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Games NeoGAF Official SEGA SATURN Community

DT MEDIA

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus
Jan 7, 2018
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515
Chicago, IL
www.dtm-arts.com



Take everything you love about X-Men Vs. Street Fighter, add in The Avengers and a goofy Japanese comic sidekick, add in some wildly over-the-top special attacks and the greatest pixel art known to man, and you've got my all-time favorite 2D fighting game on Sega Saturn: Marvel Super Heroes Vs. Street Fighter. You were just about to say, "Hey, me too." Because, of course, that would be the sensible thing to say.

This game easily earns a spot in my Saturn Top Ten. And if it's not in yours, it's likely only because one of the other 4-Meg Capcom fighters took the spot. Which is perfectly fine in my book. They're all fantastic beyond belief and deserved to sell millions of copies worldwide.

It's getting harder and harder to find a complete copy for less than a hundred bucks. Better move fast if you want this one in your library.
 
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DT MEDIA

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus
Jan 7, 2018
720
1,024
515
Chicago, IL
www.dtm-arts.com











I'm working on a book project about Nintendo 64 which includes several racing titles, which gives me the perfect excuse to toss in a few runs of Sega Rally Championship. This is a JP Saturn w/composite cables running on a 13" Sony Trinitron. Notice the nice smooth windows on the car? No dithered dot patterns here.

Sega Rally still holds up magnificently and I greatly admire AM3's dedication to car physics and handling, the way your vehicle responds differently to pavement, dirt and mud, the way the suspension bobs and dips in turns, the way you have to precisely manage powerslides to stay on the road. At its core, this is really a time-attack racer. You're battling against the clock and the tracks, not the drivers. The computer cars are merely placeholders, following a set path and spaced precisely apart from one another. They don't really acknowledge you like, say, the suicidal murder cars in Daytona USA.

I really should be playing this game more often. I played it obsessively during that snowy Minnesota Winter of 1995-96, and it actually improved my winter driving skills, or at least showed me how to pull of powerslides in heavy snow. Finishing first place is still difficult, as you have to make an absolutely perfect run with no errors, and for that I'm grateful. And the 2P versus mode should keep everyone engaged from now until the sun explodes.

During the Gen-5 era, it was commonly accepted that Sega Rally was Saturn's best racer, but also it's only good racer, that everything else was terrible or disappointing. Today, I would definitely say that isn't the case: Manx TT Superbike, The Need For Speed, Wipeout & Wipeout XL, Touge King of Spirits 1 & 2, Shutokou Battle Drift 97 and Impact Racing are all excellent. The JP Daytona USA Circuit Edition is probably the best Saturn driving game from a technical standpoint, offering 40 breakable cars, smooth 30 fps, Taisen Cable support and various day/night lighting conditions. I'm a bit surprised that Sega didn't crank out a bunch of Sega Rally sequels, milk the franchise as Namco did with Ridge Racer. It would have been easy to introduce a new version with a dozen racetracks and a career mode. But AM3 was busy with Baku Baku Animal, Decathlete, Virtual On, Last Bronx and Winter Heat, and I wouldn't sacrifice any of them.
 
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DT MEDIA

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus
Jan 7, 2018
720
1,024
515
Chicago, IL
www.dtm-arts.com




This is why you buy the JP Daytona USA Circuit Edition: support for the Taisen link cable. This enables two players to race against one another, each with a Saturn and television. Add in the racing wheel and you've truly brought the arcade experience home. And have I mentioned that this is the only multiplayer mode to include computer cars? Split-screen and Netlink only put the two drivers on the track.

I bought my copy when they were selling for $10, but prices have risen to the $40 range. It's still a bargain, but you are highly advised to purchase one before this game hits the $100 mark, especially as more Saturn fans learn about the Taisen cable and want to play those glorious 2P matches.

The third video in this post features all Taisen-compatible Saturn games, including Daytona CE, Hyper Reverthion, Steeldom, Doom (thanks for wrecking this port, Carmack), Hexen (much better but still not Lobotomy), Gungriffon 2 (also compatible with the Virtual On joysticks) and Hyper 3D Taisen Battle Gebockers. Daytona, of course, is the star of the show.
 

