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Games NeoGAF Official SEGA SATURN Community

Kazza

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Featured in the video:
Riglord Saga 2
Wachenroder
Terra Phantastica
Dungeon Master Nexus
Nanatsu Kaze no Shima Monogatari
All Japan Pro Wrestling Featuring Virtua
Gungriffon 2
Castlevania Symphony of the Night

Games which already have fan translations:
Dragon Force II
Linkle Liver Story
Ninpen Manmaru
Policenauts
Sakura Wars
Revolutionary Girl Utena

A lot of good games there. I never knew Riglord Saga (aka Mystaria and Blazing Heroes) had a sequel. More motivation for studying Japanese!
 

kurisu_1974

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Oct 21, 2019
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Tried to run the Policenauts fan translation running on RetroArch but I got wierd graphical glitches that I can't seem to fix. Switched to the PSX version and it runs super smooth. Too bad since I believe the Saturn one is superior (better video, uncensored).
 
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Al3x1s

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Tried to run the Policenauts fan translation running on RetroArch but I got wierd graphical glitches that I can't seem to fix. Switched to the PSX version and it runs super smooth. Too bad since I believe the Saturn one is superior (better video, uncensored).
Which saturn core did you try, there are several. Personally I tend to go with Beetle even though it doesn't let you change resolution and otherwise enhance the games and Policenauts worked fine as far as I could tell.
 
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kurisu_1974

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Beetle didn't run at all, just crashed RetroArch, so I tried the Yabause core which ran the game but with yellow lines all over the screen. Then tried YabaSanshiro and it looked great, but then there was some flickering in the title screen, and then in the first interactive screen, the red and blue neon was just solid color shapes. For the record, I'm doing this on a Shield TV android device, and the BIOS files are in place and recognized by the different emulators.
 
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Al3x1s

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Beetle didn't run at all, just crashed RetroArch, so I tried the Yabause core which ran the game but with yellow lines all over the screen. Then tried YabaSanshiro and it looked great, but then there was some flickering in the title screen, and then in the first interactive screen, the red and blue neon was just solid color shapes. For the record, I'm doing this on a Shield TV android device, and the BIOS files are in place and recognized by the different emulators.
Oh, I assumed PC. I can't run beetle on my phone either, I guess it's not ported to android or is bugged in recent versions. I think YabaSanshiro is among the best for android but it can show issues (Sakura Wars flickers too), no emus outside SSF and Mednafen/Beetle for PC are that flawless.
 
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SpiceRacz

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I finally got an ODE modded Sega Saturn and hooked it up via my RAD2X cable. Been re-visiting a ton of classics and I'm in full Saturn fanboy mode now.





I've been stocking up on Japanese Saturn titles whenever I visit Japan (once a month) and trying to flesh out my collection.
That's the cleanest Saturn I've ever seen. Beautiful.
 
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DGrayson

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I finally got an ODE modded Sega Saturn and hooked it up via my RAD2X cable. Been re-visiting a ton of classics and I'm in full Saturn fanboy mode now.





I've been stocking up on Japanese Saturn titles whenever I visit Japan (once a month) and trying to flesh out my collection.

Thats a beauty. Enjoy!
 
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Dec 25, 2018
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Featured in the video:
Riglord Saga 2
Wachenroder
Terra Phantastica
Dungeon Master Nexus
Nanatsu Kaze no Shima Monogatari
All Japan Pro Wrestling Featuring Virtua
Gungriffon 2
Castlevania Symphony of the Night

Games which already have fan translations:
Dragon Force II
Linkle Liver Story
Ninpen Manmaru
Policenauts
Sakura Wars
Revolutionary Girl Utena

A lot of good games there. I never knew Riglord Saga (aka Mystaria and Blazing Heroes) had a sequel. More motivation for studying Japanese!
Did you know that we are soon getting Revolutionary Girl Utena in Europe on Blu Ray? Still keep asking Anine Online about it! (I love 90s Anime despite missing out on it. My fave is Slayers Season 1)

Dragon Force 2 has a translation? Nice!

Linkle Liver Story too? I need to get that game as it is still pretty cheap to buy.
 
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Kazza

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It was a nice surprise to find a new PandaMonium video on a Sunday morning. In this one he goes in depth about Virtua Fighter Remix, trying to discover when it was actually finished, and whether or not it was considered as a pack-in for the US launch.

 

DT MEDIA

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Virtua Fighter Remix was, and remains, a great videogame for Saturn. It cleans the clock off of Battle Arena Toshinden (honestly, the most overrated fighting game ever made) and Tekken 1. As to why it wasn't released as the US Saturn's pack-in title instead of the original VF1, nobody knows. It's a mystery that has baffled fans for years, and like many I have wondered what would have happened if Sega released the improved version at launch. Mind you, this alternate reality also involves Saturn launching in September instead of May, which we all agree was a terrible move.

