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Games NeoGAF Official SEGA SATURN Community

Kazza

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Retro-bit have finally produced a white Saturn pad:





They are the best looking ones, imo (although I am fond of my grey/blue one)
 

Al3x1s

Cores, shaders and BIOS oh my!
Nov 24, 2018
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I guess it's better functionally than their initial wired models cos it has extra buttons to use as start/select/home and what not for emulation of other systems or to use as coin/whatever buttons for arcade stuff.

But I'm still happier with my Hori Fighting Commander which is more suitable for PS1 and modern games with its extra pair of shoulder buttons and stuff. Also Retro-bit have yet to mail me the replacement d-pad bits after promising twice so far after intermittent contact over a long time.

I do miss the Saturn style d-pad but given that's what broke on the Retro-bit it left a sour taste. I think I actually prefer having full size for all 6 face buttons instead of the smaller top row though. They're comfier, though perhaps a little harder to press certain trios together with just the thumb.
 
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Retro-bit have finally produced a white Saturn pad:





They are the best looking ones, imo (although I am fond of my grey/blue one)
Will this work on PS4? The USB has me intrigued.
 

Scotty W

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Well DT MEDIA DT MEDIA you finally made me do it. I found a treasure trove of cheap Saturn games today, and I saw a very reasonably priced Saturn with the Christmas Nights pack in the other day, so I am going to buy a Saturn.

Today I bought 9 games and the ram cart for just under 4000¥. What games?

Street Fighter Alpha.
Panzer Dragoon.
Nights.
Virtua Fighter 2.
Virtua Fighter Kids.
Fighters Megamix.
Fighting Vipers.
Daytona.
Sega Rally.

I found a very reasonably priced copy of Panzer Dragoon Saga. My Japanese is almost non existent- is it still worth buying?

Also, I have to get a TV. I think one of those old big box tvs would be better for the Saturn, but they are so hard to find. Is a more modern one acceptable?
 

Scotty W

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Enjoy the amazing system!
Thanks man!
If anyone can give advice on what to look out for with buying a tv it would be appreciated. I plan to buy something relatively cheap and small. I am almost clueless about the technology.

Do I have to buy one of those box tvs that everyone had when the Saturn came out? Those are difficult to find and transport.

Will it be difficult to hook up a newer Flat Screen tv (ie not a box)?

Any advice would be appreciated.

ps, it came with this cable:
 
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DunDunDunpachi

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Thanks man!
If anyone can give advice on what to look out for with buying a tv it would be appreciated. I plan to buy something relatively cheap and small. I am almost clueless about the technology.

Do I have to buy one of those box tvs that everyone had when the Saturn came out? Those are difficult to find and transport.

Will it be difficult to hook up a newer Flat Screen tv (ie not a box)?

Any advice would be appreciated.

ps, it came with this cable:
Yes, find a CRT TV that supports S-video if you can

Saturn supports S-Video so I'd buy one of those cables, too.
 
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SpiceRacz

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Thanks man!
If anyone can give advice on what to look out for with buying a tv it would be appreciated. I plan to buy something relatively cheap and small. I am almost clueless about the technology.

Do I have to buy one of those box tvs that everyone had when the Saturn came out? Those are difficult to find and transport.

Will it be difficult to hook up a newer Flat Screen tv (ie not a box)?

Any advice would be appreciated.

ps, it came with this cable:
I remember RCA TruFlat TVs being pretty solid.
 

Scotty W

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Yes, find a CRT TV that supports S-video if you can

Saturn supports S-Video so I'd buy one of those cables, too.
CRT is going to be tricky to find. I will see what I can rassle up.

To ask the question in the dumbest way possible: if I get a flat screen with the red yellow and white holes will it be plug and play, or will I still need some kind of adapter?
 
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DunDunDunpachi

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CRT is going to be tricky to find. I will see what I can rassle up.

To ask the question in the dumbest way possible: if I get a flat screen with the red yellow and white holes will it be plug and play, or will I still need some kind of adapter?
Nah you won't need an adapter as long as it has the analogue plugs. The scaler is built-in to TVs like those.
 

Kazza

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Anyone ever played this game before? It looks like a typical "extreme" mid-90s game



The reviewer said it's still fun to play today, if a little mediocre.

The FMV scenes are interesting. They actually consist of two people watching and taking the piss out of the FMVs made for the game. Weird.
 
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Ceallach

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Man, I've been playing SRW T and it makes me really wanna crack open Rayearth. My copy is pristine still though. I don't think I have even cracked open the jewel case in 15 years. Might burn a copy and load it via PS Kai so I don't have to.
 

Psittacine

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Anyone ever played this game before? It looks like a typical "extreme" mid-90s game



The reviewer said it's still fun to play today, if a little mediocre.

The FMV scenes are interesting. They actually consist of two people watching and taking the piss out of the FMVs made for the game. Weird.
I enjoyed my time with it. It's nothing mind-blowing, but i'd say it's definitely worth a play if you can get it for a good price.
 
