it destroyed off screen? Galactic Attack's graphics are about average, although the pixilation can be excessive at times. The scenery is uninteresting for the most part, although I did like the floating islands with the lakes. Galactic Attack's audio is positively weak, with forgettable electronic music and muffled voice samples I could not understand. But my primary beef is how your ship tends to get lost under the status indicators on the bottom of the screen. There's an option to turn this information off, but that also removes your score and ship information from the top of the screen. Hey, I need that stuff! Oh well, it has issues but Galactic Attack is still decent if you're up for some intense shooting action. The challenge is there, and it offers limited continues as well as a two-player simultaneous mode. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.

Galaxy Fight
Grade: C
Publisher: Sunsoft (1994)
Reviewed: 2004/4/30
Rating: Teen (13+)

screenshotThis one-on-one 2D fighter is not particularly bad in any way, but it doesn't have much to offer either. Each character originates from a different planet, and some of these fighters look awfully cheesy. You get a Flash Gordon-like "space adventurer", a huge green cat/reptile alien, a streetwise black guy, a ninja, a robot, and a girl with big ears and bigger breasts (bouncing no less). The character selection screen looks pathetic, especially with those horribly pixilated planets in the background. The fights themselves are not too shabby, and good technique certainly plays a role in your success. The camera zooms in and out as needed, but the fighters tend to be small. Only three buttons are used (not counting the worthless "taunt" button), but some of the move combinations are quite complex. Fortunately, a useful "command mode" is included which allows you map sophisticated controller movements to single buttons. Call it cheating if you want, but it lets you to witness some killer attacks and makes the game a heck of a lot easier. The backgrounds are science fiction-inspired planets, but nothing particularly memorable. Ironically, the most interesting stage is the "downtown" area, which could easily fit into any fighting game. Galaxy Fight does excel in terms of audio. The voice samples are clear, and the crisp sound effects definitely caught my attention. The robot sounds particularly impressive as he clanks around and employs various mechanical contraptions. The music is unusually good and occasionally outstanding. Galaxy Fight doesn't make a great first impression, but if you stick with it, you may find it to be worth your while © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.
1 or 2 players 

Ghen War
Grade: C+
Publisher: Sega (1995)
Reviewed: 2002/3/26
Rating: Kids to Adults

screenshotIn 1995, this first-person shooter was probably very impressive. Ghen War puts you in control of a well-armed mech robot, walking around different planets and blasting all kinds of huge mechanical beasts. Some of the enemies resemble Predator, but most look like giant insects. When destroyed, they explode into huge chunks of burning metal, which just looks cool as hell. The frame rate is nice, but wandering around the huge 3D environments gets old after a while, especially after you've cleared out the creatures and are trying to figure out what to do next. I got impatient with Ghen War, but one thing I will give it credit for is its outstanding audio. The background noises are chilling and effective. Each enemy has its own distinct sound effect that will strike fear into your heart. Between stages, Ghen War has some high-quality cut-scenes that are a combination of live acting and CGI. They're not bad, but don't add anything to the gameplay. That black guy looks just like Samuel Jackson! One final note: Who were the marketing geniuses that gave this game such a stupid name? And what in the heck is the cover supposed to have on it? © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.

Golden Axe The Duel
Grade: C-
Publisher: Sega (1996)
Reviewed: 2004/4/30
Rating: Teen (animated violence)

screenshotWhy, Sega, why? Why did you take your popular, side-scrolling series and reduce it to a mediocre one-on-one fighter? As if there weren't enough Street Fighter clones already in 1996! The Golden Axe series never even had any interesting characters to begin with, making Sega's decision even more incomprehensible. Golden Axe the Duel isn't terrible, but it doesn't distinguish itself in any way. The cast of characters are inspired by the original Genesis games, including an axe-wielding dwarf, a spell-casting mage, a knife-tossing elf, a fat guy with a ball and chain, a Blanka look-alike, a girl wearing animal skin, and of course the obligatory hot babe. Like Street Fighter 2, there are three punch buttons and three kicks. The animation is fair, but the fights lack flow and feel stiff and mechanical. The camera scales in and out (a la Samurai Shodown) but is never really a factor. The mage can transform you into a frog, but this frog can still kick some ass! Little elves run across the screen periodically, dropping potions when you strike them. When you gather enough potions, you can "power-up" for a short period of time. The Duel's backgrounds reflect the medieval flavor of the series, but they look grainy and boring. The best aspects of this game are the sound effects and splattering blood. Otherwise it is completely forgettable. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.