It's interesting to see the different receptions VF1 received in the West versus Japan. Even today, Japanese Saturn fans praise VF1 as one of the console's greatest classics, and it was an enormous success for Sega back in 1994-95. The series alone sustained the system and kept them either even or slightly ahead of Sony, at least until Square & Enix were stolen away. In the West, all anybody cared about were the glitchy graphics of Virtua Fighter, the flat polygons, the weird pop-outs from the ring. Japan, meanwhile, never seemed to mind very much. They were just happy to have a high quality arcade translation in their home.

We should also remember that Virtua Fighter was a blockbuster hit in Japan, becoming Sega's greatest franchise for the next decade. In the USA, however, it was never more than a curiosity, a minor blip on the scene. American kids never wanted fighting games to be anything more than button-mashing contests, bam-bam-bam-bam knock out, here's your sugar pellet and dopamine rush. VF proved to be far too technical, complex and obsessively precise, far closer to a martial arts simulation than anything seen at the time. It certainly didn't help matters that Sega of America never bothered to explain how the game actually played, or demonstrate the depths of the VF fighting system. Japan, once again, supported the fans with videotapes, strategy guides and professional tournaments. Some of those "tatsujin" players became videogame legends.

So we can see key differences between Sega Japan versus Sega America, which also illustrates the fatal differences that doomed the console on our shores. It probably just couldn't be helped.

From a technical standpoint, VF Remix looks superb, running at a solid 30 fps (Sega's obsession with high frame rates put them above Sony and Nintendo), offering smooth, fluid animation and wonderfully colorful texture mapped graphics. Everything looks supremely polished, and, not to sound like a broken record, smashes the overrated Toshinden to bits. However, and here's where SoA gets slapped upside the head once again, most videogame fans never saw this version. Remix was given out for free to registered Saturn owners, but a longbox retail release was limited, it seems, to Minnesota and Canada. That release has now become one of the system's most expensive games on the collectors' market.

Toshinden, meanwhile, was available everywhere and every kid on the continent was wowed. They never cared that the gameplay was shit, the controls were sluggish, the moves were uninspired Street Fighter ripoffs, or that the frame rate was sluggish. The damned thing had a girl with a transparent skirt and some lightey glowey effects, and that visual style would define the Sony Playstation brand until the end of time. And may God have mercy on our souls for consuming such tacky sludge.

Whatever. It's all a moot point by now. If you're playing any fighting game on PSX, it's going to be Tekken 3, and you're going to be playing as Eddy Gordo because he has a wicked, kick-ass breakdancing combo that you can unleash by mashing the kick buttons and doing nothing else. Anyone else who really cares about fighting games will migrate over to Saturn, which became the greatest console the genre has ever seen.
 

Evil Calvin

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This list is very similar to one that was posted by Afro Republican last year. Here are the numbers he shared, presumably taken from NPD:



Now, should the JP Saturn games have been released in the West? Absolutely. Should gamers have embraced these videogames instead of passing them by? Absolutely. There's no excuse why Panzer Dragoon, Dragon Force, Powerslave couldn't have sold a million copies, to say nothing of Sega's arcade hits.
Panzer Dragoon 1&2 and Saga WERE released in the West
 
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DT MEDIA

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Now that we're all going into quarantine and isolation for the rest of the year, it's the perfect time to play videogames. Yesterday, I hooked my Saturn to the Sony Bravia HDTV and played some Metal Slug. I last played this game on SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 1 on Nintendo Wii, and this made for an interesting comparison.

The Wii/PS2 version runs on arcade emulation, so you're getting a copy of the Neo-Geo arcade. In addition, the slowdown in the game has been completely removed, and everything runs at full speed. The screen appears overly sharpened and pixelated, which is common when using emulators and can even be seen when playing on CRT displays.

Metal Slug on Sega Saturn is translated from the Neo-Geo CD release, which includes some additional features for the home such as art galleries and stage-specific practice mode. The graphics appear in the original resolution, in all their hand-drawn beauty. I am amazed at the lush fluidity of the animation, which was quite an accomplishment in 1997. The game does slowdown in many hectic moments, but it's nothing that you haven't experienced if you grew up playing any of the classic systems. It's never fun but it certainly could be worse (cough, ahem, Super NES).

There has been a longstanding debate on whether Metal Slug runs better with a Pro Action Replay cartridge, or the official 1MB RAM cart. I don't have the latter cart, so I've yet to test this in person, leaving me to judge based on others' testimony and YouTube video. I have gone back and forth on the subject. Sometimes the 1MB cart appears to reduce some slowdown, other times I cannot tell any difference. In any event, the issue is never fully resolved, and the game will sometimes just chug along no matter which cart you use. It's just a consequence of all those animation frames and sprites.

The Sony Playstation version of Metal Slug runs very smoothly, and at least based on YouTube videos, appears to have eliminated slowdown completely. However, this was achieved by cutting the animation frames down to the bone, to the point where it doesn't look much like Metal Slug at all. Such were the compromises forced upon software developers back in the day, and as I've always liked to say, Generation 5 is all about compromise.