DT MEDIA

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus
Jan 7, 2018
720
1,024
515
Chicago, IL
www.dtm-arts.com



Asuka 120% Burning Festival LTD is one of Saturn's greatest 2D fighting games, and is considered the best installment of the long-running series that began on the PC Engine and worked its way through Saturn and Playstation. In 1999, after the dissolution of their studio Fill-In-Cafe, the creators of Asuka released a software patch for the retail disc, dubbed Asuka 120% Limit Over. This patch was posted online and given to fans for free.

In 2007, the patch was discovered by Western Saturn fans via the Lost Levels forum, whose members then released an ISO file for burning to disc. In 2015, Limit Over was given a full English translation, specifically the character names.

You can download this translation file here, although you will have to patch these files to your backup disc. A fully patched version of Limit Over is available online, although I cannot say where.

Finally, I want to post a tutorial file that I downloaded some time ago (it might have been posted on GameFAQs at some point). It provides an overview of the gameplay additions made to this version, as well as the controls for movies and specials. I'm going to post the message in its entirety. Enjoy:




Some treat for all the haters. Asuka 120% LIMIT OVER is a fan modification of the Saturn all-girl fighter Asuka 120% Burning Fest Limited. Basically what you may consider a "rom hack", except that its quite advanced for the time - it was made in 1998 and features radical edits - and on a CD based console.

It includes a lot of changes, including:

- Simple to-the-point menu screen (no story mode, only vs, ranking and deathmatch)
- New special moves (knockdown move and secret final attack)
- Additional dodge moves (recovery)
- Additional medium attacks
- Additional throw attacks
- Balance tweaks
- Taunts and autocombos

Changes were made according to the opinions of many players on the net.

lo.lzh contains the files needed to patch a regular asuka 120% image to Limit Over. As all instructions are in japanese, and the tools needed are getting aged, I've decided to post a pre-patched bin/cue. Note that it wasn't patched by me, I found the copy on Share.

mainpage (japanese): http://www5.ocn.ne.jp/~afc/limitover/index.html
info on the series (japanese): http://naitouraita.cool.ne.jp/naitou/asuka/main.html
discussion at lostlevels.org: http://forums.lostlevels.org/viewtopic.php?t=1233&start=0
wikipedia info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asuka_120%

note: the serial and header is the same as the original Asuka 120% game, the patch does not modify the header, only some files on the disc.




------


The controls are dead simple but in case people cant figure them out:

A - weak attack
X (or forward + A) - medium attack
B - slow but strong attack
C (or A+B) - counter attack, you are invincible while doing this but it consumes your special meter
forward + B - "long" punch

forward or backward twice - dash/backdash, also works with forward/backward + Z
down, up - super jump, also works by pressing Z without directions
up, up - hopping/small jump, also works by pressing Z and down

R (or down+C) - dodge
back + A (while guarding) - dodge
back + B (while guarding) - reversal

forward + B from upclose - throw and tech. hit (throw escape)

When you are knocked to the side of the screen or to the ground, press forward twice (screen side) or down twice (ground) to recover quickly. Mashing A or B also works.

double tapping Y, Z or R for taunt.

Special moves are nearly the same for all characters:
- Down, Forward, A/B (or forward + Y)
- Down, Down, A/B (or down + Y)
- Down, Back, A/B (or back + Y)
For super special moves, use C instead of a/b when your special meter is 100% or 120%. You can use super specials continously when at 120%.

Some characters also have barrage moves by tapping forward + A or simply X fast, Honda Hundred Hand Slap style.
 
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DT MEDIA

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus
Jan 7, 2018
720
1,024
515
Chicago, IL
www.dtm-arts.com








Time for another evening session of Last Bronx, an excellent translation of the Sega AM3 arcade hit. Prices for the US version are becoming very expensive, but the JP edition is still available for cheap, and even offers a second disc devoted exclusively to player tutorials and gameplay hints.

I snapped these photos this evening and managed to capture shots of one of the anime endings on the game's Saturn mode. Even though I tend to reach for VF2 and Anarchy in the Nippon, there's no denying this is a must-have fighting classic. In a just world, this game would have spawned an entire franchise, breakfast cereal and line of direct-to-video DVDs. Oh, well.

I also wanted to share a Youtube video episode of Yo Videogames, a show where a group of guys gather together on a couch to play classic videogames and shoot the breeze. They're always entertaining to watch and you should check out their other Saturn gameplay sessions.
 

