Saturn Reviews T-Z

TNN Motorsports Hardcore 4x4
Grade: F-
Publisher: ASC Games (1996)
Reviewed: 2013/4/25
Rating: Kids to Adults

screenshotTNN Motorsports Hardcore 4x4 defies the categories of "bad" and "awful", instead landing squarely in the realm of "you have got to be [expletive] kidding me!" I tend to enjoy off-road racers like Rally Cross (Playstation, 1996) and Excite Truck (Wii, 2006), but this is unreal! I wasn't expecting much from the graphics, and nothing much is what I got. The pixelated trucks bounce around like toys on soupy, murky tracks with no discernable path. Atari 2600-caliber pixels of "dirt" get kicked up from the road and excessive fog obscures the road ahead. The audio is a cacophony of droning engines, whining guitars, and a pitiful announcer who chimes in once per lap with "Whoa, hardcore!" But it's the erratic frame-rate that makes the game impossible to stomach. When several trucks crowd the screen, the action turns into a herky-jerky mess and the controls go right out the window. A slight nudge suddenly becomes enough to turn your truck completely around! Imagine my disgust when I went from first to last in the final stretch, all due to these pathetic controls. Adding insult to injury, the game displays "You came last" (nice grammar) as the commentator calls you a "LOOO-SER!!". The lack of multiplayer is less disappointing once it sinks in that TNN Hardcore can't even properly support one player. I tried my steering wheel controller, but it was a futile gesture. The best thing I can say about TNN Hardcore is that the load screen looks good. After that, it's all downhill. © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.

Three Dirty Dwarves
Grade: D
Publisher: SegaSoft (1996)
Reviewed: 2013/3/14
Rating: Teens 13+ (animated violence, comic mischief, suggestive themes)


screenshotA funny cartoon introduces this game in which three dwarves are magically transported from medieval times into a post-apocalyptic future. I love side-scrolling brawlers and Three Dirty Dwarves really looks good - on paper. This 2D title features oversized characters armed with unconventional weapons. It's satisfying to hit a baseball at a monster from point-blank range or knock over mutants with a bowling ball. The third dwarf is armed with a shotgun, which is less imaginative but no less effective. The game supports three-player simultaneous action, and when a fellow dwarf goes down you can revive him - a pretty novel concept for 1996! The audio incorporates a lot of goofy grunts and groans, and the music sounds suspiciously like the Macarena. The war-torn urban scenery is unspectacular save for a few nifty scaling effects (like a wrecking ball). You'd think having large characters would be awesome, but it's really a detriment. The action is limited to the lower portion of the screen, leaving not much room to maneuver. The screen gets really cluttered during battles and frankly I had no idea what the [expletive] was going on half the time. Further subtracting from the fun are cheap hits in the form of falling meteors and trashcans with grabbing hands. There are too many annoying small creatures that latch onto you - including hopping bombs! The stages are long and there are no checkpoints. There's no score but you get unlimited continues. Three Dirty Dwarves has a few innovative ideas but its gameplay is more chaotic than fun. © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.

Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3
Grade: B+
Publisher: Williams (1995)
Reviewed: 2009/11/20
Rating: Mature (animated violence, animated blood)

screenshotWhen I play an older fighter like Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 (UMK3), it takes me back to a simpler time when characters only had a handful of moves. There's something to be said for that! Mortal Kombat 3 was considered a disappointment in its day, but there's still plenty to like about this Ultimate edition. Its 2D graphics look extremely sharp, and the controls are perfectly responsive. If you own a Saturn joystick, this game will make good use of it. UMK3 contains most of your favorite characters (including Scorpion), but that unmasked version of Sub-Zero was always a real turn-off. The two robots (Cyrax and Sector) splash black oil instead of blood, and some non-human characters (like Sheeva) spurt green blood. Before each contest a cool match-up screen is displayed, but it's almost immediately replaced by a boring "Now Loading" screen. What's up with that? Most of the stages are holdovers from MK3, including the subway and "Temple of Zuul" city skyline. It's not uncommon to punch your opponent through the ceiling and continue fighting on the level above. The water stage which looked so fake on the SNES looks a heck of a lot better here. Ultimate's new stages include a sand dune location and a hellish "columns of bones" area. The gameplay has been tweaked slightly, mostly to balance out the characters. I noticed that blocks are less effective and air-juggles are fairly common. Fatalities are accompanied by a stuttering load sequence that's unsightly and really tends to ruin the moment. New multi-player modes include an eight-player single-elimination tournament. Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 isn't spectacular on the Saturn, but it's still one heck of a fighting game. © Copyright 2009 The Video Game Critic.