Anyway, Metal Slug remains fantastic fun on any platform, home or arcade, translated or emulated. It's short but highly engaging and challenging and I always get a thrill out of blowing cartoon soldiers to bits. On Saturn, it's one of the standout 2D games of its era, and I often find myself asking out loud, why exactly did we obsess so much over 3D polygons when 2D sprites could look this good? Heck, if 2D sprite art never moved beyond the likes of the Metal Slug series, I'd be perfectly happy.
 
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DT MEDIA

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Here are some new screenshots from Sting's 1998 cult classic Baroque, which has become one of my all-time favorite Sega Saturn videogames. As always, I recommend playing this game in the dark so that its unsettling atmosphere and jump scares rattle your bones.

At its heart, Baroque is a Roguelike adventure that plays like a combination of Quake, Resident Evil and 1990s Tool videos. Its world is deeply unsettling and filled with a sense of dread. It's genuinely scarier than anything in the survival horror genre, and I think that's because it manages to tap into those childhood primal fears of monsters and demons lurking under your bed or walking through your house at all hours of the night. Nothing in this world makes any sense, and the narrative avoids any direct explanation, only revealing in tiny fragments and pieces. Everybody speaks in tortured poetry, and there are allusions to nuclear holocaust, cannibalism, sex and religion. There are allusions to sin, redemption, punishment, angels and God. All of this adds to a sense of bewilderment, vertigo, confusion.

It really doesn't matter if the story makes no sense. That is the whole point, after all. Even if you are fluent in Japanese or are familiar with the Playstation 2 and Nintendo Wii remake (both released in the USA), Baroque is an incomprehensible nightmare horror show.. The goal of the game is never to save a world or conquer a foe, but to scare you and leave you feeling unnerved. The goal is to make you sleep with the lights on, paranoid that some demonic entity will perch themselves on the corner of your bed and whisper horrible threats.*

It's fun to explore the various towers and dungeons in this world, underground industrial buildings that feel abandoned, eerie, cautiously waiting for the next surreal monster to attack, the next surprise jump scare to zap me out of my seat. Your movements are responsive but slightly slow, just enough to induce panic when overwhelmed by monsters. The music, provided by veteran videogame composer Masaharu Iwata, combines ambient sounds, howling animals, traditional synth melodies and dissonant noise to great effect.

Visually, this game looks spectacular, and the more I play, the more I can appreciate its masterful use of mood, color and lighting. Textures are sharply detailed and varied, the architecture of the world littered with pipes, beams, ventilators, broken platforms, metal plates, crates and boxes. One creature farts toxic gas that makes you half-blind, covered in darkness, while another monster poisons you with a lashing tongue, tinting everything dark green. Underground boiler rooms are bathed in red light, while other rooms are bathed in cold, bright light and deep shadow. Corridors are drawn in grey and brown with shafts of light adding shadows to the walls. And through it all, you will never find polygon clipping, warping, shimmering or distortion, only the slight pop-in as the background fades into black. Surely, this is one of Saturn's finest achievements in 3D, easily giving Ezra Dreisbach a run for his money.

Everybody needs to be playing Baroque. This game is too obscure among Saturn fans and that needs to change. I'd also like to see the fan translators create an English language patch one of these years.


(*That actually happened to me once long ago. Long story short: don't touch ouija boards or bring them into your home.)

Update: I wanted to share a few bits about the minds behind Baroque. The producer was Takeshi Santo, a programmer and musical composer for Compile who founded his own studio, Sting. His credits include Golvellius (MSX, Sega Master System) and The Guardian Legend (NES). The director was Kazunari Yonemitsu, Sting co-founder and the creator of Puyo Puyo. The music and sound effects were created by Masaharu Iwata and Yoshiaki Sakoda (Devil's Crush and MUSHA). Visual designer Eisaku Kitou worked on figure modeling for Wachenroeder and Elemental Gimmick Gear (Dreamcast). The main programmers were Shinichi Abe and Mitsugi Tanaka. The full credits are available on the Baroque Sega Retro page.

Baroque was released to Saturn on May 21, 1998 and ported to Playstation with additional features on October 28, 1999. The game was later remade with a third-person perspective on Playstation 2 on June 28, 2007 (JP) and Nintendo Wii on March 13, 2008 (JP). Atlus published both versions in the US on April 8, 2008. The Nintendo Wii version includes an optional first-person view, I don't know if the PS2 version supports this as well. The game was also ported to Apple iOS on August 22, 2008 under the title Baroque: The Dark Twisted Fantasy, but is no longer active on the App Store.

In Japan, Sting also released a promotional disc on Saturn called Baroque Report: CD Data FIle, features movies and art assets from the full game. In 2000, a visual novel prequel called Baroque Syndrome was released on Playstation and is currently available on iOS in Japan. In addition, a vertically-scrolling shoot-em-up called Baroque Shooting was released on Windows, and Baroque Typing followed in 2002. Both are exclusive to Japan but can be seen on YouTube. Finally, the game was retrofitted into a first-person shooter for the 2011 iOS release Baroque: FPS (no longer available - I really hate how iOS loses everything).
 