DT MEDIA

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus
Jan 7, 2018
720
1,024
515
Chicago, IL
www.dtm-arts.com



Here's a brand new Youtube video on Anarchy in the Nippon, one of my all-time favorite Sega Saturn brawlers, as well as its Playstation sequel. The review critic does an excellent job noting the involvement of the "Iron Men" Virtua Fighter players (no, Sega AM2 had nothing to do with this one). Gameplay footage is excellent and the language barrier is listed as a problem. Fortunately, I already provided a handy menu translation just a few posts ago.

I did enjoy the attention given to the PSX sequel, which is even more obscure than the original. Personally, I prefer the Saturn version, but there are many good qualities in the PSX version and it's worth checking out.

I grabbed my copy several years ago and only paid ten bucks. Today, Ebay prices are going for $20, plus shipping, which seems to be around $20 this year, thanks to COVID-19 disruptions. I strongly advise that you get a disc before they become expensive and rare.
 
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DT MEDIA

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus
Jan 7, 2018
720
1,024
515
Chicago, IL
www.dtm-arts.com



Some footage of Capcom's outstanding Vampire Savior on Sega Saturn. This is another of the monster 4-Meg fighters on the system that demonstrates this console's supremacy in 2D video games. It really doesn't get better than this.

It doesn't appear that this title is as popular with fans as X-Men, Marvel or Zero/Alpha 3, and perhaps that's due to Vampire Savior being an original IP with no connection to any long-running franchise or pop culture icon. It may also be because of the excellent Night Warriors, which arrived in early 1996 in the US and is nearly arcade perfect. Maybe the 2nd and 3rd Darkstalkers is just too similar to one another? Who's to say?

Fortunately, this is a good thing for Saturn collectors, because it means you can find copies on Ebay for significantly less money than the other Capcom 4-Meg titles. You do not want to look at the prices Street Fighter Zero 3 is going for these days. You'll bust a kidney from the sticker shock.
 

MadeManG74

Neo Member
Apr 20, 2020
25
37
160
Australia
twitch.tv


Sega Saturn Fan Translation: Valhollian

This is excellent and most welcome news. Meduza Team has recently announced that they are engaged in an English translation of the 1998 Strategy-RPG Vahollian. This game plays very similar to Sakura Wars, Wachenroeder and Shining Force, and if you're a fan of the genre, you'll dive right in easily and have a blast.

Meduza Team was previously responsible for translating Linkle Liver Story, as well as widescreen hacks for Shining Force 3, Powerslave, and Dead or Alive.

Great work, guys! Keep it up!
I need to keep an eye on this one, love Shining Force III and this might be an interesting new title for me to sink into.




Whenever I get the urge to play a snowboarding videogame, I always reach for Steep Slope Sliders. What do I love about this videogame? What makes it great? Atmosphere. Ambiance. The sense of isolation, of being lost in mountains and forests. The spectacular course designs that absolutely demolished Cool Boarders and 1080. The color designs that perfectly capture how snow looks in real life, especially on days with overcast skies. The moody and unconventional music. And, most of all, the absence of any grating, obnoxious "extreeeme" cliches that have aged as poorly as leisure suits.

The strange thing about this genre is that every other snowboarding game is really just a driving game, except you're riding a board instead of a car. Tricks are treated almost as an afterthought, something tacked on as a gimmick. Here, the emphasis is almost entirely on scoring tricks and finding the perfect spots to launch that big trick combo, while the racing is treated as an afterthought.

I don't think Cave really knew what they had on their hands, or knew how to make everything work. They had a stellar graphics engine (despite a few glitches here and there), excellent track designs and a trick system that clearly predicts Tony Hawk Pro Skater, but there was no career mode, no competitions, no multiplayer. There are four main courses, only one slalom course, one obstacle course and one halfpipe course. All of the bonus courses and characters can be unlocked in roughly twenty minutes. You can see how the studio tried to change the formula in search of a hit, first on the ST-V Titan arcade board, then with the Sony Playstation sequel Trick 'N Snowboarder.

Unfortunately, that was the wrong approach, and all the changes amounted to dumbing down what worked and padding in features that didn't work. Cave was trying to chase after Cool Boarders, when they really should have focused their attention on Tony Hawk: rail grinding, more tricks, eliminate the "top five stunts" rule, add some secondary objectives like collecting tapes. Steep Slope is already ninety percent there.