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Kazza

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A website called Mega Drive Shock has just released a translation of then Sega president Hayao Nakayama's 1994 New Year's Speech:



There's some interesting Saturn info. It's interesting that he was already emphasising that the Saturn was to be a 3D machine, even at that fairly early stage (January 17th 1994). He states that he believes 3D is necessary to expand the market to more mature gamers (similar to what Sony would go on to do). He was obviously feeling the pressure from Sony, but the 3DO already appeared to be sputtering out.

Here's an excerpt concerning the Saturn:

We’ll soon be making the transition to the next generation of home consoles. Our upcoming 32-bit console will have a much different architecture than anything we’ve seen yet. Up until now, the focus has been on sprite-based graphics, but now we’re moving on to polygon-based graphics. The foundation of next-generation hardware will be support for CG-like graphics. Specifically, we’re using chips such as the VDP and DSP that are capable of very fast instruction processing. An important concept that has appeared recently is MIPS. This refers to how many millions of instructions can be processed in one second. The CPU in our 32-bit console is about 50 MIPS. However, we’re also including the VDP and DSP to increase the speed of calculations, which brings it up to about 800 MIPS. What that means is the console will be capable of performing 800 million instructions per second. Without a doubt, it’s going to be a very powerful console, and essentially a high-grade computer.

You might wonder why it’s necessary to build such a high-performance console. The reason is that the current types of games have reached their limit. The market did not grow very much from the 8-bit console generation to the 16-bit console generation. Why? 16-bit consoles were basically straightforward extensions of 8-bit consoles, and because of that, games did not evolve significantly. What, then, is necessary to create such new styles of games? The answer is polygon-based computer graphics.

Moving forward, we will be focusing on questions such as how far we can take polygon-based graphics, to what extent we can incorporate digitized video into creating new genres of games, and what age ranges, beyond the typical 8-20 year olds, we can reach with such new forms of entertainment.

Last October, I started to get some slight headaches with all the reports of major consumer electronics companies such as Matsushita and Sony entering the game console market. As president, I was already feeling a lot of pressure with Sega being forced to revise its expected results downward and with the worsening global economic situation, and on top of that, the 3DO was released before Christmas in America and Sony announced they were releasing their console at the same time as us. However, after going to America and learning more about the situation, I’m feeling more confident. One reason for that is the realization that Sega knows games better than any of them. Many people are saying that the 3DO isn’t selling well because its games are no good. However, I think there’s more to it than that. Specifically, a machine at that level of performance with a $700 price tag is just not competitive.

The full speech is well worth a read:

 

John Mullins

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Saturn is my GOAT console.

There were some PS exclusives we never got but that was more than compensated for with the stellar AAA SEGA lineup. Mostly we were jealous of the lack of transparency. We had to put up with the ghetto mesh effect unless it was a power dev like Lobotomy willing to take on the challenge. Just looks at those smoke rings :messenger_tears_of_joy::messenger_tears_of_joy::messenger_tears_of_joy:
 
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DT MEDIA

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Saturn is my GOAT console.

There were some PS exclusives we never got but that was more than compensated for with the stellar AAA SEGA lineup. Mostly we were jealous of the lack of transparency. We had to put up with the ghetto mesh effect unless it was a power dev like Lobotomy willing to take on the challenge. Just looks at those smoke rings :messenger_tears_of_joy::messenger_tears_of_joy::messenger_tears_of_joy:

Gamers became really obsessed over Generation 5 transparencies. Even to this day, they won't shut up about it. You'd think it was the end of the world. The funny thing is that the dithering effect has been in use since the dawn of videogames, and was particularly common on the Sega Genesis, yet few ever really bothered to notice, most likely because that was before everyone had HDTVs and never knew such things existed.

One of the great things about playing classic videogames is learning to live with the hardware limitations that once drove everyone batty. The Playstation 4 is a million times more powerful than any of the Gen-5 consoles. Just relax. If we can be cool about PS1's warping zig-zag textures and N64's frame rates, we can be cool about Saturn's mesh effects.

(Also, those mesh transparencies blend together when you use composite cables, so there's also that.)
 
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Hudo

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Burning Rangers is legit one of the most underrated games ever. I discovered that game by accident because of its magnificent soundtrack and stayed for the gameplay and style.
I kinda want to see a Burning Rangers sequel with some of the sliding mechanics of Vanquish....
 

Ceallach

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Does anyone have any experience with a Fenrir?

My original US Saturn is starting to have trouble reading discs and I was thinking of pulling the trigger on a Fenrir. It's a lot cheaper than Rhea and seems better stocked.

Can I launch imports with it and a PS Kai?
 
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DunDunDunpachi

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Does anyone have any experience with a Fenrir?

My original US Saturn is starting to have trouble reading discs and I was thinking of pulling the trigger on a Fenrir. It's a lot cheaper than Rhea and seems better stocked.