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DT MEDIA

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Here is a YouTube video showing the Saturn-exclusive promotional disc Baroque Report: CD Data File. It features a number of CG animation sequences, models of the game's gruesome monsters, and gameplay footage. Everything is presented in that uber-stylish, '90s alternative rock video style. It feels so wonderfully creepy and dated at the same time.

Copies of this release are available on Ebay for as little as $30. The full game can be bought for $12-$50
 

DT MEDIA

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Here is a play-through of Baroque (not complete but very extensive), courtesy of Yunagi Yuki. Everything is in Japanese, no English subtitles, sorry. But at least you get to see what all the fuss is about, and she does narrate all the written text in the game.

Seriously, we need an English translation patch for this game. It shouldn't be that difficult, at least when compared to Sakura Wars and Grandia.

Update: I found this excellent analysis of Baroque, describing the early events of the game and its deeper themes of mental illness, trauma, suffering and death. At one point, The game raises very disturbing moral questions regarding the player character's actions. Even the final ending feels very dark and ambiguous. This is not a world where a "good" hero defeats an "evil" villain, but where a troubled character struggles to survive in a very hostile and hellish realm.

Be warned, this video analysis reveals the entire plot of the game, including the ending. I really enjoyed this discussion and its unsettling themes. Have I mentioned that this is one of the greatest horror videogames ever made? Enjoy!


 
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Al3x1s

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Is something about the original better than the remake which is available in English?

And is the PS1/Saturn version of the original identical or better on Saturn then?
 
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Is something about the original better than the remake which is available in English?

And is the PS1/Saturn version of the original identical or better on Saturn then?




There are a number of changes and additions to the PSX version of Baroque. I found a review on GameFAQs that summarizes all the additions, which I am posting here. The PS2/Wii remake introduces a third-person view, although first-person is optional. There is a new music soundtrack that sounds much more industrial rock and techno, as opposed to the super-creepy industrial ambient score of the original. The script has been translated into English (faithfully, as far as I am currently aware, aside from having Coffin Man swear every sentence) and fully voice-acted. There is some additional dialog here and there that serves to explain the game mechanics to the player, most notably in the "practice" dungeon that Coffin Man guards.

My personal opinion is that I do appreciate the remake, especially for the script translation, but I can't escape the feeling that the newer versions look a lot less creepy and scary. Everything is so much brighter and cleaner, and the third-person view takes away that immediacy. You feel at a slight distance from the action. Many key dialog moments are turned into cut-scenes, and the famous jump-scares featuring the ghostly face are completely changed. You can tell that Sting tried to make everything more accessible to players. Whether this is good or bad is a matter of personal taste.

Also, to be perfectly frank, I prefer the visual style of the 1998 original. It combines 3D polygons, pre-rendered 2D sprites, 2D pixel art, animated CG movies and very stylized movie clips featuring still shots or minimalist animation. It's very Generation 5, whereas everything in Generation 6 is drawn with polygons. The characters in the remake all look like anime dolls, like pretty much every modern videogame. It doesn't feel the same. I'd rather have the hand-drawn look than the emotionless kewpie dolls and flat voice acting. I also greatly appreciate the eerie dissonant music to the remake. It adds to the sense of unease and disorientation, and fits the game's larger themes of madness, depression, suicide and death (to say nothing of sex, eros, cannibalism and religion).

I've yet to see the 1999 PSX version, but based on YouTube videos it appears to be identical to the Saturn, aside from some slightly choppier background pop-up and the smoother transparencies (if you use composite on Saturn, you'd never notice a difference, but there it is).

In a perfect world, we would have a Baroque box set that included the Saturn/PSX original and the PS2/Wii remake, complete with a copy of the official Baroque World art book (which is freaking awesome). I'd scoop that up in a heartbeat. For Saturn fans, this is one of the system's finest hours and one of the greatest horror videogames ever made. Everybody should have this game in their library.
 
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Al3x1s

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I read the remake does have a FPV camera actually. But I've not been able to find gameplay videos/information to see if it's actually playable like that with that camera or it's just a "look around while stationary" mode as we commonly get in many third person games.
 
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Here are some screenshots of the official Baroque guide book, released in Japan. It details the characters and game mechanics and explains many of the strategies and techniques, such as how to send objects from the tower dungeons to the outside world for later retrieval.

There was also a second book released called Baroque World Guidance. This 127-page art book features extensive production drawings, descriptions of the characters, a complete listing of all items in the game, and lengthy interviews with the Sting production team. The entire book is available at Archive.org, which you can visit by clicking the link just above. Be warned that the pages are listed out of order, so don't be confused. But it wouldn't be Baroque if you weren't feeling completely lost, would it?
 