If nothing else, this is a killer snowboarding game because you get to surf the asteroid belt from The Fifth Element with a dog, a penguin or a UFO. How do you not love that?

Definitely a great game. I remember reading gushing reviews in Sega Saturn Mag and picked it up, probably one of my more played games on Saturn, just had so much fun doing high score runs and unlocking all the cool hidden characters, then attempting tricks and runs with them.
Gorgeous graphics as well, loved the 'fog' effect to fade in the background to avoid pop-up. Worked thematically as well since it's meant to be snowing/overcast.
 

DT MEDIA

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus
Jan 7, 2018
720
1,024
515
Chicago, IL
www.dtm-arts.com



Zoom's Zero Divide: The Final Conflict easily belongs on Saturn's AAA list, offering some of the best 3D polygon graphics in the system's library. This masterful 3D fighting game stands tall alongside Dead or Alive, Anarchy in the Nippon, All-Japan Pro Wrestling and Savaki, as well as Final Fight Revenge (it's not that bad, honest!) and K-1 Fighting Illusion.

Note the incredibly smooth 60fps, smooth animation, Gouraud shading, breakable armor, particle effects and a variety of walled arenas. Not the extensive use of VDP2 planes for the floor and backgrounds, sometimes featuring parallax or line scrolling effects. Note how the walls become invisible when viewed from behind, something Sega used in Virtua Fighter 3. Note how nothing onscreen glitches or breaks down, how the walls appear solid without any popping out, ala Fighters Megamix and Last Bronx. Savaki also managed to pull off this feat with its caged arena, which makes me wonder why Sega couldn't do the same.

One question about this game's visuals has puzzled me for ages: is it running at 480i resolution? It has long been accepted as fact that Saturn cannot render Gouraud shading in its high resolution modes, which are limited to an 8-bit color palette. Yet here is Zero Divide appearing extremely sharp and crisp, certainly sharper than Megamix or Fighting Vipers which ran in 240 resolution.

So which is it? Is Zero Divide playing at 480, meaning that Zoom's programmers found a way around the polygon shading problem, or is it just a really crisp 240 display with brilliant model design? Either way, this game looks fantastic and easily deserves a spot on the "how did they pull that off on Saturn" list.

Somebody ought to track down Akira Sato, Zero Divide's director/producer, and have him spill the beans. He's not the same guy who worked on Gran Turismo, Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, right? That has to be a coincidence.

Update (9:35pm): A few quick updates. First, the move lists for the game's bonus characters were published in the December 1997 issue of Sega Saturn Magazine, which is available for viewing or downloading at Sega Retro. Second, you can select different colors for your fighter by holding down L and pressing a direction on the D-pad at the character select screen.

Finally, someone on Youtube provided a quick translation of the robot's final speech at the very end:


"Thank you, you did well...With this, finally I can truly vanish... As electronic beings time, and the fact that we do exist, is like a long dream without end... We, who were made to build the desire of humans, finally belong to them. Our will, your evolution, might be brief to steadily mend the human progress. But, I would like to have believe that that isn't a meaningless thing to a human being. I will be gone, but the element the element who has created me, will probably become part of the dream which composes this space. Not an nightmare like XTAL, but as part of the good genuine dream...Let us meet somewhere again. Until then..."
 
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DT MEDIA

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus
Jan 7, 2018
720
1,024
515
Chicago, IL
www.dtm-arts.com



A discussion on the return of "mesh transparencies" in modern videogames such as Super Mario Odyssey, Yakuza and Devil May Cry 5 led to this lengthy defense of Sega Saturn, as well as a breakdown of graphics (including polygon transparencies) in Dead or Alive. I always enjoy these hardware discussions and debates and often find something new to learn about the Gen-5 consoles. And isn't it nice to hear detailed defenses of Sega's Gen-5 console? That never happened in the 1990s, and I mean never. Saturn was universally seen as the weakest of the three major players of the era when it came to 3D graphics, and 2D was cast aside, baby and bathwater, as "obsolete" until the artform's renaissance a decade ago.