Can I launch imports with it and a PS Kai?
I've never used a Pseudokai, but the Action Replay bypasses the region check. Also, there are patched isos that can run on your region of choice. The region lock on Saturn has a handful of non-hardware ways to bypass it iirc but to be honest I've simply used an Action Replay. 100% of my Saturn collection is imported.
 

Ceallach

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Yeah, I use PS Kai right now without issue. But I was just wondering if it would still bypass regions with Fenrir.
 

DunDunDunpachi

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The FAQ says

Fenrir is compatible with all expansion cartridges and the MPEG Video card! For Pseudo Kai carts, you can either flash them as standard Action Replay cards in order for them to work without issues, or use the JHL loader.
So you should be good to go.
 

Hudo

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Retro-bit have finally produced a white Saturn pad:





They are the best looking ones, imo (although I am fond of my grey/blue one)
Pure pornography.
 

DT MEDIA

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I am absolutely loving these new eggshell white Saturn joypads. I will definitely pick up one for my collection. All that's needed now is the 3D Controller, which is the one that I really need the most.

Interestingly, I mentioned this on Twitter and Retro-Bit liked the message. So maybe if we all ask them to release the analog Saturn joypad, they'll do it. Heck, since we're making wishes, why not add in a Dreamcast adapter so that you could use the pad on your DC. Goodbye, finger cramps!
 

MadeManG74

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Just finished Shining Force III trilogy in English last weekend, thanks to the brilliant translation patch from Shining Force Central.

Amazing games, as soon as I finished I had a desire to play through them all over again. Still easily my favourite SRPG, and I'm impressed at just how beautiful the game looks. Especially so in the second and third games where they actually improved the models and lighting effects for the battles!
 

DT MEDIA

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Here is a nice video that chronicles a series of Shockwave demo games created by Sega in 1996 as a promotional tool around the same time as the Sega Net Link. Four titles are based on Genesis and Saturn games, followed by five originals

Obviously, these games are extremely simple even by Atari 2600 standards, but consider the technology of the time, Shockwave and 28.8k modems, and it's really not that bad. These are comparable to the demo games on Windows like Solitaire and Minesweeper, certainly nothing to light up the world, but an interesting curio nonetheless.
 

DT MEDIA

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I can't remember if I posted videos of the special attacks from Shining Force 3, so this is as good a time as any to post and share. As MadeManG74 notes, Camelot continued to improve the graphics in each installment of the trilogy. Scenario 1 looks terrific, of course, but you'll be absolutely amazed at how stunning the visuals appear in Scenario 3. This series alone should be enough to silence Sega Saturn's critics once and for all.

Ideally, Sega and Camelot would come together for a reissue or remake of the SF3 trilogy, including the bonus Premium Disc. If that were made available, I'd snap up two copies immediately.
 

DT MEDIA

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As a quick followup to the previous post, here are a pair of videos showing off Shining Force 3 Premium Disc. This was a special bonus disc that would be mailed out to fans who had purchased the three scenario discs. In fact, I read on the comments to one of these videos that, as of 2018, Camelot was still mailing out Premium Discs. It's crazy to think they still have units in stock, buried away in their vaults.

This disc features a series of bonus missions that serve as a coda to the SF3 saga, and boasts the most refined and dazzling visuals of the series. Indeed, these might be the best graphics on Saturn, period, certainly on par with latter Playstation and Nintendo 64 titles. This does suggest that the system still had untapped potential (and Shenmue remains the holy grail for this argument), although I still cannot say if Saturn could have handled Gran Tourismo, Tony Hawk Pro Skater, Spyro or Zelda Ocarina. The answer, as always, remains "probably, but under certain specific conditions."

Anyway, back to the SF3 Premium Disc. This release also includes a near-complete set of 3D polygon models from the SF3 Trilogy, an interview with one of the Takahashi Brothers (the creators of the Shining series, who would soon leave after this disc's release), advertisements including the Segata Sanshiro TV ad, a making-of documentary video, a collection of FMV scenes from the trilogy, a save file creator and a sound test mode.

All in all, this is a wonderful conclusion to the Shining Force saga. It has been noted that the game's true villain escapes at the very end, with the intention of his return in the next sequel. Unfortunately, the departure of the Takahashi Brothers put an end to those plans, making this a very rare instance in videogame history of a mail villain who gets away. I'm reminded of Saruman in Lord of the Rings, of course, and although it was never intended as such, it feels like a very fitting touch.
 

DT MEDIA

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Finally for tonight, I wanted to share this killer gameplay video of Virtua Fighter 2. I've always believed that "watch mode" was the best feature of this videogame. It enabled the ultimate show-off for Sega Saturn's powers. Just turn on the mode and let the computer players fight it out. It was also an excellent opportunity to show new players the gameplay elements that make VF2 so fantastic.