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DT MEDIA

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Monday is a perfect day to take a look at Sega's landmark fighting classic, Virtua Fighter. Here are two videos of the Sega Saturn VF1 (1994), followed by the vastly improved Virtua Fighter Remix (1995).

To this day, I still don't understand why Sega of America even released the original VF when the updated version existed. Remix was even shown at the 1995 E3 show, causing Sega representatives to insist that it was nothing more than a demo and would never be released. The game then appeared in Japan the following week. Such is typical Sega for the time.

Obviously, we all agree that the early Saturn launch was a disastrous mistake, even as we forget the enormous Playstation hype that threatened to swallow everything in its path. Before the E3 show, I was in contact with fellow zine editors who were planning to attend, and every single one of them were on board with Sony. They were excited by the system, its specs and its videogames. Ridge Racer, Toshinden, Demolition Derby, Warhawk, Wipeout, those games stole all the hype and Sega was already being treated as has-beens.

Because of this, I'm not sure if Virtua Fighter Remix would have changed minds or turned things around, especially if Saturn had launched in September as originally planned. I do know that the first, glitchy-as-hell VF1 did absolutely no favors, and only served to cement the notion that Sega was lost, stumbling blind with a console that was either horribly underpowered or broken. This is where that noxious meme was tied to Saturn's neck like a boulder and thrown into the river: "Can't Doo Three Dee." "Can't Doo Three-Dee."

Had anybody bothered to take ten steps through Sega's booth, they would have discovered VF Remix in all its glory, realizing to themselves that, yes, Saturn can doo three dee very nicely, thank you very much. But the meme had already been set, the shinier object down the hall at the Sony camp was too distracting, and attention spans were too short. Besides, half the kids were perfectly willing to tune out the whole 32-bit fight and wait for Nintendo 64, whose arrival finally spelled the end for Sega in America.

Tom Kalinske and his crew, meanwhile, were determined to do everything in their power to make damn sure Saturn died a quick death, sending out Virtua Fighter Remix as a mail-in promotion, later offering a long-box release in select markets, supposedly only Minnesota and Canada. Vanilla Virtua Fighter would remain the system pack-in until the decision was made to offer a $299 "core" package with no games, making the whole issue moot.

The simple truth is that most kids never saw Remix in action, certainly never put in the time to learn the game, never discovered its immense depths and techniques. They saw Virtua Fighter just long enough to realize that Toshinden looked and played better, and that was that.

Whatever, it's their loss. Everyone else is an idiot except for me, you and the cubes.

Update: I completely forgot that I wrote about VF Remix just last week. I have the attention span of a hummingbird these days, but the world is moving so fast that six days now feels like a lifetime. Oh, well.
 
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Al3x1s

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I don't personally think the original VF is that bad for its time. It's quite faithful and the polygon artifacts aren't prominent enough to ruin the look. It's very distinctly and accurately Virtua Fighter, consoles weren't expected to be arcade perfect back then.

Remix does look a lot better, by having textures and improved rendering, but that's also actually unfaithful to the original look, a straight port wouldn't really do this. It's still really cool to have obviously, and the series only got better since (on Saturn too).
 
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DT MEDIA

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Here's a terrific play-through of another excellent 3D fighting game, Final Fight Revenge. This game features large polygon characters, fluid animation, a strong sense of irreverent humor and runs in Saturn's 480/60 high resolution. This home version requires the 4MB RAM expansion cartridge and does not include any additional gameplay modes. It's a straight port of the ST-V Titan arcade game. Not bad for a Sega Saturn game released in the year 2000.

Fans were quick to pile on Final Fight Revenge, partly because it was a tournament fighter instead of a side-scrolling beat-em-up, partly because the controls are different from the typical Street Fighter, partly because it was created by Capcom's American studio. It just didn't "count" and was immediately dismissed. Videogamers were such a fussy, impatient bunch back then.

The important thing is that this game looks solid, plays very well and shows off Saturn very nicely. The addition of weapons is a nice touch and the super attacks are hilarious. There's a certain trashy quality that plays well to Final Fight's roots. All that's needed are some Guns 'N Roses tunes.

FFR is one of the most expensive Saturn games today, which is ludicrous given how many copies are out there. Ebay is flooded with discs and there's no way in hell they're worth $300-$600 a pop. Sellers are just being greedy and hoping that you're too gullible and stupid to know what the words "download" and "burn to disc" mean. No matter, we're all in quarantine and unemployed, so it's not like we had that money to spend, anyway. Just rip onto a CD-R and grab a couple beers and have fun.
 
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Kazza

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Giving games he didn't like back in the day a second chance:



Bug! actually got some pretty stellar reviews when it was released, and must have sold pretty well to warrant a sequel. I was super impressed be the graphics at the time, but thought the gameplay was just ok when I rented it for a weeked.
 