Here's the post in its entirely. Enjoy:


I love the Traveler’s Tales videos, but they stopped making Saturn titles after Sonic R released in the US. The Saturn was still releasing titles into 1999 in Japan, which is when Street Fighter Zero 3 came out. The reason why this is important is a little title called Dead or Alive. It came out after Sonic R in Japan. Itagaki and Team Ninja not only addressed what many people thought was a flaw, but put 3 types of transparencies into the game. 2 full on real transparencies exist in the danger zone area. Half transparencies are also present. Dead or Alive had a few unique issues addressed, and Sega further addressed this in the Digital Dance Mix Demo, which has several simple polygon backup dancers with full transparencies that cross in front of the main high polygon player model.

In Dead or Alive, the game pushes more polygons than the PS1 version. Not only that, but the Saturn version was chosen above the PS1 version as the original game port featured on Dead or Alive Ultimate for X-Box by Itagaki. When you land in the Danger Zone on Saturn, the resulting explosion has a transparency, while this occurs, rather than simply end there, there’s another gray smoke polygon that’s also transparent. Unlike previous transparency implementations on Saturn in Guardian Heroes, where the background is visible, but a player walking behind the transparency disappears, in Dead or Alive, the player model and the floor are visible through both full transparencies. Meshes are only used for the life bars. Half Transparencies are also featured in this game.

Tecmo pulled this off by synchronizing the VDP1 and VDP2 as best as possible using a modified version of the Virtua Fighter 2 Engine. They then ran one processor per character, the same way it was done in Virtua Fighter 2. Dead or Alive on PS1 was made almost a full year after the Saturn version, using very mature 4th generation software libraries. They used a similar engine to Tekken 3, which pushed the maximum amount of polygons the PS1 could do with AI, and Gouraud Shading, in an interlaced presentation. DOA on PS1 512x480 at 60fps. 480 interlaced is 240 since every other line is rendered to the screen. The Saturn version is 704x480 at 60fps. The PS1 version has a simple flat, low res Bitmap background wrapped around the play area. The hit effects are also simple 2D png files that you can extract using an emulator. On Saturn, the danger zone produces a small number of real particles, you can extract or dump the textures using GitHub source version of Yaba Sanshiro, but you’ll never get those because they’re actual particle effects. It’s here that you’ll also see that the Saturn textures are higher in size and resolution.

Since a lower than Virtua Fighter 2 HiRes mode was in place on Saturn, Gouraud shading wasn’t used the way it was in Fighting Vipers, or Fighter’s Megamix. This freed up resources to render infinite plane floor surfaces, which simply aren’t possible on PS1, as well as very detailed, multilayer, scaling backgrounds. This is the example I always use, Ryu’s stage. It has mountains with an animated waterfall, on a separate layer, there are another two layers which each produce lightening animations at 20fps. Then you have the overhead bridge, which is fully 3D in the arcade version. Tecmo created an infinite plane above the where you fight, cut it to the correct dimensions and stretched it across the top of the stage at an angle. When you jump, or see replays, it’s above you, creating the illusion of a 3D bridge. This isn’t possoble on PS1. While all of this is happening, on the outside of the main fighting area, where the danger zone is located, there are animations there as well. The danger zone has pulsating glowing effects that are present throughout the entire match. The ring never distorts it tears as it does on the PS1, which doesn’t have polygon perspective correction. This results in minor affine texture warping on PS1. The Saturn version uses polygon perspective correction, which, up until recently wasn’t properly emulated. Through modern GPU Tessellation, it’s been added to some Saturn emulators, as well as scaling for both VDP1 and VDP2. Previously, only the polygon layers were scaled up. This is important because on YouTube, comparisons are unfortunately made via emulators, I’ve done this myself as well, but always noted as such. The reason why this is important is, tessellation on Saturn emulators creates the effect properly, as seen on a real system. The PS1 emulator removes affine texture warping, adds polygon perspective correction, HiRes Sprite filtering, texture filtering, and mip mapping, the later 2 of which weren’t featured on consoles until the N64.