This has always been my all-time favorite Saturn game. It still looks fab and plays brilliantly, although I will freely admit that VF3--and, by extension, Fighters Megamix--might be superior. It's all a bit like trying to choose your favorite Beatles album.
 
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MadeManG74

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I can't remember if I posted videos of the special attacks from Shining Force 3, so this is as good a time as any to post and share. As MadeManG74 notes, Camelot continued to improve the graphics in each installment of the trilogy. Scenario 1 looks terrific, of course, but you'll be absolutely amazed at how stunning the visuals appear in Scenario 3. This series alone should be enough to silence Sega Saturn's critics once and for all.

Ideally, Sega and Camelot would come together for a reissue or remake of the SF3 trilogy, including the bonus Premium Disc. If that were made available, I'd snap up two copies immediately.



As a quick followup to the previous post, here are a pair of videos showing off Shining Force 3 Premium Disc. This was a special bonus disc that would be mailed out to fans who had purchased the three scenario discs. In fact, I read on the comments to one of these videos that, as of 2018, Camelot was still mailing out Premium Discs. It's crazy to think they still have units in stock, buried away in their vaults.

This disc features a series of bonus missions that serve as a coda to the SF3 saga, and boasts the most refined and dazzling visuals of the series. Indeed, these might be the best graphics on Saturn, period, certainly on par with latter Playstation and Nintendo 64 titles. This does suggest that the system still had untapped potential (and Shenmue remains the holy grail for this argument), although I still cannot say if Saturn could have handled Gran Tourismo, Tony Hawk Pro Skater, Spyro or Zelda Ocarina. The answer, as always, remains "probably, but under certain specific conditions."

Anyway, back to the SF3 Premium Disc. This release also includes a near-complete set of 3D polygon models from the SF3 Trilogy, an interview with one of the Takahashi Brothers (the creators of the Shining series, who would soon leave after this disc's release), advertisements including the Segata Sanshiro TV ad, a making-of documentary video, a collection of FMV scenes from the trilogy, a save file creator and a sound test mode.

All in all, this is a wonderful conclusion to the Shining Force saga. It has been noted that the game's true villain escapes at the very end, with the intention of his return in the next sequel. Unfortunately, the departure of the Takahashi Brothers put an end to those plans, making this a very rare instance in videogame history of a mail villain who gets away. I'm reminded of Saruman in Lord of the Rings, of course, and although it was never intended as such, it feels like a very fitting touch.
I absolutely love the special attacks and the variety of weapons in Shining Force III! Thanks for posting.
It's always a pleasure to try a new weapon and start unlocking stuff you've never seen before.

I've never actually played the Premium Disc (I thought I bought it with the three games, but perhaps not). I'm down to play it in a little while, I have some other Sega games to knock over first :)

The graphics truly are spectacular, still look beautiful today. I love the summoning magic in particular.
 
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DT MEDIA

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The newest update from Hellslave, aka Project Z-Treme, has just been released to YouTube. This demo boasts polygon transparencies, realtime reflections (ala Duke Nukem 3D), lens flares, particle effects, dynamic lighting, realtime light-sourcing and four-player split-screen action. All graphics are rendered in 3D polygons, including the environments and enemies.

Everything looks spectacular. We should all be thankful for the tremendous efforts made by the programmer XL2 (sorry, I don't have his name at present). He clearly has studied the Saturn hardware, including Assembly language and the Sega Graphics Library, which uses C language, and this project uses all the processors: the dual-CPUs, the dual VDPs and the SCU DSP.

Obviously, making comparisons to commercial Saturn titles is a bit unfair. Even the mighty Lobotomy had to work within strict time and budget constraints, wheras XL2 has had years to carefully craft Hellslave to perfection. This is what makes the indie/homebrew community so vitally important, and demonstrates precisely why classic videogame systems remain vital and relevant today.

Nothing is "obsolete," not when you can continue to push the envelope of vintage computer hardware. Heck, just look at the Atari 2600 scene for proof of that. Let's hope that Hellslave finds its way to completion and inspires more coders to create for Saturn.

Update: I'm adding a second video that was released in January. XL2 shares his notes with this demo:


"I improved my lighting system, now supporting multiple light sources per vertex + static light! So you can now have up to 9 light sources affecting a vertex, giving way better lighting than before. I also changed the lighting for the weapons, now taking the dynamic light + static light into account.

"You can also see the new intro map (difficulty select, main menu screen where everybody is just fighting to death) and some transparency features (light halos, flames, player's shadow, water, etc.). The transparencies are using a mix of VDP1 half-transparency and VDP2 transparency (single player only, I use the dithering effect in splitscreen).

"The game runs at 30 fps, with drops to 20 fps when it gets more busy, but as you can see it's smooth overall even with multiple ennemies and light sources on screen.

"This is running on my own engine (using a BSP), with 100% original rendering code, collision, AI, map compiler, etc."