Al3x1s

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When I saw FFR I thought it's a botched attempt at Capcom's first 3D, turns out it came after the EX/Rival Schools games and what not. It definitely doesn't stack up to SEGA's own efforts (or Capcom 2D games) and the roster is so limited even if some specials are funny but to each their own.
 
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Besides, half the kids were perfectly willing to tune out the whole 32-bit fight and wait for Nintendo 64
This is very true and something I'd totally forgotten about until now. Magazines were hyping N64 for years before its release at a time when people were more than happy with SNES, and PC was getting huge with the Dooms, Warcraft, and a little something called the Internet. PSX was gaining steam but Sony didn't yet have the loyal fanbase it would years later. A lot of gamers at the time were pausing on consoles from what I remember.
 
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This is very true and something I'd totally forgotten about until now. Magazines were hyping N64 for years before its release at a time when people were more than happy with SNES, and PC was getting huge with the Dooms, Warcraft, and a little something called the Internet. PSX was gaining steam but Sony didn't yet have the loyal fanbase it would years later. A lot of gamers at the time were pausing on consoles from what I remember.

This period was rife with hype over "the next big thing." Generation 5 consoles went from 3DO, Jaguar, CD-i and CD32 to 32X, Saturn, Playstation and Nintendo 64 in less than two years. And let us not forget the biggest elephant in the room, the Matsushita M2. That console never saw the light of day, but it cast such an enormous shadow because of the sheer power of the hardware, as well as the enormous financial resources of the electronics giant behind it. The videogame industry figured out fairly quickly that the business was about to be dominated by very large corporations. By the end of the 90s, the M2 console was dead, but Microsoft was waiting in the wings and they were willing to spend billions to buy their way into living rooms.

The economics of the game industry is a subject that rarely is discussed, but it greatly explains how and why Sega was eventually forced out of the hardware business. Sony could afford to sell Playstations at a $100-per-unit loss and drive a console price war, ala Jack Tramiel's Commodore. Sega couldn't afford such losses, which eventually sank them. They were being bid out of the poker match by far wealthier opponents, and without any breakout hits, they never had a chance.

For gamers, all of these rapid changes compelled many to just sit on the sidelines and wait it out. They were happy to play Super NES until the dust settled and a clear "winner" emerged. Nobody wants to invest hundreds of dollars in a videogame machine that won't last a couple years. It's a crazy thought, but that's how long Saturn lasted in the West. In two years, Sega went from controlling 50% of the console market to 4%.

In the end, most of the kids went with Playstation because it had all the games. The Nintendo diehards stuck with N64 for Goldeneye, Mario and Zelda, but quite a few were happy to just bum a controller at their friend's house, then go home to play Super Mario Kart on the SNES.
 

DT MEDIA

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Virtua Fighter Remix was released throughout the world in a variety of packages. Diehard collectors will want to hunt down all of them.

In Japan, the game was released under a number of different ways. It was included as a pack-in to commemorate one million Saturns sold. It was also sold separately with a "special limited edition" tag on the cover and an X-Band edition for online play.

In the USA, Remix was given freely to all registered Saturn owners in September 1995. This is how I obtained my copy, and it came in a cardboard CD sleeve with the character moves on the back. A retail "long box" edition was also released in select markets.

Finally, Remix was released in the UK and Europe in a double-CD case that included a thick instruction manual as well as a Virtua Fighter CG Portrait disc. A series of these discs were released in Japan to capitalize on the Virtua Fighter craze as well as promote the upcoming VF3.

Here are some photos of the Remix packages, including the grey-and-blue Sega Saturn, which looks supremely cool. Why couldn't the Western Saturns look just like this? Basic black looks so cheap...and let's not get started on that damned balloon font.






















 

DT MEDIA

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For Friday, we're staying indoors and playing Radiant Silvergun, one of the most spectacular shoot-em-ups ever devised. This video shows how to play the game properly, maximizing color combos and building weapon levels. I have no hope whatsoever of coming close to this level of skill, but it sure is amazing to watch.

Is Silvergun the greatest shooter on Saturn? Or the best videogame on Saturn? It certainly is most dazzling to watch, utilizing every trick in the Saturn hardware you can imagine. The coders at Treasure were mad geniuses. I have no idea how they pulled this off so skillfully and their crazy inventiveness is sorely missed today. I miss these guys.
 

DT MEDIA

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Let's take a look at a few videogame magazine scans from the August 1995 issue of Game Players. This was one of the major "prozines" that first appeared around 1989 with the rise of the NES and continued through the turn of the century, undergoing a number of key changes to style, editorial staffing and even name over the course of its print run.

First, we have Clockwork Knight, one of Sega's key launch titles for Saturn in Japan and the West, featuring richly detailed 3D polygon environments paired to 2D platforming style. Today, it would be classified as a "2.5D" game, but no such term existed at the time. It received a mixed reception at best from players and press alike. Critic Mike Salmon was harsh and pulled no punches, giving it a 56% score and stating that "most will find Clockwork Knight a mediocre time-waster at best."