Grid Runner
Grade: C
Publisher: Virgin (1996)
Reviewed: 2001/4/24
Rating: Kids to Adults

screenshotIn Grid Runner, you've been captured in deep space and forced to compete in one-on-one competitions against various alien opponents. It's a silly premise but Grid Runner is not half bad. The surprisingly non-violent gameplay is best described as a hybrid of "tag" and "capture the flag". You must collect flags on a maze of suspended walkways, but you can only pick them up when you're not "it". Only a section of the maze is visible at a time, and an arrow indicates the direction of your adversary. Grid Runner seems pretty lame at first, but as you progress through the levels, the tension mounts. It's actually quite a rush to grab that last flag with a giant crab-man hot on your tail. Special moves allow you to bridge gaps, cast spells, and fire shots to slow down your opponent. The characters are pixelated, but the backgrounds look good, especially the snowy ice stage. Your 15 opponents are quite imaginative, ranging from a lizard man, to a Minotaur, to a crab monster, and each has a fitting home world. Grid Runner has a reasonable learning curve and provides a nice save feature. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.

Guardian Heroes
Grade: D
Publisher: Sega (1996)
Reviewed: 2009/5/15
Rating: Teen (animated violence)

screenshotWhen Saturn fans laud their system (or defend it, as is often the case), Guardian Heroes is sometimes mentioned as one of the system's hidden gems. It's a pretty rare title, but if you haven't been able to track down a copy, don't lose any sleep over it. The game offers a few original concepts but none of them work very well. The game begins with a lengthy anime intro, and I have to admit it got me pretty psyched up! In the first scene, three warriors have discovered an mystical sword in a hidden room. There's a lot of text to wade through, giving the game an RPG vibe. Once the action kicks in, you're fighting guards in the middle of a medieval town. You view the battle from a side angle, and the shoulder buttons allow your character to move between several "planes". The scaling is smooth enough, but since foes come in a variety of sizes, it's can be hard to determine who you're "lined up" with. Worse yet, there are often so many combatants that the screen gets cluttered. Your warrior and his allies typically face groups of six enemies at a time. With a multi-tap, up to six players can join the fray, but I suspect the clutter and slow-down would be unbearable. The moves include a defensive pose, jump, normal attack, and power attack. You can also give "orders" to an undead "golden warrior" who does your bidding. When you tell him to "go berzerk", it's like detonating a smart bomb! The graphics in Guardian Heroes are very good, with "painted" backgrounds that depict townships, graveyards, and castle interiors in exquisite detail. The characters are rendered in an anime style which slightly clashes with the backgrounds. Characters become pixelated when on the "close" plane, and grainy when on the "far" plane. In addition to armored guards and skeletons, you'll also face oversized robots that unleash powerful laser beams. That's weird. Branching paths add to the game's replayability, and your progress is saved automatically. I've heard Guardian Heroes compared to Streets of Rage, but it's nowhere near as fun or playable. I was totally baffled by the story and dialogue, and found the audio to be somewhat irritating and sometimes inappropriate. When I'm fighting skeletons in a graveyard, why am I listening to a jazzy number with a saxophone? Is this the apocalypse or happy hour? The voice samples are repetitive as hell, and it sounds like one character is yelling "bee-yatch!" whenever he performs a power attack. I like how how the instructions make frequent references to "see page xx", but someone forgot to fill in the page numbers - whoops! Guardian Heroes is definitely a Saturn original, but it's hardly worth breaking your piggy bank for. © Copyright 2009 The Video Game Critic.

Gunbird (Japan)
Grade: B
Publisher: Atlus (1995)
Reviewed: 2009/11/20

screenshotThis is one 2D blast-a-thon that doesn't take itself too seriously, and that's refreshing. Easier than most vertical shooters, Gunbird will appeal to both casual and hardcore types. There's a set of wacky anime characters to choose from including a cute witch on a broom, a dude in a jetpack, and an old geezer in a pedal-powered helicopter. The lushly illustrated stages include a runaway train, a red mining area, a castle, and a village with little people milling around below. The starting stage is determined by the character you select, and this boosts the game's replay value. You can pound the fire button to shoot rapidly, but I'd recommend activating a turbo switch if you have one on your controller. Enemies unleash waves of projectiles, but they tend to be large and slow, allowing you to safely weave around instead of wasting your bombs. It's less overwhelming and more enjoyable that most Saturn shooters. Brief cut-scenes convey a storyline with a villain who resembles a busty version of Cruella De Vil (from 101 Dalmations). The audio has a lot of repetitive voice samples that might get on your nerves after a while. High scores and initials are saved automatically. Gunbird didn't show me anything I hadn't seen before, but its friendly visuals and accessible gameplay make it a good addition to any shooter collection. © Copyright 2009 The Video Game Critic.