VR Golf 97
Grade: B+
Publisher: Gremlin (1996)
Reviewed: 2000/12/24
Rating: Kids to Adults

screenshotGremlin succeeded where Sega and Electronic Arts failed, and managed to program a good golf game for the Saturn. VR Golf is less impressive looking than other Saturn golf games, but the playability is far and away the best. The courses are made up of polygons which look rougher than the static, pre-rendered screens of other golf games. However, you get the advantage of a moving camera angle that provides an excellent view of your shot. You not only have complete camera control during your shots, but during replays as well. The easy-to-use controls allow you to draw and fade at will. Perhaps the best part of this game is that except between holes, load time is practically non-existent, allowing for games to move at a brisk pace. The audio is outstanding. In addition to the natural-sounding background noise, three announcers intelligently (and often humorously) provide play-by-play and commentary. The English guy is particularly funny. Be sure to set the commentary option to "mixed" for maximum enjoyment. VR Golf is good, but not perfect. The graphics and animation are rougher than the Playstation version of this game. The fictional golfers look downright blocky, and the two courses are fictional and not too exciting. Finally, putting is far too easy. But despite these flaws, this is one more entertaining golf games I've played. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
1 to 4 players 

VR Soccer
Grade: C
Publisher: Gremlin Interactive (1996)
Reviewed: 2006/9/29
Rating: Kids to Adults

screenshotIt's hard to dislike a soccer game that kicks off with that catchy "Rock and Rock Part 2" theme song. But where's the "VR"? Actually, nobody really knew what "virtual reality" was in the mid-90's, but industry "experts" were 100% sure it was "the next big thing". Little did they know that ten years later we'd all be buying repackaged Atari 2600's instead! Anyway, VR Soccer's first-generation polygon graphics might make you cringe at first glace, but its gameplay is surprisingly fluid and generally fun. The control scheme is simple enough and the contests are of ideal length (read: short). The packaging makes a big deal out of the "3-D Virtual FieldVision" feature, which apparently refers to the fact that the camera tends to be in constant motion all over the field. Depending on the situation it will zoom in close, swing around, or pull back for a wide shot. Most of the time it provides a good viewing angle, and after a while you won't even notice it. This problem is, the camera positioning also affects the controls! If you're lining up for a shot and the camera suddenly swings around, you need to readjust your aim in a hurry. As a result, novice players will often find themselves passing and shooting the ball out of bounds. Unlike modern soccer titles, the "shoot" button doesn't automatically aim towards the goal, so it's hard to aim with precision. The goals are awfully small but manned by lazy-assed goalies that allow soft shots to float right over their heads. VR Soccer's play-by-play is professional but subdued. A rich option menu provides so many choices that it's almost ridiculous. When sports games become old, their whiz-bang features tend to fall to the side, and all that remains is their gameplay. Fortunately for VR Soccer, that's good enough. © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.
1 or 2 players 

Virtua Cop
Grade: B+
Publisher: Sega (1995)
Reviewed: 2000/6/27
Rating: Teen

screenshotThis is a very basic, easy-to-play light gun game that's very entertaining, and the Sega Stunner gun is one of the most accurate guns around. Two people can play at once, which always increases the fun factor. Scenery includes the standard action movie staples: a warehouse, construction site, syndicate headquarters, etc. That's all fine, but you really can't damage too much of the scenery, except for a few windows here and there. There are no special weapons like grenades, but you can power-up your gun. Besides the bosses, you shoot the same bad guys over and over, and apparently they all shop for clothes at the same store. Enemies react differently depending on where they are shot, and I love it when they fall from high places. On the downside, the fact that there are only three stages diminishes the replayability of this game. Still, Virtual Cop is great fun while it lasts. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
1 or 2 players 

Virtua Cop 2
Grade: A
Publisher: Sega (1996)
Reviewed: 2000/6/27
Rating: Teen

screenshotWhat an incredible game Virtua Cop 2 is! This excellent sequel is one of the best light-gun games ever made. The graphics are slightly improved from the first game, with a much better variety of enemies. You can now shoot and damage much of the scenery, including exploding barrels. But by far the most impressive aspect of this game is the driving sequences. You really do feel like you're having a shootout during a car chase! The framerate is so fast and smooth that you might actually get motion sickness watching this game. Virtua Cop 2 is also more challenging than the first, with more hostages that get in the way. The game is longer, and the interesting scenery includes a department store, an ocean liner, and a subway. You can even choose your path at certain times, increasing the replayability. Saturn fans should not miss this game. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
1 or 2 players 