Update #2 (8/8/20): I discovered that XL2 has offered a demo of Hellslave on the Sega Xtreme forums. Simply click on the link to download. The file can be burned to CD and played on a physical Saturn, or run on an emulator. Keep in mind that this is still a work in progress. Enjoy!
 
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DT MEDIA

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At long last, it's time to officially post the video of Sega Saturn's ultimate Holy Grail, the Shenmue Demo. This compilation video was assembled for the release of Shenmue 2 on Microsoft Xbox, and to date remains the only footage shown of the fabled original version.

This is easily the most advanced graphics for Saturn by light years. Its 3D polygon environments, dynamic lighting and highly impressive polygon modeling eclipses anything previously seen on the console, and it's a safe bet that no one but Sega AM2 could pull off such a feat.

As always, we must temper our enthusiasm with the usual caveats: footage has been selectively edited for maximum impact, we don't know which segments were controllable or simply cut-scenes, or how interactive the environments were, or how large the outdoor locations were, or even the frame rate of the game had it been completed on Saturn. What is shown here is nothing less than astonishing, but one always suspects a bit of sleight-of-hand trickery at play.

Unfortunately, the odds of ever seeing a playable demo of Saturn Shenmue is close to zero. The fate of the original source code and production materials remain unknown, and given Sega's notorious history with preservation, it is quite possible that everything has since become lost. That said, I hold out hope that Yu Suzuki has the Shenmue documents hidden away in a vault, right next to the fully completed gold disc for Saturn Virtua Fighter 3.

When we look at Shenmue on Dreamcast, the connections to Saturn become obvious, particularly in its quad-based polygon designs and environments, its slower pacing, its detailed worlds that nevertheless remain a bit small, even by 2000 standards. Grand Theft Auto 3 would blow the doors open on the emerging "sandbox" genre in 2001, exposing the generational leap between the two titles.

This brings us back to the $64,000 Question: would Shenmue have been better on Saturn than Dreamcast? This assumes, of course, that the Saturn version would remain playable with an acceptable frame rate (which, by 1998 standards, would be anything above 10fps). My own pet cause for some time has been that Sega Saturn deserved two or three more years on the market, and either Sega would release their Generation Six console in 2001 alongside Xbox and GameCube, or Sega would be purchased outright by Microsoft, essentially making the Xbox the Dreamcast.

What would a Saturn with two more years look like? Here's the software titles it would have: Shenmue, Virtua Fighter 3, Sega Rally 2, Sonic Adventure, Resident Evil 2, Tomb Raider 2, Tony Hawk Pro Skater, Marvel Vs. Capcom. Let us also not forget Visual Concepts, which was purchased by Sega after their stellar performance with NBA Action 98. This would possibly give us NFL 2K and NBA 2K on Saturn. Oh, and there's the little matter of Powerslave 2, which was the early design stages when Lobotomy collapsed.

Mind you, as a hardcore gamer, I do prefer having all of these videogames on the Dreamcast, where they look so much better than could possibly be achieved on Saturn. But most DC games weren't that far ahead of Generation Five, and this perception helped doom the console once the Playstation 2 hype machine roared into action. I love my DC as much as any Segaphile, but looking back, it's pretty obvious that the system never had a chance, especially once the likes of Metal Gear Solid 2, Gran Tourismo 3 and Halo hit the streets.

The smarter move would have been to keep Saturn alive longer and either release a more powerful Gen-6 machine or merge with Microsoft. The "Xbox" becomes "Dreamcast" and Sega sells it in Japan under their banner, while MS uses their name for the Western releases.

Of course, in order for that ending to work, you'd have to ignore all the Simpson DNA evidence. And Saturn would have had to actually sell in the West, instead of crashing spectacularly in the blink of an eye. I still can't believe that a videogame console with Dragon Force, Shining Force 3, Fighters Megamix, Radiant Silvergun, Powerslave, X-Men Vs Street Fighter and World Series Basebal 98 couldn't sell worth a damn. But them's the brakes.
 

DT MEDIA

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Here is the latest update on the Saturn Grandia translation project. These screenshots were shared on the Sega Xtreme forums in July and shows some work on text fonts and translation. This is the grinding part of the project, not very much fun, but something that needs to be done.

On a related note, Limited Run Games is offering a physical print run of the Grandia HD remaster on Nintendo Switch. This includes the original game as well as its Dreamcast sequel. However, as we all know, the Grandia 1 remaster is based on the Sony Playstation version, which means that some visual effects from the Saturn version are missing. In the grand scheme of things, this is pretty small potatoes, but I do wish that we could have a later revision of this package to include the new Saturn translation. That would be absolutely fantastic.
 

DT MEDIA

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Another quick Saturn translation update, this time for Lunar Silver Star Story. This message comes from one of the developers on the project this Thursday on the Sega Xtreme forums:


"The final version isnt out yet. There are no further plans for beta updates though. Release depends on how much free time we have and how fast things progress, so no estimate on when it will be done"
 
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DT MEDIA

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We have another new Sega Saturn translation project: Phantasm, the 1997 Japanese release of the Sierra PC classic Phantasmagoria. This is a point-and-click adventure game from the height of the "FMV interactive movie" era of the 1990s, originally appearing on seven discs on PC and eight on Saturn, making this the largest physical release on the system.

