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I love the Sega Saturn

Posted: March 31st, 2019, 2:24 pm
by ptdebate
I recently picked up a modded Hi Saturn (Japanese exclusive Hitachi-manufactured variant) that plays games from all regions as well as - most importantly - burned CD-ROMs.

The Saturn is arguably the best 2D gaming console ever made. If only Sega of America had leaned into the Saturn's strengths rather than trying to beat Sony at their own game, Sega - as a platform - might be alive and well today. With so many successful 2D games on the market today, history has proven that 3D was not the (only) future.

Having access to all 1000 or so titles from every region really opens your eyes to how great a library this relatively forgotten console has. I especially love the Konami shmup collections and practically arcade-perfect ports. There's even a small but mostly essential collection of RPGs (Shining Force III, Panzer Dragoon Saga).

The Saturn 3D controller is likely the most comfortable I have ever used. How did they mess up so badly when they adapted the design for Dreamcast? The sharp edges of the latter controller assault your hands while playing fast-paced action titles.

One of the charms of the Dreamcast was how easy it was to burn copies of games and share them with your friends. But the Dreamcast does not have as extensive a library as a Saturn, which excelled overseas despite its destined failure in the West.

What games do you think of when you think of the Saturn? Any recommendations for hidden gems I should seek out?

Re: I love the Sega Saturn

Posted: March 31st, 2019, 5:05 pm
by Sut
Yes it does indeed open a whole new library.

Games I’ve played upto yet

Chase HQ

Both arcade perfect ports but the big one is the Capcom Fighters like Street Fighter Zero 3 and Vs series.

I suggest you watch Sega Lord X he is a big collector of Japanese Saturn games and has some great videos on Saturn games.

This also opens up translations for you so Shining Force 3 parts 2 and 3, Policenauts. I also believe translations are being worked on for Grandia and Lunar.

Re: I love the Sega Saturn

Posted: March 31st, 2019, 8:48 pm
by Sonicx9
If youu want a hidden gem, get Bulk Slash aka the best Macross game in all but name when you play it, you will not regret.

Re: I love the Sega Saturn

Posted: April 1st, 2019, 3:32 pm
by Retro STrife
Nice pickup. I'm a big fan of the Saturn too- I bought mine sometime in the early 2000s, and it probably had the biggest impact of any system in getting me interested in retro gaming. It felt cool playing a system none of my friends knew anything about - and that same reasoning carries on today with all the obscure systems I prefer collecting for. The Saturn was probably like my 5th system or so that I owned back then, so it helped spur me into dozens more since. At one point, my goal was to get a complete U.S. Saturn collection, and I ended up buying a lot of the rarer titles, before finally realizing there were for saner ways to spend my money in life. Smart move by you burning the games to CD-R.

But anyway... my personal favorite games on the Saturn are Panzer Dragoon Saga and NiGHTS into Dreams. Both are in my personal Top 10 to this day. I wonder if NiGHTS still holds up to someone playing it fresh today, but it was definitely mesmerizing to me back in the early 2000s. I still pop it in once in awhile and still get amazed by it. Meanwhile, Panzer Dragoon Saga is the best JRPG I've ever played. It was my favorite game ever when I beat it, but that was 15+ years ago, so I hesitate to keep it in that #1 spot until I play it again someday. Unfortunately I haven't had time to play the other RPGs on the Saturn. Dragon Force was one I always hoped to play, but I've never gotten around to it.

Another game I'd recommend is Mr. Bones - I like one-of-a-kind games and that def fits the bill, and it's good too. I'm a fan of the light gun games on the Saturn too - I spent plenty of time with Virtua Cop back in the day. I'll add more if I think of them, but those are the ones popping in my head right now.

Re: I love the Sega Saturn

Posted: April 1st, 2019, 10:59 pm
by Matchstick
ptdebate wrote:I love the Sega Saturn

Well, doesn't everybody??

Glad to see you've finally gotten on board, ptdebate. Ask anyone who's every owned one, the Saturn is a mighty fine gaming machine. One of its biggest quirks is also one of my favorite things about it - it was the first game system I ever owned with built-in internal storage. No need for a memory card! Of course, the storage RAM was battery powered, and when those batteries died, so did all your game saves. For the type of games I played, mainly action titles and fighters, this wasn't a big deal. For you RPG types out there, well...