Virtua Fighter 2
Grade: C+
Publisher: Sega (1995)
Reviewed: 2004/3/31
Rating: Teen (13+)

screenshotSetting the standard for Saturn fighters, Virtua Fighter 2 delivers fluid fighting action that demands good technique. The character models have been enhanced dramatically since the first Virtua Fighter, as evidenced by the introduction, where each fighter transforms from their old look into the new. Virtua Fighter's graphics are good but not great, and pale in comparison to the flashy visuals of Tekken or Battle Arena Toshinden (Playstation). From the bearded old Shun, to the ninja Kage, to the Ryu look-alike Akira, these fighters look fairly realistic (no space aliens or monsters here). The graphics are clean and the animation is smooth, but the action is definitely on the slow side. The jumps are "floaty", as if the fights were taking place on the moon. Three buttons are used to block, punch, and kick. The manual lists of slew of moves for each character, but many are "leap" attacks requiring you to be a certain distance from your opponent. Virtua Fighter 2's measured style of play tends to make the matches more strategically oriented and less prone to button mashing. I also like how well executed attacks can take huge chunks out of the life meter. The background scenery features attractive but unspectacular ancient temples, and the voices are mostly Japanese, which is for the better. Adding replay value are extra modes like a "team battle" mode, a "ranking" mode that rates your performance, and an "expert" mode that supposedly records your techniques from previous fights and devises an appropriate strategy to counter them. I gave this expert mode a try, and sure enough, my opponent consistently blocked all of my favorite moves. It wasn't particularly fun, but it did force me to try some new tricks. Virtua Fighter 2 is a quality game, and it's evident that Sega was trying very hard to compete with the Playstation. The game's visuals might not blow you away, but the gameplay just might win you over. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.

Virtua Fighter Kids
Grade: C-
Publisher: Sega (1996)
Reviewed: 2003/3/20
Rating: Teen (13+) Animated violence.

screenshotHave you ever noticed how so many games have that obligatory, secret "big head" mode? I think it started with NBA Jam, and I for one have never quite understood its appeal. So as you can imagine, I was pretty disgusted at Sega for releasing Virtua Fighter Kids in 1996. I mean c'mon - this gimmick is hardly worth making a whole new game out of! At the time, the Saturn was getting its ass kicked thoroughly by Sony's Playstation, which boasted a slew superior 3D fighters (Tekken, Battle Arena Toshinden). Inexplicably, Sega's response was this silly, scaled-down version of their flagship fighter, Virtua Fighter. But if you can look past the ridiculous graphics (not easy to do), the gameplay is not half bad. It's comparable to Virtua Fighter 2, except many of the moves are harder to make out because those big noggins always seem to get in the way. The fighters and backgrounds are simplistic, but the colorful graphics have a crisp, clean look. New features include a "combo workshop", which lets you configure complicated attacks that can be initiated with a single button press (didn't this used to be called cheating?). There's also a "kids mode", which lets you trigger complex special moves simply by mashing buttons - entertaining for young players I suppose. Inexplicably, Virtua Fighter Kids was smacked with a "Teen" rating (13+), which seems remarkably ironic. Of course, if Sega had really their priorities straight, this silly game would have never seen the light of day in the first place. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.

Virtua Racing
Grade: C+
Publisher: Sega (1995)
Reviewed: 2000/7/4
Rating: Kids to Adults


screenshotVirtua Racing was the first racer to effectively use 3D polygon graphics, allowing you to view the action from different angles on the fly. This Saturn version is probably the best home version you can get, but let's face it, it's pretty unspectacular for a Saturn title. I mean, when this was released there were already perfectly good versions for the 32X and Genesis, and next-generation, texture-mapped racers like Ridge Racer and Daytona USA were already becoming commonplace. Virtua Racing sports triangle trees and buildings that looks like boxes. And the photorealistic backdrops make the chunky polygons in the foreground look even worse! Despite the variety of tracks, cars, and options, this game looks old. The sound effects and music are adequate but sparse. Fortunately, gameplay reigns supreme, and Virtua Racing was always a good time. The simple controls and high difficulty should divert your attention from the primitive graphics, at least for a while anyway. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
1 or 2 players. 