A member of the Sega Xtreme forums (you'll notice how I've been skimming their pages for news updates this weekend) named LG30 is responsible for the project, with strong assistance by Saturn community hero TrekkiesUnite118 and several others. The work largely involves translating the extensive video dubs from Japanese to English. The user interface is very simple and was designed with more casual players in mind. Fans of the genre should have no trouble making their way around.

Activity on this project began in April and May, but appears to have stalled. The last updates were on May 10-20. After that, LG30 has gone silent, although his profile indicates he is still visiting the forums.

Here are the most recent posts by LG30 on the Phantasm project:


(May 10)

"So here are the progress of the project:

"- I created a script via ffmpeg to inject the sound of the PC videos (VMD) and the inclusions in the SATURN videos (CPK) without re-encoding the video, only re-encoding the audio with the good codec and the good bitrate.

"- I managed to find software that can read and decode PC videos (RBT) in AVI. It is a very special format used by SIERRA and even ffmpeg could not decode it.

"Then I created a script to paste the audio from these AVI videos to include them in the SATURN (CPK) videos.

"By the way, I add change the introductory video. The SATURN version is censored, it is around 1 minute shorter and the girl's stripped passages have been removed. So I put the PC version which is full.

"Now two things are born to me:

"- Get to find the file where the skeleton audio is. It is a skeleton, in the option menu, which allows you to give oral clues if you are stuck in the game. For now, it speaks in Japanese. Unable to know where this file is located.

"- And to be able to release two patches, one in English and the other in French, I would need someone to translate the menu and the submenu into French for me. For now, this is beyond my skills.

"As soon as the Japanese skeleton has been translated, I will put a beta version in English of the first CD so that you can test.

"Those who want to help me are welcome."

(May 19)

"In terms of translation, the FMV sequences are translated via the English audio of the PC version and concerning the other scenes during the game, they are also translated into English via the PC version. As for the skull, on the PC version, the audio of the skull is put in an xxx.AUD file which contains 3 minutes for the first CD with all the clues. As for the saturn version, no file has any similarity and I can't find or hide this famous file.

"I am stuck at this stage and I cannot move forward. I will try to help myself with a translation team because it exceeds my skills now."

(May 20)

"For FMV videos, the Saturn version is in .CPK and the PC version is in .VMD. Quite simple to read, after re-encoding for saturn is quite difficult but achievable. They are all 100% reduced. For in-game videos, these are videos recorded on a green background. For the PC version, they are in .RBT and for the Saturn version, they are still in .CPK. It is there, that the re-encoding is impossible because the Saturn version does not re-encode the green background and makes me a black clipping. So I went through ffmpeg to simply extract the audio from the PC version and paste it on the Saturn version and it works very well. However, we had to find a software that could read .RBT videos and there, I looked for a lot of time but I found. From there, all videos in the game are also 100% translated. And now, I just have that damn skull to decipher its audio location."
 
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Komatsu

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DT MEDIA DT MEDIA Can't wait for Grandia and Lunar translation patches to see the light of day. And thanks for posting SF3's animations. Four months ago my Saturn's memory died and I lost my SF3 save - 90% of the game in - so I remain immensely bitter about it. LOL
 
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Kazza

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"The final version isnt out yet. There are no further plans for beta updates though. Release depends on how much free time we have and how fast things progress, so no estimate on when it will be done"
Is there anything special about this version, as compared to the Mega CD one?
 
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Kazza

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PandaMonium reaches number 21 in the US Saturn release schedule:



It looks like a solid strategy game, just let down by the fact that it is a lazy port from the 3DO. Even the SNES port looks better with its mode 7 effect on the map screen. It's a shame they didn't use VDP2 for those.
 
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DT MEDIA

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Is there anything special about this version, as compared to the Mega CD one?



This YouTube video shows the differences between the different versions of Lunar. The Saturn version features entirely redrawn graphics, improved animation, more and better voice acting. It's the "next generation" upgrade of the original, and it's really a shame that this version was never released in the USA.
 
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Kazza

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Some interesting details about EA and the Saturn from someone who worked there at the time:

Sega-16: How did you find the Saturn hardware? Many developers recognize its capabilities but found it hard to work with in some regards. Was that your experience as well?

Tony Barnes: I didn’t spend much time with the Saturn hardware at Crystal Dynamics. We had some games on the go; like Off World Interceptor and Turbo Eclipse, as well as the (cancelled) Ghost Rider game that was meant to be Saturn-first. There were others later, but we quickly pivoted away from the Saturn, when the sales of PSX (PlayStation) started taking off. From my memory, it was kind of a pain in the ass when it came to 3D implementation. The machine really wasn’t built with “3D-first.” That’s one of the reasons Ghost Rider was going more the 2.5D route, with pre-rendered characters and 3D side-scrolling backgrounds, instead of attempting some sort of fully-3D or even full 3D characters.