The Saturn mimicked the effect of anisotropic filtering without actually having the feature. This only worked in games like Sonic R, which had a very N64 like look to it, as well as Last Bronx and Dead or Alive. The ability to render infinite planes meant that massive floor or ceiling textures, such as the parking garage in Last Bronx, had a repeating tile based texture, which was saved as a single layer, then stretched infinitely. The act of stretching the texture, then using the HiRes mode on Saturn in the aforementioned games, gave the texture the appearance of smoothed out filtering as a result. Extracting these textures shows this to be the case. Their resolution was high enough to still look clean, but low enough to appear softer when stretched out, since those textures were not dithered, or point sampled. That brings another point out, the PS1 model one had banding in gradients. This was only solved when the Slim model released, causing some confusion about the capabilities of the PS1. If you had the model one like I had, in Dead or Alive you have banding in the floor gradients. The Saturn didn’t have these issues when it was properly used. It’s not present in Dead or Alive on PS1 when you play it on the Slim model. To “fix” this issue, you get the dreaded dithering that Sony added to many games. You’ll see it in Gran Turismo 1-2, in Tekken 3, Ridge Racer Type 4, Wipeout 3, the list goes on. The did this because more people owned a model one Playstation than the Slim, and they wanted to hide the gradient banding for gamers. The result is, dithering on the model 2 PS1 in those titles, despite addressing the issue on that system.

I love Travelers Tales, as well as Sonic R, but the frustrating thing about their videos is how they keep saying impossible effects. Look at the making of Crash Bandicoot where the original developers discuss breaking the PS1 down and steaming pre scripted assets to overcome ram limits. Both consoles had workarounds that can only exist if you discover how the game system actually works. The Saturn was the actual future. It was multi processor before that was a thing. A 2D acceleration chip, as well as a separate 3D processor and multi core CPU. Current GPUs have similar configurations, and due to the lack of 2D acceleration on the early Nvidia cards, when Sega ported Virtua Fighter Remix and Virtua Fighter 2 to PC, the scaling backgrounds weren’t present, they were static, without any zooming at all. The Saturn died early in the US, and lived literally another 3 years in Japan, Tecmo got to use more mature software libraries and still only used 74% of the Saturn, which is confirmed yet again by the emulator. This is more efficient use than Burning Rangers, and Nights, with little to no player model polygon clipping while fighting at 60fps. The Saturn was never maxed out properly the way Tekken 3 was on PS1. Despite that, you have 1,100 plus games on Saturn, about 100 less than PS1, except on Saturn, only 300 plus were released in the US. So you don’t get to see the superior Saturn port of Dead or Alive here, or Stellar Assault and Bulk Slash, or many other titles with large polygon backgrounds and battles that have clean fade in, as well as proper utilization of some of the Saturn’s strengths. Instead you have Doom on Saturn here, coded entirely in software, using no 3D or 2D acceleration at all. Then you see Duke Nukem 3D, a far more complex title, with working VDP coded mirrors, Gouraud shading and colored lighting, as well as large, in stage loading free, multi-tiered levels. The port was so good, Digital Foundry put it above the PS1 version, and almost nearly above the N64 port. This game came out around the time the Saturn was ending its life span in the US, and the emulator reveals that it’s not using anywhere close to tbd full potential of the system.
 

DT MEDIA

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus
Jan 7, 2018
720
1,024
515
Chicago, IL
www.dtm-arts.com




This video showcase of Saturn's VDP2 powers ought to be required viewing for all gamers and especially Segaphiles. The titles featured in this series are but a sampling of the system's unique ability to use 2D and 3D architecture to create amazing and immersive worlds. I'm sure you've already seen this, but now it's got a home on the Sega Saturn Community blog.
 
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Scotty W

Member
Sep 29, 2019
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I am having trouble with the copy of Xmen vs Street Fighter I just picked up.

I have aJapanese Saturn model 1.01.
I have the 4 meg ram cart.
The game loads the title screen and demos, but when I hit start, the screen goes black into an infinite loading loop.

I turned the system off a few times and let the demoes play through, but same problem.

Thoughts?
 
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MadeManG74

Neo Member
Apr 20, 2020
25
37
160
Australia
twitch.tv
I am having trouble with the copy of Xmen vs Street Fighter I just picked up.

I have aJapanese Saturn model 1.01.
I have the 4 meg ram cart.
The game loads the title screen and demos, but when I hit start, the screen goes black into an infinite loading loop.

I turned the system off a few times and let the demoes play through, but same problem.

Thoughts?
Might be a silly question, but have you checked other games to make sure it's not a problem with the laser or reading the disc?
 