Hang On GP
Grade: F
Publisher: Sega (1995)
Reviewed: 2007/5/1
Rating: Kids to Adults

screenshotWow, this game really stinks! Hang On was great on the Genesis and Master System, but this 3D version is a disaster. GP's graphics are fairly wretched, with serious draw-in issues with the scenery, and angular drivers that could pass for robots. Ugly games like this make the Saturn look downright deficient in the 3D department. The controls are uncommonly poor. Not only are they conducive to over-steering, but your wide turn radius makes it impossible to take any curve without hitting the brakes. Rubbing against a wall should simply slow you down, but more often than not it causes your bike to "pop" into the air for a wipeout. A power-slide option is available, but there's a good reason why it's turned off by default - it sucks. Apparently Hang On GP was designed for the Sega Steering Wheel controller, but I didn't have one of those to test. Sadly, this does not work with Sega's analog controller, since that was introduced afterwards. On a positive note, the three courses are fairly attractive, with a beach resort, a "great wall", and a port city locale. The electronic soundtrack isn't bad either, but the bike engines sound like a swarm of bees. Hang On GP is a weak effort, but Sega did eventually redeem themselves with Manx TT Super Bike. © Copyright 2007 The Video Game Critic.

Heir of Zendor
Grade: D
Publisher: Koei (1996)
Reviewed: 2005/1/11
Rating: Kids to Adults

screenshotHere's an unusual air combat game that most people will probably hate. I was secretly hoping that Heir of Zendor was a 2D shooter, but it's actually a rather sloppy turn-based strategy game (ugh!) The gameplay involves deploying and directing squadrons of planes against invading enemy aircraft. What's peculiar about Zendor is how you maneuver your planes as if they were mere tokens on a board. The 2D graphics don't exactly flaunt the Saturn's hardware capabilities. Although the battles are supposed to take place in the air, the planes have black shadows directly beneath them, making it look like they're sitting on a table cloth. Their animation is slow and jerky, and the action takes place entirely on a 2D plane. As an unfortunate side effect, aircraft tend to bump into and rub against each other as your guide them into position. Heir of Zendor could have been a complete disaster, but it's not a total loss. Each type of aircraft you deploy has its own attributes such as size, speed, and weapon range, and winning battles requires a heavy dose of strategy. The game is pretty easy to learn and there are minimal lulls in the action, thanks to a streamlined menu interface. Elegant orchestrated music plays in the background during the battles, and it's genuinely satisfying when you knock out your last enemy. As you might expect, the battles are sandwiched by obligatory cut scenes and excessive dialogue. The epic background story tells the tale of a colonized planet and ancient technologies discovered and resurrected. The dialogue is far too philosophical, with boring diatribes about God, technology, and mankind. These grandiose cut-scenes stand in stark contrast to the simple, pixilated game graphics, and the disparity is almost comical. But despite its pretentious trappings and mediocre programming, Heir of Zendor's gameplay did manage to hold my attention for a while. Gamers who prefer strategy over action may find this mildly amusing if you can pick it up cheap. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.