At least a fresh battery will last you a good year or two. That's a lot of playtime! As far as recommendations go, here's a list of titles besides the Panzer Dragoon games we've all been raving about:

Gungriffon - Yes, the first game in the series was on the Saturn, along with its Japan-only sequel. Great little action game, but man, does it get difficult.

Earthworm Jim 2 - A port of a Genesis title, yes, but it takes full advantage of the Saturn's features with much improved colors and background images. And that soundtrack just sings off the CD.

Fighters Megamix - My favorite 3D fighter on the system. Virtua Fighter 2 and Last Bronx give you better graphics, but no game give you more fighters than this one. Plus, it has so many strange characters, like one of the stock cars from Daytona USA. A must play!

Nightwarriors: Darkstalkers Revenge - Sandwiched between the Playstation release of Darkstalkers 1 and 3 was this game. My favorite in the series, it updates just enough of the first title to stand on its own. I bought a Saturn just for this game, no joke.

Street Fighter Alpha 2 - Yes, Alpha 3 is available as an import, but I've always preferred this one. Give it a spin and see what you think.

X-Men vs. Street Fighter - Hey, as long as you're using burnt games, might as well get this one, since price is no object. Just make sure you pick up the RAM expansion pack or an Action Replay to play it. Speaking of which...

Akumajo Dracula X - AKA, Symphony of the Night. A Japan-only release (IDIOTS, Konami!!) which features areas and an extra playable character not present in the Playstation release. Used to own a legit copy, back when Saturn games were cheap, and it was the "jewel" of my collection, for sure. Damn game never gets old.

Rockman X3 / X4 / 8 - 2D Megaman goodness. X3 is import only, while the other two had a US release. Can't go wrong.

Macross: Do You Remember Love? - Not the best game, but I loved Robotech as a kid, and I jumped at the chance to play this one, a 2D shooter based on the Japan-only feature film. Short and sweet, you can bust through it in just a few hours.

That's a starter list, but of course, there's more. The Saturn version of the OG Resident Evil had extra content over the Playstation version, and pretty much any 2D fighter had the advantage over Sony's system, as well. Never been much of a PS guy, mainly because the Saturn gave me all I ever needed back in the day. Maybe, in time, you'll feel a similar way, pt.

And, oh yeah, don't forget Radiant Silvergun, you pirate :roll:

Re: I love the Sega Saturn

Posted: April 6th, 2019, 5:09 pm
by ptdebate
Awesome suggestions guys. I feel a little bad about burning all these games but I guess there's no way to support the original developers either...

I'm currently looking for a new video solution because I only have RF and it's pretty terrible. My TV has no composite or S Video (only HDMI and RF), so I need some sort of upscaler solution...

Re: I love the Sega Saturn

Posted: April 7th, 2019, 4:26 am
by Sut
ptdebate wrote:I feel a little bad about burning all these games but I guess there's no way to support the original developers either..

I wouldn’t feel bad, the original developers get the same whether you burn them or spend £100’s on eBay.

A title I’ve not got round to trying yet but heard good things about (which is also hideously expensive):

Shinrei Jusatsushi Taromaru
Released: 1997
“Sadly, its insane price tag and sheer rarity will mean many will not have had a chance to experience Shinrei Jusatsushi Taromaru (or Psychic Assassin Taromaru). You’re missing out on a delightfully nutty game that takes elements of Shinobi and Alisa Dragoon and marries them to insanely over-the-top action scenes that involve gigantic frogs and fantastic scaling and rotating effects. The difficulty is a little unfair in places, but the impressive visuals, inventive level design and stunning animation certainly makes up for it. If there’s a better game where you can run across the backs of stampeding bulls, we’ve not played it.”

*Excerpt from Retro Gamer

Re: I love the Sega Saturn

Posted: April 7th, 2019, 10:32 pm
by Matchstick
Sut wrote:
ptdebate wrote:I feel a little bad about burning all these games but I guess there's no way to support the original developers either..

I wouldn’t feel bad, the original developers get the same whether you burn them or spend £100’s on eBay.

THIS. This x1000.