Al3x1s

Cores, shaders and BIOS oh my!
Nov 24, 2018
4,681
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Haha, this is so faithful it's like looking at some magical Saturn that could render in high res without issues like clipping and dithering and the framerate and all that stuff, yet maintaining the low polycount and the weird controls they had to deal with because they didn't have a modern controller.

Someone else might have taken the opportunity to make it truly next-gen rather than keep the low fidelity for the environments and what not, but it's still really nice and cool all the same. I'd play it!
 
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Komatsu

Member
Oct 17, 2016
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Between Chicago and NYC



It can never be overstated how spectacular Dead or Alive on Sega Saturn looks and plays. It's so good, Tecmo included this Saturn version--not the arcade, not the Playstation home port--on the Xbox compilation disc Dead or Alive Ultimate. It's arguably the best looking 3D fighter on the system*, to say nothing of Sony or NIntendo.

Easily a top-five pick for Greatest Japanese Saturn Game We Didn't Get, and possibly deserving the number one spot. It absolutely should have been released here. This would have turned heads. The kids would have taken notice.

For the longest time, you could score a complete copy of Dead or Alive for ten bucks. Today, the prices are rising, and twenty is the bare minimum. You had better hurry up and grab your copy before this baby hits a cool hundred. Which it totally deserves.

Sega Saturn is the best videogame system in the world because of classics like this. If your Top 20 list doesn't include Dead or Alive somewhere in the mix, you need to have your head examined. Now watch these videos and practice your combos.


(*Note: I still say Virtua Fighter 2 has the better character and color design, although there's no question DOA does a better job with its camera and backgrounds. And those outer rings with the explosions...*chef's kiss*)
I have DOA and you are absolutely right: it looks amazing. Such a great game.
 
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DT MEDIA

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus
Jan 7, 2018
720
1,024
515
Chicago, IL
www.dtm-arts.com


Guardian Force is another favorite of mine, an arcade shoot-em-up featuring a tank that can fire two separate weapons in multiple directions against a gallery of multi-scrolling environments. It reminds me of classic tank games like Assault and Iron Tank and always puts a smile on my face.

This was the final Saturn game by Success, the creators of the Cotton series. For flash and pizazz, Cotton 2 and Boomerang both receive all the attention from Segaphiles, while this title gets a little lost in the shuffle. That's not really a bad thing, and for a system loaded with hundreds of hidden gems, Guardian Force is in good company.

Prices for a retail copy are astronomical. You'll be lucky to find one for under two hundred dollars. Heck, I saw an Ebay sale where someone was selling the warranty card for $40. That's likely the reason why this game is a touch obscure. You'll have to find a copy by other means (cough, ahem), at least until Success or whoever now owns their catalog gives us a proper revival on modern platforms.
 

DT MEDIA

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus
Jan 7, 2018
720
1,024
515
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I figured we were long overdue for some Burning Rangers love, so here's a long-play video of the Sonic Team classic in action. The second video shows the shuttle mini-game that can be unlocked.

This title gets remembered more for its mistakes--glitches, clipping--than what it gets right. It's definitely pushing the Saturn well past its breaking point, although I strongly suspect it's the Nights engine that's breaking down. But that's part of its charm in my eyes. It's almost as though Sonic Team is deliberately trying to melt down your console's motherboard by overloading massive amounts of lighting effects, particle effects, breakable floors, complex geometry, rippling water and a thousand pixel art explosions coming from every direction. It's really quite remarkable and all the more impressive because it all looks slightly rough. That roughness becomes part of the charm. Playstation's and NIntendo 64's 3D platformers are a lot smoother and more stable, but they're not being asked to do half as much. I'd honestly like to see either of those consoles pull this game out of their hats without choking to death.

As always, I think Burning Rangers looks much better on a CRT display, plays much better with the 3D Controller and absolutely deserves more attention from fans. This game absolutely should have been released on Dreamcast, and absolutely should have been released on other platforms. Why isn't this on the Switch?