Hexen
Grade: D+
Publisher: Raven Software (1996)
Reviewed: 2009/11/20

screenshotBeginning with Doom (1993), there was a steady stream of first-person shooters (FPS) released, each of which slightly outdid its predecessor in terms of graphics. I would frequently visit my friend Steve's house in those days, and he always had the latest-and-greatest FPS running on his turbo-charged PC. Hexen sticks out in my mind because Steve made a big deal about the orange leaves falling from the trees. I also recall how melee played a major role in combat. Revisiting Hexen on the Saturn brought back a few memories, but this version clearly pales to the original. You begin by selecting between a warrior, cleric, or mage character. You're then thrust into a dark, hellish world with dimly lit, multi-tiered medieval fortresses. I love those stained-glass windows which sound amazing when you shatter them. Monsters you'll face include centaurs, flaming birds, serpent warriors, and two-headed guards. The melee style of combat requires you to move in to inflict a blow, and then quickly back up. Timing is key. The control scheme is a bit complicated, but that's understandable considering Hexen's PC origins. You'll need to memorize a lot of button combinations - Z and C to bring up the map for example. The graphics are not nearly as crisp or vibrant as I remember. In fact, the scenery looks so dark and muddled that I had a hard time making out those falling leaves! You'll need to constantly adjust the camera when walking up and down stairs, which is a pain. On the plus side, the game boasts a surreal orchestrated score that truly kicks ass. Hexen is moderately enjoyable once you get a feel for the controls, but the save system is atrocious! You need a whopping 3600 blocks to save your game, and that's just outrageous. A password option is also included, but it's very confusing and poorly implemented. Playing Hexen on the Saturn gave me the impression that I was playing a bad port of a good game. © Copyright 2009 The Video Game Critic.

Highway 2000
Grade: B-
Publisher: Natsume (1998)
Reviewed: 2010/6/15
Rating: Kids to Adults

screenshotWhen I first spotted that bright red sports car on the back of the Highway 2000 box, I had flashbacks of Ridge Racer. Could it be that Natsume hired the developers of that 1995 Playstation hit to produce a similar racer for the Saturn? Could be! And as a rabid Ridge Racer fan, I enjoyed the colorful, arcade-style of Highway 2000. You get a nifty behind-the-car view as you navigate tracks that wind through five urban environments. The textured road surfaces convey speed and the framerate remains steady. A few boxy buildings are sprinkled around the course but the bulk of the scenery is rendered via a digitized backdrop. It may sound cheesy but the layering technique is effective. On the Bay Side Highway, you really feel as if you're racing along the water's edge. The courses look good although they can't quite match the quality of the PS1 Ridge Racer titles. The tracks can be raced consecutively in a tournament format or individually in time trials. Before attempting the tournament I'd advise changing the difficulty to easy, because this game is crazy hard! The steering is very sensitive and unfortunately the analog control is not supported. By tapping the brake, you send your car into an extended fishtail, making it possible to maneuver through several tight turns in succession. If only the tracks weren't so damn narrow! Not only is it difficult to pass other cars, but bumping one pushes it further ahead of you! Highway 2000's musical score sounds like something from of an 80's action flick, and I actually like it! The worst aspect of the game is the two-player split-screen, which is best described as "pixel soup". It doesn't help that it forces you use the first-person view. As a single-player game however, Highway 2000 delivers substantial arcade racing thrills. © Copyright 2010 The Video Game Critic.
1 or 2 players 

Horde, The
Grade: D
Publisher: Crystal Dynamics (1995)
Reviewed: 2001/4/24
Rating: Teen

screenshotI gave the Horde a good try, I really did, but I just couldn't get into it. The game tries to combine the action of fighting games with the strategic building elements not unlike Warcraft. Initially I was surprised to see an elaborate video introduction starring Kurt Cameron (from Growing Pains!). There are actually several video clips interspersed in the game, and while they're mildly amusing, they don't contribute much to the actual game. The Horde is played in turns. At the beginning of each turn, you spend money to protect and maintain a little village. At the end of the turn, a "horde" of monsters comes along to wreak havoc on what you've constructed. With weapon in hand, you go around slicing these baddies up before they can level the whole place. It's not a bad concept, but there are major problems. First, the village seems to develop out of your control, undermining your strategic moves. When the action kicks in, it's hard to locate where the oncoming monsters are attacking. The early waves of monsters are easy to take out, you are soon confronted with unstoppable titans who immediately pulverize you and end the game. The graphics are very nice, and the sound effects are exceptional. The renaissance-age music is well orchestrated but somewhat repetitive. The Horde has a good concept, but the gameplay couldn't quite live up to it. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.