Virtual Open Tennis
Grade: C
Publisher: Acclaim (1995)
Reviewed: 2004/4/30

screenshotWhile not in the same league as Virtua Tennis (Dreamcast), Acclaim's Virtual Open is certainly respectable. You select from ten fictional players, each with their own unique attributes. The court is viewed vertically, providing a good view for the player on the nearside, but a lousy view for the poor chump on the far end. The players look slightly pixilated but are nicely animated. If you want to see something hilarious, try walking side to side before serving the ball - these guys look like they're walking with their shoes tied together! Control is fair, but could be more responsive. The players tend to move erratically, especially when you use the turbo button. They automatically dive for tough shots, and occasionally make some spectacular plays. The big yellow ball is easy to follow, and a red mark appears where it lands, making it easy to determine if a shot was in or out. Virtual Open's fun factor is only about average, and there are too many pauses in the action. For some reason, you have to page through the game and set scores before EVERY serve. And by all means, be sure to turn those instant replays off, or they will drive you absolutely crazy! The tennis courts aren't very interesting, with the exception of the looming Earth on the horizon. Huh? Are we playing on the moon?? The game's musical soundtrack includes some ear-splitting rock but also some relaxing jazz tunes. Virtual Open Tennis has great multiplayer support. You and a friend can team up in a doubles game versus the computer, and you can hook up a multi-tap for some four-player fun. Virtual Open Tennis is not a standout title, but it gets the job done.
Rating: Kids to Adults © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.

Winter Heat
Grade: A
Publisher: Sega (1997)
Reviewed: 2007/12/31
Rating: Everyone

screenshotWhen I pulled this game off my shelf recently, I could have sworn that I'd reviewed it before. Sure enough, upon loading it up and viewing the rankings, I saw high scores achieved by me and my friend Steve dated last February! That's right - not only does Winter Heat save the initials of the high score/world record holders, but records the dates as well! That's awesome. Despite its age, Winter Heat stacks up to be the most enjoyable winter Olympics game ever made. There are eleven events, and only two buttons (speed and action) are required to play. The A and C buttons are both assigned to "speed", so you can tap them in tandem. Each event is preceded by some brief instructions, and the loading times are minimal. The events are so short, so it doesn't take long to play the entire circuit. Not only can you compete against up to six friends (via the multi-tap), but you can also play the game for high score. The graphics are colorful and bright, and exude a polished arcade look. The athletes include some huge Scandinavian dudes, but also some cute snow bunnies. The snow-covered trees and pixelated spectators look chunky, but the distant mountains look beautiful, and the look and feel of a frosty environment comes across well. Although the digital controls are somewhere harsh for events that require finesse, they are certainly responsive. Events like the downhill and bobsled convey an exciting breakneck sense of speed. Several events allow two players to race at the same time, including speed skating, cross-country, and slalom. After the winner takes the podium, you're treated to highlights of his performance as the credits roll. High scores are saved automatically. Winter Heat is an outstanding Saturn title, and I really can't recommend this game enough to fans of winter sports. © Copyright 2007 The Video Game Critic.
1 to 6 players 

World Series Baseball
Grade: B-
Publisher: Sega (1995)
Reviewed: 2007/4/8
Rating: Kids to Adults

screenshotAs the first baseball game for the Saturn, World Series has aged well, but it didn't exactly set the world on fire upon its release. At the time, the Playstation was breaking ground with its 3D polygon games, and World Series still employed scaling digitized sprites - small and grainy ones at that. Only four stadiums are included (Fenway, Wrigley, Astrodome, and Yankee), and there is no instant replay (an unforgivable oversight even in 1995). The crowd consists of some ugly pixelated squares, and the commentator is worthless. The umpire yells "Strike!" in the most irritating manner imaginable, and you can't shut that bastard up! Then there's the problem of the ball not appearing to make contact with the bat for many base hits. Apparently the game thinks that bat is a few inches longer than it really is. But beyond these cosmetic issues, World Series Baseball plays like a champ. The controls are crisp, and the smack of the ball against the bat or glove is really satisfying. Exaggerated diving controls make snagging fly balls a lot of fun. The game moves along at a brisk pace, so you can play nine innings in about a half hour. World Series Baseball overcomes its technical shortcomings with an intangible element of fun that's hard to nail down. I would have liked to have seen more pageantry (like a seventh inning stretch), and a lot more options, but at its core, World Series is a quality ball game. © Copyright 2007 The Video Game Critic.