The Saturn was getting lot of third party support in 95, but that started to slowly ebb away in 96 as the PS1 sales really started to pull away, and the writing was on the wall by 97
 
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Kazza

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Some accounts of the potential mid-90s partnership between Sega and Sony. There seem to be so many conflicting reports.

First Kalinske:

Kalinske recalls, “One of the key reasons why I left Sega is when we had the opportunity to work with Sony, when [Sony Interactive CEO] Olaf Olafsson, [Sony Corporation of America president and CEO] Mickey Schulhof and I had agreed we were going to do one platform, share the development cost of it, share the probable loss for a couple years on it, but each benefit from the software we could bring to that platform.”

“I remember we had a document that Olaf and Mickey took to Sony that said they’d like to develop jointly the next hardware, the next game platform, with Sega, and here’s what we think it ought to do. Sony apparently gave the green light to that. I took it to Sega of Japan and told them that this was what we thought an ideal platform would be, at least from an U.S. perspective, based on what we’ve learned from the Sega CD, and our involvement with Sony and our own people. Sega said not a chance. Why would it want to share a platform with Sony?”[ii]

“I thought [this] was the stupidest decision ever made in the history of business. And from that moment on, I didn’t feel they were capable of making the correct decisions in Japan any longer.”


From a 2018 interview with Hideki Sato, then head of R&D at Sega:

“Okawa had a close friendship with [Sony president] Norio Ohga. They met together, and Okawa said to Ohga, ‘We’re doing well, but we just can’t seem to beat Nintendo. How about Sega and Sony work together?’ The suggestion was then passed along to Nakayama.”[iii] This likely occurred sometime at the end of 1992, after Sony had finally severed dealings with Nintendo over their failed partnership to develop a CD-ROM add-on for the Super Famicom.

Sato continues, “I met with [PlayStation creator] Ken Kutaragi, my counterpart at Sony on the technical side, and we talked about various things. We discussed how we might proceed if we decided to partner up and that sort of thing.”

This culminated in a meeting between the two companies. “On their side, they had Ohga, Kutaragi, and Kutaragi’s boss, Tamotsu Iba. We had Nakayama, myself, and one other guy from IBM, who we were working with on a computer at the time. We met for dinner at a Sony reception hall in Shinagawa.

“While eating, Ohga revealed to us that Paramount had almost sold Sega to Sony [in the early 80s]. It was the first time that I had ever heard of this, and I think the same was true for Nakayama. Sony was located in Shinagawa, and Sega was in Otorii, not too far away. When Sega entered the home consumer market [in 1983], Ohga became quite interested in the company. He himself said it: he was very interested. He was negotiating with a representative from Paramount to buy Sega, and they agreed that the next time the representative came to Japan, they would finalize the deal. However, on the flight back to America, the representative suffered a heart attack and died. He died, and the deal never came about. After that, Nakayama found a sponsor in Okawa and successfully negotiated with Paramount to buy Sega.

“Ohga told us this story, and Nakayama seemed surprised, but not amused. If the man from Paramount had not died, Sega would have been part of Sony before Nakayama could have acted. Well, they both start with ‘S,’ so maybe it would have been OK (laughs). When I talked with Kutaragi, we discussed how even though he was in Shinagawa and I was in Ota, both companies started with ‘S’ and our shared enemy Nintendo was on the other side of Mt. Hakone, so maybe it would be OK if we worked together…

“Nakayama was a straight-talker. He very directly asked Ohga, ‘Do you want to partner with Sega or not?’ Ohga listened, seemed about to respond, and then launched into an unrelated story. This happened over and over. He was beating around the bush, and Nakayama got very impatient. Nakayama would basically say, ‘Are we doing it or not? Give me a clear answer,’ and Ohga would reply, ‘Well, recently, I went on a trip to Sweden, and…’ Ohga started talking about seeing the aurora borealis, and then about how to conduct an orchestra.”

Ohga continued with such talk and launched into an explanation of why CDs were designed to be 74 minutes: Ohga had wanted to be sure that Beethoven’s 9th Symphony would fit on a single CD. Sato recalls, “Basically, he didn’t respond to any of Nakayama’s questions.

“The next day, Nakayama came and asked me how I thought it went. I responded, ‘Well, I don’t quite think it’s going to work.’ Nakayama liked to run things his way, and with a person like Ohga, I could see that Ohga would gain the upper hand in any partnership. At the time, Sony had sales of two or three trillion yen, while Sega only had sales of 400 billion yen. If we decided to work together, Sony was definitely going to get the upper hand. We couldn’t be sure of who was going to be responsible for what in such a partnership. So I told Nakayama that it was going to be difficult. He replied, ‘I also think it’s going to be difficult. Alright, let’s not do it then.’ And we decided not to pursue anything with Sony.”