House of the Dead, The
Grade: B

screenshotAs the first in a series of zombie-shooting light gun titles, House of the Dead delivers brain-splattering mayhem with branching routes and some of the worst dialogue ever recorded for a video game. Panned by critics when first released on the Saturn, House of the Dead is rough around the edges (literally) but easy to get into. As you are automatically guided around a huge mansion, all sorts of ugly ghouls pop up at every turn. The shooting is pretty much non-stop as the green blood flies and heads get blown off with extreme prejudice. You fire off-screen to reload, and it seems you need to almost constantly. Shooting boxes and barrels reveal health and power-ups, but they're usually only visible for a split second. The character models are chunky as hell, but it's the sloppy, pixilated scenery with unsightly seams and clipping problems (objects that don't overlap correctly) that make this game look so ugly. The degree of pixelation is alarming, and some of the chunky trees would look more at home in an Atari 2600 game! Considering it came out late in the system's lifecycle, you'd expect Sega to have done a better job. The graphics don't matter so much now, but when the Saturn was going head-to-head with the Playstation, a title like this could only hasten a system's demise. The accuracy of the gun is very good (no need to calibrate), but hardly precise enough to target the tiny weak spots on some of the bosses. Despite its flaws, I enjoy playing House of the Dead, especially since the changing paths make each play-through slightly different. After plowing through your limited continues you enter your initials on a high score screen (which is saved). House of the Dead has its share of issues, but if you can look past its rough exterior you're in for some good 'ole Halloween fun. © Copyright 2011 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: 7805
1 player 

In The Hunt
Grade: B
Publisher: Sega (1995)
Reviewed: 2008/9/12
Rating: Kids to Adults

screenshotWith its stylized sprites, immense firepower, and spectacular explosions, In The Hunt is the kind of title you'd expect to find on the Neo Geo. Some have even called it "Metal Slug Underwater". If you have a single old-school bone in your entire body, gazing at this gorgeous 2D shooter could bring tears to your eyes. Released at a time when 3D graphics were becoming the rage, this game eluded most gamer's radars. Your yellow sub can simultaneously fire torpedoes forward (rapid-fire), launch missiles overhead, and drop mines below. The eye candy is amazing as torpedoes leave bubbly trails, splashes ignite the water surface, and mines trigger chain reactions on the ocean floor. Most enemies are underwater, but you can surface to engage airplanes and level buildings. The destruction quotient is pretty much off-the-charts as bridges collapse into the water, sending train cars plunging into the depths. In The Hunt's soundtrack isn't remarkable, but it does call to mind those glorious days when 16-bit ruled. There's just one thing that prevents In The Hunt from achieving greatness, and that's the heinous slow-down that occurs when the action heats up. It's hard to ignore in the single-player mode, and it practically ruins an otherwise terrific two-player simultaneous mode. In The Hunt is a fun game, but it seems like the hardware is struggling to keep up every step of the way. © Copyright 2008 The Video Game Critic.
1 or 2 players 

Incredible Hulk, The Pantheon Saga
Grade: F
Publisher: Eidos (1997)
Reviewed: 2002/9/3
Rating: Kids to Adults


screenshotThis was made by the same company that did Tomb Raider? That's hard to believe, because this is one of the worst games I've seen! No wonder the Hulk is so mad - you'd be pissed too if your mug was slapped on this piece of garbage! In the idiotic background story, Hulk has been kidnapped by some space creatures and must smash his way out of their lair (whatever). Just wait until you witness that incredibly blocky green mess that is allegedly supposed to be the Hulk. Actually all of the graphics in this game look pixelated and indistinguishable to the point where you feel the need to avert your eyes. The sound effects are muffled, and the background music consists of loud grinding guitars that only add to the agony. As you wander around the monotonous 3D areas, you'll battle weak robots, solve inane lever puzzles, and take cheap hits from every direction. Every level is chock full of traps and unavoidable projectiles that only succeed in making the Hulk's life a living hell. After just a few minutes of playing this game, even I was enraged. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.

Iron Man/X-O Manowar in Heavy Metal
Grade: D
Publisher: Acclaim (1996)
Reviewed: 2000/7/22
Rating: Teen (13+)

screenshotWhat's the deal with the long name? And who the heck is X-O Manowar? Oh well, it doesn't really matter. This game is just second-rate platform shooter that provides an endless supply of cannons and generic thugs to blow up. Although there are a few fighting moves, you'll find yourself leaning on the fire button to dispatch just about everything. The best part of the game is the ability to fly and hover. That works pretty well, but the basic gameplay is redundant. The graphics aren't anything to write home about either, with the objects being blurry and pixilated. The levels are unoriginal and boring. Hey look - there's an elevator stage. Gee I've only seen that in every fighting game I've ever played! And at the end of each stage, you are awarded one ridiculously long password. I'd pass on this one. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.