Second, we have Astal, another early Saturn title that, if memory serves, was released in the fall of '95, intended for the system's original launch date. This title is a showpiece for the system's 2D sprite abilities, featuring richly drawn environments, smooth character animation, and impressive visual effects such as transparencies, scaling and rotation. Critic Patrick Baggatta rated the game 66%, critiquing the "rigid play control" and offering backhanded compliments to the visuals, "...almost enough to make you forget exactly how 2-D this game is."

Finally, just for the sake of comparison, we have Battle Arena Toshinden for Sony Playstation, one of that system's key launch titles. This 3D fighting game features fully polygon graphics and characters who can dodge sideways to evade attacks. GP editor Chris Slate awarded the game a near-perfect score of 98% in a rave review, praising the visuals ("The texture-mapped polygons go way beyond Virtua Fighter") and gameplay ("The combo system is perhaps the best ever in a fighting game") alike.

I certainly understand that Toshinden made for nice eye candy, had lots of pop and sugar to the visuals, its gameplay similar enough to Street Fighter to make it easy to play, and the 3D movements felt fresh and innovative. But I've never been a fan, which is putting it mildly. Frankly, I think everybody else was getting high on paint fumes. But maybe that's just me. Whatever.
 

DT MEDIA

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Here a few scanned pages from Sega Saturn Magazine JP from 1995. First we have a review for Daytona USA, which received a collected score of 9-9-10. Very impressive, and I am also reminded that the game also received very praise-worthy reviews in the Western prozines as well (it still plays fantastically well). I don't know if the Japanese obsessed about Daytona's lower resolution or infamous pop-up, and as we all know, the negativity surrounding the graphics on Virtua Fighter 1 and Daytona all but sank the console in the USA.

The second interview is with a member of the Saturn Daytona team, followed by an interview with AM2 head Yu Suzuki, who discusses Daytona, Virtua Fighter 2 and the Saturn hardware. Unfortunately, my Japanese isn't that good so I can't give specific details from the text.

If anybody on NeoGAF is fluent in Japanese and could help with a quick translation, that would be terrific.
 

DT MEDIA

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Time for another gameplay video. Here's one of Sega Saturn's most beloved Japan-exclusives, Bulk Slash. If you love fast-pace arcade action games, you'll be in heaven. Essentially a 16-bit arcade action-shooter for the 32-bit age, with a great variety of missions on land and air, indoors and out. The game even features a dating sim element, where you pick up a female co-pilot and then try to impress her with your heroics. You wouldn't expect anything else from the experimental Generation Five.

The software developers that created this is CAProduction, a contract studio associated with Hudson Soft and Nintendo. They are responsible for the bulk of the Mario Party series, as well as Wii Party, Deca Sports and Wing Island on Nintendo Wii, Sky Odyssey on Playstation 2, Hagane: The Final Conflict on Super NES and the legendary Ginga Fukei Densetsu Sapphire on PC Engine Duo. I once read that this studio included a number of former Technosoft coders, and I don't know if that's true, but it would explain why Bulk Slash has a bit of a Thunder Force and Herzog Zwei vibe.

I really need to be playing this one more often. I find myself becoming distracted by all the minor targets, shooting down everything that moves and grabbing every bonus item in sight while completely forgetting my mission objectives. Whoops!
 
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DT MEDIA

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Alright, one more Sega Saturn video for tonight. These videos showcase the power of the system's Video Display Processor #2, or VDP2. This is the processor that enables multiple 2D planes that can be scaled, rotated or twisted around with ease. In the hands of skilled programmers, it resulted in some truly spectacular visual effects, allowing for the unique blend of 2D and 3D that was Saturn's trademark.

Here are the videogames featured in these videos:

Last Bronx, Grandia, Panzer Dragoon II Zwei, Thunder Force 5, Darius Gaiden, Decathlete, Guardian Heroes, Radiant Silvergun (of course!), Panzer Dragoon Zwei, Nights: Into Dreams, Die Hard Arcade, Dark Savior, Soukyugurentai, Cotton 2.
 

DT MEDIA

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Mark Smith, aka "Yakumo," has been one of the strongest Sega Saturn supporters online for many years. His excellent website, Segagaga Domain, contained capsule reviews for practically every game in the Saturn library (in addition to all other Sega consoles), and his Retro Core YouTube channel continues to crank out must-see videos to this day.

I wanted to share this Saturn-exclusive 2016 episode of Retro Core. We are given a look at the Hitachi Hi-Saturn which features a built-in Video CD card that supports VCD and CD+G formats. We then look at the variety of memory and RAM expansion cartridges, as well as the two Saturn games that use a ROM cart. The video then shows examples of the system's many accessories and special-edition software titles that include surprises as VHS tapes, art books and, in one case, jigsaw puzzles.

Videoames shown in this video are all Japan-exclusive, and effort is made to dig a little deeper into the games library beyond the usual suspects. We've already discussed many of these titles here on the Saturn Community thread, but there are a few surprises in store.