Then-vice president of Sega of America, Shinobu Toyoda (2019):

“There were discussions with Ken Kutaragi and the Sony engineering staff about the joint development of Sega’s next game console. Sony was first working with Nintendo, but they couldn’t reach an agreement and parted ways. After that, Sony wasn’t entirely against a partnership, but they started to consider entering the game market on their own. The president of Sony of America at that time was Mickey Schulhof, and he had a lot of influence within the company. At a Sony board meeting, he proposed, ‘Rather than developing a next generation console on our own, I think we should partner with Sega. How about giving it a try?’

“The reason was that Sony of America had worked with Sega on FMV games such as Night Trap.

“The two companies held a series of meetings to discuss the development of a next generation console, with Ken Kutaragi representing the Sony side and R&D head Hideki Sato representing the Sega side. Unfortunately, they failed to reach an agreement within half a year, and discussions ended. The Sony side argued that the next generation console should be fully focused on 3D graphics, while the Sega side argued that it should also have the capacity to do 2D sprite graphics.

“Because Sega was so familiar with the state of the game industry and Sato understood well the feelings of game developers, I think that Sega judged that a sudden, complete shift to 3D games would be too difficult. However, the neophyte Sony—well, ‘neophyte’ might be a bit impolite, but they were entering from another industry, and they were able to pursue what they considered ideal game development without any preconceived fears.”
And earlier this year we have this:

Shuji Utsumi, former vice president of product acquisition for SCEA, recently told Polygon that Kutaragi himself made the call not to pursue the deal with Sega. Utsumi said that Kutaragi would return from meetings with Hideki Sato and Sega of America staff and tell coworkers that he probably would not accept the deal. Early in the process, he decided not to take Sega’s offer.


There definitely seemed to be serious discussions about the partnership. The controversy lies with who sunk the idea. It seems that the Saturn as we know it wouldn't have existed, and the hardware of any joint console would have been pretty much what we got with the PS1, with Sega doing the software.
 

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Randomized Gaming devoted Friday's live streaming to the Saturn multiplayer classic Saturn Bomberman Fight. If you haven't had a chance to see this videogame in action, now's the perfect time to discover yet another JP-exclusive classic for everybody's favorite system.
 

cireza

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I started a game of Riglord Saga 2.



First of all, I want to talk about the first game. I love this game, known as Mystaria in PAL, Blazing Heroes in USA and Riglord Saga in Japan. It is actually my favorite T-RPG in terms of gameplay. My nickname comes from this game, there is an enemy called Invincible Ciresa in Mystaria.

The cleverness of this game always surprises me. And it is a very accessible game. Battle mechanics are extremely rich. For example the ground is important and moving requires energy. Depending on how flat/inclined the ground is, it will be more difficult to traverse. Some characters can traverse very inclined ground, others don't. Flying characters can fly above it, but they are quite weak compared to the others.

The balance of the difficult and stats in this game is absolutely brilliant. For exemple, pure magic (spells) are extremely powerful, but the casters will most of the time be killed in one attack. Only the most resistant characters can endure two or three attacks.

There is an elaborated defense system in place. In Mystaria, and its sequel, you don't just Defend. No, you have to choose the correct action :
Should I simply Defend to reduce physical damage ?
Counter ? Meaning I will take damage but deal also a lot more damage, but only if the attack is physical.
Absorb ? Meaning that physical attacks will heal me.
Use a Magic Shield ? I will take 0 damage from spells, but can't be healed.
Elude or Evade ? to try avoiding the attack.
Etc...

This game has you thinking every second about the best course of action, and you have to be clever to not get decimated. Because a mistake will lead to the death of a character, and you can only revive one per battle. And battles are quite long.

Also skills are learnt as you gain mastery in the various skill classes. The more you use them, the more skills your learn.

Technically speaking, the game is not a stand out. Framerate is not great. But it is, by far, the best T-RPG I played in terms of rules and mechanics. Also the character progression is very satisfying in this game.



Right now I am playing the sequel, which stayed in Japan. This is quite understable, the overall theme is much more bathed in Japanese culture than the previous one, that felt like it was created for the West. It is entirely in Japanese, but I am glad to see that I am managing quite well.

This sequel introduces an important new feature, by expanding even more the terrain aspect : you can now slide on slopes, and fall into holes, dying instantly. There are spells that raise and lower the ground... The main character is also the one able to turn into a dragon, and she can fly higher, and pick up enemies or allies to carry them. Of course, this is an important feature and has to be used a lot.

The game for now is quite difficult. You need to plan your actions carefully. I felt that experience for skills comes faster, especially the defense skills as I already have 5 defense skills right now.

I managed to understand where I had to go and in which order I had to do things by analyzing the enemy HPs and Levels.

I am really enjoying my time with the game, and hope that I will be able to complete it without getting stuck because of the Japanese language.
 
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