Johnny Bazookatone
Grade: F
Publisher: US Gold (1996)
Reviewed: 2013/3/14
Rating: Kids to Adults

screenshotThis stylish platform shooter conveys a moody, jazzy atmosphere not unlike Mr. Bones (Saturn, 1996). Johnny Bazookatone is a guitar-playing musician with a purple bouffant hairdo (Elvis style). His guitar can rapidly fire unseen bullets in any direction, and shooting downward propels him through the air. The dark, mysterious stages are rendered with plush, realistic textures, and locations include a penitentiary, hotel, restaurant, and hospital. It shouldn't be hard to make a decent 2D platformer for the Saturn, but Johnny Bazookatone will have you believing otherwise! These stage designs are awful! There are green thorns (fatal to touch) all over the place and deadly pits hidden from view. You tend to get killed by things you assume are part of the background scenery. Mushrooms turn from helpful green to poisonous red for no apparent reason. In one stage I entered a door but after waiting a long time for the game to load, I was told, "you can't go there". What the hell? The collision detection is atrocious; sometimes you can jump on a mushroom, and sometimes you can't. The clay-mation skeletons look pretty neat, but I hate how they tend to spring up from right under your feet. The small enemies can be hard to make out. Was I just attacked by a floating candle? Lose a life and you have to restart the entire stage, which is bogus. Johnny's firepower is weak, and the charge attack is useless because it takes forever to power up. And don't even get me started with those slow-motion underwater stages. Blues music plays throughout Johnny Bazookatone, and it's appropriate considering how sad this game will make you feel. © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: 12,630
1 player 

Last Bronx
Grade: A-
Publisher: Sega (1997)
Reviewed: 2004/3/31
Rating: Teen

screenshotAs Sega's weapon-oriented 3D fighter, Last Bronx plays much like Fighting Vipers, only without all the chunky armor and ugly walls. After playing all of the 3D Saturn fighters in succession, I can say with confidence that Last Bronx is easily the best looking and most enjoyable of the bunch. Each of the eight fighters wields a unique weapon, including nun-chucks, Billy clubs, sticks, and hammers. The well-animated fighters are fun to watch, and some matches resemble a well-choreographed Jackie Chan flick. The detailed, 3D graphics don't get much better than this on the Saturn, although the urban backgrounds aren't particularly interesting. The control is dead-on, and the anime introduction is far more fun to watch that the 3D rendered stuff in other games. With six modes and options to spare, Last Bronx is senseless violence at its best. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.
1 or 2 players 

Last Gladiators Digital Pinball
Grade: D
Publisher: Kaze (1995)
Reviewed: 2012/1/25
Rating: Kids to Adults

screenshotThis game begins with footage of live actors posing in gladiator outfits as 80's hair-band music blares in the background. No, Last Gladiators has not aged well. The best part is how you can select between four tables, each with a medieval combat theme. I happen to be a big pinball fan so I was willing to give this a fair shot. The tables look sharp but their designs are pretty unimaginative, and what's up with the limited color palette? It's hard to make out the details of the table, and those lights are impossible to read. There aren't many targets to shoot for, and it's easy to nail the same one again and again. The flippers are responsive, but there's no plunger control. You can nudge the table by hitting the shoulder buttons. The physics is a little funky, and it's not uncommon to see the ball come to a complete stop - something unheard of in real pinball. The best part of the game is the frenetic multi-ball modes. Monochromatic animations do a nice job of emulating the LED display of real pinball games, but in general it's hard to tell what's going on. The game tries to offer hints via pop-up boxes, but they often obstruct your view. The digitized voices sound murky and the non-stop guitar becomes mind-numbing after a while. High scores are recorded for each table. Last Gladiators will mainly interest pinball fans, and even they may find it hard to get excited about this. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: 1,255,000
1 player 


Select new range: [Previous] [A-C] [D-E] F-L [M-R] [S] [T-Z] [Next]

Screen shots courtesy of Shinforce, Games Database, Video Game Museum, GameSpot, Rotten Tomatoes, Racket Boy, GameFAQs.com, Old Games News, Hardcore Gaming 101, IGN.com

Back to Top
Saturn index
Return to Main Page