The games shown in this Retro Core video include (in order): Puri Kura Daisakusen, Astra Superstars, Ninpen Manmaru, Cotton Boomerang, Dero-N Dero Dero, Asuka 120% Burning Fest. LTD, Virus, Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow Over Mystara, Shutoko Battle 97 Drift King, Bulk Slash, Thunder Force 5, Gals Panic SS, Metal Black, Gungriffon 2, Soukyugurentai and D-Xhird.

Note: Segagaga Domain may be closed down, but it can still be accessed via Wayback Machine.
 

DT MEDIA

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Here's something special: a 27-minute speedrun for Treasure's Silhouette Mirage. I love this videogame, it's like playing Sega Genesis while hopped up on Jolt Cola and s'mores. It's the ultimate sugar rush and nothing in the 2D gaming realm can touch it.

Note: If we could have somebody hack in an English translation to the text, that would be great. It should be easy, since the game was previously ported to the Playstation and released in the US.
 

DT MEDIA

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For today's Saturn video, I wanted to show off another Japan-exclusive that rocks our world: Technosoft's Thunder Force 5. This video features the "good" ending where you defeat the final boss within the time limit.

This is a spectacular shoot-em-up that lives up to the legacy of the series. The visual and art design combines 3D polygons, 2D pre-rendered sprites, 2D pixel art and a host of wild trippy effects. There are countless background layers and details great and small, fantastic bosses that dance and weave like giant cybernetic animals. The music is a blistering set of rock-techno beats, explosions rumble and voices are crystal clear. And your ship's weapons are a glorious mix of old and new, and you'll quickly find yourself overwhelmed if you lose them.

If it wasn't for Radiant Silvergun, TF5 would easily be the technical showpiece on Saturn. Technosoft later ported the game to Sony Playstation, including a number of new additions such as a new introduction, but the graphics are scaled back, stripped down, thinned out. So much of the flash and polish is missing. It just isn't the same experience and you can' t imagine it any other way. After all, who ever heard of a Thunder Force on a non-Sega system? Remember Thunder Spirits on the Super Nintendo? No, of course not, which is precisely my point.
 

Sandyman

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Mar 23, 2020
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not impressed from what i saw out of miku tbh. tried to get onto me about being a new member and getting onto me about bullying while he let crowbow bully everyone because he agreed with him.
 

Mista

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not impressed from what i saw out of miku tbh. tried to get onto me about being a new member and getting onto me about bullying while he let crowbow bully everyone because he agreed with him.
Wrong thread bud
 

Kazza

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Here's something special: a 27-minute speedrun for Treasure's Silhouette Mirage. I love this videogame, it's like playing Sega Genesis while hopped up on Jolt Cola and s'mores. It's the ultimate sugar rush and nothing in the 2D gaming realm can touch it.

Note: If we could have somebody hack in an English translation to the text, that would be great. It should be easy, since the game was previously ported to the Playstation and released in the US.
I really like discovering games like this. It's as though they have somehow come from an alternative reality, one where for whatever reason 3D graphics just weren't ready for home consoles and the 32 bit systems went all in on 2D games instead. Speaking of 2D and 3D, DT MEDIA DT MEDIA what would you say are the most impressive super-scaler games on the system? The only ones I'm aware of are Night Strikers and some of the Sega Ages ports.
 
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DT MEDIA

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus
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Astra Superstars is such a terrific videogame. It's pure sugar rush, all wild colors and trippy cartoon smackdowns. Best of all, it's very easy to play and welcomes button mashers with open arms. There is a fair bit of skill to the fighting techniques, but the action is accessible to anybody, which makes this an essential party game for any social setting. Honestly, if I were showing off my Sega Saturn, I'm definitely reaching for this.

This game runs in high resolution "480/60" mode and looks glorious. Fighters bend, twist and distort as they are hit by zany attacks, and special star attacks feature massive overloads of shape and color. Its humor lies in its gleeful anarchy that thumbs its nose at a genre that became increasingly focused squarely on the most hardcore players. I do love the tournament circuit as much as anyone (the 2004 Daigo Parry battle rocks your world, and anyone who says otherwise is a damned liar), but there must be room for more casual gamers. Sometimes, all you want to do is smash controllers and shout and cheer, without any burden of thought.

This is definitely part of my Saturn Top 20. I love it and you should love it, too.
 
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Scotty W

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I came across this thread the other day on the doom forum I lurk at. The developer of SS Doom shows up on page 2. Apparently part of the reason it wasn’t as good as psx Doom is that Carmack didn’t want them to use hardware acceleration- but the only reason that Carmack did the approval at all was because Romero was away that week.

 

Porcile

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Probably a question that's been asked hundreds of times but what's a fairly inexpensive way to get my JP Saturn hooked up to my computer monitor with minimal input lag and good picture quality? Not expecting 100% perfect.
 
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