There are so many killer moments in this videogame: the lights going out in stage one, where you're forced to wander around with only a green flashlight; wandering into a trap room that hits you with ten explosions from every angle; flying the shuttle craft through the trippy tunnels (reminds me of N20 on PSX, which is freaking fantastic); battling a giant sea monster in a tank while hopping over platforms (later remade in Sonic Adventure); riding a dolphin through a series of water tanks; the very final boss battle that pulls out all the stops; the highly impressive real-time voice directions that guide you through the burning stations; the fact that all hell breaks loos when a building's structural limit cracks over ninety percent.

Again, the only thing anybody remembers about this game is the clipping, which only fed into the Gospel Truth notion that Saturn "Can't Doo Three Dee." Whatever. I will freely admit that the glitches irritate me now and then, but there's only one or two places where it becomes a real problem, like where you're fighting up a long tall concourse in stage three: the popup kicks out the background so you can't see all the way down. It's weird considering that both Tomb Raider and Powerslave could pull off those graphics with relative ease. But, again, they weren't drawing those graphics while also pouring on a ridiculous amount of color, lighting and transparency effects. It's almost as if Sonic Team took inspiration from that moment in Sonic the Hedgehog where you're hit and a hundred rings spill out everywhere, and decided to base Burning Rangers entirely on that.
 
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Kazza

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I just got a Vita and have been playing some old PS1 games. One of the games I fired up was Fighting Force. It's a game which I was looking forward to playing on my Saturn back in the day, but which never came out. From looking at the beta online, it seems the Saturn version was looking pretty impressive in parts. In the very first section where you are fighting in the road, Core has the camera facing all the way down the street, allowing the Saturn to flex its VDP2 muscles (the PS1 version has its camera facing the wall and gate instead). I also like the elevator stage with the pulled out camera angle. In the first video the glass seems to be using some kind of real transparency effect, where in the second the infamous Saturn dithering rears its head (although this wouldn't have looked so bad on a CRT, as DT MEDIA DT MEDIA would point out).




While it doesn't seem to get much of a good rep these days (and I found it a little dull playing it this afternoon), I think I would have liked it a lot back in 1997. It has some nice touches/set pieces. I like the way cars and helicopters drop in, and some of the stage designs are pretty ambitious. As a Saturn exclusive I think the devs would have included even more VDP2 goodness and other things taking advantage of the hardware. I'll always regret Sega not signing Core to some kind of Saturn exclusive deal for this and Tomb Raider and the like at the very beginning of that generation. They did such great work on the Mega CD, and their 32 bit efforts were generally very good also.
 
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DT MEDIA

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Mass Destruction is one of my favorites, a tank shoot-em-up with a heavy emphasis on blazing speed and wild explosions in the best arcade tradition. This title was released on Playstation and Saturn, and does a very good job showing off the powers of both consoles. That said, Sega's version has a slight advantage thanks to its supremely smooth scrolling thanks to VDP2, as well as its high resolution 480/60 visuals. There is an extra crispness in the visuals that just pop off the screen.

Youtube channel Gaming The Systems takes a look at both versions of this game and comes away impressed. Saturn version scores one point higher than PSX, but fans of both consoles should be more than happy to run soldiers over with their tanks and set buildings on fire with massive flamethrowers.

It's worth noting that during the Gen-5 era, it was almost universally accepted that Playstation was the winner in all multi-platform games. Saturn usually received the leftovers and was stuck with a weaker translation at the hands of Western coders who couldn't crack its famously complex hardware. I even held to this belief myself until finally going through the software library many years later. Back in the '90s, the Sony/Sega score was massively lopsided. Today, it's far closer to even, with Saturn receiving an identical, and sometimes superior, version of the same videogame.

As always, I should emphasize that the differences between Saturn and PSX were extremely minor. These were the two most evenly matched consoles in the history of the medium, far closer than any previous rivals: Spectrum and C64, Genesis and Super NES, Gameboy and Lynx, 2600 and Intellivision, even PC and Mac. We kids had it lucky.

Generation Five is really the last time rival game systems would be notably different from one another, requiring different programming and design techniques to reach their full potential. By Gen-6, hardware designs had streamlined and consoles would eventually become interchangeable (anyone who can spot a difference between PS4 and Xbox One is just fooling themselves), and software developers could easily port the same program code from one platform to another with little fuss. You couldn't really do that in Gen-5, which is one key reason why the development community quickly rallied around Sony. It's one thing to write a novel, quite another to write a novel and then translate it into two different languages while under the same time and budget restraints.