World Series Baseball 2
Grade: B+
Publisher: Sega (1996)
Reviewed: 2007/4/8
Rating: Kids to Adults

screenshotAs good as it is, the only thing World Series 2 really has to offer over its predecessor is the inclusion of all of the major league ballparks (compared to four in the first game). I have to hand it to Sega - they really did their homework in designing these meticulously detailed, well-proportioned stadiums. They're fun to look at, and they add a new dimension to the gameplay (literally). Unfortunately, Sega didn't bother to make any other improvements, so all of the faults of the first game persist - and stick out like a sore thumb. The collision detection remains spotty, the umpire will get on your nerves, and there's still no instant replay! Sega made a lame attempt to liven up the commentary, but you'll wish they hadn't. With idiotic lines like "That was a great pitch! What will he throw next?", you'll want to shut his ass off altogether. The behind-the-batter camera has been moved slightly off-center, but I really don't see any benefit to it. When playing the CPU, the camera zooms in on fielders slightly, but it just emphasizes their pixelation. Sega clearly got lazy with this one, but with its slick controls and minimal lulls in the action, World Series 2 remains one of the more enjoyable baseball games out there. © Copyright 2007 The Video Game Critic.

World Series Baseball 98
Grade: A
Publisher: Sega (1997)
Reviewed: 2007/4/8
Rating: Kids to adults

screenshotWith World Series Baseball 98 (WSB98), Sega finally fulfills the promise of the Saturn system. The game is now rendered using genuine 3D polygons which remarkably do not compromise the fast, fluid gameplay that's distinguished the franchise. The player models may look chunkier than their Playstation counterparts, but the animation is superb. The new 3D visuals allow for TV-style camera angles including players stepping up to the plate and dramatic collisions at home plate. Pitchers and batters possess the same mannerisms as their real-life counterparts, so baseball enthusiasts will recognize their favorites easily. The pitching and batting system has been overhauled and is much more sophisticated. The pitcher can precisely aim the ball, and the batter moves a target to direct his swing. A useful and unobtrusive "guess the location" feature gives the batter an advantage if he can anticipate the correct quadrant of the pitch. These new mechanics add depth but never impede the brisk pacing of the game. The weakest aspect of WSB98 is its audio. There's a new umpire voice, but he's just as annoying as the last guy, and you still can't shut him up! The commentator is less irritating but still dumb ("The ball goes hiiiiigh in the air!") Inexplicably, there's still no instant replay feature. But these gripes can't prevent World Series Baseball 98 from being a showcase sports title for the system, and one of the finest baseball games I've ever played. © Copyright 2007 The Video Game Critic.

X-Men: Children of the Atom
Grade: B-
Publisher: Capcom (1996)
Reviewed: 2013/4/25
Rating: Kids to Adults


screenshotChildren of the Atom is regarded by many as "the one that started it all." This arcade extravaganza would usher in a new breed of game that applied the Street Fighter formula to superheroes. You might be tempted to write off X-Men: Children of the Atom as old and outdated, but don't be so hasty! Its cast of characters includes five X-Men (Wolverine, Psylocke, Cyclops, Storm, Iceman, Colossus) and six villains (Spiral, Silver Samurai, Omega Red, Sentinel, Juggernaut, Magneto). Two of the villains (Juggernaut and Magneto) cannot be selected by the player. All of the characters are bright and colorful, and a few of the villains are positively huge! The control scheme incorporates three punches, three kicks, a run button, and a super jump. Most special moves are simple quarter-roll movements, and when your X-Power meter fills up you can unleash hell. The super jump is kind of a big deal because the action often moves far above the ground, and certain characters even have the ability to hover or fly. This dynamic makes it important to know which attacks aim downward and upward. The battles are action-packed but occasionally the animation is hard to follow and the collision detection can be a little off. The stages feature gorgeous venues like a sunny beach, an undersea headquarters, and the deck of an aircraft carrier. The scope of this game is limited but that works in its favor. The character selection doesn't feel overwhelming and it's fun to compete for score in the arcade mode. The slower pace encourages more strategy and less button pounding. Children of the Atom may be old, but it's spry. © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.


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

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