I can't stress enough how much I feel the same way. It's not our fault that Sega intentionally destroyed much of their source code for their Saturn games while working on Dreamcast titles, effectively making modern day re-releases impossible. I have often thought of how much money they are missing out on by not having classic Saturn games available on modern consoles or PCs. Who here wouldn't buy a Panzer Dragoon Classic Collection, with 1, 2, and Saga on one disc / cartridge? Hell, they could even pack Orta in there as well as the obscure Game Gear and R-Zone titles, as well as the dreadful anime movie, and call it the Panzer Dragoon Complete Collection. Sell that sucker for $39.95 and watch it fly!

If it were a matter of pirating games instead of supporting the developers by buying modern versions of the games on Steam, GOG, PSN, etc, then yes, I would think twice before burning that disc. Some Saturn games are out there on certain digital marketplaces, such as Nights, Daytona USA, and Virtua Fighter 2, but by and large, there are nearly no offerings of updated Saturn games available for download. In most cases, as Sut said, Sega isn't getting your money anyway, whether you burn a disc or drop the cash to a "collector" on eBay.

Want to play fair? Download every Saturn offering available on the marketplace of your choice. I doubt you will spend more than $50, total. That way, you've at least "done your part" to support Sega and the Saturn games they've provided to the modern crowd.

Sir, you burn all the Saturn games you want and rejoice at the massive collection you'll assemble. If Sega ever gets their act together and releases more Saturn games on modern systems, then you can "repay" them by downloading some of their titles. Until that day comes, burn away!

Re: I love the Sega Saturn

Posted: May 15th, 2019, 2:56 am
by JWK
Just wanted to drop into the Saturn lovefest. It hasn’t been mentioned but a quick reminder that the Saturn controller is easily the best retro controller ever. The only controller that comes close is the 6 button Genesis controller.... yes, because they’re basically the same. Same d-pad, but the Saturn controller shape is much more comfortable to hold. I own about 15 of them. Seriously. I know retrobit just released some, but I believe the initial batch had a cheap plastic part of the d-pad that reportedly broke for a lot of people. My understanding is that issue has been fixed.

The Saturn is my second favorite console of all time (after the SNES). I love the Genesis and the Dreamcast. But when anyone says one of those two are the best Sega console ever, I always think, “they’ve probably never owned a Japanese Saturn.” I say Japanese because— and you guys have already alluded to it, I know— Sega of America just botched the Saturn’s chances here. They wanted to put the Genesis on life support with the 32X (a product Sega of Japan wanted no part of) and then Bernie Stollar famously killed the system early with his “Saturn is not our future” comment. What a shame. It really is the best 2D system of all time. Batsugun, Street Fighter Zero 3, Battle Garegga, Astal, Elevator Action Returns, Metal Slug, Shin Shinobi Den (Shinobi Legions), Keio Flying Squadron 2, Soukyugurentai (Terra Diver), Pocket Fighter, NBA Jam TE, and on and on and on. It could even be great in 3D if the developer put in the work to learn the system: Virtual On, Powerslave, Dead or Alive, Virtua Fighter 2 and Bulk Slash (good call, Sonic!). Sut also mentioned the English translation projects that are both completed and ongoing. That Policenauts translation is ace! I’ve played both the PS1 and Saturn versions and even Kojima himself says it’s the definitive version. I’m really looking forward to Grandia, as I enjoyed it on PS1 but it was made with the Saturn in mind. My biggest want is a Eng fan translation of Princess Crown, as it’s made by George Kamitani and some of the group that would go on to form Vanillaware. It’s gorgeous (the best 2D graphics on the Saturn???), the predecessor to Odin Sphere... and a chore to play with the online walkthrough. No one’s working on it currently, but I have hope that a translation will get done some day.

I love talking about the Saturn. I own FOUR consoles (one is hooked up to a TATE’d CRT exclusively meant for shmups) and it’s just so underrated and amazing. I shudder to think of the $thousands I’ve spent just to get to 100 game collection, most of them imports. You’re right to go the CD-R route— I did the same with PseudoSaturn in the beginning— but after buying Vampire Savior and Layer Section, the collector in me took over. I hope you continue enjoying the system, PT. I love the PS1 as well, but no one did a good job of competing with Sony on Sony’s terms in the 5th gen. I agree that if the Saturn had just focused on what the system was good at, maybe they’d still be making hardware. Nintendo did a better job than Sega during that time accenting what their system was good at (3D platformers/collect-a-thons), but I’m assuming people have heard enough of my thoughts on the N64. Lol